Project Mutant: Resurrection of an 82 FI basket case


True Classic
It's too late now, but I think it's in someone's previous lessons learned post regarding the pedal box---install all hard lines and run down the tubing nuts to finger-tight before securing the pedal box in place.
Pedal box is in place. Brakes are bled, and will likely bleed again. FINALLY got the clutch hard line attached. Actually removed the end of the clutch master, and ran the threads for the line fitting in and out a dozen times. The size and thread were correct, just got it where there was no drag on the part, able to do finger-tight. Then put the end of the master cylinder back on (that is brutal with the spring inside in the tiny space allotted for such work under the dash), and was finally able to get the hard line attached and tight. Whew.

Tonight, I will bleed the clutch, using both the air pressure push followed by the regular method, with the aid of my most excellent wife. And sometime tonight, I should be able to see whether the gearbox is usable or a piece of junk like the rest of the car started out to be.

I anticipate having the wheels on and the car back down on the ground on Thursday evening (Tomorrow!). But, as things go with a resurrection, that timeline is flexible.


True Classic
Project Mutant: Another pretty good day.

I have a couple issues that I need to take care of:
1) The clutch reservoir leaks. Will get a replacement.
2) In my modifying the car, I ran a screw into the clutch hard line (very loud Homer Simpson like D'OH!). A flaring kit and some flare nuts and a splice are in order, unless I can find a whole line.

But here are the important parts:
1) It starts
2) It runs
3) It goes Vroom Vroom when I press the gas
4) The clutch works smoothly and predictably
5) The brakes seem to work fine.
6) The wheels and tires are actually on the car now.
7) All 5 gears AND reverse seem to work (without road testing)
8) Accidentally confirmed the windshield wiper motor works

So, here are some pictures of the car so far, on it's own four feets!
Should have the minor problems resolved, and the heater core back in place, and the car should be worthy of being driven round the cul-de-sac early next week.


True Classic
Today, removed the tips of the offending screws that intruded into the interior (and pierced the clutch hard line!). They won't ruin my day again! Ordered clutch hard line splice from MWB. Found what I needed, without knowing how to describe it, thanks to a posting on this site. You all are the absolute bestest!

Temporarily fitted new drivers seat. Determined that the seat will work for me, but probably not for anyone over 5'7" tall. I recall an old Abarth race/street car where the racing seats installed by the factory were so tall that they couldn't tilt forward, thereby making the back seat inaccessible, except for someone very tiny crawling between the center of the front seats.

Mutant has been on tall jackstands for months. I now find myself giggling every time I walk into the garage... It's so SHORT! If/when I upgrade to coilovers, it will be about 1.5" shorter. 47" tall at the top of the targa bar now.

Also determined that the 5 panel mirror is too wide, so I ordered a 4 panel mirror instead.

And, true to form for the parts gremlins... I received the new heater box clips that I ordered via the postal service, and had found the container with the 'lost' clips literally 5 minutes before the new ones arrived. Heh! Not hardly worth the effort to return them, so I guess I'll use the new ones.



Daily Driver
Thanks for posting your progress. I am about a year behind you on a similar quest. Mine last was registered in 1986. I hope mine has less to replace.


True Classic
Project Mutant: It is a brazilian degrees in my garage today, northeast Florida HUMID kind of heat, 97 degrees F outside with a heat index of 105 (or 36C with a heat index of 41C, for my more logical non-fahrenheit friends). So, no further progress on the Fiat. Had to order a new heater blower fan from Ebay/Mr.Fiat, since the one I have seems to be really, really worn/bushings dead. The fan can be moved sideways by about a half inch (12mm). Once the new one gets here, I will have everything I need to get the cooling system completed.

Clutch Line Splice.jpg

Received the new clutch fluid reservoir from Vicks, and should get the clutch line splice kit from Midwest Bayless tomorrow. So by next weekend, should have the car running, rolling, shifting, stopping, and cooling.

Then, maybe I'll put the frunk and trunk hoods on, and finish refinishing the engine cover before I start on the final cleanup and tackling the interior. So many tasks to do! Then of course comes the bodywork and fabricating the headlight installation. I'll likely order the new windshield (ProSource Glass from Massachusetts) after the 15th.

"Brazilian" used a a number:
"Giving Bush his daily war briefing, Donald Rumsfeld ended by saying: 'Yesterday, three Brazilian soldiers were killed.' 'Oh no!', exclaimed Bush. 'That's terrible.' His staff were stunned by this display of emotion. Finally Bush raised his head from his hands and asked: 'OK, so how many is a Brazillion?'
(Whether true or not, it is funny).


True Classic
Project Mutant: Sometimes the little things make the biggest difference.

I obtained a 1/4" high pressure splice kit for hydraulic tubing. Yes, the clutch hard line is actually 1/4", or 6.375mm if metric. (I think that Bernice covers this in detail in another post). Why Fiat decided on a 1/4" line instead of 6mm, I'll never know. The splice kit I got from Midwest Bayless was for 6mm, so wouldn't work. Good old O'Reilly's auto parts store. They ordered one up, and I had it the next day. Installed it tonight, and that was a definite success.

About bleeding the clutch... Took forever. No fluid would move through the system, and couldn't get any air bubbles out. I tried pressurizing the reservior, and using a vacuum to pull fluid through. Even tried releasing the new splice to bleed some fluid. No success. After 90 minutes of frustration, I backed off the clutch adjustment nut from the clutch slave cylinder to the throwout lever, and gave it some space, and TA-DAA! The clutch pedal suddenly started moving fluid, and the bubbles came out, and all was right in the world again. The plunger for the slave cylinder must have been not allowing fluid to pass.

Tightened up the lug nuts, put the radiator tank back in the engine compartment, hooked up the last hoses, and installed the air cleaner.

Last fiddly bit I will deal with tomorrow is the heater core reinstall, and the heater hose connections. Then, add coolant, bleed the system. Bleed the system again, repeat as necessary.

Cars and Coffee on Saturday morning. Then hook up the taillights. So I should be able to drive it on Saturday, at least around the cul-de-sac.
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True Classic
Project Mutant: Ready... Set... It won't start!

Got the heater box installed. Put in 2 of the 3 gallons of coolant. Will need to get another couple gallons of Anti-Freeze. Cleaned up some stuff out of the frunk and the trunk, slid a seat into it, called the wife to come take a video of Mutant going around the circle under his own power.


Starter makes a loud machine-gun like ratatatat sound. Does not turn engine over. Moved car back and forth in gear, no change. Checked battery voltage - Good. Checked wiring - Good. Not sure WHAT happened! :mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:
Gonna pull the starter tomorrow and see if it went kaput. It was a rebuild that I got off of E-Bay... Cheap, and built to fail that way. It worked so good, while it lasted.

Dang! Well, I'll get everything ready to go, and maybe tomorrow (the lonely words of a solo car rebuilder... Maybe tomorrow).


True Classic
Project Mutant: Frustration Abounds!

So, I removed the starter this morning, took it to O'Reillys, and had it tested. Tested OK.

Took it home, lubricated the mechanisms, and got down to re-installing it. After a couple hours of frustration, sweat, sore muscles, and massive amounts of effort, finally got it back in to where it belongs.
During that process, apparently I've crushed some wires or did something evil. Now, whenever the battery is connected, the fuel pump is on, even if the key is not. This is true even with ALL of the connectors for the ignition disconnected.

Additionally, I can no longer get the key to physically turn in the ignition. This is NOT related to a wiring issue.

So tomorrow after church, I will be removing the ignition assembly and seeing if I can get it functional again. Then I will be tracking down the fuel pump wiring and trying to determine where the voltage/ground issue is, and fix THAT.

And last, but certainly not least, I will need to see if I can get the starter to work again.
What a frustratin' development!

Rod Midkiff

True Classic
kinda of sounds like the key switch went into melt down. for now you can simple replace it with a toggle switch and a push button. Their are after market key switches for sale here and their.

It is a good idea to use a relay and take the curent load off the key switch.

(also using a one wire Alt that is putting the battery right at 15 (a little on the high side)

Love seeing all the gauges at the above locations.

I did that to mine and Wow what a difference it made in the dash voltage gauge.


True Classic
Project Mutant: Some progress made, some errors caught, some parts bad.

Error - If you install the starter solenoid 180 degrees out of rotation, and connect the main power wire, then when you connect the power at the battery, it feeds back through the start-wire into the rest of the car. This causes several things to happen, none of which are good.

Progress - uninstalled the starter, corrected the solenoid, and reinstalled. Hot-wired to see if I could get it turning over, but I think the starter is toast. New starter at O'Reillys that I will look at tomorrow.

Bad Parts - Either the ignition key assembly on the steering column got welded, or the corrosion finally had its way. My guess is the latter. Regardless, the key stopped turning. No key = no way to test things easily. Luckily my friend Red has a N.O.S. ignition and I will be picking it up Saturday.

So, found the problem that I caused, fixed that problem, original problem still in place, and waiting for parts. Par for the course.

Before I get everything hooked back up, I'll likely put in a relay to take the heavy voltage away from the ignition key.

On the bright side, I got all of the spark plugs and wires replaced, and cleaned up the distributor cap.


True Classic
Project Mutant: The new glass has been picked up, and it fits. (And is clear, and shiny, and not scratched, and all the wonderful things that new glass is SUPPOSED to be!)


Removed the starter (for the last time) and bench tested it. Seems okay, but the extending of the gear sounds 'graunchy'. Broke down and ordered a brand spankin' new gear reduction starter from Vicks.

Need to find a video showing the proper method of applying the sealant/adhesive so I can do it myself in a few weeks.

Also need to find instructions that a 4 year old would understand for putting a relay between the ignition switch and the starter. Don't want to risk ruining a brand new N.O.S. Fiat OEM ignition switch assembly.

Finally, I want to ask my Fiat Friends out there whether a starter from an 82 124 will fit an 82 X1/9? Probably not, but they look similar.

Anyways, I am done for the night. Wait for new starter to arrive on Friday, and pick up the ignition switch on Saturday, and sometime between now and then, wire in that relay.


True Classic
Maybe I missed this somewhere, but where did you source a new windshield?
Prosource Glass Intl in Andover, Massachusetts. 978-975-5400. They arranged for me to be able to pick it up in Orlando (only a 2+hr drive from my home). It is made in China, but seems pretty good, no waves or distortions. Reasonable price as well. They do discourage direct shipping due to crating and shipping costs.


True Classic
Project Mutant: In the sage words of Rosanne Rosanadana "If it ain't one thing, it's another, but it's always something!"

I received the new starter from Vicks Autosports (beautiful piece of equipment) and installed it early this morning. I picked up the new ignition switch from Red this morning. I installed both.

On the bright side, I can now get the engine turning over, and I have brand new shiny keys to my car.

On the dark side of the cloud, the starter turns over VERY VERY slow, and draws a HUGE ton of amperage. So many amps that the positive terminal of the battery was heating up. Yikes!

So, I sent an email to Vicks, and hopefully I can get a replacement starter that is more than just a pretty face.

Putting off the inaugural drive for a few more days..


True Classic
So, in order to test whether the problem is power delivery, I connected a 4awg jumper cable from the battery positive to the starter power connection (where the larger green wire and smaller wire from the alternator connect). No change. Same symptoms. So, barring any other brainstorms, I will be uninstalling the new starter, and seeing if my local auto parts store can test it for draw. I do not know what one of these gear reduction starters should draw when free wheeling.

Anybody have a number that would be considered 'normal'? How many amps should a gear reduction starter motor use when on the bench?


True Classic
Okay, here it is. I spent some time searching around the workshop for an appropriately sized 2x4 with which to beat myself around the head and shoulders.

X-ers, if you run into an electrical problem, first things first, do what everyone with experience here says to do, and CHECK THE GROUNDING. If you need to, do what I did and run a 4awg jump-start cable from the negative terminal on the battery to the mounting lug on the alternator (clean, no gaskets between it and the block).

Fixed the problem. Went back and unmounted my brand new ground cable at the battery and my grounding strap from the transaxle to the body. Cleaned everything down to bare metal with sandpaper. Wire-brushed the corrosion off of the bolts used to hold the cable and strap to the chassis. AND IT WORKED!!! The car starts instantly now.

And enough times that folks on this forum speak about ground cables, I went and tested the power instead of the ground. What a goofball! My friend Red suggested checking the ground. Yep. Should have done that first.

I also sent another email to Vicks letting them know that the problem was an Id10T problem, not a hardware problem.


True Classic
Project Mutant: It's Alive!

Took the mutant for a brief run up and down the street. Have a few issues to work on, none too great. (Will post a video in the next few days).

Starts great. (New starter is wicked!)
Idles fine.
Runs and accelerates pretty good. (for a car that has been sitting for years).
Clutch works great.
Shifter feels fine.
Gears seem fine.
Brakes... I think that during my extended brake-bleeding session, I probably saturated the new brake pads with brake fluid. Brakes feel like they have been greased in a bad way.

Ordered brand new (extra cheap) brake pads. Will see if that cures the problem.

Only other thing I noticed in my 90 second test drive is that a front tire seems to come very lightly in contact with something in the wheel well in a very sharp turn. Something to investigate further later.

I of course now have the end-of-stage followup processes of correcting any leaks, and tidying up before the next work. Doing things like repairing the fuse box lid, and finishing up a piece of the heater box air handling repairs.
After that - Hunting electrical gremlins. Stay tuned!


True Classic
Project Mutant: Replaced the fluid-soaked brake pads, cleaned the rotors, and made sure it stops. Then, off for a quick drive around the neighborhood. Not fast enough to bed-in the brake pads, but definitely fast enough to start refreshing long-forgotten memories.

It now does what it needs to do. From here on out, at least I can work with a more positive view of what it is and where it came from, and hope for where it can go.



Old enough to know better
Congrats. I know that good feeling the first time I got my new X to run down the road and then really understood what lay before me.

Happily for you the opposite is true, you have been solving that which ails it and now to finish all the body related ills

Hopefully I will soon be on my way to resolving the issues I have on my new X with a newly rebuilt transmission, new fuel lines, coolant lines and so on it will become a real driving car

In any case great progress and looking forward to seeing the next steps.