Wanted: Fiat 850 Camber Compensator setup

kmead

Old enough to know better
why are so many of the car's going over.???
High roll centers, semi trailing arm and full trailing arm rear suspensions.

Every single car that rolled or nearly rolled has a semi trailing arm rear suspension. The Beetles had full trailing arm suspensions which the camber compensator for the Beetle Jeff posted and the one I am in hopes of making will reduce the likelihood of this issue.

Years ago coming down around the back of the Rose Bowl a friend and I (both driving an 850 Sport Coupe) were whipping along and his car with much stickier rubber exhibited just this behavior. It’s not pretty and definitely scary for those driving.
 

Rod Midkiff

True Classic
I am very surprised at how easy some of those cars were going over. And how fast they would over correct and snap the other way.
 

Jeff Stich

True Classic
Having one of these c/c's on an 850 is great, especially with sticky rubber. :)

The only downside is that, once you go past the adhesion level of that rubber, the car will want to spin very quickly! The good side of that is that the car will remain relatively flat (level), rather than being up in the air & rolling over.

Sorry Karl, I don't have any of these for sale...but I can take measurements of the leaf spring & K-bracket pieces, if needed. The spring-end bolts & bushings are basic aftermarket items available at most chain auto parts stores (Pep Boys, AutoZone, Advance Auto, O'Reilly's, etc.).
 

kmead

Old enough to know better
Having one of these c/c's on an 850 is great, especially with sticky rubber. :)

The only downside is that, once you go past the adhesion level of that rubber, the car will want to spin very quickly! The good side of that is that the car will remain relatively flat (level), rather than being up in the air & rolling over.

Sorry Karl, I don't have any of these for sale...but I can take measurements of the leaf spring & K-bracket pieces, if needed. The spring-end bolts & bushings are basic aftermarket items available at most chain auto parts stores (Pep Boys, AutoZone, Advance Auto, O'Reilly's, etc.).

Thank you Jeff that would be great. I know I can get the primary parts made in our model shop, the springs I hope I can get a local spring shop to make them from the weaker leafs of an off-roader set up.

Do you recall how much spring force it applied when you installed it? (Decades ago I am sure :) ). I so regret not buying one of the ones created by someone who made them available on eBay earlier in this decade.

Good to understand the future behavior. I always prefer shiny side up...
 

Frank L. Di Gioia

True Classic
Hi Guys,
I'm a new member and logged in as "Returning 850 Zealot" a few days back. I'm the party who produced these about 7-8+ years ago while in Oregon. A friend in the SF Bay area loaned me an original and I had a spring shop in Portland reproduce the two leafs. They're stiffer than an 850 front leaf. The cradle mounts are rather hard to duplicate without a 3-dimensional jig for accurate welding. Set included all hardware to bolt on new. I sold almost 30 sets worldwide till the market was saturated. They went for $325 + shipping. They were sold to: New Zealand, Australia, Austria, Czech Republic, Norway, and several other Euro states. I'm a retired Sheet Metal Contractor so playing in the garage was a fun pastime. Other projects were a cast aluminum case extension for a 600 transaxle with a 5th gear. I sold the last 3 to someone in Japan. I'm more from the Fiat/abarth era of Chris Obert, Greg Schmidt, Merkel and Flora Jean Weis, David Silver, Norb McNamara, Gary Mortensen, Al Cosintino etc.
-1969 Fiat 850 Spider, 1970 Fiat 850 Sport Coupe, four of 1967 Fiat 850 Spiders, 1959 Fiat Abarth Zagato 750 GT (Double Bubble) Pebble Beach approved, 1960 Fiat Abarth OTR replica, several PBS 8-port dual Weber engines sprinkeled among the various cars.
Frank L. Di Gioia
 

Frank L. Di Gioia

True Classic
If you want an 850 to go fast look no farther than May 2, 2015 here. "Mighty Mouse", was for sale on X-Web by the original owner/builder. Two time (1979 & 1980 NATIONAL AUTO-X champion in SCCA. NOT CLASS but overall winner. That's over Dallara X19's, Porsche turbo's, you name it. On a somewhat more modest budget my 1967 spider was set up for Auto-X in the following way from front to back:
front-1300/124 Abarth reverse eye front leaf, Carrera shocks, rear sway bar moved to front, 13" X 5 1/2" "wobble" wheels with P-7 Pirelli's (175X45 maybe, but 7 1/2" rubber patch) Hard bushings where available. Late model disc calipers with drilled rotors.
rear-1300/124 Abarth rear coils, Carrera shocks, aftermarket sway bar 7/8" or 1" with hard bushings, 13" X 5 1/2" "wobble" wheels with Pirelli P-7's same size as front. Replaced rubber stop bumper with long bolt with rubber donuts to limit tuck under. Involved welding/bolting bracket to trailing arm. 124/X19 rear disc calipers with drilled rotors. Involved fabricating D shaped caliper holders. Various engines: 903 stock, PBS A112 1070cc w/dual 40mm DCOE's, 1438cc twin cam dual DCOE's with PBS install kit. Favorite was A112 but the 124 engine made the car feel really stable and had great grip for only 80 pounds extra weight. Torque can be nice.
In Northern California Autocrossing it often trophied and once took low production based time of the day. That's over cars with unlimited horsepower and racing slicks that were nominally production based. The Corvette people never invited me back....
Frank D
 

Frank L. Di Gioia

True Classic
Back again. After all of those mods you will have a rather quick 850 that will wind out unless you also change gearing. Stock 850 Spider is 1:4.88 which is too low with small diameter tires. Swapping to a 1:4.11 results in a good ratio for street/Auto-X use. I understand Multipla transmissions had a 1:5.33 if you wanted to pull tree stumps.
 

kmead

Old enough to know better
Hi Guys,
I'm a new member and logged in as "Returning 850 Zealot" a few days back. I'm the party who produced these about 7-8+ years ago while in Oregon. A friend in the SF Bay area loaned me an original and I had a spring shop in Portland reproduce the two leafs. They're stiffer than an 850 front leaf. The cradle mounts are rather hard to duplicate without a 3-dimensional jig for accurate welding. Set included all hardware to bolt on new. I sold almost 30 sets worldwide till the market was saturated. They went for $325 + shipping. They were sold to: New Zealand, Australia, Austria, Czech Republic, Norway, and several other Euro states. I'm a retired Sheet Metal Contractor so playing in the garage was a fun pastime. Other projects were a cast aluminum case extension for a 600 transaxle with a 5th gear. I sold the last 3 to someone in Japan. I'm more from the Fiat/abarth era of Chris Obert, Greg Schmidt, Merkel and Flora Jean Weis, David Silver, Norb McNamara, Gary Mortensen, Al Cosintino etc.
-1969 Fiat 850 Spider, 1970 Fiat 850 Sport Coupe, four of 1967 Fiat 850 Spiders, 1959 Fiat Abarth Zagato 750 GT (Double Bubble) Pebble Beach approved, 1960 Fiat Abarth OTR replica, several PBS 8-port dual Weber engines sprinkeled among the various cars.
Frank L. Di Gioia
Hah, whoda thunk it that you would end up here on the Xweb.

I truly regret not getting one at the time. If you hear from someone who you did sell to who doesn’t want theirs anymore I would be happy to relieve them of it.

Any clues you might be kind enough to offer about making one would be appreciated, I am not of a mind to have any mass produced for others. I have a model shop at work where I can have some ‘government’ done so I could get the cradle made fairly easily. We make wooden jigs for welding regularly with which we can make very accurate parts.

The leaf springs are a trifle more difficult given the lack of knowledge about the desireable spring rate. Hopefully some of the local off-road truck or old car spring places around here would be able to make use of some stock steel to create the leaves of the spring.

I never met Gregg Schmidt (have his book), I know Chris as a customer and am a friend of Merkel from when I went to school in Pasadena, haven’t seen him since FFO in Asheville unfortunately as I rarely get to the west coast.

Thanks

Karl
 

Frank L. Di Gioia

True Classic
Hi Karl,
I'll check my computer and memory (less of that available these days) and see what I can find to help. I recall the spring shop had an exact spring but ran out of them with multiple orders. Memory says original was about 1 3/4"
wide by about 1/8" thick and two leafs. seemed to be a onetime standard size. When he ran out of those he was able to supply a slightly thicker replacement. Clients reported this very acceptable. Stiffer than front leaf of same length. I vaguely recall a clip of some sorts to keep leafs from shifting. I had a drawing of the installation that may be somewhere. I'll post it if I find it and my daughter shows me how. Stiff rear coils, quality shocks, a thicker sway bar and travel limits did a good job also.
Greg Schmidt was a house guest at one time. He was more 850 fan than business person. OK guy and very fair.
Chris is still up and going and seems very content, Merkel and wife are hopefully doing well. Last I talked to Flora Jean was around 2006 when I asked her advice about a horse my wife wanted to buy! I wish my wife had listened as Flora is world class hunter/jumper rider.
Frank
 

kmead

Old enough to know better
Thank you. I would be appreciative of any assistance you may be able to offer. All the best. Karl
 

Frank L. Di Gioia

True Classic
Hi Karl,
I drew a blank on my computer and almost the same from my memory. However I got an Email 4-5 years ago from a Fiat person in I think Pasadena California. Name escape me. He had come across one of my camber compensators and asked me for help with installation instructions. At that time I still had my hand drawn sketches and sent him a copy. I think he's a Chiropractor and would be known to Merkel as a possible lead. My memory is coming back in flashes so I'll supply any more info when it pops up,
Frank
BTW in Greg's book "Fiat and Abarth tricks" Greg suggested drilling the clutch lever pin hole (at the trans) to give better leverage and a "softer" pedal. Don't try it. After burning up several drills on the tempered lever I spoke to Greg and he acknowledged it was a theory never attempted.
 

Frank L. Di Gioia

True Classic
There you go Karl, a great resource for your suspension project. ;)
Hi Dr. Jeff,
I'm pretty bad with computer stuff and can't figure out how to get a direct message to you. I just spoke with Eddy (of Lancia fame) and he agreed we need to have coffee or a meal sometime soon. He's going to Los Angeles this weekend but will around the latter part of next week. My email address is: fldigioia@aol.com If you drop me a line we can exchange cell numbers.
Frank
 

mario

New Member
Hi Karl, Frank,
I have just joined this forum, and chanced on this 850 compensator thread. Maybe the issue is still on going as last posting is dated about 3 months ago.
My compensator that I acquired from Frank way back is still uninstalled but committed to a car still under (slow) restoration, so is not for sale.
However if there is any detail of this still "new" compensator that you might require, or images, or copies of Frank"s sketches for installation, I can provide.
My location is Australia, so direct access is not practical.
Regards Mario
 

kmead

Old enough to know better
Good day Mario. Welcome to the forum. Although the 850 side is a bit slow there are some great folks on here who can help greatly, though given the relatively high number of 850s still in Australia you likely have enough resources.

Thank you very much for responding.

Yes, if at all possible it would be greatly appreciated if I could get a “copy” of his installation directions. Well lit pics would be great or a PDF from a copier, most anything would be excellent. I do have a folder on my hard drive which is backed up regularly to hopefully guard against its loss.

Pics of the actual compensator parts would also be appreciated when you happen to be there. My direct email is karlmead at gee mail dot com. Or you can reach me through the IM system here.

My 850 is also on a slow boat to its future restoration, so speed is not the essence, just trying to gather the info when and where it can become available.

All the best and looking forward to seeing your car’s progress or getting some of your wisdom about mine.

Thank you

Karl
 

Derek Greenwood

New Member
I have one of those camber compensators for my 850 Coupe with a 1438 Turbo twincam. I don't want to sell it but I have built them for a 600 based car. They are not hard to make. You can changed the about of spring pressure and even put them in a preload to make the handle better. If you go to far though you will get stuck on a gravel road.
 

kmead

Old enough to know better
I have one of those camber compensators for my 850 Coupe with a 1438 Turbo twincam. I don't want to sell it but I have built them for a 600 based car. They are not hard to make. You can changed the about of spring pressure and even put them in a preload to make the handle better. If you go to far though you will get stuck on a gravel road.
Thank you. I may have found a spring guy through a friend who says he can make the main spring. We shall see.
 
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