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    • Dave Ambrose

      Board Status   07/20/2018

      We're still trying to solve a disk space problem. Unfortunately, it's being stubborn about getting rectified. There will be a long maintenance window this weekend, which I will announce here. Thank you all for being patient. 

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All I'll say about that car is that is one real oddball------one that's not often seen anymore..........anywhere! ;)

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The owner of this one obviously likes to see what's behind them!

PM sent.

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15 hours ago, DonW said:

The owner of this one obviously likes to see what's behind them!

 

Don't think it is Japanese, but all Japanese cars have the forward fender mirrors. I spent two years in Japan, and those mirrors are wonderful! You have no blind spot and can see both mirrors thru the windshield. I wish they would mandate them here.

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Thanks Tom

Interesting info - I'm just questioning the use of a door mirror as well, which seems like overkill...

But nothing compared to the scooter crowd, I suppose:

Image result for mod scooter mirrors

I seem to have gone a bit off-topic...

Cheers,

-Don.

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This the following members sent in the correct answer

Earl Marischal

otherunicorn

ChrisR

sjordan2

VW93

Matt Bacon

dw1603

Ace-Garageguy

MrObsessive

DonW

blunc

Red318

matthijsgrit

Well done

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Totally couldn't find this one!  You really messed me up with the cross country ski's on the roof, the german sign and the Mercedes behind.  Spent way to much time looking as obscure German auto manufactures. :lol:

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Oh yeah! One of these used to live right below me from 1995-2004 when I lived above what used to be a Fiat dealership. The owner of the place had died years earlier, but his wife and son had taken over. I believe this was made into a Fiat place not long after he quit selling Studebakers not long after they had ceased production here in the States sometime around 1964 or so. Obviously they were no longer selling Fiats by the time I had moved in, but there were TONS of parts in the garage, and Fiats in various states of disassembly parked outside in the lot.

His son was still working on the occasional Fiat when I first moved into the apartment above, and I used to own once upon a time a 1978 Fiat 124 Spider. Not the most reliable car in the world by any means, but it was a blast to drive! 

I have to admit that I was a bit shocked to see Fiat make a comeback into this country after we pretty much chased them out of here in the early '80's. I can't remember the last time I've seen one of those 850 coupes here on the road------along with the rear engined Spiders they were neat little cars............if not a bit too cantankerous!

Edited by MrObsessive

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I've worked on, owned, raced and loved a fair few Fiats. The cars had what was (to me) an undeserved reputation for unreliability over here, because it was primarily due to them failing to get the admittedly more regular maintenance than contemporary American cars required, by owners who just didn't bother to ever read the manuals (what else is new?) and incompetent "mechanics" (same old-same old).

ALL the little cars had very small carb jets, and the most common problem across the entire line was little bits of FOD getting stuck in a jet. Once you became aware that this was a brand-wide problem, and put in a high-quality inline fuel filter, the problem was solved.

The cars with point-type ignition systems also had very small distributors, and small points. The necessarily small rubbing-block (distributor cam follower) made more-frequent-than-some-cars point gap adjustment necessary to maintain correct ignition timing, and ham-handed "mechanics" had usually stripped and buggered the small adjusting screws before the cars were a year old, making stable adjustments almost impossible.

The engines needed periodic valve lash adjustments, and the overhead-cam engines (the 128 had a SOHC 4 cylinder, and the 124 Coupe and Spider had DOHC-4 engines) required cam-timing belt replacement ON TIME. Failing to adjust the valve-lash (which is a relatively simple procedure, though in both OHC cases requires a small special tool) would result in eventual rough-running and burned exhaust valves. Failure to replace the belt at specified intervals would result in engines stopping in the middle of the road, and a whole lot of bent valves.

That pretty well sums up the old Fiats weaknesses, and the cars that got good maintenance would get you wherever you wanted to go, using very little fuel, and in the case of the 124 sports types, in style.

Edited by Ace-Garageguy

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7 hours ago, Ace-Garageguy said:

 

The cars with point-type ignition systems also had very small distributors, and small points. The necessarily small rubbing-block (distributor cam follower) made more-frequent-than-some-cars point gap adjustment necessary to maintain correct ignition timing, and ham-handed "mechanics" had usually stripped and buggered the small adjusting screws before the cars were a year old, making stable adjustments almost impossible.

The engines needed periodic valve lash adjustments, and the overhead-cam engines (the 128 had a SOHC 4 cylinder, and the 124 Coupe and Spider had DOHC-4 engines) required cam-timing belt replacement ON TIME. Failing to adjust the valve-lash (which is a relatively simple procedure, though in both OHC cases requires a small special tool) would result in eventual rough-running and burned exhaust valves. Failure to replace the belt at specified intervals would result in engines stopping in the middle of the road, and a whole lot of bent valves.

That pretty well sums up the old Fiats weaknesses, and the cars that got good maintenance would get you wherever you wanted to go, using very little fuel, and in the case of the 124 sports types, in style.

When I owned my 124 Spider (early '90's) I had tracked down the original owner shortly after buying the car. She had told me that the reason she sold it was because she had a very minor accident with it (slightly bent frame which I fixed), and that she had a valve job and timing belt replacement done. That was probably a month before I had bought it, and I could tell some work had been done on the front end of the engine as the timing belt cover looked new (more than likely cleaned up), and things were nice and cleaned up in the engine compartment in general for what was then a 14 year old car.

Fiat IIRC, required that the timing belt and tensioners be replaced WITHOUT FAIL every 2 years or 24,000 miles whichever came first. One reason I believe for the rather frequent change for the belt is that it was an external one as opposed to most cars of the era having an internal timing belt/chain. Well, one very cold morning about two years to the month that I had talked to the original owner, I went out to start the car. It started up with no trouble at all considering that the temp was in the single digits. The car ran for about five minutes and then shut off for some reason.

I tried to start the car, but all I heard was a "whirring" sound, so I thought well maybe the starter went out or bad fuel pump. The local garage came to get the car but then called me about four hours later to tell me the really bad news....................the timing belt had snapped and because it was an interference engine, ALL the valves were bent as well as a distorted head (aluminum).

Right then and there I knew that the car was now a total loss as it was going to cost waaaaay more to fix than it was worth, so it was eventually parted out and that was the end of it. Lesson learned on that one!

I did have a couple electrical gremlins that I figured out-------NOTHING like the electrical nightmare I had with my Midget about 10 years earlier! That car DID leave me nearly stranded in the middle of nowhere as it would shut off without warning as I later found out due to a faulty tach. One of the worst cars I think I've ever owned before or since!

So you're correct about the Fiats Bill. One has to be willing to spend the time, patience,  and money to keep them going strong. One very bad weakness I do remember about them was rusting issues. Particularly here in PA if you didn't keep on top of the rust, that tinworm could eat through the car in no time which also led to early junking. I was surprised that mine considering its age was pretty solid, but then it may not have always been a Pennsylvania car. Particularly when the frame needed to be straightened I was worried that something would break but no, it held together excellently.

Edited by MrObsessive

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and when Fiat opened up again in the USA, that reputation followed them, even though it was pretty much a new company with modern products.

My daughter bought one of the first Fiat 500s, she was romanced by the commercial with  Jennifer Lopez driving the pearl white convertible.  So she bought that exact same car.   Bad rumors were out there at that time.   A guy I know told me that they had to use three cars for that commercial because the kept breaking down, yea right!  Nobody would get away with selling a car like that in today's market.

End of story?  My daughter has had the 500 for six years  and over 120,000 miles. She's loved every mile.  The car has never been back to the dealer or failed in any way. It's had regular maintenance, that's it.

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6 hours ago, MrObsessive said:

 

Fiat IIRC, required that the timing belt and tensioners be replaced WITHOUT FAIL every 2 years or 24,000 miles whichever came first. One reason I believe for the rather frequent change for the belt is that it was an external one as opposed to most cars of the era having an internal timing belt/chain. Well, one very cold morning about two years to the month that I had talked to the original owner, I went out to start the car. It started up with no trouble at all considering that the temp was in the single digits. The car ran for about five minutes and then shut off for some reason.

I tried to start the car, but all I heard was a "whirring" sound, so I thought well maybe the starter went out or bad fuel pump. The local garage came to get the car but then called me about four hours later to tell me the really bad news....................the timing belt had snapped and because it was an interference engine, ALL the valves were bent as well as a distorted head (aluminum).

 

Yeah, that's pretty typical, sadly. The relatively frequent belt changes were required mostly because rubber timing-belt tech was relatively new, and still in the development phase. Those old belts had square shoulders on the teeth for one thing, and were more prone to failing at the junction of the tooth and substrate than the newer round-shouldered-tooth belts are.

At one point, Ferrari used the same belt design, and a 308 owner's manual stated specifically "don't even try to start the thing if the temp is under 15 F". Apparently somebody had had the same problem you experienced, and Ferrari elected to pass the warning on. 

I'm still amazed that today, with rubber timing-belts being pretty much industry standard, so many cars get junked because the owners are blissfully unaware of the roughly 100,000 mile belt-change intervals, and then blame the CAR when the things finally let go at 130,000 miles (this is one reason the junkyards are full to overflowing with Neons and PT Cruisers).

Actually, I'm not amazed at all. The old joke "What's the least-read printed material in the English language? A car owner's manual" is 100% true.

PS. In the South, we didn't have too much of a rust issue unless the owners were in the habit of leaving the tops down in the rain. :D

PPS. The British cars of the period were notorious for electrical problems, as you say, and though they were relatively minor for the most part, they could be frustrating. The electric fuel pumps needed hammering on occasionally, and the Lucas alternators weren't the best. Add to that really ancient-design of connectors in the wiring, and switches that weren't up to handling the loads run through them, and you either learned about electrical repairs quickly, or stayed in shape by walking home a lot.

Interesting that John Z. chose rather a lot of Lucas junk to build his DeLorean with. I'm building a custom harness for one now, and the factory version is garbage (and it's been "repaired" and modified heavily by several "experts").

The Brit cars rusted worse down here than the Fiats, as the tops leaked so much in the rain, the carpets stayed wet constantly, and the floors rotted out from the inside. I always wondered about the leaky English tops too. You'd think a country that had a rep for rain would get something like that right. ;)

 

Edited by Ace-Garageguy

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3 hours ago, Ace-Garageguy said:

The Brit cars rusted worse down here than the Fiats, as the tops leaked so much in the rain, the carpets stayed wet constantly, and the floors rotted out from the inside. I always wondered about the leaky English tops too. You'd think a country that had a rep for rain would get something like that right. ;)

LOL!! :D

Among the many difficulties I had with that Midget WAS a leaky top! EVERY time it rained hard, I could feel water dripping on my left shoulder! Now granted that could have been the original top as I had the car in 1985, and the car was a '71. I kinda doubt that though as I've never seen an original top last that long, and the triple windows in mine were clear and not yellowed.

On the subject of timing belts again...........I also had at one time a '90 Mitsubishi Mirage. Tiny car, but at the time I bought it I needed something to get back and forth to work as the Mercedes 250S sedan I had before that literally had rusted to death, and wouldn't pass inspection. A couple years after I bought it, my better sense told me to get the timing belt changed ASAP as the car now had just over 100K on it.

When the mechanic had taken out the belt, he showed me the cracks that were starting pretty much in the area that you described. He said that another 5 or 6000 miles the belt would have let loose and destroyed the engine as that also was an interference design. He replaced the belt along with the water pump, and all was good for the next four years until I traded it in on a new Saturn Quadcoupe which BTW..............used a CHAIN for the timing! Who'da thunk it?? :D

Edited by MrObsessive

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I had a 68 124 Coupe in that fetching shade of caramel that was so popular back then. I got it quite cheaply as it had clutch problems, it would crunch into gear and even though it had a new clutch assembly, it still didn’t disengage fully. I didn’t care coz it looked fabulous, wasn’t very old and handled beautifully. One day I was sitting at a light, in 1st gear, revving the nuts off it (sounded gorgeous) when BANG! I took off through a red light with my tyres smoking. The clutch cable had pulled straight through the corroded bulkhead. I put a big washer on the outer cable and carried on driving it until the brake pedal got so soft, it was dangerous. The whole bulkhead was moving as you applied the brakes. I think the guy I sold it to swapped all the good bits  to a Morris 1000, a very popular swap in those days. Wish I’d kept it until the Lada got cheaper, could have built my own 124 Special T clone

 

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Regarding the 850 Sport (or Coupé) this is a question that has troubled me since the early 70’s. I’ve asked elsewhere, but never had an answer. Way back when, I saw a Series 2 850 Coupe that had the usual crisp, chrome trimmed Kamm tail and quad tail lights. It had been hit from behind and a huge chunk of bondo, maybe 3 inches thick and fallen off revealing a rounded Series 1 fender beneath. My question is, were all Series 2 Coupés remodelled with bondo or was this a one off job when the repairer couldn’t get the correct panel? Hope one of you guys knows the answer as this has bugged me for ever.

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