Projects

During the years various ideas came up for projects I wanted to add to my little Fiat 850. Some of them were accomplished, some put to sleep.

Finally, the OT dashboard for my Fiat 850 is ready

Work on the engine is on hold at the moment because I still have some work to do on the intake ducts.

The fact that the work still isn't finished had several reasons: firstly, it was very cold in my work shed at home where I have all the engine parts. And, second, one of the previous owners of the cylinder head has been rather rude with the central intake duct.

What I still have to finish there is matching the inlet channel and the manifold so that the best possible flow is created there. For that I needed diamond cutters that Amazon seemed to have.
Not in stock though because it could just take 8 weeks before they can be delivered to my hometown, Breda. And until I have been able to use those cutters I really can't make any progress on the engine. But there is still plenty other stuff to do so I started working on that again.

One of the other projects that was waiting was the OT dashboard that I had been working on before. Copied from this example but with its own twist.

850 dashboard OT

For this dashboard I have the housing and the NOS meters in stock: an odometer and rev counter plus the small meters, all from a Fiat 124 coupe.
850 dashboard OT (2)
This is the mock-up that I had lying around for several years. The rims are matt white here.

My challenge with this setup is that the large counters are too deep for the Fiat 850 dashboard panel.
I don't feel like sawing in the metal dashboard panel, so the only solution is to make the counter housings less deep, both the outside and the black inner ring.

The question then is: how many cm? It turns out to be 2; to make sure that is enough, I had to sacrifice an old odometer.

850 dashboard OT (4)
The housings are easy to open and when you use a Dremel to cut the plastic, you're done in no time.
850 dashboard OT (5)

This is the difference after using the Dremel.

Because I no longer like the white edges, I decided to respray them in matt silver, they were separate from the gauges anyway.

850 dashboard OT (7)

And for the eagle eyed: the fuel gauge from the first mock-up has been replaced by an oil temperature gauge. Unfortunately not a Veglia itembut one from Amazon. For € 12.99. Including the sensor. There is a rim around it from a Veglia gauge, so the housing had to be adjusted a bit
850 dashboard OT (1) 850 dashboard OT (6)

I have not yet determined where I want to install the temperature sensor. In any case, it doesn't fit in the adapter for the oil cooler easily.

The fuel gauge will be moved to a spot under the dashboard. The tank volume is not as important as the oil temperature.

Adapter for the waterpump on my Fiat 850

One of the things I still had on my to-do list was making an adapter to fit the 4-hole water pump on the A112's block. After first having visited all metal and construction companies in the area, it turned out that no one had a scrap of 10mm thick aluminium. Long live Google because I found Dutch company "Aluminum to measure" where I could have a piece of "Flat bar" made to measure (200mm * 100mm) from their stock. Today it arrived and I immediately started fitting and measuring, drilling, sawing and filing.
850 adapter 1

Which resulted in this:

850 adapter a

I made a PDF that contains images of all stages of the job.

The Weber DCD for my Fiat 850 is ready

Long ago I was sure that I wanted to use a Weber DCD on the engine of my Fiat 850. Simple in design, two venturis and fairly easy to adjust. What kept me from doing this was the fact that I had to do a lot to the cylinder head: bigger valves, modified intake channel and a different intake manifold. And that on an 843cc engine? Better save it for later. And later is now. I found a larger engine, a cylinder head that was inexpensive and that needed a lot of work and, enough time for me to work on it. So time to get my hands dirty.

What did I do on it? Removed almost everything from the carburettor, the body and the lids, then ultrasonically cleaned everyrhing twice with a warm bath after each cleaning to rinse out all the residue, Then poked through all the holes with brushes and pins to remove loose debris. And today everything was rebuilt with an overhaul kit from Carburetor City and some spare parts from my own NOS stock. The manual that I once found on the Internet made sure that I did not have to doubt what had to be done where and how. And I still had the photos of the disassembly. Fortunately my wife was not at home so I could use the dining table to work on; good light and the temperature a lot better than in my workshop.

850 DCD

Here is an impression of the work done

A nice example for my Fiat 850 engine

A while ago I was at the "Fiera auto e moto d'epoca" fair in Padua and that is always a a nice event to be at. Beautiful cars, rare parts and, thanks to the surplus of Italian car enthusiasts, always very attractive.

At the stand of Exotic + Raceparts / Scuderia Topolino I came across this nice piece of engine technology, a block (surely A112 Abarth) with a PBS head installed. Considering the price of such a cylinder head and the accompanying carburettors, that's a no-go modification for me, but still fun to watch (and to drool over .....)

850 pbs 1

850 pbs 2

850 pbs 3

The block with the assembled parts at least gives me an example of how I want to build my own engine, of coure within my financial limits.

I've started: my winterproject Fiat 850 "1000 OT"

We have started: the engine and the cylinderhead are at the overhauling workshop and the first parts have been ordered. The goal: to build a 1000cc engine (or roughly that size....) for the Fiat 850, using an Autobianchi A112 Elite block; it's 965cc and and will be drilled 0.6mm over to get 982cc. The bore is 67.8mm and the stroke remains 68mm.
The block I bought is completely empty, as if it just came from the foundry. Crankshaft is in good condition, no machining is required. I have connecting rods, but no pistons, which is why the choice for a larger bore was easy.

850 A112 blok

The cylinderhead is something else. A previous owner has been working in the inlet channel with a dremel. I'll have to wait and see what the effects are. And as with any genuine Fiat 850, the combustion chambers of the first and fourth cylinder are pitted. Never seen a used head without burn-in around the valve seats. 

850 A112 kop 1 850 A112 kop 2

The idea is to have larger valves installed because of new valve seats. The current inlet valves are 29mm, the exhaust valves 26mm. I am thinking of having valves from a Cinquecento fitted: inlet valves of 30.5mm, the exhaust valves of 27.5mm. Not too big and there should be enough space for it.

Of course I also have to keep going and make sure that I use my own stock of parts before I order new parts. I already have a lot of NOS-parts and also a number of used ones: that's what I started with.
First item found: the rockershaft.
The average Fiat 850 normally has a tough last year of use: little or no maintenance. And when the engine is taken apart, there normally is a thick black layer of sludge on the inside. And thats also present on the rocker shaft I had in stock. Side-effect: it can no longer rust.

850 tuimelaaras 1
This is the rockershaft when it came out of storage. Looks useful but nothing is movable anymore at this stage.

850 tuimelaaras 3

I was able to take it apart and then cleaned with a lot of elbow grease and penetrating oil.

850 tuimelaaras 4
The shaft with a lot of oil residue.

850 tuimelaaras 5

850 tuimelaaras 6

After a lot of brushing, fiddling and rubbing with wet 1000 grit sandpaper, this is the result. The bores were opened by hand with a small drill, after which the interior was soaked in solvent for a few hours. Blew  through all holes and then checked one by one: with duct tape, masked off all but two holes and then blew through. Tape other holes and repeat.
At least I'm now sure oil can get in when the engine is running. And for the purists among us: no part of this rockershaft touches anything that it has been in contact with before. The sequence of assembly does not have to be the same as that of disassembly. 

850 tuimelaaras 7

Nearly ready for use. Oiled and wrapped in a cotton cloth, it's in a plastic bag waiting for use. What I will have to do after installing it is checking if all the rockers touch the valve stems in the correct spot.

Headlining for a Fiat 850

Lately, I've seen frequent requests for roof linings for Fiat 850s, both on Facebook and in the old forum on my site. Usually this involves pimping up the 850 Berlina, which had a fairly simple sheet of damping material stuck to the roof. The intention is to use a real headlining, like in the Fiat 850 Special. Seems simple but it really requires a donor car if you want to do it nicely and correct.
I too had such a cheap sheet of cardboard over my head, but I was very lucky that I found an 850 Special as a donor car in the north of Holland. All hardware was included and I could drill out the rails from the roof.

850 rail hemelbekleding vast

Here my metal surgeon just drilled the roof panel off the frame. The rails are then carefully drilled off and prepared for welding back into the Berlina. At that time there was no roof panel on it so we were able to reach everything.

850 rail hemelbekleding

The separate rails, which still need some TLC before they can go back.

You need the following items for the entire project:

  • A headlining or a sample to make one. The odds that you'll find a new one are very limited and for a used one you have to disassemble an 850 Special.
  • To be able to mount everything, the separated rails (4178470 and 4178471 or 4161554 and 4161555, new not to be found). These are welded above the "B"-pillar. See the drawing:
    850 hemel 2
  • The 3 steel bars that run from left to right through the tunnels of the headlining and click into the rails.
    They are not in the parts book for the 850 Special. So no numbers are known either.
  • 4 cover panelss for the "A" and the "C"- pillars:
    850 hemel 3
    They are covered with beige vinyl as standard, so if you have / make a beige headliner, you're done. I have a black headliner, so I had some extra work.

More photo's from the project:

Hemelbekleding Fiat 850 Sierplaat Fiat 850

Sierplaat SIerplaten

Sierplaat Sierplaat

Fiat 850 hemel geplakt

Everything mounted but has to be retensioned to get it nice.

In all reality, it is not an easy job that you do on a saturday morning. Especially finding a donor car with the uphostery intact, removing and welding back the rails and making a headlining myself was only possible with luck, a good metal worker and the help of my wife and my son Yorn.

The OT dashboard for my Fiat 850

In a previous life (still doing paid labour) I bought a replica of an Abarth OT dashboard at the fair in Padua. You can read more about this here.

850 dashboard 6 (2)

I had been working on it before but now there was time to continue; because the new housing was larger than the existing one, there was a bit more to it .....

850 dashboard 1a
First, the contours of the new dashboard had to be copied on tape.

850 dashboard 1

850 dashboard 2

Then the dashboard trim was cut out and the new housing was mounted

850 dashboard 3

850 dashboard 4

Ready for the gauges and lights

 

The new seats are installed in my Fiat 850

A long time ago I reported that I had purchased two Cobra Cups, nice seats but unfortunately without a frame. All sorts of other work on other projects came first, but I have now finally taken steps to prepare the chairs for installation. That meant that I had to make frames; I couldn't find anything that made me happy.
My requirements: must be able to install without adjustments (both in the car and under the seat) and not be too expensive.

In the end I decided to build the frames myself. Result of frame 2.0 (we forget about 1.0):

 850 cobra cup 1

With the seat installed it looks like this:

 850 cobra cup 2

And this is what it looks like in my Fiat 850!

 850 cobra cup 3

A small piece of jewelry for my Fiat 850

In the not too distant future I will get to the point that the 850 has to be driven and then it is a strict requirement that I can see where I've been. So the car must have a rearview mirror. I'm not so keen on drilling holes, so I wanted a mirror that can be "clamped" to the door. And where can better deals be found than in Italy? So I brought one back from Padua.

 Spiegel Padua

Fiat 850 tunnel gasket

Not just the headlining of the Fiat 850 has kept us busy in recent weeks, the finishing of the engine compartment and the underside have also taken a lot of time. An real time-guzzler was the rubber cover at the end of the tunnel. This is a panel made of steel with rubber at the back through which rods, cables and pipes run from front to back. That panel was rather mediocre and in order to at least minimize the chance of leakage, a piece of rubber was glued behind it (for which an old inner tube was used):
Afdekplaat tunnel Fiat 850

Afdekplaat tunnel Fiat 850

Afdekplaat tunnel Fiat 850

Afdekplaat tunnel Fiat 850

It was quite a puzzle to get the right item through each hole, but eventually I got everything in place. Clutch adjusted, throttle and choke cable ditto.

Fiat 850: It's getting dark overhead

After a long delay, the new headliner has finally been installed this week. As a reminder: the roof of our Fiat 850 had a lot of dimples and dent removal was not an option. The roof on the Special that we bought in the North of Holland was OK, so we transplanted it a long time ago, including the rails that were needed for the mounting of the liner.

Hemelbekleding Fiat 850

We had all the parts needed, including the upholstery, although it didn't look good. So I took it apart and bought new fabric. After that I looked at my wife, for a long time, and since a few weeks we now have a neat piece of headlining. In black because we liked it better in combination with the light blue color. Then it needed to install it, which was quite an adventure. Some explanation:
The first design did have "tunnels" of vinyl for the stirrups, but they were too tight, leaving us with a lot of wrinkles in the lining that could not be tightened. The second design therefore got tunnels made of fabric: flexible and much easier to make.

Hemelbekleding Fiat 850

Hemelbekleding Fiat 850

The lining was mounted by first placing the 6 brackets. Then the upholstery was stretched with new clamps (From Padua) and after a week of "stretching" to get the wrinkles out, we spent this week on final stretching and glueing, after which the side windows could be put back in. An 850 Special has panels with imitation leather on the front and rear window pillars. Of course we have also adapted it to the new color:

Hemelbekleding Fiat 850 Hemelbekleding Fiat 850

The result:

Hemel Fiat 850

Clamps and glue are needed to get the lining taut. A lot of cutting and clipping is needed for the curved lines:
Hemelbekleding Fiat 850 Hemelbekleding Fiat 850

And then we put back the windows with an old trick: soap, a rope and a lot of hitting (on the window, of course)

 

Window installed

Hemelbekleding Fiat 850

From new-old stock I installed new handles, just nicer than the old ones:

Hemelbekleding Fiat 850

For those interested: I have a few left in stock ...

Fiat 850 in flames?

Fortunately not, but there was slight smoke development when we wanted to connect the battery of the Fiat 850 in early April. Despite checking the wiring harness and all components, something was not properly connected. 

That called for further investigation, but despite several sessions we couldn't find anything. Then only one solution was left: the cable harness on the left "A"-post was to be taken out and all tape taken off again so that we were left with a bunch of loose cables. After that, everything, for each component from the wiring diagram, was checked and connected again . Sad loss of time but better than putting out fire; all ended well.

As said before: the wiring diagram I have is from 1964. The car is from 1971 and I have no diagram available that's more up-to-date. Various differences in color and number of connections make it more difficult. And I have not even connected and tested my own connections for electric fuel pump, extra oil pressure transmitter, new voltage regulator and relay for charging light (due to me wanting to fit an alternator).

Kabelboom doormeten van een Fiat 850

 

Small alterations on my Fiat 850

The position of the front wheels of the Fiat 850 did not suit me at all after mounting the lowering blocks. Negative camber created a negative feeling. That, combined with the fact that the effective lowering was just an inch, made me decide to correct that. Started early this morning because there was more on my to-do list. For the umpteenth time the front suspension was disassembled and the blocks mounted in between. Now, I was happy with the result: a decent camber and the toe-in. As expected, the stance was not improved, but I can live with that for the time being. After some driving it will certainly get a bit lower.

When the wheels were off I also had room to finish the wiring of the front indicators. A small item in the category "I'll do this sometine" but of course that never happens. And I also bought a brand new voltage regulator from Gertjoe. Can I install that as well?

 

 Fiat 850 wielstand gecorrigeerdAansluiting richtingaanwijzer Fiat 850 Spanningsregelaar Fiat 850

 

Sit! New seats for my Fiat 850

Being a webmaster for a Fiat club has its advantages. A few weeks ago, someone registered on the Fiat Club Nederland forum but had problems with his account. Webmaster to the rescue!

One thing led to another and it turned out that he had a lot of parts for Fiat 850 (Coupe) for sale. Including these Cobra Cups that he had only used once: in his Coupe, on his wedding day.
The price was okay so I picked them up swiftly. Now I have a new challenge because I have to make seat frames myself that fit the existing rails.

Cobra Cup stoelen voor een Fiat 850

 

The Fiat 850 progresses slowly

Yes!, making some progress again. It is very disappointing to me how long those final details take. The headlining remains a challenge and I have also postponed the finishing of the wiring harness for a long time. We had already been working on the electricity a few times, but have now reached the point where everything has been measured from front to back via the fuse box. Battery is in but not connected yet. First I have to make sure that nothing is going to smoke ...... Project for today was the rigging and measuring of the piece of wiring harness that should ensure that my dashboard with 124 Coupe clocks will also work.
dashboard Fiat 850

Everything neatly wrapped with special tape and worked out via 3 (!) witing diagrams so that I can easily put the connectors of the dashboard into the connectors of the Fiat 850.
Dashboard Fiat 850

Still have to give the relay for the charge current lamp somewhere to live and find another oil pressure transmitter. Probably it is just somewhere in a box in my storage but where .....

Waterpump for my Fiat 850 (update)

It took a while, but eventually things get moving again. In terms of water pump, I had to go from a 3-hole (new) to a 4-hole (used) because of the Fiat 850's 100GL engine. I found someone who had two Fiat 133's for sale but he only wanted to sell everything in one go. Which he did, but not to me. After a long wait I managed to track down the new owner. And I could buy not one but two pumps. They were not very presentable but I needed them so who cares?

Fiat 850 waterpomp

A pump was placed on the block as a mock-up part so that I could build up the rest of the cooling system: an overhauled radiator and new (Teflon) hoses. The other pump was taken apart with a lot of brute force: the lid was stuck and rotted. Then I blasted many parts and purchased new parts. The neck of the large water hose had a few "transparent" spots so it had to be repaired. Has been done well by my regular machineshop (Broos in Breda) and again for a nice price. Thanks to Joop, one of the forum members, I was able to find the right bearings and last week the first pump was reassembled. The NOS-stock also included a new pulley and a new cover. After all, I want it to look as shiny as possible.

Fiat 850 waterpomp 
The seal turned out not to fit very well. Little tap with the hammer and .......
Fiat 850 waterpomp

I'll never do it like this again. After some extra grease and using another seal, the shaft went in by hand and the lid also slid into place. The parts information from Joop: SKF bearings 62202-2RS1 & 62302-2RS1 fit like a glove and together cost approximately € 56.00 ex VAT.

New fuelpump for my Fiat 850

I was passing through the warehouse at work one day and suddenly I saw a new Hardi 070021 petrol pump in the scrap box. There was nothing wrong with it, iw was just obsolete and written off. So it was be thrown away. Could I have it? Yes, and free of charge! Who says no to such a good deal? A free fuelpump is of no use unless installed in your Fiat 850 and that's what I did this week. Mounted at the rear left against the bulkhead behind the fueltank. Hopefully far enough from the heat of the exhaust manifold, otherwise there will be a heat shield placed around it.

Fiat 850 benzinepomp

 

4-hole waterpumps for my Fiat 850

A while ago, two Fiat 133s were for sale on Marktplaats. The owner thought he had struck gold and asked too much for the cars. He wouldn't sell any parts separately either. He managed to sell the cars and the new owner wanted to get rid of the two pumps, for a decent price. They weren't beautiful, but after two months of searching, they were the prettiest I could find. And there was also a rear exhaust bracket (which I did not have because of my switch from 100G to 100GL). So I hit "buy".

Fiat 850 waterpomp Fiat 850 waterpomp

One is now (as a mock-up pump) on my Fiat 850 block, the other I am overhauling. I took out Joop's manual, but unfortunately it did not contain much info about the necessary force during disassembly. It turned out that the collar of the lid was completely rotted in the house. Fortunately I still had a few 3-hole pumps and I disassembled one of them today. That was easy and gave me an idea of what I could and could not do. With a nylon hammer I hit the housing quite hard and eventually the lid (where a lot of pieces had already broken off) came off. Fortunately, I still have a new lid and sealing ring in my stash, so I don't have to look for something else and can keep my spare three-hole pumps complete.

Fiat 850 waterpomp Fiat 850 waterpomp

 

Exhausted. Sports exhaust for my Fiat 850

One of the members of a 850 forum tipped me off about a stock of slightly rusted mufflers that were for sale at Martin Willems. They were Abarth lookalikes that could make a nice sports muffler with not too much work. And because the budget is not infinite, I took the chance. For 50 euros (plus the shipping costs) it was deliverd nextdoor (because I was working). This is how I received it (in this case an exhaust for a Seat 133):
Fiat 850 Uitlaat

Tried with a brush and sanding pads, but blasting gets better results!

Fiat 850 Uitlaat

And then lots of layers of heat-resistant lacquer. There is still a plan to spray the ends with chrome lacquer, but for now I'm leaving it this way.

Fiat 850 Uitlaat

In our new-old stock there was also this manifold, originally intended for a 600. But the flange fits perfectly on the cylinder head of a Fiat 850..

Fiat 850 Uitlaat

So we have a new challenge: fixing the connection between the manifold and the silencer.

All geared up. New transmission for my Fiat 850

The gearbox was already installed, simply because it is not much work plus it would give me an idea about the effect of lowering the rear with the new springs and shock absorbers. Because the engine is planned to come back tomorrow and I want to rebuild everything in one go today, I removed the gearbox and mounted the drive shafts. That turned out to be an  easy job with the new parts that we had bought internationally again. Partly from Drenthe, partly from Venray and some small stuff from Italy. The gearbox I purchased from Bert in Geleen, who has done a nice job overhauling it. And with the gearbox I bought in from Nijmegen I plan to have a learning moment myself sometime when the Fiat 850 is ready.
Fiat 850 versnellingsbak

Troubles at the dashboard. Abarth OT dashboard for my Fiat 850

A few years ago, in Padua, I bought a replica dashboard for a Fiat 850 Abarth OT. I had been looking for one for a long time and every year they got more expensive. So I finally made the decision and bought one. The intention was to use the gauges of a 124 Coupe; I everything I needed in stock so quite nice in terms of budget. There were two brackets on the inside of the housing so the housing could be screwed onto the inner dashboard panel.

After much hesitation, I decided to grind these brackets off and invent a new way of mounting because the depth of the odometer and rev counter is larger than that of the housing.

Fiat 850 Dashboard

Fiat 850 Dashboard

All wiring installed, just need to install the indicator lights (with a new piece of wiring harness to connect to the wiring harness in the car)

Fiat 850 Dashboard

And this is the view we can look at from now on.

An Abarth grille for my Fiat 850

Yesterday and today I got to do some small but important things. Started disassembling some parts from engine 1 that need to be in engine 2 as soon as it is bored out. Pistons, camshaft, cam followers and front camshaft bearing. This morning I delivered everything to the workshop, including the cylinder head in which an extra oil channel will be milled. Flywheel is skimmed and crankshaft/flywheel combination is balanced. The block should be ready for assembly sometime halfway through next week. Fingers crossed.

Also, the front emblem on the Fiat 850 was mounted. A lot of fitting and measuring in advance and despite the fact that it seemed to follow the line of the front panel correctly, I checked again first and gave it a little extra curve. Then cleaned everything with Acrysol (the front panel too) and put the double-sided tape on it. Sticks like mad and the result is impressive.

voorbereiding grille Fiat 850

grille Fiat 850

Naturally, the red Fiat-Abarth panel for the inside of the grille and the extra cooler-grille still have to be mounted.

Another job done for the Fiat 850

I have something else in one corner that's essential to the 850: the radiator. Just to save space, that part was not in the workshop and because of that you tend to forget it if you are not careful. So I picked up last weekend and checked visually. Didn't seem to be leaking, so delivered it to the specialist for cleaning, pressure testing, blasting and spraying. After that it's ready to be installed immediately. That's how it was when it was in storage; it could really use some tender loving care:
radiateur 1

While the specialist was working on it: Cleaned inside and out and ready for testing.

radiateur 3

During testing, a small leak at the bottom hose connection was found. It was of course repaired and after that everything was sprayed.

radiateur 4

radiateur gemonteerd

 

An alternator for my Fiat 850

Once the parts for the alternator were on the workbench, assembly was quickly arranged. A rectifier came from my own stock, the bearings and other parts came from Leeman's stock in Breda.
leeman

The internal parts looked and tested good so today I started cleaning and assembling everything.
dynamo oud achter dynamo klaar achter
Cooling fan and pulley still need to be blasted and sprayed. With that I want to wait until I have collected enough stuff because quite a bit of technology around the blasting cabinet has to be set up before blasting can begin.

Tiny lights for my Fiat 850

The front had a good turn today and after the grille I could also continue with the indicators because I could buy two flexible indicator booths (from Fred A). They turned out to be very usable after being cleaned. I already had one for the right side and for that side I also had a complete, new indicator. For the left we had to disassemble the old one and make it presentable with a new lens. Fed the cables through the booth and put new cable lugs on it and we can now legally turn left and right again.
clignoteur 1 clignoteur 2

Some new chrome for the Fiat 850

The new emblem is finally ready! It was waterjetted from a piece of stainless steel. And I am very satisfied with the result.
grille

Well, this thing is as flat as a dime and the front of an 850 is slightly curved. To get the right shape I came up with my own variation on the English wheel and used a clutch plate centering pin to roll it in shape. Push and roll, pass, push and roll and pass again. Back and forth, back and forth till you're satisfied.

rollen 

resultaat

Both the frontpanel and the emblem have been cleaned with Acrysol and have to dry, waiting for us to glue.