1977 124 Spider CS1 - Lincolnshire UK

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PumaPhil
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Re: 1977 124 Spider CS1 - Lincolnshire UK

Post by PumaPhil » August 18th, 2015, 9:58 pm

After discussing the gearbox installation with Ian Nixon, he mentioned that he modifies the front suspension to improve turn-in and self-centering. I'd always felt that the steering was heavy and vague, so whilst having the 131 'box installed I had the suspension modified too, especially as this provided some savings than doing these jobs separately!

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The wishbones were strengthened and moved forward 10 mm to improve turn-in.

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Ian was, at my request, also able to make a sturdy towing point. I can screw in the red towing eye as shown and use a solid tow bar if required.
Ian also modified the anti-rollbar brackets to cope with the changed geometry. He was keen to fit double roll-bars as per his racing Lada but due to funding limitations, and because my 124 is for road use only, I thought it unnecessary. Although Ito be fair to Ian, he believes it would offer a further improvement.

The very stiff steering was due to the steering idler being virtually seized, but a refurbished idler coupled with Ian's work has made the 124 a delight on the roads. It is far more 'alert' and responsive plus much lighter to steer. Overall, an excellent modification that I would recommend highly.
GC-05
'If you think experts are expensive, you should try amateurs!'

A redline run my GC's engine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80nEhsJbH2w

PumaPhil
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Re: 1977 124 Spider CS1 - Lincolnshire UK

Post by PumaPhil » August 18th, 2015, 10:39 pm

I have been plagued by overheating issues, especially in traffic. I suspected it was partly due to the bespoke exhaust manifold creating lots of heat in the engine bay, so I had it coated by Zircotec in a shade of 'Antique Silver' with its performance coating. There is definitely less heat under the bonnet, which is obviously a good thing and meant that I could ditch those unsightly heat shields.

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Shame about the welding scar to repair a crack. I will touch that up with VHT paint soon.

However, I was still getting overheating issues when I slowed down so I spoke to Classic Radiators as I bought my aluminium radiator from them and they originally stated that their radiator would provide around 30% more cooling capacity. The guys at Classic Radiators were very helpful and asked if there was a problem above around 30 mph, which it was not. They then asked what fan was fitted. I didn't know but it was the one that came wit the car and I thought it looked up to the job. I sent them a photo of the fan and they confirmed that it was a cheap Chinese knock-off and would not provide the '30 mph of cooling' that was required! So I ordered an uprated 12" SPAL fan. The results were obvious, despite being quieter I could feel a much stronger blast of air coming from the engine bay when I lifted the bonnet.

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The new uprated SPAL fan.

The new fan has made a real difference, the engine stays around 80- 85C in traffic and the highest I've seen is it briefly go towards 90C. GC designed the engine to run around 75-80C so I am far happier with the result and my eyes are no longer nervously glancing at the temperature gauge every few seconds!
GC-05
'If you think experts are expensive, you should try amateurs!'

A redline run my GC's engine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80nEhsJbH2w

PumaPhil
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Re: 1977 124 Spider CS1 - Lincolnshire UK

Post by PumaPhil » September 2nd, 2015, 8:37 pm

Now most of the car is finished I've turned my attention to doing some small cosmetic jobs. The cam covers always had a few small blemishes that I could not get rid of.

The marks are not too apparent in this picture but they are certainly there:
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So I decided to paint the cam covers with VHT paint to get the crinkle effect. I was very please with the result.
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And this is how they look on the engine. Personally, I'm really pleased with the result and how easy it is to get a professional looking finish.
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Last edited by PumaPhil on April 1st, 2016, 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
GC-05
'If you think experts are expensive, you should try amateurs!'

A redline run my GC's engine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80nEhsJbH2w

Guy Croft
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Re: 1977 124 Spider CS1 - Lincolnshire UK

Post by Guy Croft » September 6th, 2015, 8:39 pm

MODEL POST

THANK YOU PHIL

GC
Guy Croft, owner

PumaPhil
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Re: 1977 124 Spider CS1 - Lincolnshire UK

Post by PumaPhil » April 1st, 2016, 9:48 pm

Plenum and distributor Problems!

Last October I took my Spider to the renowned tuning experts at Northampton Motorsports to do a rolling road test. This was to iron out a small flat-spot which I thought could be resolved by re-jetting the carb plus I wanted to do a power run. However, they discovered that not only was the timing on the distributor jumping erratically, but that the small plenum over the carb was sapping 10 bhp!

The problem with the distributor was due to the pin holding the drive gear having slipped out and was hitting the cam casing. This must have been cause of the erratic timing as the tapping would cause the bob-weights to jump.

The bent pin having drifted out.
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A witness mark on the casing is visible.
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Finally fixed with a roll-pin.
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Ditching the plenum chamber

The other problem was the small plenum chamber, although neat and well made, it was sapping 10 bhp!
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So I went to see the engineers at my work and I fabricated a cardboard dummy airbox to help them make one from aluminum. I made a pillar of Plasticine and placed it on the top of the cardboard lid (not shown) to check that it cleared to bonnet.
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The previous way I have seen the lid to an airbox is to have a complicated system of catches and seals. I didn't like this design so I opted for a closed box with an access hole. This is not only far easier to fabricate but much stronger and there are no clips to come undone. Plus I was able to get aerospace grade anchor nuts to secure the lid.
The top and base are made from 3 mm sheet and the sides from 2.5 mm sheet. Consequently, due to this construction, the airbox is extremely rigid.

Base and top with access hole before welding together.
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Underside of the access hole showing the anchor nuts.
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Top of the access hole showing how the anchor nuts are held in place.
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Close-up of the attachments. These are aerospace grade anchor nuts that are virtugally flush and only protrude by a fraction of a mm.
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My next dilemma was how to make the airbox look nice. I bought a metal polishing kit but I soon realised that my efforts were pretty woeful despite me polishing a small section for ages, plus it would be very frustrating every time it got a fresh scratch. So I decided to have it powder coated which would be far neater and durable.

Just back from being powder coated in an aluminum colour, it is very similar to the look of an allow wheel.
The anchor nut fixings are just visible.
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Underside.
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Inside.
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The underside of the lid showing the thin foam seal (not cut as neatly as I was hoping).
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Lid fitted. I placed the GC badge on the lid not only for aesthetic reasons but it also indicates the right way that the lid fits!
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To fit the airbox was a slight fiddle so I placed rags in the carb' intake to prevent any of the nuts or washers falling in whilst fitting them.
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Thankfully the hose to the K&N Apollo intake fitted ok.
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And yes it does clear the bonnet - PHEW!
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I gave the engine a quick run in the garage and there was no annoying resonance and it sounded great.
GC-05
'If you think experts are expensive, you should try amateurs!'

A redline run my GC's engine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80nEhsJbH2w

Spider 1969
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Re: 1977 124 Spider CS1 - Lincolnshire UK

Post by Spider 1969 » April 2nd, 2016, 3:53 pm

Neat looking air box to fit your immaculate engine bay Phil!
Did this recover the 10 bhp?

Best regards,
Charles
GC_26

Guy Croft
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Re: 1977 124 Spider CS1 - Lincolnshire UK

Post by Guy Croft » April 2nd, 2016, 4:33 pm

Interesting question.

If it doesn't gain power it's a reflected negative wave wave coming off the lid at some speed, not a volume problem..

GC
Guy Croft, owner

PumaPhil
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Re: 1977 124 Spider CS1 - Lincolnshire UK

Post by PumaPhil » April 2nd, 2016, 7:11 pm

Spider 1969 wrote:Neat looking air box to fit your immaculate engine bay Phil!
Did this recover the 10 bhp?

Best regards,
Charles
Hi Charles, thanks you, and I hope so! I'll need to go to Northampton Motorsports to find out for sure. I'll post the results when I go there next.
GC-05
'If you think experts are expensive, you should try amateurs!'

A redline run my GC's engine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80nEhsJbH2w

PumaPhil
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Re: 1977 124 Spider CS1 - Lincolnshire UK

Post by PumaPhil » April 26th, 2016, 3:19 pm

Bumpers!

I've not been totally idle over the winter, I finally decided to fit the classic bumpers. I delayed for a while because I had other priorities and after pushing the US spec' ones closer to the bodywork I quite liked the 'broad shouldered' look. But I eventually decided to try some polished stainless ones that used mounting kits that didn't require any holes to be cut in the front of the car.

Old bumpers before they were pulled close to the bodywork.
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Bumpers pulled in to bodywork.
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New bumpers. Note the small indicator lights I had to fit.
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I weighed the old bumpers and they weighed around 45 Kg! I didn't weigh the new (old!) ones but they are thin and very light. And I can report that unsurprisingly the car does feel somewhat more sprightly.
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Last edited by PumaPhil on July 10th, 2017, 8:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
GC-05
'If you think experts are expensive, you should try amateurs!'

A redline run my GC's engine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80nEhsJbH2w

Rallyroller
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Re: 1977 124 Spider CS1 - Lincolnshire UK

Post by Rallyroller » April 26th, 2016, 4:09 pm

Hi Phil

Car looks stunning. Well done. Makes me think about getting my other shell out of storage and making it into a road car.

Nigel.
GC_13

Guy Croft
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Re: 1977 124 Spider CS1 - Lincolnshire UK

Post by Guy Croft » April 26th, 2016, 6:35 pm

Hi Phil,

we meet often and have become good friends! I like you superb photos and the work you have done very much. Location RAF Cranwell if I am not mistaken..!

That number plate has got to go. Not good. I suggest you remove the Fiat badge and stick a plastic one on the bonnet. If the Police object, fair-enough - but it is hardly a capital crime!

The car is so damn pretty I think they will enjoy it too and understand the reason..

That is what I did years ago..


GC
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Spider 1969
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Re: 1977 124 Spider CS1 - Lincolnshire UK

Post by Spider 1969 » April 26th, 2016, 9:18 pm

Indeed stunning Phil, huge improvement!
Another suggestion is to use an italian size number plate as I did. Don't know if it's allowed in England (it isn't in Holland, but to my opinion it's harmless) See photo below.

Like your wheels too; what width are they?

Charles
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Piotrek125p
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Re: 1977 124 Spider CS1 - Lincolnshire UK

Post by Piotrek125p » May 1st, 2016, 5:00 pm

Really nice job Phil, your 124 looks amazing now. A beatifully look of your car + GC mild tuned engine must be a real pleasure factory when you driving it.

GC, could you share with us a more photos with your 124 ? It is a most beatiful rally cars in history and your looks really, really amazing.
GC approved

Guy Croft
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Re: 1977 124 Spider CS1 - Lincolnshire UK

Post by Guy Croft » May 1st, 2016, 6:40 pm

sorry I just don't have any..

I rarely took photos of the car, no internet or digital cameras in those days....

G

PumaPhil
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Re: 1977 124 Spider CS1 - Lincolnshire UK

Post by PumaPhil » May 3rd, 2016, 12:58 pm

Hello GC, Charles and Piotr,

Thank you for your comments and I can't think why I was initially reticent to change the bumpers, probably because I didn't know about the conversion kit that negates the need to cut holes in the bodywork.

Charles, the wheels are 15" Cromodoro replicas. I think they are a good compromise as with standard 13" rims it gets difficult to get decent tyres plus it is very difficult to fit bigger brake calipers in them. But beware that bigger 'boots' do weight up the steering somewhat so a little finesse is lost.

GC, I agree about the number plate. I'll investigate a stick-on one although I do take pleasure in the quizzical looks on people's faces when they see the Fiat badge. A smaller one would be nice, although I think it will simply attract the 'boys in blue' as they clamp down on anything that is not totally legal these days.

thank you, PG
GC-05
'If you think experts are expensive, you should try amateurs!'

A redline run my GC's engine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80nEhsJbH2w

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