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Technical — Classic FIAT 124 Spider

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Classic FIAT 124 Spider Ignition Pickup Testing 0

How to properly test a FIAT Spider ignition pickup.

Having electronic ignition problems and trying to determine which component needs to be replaced? Testing the pickup is quick and easy.

Classic FIAT 124 Spider Timing Belt & Seal Replacement 0

The technical tips listed below are intended to aid in the care of your Fiat 124 Spider and should be used accordingly. They are based on many years of experience but are in no way a replacement for factory recommendations.  Seek the professional mechanical assistance for all issues beyond your abilities. 

Auto Ricambi, LLC is in no way responsible from the consequences of applying these technical tips.  By using (accessing) these technical tips you agree to these terms.

For easier access, consider removing the radiator.  This will allow better access to the front of the engine.  This is also a good time to check the condition of the radiator hoses, thermostat, and radiator cap. 

Next remove the alternator belt and the timing belt cover.

You will need an impact gun to remove the camshaft and auxiliary shaft gear bolts, and the crank nut.  The crank nut may not budge even with an impact!  If it does not want to come off, put a socket on it with a long breaker bar, lay the bar on the driver's side inner fender, and crank the engine with the starter for just an instant.  The rotation of the engine will undo the nut.  *Be certain to do this with the timing belt installed .

Undo the crank nut first, then turn the engine so all the timing marks line up and loosen the bolts for the cam- and auxiliary shaft gears.  Ideally one would loosen the pulley bolts with the timing belt still on, so the gears do not move.  Watch out as sometimes the timing gear can slip under the belt.  Do not clash the valves into the piston or against each other!  If a bolt is stubborn and the gear rotates even with the timing belt installed then you can remove the belt, wrap it all the way around the gear, and hold its ends together with vice-grips.  Hold the vice-grips while undoing the bolt with an impact wrench.

Once you have removed all the gears, you need to remove the seals.  You can pry them out with a screwdriver, or punch a hole in them with a nail, and the put a screw in the hole.  As you turn the screw in, it will drive the seal out.  Be sure to clean up any metal shavings this may have created.

Use a large socket to carefully drive the new seals in.  The crank one may be more difficult, but a little patience pays off.  If it is too difficult to install, then remove the seal holder.

This is a good time to check the crankshaft timing gear for wear.  Because this gear is half as big as the others it usually wears more.

Once all the seals are installed reinstall the timing gears and the crank pulley.  Use some blue Locktite on all the bolts and the crankshaft nut. 

Line up the timing marks, lock the tensioner in the loose position (you did get a new tensioner bearing, right?) and install the timing belt.  The auxiliary gear points toward the tensioner pivot bolt - or about 1:30 on a clock face.

Route the timing belt over the pulleys from bottom to top.  You may have to move some of the gears slightly to line them up with the belt. 

Once the belt is installed, release the tensioner and let the tensioner spring take up the slack in the belt.  You may need to 'help' the tensioner spring to take out all the slack in the belt.  

When all the tension is out tighten both the tensioner nut (17mm) and the pivot bolt (13mm).

Now comes the most important part: by hand or with a wrench, turn the engine over 2 times to be sure everything is lined up well and not clashing.

Reinstall the belt cover, alternator belt, radiator, and bleed the cooling system (see tech article).

Copyright 2011 - Auto Ricambi, LLC

Classic FIAT 124 Spider Differential Pinion Seal Replacement 0

 

The technical tips listed below are intended to aid in the care of your Fiat 124 Spider and should be used accordingly. They are based on many years of experience but are in no way a replacement for factory recommendations.  Seek the professional mechanical assistance for all issues beyond your abilities. 

Auto Ricambi, LLC is in no way responsible from the consequences of applying these technical tips.  By using (accessing) these technical tips you agree to these terms.

The 'by the book' instructions for changing the pinion seal (front differential seal) involves replacing the crush sleeve that is in the differential.  To do that properly the rear ends needs to be disassembled and special tools are needed, as the rolling torque of the pinion shaft needs to be measured.  These instructions can be found in the factory shop manual.

Many people have successfully changed the seal without replacing the crush sleeve by marking the exact position of the pinion nut (and the flange relative to the shaft), and then reinstalling it in the same position after replacing the seal.  Be certain to mark the relationship of the nut to the shaft - not to the flange.

Of course, this may not be the 'proper' way, and there is a small risk that the pinion bearings will wear more quickly.  Most are prepared to take the risk, in order to tackle the job in about an hour, instead of an all day project that needs special tools.  So far there have been no cases where this procedure caused any ill effects.

Copyright 2011 - Auto Ricambi, LLC

 

 

Classic FIAT 124 Spider Front Suspension and A-Arm Replacement 0

The technical tips listed below are intended to aid in the care of your Fiat 124 Spider and should be used accordingly. They are based on many years of experience but are in no way a replacement for factory recommendations.  Seek the professional mechanical assistance for all issues beyond your abilities. 

Auto Ricambi, LLC is in no way responsible from the consequences of applying these technical tips.  By using (accessing) these technical tips you agree to these terms.

Jack up the front of the car and place on jack stands.  Be certain that the vehicle is stable. 

Remove the wheel, then the brake caliper and the swaybar bushing mount.  Disconnect the outer tie-rod end.  This is a good time to replace a worn tie-rod end or split boot (our part SU4-451). 

Remove the shock absorber by undoing the upper nuts in the engine compartment, and then the lower bolt (17mm head).  The shock drops out toward the bottom. 

Loosen the balljoint nut (21mm).  If they are too hard to get to, you may have to use a hammer and chisel to get them to turn. 

Install an internal type spring compressor on the spring.  Compress it slightly, about an inch.  Be certain to adhere to the spring compressor manufacturer's safety guidelines. 

Place a hydraulic floor jack under the lower balljoint.  Jack up until the suspension just starts to compress.  Remove the upper a-arm pivot bolt (21mm head).  The upper a-arm and spindle will likely pivot outward on the lower balljoint.  Slowly lower the jack and decompress the spring.  Eventually the a-arm will be at a 45 degree angle or less, and the spring should be completely extended.  Remove the jack, push the a-arm down by hand and remove the spring. 

WARNING!  Be sure the spring is fully extended!  A compressed spring stores a huge amount of energy!  If the spring comes out if its place before it is fully extended it can bound around and cause serious injury! 

Remove the two 19mm nuts that hold the lower a-arm pivot bolt to the crossmember, and pull the a-arm off.  Now you have the 2 a-arms and spindle assembly separated from the car. 

To undo the balljoints you can use either a pickle fork, or hit the spindle with a large hammer where the balljoints go through.  Once they have separated install your new a-arms onto the spindle. 

Slide the lower a-arm pivot bolt onto the crossmember and tighten the nuts.  Tighten the spring compressor.  Install the upper end of the spring first (pay attention to the proper clocking), the slip the lower end into the lower a-arm.  The a-arm will have to be almost vertical to do this.  Raise the lower a-arm enough to slip a floor-jack under the lower balljoint.  Raise the jack, compressing the spring, until you can line up the upper a-arm and install its pivot bolt.  Once the pivot bolt is installed remove the spring compressor, and you can lower the jack.  The rest is the reverse of removal. 

Do not forget that the front end has to be loaded (on the ground) before the pivot bolt nuts can be tightened to the proper torque (72 ft-lb for the lowers, 65 ft-lb for the upper). 

Do not forget all that is left is having the car aligned.

 

Copyright 2011 - Auto Ricambi, LLC

Classic FIAT 124 Spider Heater Valve Installation

Classic FIAT 124 Spider Heater Valve Installation 0

The technical tips listed below are intended to aid in the care of your Fiat 124 Spider and should be used accordingly. They are based on many years of experience but are in no way a replacement for factory recommendations.  Seek the professional mechanical assistance for all issues beyond your abilities. 

Auto Ricambi, LLC is in no way responsible from the consequences of applying these technical tips.  By using (accessing) these technical tips you agree to these terms.

Be sure you have two new gaskets for the new heater valve.  And be certain to review our tech tip on bleeding the cooling system once you have completed this proceedure.

First drain the cooling system.  Be certain that the coolant level is below the level of the heater tubes.  Disconnect the heater hose that attaches to the heater valve tube.

From the passenger side foot well, remove the heater valve from the heater core.  Remove the tube from the heater valve and install the tube onto the new valve.

If your car still had the original heater valve (one with an integral capillary tube), it will be necessary to bend the short pipe about 10 degrees when installing the new valve, to keep it pointed in the right direction.  Or you can purchase our new heater tube (SKU HE6-498) which will accomodate the newer style heater valves. 

Install the tube on the valve and put the valve on the heater core while the tube goes through the firewall.  See which way the pipe needs to be bent.  Remove it, bent it a little, and repeat the procedure until the valve can be installed flush with the heater core.
Fiat discontinued the original capillary style heater valve almost 20 years ago, and substituted this version which was originally fitted on the Fiat 124 Sedan and X 1/9.

Parts List
Heater Valve Kit - HE6-499 (recommended if for cars fitted with original  capillary style heater valves)

Heater Valve - HE6-498

Gaskets - HE6-072

Copyright 2011 - Auto Ricambi, LLC

Classic FIAT 124 Spider Ignition Switch Romoval 0

The technical tips listed below are intended to aid in the care of your Fiat 124 Spider and should be used accordingly. They are based on many years of experience but are in no way a replacement for factory recommendations.  Seek the professional mechanical assistance for all issues beyond your abilities. 

Auto Ricambi, LLC is in no way responsible for the consequences of applying these technical tips.  By using (accessing) these technical tips you agree to these terms.

The normal procedure removing the ignition switch from the steering column is as follows:

Disconnect the battery negative terminal

Disconnect the wires from the back of the switch, or for 1978 and newer models, disconnect the switch's pigtail from the car's harness.

Remove the 2 Phillips head screws that hold the switch to the steering column - they are located toward the rear of the switch.

Insert the key, and turn it 90 degrees.  

Locate the small hole on the right side of the switch bracket.

Push a small screwdriver into this hole to release the locking tab.  The locking tab will only release with the key turned 90 degrees.  If it does not release all the way try turning the key a little.

Pull the ignition switch out.

If there is no key or the key does not work then the lock part of the switch will have to be destroyed in order to turn it to release the locking tab.  There is no easy way of doing this, but it usually consists of drilling a hole where the key goes and then going with larger and larger drill bits.  Eventually, the lock will come out, either on its own or with help from a hammer and chisel.  

Copyright 2011 - Auto Ricambi, LLC