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Friday, October 20, 2006

Fulvia thoughts - 1

Greetings to all Fulvia owners and fans.

I have enjoyed 25 years of owning, working on and driving Fulvias, but also talking about them. This post is the first of an occasional series where I propose to talk in brief about details of these cars and share some experiences which I hope that you will find interesting. There will be no logical sequence, just as the ideas occur to me. Of course those with specific questions are welcome to email me on

Today's topic is timely. With the autumn arriving those who wish to drive their Fulvias as it becomes colder will be thinking about their heaters. Heaters are often a problem on Fulvias and especially on Series 1 cars where the design was perhaps less than perfect...

So S1s first. An S1 is at least 36 years old and as flow through the S1 heater is not vigorous, owing to the design of the heater matrix itself and also the smaller diameter of the hoses etc., the matrix can easily become filled with muck. This is easy to cure.

However, the first thing is to check flow. The heater tap (under the bonnet controlled by a steel cable) is sometimes the cause of problems. Inside, there is a rubber diaphragm which, with age can swell and obstruct flow. Disconnect the hose between the tap and matrix and check flow through the tap. If there is little flow, then either it is turned off (!) or the rubber is unserviceable. New rubbers can be purchased from the usual suppliers such as Omicron or perhaps Cavallitto. Before dismantling the tap, note carefully the position of the parts, otherwise it is a straightforward job.

Turning to the matrix, disconnect the hoses from from a) the heater tap and b) from the radiator drain tap (subframe RH side). First apply a flow of water from a hose pipe to the drain tap end of the circuit (keep the heater tap hose away from the engine!). This is called "back flushing". With luck there should be at least some water flowing - if not, it means removal and replacement of the matrix. So long as there is flow you have a chance. From a builder's merchant, buy some drain cleaner. Mix a mild to moderate strength solution of this and through a funnel, apply it to the circuit. You will find the heater tap end easier. when the mixture starts to run from the other (drain tap) end raise the drain tap hose to stop the flow, top up again at the funnel and leave the whole thing over night. Back flush the next day with care, again keeping the hoses clear of the engine. An amazing quantity of horrid brown sludge should appear. This is a good thing. When the water is running clear, you can reassemble and refill the system with your normal coolant mixture.

At Evolution Engineering, we tackled several of these and the results astounded the owners!

For S2 coupés, the procedure is similar but not the same, because the heater tap is mounted next to the unit, next to the LH footwell. Here it is best to disconnect the upper hose from the end of the aluminium water-pipe on the inlet manifold and use another piece of hose to direct the test water away from the engine. The heater taps are not repairable. Normally they do not become obstructed but spring leaks helping the normal rust problem on the front floor... If you have a leak here then you must replace the heater tap. Not much help I know, but I believe that some Betas were fitted with the same tap, but Fulvia ones are sometimes available - indeed may be reaily available from some of the well-known suppliers.

S2 berlines have a heater tap similar to that on the S1 coupés, but mounted on the heater box under the bonnet by the scuttle, so the comments about the S1 above are appropriate here.

I wish you all a warm driving experience in the winter.

Until the next time, best wishes.

1 comment:

Paul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

Sod the Law!


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Music and Radio Blog Club

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However, in tribute to its brave effort, I shall leave the existing track on this page (which amazingly still works)

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