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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Trip to the Jura - Part I

I promised a report on my work last week. Here's the first part.

The Jura: a lovely part of the world

Over the years, more or less since I started contributing to the Viva Lancia forum, I have received quite a large number of enquiries from Fulvia owners around the world with questions on a considerable variety of topics related to our favourite car. And I have received quite a few more since starting this blog.

From this, I have received a certain amount of work. My latest client contacted me in connexion with his 1970 S1 Fulvia Sport 1.3S.

After the usual discussion, he retained me to do the following:

  • Remove engine
  • Fit lightened flywheel and new clutch plate (parts to be supplied by client)
  • Remove sump to check bearings (he was concerned about low oil pressure)
  • Check oil pump
  • Renew gearbox input shaft bearing and oil seals (I had seen the oil collected in the bell housing in a photograph he supplied)
  • Renew all drive shaft gaiters
  • Renew rear hub bearings (advised by MoT/CT man that one of these was noisy)
  • Finally, to assess the car in general (the engine was reportedly smoky) and also provide a degree of instruction in Fulvia maintenance generally.

The work was to be carried out at the client’s house in the delightful Jura region of France. For those who are unfamiliar with France, the Jura is roughly speaking, that part which borders Switzerland north of Geneva.

On arrival I found that my customer lived in a most attractive house that, like much of the rest of the small town where it was, originated in the late 17th century.

The car was obviously in very good general order having been restored some years before it was acquired by the present owner. The restoration had been extensive, with a fine finish on the sub-frame and its cross members, suspension components etc. Encouragingly for a S1, the brake fluid was very clean indeed!

It was some time since I had last worked on a Zagato Fulvia, and I had forgotten just how cramped the engine bay is compared with a coupe. Nevertheless the engine came out easily enough (about an hour and three-quarters). I had not been able to hear the engine running as the owner had already drained the fluids and removed some hoses.

The first thing I noticed was the very oily No 3 exhaust port – examination of the plug showed signs of oil deposits. There was not time to remove the head to try to establish the nature of the problem, but more on this later…

Engine out: note the oily No 3 port

After removing the clutch and flywheel, I removed the sump in order to have a look at the bearings. First I removed the oil pick-up pipe so that I could remove the centre main cap and inspect the frequently troublesome centre main bearing. This I did and found that the bearing was in nearly new condition, as was the centre main journal. The crankshaft had been reground as examination of the bearing shell confirmed. I replaced the cap and then removed the cap of No 2 big end. Same story here; there was no need to remove the other caps – when a Fulvia has bearing trouble, nine times out of ten the problems concern the centre main and/or Nos 2 and 3 big-ends.

It was at this point that I came across the first problem. On attempting to refit the oil pick-up pipe, I found a fault that is depressingly common on Fulvias: one of the threads in the engine front plate where the pipe connects to the pump feed gallery was damaged – in fact there was hardly any thread remaining. Fortunately it was the lower of the two and thus not partially obstructed by the first main bearing cap. I was able to drill out the hole and tap to M8. Then it was simple matter of boring out the mounting hole on the pick-up and fitting it with an 8mm cap screw. I always use “Loctite” on these screws: after all, air is a very poor lubricant! When fitting oil pick-ups to Fulvias there is only one correct way: fit each screw loosely and ensure that all are correctly started before tightening; in this way the risk of thread damage due to misalignment is minimised.

After refitting the sump, I removed the oil pump, first of course loosening the adjacent front plate mounting bolts – otherwise it is usually impossible to extract the pump. Upon dismantling it was apparent where the oil pressure problems originated: the pump was very worn. Measurement of the rotor clearance showed it to be about 0.25mm – 0.010” whilst the factory specified a maximum clearance of half this figure. A friend of the customer came up with a used pump that, whilst out of specification too, was distinctly better. I refaced the cap of the replacement pump using an oil stone – a mellow half an hour or so…

Lubrication System info. From Lancia Concise Shop Manual

I decided that it would be a good idea to check the tightness of the various bolts around the engine, and it was just as well. First I found that a variety of different specification bolts had been used for the all-important block to crankcase joint. For 1300s these should be “10” grade as marked on the bolt head (12 on 1600s). We found that some of the correct bolts had been distributed around the engine in various non-critical applications. And worse, the bolts had not been properly tightened. If these are really loose the result is disastrous, with enormous oil leaks, dreadful noises and all sorts of horrible consequences – including having to dismantle the engine to renew the gasket. After all had been correctly torqued (necessitating removal of the dynamo and engine support bracket) the head bolts were checked and the tappet clearances set.

To be concluded


Anonymous said...

Paul, the type of well written and informative article I enjoy reading - please conclude....!
Neil Cundy

Paul said...

Thank you for those words; the conclusion of the article is already written and will be posted very, very soon.

Sod the Law!


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