A bit of music from the lamented Radio Blog Club

Le Français

Toujours, je suis désolé pour mes amis( et amies) français(es), mais il est difficile pour moi d'écire en français. Peut-être un jour...
S.V.P. regardez ce LIEN

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas


Sorry it's been so quiet hereabouts; this has been due to a lack of Fulvia happenings here and also pressure of work (on such things as MGs and Jaguars).

The Fanalone didn't go to Corsica - there was a wheel-bearing noise - so we went in an Evo Perlato instead, which was pretty good! I have a bit to write about wheel-bearings again which will be soon.

Meanwhile I wish you all a very merry Christmas and all the best for the new year.

A bientôt

Monday, September 06, 2010

At long last!

... I have a sort of Internet connection.

I was very slack in not providing regular updates about the Fanalone which is now running, quite nicely in fact, though it will need a cylinder head overhaul before too long. This will be in a while as the owner and I are going on a super trip to Corsica soon in the company of the Scuderia Lancia Integrale. These photos from last year should give you an idea of what's in store; I am very much looking forward to the trip as I am sure you can imagine.

Meanwhile just to show I'm not making it all up, here's a phone camera snap of the Fanalone's subframe assembled:

This time I have two little suggestions some of you might like.

First a close-up from the above shot:

In about 1985, I bought a special spanner from Harry Manning, which happily I still have, for undoing those blasted carburettor nuts. Someone who has worked on the Fanalone though had a brainwave: he found M8 nuts that have "built-in washers" and are just 10mm across the flats; one can undo them with a ¼" drive 10mm socket; hurrah. I think that the nuts are fitted to Peugeots and of course they are lighter than the 13mm originals. Incidentally, I used 12mm AF Mercedes-Benz exhaust nuts on my car but these are much better.

As for the second idea this time, this arises from the following revolting picture - could almost be the subject for a competition:

No, it's not some sort of repulsive fruit de mer, it's the remains of a lower ball-joint rubber from the Fanalone. As regular readers will know, the car competed in 26 rallies; the owner had experimented with various brake pads, one set of which resulted in smoke and blue discs... The rubber which as you may know is VERY close to the brake disc was simply cooked and had become brittle resulting in greasy brake discs... Not good. So I have renewed both bottom ball-joints and to provide some protection for the rubbers, fabricated a couple of simple heat shields which I hope should help. And one does not want the changing of bottom ball joints to be regular work does one?:

Yes I know it's not truly artisanale metalwork, but they don't touch the discs and they should do the job!

Finally, yesterday I went to a drag race meeting in Geneva - worth it to see a couple of 1500HP monster "saloons" doing sub- 9 second runs over 400 meters, but the reason I mention this is because the following car was there; sounded great and did a very respectable 13-second run. Perhaps one of my Italian readers can tell me what the words on the back window mean?

A bientôt

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Email Exchanges

One of my regular readers was unable to upload to the "comments" and as a result asked me to post the following email exchanges; the information should be of interest to all I think.


Hi Paul,

I read your bottom end article with great interest and reading it I have three questions:

1 why have you used the cylinder base gasket if rigidity is such an issue? If you machine chambers for o-rings around the oil passages to the head and use a good silicon base sealant for the rest the stiff cast iron block directly bolted to the 'flimsey' crankcase will surely stiffen things up.

2 The 1600 engine you are working on has main bearing studs instead of bolts complicating the assembly but what is the reason to use them?

3 have you ever experienced with a mainbearing cap brace to stiffen up the running path of the crank?



PS I tried to upload these question via the blogger page but did not succeed.


Hello William,

I suppose that I am speaking in rather "absolute" terms regarding the rigidity of the crankcase and this is not my car! We used to do what you described - 'O' rings etc. when I was in London - there we had the necessary facilities.

The crankcase was, as you know, originally designed for a 58HP 1100 saloon car so stretching the engine to 1600cc when the company was going broke was bound to lead to some compromises! The studs are lovely things, waisted for stress relief like the big-end bolts and the thread size is 12mm rather than 10 as on the 1300s; this is why my friend used a 1600 crankcase for his 1486 project. I have no iew really on the choice between bolts and studs, but the studs are not really more complex are they? I think I prefer studs to bolts though because I suspect that unless special dowel bolts are used, location is probably more accurate.

The idea of a main-bearing support was one we used to discuss a great deal and I believe that VERE Lancia offers one. An excellent idea I think. Even better would be in addition to cross bolt the caps as was frequently done in aero-engines and other high class motors. This would be difficult given the thinness and weird shape of the Fulvia's crankcase!

I have been busy on the Fanalone but have terrible Internet problems and so have been lazy on my blog. The subframe is now assembled and ready to go in; I'll write it up when I have a chance.

best wishes



Hi Paul,
Thanks for your replies. You might want to upload them to your Blog article.

In my 1200HF engine I have fittted M10 APR studs. Albeit not waisted like on 'your' 1600 engine. The torque value as now 8Kgm compaired to the 5Kgm of the OEM 10.9 bolts.
I have also used the omicron supplied APR conrod bolts. Expensive but since nobody knows how many times their OEM bolts were (over) torqued in their 40 year lifespan a good insurance.
I have seen the brace Vere Lancia sells and I'm not very impressed by it. Too many curves and thin spots. Can't be very stiff and it is expensive at around 400 euros. I have made one from sheet metal angle iron. See picture. Stiffer and for 5 euros it is extremely cheap!



Congratulations on what looks to be an interesting solution - the only thing about steel of course is its different coefficient of expansion from aluminium, though I suppose if there's not too much mass you shouldn't have much of a problem.

Have you run the engine since you installed the brace - and if so have you noticed any difference?

I like the idea of the studs and the special nuts look very aerospace which I am sure they are! As for con-rod bolts I used to buy 1300HF ones from Cavalitto - they weren't too expensive and at least for the 1600 Lancia said that the bolts must not be re-used, so I think you've been very wise - mind you I've got away with it for 28 years!

I'll try to post the exchanges on the blog if this rotten Internet connection ever works!




I have run the engine for about 2000Kms with the brace but cannot say that there is a difference since many other parts were also modified and as I wrote in earlier mails the main bearings were found worn due dirt in the oil. That is all repaired now by grinding the crank to its first undersize and I'm now running the engine in again. But the gear box started to develop a massive oil leak last week coming from the prise shaft and this is another setback as the whole subframe assembly has to come down again in order to be able to remove the gearbox....
Keep you posted!



So it was dirt in the oil? I am surprised!

As for the gearbox, that of course is a common fault. The roller bearing and seal(s) are always a weak point - especially in the very early 'boxes which had only one seal.

The way I tackle the problem is to remove the engine, drain the 'box and remove the bell-housing; that way you don't have to drop the subframe - or worse, the gearbox!




I do not have an engine hoist but I have a ramp so i think that removing the subrame altogether is less work and causes less risk for damaging something in the process.
The seal (double in this 1600 zagato box) is changed together with the bearing in 2006 just before the Lancia centenario in Turin. It functioned faultless for 7000kms.


Yes I see.

Well, when I was fifteen years younger, my father had a Fulvia sedan. I changed his clutch in 3.5 hours - removing the engine - which is harder than on a coupé. Ah! those were the days!

I had forgotten that you had the same 'box as I. Those seals/bearings are a real pain!


Monday, April 05, 2010

More Fanalone

Hello again.

As I wrote last time, the engine dismantling revealed that certain new parts were necessary. These arrived and this weekend I built up the bottom half of the engine.

A couple of weeks ago I spent a fair amount of time cleaning the oily mess that appears in the earlier photos on this series, so with decent clean parts to work with I could get on with it. At the same time I fitted the new piston rings to the pistons having carefully checked all the gaps. Standard wisdom for water-cooled engines is "three thou per inch of bore" - roughly 0.75mm per 25mm. Every new ring in this case had about 10 - 12 thou (0.010 - 0.012" or 0.25 - 0.3mm) since there is wear in the block. Next time it will have to be a rebore.

A cleanish start!

I think I can say that I have always had trouble making Fulvia engines non-leaky: some of them are as bad as classic English motorcycles. I suppose that this is hardly surprising as the crankcase is all bolted together, and the block bolted on top. So I have taken extra-special care this time preparing all the mating surfaces: we shall see!

First, a quick word about tools. When I first started building these engines, I wondered how I could correctly tighten the block to crankcase bolts. A "crow's foot" attachment was suggested, but these are not much good if tightening torque is substantial as it is in this case - I usually tighten them (12 grade 8mm bolts on 1600s) to 25 lb/ft and use red Loctite as loosened block to crankcase bolts are a serious - and oily - pain. Here's a snap of some tools; they are all 3/8" square drive:

Bottom right is a standard 13mm "crow's foot" attachment; quite useless for this application, unless of course one wants rounded-off bolt heads. So I went back to the Snap-On man and ordered the one on the bottom left, very useful for undoing 13mm tube nuts on hydraulic lines, but no good again, because it is too bulky. Exasperated, I returned to Snap-On's catalogue and in the aircraft tools section, found the one at the top of the picture. This is spline drive and thin walled and does the job nicely so long as somebody hasn't already damaged the bolt heads. The reason is that this tool is (or was) only available in Imperial sizes, so it's ½" (12.7mm). This is good as it makes an excellent tight fit. Of course I make an allowance for the additional length when setting the torque wrench.

It was the late Harry Manning who told me to use a ½" socket rather than 13mm on the 1600 big-end bolts - again to avoid possible damage; sadly there is no equivalent option for the 12mm heads on 1300 con-rods.

Building a Fulvia bottom end is a little awkward in some ways. The crankcase of a Fulvia (as anyone who has read my Fulvia Developments series knows) is weak. It is best then to bolt as much of it together as possible, plus of course the block, before tightening finally the main bearing caps. And in any case one does not want to damage the block to crankcase gasket trying to fit the front cover with the block in place!

The recommended tightening torques for the front and rear covers are quite low, but there are many bolts (good practice this) so the total "clamp" is quite substantial.

So with the crankshaft in place and front and rear covers correctly tightened (not forgetting to install the timing chain which always gets in the way!), one "nips up" the main bearing cap nuts to stop the crank falling on one's foot whilst fixing the block to the crankcase:

Cap nuts "nipped up" ready to fit the end covers and the block

With the block fitted and the main bearing caps tightened to 60lbs/Ft or 8kg/m or 80nm, I then installed the pistons and rods. Not much to say about this except that these days I use a piston ring compressor. I know that the job can be done by feeding in the rings, but it's much less stressful using a compressor. I modified a spring steel one when installing some pistons a few years ago that were fitted with very thin and fragile rings. I simply cut the bottom of the compressor to match the angle of the vee; this works perfectly - one of course must use plenty of oil, but you knew that didn't you?

Here's a snap of the story so far - apologies for the quality:

Note the famous sand-cast large sump fitted only to Fanalones; this holds an extra litre of oil. The sump adds considerably to the rigidity of the crankcase structure. Incidentally, in this case, as is usual, the steel internal baffle was cracked: I could see where I welded it up nine years ago - and of course it cracked somewhere else, two places in fact. Soon fixed with the MIG though.

Next job is to look at cleaning the filthy subframe and to prepare the replacement gearbox for installation.

A bientôt

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Formula 1

Hello again.

This weekend marks the start of the 2010 Formula 1 season with the Bahrain Grand Prix. It is 60 years since the inauguration of the World Drivers' Championship; the first ever WDC race was held at Silverstone in 1950.

So let's for a minute or two, forget the multi-billion-dollar, over-regulated circus that prevails today (and which I still find fascinating despite its shortcomings) and turn back the clock sixty years and absorb a little of the atmosphere of Grand Prix racing as it was.

And a Tipo 159 Alfa-Romeo is my idea of what a real racing-car should look like - especially with Dr Farina at the wheel:

A bientôt

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Rocker Shaft Issues

Many times working on Fulvias, I have found problems with the bolts that secure the camshaft bearing caps/rocker shaft supports. Often this is because stupid individuals have mixed up the bolts and not noticed that one of the longer bolts is slightly shorter... Also I suspect that the very hard aluminium alloy used by Lancia for the Fulvia engine might be prone to crystallisation/ cracking after years of cyclical stress. either way the nasty Helicoils® tend to give way. They should be replaced with Timeserts®

Edit: After re-reading this, I should add that another cause of Helicoil(r) problems is over-tightening of the bolts. Every overhead-camshaft engine that I have worked on has not required extreme tightening torque on these bolts and of course the Fulvia is no exception. the correct figure is 15.9ft/lbf, or 2.2Mkgf, or for the younger ones, 21.6NM

Anyway the following can happen (though I've not heard of it happening in a Fulvia) My first Fulvia that I bought in 1982 had a persistent tappet noise that no amount of adjustment would cure. It was due to a Helicoil that had let go...

A bientôt

The F&M Specials

I cannot recall ever having written about the F&M Specials here; I was prompted by accidentally finding a link to a video featuring one of them which you will see at the end of this post.

It is years since I read about the origins of these interesting cars. As far as I know they evolved from a car that was prepared for Pat Moss (late sister of Sir Stirling Moss) to drive in the Targa Florio. This I think was a 1300 and she finished a very creditable 9th - she was after all an excellent pilote. In fact her brother is a Fulvia enthusiast. A few years ago he was guest of honour at the Lancia meeting in England and a friend of mine asked him what he thought of the Fulvia. "Great little car!" he replied "You could point it at anything." This really sums up the Fulvia doesn't it? OK well I think so.

Could this be Pat moss?

The Squadra Corse tried very hard to get more power from the Fulvia's engine and having only managed around a claimed (but challenged) 100BHP/litre the only other option was to get the weight down. It is recorded that one 1600 rally car weighed 780kg. How this was acheived bearing in mind homologation restrictions and the requirement for a roll cage, I cannot imagine.

Cesare Fiorio was the rally boss at the time at Lancia, and he and co-conspirator Claudio Maglioli, rally driver, engine tuner and brother of racing-driver Umberto Maglioli. Apparently Fiorio allotted a budget of one million lire (about £500 at the time) which doesn't sound very much to me. But then creative accounting is not new is it?

A short side step: In 1999 I made a trip, in my Fulvia Iniezione to Turin. Naturally I had to photograph the famous Lancia building, but at the time its appearance was rather spoiled by the fact that there had obviously been a fire on one of the floors (the fifth or sixth I think). On returning to England I showed the photographs to various Lancisti there, one of whom observed "I suppose that that was the Accounts Department!"

So for the F&Ms (there were three genuine ones) much hacking was done: the roof of course went and the tail of the car was shortened right back to to rear spring hangers.

The striking appearance that resulted from these modifications and of course the romance of competition history, has prompted the construction of a number of replicas. Here's one I was offered at Fulvia 40 in Turin in 2003 (€35000):

It was supposed to have all the "right bits"... I could well imagine myself blasting down to the "Abinger Hatch" for the Surrey Fulvia Meeting in this car and perhaps doing the Goodwood Track day too. Sadly sums of money in the order of €35000 have eluded me for my entire life.

Fiorio and Maglioli finished up with the F&M2, which was really rather ugly. It weighed 650kg and was supposed to have 160HP.


Finally, here is the promised video. It is an in-car effort with Claudio Maglioli himself, driving one of the F&Ms. The noise is amazing and reminds me of when I heard Munari's No 14 running at FIAT's test track in 2003.

A bientôt.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Followers (2)

Welcome to the two followers who have signed up.

I hope you will find something interesting to read here!

A bientôt

Fanalone: Two Rotten Pictures and a Lubrication lesson


Finally as they say, Spring is round the corner.

The Fanalone on which I reported last year is located in an area which is about 800 metres ( about 2700 ft) above sea level and given the fact that this location is in South Eastern France, snow inevitably has to have its say. This year temperatures dropped to as low as -17° and there was 50cm of snow. The recent gradual thaw meant that I could get back to it.

I removed the rest of the engine from the subframe and stripped it down. After nearly ten years, 26 rallies and plenty of road miles too, I was not optimistic but was pleasantly surprised. There is no significant wear to the bores which are in excellent condition as is the crankshaft (supplied secondhand at the time of the Evolution Engineering rebuild that I did). But the big shock was the condition of the lower centre main bearing shell, as you know the Fulvia's Achilles Heel - or arguably, one of them! I apologise for the photo quality - light was difficult.

All the main bearings were perfect! And I should add that the rev-counter tell-tale reads 9000 rpm, the result of a "buzzing" during a "yump" on a rally. There is no need to replace them - to do so would simply be an unnecessary extravagance.

Some of the big ends have marks and will be replaced. the owner has a set of bearing shells, but these are reticular tin easily recognisable by their silvery finish whereas the correct bearings should be lead indium which are grey in appearance. These will be purchased.

I shall replace the piston rings, merely as a precaution and to ensure that performance remains optimum. 1600 Fulvias always seem to wear their timing chains rather quickly, probably because the chain is really a little on the long side: when Lancia developed the 1600 the increased stroke meant that the block was 12.3mm taller than the 1300's. This of course meant that the timing chain had to be longer. About one to one and a half links would have been ideal, but of course this is impossible so 118 links it had to be with a larger tensioner to take up the slack. So the chain will be replaced.

The oil pump is in excellent condition and will be refitted.

Now then the point of all the foregoing blurb! The owner is absolutely rigid on two points: first, she will never race a cold engine and on the road will cover five miles before she applies any heavy right foot. Second she insists on using only 100% synthetic oil. The oil we have used in this car since it was built in 2001 is AGIP Racing 10W/60 fully synthetic. I have argued in the past that any reasonable modern oil is much better than the products available when the Fulvia was made, but I have to say the results speak for themselves - and after all, I have always said that a can of oil is always cheaper than a new engine.

Having wrapped up and packed away the various parts pending the arrival of the bits and pieces I shall need to do the rebuild, I then removed the gearbox from the subframe as this will be replaced, the owner happily having a spare! She has never been happy with the original, I agree: it is not very nice. It is also bloody heavy. Fulvia gearboxes are heavier than they were 25 years ago or so when I first started lifting them...

The subframe pictured below is much filthier than my rotten photo shows! When conditions improve outside, it will of course be properly cleaned, the replacement gearbox installed and then the S1 1300 steering box, which is excellent as 1300 steering boxes usually are, installed. I mentioned this in an earlier piece.

The plan is that after the bottom half of the engine is built up, I shall then have a look at the head. We have some replacement Fanalone rockers to fit - regular readers will recall we had some rocker and camshaft trouble a while back, and there is a set of new valve springs too.

I'll do my best to make some better pictures next time.

Meanwhile if YOU are anywhere near here - i.e. close to Geneva, then get in touch - I want some Fulvias here to work on!

A bientôt

Monday, February 08, 2010


Hello again.

You might have noticed that on the right-hand side of the page there is a section titled "followers"

I am delighted to see that there has been for some time a "follower" and would be most happy if one or two of the regulars would register as followers.

The reason I mention this is that today I have a new follower who is not welcome. I received a comment today from this person, apparently in response to my most recent post about the aircraft. The "comment" was a rant in Spanish I think, about the parents of the missing Madeleine McCann. Strange to say (!) I rejected the comment and deleted it from my email inbox.

So please, please, register as a "follower to help swamp out this conspiracy-theorist spammer. Unfortunately there seems to be no way to remove this turd from my blog!

Thanks in advance,

A bientôt.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Impossible to Resist


My regular readers will know that I have an interest in old military aircraft.

Today I came across a type of which I had previously been unaware, the fastest ever, production, piston-engined British fighter, capable of 472mph (even faster than the super Napier-engined Hawker Tempest and also the Hawker Sea Fury. Mind you the Third Reich's Dornier DO 335 "push-pull" fighter was better at 474mph!)

It was called the de Havilland Hornet; like many advanced piston-engined types it came too late as jets were already flying.

The photograph in the Wikipedia article though, was absolutely irresistable for obvious reasons:

The hi-fi club?

Tailpiece: regarding the wonderful Dorner DO335 I mentioned above, the story goes that at the end of the Second World War, when the Americans were gathering as much advanced German technology as they could under "Operation Paperclip" a captured DO335 was flown from Germany to Cherbourg for onward shipping to the US. It was escorted by a pair of P51 Mustangs (no slowcoaches these). They didn't stand a chance: the DO335 arrived 45 minutes before them!

Modern: The exciting Dornier DO335

A bientôt

Friday, January 15, 2010

Evian les Bains

Last April I mentioned that I would soon be working in a garage at Evian les Bains, and so I am!

Evian is a very attractive town situated on the shore of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva for the English) and a very popular holiday destination, given the lake, the proximity of Switzerland (16km up the road) the excellent surrounding countryside - Le Chablais - and I mustn't omit to mention the superb cheese from Abondance which is not far from Evian.

Anyway, to get to the point, I am here at the garage ready to welcome Fulvia owners and offer a wide range of mechanical services. I rather hope that if you are a new or newish visitor to this blog, that you will take a little time to read my numerous articles here which should show you that my 28 years spent in the company of Lancias, and mostly Fulvias, have not been entirely spent in vain.

I must add that here we are also knowledgeable and capable on Morgans (which we offer for sale) and Land Rovers too.

A bientôt (j'éspère!)

News from the Land of the Free

Or in particular, the state of Arizona.

A report in the Daily Telegraph reveals that in Arizona, the citizens of the state are upholding fine American Republican Principles.

They are refusing to accept the installation and use of fixed speed cameras, which they have declared to be "unconstitutional".

I agree, they should be "unconstitutional in England too - and in France!

As far as I am aware, the speed camera was the second instance of a penalty being imposed without the right to plead mitigation (the parking ticket was, I suppose, the first).

A company called Redflex, which has installed the cameras, is apparently "under financial pressure" owing to widespread refusal to pay the fines. Good, I hope they go bankrupt in the biggest possible way - and soon!

A bientôt

Sod the Law!


New Internet Speed test

Music and Radio Blog Club

Radio Blog Club, a good friend for a while appears to be in some legislative difficulty...

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

Sadly my Playlist no longer works (hence its removal) thanks to the absurd "Hadopi" legislation in France. Apologies to all.