La Bella Ferrara - 20 year project getting closer

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nelsonj
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Your car is a: 1972 Spider 124

Re: Head replacement update

Postby nelsonj » Sun Jul 15, 2012 2:43 am

Well, update time...
I put about 150miles on the car, and then I inspected the timing belt. Recall I "cut" my cover, so I can easily take off the top half and get a good view of the t-belt. I noticed that all the teeth on the belt had a scrape/cut about 1/4 inch from the edge of the belt. When I rebuilt the head, I changed out the gears on my cams, but Ieft the Aux and Crank gears in place, basically because I did not want to take off the crank nut after reading about what pain removing it can be. Anyway, after seeing marks on a brand new belt, I decided I would have to change out the Aux and Crank gear since one of them was gashing up my belts.

So, today I removed not 1, but 2 crank nuts. The first from my parts car to get a metal Aux gear (Bella had a worn plastic gear) and the second on Bella to change out the aux gear and the crank gear.

Crank nut 1 went smoothly. I blocked the tires, put the car in 5th, and had my dad step on the breaks. I then used a breaker bar with a 5.5 ft extension, rocked it a few times, and the nut came right off. Much easier than I expected...here is the breaker bar (a chainlink fence post) that I used. I put it next to a boogie board for scale.

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With the nut off and the aux gear in hand, it was time to try the same routine on Bella - the first one was soooo easy. Not so for Bella. I used the same set up, but the nut would not come off. I tried and tried for about an hour - nothing. Leverage was not an issue, rather I concluded the clutch was slipping and the nut was not moving.

Next, I pulled out my Harbor Freight chain wrench. What a piece of garbage. First, the square hole was too small to properly fit my breaker, second, the chain was too small to go around the pulley. I gave up on using the chain after about 30 mins...

Leverage was not working, and I didn't have a functional chain wrench. I decided either I would have to 1) rent an impact wrench, or 2) attempt the dreaded "rope in the cylinder" trick. After much angst, I decided to go for the rope. First, I do not recommend this trick. If you do it wrong, you will bend your valves, and I just got done replacing the head because I bent all the valves... but here is what I did.

How To Remove your Crank Nut with the Rope in the Cylinder Trick.

1) Make sure your timing belt is on.
2) Rotate the crank so the crank timing mark is at 0 deg BTDC and the intake and exhaust cams are on their timing marks
3) Remove your distributor cap and make sure the rotor is pointing near/contacting cylinder plug #4
4) Ok, as I understand this, the engine is now set up so that #4 just finished compression and is waiting for a spark. It will then continue down in the power stroke. Thus, the full time during the up compression stroke and the full time in the down power stroke, the valves are completely closed. Thus it should be safe to do the rope trick on #4.
5) Remove your spark plug on #4. I then put a McDonalds straw in the spark plug hole to confirm #4 is TDC. Leave the straw in for step 6.
6) Rotate your crank clockwise (when viewing the engine straight on, this is the normal direction of engine rotation) until #4 drops to bottom dead center (BDC). Watch the straw. It will drop down while you crank the engine. When it stops moving down, you are at BDC.
7) Remove the straw, and then slowly feed in thin rope into #4 through the spark plug hole. Keep feeding in the rope until you "fill" the cylinder. Just keep feeding it until it doesn't want to take anymore rope.
8) Now slowly rotate the engine COUNTER CLOCKWISE (the opposite direction of normal rotation). Keep an eye on the timing marks on the crank and the cams. The rope should compress and then the engine should stop. It has to stop before #4 makes its way back to TDC or you did something wrong and you need to start over.
9) Once the engine gets hard to turn COUNTER CLOCKWISE, attach your breaker bar, and continue pushing counter clockwise to remove your crank nut. Mine made a loud "SNAP" sound, and I wasn't sure if I broke a tool or if the nut came loose. Fortunately, it was just the nut breaking loose with a loud noise. The crank nut is pictured below.

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Ok - the rope trick worked, but I won't be 100% sure I didn't damage my engine until after I fire up Bella next week (waiting for parts...) Again, I don't recommend the rope method - if you do it wrong and bend valves, you are in for a major repair/project.

Ok, just when I thought things were going well, I could NOT get my Aux shaft bolt off. With the timing belt on, all the other cam bolts just cam off. This Aux bolt WOULD not budge, and as I tried to get it off, the gear would turn right through the teeth of the timing belt (i.e. slip through the teeth). I eventually took the t-belt off, and finally wrapped my lousy chain wrench around the Aux gear,(after hammering in a socket extension), and then I used a ratchet and my 5.5ft extension and FINALLY, the bolt came off. What a pain - I expect this to take 5 mins and instead I spent almost 2 hours.

Here is the final product with the crank shaft naked and cleaned...

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And this is the what it looks like all aligned at TDC after installing the seal and the crank gear:
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Notice how the dot on the crank gear aligns with the mark/line on the engine.

The crank gear was in rough shape. It had several issues, including a sharp blemish. I am pretty sure this gear was the culprit in damaging my brand new t-belt.

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Anyway, I am waiting for aux and crank seals, new crank gear and a new t-belt to arrive. Hopefully early next week. Until then Bella will have to wait patiently. Hopefully now that I have new (or used) metal gears on both cams, the aux shaft and the crank shaft, I can finally stop worrying about t-belt issues for at least 20,000 miles.

Stay tuned.
Last edited by nelsonj on Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:06 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Simi Valley, California
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RRoller123
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Re: La Bella Ferrara - 20 year project getting closer

Postby RRoller123 » Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:54 am

I had the same problem with the HF chain wrench, it is just a little too short. You can buy a second one and link the chains together, as the links remove easily with pliers. Since they are so cheap it is no big deal cost wise. My local NAPA wanted $45 (!!) for basically the same wrench that I think I paid $5.99 for at HF, so after 2 of them, still inexpensive.
'80 FI Spider 2000 (rolling "resto")
'74 X1/9 (many years ago)
'79 X1/9 (fewer years ago)
'86 Jaguar XJ6 (2nd Hobby Car)
2011 Chevy Malibu (daily driver)
2010 Chevy Silverado 2500HD Ext Cab 4WD/SB
2015 Keystone Montana High Country 343RL

brandonjayy
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Re: La Bella Ferrara - 20 year project getting closer

Postby brandonjayy » Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:02 am

can i get a paint code off that color by any chance? that's the perfect midnight blue i was looking for, for a mustang i'm working on :D

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nelsonj
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Your car is a: 1972 Spider 124

Re: La Bella Ferrara - crank and aux seals installed

Postby nelsonj » Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:39 pm

Update:
I finished installing both seals (Aux and Crank)yesterday.

Aux Seal: After cleaning the location, I used my 1 1/2 socket to "tap" the seal in to place. It was pretty direct - hopefully I did not pound it in too hard.
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The crank seal was a bit harder. I could not get my 1 1/2 socket on it because the crankshaft was in the way. At first I tried to use the old crank gear, big part first, as a tool to install it. I put the seal in, then the crank gear, then I used my socket to hammer on the crank gear. This sort of worked, but I was afraid I might get the gear stuck on the crank shaft so I stopped and removed the gear. Instead, I took an old bolt and put the head of the bolt on the seal. I then tapped the exposed side of the bolt with a hammer and worked my way around the seal until it seemed fully set in. This seemed to work.

Hear is the crank seal from the top:
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I then put on the new crank gear. They originally shipped the wrong gear (the one with the small lip) and the correct gear did not arrive until late yesterday. I used my 1 1/2 socket and a hammer to help move the gear down the crank shaft, through the seal, and then to the fully installed position on the crank shaft. Since my gear has a long "lip", the seal seals on the gear, rather than on the crank shaft. Once the gear is fully in place, the teeth of the gear do not contact the outer metal part of the seal, rather the gear is spaced back about 1/16 inch away from the metal of the seal.

Here it is properly timed. You can see how the "dot" on the gear lines up with the "line" on the cover.


Then I installed the Aux gear. Hear is a picture with everything in place.

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Ok - hopefully once I get the car running these will properly seal and no oil will leak from the crank or Aux shafts.

Also, I wanted to figure out the correct "pointing" of my Aux gear. Both my repair books say "34 degrees from straight up". So, I got out a protractor to gauge it. Straight up is 90 degrees, plus 34 = 124 degrees. That means you need to point the Aux shaft to near the outer edge of the washer on the bolt the tensioner spring mounts on. That is point the timing marks at the "spring mounting bolt" and then rotate it clockwise so it point almost to the edge of the washer on that bolt.

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Also, I changed the gearbox oil. I ordered two quarts of GL-1 transmission oil from Vick's. This stuff is really thick at room temperature. I purchased a cheap pump from Autozone and it was a great way to transfer the oil from the bottle to the transmission. I read a tip here to always remove the fill plug before draining the oil. If you drain the oil and can't get the fill plug off to add oil, you are in a world of hurt. I thought that was a great tip worth sharing especially because I had a lot of trouble getting the 17mm fill plug off!

I can't put the car back together yet because I was sent the wrong timing belt! The 1800 hundred engine in my car has a belt with 146 teeth, whereas the 2L engines are larger and have a belt with 148 teeth. I got shipped a 148 tooth belt (even though I was CLEAR it was for a 1800...) Good thing I noticed the belt was too long before the install. Anyway, I expected to be running this weekend (Saturday afternoon actually...) , but the new belt won't arrive until tomorrow at the earliest. Still, things are going very smoothly overall.

There are more photos and discussion on the crank gear/seals here:
http://www.fiatspider.com/f08/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=19491
Last edited by nelsonj on Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:03 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Simi Valley, California
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divace73
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Your car is a: 1980 Fiat 124 Spider Silver
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Re: La Bella Ferrara - 20 year project getting closer

Postby divace73 » Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:15 pm

just a quick note on the crank nut removal
there is another method that worked a treat with me even though I was skeptical to start with.

use the starter motor, I had all sorts of issues with removing my nut, I didn't have the chain handy and the wheels just wouldn't lock up enough, it actually spat the brick chocks I had in place.

I supported the socket with a piece of timber between the radiator bracket and the socket so it was snug in place and the placed the breaker bar on a chassis rail, with wood in between as not to damage the rail.

Held my breath and just one click and the nut came off effortlessly...

many ways to skin a cat...meow......
Cheers David
-=1980 silver Fiat 124 Spider=-
If you want to see pics of my car (and other random stuff) >>click here<< OR
see my >>You tube channel<<

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nelsonj
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Re: La Bella Ferrara - Baby is back....

Postby nelsonj » Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:56 am

Update: Bella is Back in business

Just got done with an hour test drive. Running great.

Yesterday I put everything back together with the new timing belt, and checked the torque on all my head bolts, and took just a quick drive, and it felt pretty lousy. I don't think I had the wire to the coil all they way plugged in. Today I timed it to 10 degrees advanced (timing was rock-solid with the light, no "jumping" around) , better tighten the alternator belt, double checked all my plug wires, and when for a drive. It felt fantastic!!!

29,600 miles on the speedo. Bella has a brand new timing belt, new tension bearing, new alt belt, new distributor cap and rotor, new crank gear, all metal cam and aux gears, new seals on the cams/aux/crank, new head gasket, new cam tower gaskets, new vapor separator gasket, new water-t gasket, new exhaust gasket, new intake gasket, new valves and valves seals, all valves shimmed, new gear reduction starter, coolant is new, oil change and gear oil change. I will try and tally the total cost of the job - a lot of parts and shipping. The head rebuild is the only thing I did not do so labor was free for the most part.

Anyway, I am very happy :). :) :) :) Tomorrow I will inspect the timing belt to make sure all is well. The plan is to take Bella to Santo this weekend to have new shocks and IAP performance springs installed. I will get pictures before and after.

What a great drive today! :P
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nelsonj
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Re: La Bella Ferrara - Head replacement tally

Postby nelsonj » Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:07 am

So I have put about 175 miles on the car since finishing the repairs and everything looks great. The new t-belt is looking good, so it was worth the effort to replace the Aux and crank gears. Car drives great, and my new starter just rocks - I highly recommend the gear reduction starter. On my drive today I don't think the car's temp ever got hot enough to start the fan. It is running very smoothly and cool.

Here is the approximate dollar damage, not counting the $100 or so of new tools I bought to tackle the job. Looks like just shy of $1000, but again I did all the work except for the head rebuild, and got the cam and aux gears off of my parts car. My guess is I would've spent an extra $1000 if I paid someone to do all the work....


Starter 225
Head rebuild 280
Gasket set 40
Air plugs 23
Intake valves 33
Exhaust valves 29
2 Timing belts 32
Tension bearng 44
2 Dist cap 32
2 Rotars 12
2 Quarts GL-1 16
Oil 14
Oil filter 7
Bolts 10
Fan belt 8
Heater air tube 9
Degrease 15
Crank gear 15
Keepers (8 sets) 20
Shipping 55
Vacuum plugs 8
Crank seal 6
Aux seal 5
gloves 10

Total $948

Oh well, I tried to keep costs down, but even so this turned out to be a bit more expensive than I expected. This doesn't count the parts I didn't use and plan to return, and I am sure I forgot some things. I needed two timing belts because of crank gear damage done to the first belt. I also trashed my first rotor and dist cap because I didn't set/tighten things correctly and had to replace them both :( .

I hope people find these posts useful if they ever have to tackle a similar job.
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Exit98
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Re: La Bella Ferrara - 20 year project getting closer

Postby Exit98 » Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:36 am

Nelson,

Thanks for taking the time to document all your work. Your posts will be a big help to many of us in the future.

Car looks great. You are going to love it with the new springs and shocks.
Doug
76 Yellow Spider at the Jersey Shore

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nelsonj
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Re: La Bella Ferrara - Spings and Shocks installed

Postby nelsonj » Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:45 am

Well after ordering springs and shocks many, many months ago, I finally got them installed today. I will post more pictures and details later, but here is the bottom line:

1) Springs from IAP - red performance springs
2) Shocks from Amazon, KBY same models sold by IAP
3) Springs dropped the front and the back about 1 inch (exactly as advertised by IAP...)
I measured the before and after from the ground to the bottom of the fender flare on the wheel well.

Front Before - about 24 1/4"
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Front After - about 23 1/4"
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Rear Before -about 24 3/4"
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Rear After - about 23 3/4"
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I'll try to get pictures of the car on level ground up sooner or later. It is noticeable, but not dramatic. The ride is a lot stiffer than before, but not teeth-breaking harsh. I did take a freeway on-ramp pretty hard and the car handled it much better than before.
Last edited by nelsonj on Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Simi Valley, California
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rontron2012
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Re: La Bella Ferrara - 20 year project getting closer

Postby rontron2012 » Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:55 am

great job ........but I'm a street rodder myself
ron tron

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nelsonj
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Re: La Bella Ferrara - pics with new springs

Postby nelsonj » Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:26 am

Hi all,
Went for a drive this AM. Headed out 5N to 14 to Vasquez rocks. Very famous movie shoot location, but I will always remember it for the original Star Trek episode "The Arena". Anyway, you can see the height of the new ride, about an inch lower than before.

Car drives great with the new gear on it. Not too stiff, not too low to drive or where it looks modded, but it just handles very well. Breaks a lot better too - I would recommend this for someone that needed to change their shocks.


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Next project....get the glass on my clock cleared up...
Last edited by nelsonj on Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:13 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Simi Valley, California
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RRoller123
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Re: La Bella Ferrara - 20 year project getting closer

Postby RRoller123 » Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:27 am

Lookin good!
'80 FI Spider 2000 (rolling "resto")
'74 X1/9 (many years ago)
'79 X1/9 (fewer years ago)
'86 Jaguar XJ6 (2nd Hobby Car)
2011 Chevy Malibu (daily driver)
2010 Chevy Silverado 2500HD Ext Cab 4WD/SB
2015 Keystone Montana High Country 343RL

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nelsonj
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Re: La Bella Ferrara - new clock glass!

Postby nelsonj » Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:15 am

Hurray - I finally fixed my clock glass.

Well, I started with a broken donor clock that had clear glass. I used a small screw driver to pry back the aluminum ring. Very slowly all the way around. Then I used a slightly larger screw driver and repeated the process, and then removed the outer ring. I then took the clock apart to try to get to the gear behind the "set knob". But, I broke the tip of the setting stem off in the process. :( Good thing this was a broken donor clock. Anyway I was able to slide the glass off.

Here is a picture of the clocks innards.
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I then repeated the same process with my working clock to get the glass out. However, the internal design of my working clock was different. I was able to remove a very tiny retaining washers, and then remove the setting pin, and then remove the glass. Here is a picture of the old glass.

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I swapped the cloudy glass for the clear, and then re-assembled my good clock. However, I was not able to get the tiny retaining washer back on the setting pin. However, it did not seem to impact the clock at all, so I think I am ok.

And finally - my new glass!!!

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wow - it makes the dash look new, but now my other gauges look old. Oh well - my clock is cool at least.
Last edited by nelsonj on Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:13 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Simi Valley, California
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nelsonj
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Re: La Bella Ferrara - New Distributor is on the way

Postby nelsonj » Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:46 pm

Hey all...
Well with my clock glass addressed, I needed a new project so I decided to experiment with replacing my distributor with this from Vick's:

http://www.vickauto.com/newstore/index. ... ts_id=3514

The car drives pretty good now, why replace my dizzy?
1)Well, even after many attempts at repair, my dizzy still frequently sticks too far advanced when I slow down to idle. I can usually correct this by forcefully tapping the gas, but I don't like it doing this.
2) I thought it was my vacuum advance, so I disconnected it. That did help meaning my vacuum (retard actually as I understand it) did have some issues also. A vacuum advance is sort of pricey and I am not sure I can get it installed properly. Plus, it seems like I get worse gas mileage without the vacuum working properly.
3)I upgraded to electronic ignition years and years ago (I have an original 1979 Brava dizzy and coil - I have replaced the igniter) but I have been concerned about running with a coil that old (even though it seems to work fine right now), and a direct replacement coil is sort of pricey.
4) I run without an exhaust heat shield, and even if I replace the vacuum, I expect the exhaust heat to shorten its life.
5) Even if I replace the vacuum, and perhaps just replace the advance springs (that might fix the advance stick issue), I still have a worn dizzy and a senior citizen coil...

So I decided to go this way because
1) I get brand new everything (dizzy, coil, vacuum, igniter, wiring) for not much more than just buying the parts to keep my old girl going.
2) I can RELOCATE the dizzy to the intake side of the engine and get it away from all the exhaust heat. This just seems to make sense to me as a better location overall. This was the original location on older models, and I understand European models never moved it to the exhaust side.
3) I still have an entire working backup system (or can sell it) if I don't like it or if it breaks.

Now, there are some issues that gave me pause:
1)While brand new, the dizzy is from a Lada. Some claim that Lada parts make Fiat quality look like Toyota in comparison. I will have to see how the quality compares.
2) The new dizzy comes with two different spacers, so I will have to experiment to get the proper fit.
3) I will have to "modify" the plug currently in the engine block to make it short enough to plug the cam hole when I remove the original dizzy.
4) None of our usual vendors carries caps or rotors for this dizzy (or igniter or wiring). I looked online and found many vendor that carried parts for the Lada dizzy, but still it will be extra work (and perhaps time and money) to get these parts down the road.

I plan to take a lot of picture of the parts and the replacement and will post the process and how things turn out.

Wish me luck!
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nelsonj
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La Bella Ferrara - Lada Distributor Project underway

Postby nelsonj » Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:42 am

I received the parts earlier this week from Vicks. In this post I just talk about the parts and the initial fitting. I don't have it wired up and working yet - I will post again when I get to that point.

The kit included:
Distributor (complete with rotor and cap)
Two different spacers/adapters
Igniter mounted on its own heat sink
Coil igniter wiring harness
Bosch coil
Mounting bracket for the coil
Two gaskets

(note the pictures are too "big" for this board, sooner or later I will shrink them and repost, I just don't feel like taking all that time right now)

Here it the full set up:
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First impression:
The main parts look Russian made. The cosmetic quality looks bad, but the gear seems solid, heavy and somewhat tank-like. The wiring harness seems like it is from the 70's and overbuilt, but I consider that a good thing.

It came with NO instructions save the photo below (not much help to me...). I sure am glad I chatted over the phone so I have some idea of what I need to do, but I have no idea how the wiring works at this stage.

The instructions:

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The distributor:
The casting is marked in Russian and while it looks solid, cosmetically it looks, well, like something the Russians would make.
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With the cap on, the unit measures about 14 inches. And it has a small gear on the end that will drop in to the oil pump (gear here, pictures of the engine later...)

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Gear tip:
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The distributor cap looks rock-solid and well made. Cosmetically, much nicer than the main casting:
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The cap is held on by two "clips". I like the idea, and it feels solid, but time will tell how durable the set up is. I popped off the cap to look at the rotor, and to my surprise, it only has one screw. It looks like one is missing, and I will try to find a fit before install.
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The igniter looked like it had been poorly painted black. Almost like this was a recycled heatsink. Hopefully the electronics are new, because right now I don't have a source for a replacement. :(
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The vacuum advance looks new, but again the cosmetics look sub-par. Hopefully it functions better than it looks.
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The coil is a made-in-Brazil Bosch. They said they were out of the normal coil, so this may be an "upgrade" over the standard package. Coil number 0 221 199 027 (if that means anything). It measures 8.08k Ohms from the center to either side terminal, and 3.2 Ohms between the two side terminals. The devices is about 6 inches tall.
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It came with two spacers (the shaft is too long for it to drop in and seal properly. After some trial and error, I determined my engine requires the shorter spacer.
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Test for Initial fit:
The unit mounts on the intake side of the engine near the alternator. You have to remove one bolt and take out a long "plug". I was surprised at how easy this was - I just lifted the plug out with my fingers. With the plug removed, you can see the oil pump, and sure enough there is a chamber that mates perfectly with the distributor shaft. Here is a picture of that chamber after removing the plug.


I set the engine to what I thought was TDC (by putting the car in 5th gear and pushing it while watching the timing marks) but I was off by 180 degrees (so I am setting it up for cylinder #1 instead of #4). I dropped it in, and again to my surprise, the thing fits perfectly - there is not much room in there but it fits just right and even allows me to put my stock 72 air filter cover on (and the intake nozzle fits right over the dizzy cap).

Here is a picture with the cap off. You can see how it barely clears the intake manifold, and the mounting bracket for the alternator. I can rotate it to time it, but there really is not much room - a perfect fit.
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PROBLEM ALERT: The original "plug" over this hole was held in place by a clamp (similar to that used to adjust the timing on the standard dizzy.) However, since the corresponding narrow portion of the new dizzy sits several inches higher than the original plug, the clamp cannot reach, and the dizzy cannot be held in place, or tensioned to hold timing. I haven't solved this problem yet, and the dizzy is worthless until this problem is solved. I am in the process of making a stud "extension" (The JB weld is drying as I type on a four nut "female extension") but I may have to fabricate a different clamp, or try and remove the original stud and replace it with a longer one (and I have no idea where I will find that part - Lowe's sure doesn't carry it...) Vick's never mentioned this issue.

Oh well, I will keep people posted. But until I work out a reliable clamp, and until I get instructions (in English) on how to hook up the wiring, I can't move forward. Stay tuned...


UPDATE 12/17/2012:
Talked with Vick's today and all good news.
1) They e-mailed my the install instructions.
2) The forgot to include a longer stud for the instal and will ship me the part today. So, my JB weld work likely won't go into commission
3) The were surprised to hear about the missing screw and are sending me one also today.

So, a bit of delay but things are looking good at this stage.
Last edited by nelsonj on Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Simi Valley, California
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