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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

as I have been somewhat busy getting the thing back on the road since my roadtrip with it (see here) I thought I could keep you somewhat opdated about the things I did and still have to do to the car. After all you don't see too many of these in the 'lounge.

So, let's start:

The car was "given to me" back in 2000; it belonged to my sister's husband. It started to give him headaches a couple of years before and as he needed reliable car he bought a Lupo and put this one in his backyard. This all happened in Italy.

In 2007, while I was ther eon vacation I decided it was time to start looking after it. I found out that the engine was locked and that the interior was half gone (mostly the headliner and the seats), but I also found out that the body had no apparent (and hidden) rust. So I had a good restoration base.

I took the engine off the car and realized it was badly seized, water having corroded the cylinder liners and the pistons seemed glued to them.



This is the head:



And the block:



I took the whole mess with me to Luxembourg (where I lived back then) where I got the head redone, steel valve seats were also put in in order to use unleaded fuel without too much headaches.

Early in 2008 I had the time to go back to Italy where I took care of the brakes (new brake cylinders on all 4 wheels) and most importantly I installed the engine. During that summer new tyres, new clutch, gearbox oil and seals were changed. Then, late in 2008 I had the chance to go back to Italy for a couple of days so I got an insurance and some plates and did the trip described in the link above.

After the trip the engine was definitely done. The head surely is still useable, but the rockers and the block were in a bad shape even before I made the trip so I started looking for parts like pistons, rings, bearings etc. But these are hard to come by, it seems. So... I bought a brand-spanking new engine. Yes, such things exist! It seems to be made in Italy so maybe it is better than the original one. We'll see.





A new carburetor for the "beast":



The new engine in the engine bay (yes, that is a blue SAMCO hose... :laugh:):



Then, I wanted to register the car in Luxembourg. This didn't work, as I don't have the italian document with the car's technical data. Now, this shouldn't be too difficult to find (they have an archive after all) but there's no way I could have changed that thing. So plan B was activated: to register the car in germany. This means the car gets checked from top to bottom and a new technical data sheet gets made. This means also it must be in perfect working order, so the dampers and the belts and the seats (they didn't stay locked down anymore) must be perfect... No money meant this would take some time to be finished.

Dampers: Little problem as the rears on the "bis" (the watercooled one) has an "eye" and all the others (aircooled 126 and 500) have a threaded thingy coming out on the top and on the bottom. This meant I needed new rear trailing arms. I then ordered adjustable Koni Classics :D

On the front there wa sno such problem, but the steering knuckles had huge play, so a pair of refurbished ones was ordered. New upper control arms with new bushings were also installed.

The interior got a new, one-piece black carpet and the seats received new upholstery (quite easy to do, actually!)









I also repaired the small triangular window frames (rotted to death...) as well as the odometer. A new speedo cable was installed also because there's a stupid rubber grommet that seals the interior from the front luggage compartment and you can't change that if you don't change the cable too. New door seals were also installed and I sourced some good door cards (not shown) as well as two rear panels in black (you can see them above).

Now, the last time I had time to fiddle with it I realized it would only run on 1 cylinder (yeah+!) so I started looking up what this could be. It turns out I forgot to check valve play before installing the new engine. So this last weekend I had some spare time and I not only adjusted valve play but I also retorqued the head nuts (mandatory!). What an headache... but now the car starts quicker than my brick.





And the ride is definitely far less clunky than it was before. If I think about that long trip and the general condition of the car I do get scared sometimes... but god was it fun!

A radio will be installed, a rear window with functioning heating will be installed as well and then I think it should be ready for this "mean, mean" Tüv.

future plans:

-install left-side mirror (still don't know how I will manage to fix that one...)

-REGISTER IT ASAP.

-rebuild and tune the broken engine... a bit more displacement, more compression, a cam, maybe a nice double barrel Weber and lighter pistons and rods and a lightened flywheel as well should push the 27hp to something near 35-40hp. I would be satisfied.

-full body overhaul incl. new paint, but that one can wait.
 

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:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:

I have a coworker that has an orange 125 that he was always working on. Those are neat little cars. We always joked about getting 4 guys together to pick up the car and turn it 90* in his parking spot. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Seeping head gasket? Or did you have to disconnect something in the cooling system to get the valve cover off? I see some coolant dripping there...


Cool car, though! :thumbup:
Good eye. That's because I loosened the head nuts before retorqueing them... apparently you're supposed to do that after the engine has warmed really well after a head-gasket change :facepalm:

Thanks :beer:
 

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Oh man, I love this car. We used to have a few when we lived in Poland. My step-dad used to race a yellow one and had an additional white one just like yours tuned up with a sport cam and suspension and some internal work pushing what you are looking for about 40hp. It was a blast to drive. Really good job with fixing it up. I'm looking forward to more progress pictures.
 

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I love this thing!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Oh man, I love this car. We used to have a few when we lived in Poland. My step-dad used to race a yellow one and had an additional white one just like yours tuned up with a sport cam and suspension and some internal work pushing what you are looking for about 40hp. It was a blast to drive. Really good job with fixing it up. I'm looking forward to more progress pictures.
This is good to hear he got also 40hp out of it, because I'd love to make the car more powerful (haha). It's not really slow in city traffic as it is right now, but on cross crountry rides it can be a bit dangerous...
 

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Awesome, nice to see a 126 brought back from the grave (or morgue)

So where are you living now? Since you mentioned issues with engine swaps and registration?

Did you think about an old abarth 500 engine swap or at least components? Is there any similarity between the two engines?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Awesome, nice to see a 126 brought back from the grave (or morgue)

So where are you living now? Since you mentioned issues with engine swaps and registration?

Did you think about an old abarth 500 engine swap or at least components? Is there any similarity between the two engines?
Grazie! Right now I'm living in Germany. The problem here is that the Tüv wants a certificate that states the exhaust fumes of the car with a bike engine are at least as good than they were with the original engine. While I think it should be no problem achieving clean exhaust gasses I don't want to pay for this certificate as it would cost most definitely in the five figures. What I can do is install an engine that was already used in the car, but that's worth nothing with the bis as the bis was only available with this 0.7 liter engine... Were it an air-cooled one I could do whatever you want like going from 0.5 to 0.65 or more, as they existed from the factory back then.

Technically speaking, the water-cooled twin in the bis is based on the air-cooled twin found in the 500 Giardiniera, in fact both cars had their engines lying on the side and not standing like the normal 500 and 126. This allowed my car to have a small boot under the front bonnet and a slightly bigger boot over the engine at the rear. And with folding-down rear seats cargo space gets even bigger :eek: But neither for mine nor for the giardiniera there are specific tuning kits. What one could do is use the camshaft from a normal air-cooled engine and adapt a bigger carburator.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Update: Came back to Luxembourg yesterday evening and of course I had to fire it up. And as I hoped, after 2 tries it ran, and quite fine too. Now, as I tried to fire it up 9 hours later, nothing happened... :mad::confused::banghead: So I spent the whole day trying to figure out what is wrong with it...

The timing is set, I have sparks, the battery is no problem and there's fuel. What is not working now?? Grr......
 

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Good eye. That's because I loosened the head nuts before retorqueing them... apparently you're supposed to do that after the engine has warmed really well after a head-gasket change :facepalm:

Thanks :beer:
Stretch bolts. Had a similar experience when I replaced the headgasket on my 1.6 TD jetta. After 1k km, retorque the headbolts. Two of them (out of ten) I was able to spin 1/2 a turn before achieving the correct torque figure :eek: It fixed a small oil leak that was on the corner of the HG. They aren't re-usable either.

Cool little car BTW. How much does it weight?
 

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Yep, I think that's what they are called. It seems to not leak now... but I can't check that now as it doesn't run :D

It weights 620kg more or less, quite light so if I ever manage to get 30-40ish hp out of it it should be fun!

Btw: Your nickname represents my feelings towards the box quite well...! :laugh:
 

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Yep, I think that's what they are called. It seems to not leak now... but I can't check that now as it doesn't run :D

It weights 620kg more or less, quite light so if I ever manage to get 30-40ish hp out of it it should be fun!

Btw: Your nickname represents my feelings towards the box quite well...! :laugh:
Just a tad more than half the weight of my Accent :laugh: Should be fun to toss around!

My last car was a B3 Passat syncro with a bad 1.8t swap... it explains the nickname quite well :laugh: :facepalm:
 
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