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Old 04-08-2011   #1
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Fiat 850T (FARGO?) CAMPER ESTATE 1972

Hi everyone,

New to forum so please accept apologies if this is in the wrong place.

I've been very lucky to get my hands on a stunning 850T Campervan (1972) in what looks like very good condition.

She could do with a bit of minor TLC and I'm really struggling to get any info on her.

She is also missing a roof rack? (Picture of one on brochure on Flickr)

Can anyone help please?

Anyone out there who specialises/works on these?

Many thanks

Kes
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Old 04-08-2011   #2
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Re: Fiat 850T (FARGO?) CAMPER ESTATE 1972

Quote Originally Posted by ktravers View Post
Hi everyone,

New to forum so please accept apologies if this is in the wrong place.

I've been very lucky to get my hands on a stunning 850T Campervan (1972) in what looks like very good condition.

She could do with a bit of minor TLC and I'm really struggling to get any info on her.

She is also missing a roof rack? (Picture of one on brochure on Flickr)

Can anyone help please?

Anyone out there who specialises/works on these?

Many thanks

Kes
Used to work on these many moons ago, only thing that sticks in my mind are the brakes, the brake shoes are aluminium, with the lining bonded on, if i remember correctly when adjusted there has to be a 4mm minimum gap all round between shoe and drum, if at any point closer then because aluminium expands more than the cast drum when getting hot, they actually expand so much they lock the brakes up, and at 60mph, or even less is a very frightening experience, especially in the middle of the motorway and suddenly coming to a standstill. I have experienced this and is definately not recommended.

Good luck by the way
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Old 06-08-2011   #3
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Re: Fiat 850T (FARGO?) CAMPER ESTATE 1972

An 850T in good condition. Great find!

If you scour ebay bits occasionally come up. Some parts are easier to find than others. The bits you can't find you'll have to make.
Fortunately a roof rack should be pretty easy to make.
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Old 24-08-2011   #4
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Re: Fiat 850T (FARGO?) CAMPER ESTATE 1972

Thank you for the heads up on the brakes and Ebay. Looks like first job is to track down a new radiator. Oh, what I'd give for a parts manual!
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Old 25-08-2011   #5
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Re: Fiat 850T (FARGO?) CAMPER ESTATE 1972

Quote Originally Posted by ktravers View Post
Thank you for the heads up on the brakes and Ebay. Looks like first job is to track down a new radiator. Oh, what I'd give for a parts manual!
Bummer! I saw a radiator on eBay last night. It was a buy it now and I can't find it now when I trawl through, so I gues someone did.

What's wrong with the rad you've got?
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Old 25-08-2011   #6
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Re: Fiat 850T (FARGO?) CAMPER ESTATE 1972

Looks like it's partially blocked. I'm getting overheating pretty quickly even with the heater fully open. There is no thermostat, someone has removed it previously so the flow through the block should be constant. There is flow through the radiator and we've cleaned through several times. A compression test has also been completed which she passed with flying colours and only a few psi between cylinders difference. There is the option of refurbishing the radiator but who to do it and at what cost? Do you know any classic/ vintage fiat specialist down near worthing/Brighton area?
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Old 25-08-2011   #7
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Re: Fiat 850T (FARGO?) CAMPER ESTATE 1972

Hi, we have had a couple of these and miss having one! Have you cleaned the outside of the rad thoroughly? They clog up with oil and airflow is reduced. Another thought - there should be an airflow 'scoop' underneath the radiator to help manage airflow through the rad. If it's not there, it can cause overheating. I have a spare if you need one.

All the best

David
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Old 26-08-2011   #8
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Re: Fiat 850T (FARGO?) CAMPER ESTATE 1972

There is currently a parts manual on ebay.
I've had two of these now a regreted selling them before they've even left the street. Will I ever learn.
I've looked at loads of these and have never actually seen one with the roof rack fitted so I doubt you'll find on in useable condition.
You may be able to adapt a boot rack from an MX5 or MG midget.
Good luck with it, I'd love to see some photo's.
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Old 26-08-2011   #9
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Re: Fiat 850T (FARGO?) CAMPER ESTATE 1972

Quote Originally Posted by ktravers View Post
Looks like it's partially blocked. I'm getting overheating pretty quickly even with the heater fully open. There is no thermostat, someone has removed it previously so the flow through the block should be constant. There is flow through the radiator and we've cleaned through several times. A compression test has also been completed which she passed with flying colours and only a few psi between cylinders difference. There is the option of refurbishing the radiator but who to do it and at what cost? Do you know any classic/ vintage fiat specialist down near worthing/Brighton area?
I recently had this dilemma. Finding anyone to do this sort of work is getting difficult. If you can find someone with good recommendations then dive in or alternatively you could do it yourself.
Mine was partially blocked both in the cores and the vanes but structurally sound. So I got a plastic dustbin with lid for about 8, 2 bottles of caustic soda from boots for about a tenner, a pair of long chemical proof gloves and a pair of goggles from Screwfix 6. After 24 hours in the caustic and a good flushing with the hose the rad was down to bare metal inside and out.
The vanes and frame are steel so a coat of zinc primer and a black acrylic topcoat, voila! Like new.

As for the thermostat. Don't leave it out. The thermostat creates a restriction in the water flow that forces water round the farthest points of the engine. Without it the water will take the path of least resistance and bypass parts of the engine.

Other problems with the cooling can be caused by the panels and ducting.
Is the engine bay undertray in tact and the scoop under the radiator where the hot air exits? I just had to make new ones for mine.


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Old 29-08-2011   #10
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Re: Fiat 850T (FARGO?) CAMPER ESTATE 1972

ive got a rad for a fiat 900t dont know how good it is i bought it in a job lot with 2 engines and other sunderies, looks a lill tatty but im sure it would clean up ok if your interested mail me and we can discuss a price, im rebuilding 1 engine having the valve seats redone cams regrouns and new shells, rings and small end bearings, the bores are smooth as silk, had a terrible time getting spares , needed new starter motor, which i got cheaper importing a brand new one from usa than buying from firm in uk, new rear shocks from great firm in linconshire, brake cylinders front and back and now ive found the brake master cylinder is duff as well, its a dual circuit cylinder system unlike normal 850 single circuit system and the rear brake part of the master cylinder the seals have gone, got fantastic front brakes but no rear ones if anyone has a lead on either a new dual circuit master cylinder or revision kit with all the seals in it would be much appriciated.

sorry didnt mean to hyjack your thread
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Old 30-08-2011   #11
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Re: Fiat 850T (FARGO?) CAMPER ESTATE 1972

Quote Originally Posted by aquamarine View Post
Hi, we have had a couple of these and miss having one! Have you cleaned the outside of the rad thoroughly? They clog up with oil and airflow is reduced. Another thought - there should be an airflow 'scoop' underneath the radiator to help manage airflow through the rad. If it's not there, it can cause overheating. I have a spare if you need one.

All the best

David
Good evening David,

I've not cleaned the radiator yet and I didn't notice a scoop. I'll check tomorrow morning and report back.

Many thanks

Kes
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Old 30-08-2011   #12
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Re: Fiat 850T (FARGO?) CAMPER ESTATE 1972

Quote Originally Posted by Badget View Post
There is currently a parts manual on ebay.
I've had two of these now a regreted selling them before they've even left the street. Will I ever learn.
I've looked at loads of these and have never actually seen one with the roof rack fitted so I doubt you'll find on in useable condition.
You may be able to adapt a boot rack from an MX5 or MG midget.
Good luck with it, I'd love to see some photo's.
Many thanks for the info. I've tried to find other examples on the internet without much success! Am I looking in the wrong places? I'll upload photos as soon as I've figured out how.

Kind regards

Kes
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Old 30-08-2011   #13
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Re: Fiat 850T (FARGO?) CAMPER ESTATE 1972

Quote Originally Posted by phate316 View Post
ive got a rad for a fiat 900t dont know how good it is i bought it in a job lot with 2 engines and other sunderies, looks a lill tatty but im sure it would clean up ok if your interested mail me and we can discuss a price, im rebuilding 1 engine having the valve seats redone cams regrouns and new shells, rings and small end bearings, the bores are smooth as silk, had a terrible time getting spares , needed new starter motor, which i got cheaper importing a brand new one from usa than buying from firm in uk, new rear shocks from great firm in linconshire, brake cylinders front and back and now ive found the brake master cylinder is duff as well, its a dual circuit cylinder system unlike normal 850 single circuit system and the rear brake part of the master cylinder the seals have gone, got fantastic front brakes but no rear ones if anyone has a lead on either a new dual circuit master cylinder or revision kit with all the seals in it would be much appriciated.

sorry didnt mean to hyjack your thread
Hello,

Many thanks for the information. I've just got a Haynes manual for these, but it looks like the vans were based on the 850 saloon that went out in 1970. I'm not sure if your rad would fit, but if it does I would be intersted.

Any chance you could share your contact info for parts please? i.e the USA and Linconshire company?

Are you also rebuilding a 1970's Fiat van or campervan?

I'm afraid I'm not your man reference the brake info your looking for but I'm sure someone out there does. This is an amazing forum. Don't think its a hyjack if it all relates to this type of vehicle.
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Old 30-08-2011   #14
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Re: Fiat 850T (FARGO?) CAMPER ESTATE 1972

Quote Originally Posted by spannerdude View Post
I recently had this dilemma. Finding anyone to do this sort of work is getting difficult. If you can find someone with good recommendations then dive in or alternatively you could do it yourself.
Mine was partially blocked both in the cores and the vanes but structurally sound. So I got a plastic dustbin with lid for about 8, 2 bottles of caustic soda from boots for about a tenner, a pair of long chemical proof gloves and a pair of goggles from Screwfix 6. After 24 hours in the caustic and a good flushing with the hose the rad was down to bare metal inside and out.
The vanes and frame are steel so a coat of zinc primer and a black acrylic topcoat, voila! Like new.

As for the thermostat. Don't leave it out. The thermostat creates a restriction in the water flow that forces water round the farthest points of the engine. Without it the water will take the path of least resistance and bypass parts of the engine.

Other problems with the cooling can be caused by the panels and ducting.
Is the engine bay undertray in tact and the scoop under the radiator where the hot air exits? I just had to make new ones for mine.


Good evening,

Many many thanks for the info.

I'm going to give the radiator refurb a go.

I've just read in the Haynes manual that the coolant system relies also on being pressurised to allow the engine to run at just under boiling temperature of water. I wonder why the thermostat was removed? On the hunt for a new one. I've also noticed the spring on the radiator cap is very weak so worth replacing this also?

I'll check for the scoop tomorrow, but the tray is missing. Fancy doing mine?

Is the engine tray to minimise splash back from the road? I've seen one fitted on a 900 campervan just down the road from me.

All the best

Kes
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Old 30-08-2011   #15
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Re: Fiat 850T (FARGO?) CAMPER ESTATE 1972

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