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Old 20-10-2015   #1
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more power for a pandora

hi all, am rather a newbie to the 900e scene, and while I love luigi (yeah, my funny little van has a name!) I wish I could get a better cruising speed from him. I reckon people on here have a few tips, sensible ones that don't involve hills and tail winds please!
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Old 21-10-2015   #2
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Re: more power for a pandora

I've been looking at trying to find what options are available to increase the cruising speed etc. of Connie as part of the restoration (all the vans have names, in case you hadn't noticed ).

My first thoughts were an engine and gearbox transplant, 35BHP is just about good for 50mph on the flat - any more than this and it all gets hot & bothered. Ideally I want to stick with Fiat running gear but something a bit younger and easier to get parts for.

So far I haven't had any luck finding examples of this work being done. Technically you could put any engine into the back if you have the skill (and money) but there doesn't appear to be any examples around. (Personally I'd want to keep with Fiat running gear.)

In the meantime I have loads more to do on the restoration, with a disc brake upgrade more important than engine performance - the 900T had drums all-round, and manually adjusted ones at that.
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Old 21-10-2015   #3
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Re: more power for a pandora

Thanks Gary,I teach motor vehicle so think I have the skills, just don't have the time to re_invent the wheel! Am hoping someone may have some engine tuning ideas as I have a couple of spare engines to play with. I had thought of transplant but short of beetles or imps I can't think of many rear engine/transaxle set ups. Talk of other fiat engines being back to front or spinning wrong way has left me a little dazed! Am happy with brakes, and as he will do 60 all day (the record being a dizzy 67 mph) maybe I should be satisfied but overtaking on motorways or long hills is an adventure!
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Old 21-10-2015   #4
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Re: more power for a pandora

As I own a classic 500 as well as the 900e I feel that I have plenty of experience of low powered vehicles, I guess that any upping of power will eventually be defeated by the handling. If it's anything like the 500 experience, part of the fun is driving well to make best use of the"performance ".
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Old 22-10-2015   #5
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Re: more power for a pandora

Many moons ago, there was a 900T van for sale on Ebay. I'd not had my van long and at the time it was the only one I'd seen for sale that wasn't a camper. It was purple, badly customised and a Tipo 1.4 engine in it!!!. The engine bay looked a right dog's breakfast...

Anyway it sold and not long after I checked the DVLA to see if it was taxed and it an 'export' marker against it...

It ended up in the Guy Moerenhoet collection in Belgium...

I have no idea if he still has it...here is a thread from 2007 about it...

http://forum.abarth-gmr.be/index.php/topic,2265.0.html

Another from 2009, this time with paint...

http://forum.abarth-gmr.be/index.php/topic,3363.0.html
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Last edited by Vin; 22-10-2015 at 12:41.
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Old 22-10-2015   #6
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Re: more power for a pandora

Hi
My first car was an Imp... I rebuilt the engine with twin carbs, race cam & 4 branch manifold etc. so this was a first thought (I still have a few of the specialist tools for the engine - 30+ years later) but Imps are just about as rare and I refuse to cannibalise any classic (regardless or make). By the way my Imp left my mates Mexico for dead up to 40mph

I think probably the easiest route is to try and get hold of an 850 Spider engine (if anyone can find one). The later ones were tuned to about 52bhp a whopping 17bhp more (50% improvement approx.). As Peter suggested, beyond this the amount of work that would be needed to improve the handling would probably get into silly territory!

Failing getting hold of a Spider engine one option would be to fit a 4 branch manifold (these appear to be easily obtainable). Once the gases can get out the next step would be to improve the breathing. I've been digging around to see what carb swaps are around but haven't found anything yet - anyone have any suggestions?

The chances are that once one of us on the forum find out how to do it we will all follow suit.

Hopefully someone will have worked it out before next Spring as that's when I'm expecting to put the engine back in Connie. I'm good at following a diagram and using a spanner but my mechanical knowledge stops short of knowing what can and can't be swapped with what.
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Old 23-10-2015   #7
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Re: more power for a pandora

Thanks guys, I forgot all bout the skodas but they probably just as rare as imps now. I too had an imp that gave Mexico a scare, stiletto engine in mine. I missed out on a spider engine couple months ago, outbid by 3 quid! Grrr! I have a four branch but need a twin choke and manifold to really get benefit I think.
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Old 29-10-2015   #8
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Re: more power for a pandora

for power upgrades look for anything 850 spider coupe, the drive train, engine and running gear are all the same and improve performace greatly, as ive said in previous posts ive done 4 branch manifold, twin choke webber, hi ratio gearbox, she floats along at around 3000 revs at around 50-60 and will reach te heady heights of 80-85 thrashing the hell out of her, the drum brakes are well on point to, after servicing the brake master splitter with new seals and all brake cylinders
the mot tester said the brakes were as good as any servo assisted brakes he tested
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Old 29-10-2015   #9
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Re: more power for a pandora

Hi
What twin choke weber did you fit? and does it need an adapter?
With the hi-ratio gearbox how does it handle the hills? Although the 900T is low on top end the current gearbox means that it will handle most gradients in third or second - very important as I intend to take a road trip back to Milan when Connie is back on the road (with a try out in Wales & Scotland, most probably pulling a small trailer).

I read your comment on the drum brakes with interest, I have a separate thread (here: https://www.fiatforum.com/850t-900/4...s-upgrade.html) trying to get information on upgrading the brakes. With the aim of hitting some mountains the brakes are an absolute must to sort out.

If everyone is okay with it how about keeping this thread for any engine improvements and the separate thread for brake improvements?

Cheers
Gary
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Old 31-10-2015   #10
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Re: more power for a pandora

a twin choke webber from a spider 850 coupe or sport comes with the manifold and fits straight on any 100bc engines as there identical, the most important thing is to fit the 4 branch manifold as well this opens the rev range up better she shoots up hills around 30-35 in 3rd and pulls great

1 really good tip when taking your van to milan, pay the congestion charge before you enter the centre of the city its only 5 euro but if you dont 5 or 6 months down the line a nice fine will drop on your mat for 80-120 euro (i know by experience ) bologne is the same as well

caio 4 now
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Old 01-11-2015   #11
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Re: more power for a pandora

further to previous post heres a twin choke webber on ebay.it
http://www.ebay.it/itm/FIAT-850-COUP...8AAOSwkNZUoFyD
this is identical to the one i fitted and also the same 4 branch i fitted
http://www.ebay.it/itm/MARMITTA-FIAT...4JIMAonAXrQ3rg
this will lift the rev range, then all you need is a gearbox upgrade and it will make you fly
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Old 03-11-2015   #12
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Re: more power for a pandora

I had a 900T in the 90's. I picked up an old 850 sport motor and transferred all the useful bits over.

Head, camshaft, sump, carb, exhaust.

Great for the mountains in New Zealand. The suspension and brakes were just fine.

Fit good quality dampers. A remote power booster would have been nice.
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Old 03-11-2015   #13
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Re: more power for a pandora

The deals are done and the parts on the way... should hopefully have the engine back in and running this side of Christmas. If nothing else the Abarth exhaust should make the sound a bit more interesting (and twin pipes out the back of a 900T will get a few people curious).

I'll keep on the look out for a high ratio gearbox but in the meantime will stick with the current one - the better carb and exhaust should bring the 0-60 time down a bit. It will be interesting to see where she tops out on the motorway! By the way, I seem to recall a 5th gear option and/or overdrive retrofit to the existing gearbox. Anyone know of this or was I just dreaming?

Sticking with the current drums all-round seems the way to go - parts are readily available but an upgrade to split circuit brakes (new master cylinder) is an absolute minimum. I'll reconsider a disc-brake upgrade and/or booster once they have had a full overhaul with all new parts etc.
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Old 09-11-2015   #14
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Re: more power for a pandora

Something I thought about but did not get around to doing. Will the 13in wheels from an 850 sport coupé fit. The larger size will drop the revs. Also check whether the car used a different diff ratio. I don't recall a 5th gear being an option.
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Last edited by Maigretnz; 09-11-2015 at 13:59.
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Old 10-11-2015   #15
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Re: more power for a pandora

I need to replace the wheels on Connie in any case, the current 12" wheels are so badly corroded I need to have inner tubes to keep the tyres inflated - not good.

I'm looking at moving up to 13" or 14" rims with lower profile tyres (to keep the rolling circumfrence the same and not having to have the spedo recalibrated). The lower profile tyres should take some of the bounce out of the ride as well - more choice of tyres as well.

The key thing is trying to find some wheels that are in good condition but still period looking. A set of 4 Wolfrace reconditioned alloys have just come up on Ebay for £350 but at that price I can get 5 brand new ones - just need to decide on the right style for the van.
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