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Old 1 Week Ago   #1
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Building A Panda 4x4 offroader

Dear Fiat Forum folks , Panda folks ,

Ah early twenties in 90's and I had a Ducati 916 and a Fiat Panda 750 .... One of the best cars I have ever had and one of the few I sold losing no money on ! I did loads in that fabulous little car 😎 ..... Things have moved on . A friend of mine has bought a LandRover Discovery TDi Auto , which has been converted for proper offroading and I am hoping to have a go in it . I would like to get something to have some fun with my daughters but for my Fiat Multipla to tow ( 1300kg braked GTW ) I would need something light like a Suzuki SJ but then I remembered Fiat made 4x4 Pandas ! Can anyone please help with general advice about how best to go about getting a Fiat Panda 4x4 for modifying for some proper off road fun please ?
Many thanks - Kevin B'ham
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Old 1 Week Ago   #2
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Re: Building A Panda 4x4 offroader

Quote Originally Posted by Ruote4kcg View Post
Dear Fiat Forum folks , Panda folks ,

Ah early twenties in 90's and I had a Ducati 916 and a Fiat Panda 750 .... One of the best cars I have ever had and one of the few I sold losing no money on ! I did loads in that fabulous little car ..... Things have moved on . A friend of mine has bought a LandRover Discovery TDi Auto , which has been converted for proper offroading and I am hoping to have a go in it . I would like to get something to have some fun with my daughters but for my Fiat Multipla to tow ( 1300kg braked GTW ) I would need something light like a Suzuki SJ but then I remembered Fiat made 4x4 Pandas ! Can anyone please help with general advice about how best to go about getting a Fiat Panda 4x4 for modifying for some proper off road fun please ?
Many thanks - Kevin B'ham
Part of your problem could be 4x4 mk1 pandas are so rare now their prices are silly even if you can find one.

Better chance of finding an old Suzuki sj
Plus much better parts supply for the sj

Good luck
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Old 1 Week Ago   #3
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Re: Building A Panda 4x4 offroader

no ground clearance.

Bigger tyres don't fit in the wheel arches

weak centre bearing


nothing that can't be sorted. I know someone that took an scooby estate cut the centre out welded it back together fabricated new suspension and roll cage.


I admire people that go their own way but unless you have the equipment, skills and knowledge or access to a workshop to fabricate you own parts going a more trodden path will work out better in the long run
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Old 1 Week Ago   #4
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Re: Building A Panda 4x4 offroader

To be fair, if youíre not planning any serious mountaineering it deep wading you can probably have a lot of fun in a fairly standard 4x4 panda circa 2006/7 with some mud tyres and maybe a slight suspension lift to give a little more clearance in deeper ruts.

Having seen many a video of journalist pitching a standard panda 4x4 against a Range Rover or Land Rover even a Porsche Cayenne at one point, the panda does very well, the size and weight means it bounces over mud that something bigger would sink in. If youíre towing it to a venue and it gets broken tow it home and fix it the next weekend so no really inconvenience if you still have another car.

Iíd love a 1.3 diesel panda 4x4 in my mind the extra torque and power makes it the ideal engine, but sadly the prices for a diesel panda 4x4 can still be quite steep if all you plan to do it abuse it.

Facebook market place might be a good place to start as prices can sometimes been surprisingly cheap.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #5
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Re: Building A Panda 4x4 offroader

I would have bought a 4x4 panda with the 1.3MJ engine, though the Qubo is for me a much more sensible and affordable choice for a normal road car. The panda was a fun test drive....

However things are moving forward for the off road world and I browse the Internet every now and then for electric rear axles (or actually wheel motors fitted more conventional axles) ready for the hobby market where you can take any front wheel drive car or more likely van platform and put electric rear wheels on it. In a van the battery block could sling underneath or more likely under a false floor if you want the ground clearance.
From my sensible engineering background there are a number of issues with how badly someone might do this and why the heck would you let them...... but with professional suppliers and using appropriate test authorities (as they do for home made cars already) it must be possible to make it both affordable and practical. Could really have some fun with that, and do some interesting drive control theory... And also hybrid on the road. Couldn't yet do it on a budget, but since when has that stopped a committed enthusiast!
2 of my friends have built kit cars and had them VOSA inspected, this would be easier and safer to drive , frankly.
The practical issues are part of the fun....
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Old 1 Week Ago   #6
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Re: Building A Panda 4x4 offroader

If you want to go all out special cars take a look at the WIlliam Towns Hustler series from the 1980s. They were based initially on the old Mini (and looked really weird) but later Metro got the balance right and he even built a supersize version with Jag running gear.


The idea would work well with Panda parts and subframes even 4x4 frames at the back. The big issue with modern cars is the wiring. The 169 Panda is a hotch-potch that's evolved (check under the engine bay fuse box for a tangle of wires. Maybe Fiat improved on later cars.


Early versions looked out of proportion but the Huntsman and Highlander seemed about right. Its a steel top frame that carries windows and a similar underframe that carries engine and suspension. Floor pan and panels were fibre glass.

This one made £11,500 at Bonhams.
https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/21902/lot/418/
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Old 1 Week Ago   #7
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Re: Building A Panda 4x4 offroader

take a look here

https://www.fiatforum.com/panda/4504...re-size-2.html


a couple of cm isn't a lot to play with.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #8
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Re: Building A Panda 4x4 offroader

A 4x4 needs air springs.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #9
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Quote Originally Posted by DaveMcT View Post
A 4x4 needs air springs.
68 years of series and defender landrovers would beg to differ.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #10
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Re: Building A Panda 4x4 offroader

Quote Originally Posted by AndyRKett View Post
68 years of series and defender landrovers would beg to differ.
True. There is that

I was thinking a not quite as capable 4x4 like the Panda would be better with air springs. After all the Landy improved a lot when they went to coils. Range Rovers started with coils and seem to like the bouncy air stuff.
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Last edited by DaveMcT; 1 Week Ago at 20:33.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #11
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Quote Originally Posted by DaveMcT View Post
True. There is that

I was thinking a not quite as capable 4x4 like the Panda would be better with air springs. After all the Landy improved a lot when they went to coils. Range Rovers started with coils and seem to like the bouncy air stuff.
They only put air on the Range Rover to up the luxury game, and also it gives the option of adjustable ride height for looking cool in your low Range Rover on a Saturday night versus riding over ploughed field on the Monday morning. If you just want to drive on the field you donít really need the different settings for height.

The coil sprung 86 Range Rover I had didnít even have anti roll bars, going round a corner was scary but incredibly good on mud.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #12
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Re: Building A Panda 4x4 offroader

I get that but the Panda with it's already low clearance would be nice if you could pump it up and down as needed. The snag is finding a system that doesn't do all sorts of custom car silly stuff and cost a fortune. Lo-Med-Hi. Job done.

I had a pair of Monroe Air Ride (IIRC) shocks on a kit car. They allowed me to use just the top leaf of the cart springs and add the rest with the air. I needed solenoid valves to stop air pushing across on bends (it aggravated body roll). But gave a great ride and jacked it up as needed when loaded.

Here's a quick example not checked for compatibility, but worth a closer look. Off the bat with this pair, the air connectors are perfectly placed to hit the tyre or the inner wing. There should be other models. IIRC they sell by car model rather than length and end fitting.
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Monroe-Air-Shocks-Rear-Part-MA803-ext-16-12-Compressed-10-5/362790255951?hash=item5477fbfd4f:g:b~UAAOSw8d5ZUmQ L

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Last edited by DaveMcT; 1 Week Ago at 22:50.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #13
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Re: Building A Panda 4x4 offroader

Itís a cool idea, a little panda with huge suspension travel and air adjustable suspension would be cool, itís probably just not essential as they are such capable little cars anyway.

The other thing would be the short bottom arms on the front and the fairly short swing in the rear beam also I canít remember but I think the rear beam combined with the movement in the drive shafts front and rear might not really give you much room to raise or lower things and if you did would throw the geometry well out, obviously the cars designed with adjustable suspension are designed to cope with the changes in geometry and chavs with air ride only car about the car a dragging on the floor but need to raise it if the police show up, they prefer looks to ride comfort and handling.

It would be a nice experiment to do.

Actually what I really fancy is pulling the 4x4 setup from a panda and fitting it to a 500c with a 1.3 diesel, perfect fiat off roader a bit like a sissly with the roof open and you can climb out when you get stuck.
Hypothetical, I donít have the time money or inclination to do it but in theory itís itís swapping parts.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #14
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Re: Building A Panda 4x4 offroader

Lifting a 169 Panda is pretty futile as already suggested.

Jacking up the suspension is just half the equation, it's all a compromise between ground clearance and axle articulation.

Ok, sticking it on stilts and fitting larger tyres on it may give some ground clearance but if it can't keep the wheels on the ground, you go nowhere.

If you look at the Range Rover Classic, it's able to articulate it's axles to mad angles without any modification, this helps keep the wheels in contact with the ground so it has a chance of putting some power down. It's one of the reasons it gets away without any diff locks on the axles, it only locks the two axles together, front to back.

Also, the larger tyres are going to cause a few gearing issues, in first it's going to be like driving around in 3rd and when you've 60hp everything and anything is going to stop you, right after you've fecked the clutch!
But you'll only probably go in a straight line anyway, larger tyres will just fowl when you turn the steering wheel.

There's no really diff lock on these either, it isn't hard to cross axle an off roader so it spins it's power away on wheels without grip so sends bugger all to the other wheels, again you're going nowhere.

It operates where it sends power from detecting slip at the front, that's after it's started to lose traction, (unlike the mk1 one when you select a locked diff rear axle from the start). Not a great starting point, to tackle the really dirty stuff you need traction before not after you need it.

So even with the best will in the world and lots of modification, it's still not going that far off road and it'll frustrate the hell out of you, towing it out, getting a yard or two before it gives up and towing it all the way home again.

SJ's are getting thin on the ground and what's left are rust.
The older second gen 3 door Vitara isn't a bad choice, a bit heavy but it's got a ladder chassis which makes modding it easier.

I've seen a few Daihatsu Terios that have been modified, I even think there's a dedicated website for it. They're cheap and there's plenty of off the shelf parts for them, though you might have to ship it in from abroad.
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Last edited by Goudrons; 1 Week Ago at 07:26.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #15
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Re: Building A Panda 4x4 offroader

5% difference on tyre wall height is detectable so going to tall tyres with thick treads would be really obvious.
Bigger wheels will make first gear feel like second gear or worse.

The Escort based kit car I built had large wheels, had to fit the lowest ratio van diff to get it feeling right. I can't remember how I dealt with the speedo error.
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