Technical Converting a "600" to right hand drive - anyone done it?

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Technical Converting a "600" to right hand drive - anyone done it?

mj2k

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Not quite as sacrilegious as it sounds :D

Probably just going to be a pipe dream but I was vaguely thinking about grabbing a late model Zastava 750 (the Yugoslavian version of the Fiat 600) and converting it to right hand drive, along with maybe a suicide door conversion (if it's allowed and I could find the parts).

I'm guessing I'll get a lot of 'leave it as left hand drive' comments, but the Zastava 750/850 is still commonplace in ex-Yugoslavia since they were made well into the 80s, so no concerns about ruining a classic. And keeping as LHD would be a no-go for me, since generally I drive in Europe at least once a year, so I'd most likely drive on the wrong side of the road if I hopped into a left-hooker in the UK 🙀

Looks like most of the steering parts are the same as they'd be for the 500, so no reason I couldn't swap the steering over by using a RHD rack conversion, assuming I can find a RHD 126 rack from somewhere.

But... The pedalbox. I know on a 500 finding the parts makes the whole job into a world of pain and finding a RHD 600 pedalbox would be even harder, but is it as much hassle on the 600, or is this something which could be fabricated with a reasonable amount of ingenuity?
 

Bigvtwin996

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Well if you are equiped and have a bit of imagination... anything is possible
you could look at seeing if there is a RHD steering rack conversion available...
If not, it's not rocket science to put something together... after all kit cars were all cobbled together....
Hole in the dash should not be too hard having made a template from the existing hole you can plasma cut teh new one out and possibly use the bit cut out to fill the old one.
Pedals. no idea

suicide doors ... again custom cars are made with all sorts...
Hinge wise if using your original doors there is a kit for Original 70/80/90s minis to allow them to have external hinges so they look like earlier cars.
I presume they come with strengthener plates etc
probably worth a look
 
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mj2k

mj2k

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Yeah, I don't think the steering / dash conversion would be too hard, looks like there were RHD 600s so the pressings for the steering column should hopefully be there and the dash appears to be attached to the column, or if not it should be possible to cut from left hand and transplant it. And the 500 rack conversion will weld right in, so that side wouldn't be too hard (assuming a RHD 126 rack comes up for sale).

And looks like the Zastava had suicide doors until early 1969, so it might be possible to find and original suicide door model in repairable condition, though that'd be lower on the list than a RHD conversion.

Main bugbear would be that pedal box, I know the RHD exists for the Fiat 600 (Zastava and Seat never made RHD 600s) and I've even found the Fiat part number, but it appears the last time one came up for sale was in 2003, so not much chance of finding one, even as a template...
 

Toshi 975

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Yeah, I don't think the steering / dash conversion would be too hard, looks like there were RHD 600s so the pressings for the steering column should hopefully be there and the dash appears to be attached to the column, or if not it should be possible to cut from left hand and transplant it. And the 500 rack conversion will weld right in, so that side wouldn't be too hard (assuming a RHD 126 rack comes up for sale).

And looks like the Zastava had suicide doors until early 1969, so it might be possible to find and original suicide door model in repairable condition, though that'd be lower on the list than a RHD conversion.

Main bugbear would be that pedal box, I know the RHD exists for the Fiat 600 (Zastava and Seat never made RHD 600s) and I've even found the Fiat part number, but it appears the last time one came up for sale was in 2003, so not much chance of finding one, even as a template...
I know where there is a 126 pedal box for sale and possibly a steering rack.
 

the hobbler

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I know where there is a 126 pedal box for sale and possibly a steering rack.
The system for converting a 600 to r/h/d AND fitting rack-and-pinion steering is, I would have thought, very similar to fitting R-and-P steering to a 500---one does it utilising 126 bis parts in the steering column and a plummer-block to give the column extra support. It does involve a certian amount of high-quality welding. You might be able to adapt the bracket that is available from Lucasz at LP Garage (to mount the rack on a 500) to mount the rack on the 600.
 

Bigvtwin996

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ok something I was looking at but another venture has got in the way...
126 RHD racks are becoming expensive... there are a lot of companies that make custom racks for kit cars and race cars.....
I took a few racks I had to one of them along with track rod ends....
They said "yeahhh we can knock something up we would use the parts we have on the shelf so the internals would basically be either mini or escort, we can put almost any pinion in so can create what ever ratio you want "quick" or "normal"....
if there is enough meat on the steering arms we would ream them out to take some std track rod ends... this means you can always repair or rebuild in the future...
I was going to have some alloy mounts cast and basically the whole rack system would be bolt in using an original holes as a locator so there was no hit and miss when fitting...and future proofed....
 
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the hobbler

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ok something I was looking at but another venture has got in the way...
126 RHD racks are becoming expensive... there are a lot of companies that make custom racks for kit cars and race cars.....
I took a few racks I had to one of them along with track rod ends....
They said "yeahhh we can knock something up we would use the parts we have on the shelf so the internals would basically be either mini or escort, we can put almost any pinion in so can create what ever ratio you want "quick" or "normal"....
if there is enough meat on the steering arms we would ream them out to take some std track rod ends... this means you can always repair or rebuild in the future...
I was going to have some alloy mounts cast and basically the whole rack system would be bolt in using an original holes as a locator so there was no hit and miss when fitting...and future proofed....
The mounting bracket that LP Garage sell (for mounting a rack on to 500s and 126s) utilises the six studs that the steering-box and steering idler normally bolt onto. IF the steering idler and steering box of the 600 have the same mounting-stud dimensions as the 500, that bracket could be used, albeit slightly lengthened (or widened, depending how you look at it)
 

Bigvtwin996

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that's probably where I saw the idea.... Far better than randomly welding brackets on...
if they can be obtained separately even as a guide would make life easier...
 
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mj2k

mj2k

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I know where there is a 126 pedal box for sale and possibly a steering rack.
Ooh, that would be very useful if the rack is still available; I know there's someone on Ebay selling a a RHD pedalbox and a 126 rack at the mo, but the rack appears to be LHD

PM'd (y)
 
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mj2k

mj2k

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The system for converting a 600 to r/h/d AND fitting rack-and-pinion steering is, I would have thought, very similar to fitting R-and-P steering to a 500---one does it utilising 126 bis parts in the steering column and a plummer-block to give the column extra support. It does involve a certian amount of high-quality welding. You might be able to adapt the bracket that is available from Lucasz at LP Garage (to mount the rack on a 500) to mount the rack on the 600.
The mounting bracket that LP Garage sell (for mounting a rack on to 500s and 126s) utilises the six studs that the steering-box and steering idler normally bolt onto. IF the steering idler and steering box of the 600 have the same mounting-stud dimensions as the 500, that bracket could be used, albeit slightly lengthened (or widened, depending how you look at it)

Steering box and idler seem to be the same part numbers as the 500 so hopefully that bracket would be a straight 'bolt and weld' job, though the Zastava might introduce some USSR-era 'tweaks' which I'm not aware of; what are the bets it'll turn out the later ones use the same rack as the Yugo 45? :D

That bracket was definitely the basis of my thinking on the '600' (in it's various forms) and though I'm sometimes less-than confident about the quality of my own welding (think I'm far more critical of my seam quality than the MOT inspector) I've cobbled together a fair number of basket case classics over the years, and recently had to let in a new chassis rail end on my Abarth 595 to make it roadworthy, so hopefully can make a decent job of it. Assuming the metal I'm welding to doesn't resemble a paper doily that is, otherwise I'd be running a mile...
 
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mj2k

mj2k

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ok something I was looking at but another venture has got in the way...
126 RHD racks are becoming expensive... there are a lot of companies that make custom racks for kit cars and race cars.....
I took a few racks I had to one of them along with track rod ends....
They said "yeahhh we can knock something up we would use the parts we have on the shelf so the internals would basically be either mini or escort, we can put almost any pinion in so can create what ever ratio you want "quick" or "normal"....
if there is enough meat on the steering arms we would ream them out to take some std track rod ends... this means you can always repair or rebuild in the future...
I was going to have some alloy mounts cast and basically the whole rack system would be bolt in using an original holes as a locator so there was no hit and miss when fitting...and future proofed....

Think I saw that article somewhere too, certainly a possibility though if I did go that far I'd prob get a rack made from a post-07 1.2 500 to at least keep it in the family, so to speak; picked up one of those racks a couple of months back and it turns out all the PAS gubbins on the later 500 is up at the steering wheel end, the rack itself is a plain old mechanical thing.
 

Bigvtwin996

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having a modern 500 Rack has absolutely nothing "keeping it in the Family" you want to keep it simple rather than have some form of misguided loyalty that will just complicate things........ Old car technology tends to be far simpler.....
Also remember that a LHD rack is also RHD......
it is all to do if the steering arms are in front or behind the wheels.....
so if the steering arms of teh 600 are behind behind teh front wheels then you canb use a LHD rack turned over from a car where the steering arms are in front of the wheels...
 
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mj2k

mj2k

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having a modern 500 Rack has absolutely nothing "keeping it in the Family" you want to keep it simple rather than have some form of misguided loyalty that will just complicate things........ Old car technology tends to be far simpler.....
Also remember that a LHD rack is also RHD......
it is all to do if the steering arms are in front or behind the wheels.....
so if the steering arms of teh 600 are behind behind teh front wheels then you canb use a LHD rack turned over from a car where the steering arms are in front of the wheels...

True, but in this case it is quite literally, a bog-standard manual rack; no hydraulics, electronics or sensors anywhere; the complex bit of gubbins on the top of the steering column does everything. And it look fairly similar in design to the 126 rack, though the mounts are different:

s-l500.jpg


It got my interest because I noticed the rack body itself is quite tiny so might just need shortened track rods, but modern 500 racks are commonplace and only cost a few quid to buy 2nd hand, so not a biggie if I just chuck it in the bin.
 

Bigvtwin996

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the other thing to check is the travel of the rack...
Too little hardly any turning
Too much then the wheels will foul on the bodywork...
you will then have to devise a "stop mechanism"
(I know this because Lotus used Triumph racks on the Elans and there are two collars inside the rubber gaitors that limit the travel...)
So if anyone has a 126 they could tell you or could measure the movement and you will have to do something similar
I'm fairly sure that one place actual;ly told me that 126 racks were the same as 128 and Fiat X19
they even had a 126 RHD rack they said I could have cheap as no one had ever asked them for one... wish I had now... forgot who it....
 
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mj2k

mj2k

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Yeah, plenty to catch the unwary out - originally I bought the rack to combat the one bit I don't like about my daily A595 - it's got a 'quick rack' with heavy electronic power assistance so the steering feels strangely artificial, and the turning circle's dreadful for such a tiny car. But when I looked at it, the movement lock to lock on the 1.2's rack is much greater, so it'd fix the turning circle (and increase the feel if I dialled down the electronic power assistance) but would foul the bodywork on full lock, so left it as is.

Interesting thoughts on the 128 / X19 - from this 'refurb' list it looks like the racks are the same length (and the 127/128/X19 also share their rack with the early Fiorino and Panda), will have to look into that more if I can't grab a 126 rack. Also interesting to see there are two different sizes of 126 rack according to this:

https://steering-racks.co.uk/rack-and-pinion-passenger-cars/
 

Bigvtwin996

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I do think I have a couple of racks now my brain is back on steering one may be a 126
 
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mj2k

mj2k

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I do think I have a couple of racks now my brain is back on steering one may be a 126

Def don't leave yourself short if you do have one, would be great if I can grab a spare from someone but my ideas are still only a pipe dream at the moment and don't want to leave anyone short of a v rare part they might need in the future
 
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