Technical engine swaps

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Technical engine swaps

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I was only doing 80...
Mar 22, 2002
North East
Starting with a single point injection Cinquecento or Seicento sporting(mk1) 1108cc

The easiest swap, and the most effective in terms of outlay, is to swap an 1108cc Sporting engine for a 1242cc 8 valve Punto 60 engine.

heres the specs comparison

  • 1108;
  • 54 bhp @ 5500 rpm
  • 63 lbft torque @ 3250 rpm

  • 1242;
  • 60 bhp @ 5000 rpm
  • 75 lbft torque @ 2,500 rpm

whilst the 1242cc doesnt appear to be a great increase the torque is noticable in real world driving.

So it's the Punto 60 engine then?

For the easy swap, yes. Look for the engine codes which are dot stamped on the top of the water pump housing. You may need some emery cloth or similar to clean the face up in order to read them - you're looking at the flat horizontal piece on the left front of the engine (looking from the exhaust side) just above the water tube, next to the cam belt cover.

Engine ID codes:

Punto 60, up to 1997: 176.B1.000
Punto 60, from 1997 : 176.B4.000
Punto 75, all years : 176.A8.000
Punto 55 1108cc engine up to 1997: 176.A6.000
Punto 55 from 1997 / all Cento 1108 SPI: 176.B2.000

how do I do it?

Easy way: Pay a mechanic. Bank on roughly a full day's labour plus parts.

Hard way: Do it yourself.

the hard way

First, get yourself an engine. Check local breakers, free papers, ebay, Fiat Forum etc. Check the engine code when you get there to make sure it's the right one. Ideally you want to make sure it's a good'un, so do some maintenance while it's on the garage floor. It's so much easier to do when it's out of the car than to fit it, then find it's no good, then repair it in situ. Things you could change:

  • Head gasket, plus check the head and block faces - have it skimmed if needs be.
  • Crank oil seal, both ends.
  • Camshaft oil seal, pulley end.
  • Water pump.
  • The following aren't optional as they really should be changed
  • Clutch, complete. Note that the Punto 55, 60, 75 and Cento 1108 share the same clutch.
  • Thermostat.
  • Cam belt.
  • Cam belt tensioner pulley.
  • Cam cover gasket.
other parts and service items required

  • Oil (Fiat recommends 15w40) pref. part or fully synthetic.
  • Oil filter.
  • Antifreeze, 2 litres will give you a 50:50 mix which is fine.
  • Engine hoist - from around £20 a day hire.
  • New spark plugs - everyone will give you their best recommendation, it's your choice.
  • Roll of masking tape and a pen - invaluable. Mark up everything you remove so you know where it goes when you put it back.

How do I fit it?

  • Buy a Haynes or Porter manual. The procedure is covered quite well in there.
  • Potted version:
  • Drain oil and water - dispose of in an environmentally friendly manner.
  • Remove exhaust manifold and front pipe/cat section.
  • Remove intake manifold and throttle body.
  • Remove gear linkages - unbolt the front one and pop the balljoint of the rear one.
  • Remove the speedo cable from the gearbox end.
  • Remove driveshafts from gearbox? Naaaah, lets do it the easy way:
  • - Jack up the car and support it so the front bumper is approx. as high off the ground as your new engine is tall. Remove the front wheels.
  • - Undo the lower strut to hub bolts on both sides.
  • - Remove the inner CV boot securing clips on the big ends.
  • - Pull back the hubs and disengage the tripods on the shafts from the cv joint outers.
  • - Bag up the open ends of the joints so they don't get mucky. Carrier bags and tape will do nicely.
  • - Remove clutch cable, any remaining water hoses and wires connected to the engine. Check for earth leads etc.
  • - Support the engine with the hoist.
  • - Undo the mounts and drop the engine and 'box tothe floor, carefully.
  • - Separate engine and gearbox
  • - Put gearbox on new engine (Don't get them mixed up, would be a terrible disappointment)
  • - Put engine and box back in, reconnect / refill everything. Cento starter and alternator will fit just fine.
Any sticking points?

Some tiddly, one a bit bigger.
You need to use the Cento crank position sensor, Cento oil pressure switch complete with long hollow bolt and 90' elbow.

The exhaust won't fit. You need to either have the front pipe cut and extended by 15mm to get it on, or make a spacer to go between the front pipe and manifold. If you do this, you will also need longer bolts or studs fitting to the manifold to connect it all up.
You can either use the flange cut from an old front pipe, or have one made up. If you have access to facilities, it's not difficult to do - use a gasket as a template. Alternatively, an engineering shop may make you one up.

Right, it's in - what now?

Don't go mad straight away. Fill the sump with fresh oil, put water and antifreeze in the cooling system, put the new plugs in. Make sure everything that you've touched is tightened up and reconnected.
Start the engine but don't rev it. If the oil pressure light doesn't go out within a few seconds, stop the engine and check.
If it does start and the oil light is out, let it tick over until warm. Keep checking for leaks etc. You will get some smells and a little smoke from oily handprints burning off manifolds etc., don't worry. Plumes of smoke are a bad sign, as is fire. Do stop if this happens. Bleed the cooling system via the screws.

test drive

Yep, go on then. Go steady for the first couple of miles - ideally do a mile or two 'shakedown run' and return to base. Check for leaks, check out any problems now.

If everything is ok, then go for a drive. The ecu is an adaptive system, within limits it can adjust on the fly to the new engine. It may take as long as 300 miles to fully settle in.

The new engine will feel different. The power curve is shifted down the rev range, there's more to be had at lower revs than before. Cruising around is more relaxed and easier with less gearchanging needed. There really isn't any need to rev it into the red, you won't gain anything and will shorten engine life. Also bear in mind that the Puntos are rev limited to 6500, but the Cinq ecu will let it go to 7000 - so it's not too good an idea to go hitting it.

I've got an 899 though...

To fit a FIRE engine then, you'll need:
New engine mounts
Full new exhaust (899 is a smaller bore as standard)
1108 or 1242 ecu, or have the 899 remapped
Sporting gearbox and driveshafts
Sporting gear stick, linkages and cables
Engine bay loom ideally
Engine complete with manifolds, SPI throttle body and sensors
Induction kit or airbox
Coils, plugs and leads
Anti-roll bar would be nice
Water pipes

Really it's easier to start with a Sporting!

so why not use the 75 engine?

The Punto 75 engine does look a better starting point than the 60 at first glance. It offers more bhp and torque, and it's the same size as the 60 engine, so why not use it?
Simple answer is that the cylinder head is designed to take the Punto 75 intake manifold with four fuel injectors as opposed to the Cento's one mounted in the throttle body. The bolt spacing on the head just doesn't match up, so your cento intake manifold and throttle body won't bolt up. You could fit the Punto 75 manifold, but to make it work with multi point injection you would need to have the Punto 75 ecu and engine bay wiring loom mated up to your cento - not too easy as the Punto ecu's sit on the opposite side of the engine bay or use a seperate ECU such as megasquirt but thats a lot more work & cost.
Getting the throttle cable matched up again might be tricky too.
The 75's ecu and injectors need to be supplied with between 2.5 and 3.5 bar of fuel pressure (depending on year of donor car) as opposed to the 1.0 bar that the Centos run at - something which you will need to address.

The 75 engine has a slightly hotter cam than standard, allegedly the same as Novitec offer for 1108's as a fast road option. if you're keen you could buy a 75 engine then do a mix n'match - 75 engine block +Cento head and 75 cam.

do not use the Punto 75 intake manifold with a SPI unit. we have it on good authority from Yannina and Smokeme who have tried it that this manifold is what's called a 'dry' one - it's not supposed to have fuel in it and it will suffer from fuel pooling and poor running. It will work, the car will run, but not at all well.

however If you feel like doing the 1242cc 16 valve(MPI) conversion,

it can be done but is quite an involved job. Clearance against headlights and bulkhead become an issue, as does trying to get an alternator to line up with the crank pulley. The same ecu and fuelling problems as with the 75 MPI engine swap will have to be overcome as well as other issues. You can't just bolt a SPI throttle body onto this one, I'm afraid.

In short, it can be done but will cost.

kriptik is in the process of doing this conversion and this thread may give more info

if you really want to go ahead the MPI engine engine conversions its easiest in the sei MPI as a base

The MPI Sei and Punto 75 intake manifold stud patterns are the same, so fit the engine whole. Use the MPI Sei intake manifold.
The exhaust will just clear the driver's side driveshaft rubber boot without modification, but if you can get it altered a little more clearance will help. There's no joint on the front pipe like the SPI car, so you can't just fit a spacer - there isn't anywhere to put one!

The 1108 MPI Sei has a knock sensor - the Punto block doesn't have a hole to bolt it to in exactly the same place, but about an inch or two further down there is an unused threaded hole (probably from the Punto's alternator mounting bracket) which will do.

Cam drive. The 1108 MPI has a different pitch belt to the Punto 75, and also a knobbly bit on the inboard edge. This knobbly bit points at the cam position sensor, which is what the extra bit with the wire on next to the oil filler cap is. So you need to use the Sei crank pulley, water pump and cam pulley - and a belt from a newer mk2 MPI Punto 1242 8v. Oh, and the Sei cam cover complete with sensor.

You will also need to use the Sei's water rail on the front of the engine, the Punto one exits at a different angle.

Mounts, gearbox, starter and alternator from the Sei can be retained. The flywheel, clutch friction and pressure plates from the 75 and Sei are the same, but the Sei release bearing is different.

what about the newer 1368cc 16v engine?

this engine pushes 95bhp 94lbsft from standard.
so has the potential to create a rapid cento!

at time of writing this is a work in progress on foxyemx's sei but a good read and a thread to follow

If you feel the above engine swaps are not for you then you may want to go turbo/NOS

for info on turbocharging
and (in Italian, try something like to give you a translation
Again, this can be done but it depends how much you want to spend. A fast cento is a fun thing, if you are happy with spending thousands converting a car which isn't worth thousands, then go for it. I would have to point out though that if you want a quick reliable car, you are best off buying a car which was made quick by the factory - Punto GT, Fiat Coupe, Stilo Abarth, Uno turbo etc. There are other non-Fiat alternatives I suppose, but why would you be interested in them?

An alternative is to have your Cento turbocharged or add Nitrous Oxide injection (NOS). Do price up the refilling of Nitrous bottles before you start and find out how long they will last - it's not cheap if you use it a lot.

If turbos are for you, then there are places that offer conversions such as (yes, true, that's not in the UK but it gives an idea of what can be done)
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