Off Topic New Canadian Bambino!

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Apr 13, 2021
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Hi folks,

New member but long time lurker here. I have been on the hunt for a cinquecento for over 3 years now. Ive been a classic car enthusiast since i could remember and it was time to add some Italian flare to my overly German and American garage collection. I got the 500 bug for after servicing and enjoying a 500 that a friend of mine owns. I finally was able to get my hands on a 67 500F, and im overly joyed. I just finished a resto and full rebuild on a 75 911S, and kept on finding myself wanting to drive my friends Fiat over the Porsche. The Porsche is gone, and i needed to fill the empty void.

The car itself needs some TLC, and had been disassembled and partially sandblasted before "supposedly" its previous owner gave up on it. From my recollection, the car had not been on the road at all since it was brought in to Canada, and the engine had work done to it back in 92, more then likely back home in Italy. It is a bit of a basket case, as it has had some hackery done to it in its previous repairs. But its in safe hands now.


I am in the process of tallying all body panels needed (basically all lower panels, all fenders, all inner fenders, floor pans, etc the works. And slowly making a list of parts to order from the UK.

I couldn't wait to dig into the engine, and was able to clear a bench to start the tear-down process. The motor had a 540cc 70mm cylinder upgrade done to it in its past life, but had also seen some abuse. The cyl and pistons are in great shape, but the tappets and case cam holes need R&R, i ordered some C932 bronze stock, and will be machining insert sleeves for the cam. I plan to do some port/polishing and tweaking to this 540. I have forged 118mm connecting rods on their way as a "safety" insurance, for the fun it will see.


In a few years im planning a trip to Italy, family friends have a summer home just a hr away from D'Angelo Motori, and i will definitely be visiting them for some more spice to add. Coupled with a 650 block that im sure is much easier to find overseas then here in Canada. But in the mean time im going to enjoy the original 500/540 block to its full potential.

The car itself is an original F, someone had changed the front sheet metal in its early life. I will be restoring it back to its formal mustache glory. The car was originally "453 Medium Blue". I am leaning more towards keeping a blue, but going with more of an aqua marine shade. I have a paint sample "Frozen Blue K5J " from the 2018-2020 Porsche Taycan. Its a very mild metallic/pearl. So should still keep with the "solid/classic paint style" with some added depth. Again this hasn't been set in stone, and might change as i progress with the resto.
 
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Bounding Bambino
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I have started with doing the head work. It has the factory valves 32/28, but i cleaned them up, and re-cut the seats. Did a light resurface of the head. and checked CC. I will do some porting and polishing in a week once i have some free time.

The engine case has some butchering done to it. There was a small fracture crack near the bottom oil pan flange, someone had done some type of hack repair to it. After removing all the porosity, and giving it a good clean. I tig welded it to a strong sealed repair.

Alot of the sheetmetal/shroud mount bolts were stripped or the threads were badly damaged. I have some time-sert inserts on their way to be installed. Should really clean things up, and make this a stout little case. I had all the M6/M8 and M10 time-sert thread tools from doing the magnesium Porsche engine case. Just needed some different length inserts. There is something super satisfying about installing time-serts... crazy i know
 

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lazylobster

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Welcome long time lurker and congrats on your new (to you) 500. I've checked out the Porsche Blue K5J and I love it. But then, I painted my 500 (Valentina) in Porsche 2D8 (Green from the RS cars). So go for it, will look fantastic

Beware of D'angelo . . . your wallet will be seriously lighter! I love their web shop, I could spend, spend, spend there. . .


Please keep us up to date on your project.

Cheers
Rob
 

the hobbler

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Welcome to the forum. There is a gent in Canada called Dr George Macgruer (originally from Scotland) who bullt a really great '650'engined "wee beastie" He sent me a copy of all the articles that he had written during the construction of his car. If you would like a copy of his notes, contact me direct and I will put a copy into the post for you (they are on paper, not digitilised) Where about in Canada are you?
With the way things are in the UK (brexit is slowly falling on its bum),look at and compare European prices and carriage costs. One VERY good UK company is "Motobambino" run by Mark Jayes. I got all my body parts from him when the front of my car had to be rebuilt, and he couldn't have been more helpful.
You say some of the front 'sheet metal' has been changed---this might be because some 500 parts are no longer available. One has to use 126 parts in some cases (inner wings for example,and then you have to fit 126 top wishbones). With regard to cam-shaft bushes, the bush next to the cam sprocket is available commercially---I have one sitting on my desk!
Contact me direct and I can also help you with some of the tuning ideas for the 110 126 engines.
Well done for taking on the project---it will put a grin on your face
 

the hobbler

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I got your e-mail Jack, but no address or e-mail address! My notes from George Macgruer are 'physical' so I would like to copy them out for you and put them in the post---I need somewhere to post them to!
 
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Apologies , Pm sent.

Today i had a few hrs to play around in the shop. It was time to start fitting the pushrod tubes. I purchased a set of VW spring loaded tubes. And had to cut 37mm off the sliding tube and machine the inner chamfer so it would fit. The o-rings that came with the kit are too big for the fiat case. They technically would work, but imo, they dont seal properly. I ordered a bunch of different set of high temp industrial o-rings. Found a good match for the bottom. Issue is these tubes have a larger flange ID on 1/2 of the tubes. This unfortunately is a update to the VW push tubes and it’s hard to find the old style anymore in circulation. I’m just gonna have to order some different O-rings to get the top side to seal satisfactory.

I dont know why the photo uploaded sideways. Im not able to change that via the mobile site.
 

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the hobbler

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Got your e-mail address Jack, thank you. At the risk of asking a stupis question, why did you use VW spring loaded push-rod tubes when they are available from a number of sources made specifically for the Fiat. I use the red 'silicon' seals---they seem to be the best.
 
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why did you use VW spring loaded push-rod tubes when they are available from a number of sources made specifically for the Fiat.

Not a silly question at all. First, i am inclined to believe that alot of the suppliers just buy the vw tubes and modify them to fit. Or one company is doing that, and the suppliers are purchasing them from that source. Again, nothing wrong with this at all, this allows people to have a drop in replacement not everyone has the time or the machinery to play around and modify tubes.

So why did I end up taking the difficult route? lol. Costs, and i needed an excuse to use my lathe. Ordering anything outside of Canada comes with massive expenses. We dont have excessive duties or taxes, but the major shipping companies (UPS, Fedex, DHL), charge exorbitant processing fees to clear packages. Any thing valued over 20$ can see upwards of 20-30$ + a % in just fees, basically doubling the price of anything you would want. Ordering bits and pieces here and there adds up extremely fast. Americans luck out with a 200$ limit before any sort of "fees" kick in. I tell all my non car guy friends; Canada is one of the worst places to try and restore anything automotive related either it be classic european or classic/ real JDM japanese. We do have somewhat of a source base for NA built cars, usually American muscle and such. But everything else is insanely cumbersome and expensive to get your hands on anything. I just finished doing that 75 911 build and after the conversion rate, and all the fedex shipments and such. Trust me, you dont want to know what it added up to. It would of been easier to go down to Barret Jackson auction in Scottsdale Arizona and pickup a restored 911 and not have to wait 5 years to drive it.

I will say MG's and fiat 124's are extremely abundant here.



Now, we do have a few good sources for VW parts. A set of 8 tubes cost me 90$ cad to my door in 2 days. A set of 5 euro sourced fiat tubes, (90€ +ship + fees) would cost me around 260-290$ cad once i have them in my hand free and clear., and it would take 2-3 weeks before i see them. Not trying to be thrifty, but being clever like this can help a project like this spiraling out of control. There are absolutely no fiat 500 resource storefronts/online in Canada. Just word to mouth, and what some folks have in old stock inventory hidden in their garage. Even in the US, there is only a handful I found. One of the main reasons there are 500's in existence up here is the large Italian community; especially near Toronto. A lot of families brought their car over, or purchased and brought over a car for historic and memories sake. That is a plus we have going when it comes to resources and a community of this car. When i was towing the car home after purchasing it, the amount of looks i was getting was insane. You could see the memories come to life when folks were smiling. I myself am attracted to the 500 on the engineering and efficient packaging/design side of things. This car is a absolute near perfect execution of a stylish and economic car that was perfect for its time. The history of post war cars also ticks my boxes. I was stuck between a Citroen 2CV or the 500 as my first postwar collectable. I just couldn't say no to the 500.


I do have a running list of parts i will need to order from europe. But im trying to do it all in one big shipment. tossing a cam or trim pcs on a skid of body panels wont hurt at all. Im trying to do as many large pcs as possible in one order. Anything trim or "finishing touch" aspect can fit in my luggage when down in Italy. Ill be that guy with 2-3 checked suit cases of fiat parts at the airport. lol :D
 
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I've checked out the Porsche Blue K5J and I love it. But then, I painted my 500 (Valentina) in Porsche 2D8 (Green from the RS cars). So go for it, will look fantastic

The reason i think i was leaning towards the colour is, i really do like the gulf racing livery. And the blue is very similar. I was on the fence with doing a off white motif with a simple offset green white red stripe. But i saw some photos of a aqua marine 500 driving down the Amalfi coast with whitewalls. And i just had to have that. Metallics IMO can be a bit harsh on certain classic cars, so considering that the frozen blue has depth without a heavy flake. My friends 500 is painted in British racing green, which looks great, but the metallic does take away from the body lines and the chrome doesnt seem to pop as much.

I also have a old PK50 vespa sitting in the garage awaiting time for me to get at it. And honestly the frozen blue will look good on it too. I want to match the vespa and 500 together.

Again im counting my chicks before the eggs hatch. Once im done the sheet metal then i will play with colour choices.
 
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Today something showed up that i wasn’t expecting right away. A pair of H-beam forged rods. Im far away from beginning engine assembly. But its nice to touch and feel them. I decided to weigh them against the original rods. The factory 500 rods weighed in at 452g, these 118mm length ones (factory length) were 422g. So a weight savings of 30g per rod. Not too bad. These are the same manufacturer of rods Davide Cironi used in his 68hp build. The price was right and thought i would give them a try.

My stock of C932 bearing bronze showed up from my local supply house. If i get time this weekend I’ll begin machining the cam bushing. My factory cam has some bad scoring and wear on the large bearing end. I could size the bearing to a smaller ID if i rotary surface grind the cam to its smaller surface OD. But then i would need to disassemble and re-hone the block bushing if i pickup a 35/75 cam down the road. I have yet to order the cam., so throwing any feelers out in-case anyone has anything. If not ill just order one with my growing euro parts order.
 

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the hobbler

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Jack; beforeyou start machining a new cam-shaft bush, would you like me to see if i can find the 'factory' measurement for the bush? If you are going to fit a proprietry cam-shaft, you willneed to make your bush 'as per factory measurements'. I have replacement bush sitting on my desk if you require it.
 
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Please yes!. i have the Haynes workshop manual and have not been able to find any cam to bore clearance specs or any cam specs to be particular. It has the crank info.


I have measured my cam to have a 42.910mm bearing face OD dim. And hypothetically with a 0.003" / 0.0762mm clearance (0.003"-0.004" /0.0762mm-0.1016mm typ for most cam dia to bearing clearances) the bore diameter could be (42.9862mm - 43.0116 mm). Again this clearance varies on engine design and oil viscosity. On the 911 i worked on (also air cooled), it also uses 20w50 oil, and the cam bearing face clearances were 0.025 to 0.066 mm, with an additional 0.010mm overhead for wear.

Obviously i want to keep tolerances as close as possible to keep oil pressure high. On a plus side also, i just realized my engine has a 126 oil pump upgrade on it.
 
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Tom was more then gracious to help me with the specs. I thought i would post them here for reference for anyone else scouring the net.

He mentions these are the 500D specs, but should fall in line with all the 500 engines that are the same diameter size . These clearances seem right especially when considering general engine specs for other similar cars as well that i have seen (y)


Camshaft journal diameter
:
timing gear end 1,6919 to 1.6929" 42.976 to 43.000mm

flywheel end 0.8653 to 0.8661" 21.979 to 22.000mm


Camshaft seat diameter:
timing gear end 1.6939 to 1.6954" 43.025 to 43 064mm
flywheel end 0.8669 to 0.8682" 22.020 to 22.053mm


Camshaft journal-to-seat fit clearance:

timing gear end .00098 to .0035" 0.025 to 0.089mm
flywheel end .00079 to .0029" 0.020 to 0.074mm


Thanks!(y)
My cam is badly out of spec, so i might wait to get a new cam before fitting.
 
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Today something showed up that i wasn’t expecting right away. A pair of H-beam forged rods. Im far away from beginning engine assembly. But its nice to touch and feel them. I decided to weigh them against the original rods. The factory 500 rods weighed in at 452g, these 118mm length ones (factory length) were 422g. So a weight savings of 30g per rod. Not too bad. These are the same manufacturer of rods Davide Cironi used in his 68hp build. The price was right and thought i would give them a try.

Hi Jack, Your Forged Rods are the same as I have used in my build, you don't say what level of bolts you are using (ARP 2000?) But I will council this - make sure you measure the bolts prior to fitting as the final stretch measurement is important and always use ARP lubricant NOT engine oil. The procedure is outlined on the ARP website, if you have any questions please ask.
Ian.
 
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Hi Jack, Your Forged Rods are the same as I have used in my build, you don't say what level of bolts you are using (ARP 2000?) But I will council this - make sure you measure the bolts prior to fitting as the final stretch measurement is important and always use ARP lubricant NOT engine oil. The procedure is outlined on the ARP website, if you have any questions please ask.
Ian.

Thanks for the info, yes the rods do have ARP2000 bolts on it, it came with a stretch spec of 0.005 - 0.0055" (0.127mm - 0.1397mm). I used ARP bolts thru-out my last build and have a tub of their bolt lube. They also spec a torque, but the stretch method is tried and true. Just requires more measuring equipment.

On a side note, i sourced out a new performance Cam (40/80) and timing chain. Just trying to find some original fiat cam followers. The general consensus seems to be to stick with originals for the cam followers.
The cam will eventually find its way into the much larger 700+cc engine i plan to do in a few years. But it will be interesting to see how it acts on this smaller CC engine.

I acquired a dynamometer water brake a few years ago for a engine dyno. Depending on how busy i am this year, i would like to finish assembling it (build the frame/engine cart and sort out the electronics), and actually test and see what these engines can do. It will more then likely be the first motor on the dyno. I dont recall ever seeing much info on folks dyno testing these motors and seeing what the torque graphs are like.
 
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Thanks for the info, yes the rods do have ARP2000 bolts on it, it came with a stretch spec of 0.005 - 0.0055" (0.127mm - 0.1397mm). I used ARP bolts thru-out my last build and have a tub of their bolt lube. They also spec a torque, but the stretch method is tried and true. Just requires more measuring equipment.

On a side note, i sourced out a new performance Cam (40/80) and timing chain. Just trying to find some original fiat cam followers. The general consensus seems to be to stick with originals for the cam followers.
The cam will eventually find its way into the much larger 700+cc engine i plan to do in a few years. But it will be interesting to see how it acts on this smaller CC engine.

I acquired a dynamometer water brake a few years ago for a engine dyno. Depending on how busy i am this year, i would like to finish assembling it (build the frame/engine cart and sort out the electronics), and actually test and see what these engines can do. It will more then likely be the first motor on the dyno. I dont recall ever seeing much info on folks dyno testing these motors and seeing what the torque graphs are like.

Hi Jack, You will find it a tad difficult to get a stretch gauge to fit depending on the gauge fitment, but it can be done. My other (not so hot) engine has been run on a dyno after some moderate tuning and gave (approx) 52% more power and torque at 5000rpm. 36.2 bhp @ flywheel - 38.0 lbft torque. The build and testing can be found elsewhere on here. I will recommend the following if you are going to run your engine hard in the future, if you intend on 5000 - 6000 + rpm regularly you must have the crankshaft core plugs welded in after cleaning the crankshaft gallery (I didn't and one came out after the dyno run later) I was using a standard crank with Hi quality bearings. The cam was 35/75 - 75/35 and always use top quality followers - original fiat are best. My hot engine has not been dyno'd yet, but following my experience with the first engine I elected to use a 126 BIS crankshaft, a much lighter flywheel, performance clutch, 40/80 - 80/40 cam, forged rods with ARP 2000 bolts and the complete drive train has been balanced from the oil filter to the clutch pressure plate. I'm using 80mm pistons from a BIS (704cc) but may enlarge the bores later one stage up to 740cc next winter. The CR is 10.5:1 with a Panda head and standard valves after porting and polishing. If you need any more info please ask. (y)(y)(y)
Ian.
 
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Hi Jack, You will find it a tad difficult to get a stretch gauge to fit depending on the gauge fitment, but it can be done.

Im workin on something, (y) once done ill upload it here for all to use.

Yesterday I timeserted the case, fixed all the questionable and stripped threads. Timeserts are such a blast. Also ordered the repair supplies for the steering wheel. The original wheel is in super bad condition. But being the white one, its quite valuable to replace. So i went on the hunt for repair supplies. Ill do a write up thread on that, once i get at it. There is a lot of different suggestions on the net for cracked wheel repair, my supplies will be a bit different.



While I wait for a few parts, I decided mull around some ideals for colour schemes for the engine tins. I was originally planning to paint them, but at the last minute i changed my mind. I purchased some powder coating equipment a few years ago and never got around to using it. This would be a prime time project to test it on. Sourcing parts and materials can be hit and miss here in Canada, but surprisingly i have a great local supplier of specialty coatings. They sell some neat things like a product called Cerakote that ive used on high temp engine exhaust parts for a classic benz engine I was building. I have some left over and might use it on the exhaust on the fiat. The company also has a fantastic selection of powder coat powders. And i wanted to add some Italian Ferrari flare to the little racing heart of the 500. I settled on a 2 stage powder, a silver flake base, with a candy apple red clear. Its such a new colour, i only found one person who has applied it. Pics attached. Mine should/will have more of a sparkle then the mirror depth; they did a silver chrome base with candy on top.
And to finish it off, ill do a small Italian green/white pin stripe across the tins.
 

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DaveMcT

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Interesting stuff with the powder coating. I was told a couple of years ago they could not fill corrosion divots in an engine casting because the filler wont take the powder. A very special filler could be used but costs were HOW MUCH!!! They also said layers of coating couldn't be used for the same reason. I guess things have moved on.
 
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I was told a couple of years ago they could not fill corrosion divots in an engine casting because the filler wont take the powder. A very special filler could be used but costs were HOW MUCH!!! .

So, if you were planning to powder coat an item with cosmetic porosity, or want to fill voids on metal for a smooth finish, the supplier recommended a product called "Lab Metal" designed for use in higher temps ie, during powdercoat bake applications (~400f). Its not exactly cheap, but its not insanely expensive either. They say you can powder-coat right ontop of it.

The multi stage p-coating im using is classified as a "TGIC Polyester". For multiple layer applications they recommend a 50-75% cure time, then apply the 2nd coat. This supposedly helps the layers cross link during a full final cure. Im looking forward to see how it turns out, obviously im going to run some sample test pcs first to see how it finesses. It might be opening pandoras box lol.
 
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