Panda (Classic) Pandasaurus - 1992 Panda 1000



Figured I'd start a thread about my Panda, for no reason in particular. So...if you like random ramblings...(pictures at the end).

First up, how the car was when I got it, and the first couple o'months.

What is it?

It's a completely ordinary black Panda CLX. It's a 999cc, with a carb and points. Happy days. 34918 miles, when I got it.

Why have I got one?

Well, I've got an ongoing project with another car which has been off the road for some time. I was using a Saab 9000 as a daily (which was lovely), but it's a bit of a tank and not really suited to tooling about on tiny lanes. Lovely car though, will definitely own another some time :)

Anyway, I thought I'd look for something a bit more suited to daily use. I looked at a couple of random things - Polo Breadvans, AX's, and a two-tone Mk2 Fiesta (which, to be fair, was achingly cool) but in the end settled on a Panda.

I bought it blind, expecting a basket case - but was pleasantly surprised. All seemed well :)

Cruised back in the snow - turned out the heating didn't work so it was FREEZING, and the timing was off, but nothing scary. Hooray!

Anything done to it?

Not a lot. The interior is a bit odd / missing - a previous owner has done some creative interior work with DIY door cards and a back seat, there's no headlining, and it has been thoroughly caked in Dynamat. The missing interior is easy to sort, but I'm not keen on the Dynamat - although I'll leave it for now. It's pretty well stuck down!

The Dynamat, phat alternator / battery wires and odd squirts of expanding foam in funny places suggest some kind of epic sound system install in the car's past. :rolleyes:

Most importantly, it's not rusty. A pleasant surprise, and means it's a keeper for the forseeable future.


Apart from the ideological disagreements with the previous person about the Dynamat (I'd never do that for fear of it going rusty without me realising, but that's me), the thermostat and vacuum advance, the first few months of ownership were rosy.

I did the vacuum capsule, 'stat, changed the oil + coolant and gave it a tune up and took it to Snowdonia with a bootload of stuff and 2 passengers. All good!


4 months down the line and it was time for the MOT...which is always a bit tense.

I stuck around to have a proper look underneath - amazingly good! The MOT bloke said it was one of the cleanest he's seem for a long time.

Picked up a couple of advisories - rear brakes were rubbish and front struts were a bit oily. Fair cop, I'd say. (Although I still haven't bothered to sort it out :p)

Good to go :slayer:
Re: My 1992 Panda CLX


Armed with a fresh MOT, I've just carried on using it. It's great - I actually look forward to going to work as it means more Panda-time. Great fun to commute in :)

However, the need to mess with stuff is never far away.

The tyres on the car were some rather sketchy ditchfinders - and I was planning on bagging some winter rubber...for the winter (and other things, as it would turn out).

Started scouring ebay - Fiat have some fantastic wheels in the back catalogue - and ended up bagging five X1/9 alloys, with tyres, for a pretty irresistible price.


As we all know, Pandas have pretty feeble headlights - I went nuclear and stuck some Hella spotlights on the front - but that's been about it, apart from regular oil changes (genuine filters, decent oil).

Recently bought an underseal gun for the other car - so unleashed some serious Waxoyl on the underneath to keep it nice :)

I've done 14000 miles in it now, and it has been spot on. Annoying really, as it's fun to mess about with it.

It hasn't missed a beat - even going on the brilliant Yorkshire adventure that @AndyPanda4x4 organised. Very pleased!


What next?

- Well, main thing is to sort out a proper interior for it.
- Timing belt / water pump / tensioner (Got - may fit tomorrow)
- Replace front struts (Got - NOS Sachs ebay bargain :))
- Sort leaky gearbox oil seals
- Lower it?
- Tidy up engine bay
- Make front bumper stay put...again
- Clean + Waxoyl inside front wings

- More Voyages!

Some Photos

I'll add some of the interior, but here it is as it currently stands.



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Re: My 1992 Panda CLX

Great car, it is the first panda in black colour I like. As always, 50% of the cars "look" are the right wheels, and you matched them perfectly :)
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Re: My 1992 Panda CLX

Ahha! Thanks! I'll probably bag one of those...rude not to at that price.

I've been thinking about building something similar to a Megajolt system (effectively a Ford EDIS module and a microcontroller) using an Arduino and a spare MAP sensor I have for the Saab - but that's probably one of the many things that'll never happen :(

The Gammatronix dealy looks like a winner!

Got some stuff done today. Replaced this sorry bunch...


...with these happy campers.


The old belt (looks to be original?) was mega loose - I imagine it had stretched. The car definitely feels a bit quicker with the new, correctly tensioned belt :)

New coolant too, which is always nice.

Thanks for the compliments, folks! I'm continuously amazed at how much fun these little cars are.
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Re: My 1992 Panda CLX

It really does look good. Seems a bit clean, but nothing is perfect :p

I just remembered I promised to show you the electronic ignition I bought (not at night under poor motorway service car park lighting!..

This is the unit I bought:



Worth every penny, and simple as it gets.

Sorry to hijack, Si have you any details / pics in one of your MM threads about this unit? I'm interested to know more :)
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Re: My 1992 Panda CLX

Sorry to hijack, Si have you any details / pics in one of your MM threads about this unit? I'm interested to know more :)

Gd'evening! I am guilty of not doing much of a write-up on this sorry :eek:

All I have is some pictures of it set up here:

Might have some more information on the boyer bransden unit I had fitted on Chichi. There website here:

If I can find it I will scan the gammatronix set-up / user manual and post it up!

Hijack over :p

Re: My 1992 Panda CLX

It's about as close to a free lunch as you're likely to get, I imagine. Not having to buy points and the doubtless increased mpg will mean it pays for itself in no time :)

I've lent my timing light to a mate, but when I get it back I'll sling new points in and get one of these Gammatronix dealies.

(Warning: Non-Panda content. Brace yourselves!)

This is completely off topic, but I figured it might be of interest nevertheless. :)

I slung the B202 into the 900 over the weekend. The Panda + F.I.R.E situation is a very nice one, which is very easy to work with. However, the Saab setup may have it pipped in a few areas...


It's a very weird setup. The 900 is front wheel drive, but the engine is mounted lengthways, on top of the gearbox (which is actually a transaxle). The engine is also mounted backwards, with the timing chain up against the firewall, and the clutch behind the radiator, driving the input shaft via a huge triplex chain and sprocket setup.


Makes changing the clutch pretty easy ;)

You can see one of the primary sprockets (grey thing in the hole with the little plastic oil thrower impeller) - the chains run round this and onto the gearbox input shaft.

At the other end, the alternator and water pump. We know it's easy on a Panda, but have a look at how accessible it is on here...


Unbolt the pulley, remove the belts, and the pump comes straight out from the top. Changing the timing stuff (chain / guides) is rather more difficult than it is on the Panda, though! And the oil filter is a nightmare.

Anyway. Possibly an interesting diversion if you hadn't seen one of these before. It looks a lot more confusing when it's all plumbed in, though.

Want to get it done now, then I can tinker with the Panda more without feeling bad about not putting the 900 back together :p
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Re: My 1992 Panda CLX

Hmm. Update time!

The Panda has been winning at life for ages, as we all knew it would be :)

I got the 900 done a while ago, so that has been sharing the miles with the Panda. It's nice to have it back on the road - only problem is choosing between them. They're both really fun and sufficiently different not to be treading on each others toes.

Anyway - enough of that. The Panda has breezed past the 50k mark, and is now approaching 52k. I occasionally feel a bit bad for piling the miles on it, but it really eats the miles (which is great, because I love driving it!).

Last week, it was time for another MoT - I took it to a local place which specialises in older cars. They loved the car there, the tester was really into older Fiats - which was a bonus...

...or so I thought. When I got the car, I noticed a big-ish cutout in the firewall - I assumed this was a mounting point for the brake m/c on a LHD car and didn't think too much of it. MoT man knew different - closer inspection revealed some real A-grade bodging (more on this below!). This is likely to be yet another hangover from the inevitable speaker installation - possibly the wires to power the amps or something? Whatever it is, it's a bit close to the rack and strut mounts, so it didn't pass on that :(

Need to have a look at one of the rear wheel cylinders - efficiency was a bit low. This may be a bleeding issue, as I gave up when it felt like the nipple was going to snap in the cylinder body last time I bled the brakes. Round 2 this weekend, cylinder!

On the upside, we still didn't find any crustiness on the underside - and he was happy with everything else on the car too.

I've been away last week so didn't get a chance to do anything about it - I'm hoping to sort these things out this weekend to get it through for the free retest.

So...this hole in the firewall.

Pictures, 000's of words, etc...



Yeah - great job, whoever you are!

Can't believe I missed this for so long - and the previous MoT man didn't bat an eyelid. I suspect it has been there for quite a while - the guy I bought the car off seemed a bit sensible to mutilate a car in this way, so it must've been missed on quite a few successive MoTs.

Weld o'clock, then...


On the inside, loads of everyone's favourite sound insulation. I hate this wretched stuff! It makes an awful mess and it's such a nightmare to remove. Ugh.


I wonder if that's enough to avoid badness when welding? We'll see tomorrow!

Doused the bleed nipples on the cylinders in WD-40 earlier. We'll see how that goes. Fun times :)
Re: My 1992 Panda CLX

Wow, you could adjust your timing while driving...very posh! :D

Good luck with the welding. If you want to avoid welding you could just rivet some aluminium sheet over the hole instead. I think the problem with the MOT is more that the Fire wall is breached which is dangerous in case of...well fire! :D

Might of course just be easier to weld in a plate though!

What a random hole though. Does look like someone was turning it into a pimp mobile though but even if you were fitting an amp why the hell would it need a hole that big!! One hole for a power cable would have sufficed haha!!
Re: My 1992 Panda CLX - MoT with no advisories!

On the fly timing fiddling would be a whole world of untapped geekery! What a great idea! Would probably be difficult to find willing volunteers, though ;)

I did ask about riveting something over it - but because the bottom left corner is a touch close to the steering rack mounting the chap said it'd have to be welded. Blazed a bit of 2mm steel in there and they were happy with it. Result!

Managed to get it done in time for the free retest in spite of going to Germany to drink beer in the meantime, which was a bonus.


Got a bit snotty toward the end (both me and the welding) because this was naturally the moment I ran out of gas for the welder, but luckily I was about done when that happened. It was always going to happen :rolleyes:

I also changed the wheel cylinders (a bargain at <£4 each!) - brake efficiency on one side was still a bit low, though, but it eventually scraped through.

The chap said it was likely due to wear in the self-adjusters in the rear brake shoes which weren't holding the shoes against the spring tension - they used to build up weld on the handbrake mechanism to hold the shoes further out to compensate - but chickened out of that and ordered a new set of shoes for the outrageous sum of £15 instead. I'll throw those on over the next couple of days.

Importantly though, pass with no advisories! Yes!

Did the points, cap, rotor and an oil change the other day. I don't have a dwell meter so had to borrow some stuff from the lab...


...and that's about it. Clean oil and giving the dizzy some love always makes the world a happier place, it's running really nicely now. Going to give it a proper wash / wax this weekend - imagine how fast it'll be when it's clean!

That's about it for now - still on the quest for a ST interior, but not really holding my breath. No impending jobs at the moment - the lower bushes on the rear shocks are looking a bit sorry for themselves, so I'll do something about that before too long. There're a few little paint bubbles appearing on the underside of the front radius arm mount thingies, so some pre-emptive POR15 on there is seeming like a good idea.

It'll be time to put the steels back on for the winter soon, too...

Happy Panda-ification!
Re: My 1992 Panda CLX

Fripp! More than a year since an update. What a loser...

Hmm. What has happened since then...

So - early this year, Jan / Feb time...

Well, the alternator bearings had got a bit noisy - I snagged a Mk2 Punto alternator to swap onto the car, as this has a bit more current capacity to run the fphat lights on the front - and it was uber cheap.

Now, I think I was being an idiot, but I couldn't figure out for the life of me how to remove the alternator?! Does it come out through the top? Out of the bottom? Do I have to unhook the exhaust? WTF?! Anyway. I gave up without having succeeded in removing the alternator, but not before dropping it onto the exhaust from a couple of inches up.

In doing this I managed to crack the weld on the Y-section of the downpipe :rolleyes:


This promptly gave up - bodging skillz were deployed to get the car to the garage and replace the zorst ASAP (I was pretty proud of this, it actually worked pretty well - got me all the way to work and back to the exhaust place without disintegrating. Cable ties = yes.

Got to the exhaust place where they had the part in stock (which was quite surprising) - but when they went to fit it they snapped one of the studs on the manifold and informed me 'You're on your own with that one mate!' - but they welded it back together for me which shut it up again, and allowed me to use the car again - and do battle with the exhaust when it wasn't freezing cold.

Around this time, the car also developed a slight rumble - with the help of the forum this was diagnosed as being a wheel bearing. The shocks are a bit tired on the car, so I thought I'd fit some NOS Sachs ones I'd bagged for very cheap along with a set of lowering springs while I changed the wheel bearing.

Borrowed this mean machine from a mate while I was doing it - what a revelation!


Having changed the noisy bearing, I could then hear the noise that the other one was making. Alas.


But, the car is lower! Whee! This is Spax springs, NOS Sachs standard front struts, and v tired rear shocks.

Note the negative rake. Dislike! This is when the springs were brand new - they may have bedded in somewhat now - otherwise I may chop the stock front springs down a bit to level it up a bit, we shall see.

Around this time I'd also invested in a pair of Bilstein B4 rear shocks - of course I'd ordered ones for a (Panda) 900, not an Omega-axled car - so they were waaaaaaaaay too short and had to go back.

I've been away all summer - and around this point I was busy getting things sorted for being out of the country, so the car was getting a bit neglected at this point. The exhaust really died at this point, and there seemed to be some dragging from one of the brakes. Additionally, I needed to do the other wheel bearing - so I parked the car up and put it in the 'I'll do that when I get back pile'.

...which brings us roughly up to date.
So - present day. Well, el Saab is currently filling in daily driver duties for my now longer and very hilly commute to work. I have about 3000ft of elevation gain each way to / from work (I know this from my GPS having cycled it, it's bloody hilly!) - all on twisty B-roads. This is great fun, but not ideal territory for driving a turbocharged tank - it's currently returning around 29mpg on this route - I reeeeeeeally need to get the Panda back on the road!

The MoT expired while I was away - but as you can probably guess from my previous post, the car has been in hibernation for the summer. It's looking a bit sorry for itself, but it's dry inside, the brakes aren't stuck, and the engine turns (haven't run it because the dizzy is out for an overhaul), and the starter solenoid seems to be sticking. Good times.

Predictably, I've still not fitted those rear brake shoes - and I've also treated the car to a bunch of new bits as well. The gearbox oil leak appears to have got a bit worse - I imagine I annoyed it while replacing the shocks / springs when I lowered it. The side that's leaking needs a wheel bearing now, so I'll sort it then.

There has been a steady stream of ingredients arriving over the last few days, including a replacement genuine Fiat 'stat after the fakey-bakey one started to give up the ghost just before I left (really? how can they make something as simple as a thermostat be that rubbish?). Lots of things to go on.

  • Front brake pads
  • Rear brake pads
  • Gearbox oil seal / bearing etc.
  • Front wheel bearing
  • Downpipe
  • Dizzy refresh
  • Oil / filter / coolant
  • New exhaust studs / nuts

I took the exhaust off at the weekend after the saga with the welding and the bodging and the snapping - now that I've got a bit more time I'm going to actually sort it properly. A new pattern front section has arrived - I should've probably got a genuine one, but sod it. I don't mind doing it again in a couple of years as it was 33 quid delivered ;)

Upon removing the rear section, it was clear that this was also not long for this world - this was replaced by the previous owner just before I got the car - and the ever-inquisitive pokey screwdriver went straight through one of the welds. Bah! The rear section of the exhaust never seems to get hot hot on this car, so I wonder if it doesn't really get hot enough in normal usage to dry out properly. There's a place near me (Infinity Exhausts) who everyone raves about - I'm sorely tempted to put the knackered rear section back on and then get them to build a custom stainless rear section with a lifetime warranty and a design that won't rub on the Omega beam when the car is fully loaded like the pattern one did. The back section should make it through the MoT with an advisory - the exhaust folk want to build the exhaust on the car, so I'll have to wait for that until it's back on the road.

I'm going to do some damage on it this weekend so I'll get some photos up (including the next installment of the exhaust replacement saga).

Muddy Saab and the (currently) sleeping Panda...

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nice update! when you change the alternator i really recommend keeping the multi V belt over the pandas single V belt. you get a lot more grip with a multi V belt..

Talon has the punto 95 amp alternator on him (to drive his spot lights, radio gear and soon even more lights!) the only issue is that no matter how tight you make the belt, it squeals like hell under load.
i keep meaning to grab a bottom pulley from off a fiat with a later fuel injected FIRE engine, just so i can swap over to multi V belt technology.

i actually would not mind getting another alternator at some point in time to fit to Fallout as he is still on the standard 45 amp alternator.

oh and the alternator can be got out the top and bottom of the engine bay! i did it even with a sump guard in the way so it is doable!
Hi mate,
You're nearly there.

To cut Spax springs is not the best idea, as the ride will get stiffer.

FirstcarY10 (Andrew) is best to speak to.

Just a quick off topic question regards that borrowed oscilospope.
I can see it is Agilent 54622A or simmilar, by any chance have you got any experience in repairing the power module of it? I've got osci like that but the power module packed up few years ago after being left permanently on thruough out the christmas brake.


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man i hate surface mounted components. the resistor looks easy to fix but the IC.. who knows what that was.
i was expecting bad caps, but they all look good from the picture.

any info on what the output voltages were? it may be more easy to just build a new power supply...?
I was born with hot air solder in hand and love smd and bga.
No idea on specification just Agilent part no 0950-3698
Crikey, that looks like a pretty solid job! Definitely less magic smoke in there than there used to be...

I've not had one apart I'm afraid - but I'd echo Dragon Man's sentiment that it's probably easier to just install/build a new one. SMPS is a lot harder to fix than linear because the controllers seem to go NLA every couple of years. That's probably a FET, but I can't find any schematics for the supply anywhere.

Do you know what voltage it is? I know it's a lame solution, but I'd probably just chuck a caged 30W supply from XP or Traco in there (Farnell - should be around the £20 mark).

I imagine it will have been 12V or 24V. I'd try to power it off a bench supply and see where it kicks into life. See if you can find any opamps in the oscillator section for the probe calibration signal - then look at the power supply rails for those to see if there's any additional regulation? It's a bit of a hack, but what can you do without a schematic :(

Does the CRT still work? Any damaged insulation on the coils?

On topic, I was thinking of cutting the stock springs if I do cut stuff - to me the springs on mine always felt a bit weak at the back, whereas the front was about right. A message to Andrew is in order I think :)

Dragon Man - Good call on the multi-V belt. I haven't got an impact gun, so that'll be a lot easier than removing the current pulley off the old alternator, too!

Not sure why I couldn't get it out - I knew it must be possible, but I just couldn't do it... Didn't seem like something Fiat would do, build a car where you had to remove the engine or disconnect the exhaust to get the alternator out lol