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Old 03-03-2008   #1
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Thinking on buying an X1/9

Hi all.

I am thinking on buying an X1/9 for myself and wish to know what the pitfalls are.

I also would like to know how hard it is to fix the reverse gear problem that is common.

Is it hard to get hold of a set of 3 spoke alloys?

Finally, are there any specialists out there where I could buy parts?

Thanks loads

Alan
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Old 03-03-2008   #2
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Re: Thinking on buying an X1/9

Thanks
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Old 04-03-2008   #3
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Re: Thinking on buying an X1/9

Pitfalls? The X1/9 marks a change in car manufacturing technology (or rather bridges it). The last cars benefit from total body anti-corrosion treatment while the early cars do not. That said the treatment was far from perfect - a lot of lessons have learned since then and even now it isn't as good as people hope.

The electronics were always overly complicated and were improved, early cars will need modifications especially to the external lighting circuits in order to keep working.

Any X1/9 is going to have worn engine mounts by now (possibly even at the end of the life of a second or third set) and as such these will need to be replaced and finding quality replacements is going to require a fair bit of effort. Second hand parts are available but may not be appropriate. All rubber components will need close examination.

The car is deceptively heavy (just below 1 ton) and deceptively large (the same footprint as the old Ford Escort) although that is still small and light by modern standards. This does hit fuel economy and performance but this isn't a supercar although it is still faster than so many other cars - partially down to the handling capabilities.

The cabin is cramped - if you are over 5'10" I strongly recommend trying to find a comfortable seating position before you buy the car. I've known owners over 6'2" but modifications were needed...

The "reverse gear problem" (depends what is actually happening) is typically down to a number of possible failures, most commonly the selector fork is distorted but it could be down to other damaged components (possibly even the gear itself) or it could just be the gear linkage is out of alignment under the car. Normally 5th gear and reverse are both lost (selector rod or linkage alignment) if it is just a missing reverse gear then it is most likely other internal damage.
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Old 04-03-2008   #4
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Re: Thinking on buying an X1/9

Thanks Jimbro.

I didn't know about the engine mount problem, and lack of parts for this issue now slightly concerns me!

As for the other things, I am presuming that a solid '88 or '89 car (with maybe some work from me) should be a good bet. I presume the bodywork and electrics are both considerably better on these?

I fancy the uno turbo mods (engine and brakes) and wonder does the uno box go in along with the engine or do I stick with the fragile x1/9 box?

If I need any parts (i.e. cooling pipes, csc exhaust, seconhand cromodoras etc) where would I get them?

Is the carb fan easy to replace / upgrade etc?

I want to MAKE SURE it does not overheat so again, all advice is good advice!

Thanks

Alan
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Old 04-03-2008   #5
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Re: Thinking on buying an X1/9

Lack of parts isn't anything like as bad as it seems but the engine mounts can be entertaining to find.

There is still at least 1 specialist X1/9 supplier in the UK so you should be able to get pretty much anything you need.

The Uno Turbo route is about a simple an engine swap as you could hope for but it is still far from painless. The Uno box will go in (the Mk1 Uno used the same design but has the gear linkage on the wrong side of the gearbox so some mix and match is needed to make it happen).

The carb fan is a bit of a strange animal - I've done no end of experimenting over the years on this particular subject and as far as I can tell it makes no odds as to whether it works or not. One of the big culprits of the fuel vapour lock problem is that the engine cover doesn't not allow enough ventilation *plus* the big black air filter housing acts as a heat sink for all the very hot air rising from the exhaust which is then piped straight back into the carb and that in turn boils the more volatile components of the fuel that remain in the carburettor.

Switching to electronic ignition (I used the excellent Lumenition optronic system), adopting an electric fuel pump and ditching the air filter housing and filter in favour of a high-flow performance filter solved the problem completely. Alternative steps include removing some of the inner slats from the engine cover and removing the horizontal slats from the side vents.

Ultimately, despite the fact it is still a relatively modern car it has been out of production for over 20 years as a result it is subject to all of the associated problems of hard-to-find parts (even the much more recent and only just out of production Seicento has parts that are no longer available from Fiat so you can imagine what older cars are like). It takes a degree of dedication and ingenuity to cover the inadequacies in parts supply.

My answer was to convert to an almost completely bespoke car although it is tailored entirely for track based motorsport which has very little connection to a road going car.

If you do some digging around the internet you should find some very extensive and knowledgible sites specifically for X1/9 owners and enthusiasts. There are a number here but not in the concentrations you would find elsewhere. I suggest looking up xweb (north american based), X1/9 owners club (requires a paid subscription to access their website fully) and the sporting fiats club (not X1/9 specific but more focussed than here).
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78 1400 turbo dallara race X1/9 (for sale - please ask for details)
09 Abarth 500 (for sale - http://www.fiatforum.com/classifieds...=28906&cat=211)
98 1242 8v 6-spd Seicento (for sale http://www.fiatforum.com/classifieds...t=29817&cat=20) - engine seized so up for grabs
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