Fiat 126 Chat > Your Restorations

1981 126 Deville

(1/5) > >>

Or should I say Devil.

I'm sure this car just wants to bite me all the time. I've decided to start a thread so I can document all the mishaps and look back fondly in the future.....

A quick recap.... I bought this car back in June from a chap a stone's throw away from Brands Hatch. I won't go into too much detail but in short it was not as good as I expected when I turned up to view it. I'd driven from near Oxford so didn't really want to go back empty handed, a deal was done and I left for home.

Well I made it as far as his driveway anyway, not the cars fault (yet) but my incompetent insurance company. A quote obtained a few days beforehand suddenly 'could not be accessed' by a member of Admiral's well trained staff because it was 'on the old system'. After circling the issue for over half an hour I was advised to call back and speak to a higher trained member of staff. 90 minutes later after threatening to cancel all 4 cars and the house insurance policy a highly trained member of staff accessed the 'old system' and I was finally was able to give them money for this fine service.

My journey home should have been appx 90 minutes but no there I was in baking 30° sunshine, roof open doing precisely 0mph waiting to be road legal. Finally insured and taxed I was off!

This is my first Fiat but I'm no stranger to classic cars. We own an MG midget and I've had various others over the years. I also work for a restoration company based in Oxfordshire specialising in vintage Bugatti's, I'm a CNC machinist not a mechanic but I know when an engine isn't running right.......

I made it round the M25 and part way up the A41 to Hemel before the first sign of problems. A strange lurching developed and power was dropping off before finally the engine cut out. Put the HT lead back on the coil and once again I was off! Made it to Aylesbury before the lurching started again only this time worse and in my head I knew it was starting to seize.....

A combination of the spark plug bungs missing, jumbo air hose splitting plus some steepish hills near Hemel and 30° weather had cooked the head gasket. On later inspection the head had got so hot one valve guide lost it's fit and dropped bending a valve and filling the bore with much brass swarf.

Amazingly though the engine still worked. Albeit badly but it still ran with one valve permanently stuck open. :-)

So called the AA to help me, turns out the cover through my bank didn't include relay. Damn it. AA man tried for over 2 hours to fix the engine that obviously wasn't fixable by repeatedly cleaning the carburettor.......

So nearly 6 hours after buying the car I was within touching distance of home but was immobile again! AA man took pity and gave me a tow rope and D shackle. A good friend drove out to get me home.

Half way back after beeping my horn and flashing my lights like a raving nutter for 3 miles he finally took the hint to slow down from 40mph and as we pulled up to a roundabout my brake pedal went straight to the floor. Yanked handbrake on and told him to pull into a layby. Literally all 4 brakes were smoking, in trying to keep the rope tight and him going to fast I had boiled all the fluid in the lines. Another long wait for it all to cool down and some feel to come back in the pedal we were off again!

I made it home about 9pm over 6 hours later than planned. I'm not sure my partner was too amused. Messed around with it realised it was knackered and sent it off to Middle Barton Garage which is 20 mins from me. The house was being renovated and looked like a building site, dust and crap everywhere, builders flinging cement about..... couldn't work at home so I decided to suck it and pay a garage.

They were fantastic, did a great job, brand new head, valves etc, sorted out a charging issue I didn't know I had, new alternator and master cylinder and brake fluid. They also got the fuel guage working and gave me a big advisory list and dropped the hourly rate quite a bit as they found more niggles. I would recommend them to anyone they really were good and very fair.

Got the car back a couple of weeks later somewhere in July now and was chuffed to bits. Within a few days it all went wrong as the fuel level dropped. So much rust in the filter and carb coughing sputtering etc.... so I then replaced the fuel tank, lines, pump, filter and rebuilt the carb. Car runs brilliantly now, only had the occasional stop to whip out the idle jet blow it and refit as the last few bits came through but for the last month the engine has been perfect.

Guys at work were laughing at my tool stash in the passenger door pocket asking what was going to fall off next.... in short I didn't know but it turned out the front wheels were making a bid for freedom.

I kept hearing a scrubbing noise when turning sharply and initially put it down to tyres and arches. However I couldn't find evidence of any contact so delved a little deeper........ turned out to be front wheel bearings or rather the lack of.

Looking at the MOT history it can be seen that this car has had a few issues with said front wheel bearings..... namely failing multiple times in 2008-2012 for excessive play in front bearings. I was beginning to realise the car was nicely original but the previous owner a complete moron.

How difficult can it be to fit and set front wheel bearings I thought???? Nothing made sense until I took the drums off....... the outer bearings in the front drums turned out to be imperial not metric. Instead of 42mm they were approx .5mm down on diameter, literally no fit at all, the outer races were rattling about in the seats. That explained the wheel bearing issues, the nuts were overnight crushing the race against the seat with friction preventing it from turning.... until a sharp corner and enough lateral load to start the whole bearing spinning in the drum. No I didn't have tyre scrub I had bearing scrub! Consequently I had to machine the drums to clean up the faces where the bearings had started to chew the drums. What kind of idiot fits wheel bearings with no fit????!!!!!

After that farse everything went well through August until one day the oil filler cap vibrated off and sprayed oil over the entire engine bay. It's still there as a rust preventative.

Then what sealed the deal and made me start this thread was two nights ago halfway home from work the throttle pedal literally fell off the transfer shaft. Walked a mile home got some tools then walked a mile back...... took out centre plastic cover and metal cover to access cable, drove home with left foot operating throttle on the cable lever arm and right foot operating the clutch braking with the handbrake. Good fun!

Looks like the pedal shaft seized and weakened the weld over time. Dismantled whole unit cleaned greased and welded pedal back on. Whoop whoop :-)

Now I've started to address the clutch judder issue which I think is actually the knackered engine mounts so I'm replacing them and have made a start on the bodywork. The more I look the more rusty I find......

Starting with this, the missing section under the bonnet seal which I noticed the other day when the front panel was flexing with the bonnet up.

More to come soon!

Some pics of the rust and some I took just for fun :-)


Sent from my SM-G925F using Tapatalk


Same colour as mine. Most of the faults mentioned are usual problems on a 126.

If thats the only rust, its great. Mine has a little more :-)

Have fun :)

Rusty's Uncle:
Had to laugh reading the story of the tow but not funny I know as I was in exactly the same position when I collected my 500L. Broke down near to Legoland, Windsor. A friend of my son took me in tow with his VW Golf on a very short rope. Instead of just towing me to the nearest safe pull in he took off at between 40-50mph for several miles. Totally frightening experience with smoking , failing brakes  :o
When I finally got him to pull over I asked him one question,
"Have you ever towed or been towed before?"
You can guess the answer !!

Indeed my friend was equally clueless!!

Passenger door flew open last night, seems to need a good slam to shut correctly, need to look at that. Also need to look at indicators as they randomly stop flashing and come on permanently. I've already changed the flasher unit which is weird.

Adjusted clutch after changing engine mounts car drives much better now!

Sent from my SM-G925F using Tapatalk


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version