advice build for spirited mountain driving

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BSmith79
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:14 pm
Your car is a: 1979 124 spider 2000

advice build for spirited mountain driving

Postby BSmith79 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:32 pm

Ive read a lot of similar advice recently and when so many owners say this is the formula I suppose that's the way to go or wander into the weeds at your own peril! As far as suspension and brakes and so on they are on the table for improvements.

When I say spirited I don't mean at the limits, more like satisfying to drive , and when I say not at the limits that means more like there is no guard rail and that drop looks like ten stories!

So far I have a new wiper linkage after working to free up the old one it wasnt as good as i hoped and got some Zrod amsoil to do an oil change on it, the timing belt kit from AR with the pump and bearing--dont want to push my luck with that. The gauge lights are a little weak and the speedo light likes to go out but i just got new bulbs to look into that. just getting started
Last edited by BSmith79 on Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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chrisg
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Your car is a: 1971 FIAT
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Re: advice build for spirited mountain driving

Postby chrisg » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:46 pm

the usual recipe for a '79/80 carb'd car would be the single plane '74-'78 (?) intake with 34DMSA (or 34ADF, or 32/36 DFxV) and replacing the exhaust (unless it already has this) with one of the 4-2-1 exhaust manifold/downpipe setups...and I guess while you're at it, new exhaust with nothing more than a resonator & rear muffler (I believe AutoRicambi sells a very nice one....the PO installed it on my '73 124). From my own experience with that terrain (lower elevations, different geologic feature...southern Appalachians here), I'd say making sure you have correctly clean/lubricated brake components, fresh suspension bushings and ideally a rear anti-sway bar, Konis on all 4 corners, stainless braided flexible brake lines & nice front pads (Green stuff is my go-to) all make it more fun. I think a social media 124 group actually hit on all this just yesterday, come to think of it. All of that will bring your car to what many would say it is or should be in stock form & then other modifications would give it more grunt/etc.....like a 1.8 head and/or higher compression pistons, then matched with cams perhaps, dual carburetors, etc. etc....but, truthfully, doing that first round of stuff (which relatively speaking isn't expensive nor is it rocket science to do) will bring about a profound change in how you experience the car.
Chris Granju
Knoxville, TN
'71 FIAT 124BS (stock, pretty), '72 FIAT 124BC,'76 FIAT 128 Wagon (rat rod), '85 Bertone X 1/9 (FI, efficiency machine) '70 124BC (project,project), 79 X1/9 (hot rod in rehab), '73 124BS (2L, mean), '74 124 Special TC

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baltobernie
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Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2007 6:00 pm
Your car is a: 1973 Spider
Location: Highland, MD

Re: advice build for spirited mountain driving

Postby baltobernie » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:52 pm

Yours is one situation where a 4.3 rear axle might prove beneficial. Second-to-third and third-to-fourth are rather widely spaced, and a shorter axle ratio would help offset this, keeping you in the power band.

narfire
Posts: 3943
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 2:14 am
Your car is a: 1980 124 spider
Location: Naramata B.C.

Re: advice build for spirited mountain driving

Postby narfire » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:12 am

How much do you want to spend? About $5000 will get you oversized pistons (re-bore) worked 1800 head/valves, shaved flywheel, after market cams, adjustable cam wheels, degree'd in properly, 34 ADF carb, headers This will get perhaps 125-135 HP me thinks.
Perhaps consider a budget and see what can be done.
As mentioned, the 79 benefits substantially with bolt on improvements. I helped a fellow here years ago install a single plane intake and a 34 DMSA carb.( on a 79) That woke the car up compared to what it was.

These cars are not a neck snapping performance machine but I have enjoyed the engine improvements and upgraded the suspension, wheels and tires ( 205/50-15's) The car sticks well in the twisties. The brake upgrade is next on the list.
80 FI spider
72 work in progress
1978 Toyota forklift
1978 GMC 3/4 PU
2017 Golf R

SeattleSpider
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:19 pm
Your car is a: 1980 Spider
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: advice build for spirited mountain driving

Postby SeattleSpider » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:20 am

Narfire,

I know I should start my own thread, and I will sometime soon, but . . . I thought of going this route myself. I also have a 1980 Spider but mine is fuel injected. Every time I turn around (the latest was at a shop that specializes in performance upgrades) I pretty much get told that anything I do will be limited by the fuel injection: it is the "choke point." I am told that I need to either do MegaSquirt or some other such fuel injection upgrade, or go back to carburetors. Any thoughts? (you, or any of you other 'performance experts' out there).

BSmith79
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:14 pm
Your car is a: 1979 124 spider 2000

Re: advice build for spirited mountain driving

Postby BSmith79 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:35 am

Ive read a lot of similar advice recently and when so many owners say this is the formula I suppose that's the way to go or wander into the weeds at your own peril! As far as suspension and brakes and so on they are on the table for improvements.

When I say spirited I don't mean at the limits, more like satisfying to drive , and when I say not at the limits that means more like there is no guard rail and that drop looks like ten stories!

So far I have a new wiper linkage after working to free up the old one it wasnt as good as i hoped and got some Zrod amsoil to do an oil change on it, the timing belt kit from AR with the pump and bearing--dont want to push my luck with that. The gauge lights are a little weak and the speedo light likes to go out but i just got new bulbs to look into that. just getting started

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joelittel
Posts: 803
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:53 pm
Your car is a: 1980 Spider 2000 FI
Location: Evanston, IL

Re: advice build for spirited mountain driving

Postby joelittel » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:51 am

SeattleSpider wrote:Narfire,

I know I should start my own thread, and I will sometime soon, but . . . I thought of going this route myself. I also have a 1980 Spider but mine is fuel injected. Every time I turn around (the latest was at a shop that specializes in performance upgrades) I pretty much get told that anything I do will be limited by the fuel injection: it is the "choke point." I am told that I need to either do MegaSquirt or some other such fuel injection upgrade, or go back to carburetors. Any thoughts? (you, or any of you other 'performance experts' out there).



I have an ‘80 that used to have the stock Bosch L Jet. For years I got the same advice as above, so I upgraded to the VAS programmable fuel injection system.

Here’s the funny part... as soon as my upgrade was complete the advice I was reading had shifted to, “You don’t need pfi the Bosch system is good enough to handle XYZ and ABC upgrades.”

Not sure what or who to believe but I love my programmable setup and monkey around with it often.

BSmith79
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:14 pm
Your car is a: 1979 124 spider 2000

Re: advice build for spirited mountain driving

Postby BSmith79 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:45 am

baltobernie wrote:Yours is one situation where a 4.3 rear axle might prove beneficial. Second-to-third and third-to-fourth are rather widely spaced, and a shorter axle ratio would help offset this, keeping you in the power band.


I think you may be right the combo of moderate perf upgrades and the lower diff gearing might be the ticket. Ive read some of your engine stuff -very interesting.

SeattleSpider
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:19 pm
Your car is a: 1980 Spider
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: advice build for spirited mountain driving

Postby SeattleSpider » Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:09 pm

Joe Little,

Thanks for the response. Did you look at the MegaSquirt as well? . . . and if so, for what reason(s) did you choose Vick's programmable fuel injection system over the MegaSquirt?

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nelsonj
Posts: 340
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:37 pm
Your car is a: 1972 Spider 124

Re: advice build for spirited mountain driving

Postby nelsonj » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:32 pm

I put on performance (lowering) springs when I changed the shocks. The combo made a significant improvement. You might want to consider new springs as well.

Peace.
Out.
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Simi Valley, California
Spider 1800
Romans 10:9

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RRoller123
Posts: 7015
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Your car is a: 1980 FI SPIDER 2000
Location: PLYMOUTH, MA USA
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Re: advice build for spirited mountain driving

Postby RRoller123 » Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:49 am

A lightened flywheel makes a huge difference too. Single best mod made on my car.
'80 FI Spider 2000 (rolling "resto")
'74 X1/9 (many years ago)
'79 X1/9 (fewer years ago)
'86 Jaguar XJ6 (2nd Hobby Car)
2011 Chevy Malibu (daily driver)
2010 Chevy Silverado 2500HD Ext Cab 4WD/SB
2015 Keystone Montana High Country 343RL

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joelittel
Posts: 803
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:53 pm
Your car is a: 1980 Spider 2000 FI
Location: Evanston, IL

Re: advice build for spirited mountain driving

Postby joelittel » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:20 am

SeattleSpider wrote:Joe Little,

Thanks for the response. Did you look at the MegaSquirt as well? . . . and if so, for what reason(s) did you choose Vick's programmable fuel injection system over the MegaSquirt?



I did look into building my own Mega Squirt board but ultimately decided that it was a time versus money issue. To learn enough about Mega Squirt to build my own would take me a lot of time, but saving enough to buy the VAS setup would probably take just as long. I felt safe knowing Vick’s would back their product if something wasn’t right, whereas if I built the board and then ruined it with a simple mistake I’d be SOL.

In hindsight, building the board would have given me a more thorough understanding of my car, but I can always read up and research later.

I was also attracted to the “plug and play” aspect of the Vick’s system, but I will say that mine wasn’t so simple. My wiring did not match the diagram I got from Artigue or the instructions I got from Vicks. My advice there is to pay little attention to the wire colors and make your decisions based on which terminals the wires connect to. My car had the correct colored wires but they were not connected as the diagram shows. It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure this out.

From what I understand now, there is a lot of information that needs to be burned into your cars cpu before it will even start, let alone run well. Getting that information seemed daunting to me so I chose to buy that knowledge from Vick’s. I also discovered that you cannot simply take someone else’s tune and expect it to work with your build. It’s best to start with a general tune and finesse it from there.

I had a great experience with Andy at VAS. I know just enough about my car to mess it up pretty bad but Andy walked me through all my issues, both over the phone and via email. I wasn’t convinced that I’d receive the same support when building a MS board on my own. I don’t know that for sure but Andy had helped me in the past so I felt more confident going with Vick’s.

Definitely check out the DIYautotune site before you decide either way. It’s a great resource and those folks may have literally written the book on this topic.

I’d also be happy to help or share anything I’ve learned along the way, just pm me if need be.

All in all I love it

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chrisg
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Re: advice build for spirited mountain driving

Postby chrisg » Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:54 pm

I have a friend who is a bit of a wiz at all things megasquirt...though I'm not actually so interested (I prefer carbs even if they aren't as efficient!), I'll probably end up taking him up on his offers to do a megasquirt conversion on one of my Fiats (probably one of the 124s, so a twin cam). According to him, the cost would be about 600ish bucks in materials & he has all the resources to fabricate literally anything I'd ever want (and maybe some stuff I don't want)....but on the other hand, when I told him that a dual IDF setup is typically more money, less efficient, but sexier & more fun to play with, he completely understood! :)
Chris Granju
Knoxville, TN
'71 FIAT 124BS (stock, pretty), '72 FIAT 124BC,'76 FIAT 128 Wagon (rat rod), '85 Bertone X 1/9 (FI, efficiency machine) '70 124BC (project,project), 79 X1/9 (hot rod in rehab), '73 124BS (2L, mean), '74 124 Special TC

SeattleSpider
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:19 pm
Your car is a: 1980 Spider
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: advice build for spirited mountain driving

Postby SeattleSpider » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:10 pm

Joe Littel, (sorry about the “Little” in an earlier post . . . thank autocorrect . . . must be frustrating),

Want to thank you for your info and offer of support. I am going to do a little more researching around (including following this post as it develops) to figure out exactly what I am going to do. I am putting this aside for the holidays and then looking at it more closely in January (hope to get some things done before driving season opens up here in the "wet country"). May even do a post of my own. You will probably hear from me in January – mean time: Happy Holidays!

BSmith79: for your carbureted version I think chrisg and narfire have some great ideas (don’t know much about the rear-end/differential). You might also look at the headers and exhaust system for sale by Allison’s Automotive: http://allisonsautomotive.com/wp/ Looks pretty great.

I look forward to watching this post unfold, and to hearing what you decide to do.

John

narfire
Posts: 3943
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 2:14 am
Your car is a: 1980 124 spider
Location: Naramata B.C.

Re: advice build for spirited mountain driving

Postby narfire » Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:26 am

BS Smith79.....to start, snoop around for a single plane intake and a 34 adf, 32/36, or a 34 dmsa carb. That alone will make a difference and won't break the bank. I believe the exhaust is the 4-2-1 so should not be an issue but if you have the restrictive 4-1, swap that out as well.

Seattle Spider, I have the 80 FI as well and still have the stock Bosch FI. Really reliable and easy to work on if for whatever the reason it needs to be fiddled with. I'm a believer in if you really want great performance, although it can be done with these engines with a ton of loot, take a look at a Honda S-2000. Me thinks you would be way further ahead with a car that is designed from the outset for this kind of power and suspension. Up grading a car designed in the 60's might take a while and would everything be in sync with the more powerful engine...upgrade tranny, rear end for example.
On my FI, I had some head work done and installed Mark Allison's FI cams with the adjustable cam wheels and degree'd in properly.
That alone woke the car up . Lots of torque. Driving at 60 kph in 5th and add power , the car picks up nicely without having to down shift...
The car does not snap the head back like my 2017 Golf R but is a gas in the twisties and has enough power to keep things interesting( my guess 125?hp) I get the most satisfaction with the springs ( were IAP Reds) and Koni Yellow shocks and 15" wheels and 205-50 tires. Put a 1" front sway bar on as well. Considering a rear bar and upgrading the brakes this winter.
80 FI spider
72 work in progress
1978 Toyota forklift
1978 GMC 3/4 PU
2017 Golf R


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