124 Spider Rack and Pinion

Road-race engines and ancillaries - general discussion
branda
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124 Spider Rack and Pinion

Post by branda » November 29th, 2006, 6:59 pm

Dear All

I'm in the process of converting my LHD Fiat 124 Spider to rack and pinion.

I've got an LHD rack and rods from one of the very late Pinin Spiders but that's about it so far. I know quite a few people have done the conversion but usually with 131 or Alfa racks. I haven't found anyone yet who has used the original Spider rack or anyone in the UK who has one of the very last elusive cars - ideally, I'd like to replicate how they did it on these.

The issues at present are:-

I know that the steering column was different (and needs to be because it falls several inches short with the std column). I've seen drawings of the late Spider column. I suspect it wasn't a one-off bespoke column for the Spider but from another car and possibly used on something else afterwards?

I need to figure out the exhaust side of things. Again, I know there must have been a solution for the late Pinin Spiders but I haven't seen any pics/drawings. I have seen some conversions with manifolds passing underneath the rcrossmember/rack but I also know that the standard 131 exhaust passes above the rack - if there's sufficient room on the Spider, I'd prefer to do that.

Finally, I'd like to see what the mounts on a 131 crossmember look like so I can look at replicating these for the 124 crossmember. I don't suppose anyone has one or any pics of one? From what I can make out from the pic I have, the brackets are mounted vertically onto the back face of the crossmember. I don't think this can be done on the 124 Spider (sump) so I think people use the 131 mounts but attach them underneath the 124 crossmember.

Any pointers gratefully received.

Guy Croft
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Post by Guy Croft » November 30th, 2006, 6:49 am

Hi Ben

assume you've got this already?

GC
Attachments
Fiat Spider rack and pinion 84-85.jpg
Fiat Spider rack and pinion 84-85.jpg (145.46 KiB) Viewed 10303 times

branda
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Post by branda » November 30th, 2006, 9:27 am

Thanks Guy

I've seen these drawings but only smaller versions so that's useful. Andy Lewis has also emailed me a pic of the crossmember from a Seat 124 Coupe which might have been the same as the late Pinin Spider's (although I think the mounting "tabs" would foul the sump on the Spider?). It's helpful to see where people have taken the steering column through the bulkhead.

Image

vandor
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Post by vandor » November 30th, 2006, 3:37 pm

Hello,

I've done the conversion on my '71, but luckily I had a complete partscar.
I think the crossmemeber is the easiest part, you can just weld brackets to your existing one.
I don't think they used the steering column in anything else, the steering shaft is the same type as one on a 131, but different length. The column (part the bolts under the dash) looks to be the same as other Spiders.
For the exhaust I used an old Fiat 131 header - it barely fits, as the 131 'chasiss rails' are wider. A 131 exhaust downpipe would not fit. There is a person here in the US selling new 1985.5 Spider downpipes on an internet auction site. He seems to think that they are for automatics, I don't think he knows what he has. If I recall correctly his ID was 'laptopsrule'. If you can get one of those that might be the easiest solution.
I have pics of my conversion, I'd be happy to send you or post pics.
Let me know if you have any more questions.

Csaba
f124ss@yahoo.com
1971 124 Spider, 2Liter, rack&pinion, big brakes, LSD

vandor
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One more thing on the steering coumn

Post by vandor » November 30th, 2006, 3:43 pm

On the 85.5 the part that holds the steering column (bolts the the firewall and under the dash, holds the pedals and the steering column) is different, it has a shallower angle to mount the column, that's why the 85.5 steering wheel is more upright. If you want to duplicate that steering wheel angle you will have to modify this piece.
I have pics of the regular and 85.5 piece side by side on my home computer.
bye,

Csaba

Andy007
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Photos 1985/5 Spider

Post by Andy007 » November 30th, 2006, 5:05 pm

Hello Ben,
ich can make some pictures, please tell me what exactly i should take on the pics...

You know my Spider, its the dark green one 1985/5.

Greets Andy

cstorry
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have 124 spider with R&P steering

Post by cstorry » November 30th, 2006, 5:39 pm

Hi Ben,

I have an 85 spider volumex with R&P steering. I also have an R&P crossmember not currently in a car if you need pics of that or the stock header/crossmember/rack arrangement.

As for anything related to the volumex spider including an exhaust header I can highly recommend G&B as mentioned in a parallel thread. Hans speaks good english so don't be afraid of the German address and just give him a call.

regards
Chuck

Guy Croft
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Post by Guy Croft » November 30th, 2006, 5:48 pm

Thanks very much international members for springing into action to answer a genuine call for guidance from Ben; Csaba, Chuck, Andy et alia.

May I suggest, and to save time that whatever you have, you just post 'am sending such-and-such info now' and send it direct to Ben without delay by email at:

branda@sportspider.wanadoo.co.uk

GC

(Ben, if you don't want that, just let me know)

branda
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Post by branda » November 30th, 2006, 6:25 pm

Thanks for all the info so quickly guys.

Csaba - if you could email me some pics of your conversion that would be great. My email address is branda@sportspider.wanadoo.co.uk . How did you get around the steering shaft problem - some people seem to add a third universal joint whereas others have extended the shaft by welding. I think I would prefer not to add another UJ. Thanks for the info about the steering wheel alignment - I seem to recall that someone shimmed theirs presumably for this reason.

Andy/Chuck - thanks for the offers of pics. I would really like to see a close-up of the crossmember/rack in situ from behind/rack side to see how the rack mounts and how it fits in with the back of the sump. Chuck, a pic of the crossmember out of the car would be great to see the stock mounts. Finally, any pics of the exhaust manifold/header and if possible the steering column/shaft from inside the footwell and in the engine bay would be brilliant.

Chuck - I think I'll contact Hans at G&B about the manifold.

Thanks again for your help.

Andy007
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Photos 1985/5 Spider

Post by Andy007 » November 30th, 2006, 7:15 pm

Hello Ben,
ich can make some pictures, please tell me what exactly i should take on the pics...

You know my Spider, its the dark green one 1985/5.

Greets Andy

turbofiat
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Re: 124 Spider Rack and Pinion

Post by turbofiat » November 30th, 2006, 10:15 pm

A guy I know claims that he has converted several 124 Spiders using manual racks and steering columns from the 131 Brava. My guess is he fabricated/welded brackets to the crossmember then used the lower section from the Brava steering column to connect it to the rack. I'm not sure about the tie rods. Whether they were the correct length or he made new ones.

Even though I am a long time Spider owner, I can't stand the thought of using 131 Brava parts on a Spider simply because there are not enough 131 Spares around to begin with!

I'm in the process of restoring a 131 Brava and it's been a nightmare finding parts for this thing.

Andy007
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@brenda

Post by Andy007 » November 30th, 2006, 11:54 pm

Hello Ben,
your e-Mail adress has permanent fatal Errors, i have tried to send you some pictures...

Pls answer to : ABWieser@aol.com, i answer with the pictures ( 10 mb ).

Greets Andy007

cstorry
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pics and info on r&p steering

Post by cstorry » December 1st, 2006, 3:57 am

FYI - the info I sent to Ben's email

Hope these help.

I have included a series of pics
1. R&P crossmember including details of mountings and rack
2. pedals and steering wheel
3. the way the exhaust goes behind the crossmember and rack
4. the steering column through the firewall.

You can also find the pics on my web page at
http://www.forzavx.com/volumex/steering/

regards
Chuck

branda
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Post by branda » December 1st, 2006, 9:57 am

I would just like to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped with this especially Chuck and Andy who have both sent several photos which really help me to understand the OE set-up.

Thanks again!

Ben

Thotos
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Post by Thotos » December 1st, 2006, 10:52 am

This might seem irrelevant or too late now but did you all know that the 131 steering rack was also used on the Maserati Biturbo? The early Biturbos used a manual rack and the later ones (Biturbo II up to 1987) all had power steering racks as fitted to the later 131s. It could be that the steering column components from a Biturbo are better suited for the 124.

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