Abarth GP4 16v Head - Identifying and Maintainance Requirements

Road-race engines and ancillaries - general discussion
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Abarth GP4 16v Head - Identifying and Maintainance Requirements

Post by EddyTheGent » June 3rd, 2017, 1:05 pm


I'm new to this forum, very keen to get involved with you all and the expertise amongst the group. I apologise up front if I ask some dumb questions, and if there are reference works or posts available that I can swat up on please direct me!

I have read a bit on the internet about the Abarth GP4 16v engines as used in the 131 and 037. My understanding is that these 16v engines would normally have been dry-sumped and used the Kugelfischer mechanical injection with/without a supercharger. I have come across a GP4 unit, but which has been converted to EFI and is not dry sumped. It is from a 131 so doesn't have a supercharger either. Can anyone help me with some key things to look for in an external check, or are there some 'light touch' mechanical checks that I could ask to carry out, or have done as part of a pre-purchase inspection that would be reasonable to request of a potential seller? I have no reason to doubt the seller in any way, but these are expensive units, so I want to make sure I know what I'm getting into.

If I do go ahead, I'm keen to get a feel for how high-strung and maintenance heavy these engines would be. As works engines I imagine they were designed with maximum performance in mind, probably irrespective of the cost of regular inspection and tuning. I have read somewhere that setting up shims for example is a job requiring the cams to come out, unlike the 8v heads.

I'm a keen amateur, and not afraid of getting into something that I would learn from and have to work at over the long term, but I haven't done anything more complicated with engines before than change ancillaries, a water pump and timing belt, and that was on a hydraulic tappet engine so no shimming and precise measurement required. How often do these engines need to be stripped down and is it possible to get the tools needed for regular maintenance jobs on an amateur budget?

Thanks for your thoughts, and patience!

GC 153

Guy Croft
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Re: Abarth GP4 16v Head - Identifying and Maintainance Requirements

Post by Guy Croft » June 4th, 2017, 2:40 pm

the Fiat-Abarth 16v engine is NO unit for a novice!

Especially where it comes to a built-up unit of uncertain origin. Yes all the usual claims will be made and large amounts of cash are always involved, usually in favour of the seller....

To buy a 'built' engine is risky at any time, irrespective of type, unless firm written assurances are made as to condition.

If you want to learn about them buy the 2013 GC workshop manual - that is my unbiased advice. To be honest I strongly suggest you 'cut your teeth' on something simpler...

Guy Croft, owner

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