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1988 Fiat Panda, minor update.


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  • 5 months later...

Panda is still here.  I haven't tried to do anything with it since the gearshift bush fell off on the way to the last MOT in August.   I should have really but as per some of my other posts I got into a bit of a ULEZ sulk/depression and downed tools on all of my cars. 

So its still looking for its next caring owner. Preferably someone who really wants a Panda, and has a much better place to keep it than the streets of London (as Ralph McTell would attest to ! ) and would love it and use it more than I can and isn't just out to tick a Panda off the list or to flip it. 

As before I don't really want to roffle, and I would like to find the right person given the history of the car.   Its currently not MOTd and has its issues which need sorting. Its also not a minter but looks nice from 10 paces and is honest

Price would be dependant on how and when you could take it (i.e with MOT & gear linkage fixed or as is ) but I'm not looking to make silly money on it so would be a fair price to a trusted shiter either way

Drop me a line if you have any more questions 

I would dearly love to keep it as its a cool little car and they are such an icon, but I am no longer the right person for this and I'd hate for @spartacus's pride and joy to end up sitting idle and exposed to the elements


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8 minutes ago, Rust Collector said:

I'd be up for spending some tinkering time on it if it would help you out mate. It looks a really lovely little thing - if I could give it a home, I would. Pandas to Pandino is on the bucket list.

thanks mate. Yeah I bet the Panda to Pandino is great fun. I think @Ian_Fearnhas done it a few times

Thanks for the kind offer

although to he honest it just needs me to get off my lazy arse and find out which bit dropped off the gear linkage then hopefully replace from my box of spares or order new one depending which bit it is.. The other items are more longer term stuff for the next owner (tidying the bodywork, under sealing/rust proofing and addressing the noisy gearbox bearing if it gets any worse)

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  • 4 weeks later...

Had a look at the gear linkage this morning. As suspected the pin (4 in the diagram) had parted company with the car. The bush and i think all bar one washer were remarkably still there


I popped a washer and spare pin on and we now have gears back, although I need to get the car up in the air to make sure pin is seated properly but the Estelle is hogging the ramps and axle stands are elsewhere . Still some good news that it wasn't more serious and the parts needed were in my spare stash

Probably should have done this month's ago but hey ho

Note, it was all done by feel as can't get line of sight with car on ground so comments on missing bits subject to change;)

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I assumed the battery would be fecked since leaving it connected since August but when I turned the key it did a small attempt to turn over.  So connected the jump pack to see if it would start

(ignore the vibration the door was not closed properly and rattled on the catch

Bonnet has now decided not to latch, no signs of anything obvious think maybe just needs grease to allow the catch to return to correct posting but its stated pissing down so on hold 

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  • 1 month later...

what was the saying that wise men say, If it ain't broke don't fix it.  Well it wasn't broke but now it is!


With Mrs W away for the weekend I thought I'd take the opportunity to give the Panda a bit of a look at

First up was to get it up in the air and check the repair on the gear linkage I had done by feel was ok. It wasn't too bad but I clipped the pin in a bit more securely now

I then had a play around with the alternator belt tensioner which seems to have a tiny window between screeching when cold and seemingly loading up the bearings but it's a pain to do single handedly but I've had a go

I then decided whist I had the ramps out to have a good look at the crusty bits underneath which had been worrying me. I didn't get the screwdriver out and start poking but I did have a good look around the bits I was concerned about and it does just seem like surface rust and flaky old underseal. It does need looking at but hopefully a scrape and seal rather than a welding torch 

I then decided to have a play around with the points, this is where it seems to have gone wrong 

As per the previous posts on here from both @spartacusand myself the car has always had a little flat spot and when cold will cough a little under medium to high accelerator pedal . In the past I had measured the dwell at high 70s against a target of 55. Now Spartacus had fitted a Gammatronix ignition which keeps the points but uses them just as a low voltage signal rather than carrying the high voltage but the instructions do say to keep the factory points gap

The Panda has a funny points cassette which is adjustable externally via a screw so you can set the dwell when the engine is running but you can't see what's happening so I wasn't sure how sensitive it was. I gave it a few 1/4 turns but somehow managed to stop it stating.  I took the cap and bearing plate off the dizzy so I could see the points and thought I'd set it with a feeler than try again. Haynes says initial gap setting of 0.45 but I couldn't get anything like that, its bloody difficult again to do it single handed as you can't see the points when you are in position to turn crank over and you can't see the dizzy cam easily to see how close you are.  I fiddled with it until there was at least some gap (the reason it stopped running before was that once you turn it too far the cam and block just don't make any contact and the points stay closed)

It fired up straight away and when I put the dwell meter back on it was low 60s so closer to factory timing. I thought I'd hit on an accidental win so took it for a little spin up the street. It runs fine at light load but pinks like fck under any medium or high load (disclaimer, I've never heard pinking before, I'm guessing its pinking because its under load but sounds kind of like rapid machine gun fire or shaking small bolts in a can)

So assuming its pinking all I can think is that the timing was set to the old dwell and now I've buggered about with it and the timings out. I could try closing the points a bit and see if I can get it somewhere near where it was before but to be honest I know that value is too small


I think either points or dizzy are wearing so can't get enough adjustment to get correct dwell and I think Ive buggered timing up messing around with the dwell 

Annoyingly with no MOT and ULEZ cameras its not so easy to just take it out and adjust as I go along 

next step is to buy a timing light and see what that says, will have a quick check of static timing whilst I wait



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Had a look at the static timing, it was waaaay out, off the scale out, so that would explain the pinking. I played around with the gap screw again to get the timing back somewhere close to 5deg BTDC and it still fired up but now the dwell was up at 80.

I decided the best thing to do was take the points cassette out for a closer look 


Hmm that plastic block looks pretty worn 

So I think we might be getting to the bottom of the issue . It looks like the points contact block has worn to the point that you can't get enough adjustment to set the correct dwell angle. At some point someone has probably adjusted the timing to compensate for the gap being too small. The Gammatronix system Giles fitted which takes the high current off the points has probably masked this and also stopped the points completely burning out 

Looking at Ricambio a replacement points cassette is cracking on £60 and also put of stock but they do a refurbishment kit to service the existing cassette so I will order one of those then hopefully I can get the correct dwell and then set the timing again and probably make it run about the same as it was before I started fucking about with it this weekend 😂

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I seem to by bad luck or judgement make a meal out of even the simple jobs

  The are a number of small shims/washers which fit between the points cassette and the Rotor arm/upper bearing plate. seems to be one small diameter and 3 or 4 larger diameter. Haynes say they must be replaced in the same order. I took them out at the weekend and placed them on a piece of folded shop towel on my bench so I wouldn't lose them. Well would you believe it the springiness of the folded towel has flipped the bloody things off the towel and onto the bench so now I have no idea which order they went in.

Any thoughts on how critical is that going to be? I can't see why it would matter other than if the smaller diameter goes on first or last. 




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1 hour ago, Barry Cade said:

cheers they look the right ones..I have bought a service kit for the originals but good to know these might do if it doesn't work out and much cheaper than the £60 Ricambio want

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28 minutes ago, Mally said:

I'm aware of the circumstances and back story, and have met @Mrs Spart in the past.

You have done a sterling job with this, and if it's as far as you wish to go I see no problem in a roffle.

You have no need to feel bad about any part of your dealings in the matter.

thanks mate. If it wasn't for the ULEZ I'd like to keep it but the combination of £12.50 every time I drive it and the on road only parking means in my heart of hearts its getting to that time someone else would probably be a better custodian. 

That said I am a bit more comfortable with things now. In my head it was rotting away on my watch and I was feeling guilty of what Giles would think. However looking over last weekend I don't think its really deteriorated too much at all, maybe the scuttle and A pillars have a few more bubbles but underneath I think is just surface rust I hope.  If someone wants to take it on who can give it a better life now great but if not I'm going to sort the points and timing, get it MOTd and then hopefully do a few shows this year until it hopefully finds a new home.  Roffle would be the last resort I think but at least it would keep it on the forum but I'd hate for it to go somewhere where it was even less suitable than I am or end up off the forum 


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Points cassette refurbished. It was a bit more of a pain then expecting as the pin holding turns base plate and lower points in place was not designed to be removed so needed dremmelling off which was a bit fiddly but the refurb kit came with a new pin with a collar for a c clip .


Not sure how clearly it comes out in these pics but the plastic block was really worn hence not being able to open the gap wide enough without it stopping making contact with the cam 


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