does it end? did I make a mistake?

does it end? did I make a mistake?

Joined: June 15th, 2008, 8:54 pm

September 9th, 2008, 1:24 pm #1

I sold my wife's Volvo wagon (and gave her mine) in June to buy my 81 X. The car had been sitting for awhile, but seemed in really good mechanical shape.

I bought it knowing that I would need tires soon, but other than draining the gas tank replacing some fuel lines, it seemed good to go.

I went ahead and changed the brakes, oddly enough, after putting the front wheels up on jack stands, the dampers don't dampen at all anymore. I guess they drooped past their wear mark and killed the seals.

I drove the car for a few weeks, parked it for vacation, and when we came back all was well. Then a month ago the ECU died. The car was down for a few weeks while we got that figured out.

I'm fighting a misfire now, that seems like it is caused by the voltage regulator in the alternator, because the Megasquirt logs show a dip in battery voltage (down to as low as 7.5v) which coincides with a spike in AFR.

Last Friday my starter took a crap, I've had to bang it with a wrench a couple of times to get it going.

Then, this morning, I started getting fog on my windshield.... yup, heater core.


I'm sure the X is wonderful when operating correctly, and even with the blow front dampers it isn't unrewarding to bang up through the gears, but come on... enough is enough... I'm a full time student, full time work (yes, 40+ hours at work, 13 hours at school) with a stay at home wife and 2 kids. Why won't the X give me a break?

I'm reasonably mechanically inclined, I've removed and rebuilt engines, never gone to a mechanic for anything, I've bought old cars before.. Heck, I've even had a Fiat 1500 (in a Yugo) but I'm in despair this morning.

I'm looking at front dampers, tires (still), starter, alternator, and heater core.

Sorry for venting... I hope yall's X is treating you better than mine.
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Joe F
Joe F

September 9th, 2008, 2:07 pm #2

I don't know if this will help, but here are my experiences with X-1/9's:

My first car was a new '75. Light Blue with saddle interior. Absolutetly no problems for 75,000 miles, until it caught fire and completely burned before my eyes.

Major heartbreak.

Next was a used '79 Brown with saddle interior. I was looking to spend the insurance check from my '75 when I passes a used car lot with this baby out front. It was love at first sight.

I was still single and had time to keep it in good running condition, but this car demanded a lot of my time. My girlfriend gave me an ultimatum. She went packing and the X stayed.

I put 175,000 mies on the car until it gave up the ghost in '85 (Also I got married and had a son that same year). Unfortunatly, as you are finding out, the two lifestyles seldom mix.

I went X-less until '93 when I bought my current car, a '87 Bertone. I learned from my earlier experience with my '79 and simplified.

No A/C, no FI, no Emmissions, just a hot carb, cam and header.

I use this car as a fair weather ride and is stored during the New England winters.

To make a long story short, I have learned a few things about the X:

1. It does not like to be your daily driver
2. It does not like to be alone. It wants your undivided attention.
3. As a part time ride, and full time companion, it is very rewarding.

My humble advice to you is spend your time wisely. Your family is the most important item on your schedule. The X will keep until such a time you can give it it's due and it will reward you accordingly.

Hang in there and keep the faith.

Joe F
87 Bert
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Joined: August 29th, 2005, 4:22 am

September 9th, 2008, 2:44 pm #3

I sold my wife's Volvo wagon (and gave her mine) in June to buy my 81 X. The car had been sitting for awhile, but seemed in really good mechanical shape.

I bought it knowing that I would need tires soon, but other than draining the gas tank replacing some fuel lines, it seemed good to go.

I went ahead and changed the brakes, oddly enough, after putting the front wheels up on jack stands, the dampers don't dampen at all anymore. I guess they drooped past their wear mark and killed the seals.

I drove the car for a few weeks, parked it for vacation, and when we came back all was well. Then a month ago the ECU died. The car was down for a few weeks while we got that figured out.

I'm fighting a misfire now, that seems like it is caused by the voltage regulator in the alternator, because the Megasquirt logs show a dip in battery voltage (down to as low as 7.5v) which coincides with a spike in AFR.

Last Friday my starter took a crap, I've had to bang it with a wrench a couple of times to get it going.

Then, this morning, I started getting fog on my windshield.... yup, heater core.


I'm sure the X is wonderful when operating correctly, and even with the blow front dampers it isn't unrewarding to bang up through the gears, but come on... enough is enough... I'm a full time student, full time work (yes, 40+ hours at work, 13 hours at school) with a stay at home wife and 2 kids. Why won't the X give me a break?

I'm reasonably mechanically inclined, I've removed and rebuilt engines, never gone to a mechanic for anything, I've bought old cars before.. Heck, I've even had a Fiat 1500 (in a Yugo) but I'm in despair this morning.

I'm looking at front dampers, tires (still), starter, alternator, and heater core.

Sorry for venting... I hope yall's X is treating you better than mine.
I am fortunate to be self-employed, but you all know the downsides to that. I can usually squeeze a little wrenching time in when needed or wanted, but not always.

When we first moved to Olympia, I was driving my '81 Lancia Beta Zagato and all sorts of issues, brake m/c, mice eating the hoodliner, motor mounts, etc. Eventually they worked out but nothing sucks more than sitting in a leaky travel trailer watching your Zagato rust in the latest downpour (wettest year since we moved here).

I concentrate on drivability first, so my advice is take your starter and alternator to a well-loved starter/alternator shop and see what they say. You want the kind that is dirty, greasy and smells of cigars and electrical stuff.

After your shower, while the starter and alternator are being overhauled, bypass you heater core lines and rinse out the core circuit with water. Blow or vacuum out the lines for extra tidiness while you search for a new core.

Tires, well, the choices are limited. I chose the Sumitomos for price and availability. Kinda soft sidewalls but I can live with that.

Struts, see what you can find online, or here.

In closing, I hope you have a sympathetic spouse who is willing to coordinate schedules with you for a little while.

Gregory Smith

'87 Bertone X1/9 Corsa
'88 VW Vanagon
Olympia, Washington, USA
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Joined: July 19th, 2007, 6:15 pm

September 9th, 2008, 3:39 pm #4

I sold my wife's Volvo wagon (and gave her mine) in June to buy my 81 X. The car had been sitting for awhile, but seemed in really good mechanical shape.

I bought it knowing that I would need tires soon, but other than draining the gas tank replacing some fuel lines, it seemed good to go.

I went ahead and changed the brakes, oddly enough, after putting the front wheels up on jack stands, the dampers don't dampen at all anymore. I guess they drooped past their wear mark and killed the seals.

I drove the car for a few weeks, parked it for vacation, and when we came back all was well. Then a month ago the ECU died. The car was down for a few weeks while we got that figured out.

I'm fighting a misfire now, that seems like it is caused by the voltage regulator in the alternator, because the Megasquirt logs show a dip in battery voltage (down to as low as 7.5v) which coincides with a spike in AFR.

Last Friday my starter took a crap, I've had to bang it with a wrench a couple of times to get it going.

Then, this morning, I started getting fog on my windshield.... yup, heater core.


I'm sure the X is wonderful when operating correctly, and even with the blow front dampers it isn't unrewarding to bang up through the gears, but come on... enough is enough... I'm a full time student, full time work (yes, 40+ hours at work, 13 hours at school) with a stay at home wife and 2 kids. Why won't the X give me a break?

I'm reasonably mechanically inclined, I've removed and rebuilt engines, never gone to a mechanic for anything, I've bought old cars before.. Heck, I've even had a Fiat 1500 (in a Yugo) but I'm in despair this morning.

I'm looking at front dampers, tires (still), starter, alternator, and heater core.

Sorry for venting... I hope yall's X is treating you better than mine.
To put it bluntly, IMO you made a mistake with your timing, not with the choice of cars.

Given your overall situation, it was time to buy a more reliable, economical daily driver. It's unreasonable to expect a 27 year old X to be a late-model Toyota-class DD.

After some life has gone by, ie kids a little older, degree in hand, perhaps moved up the employment ladder a rung or two, that will be the best time to get your project X.
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Joined: June 15th, 2008, 8:54 pm

September 9th, 2008, 3:52 pm #5

I've only once had a "late model" car. I am used to driving 20-30 year olds cars (BMWs and Volvo usually) and can do my own wrenching no problem.

I mean, there is nothing special with the items that went out, they could go out on any of the cars I've had. I've replaced heater cores, starters, alternators, complete suspensions, etc. I wanted to stop daily driving my Volvo wagon that averaged 18mpg and get something that got 30 or better. That is why I ended up with the X. It is lighter than most cars, thusly it will be easier on tires and brakes.

I'm just frustrated at the multitude of problems that hit within a short time period. None of which are particularly expensive to fix, but money is tight (I work as a Desktop/Server Administrator, one income makes things tight)
Last edited by m4ff3w on September 9th, 2008, 3:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Eric Armstrong
Eric Armstrong

September 9th, 2008, 3:56 pm #6

I sold my wife's Volvo wagon (and gave her mine) in June to buy my 81 X. The car had been sitting for awhile, but seemed in really good mechanical shape.

I bought it knowing that I would need tires soon, but other than draining the gas tank replacing some fuel lines, it seemed good to go.

I went ahead and changed the brakes, oddly enough, after putting the front wheels up on jack stands, the dampers don't dampen at all anymore. I guess they drooped past their wear mark and killed the seals.

I drove the car for a few weeks, parked it for vacation, and when we came back all was well. Then a month ago the ECU died. The car was down for a few weeks while we got that figured out.

I'm fighting a misfire now, that seems like it is caused by the voltage regulator in the alternator, because the Megasquirt logs show a dip in battery voltage (down to as low as 7.5v) which coincides with a spike in AFR.

Last Friday my starter took a crap, I've had to bang it with a wrench a couple of times to get it going.

Then, this morning, I started getting fog on my windshield.... yup, heater core.


I'm sure the X is wonderful when operating correctly, and even with the blow front dampers it isn't unrewarding to bang up through the gears, but come on... enough is enough... I'm a full time student, full time work (yes, 40+ hours at work, 13 hours at school) with a stay at home wife and 2 kids. Why won't the X give me a break?

I'm reasonably mechanically inclined, I've removed and rebuilt engines, never gone to a mechanic for anything, I've bought old cars before.. Heck, I've even had a Fiat 1500 (in a Yugo) but I'm in despair this morning.

I'm looking at front dampers, tires (still), starter, alternator, and heater core.

Sorry for venting... I hope yall's X is treating you better than mine.
Even when you replace all of that stuff, it is still less than 1 months payments on a new car when you take into account the increase in insurance.

Find an xweb member close by, get some beers and fix it together. You will feel much better.

Eric
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Joined: August 7th, 2006, 3:12 pm

September 9th, 2008, 4:08 pm #7

I sold my wife's Volvo wagon (and gave her mine) in June to buy my 81 X. The car had been sitting for awhile, but seemed in really good mechanical shape.

I bought it knowing that I would need tires soon, but other than draining the gas tank replacing some fuel lines, it seemed good to go.

I went ahead and changed the brakes, oddly enough, after putting the front wheels up on jack stands, the dampers don't dampen at all anymore. I guess they drooped past their wear mark and killed the seals.

I drove the car for a few weeks, parked it for vacation, and when we came back all was well. Then a month ago the ECU died. The car was down for a few weeks while we got that figured out.

I'm fighting a misfire now, that seems like it is caused by the voltage regulator in the alternator, because the Megasquirt logs show a dip in battery voltage (down to as low as 7.5v) which coincides with a spike in AFR.

Last Friday my starter took a crap, I've had to bang it with a wrench a couple of times to get it going.

Then, this morning, I started getting fog on my windshield.... yup, heater core.


I'm sure the X is wonderful when operating correctly, and even with the blow front dampers it isn't unrewarding to bang up through the gears, but come on... enough is enough... I'm a full time student, full time work (yes, 40+ hours at work, 13 hours at school) with a stay at home wife and 2 kids. Why won't the X give me a break?

I'm reasonably mechanically inclined, I've removed and rebuilt engines, never gone to a mechanic for anything, I've bought old cars before.. Heck, I've even had a Fiat 1500 (in a Yugo) but I'm in despair this morning.

I'm looking at front dampers, tires (still), starter, alternator, and heater core.

Sorry for venting... I hope yall's X is treating you better than mine.
...What many have forgotten (or never knew in the case of the 'under 40' enthusiasts) regarding what it was like to live with a Fiat as a daily driver...

I'm old enough to remember when Fiats were being sold new in the U.S. ...and they had, to be brutaly honest, a horrible reputation for reliability. And to make matters worse, the quality of the the dealer network was also horrible. I knew many that bought Fiats (new and/or used) and after 10 or 20 thousand miles of ownership vowed never to make that mistake again (here in the Northeast, that typically happened after trying to get the car through the first winter).

To be fair, the same goes for British and French cars ...and some Chryslers

I currently own three Fiats (more specifically, two Bertones Xs and a Fiat 124), I love 'em and think they're a hoot to drive... but would I want to depend any of them as my daily transport... no way...

With that said... Don't give up, and I hope you have better days with your X...

Jim W. (in the Northeast)
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Joined: June 15th, 2008, 8:54 pm

September 9th, 2008, 4:08 pm #8

Even when you replace all of that stuff, it is still less than 1 months payments on a new car when you take into account the increase in insurance.

Find an xweb member close by, get some beers and fix it together. You will feel much better.

Eric
That is exactly how I see it. I have once in my life had a new car (or any car) payment, and even then it was only $300.

Dampers, Alternator, Starter, and heater core will be just about $300 in itself. It isn't that bad really, but just a bit frustrating.

Sorry to vent on yall.
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Joined: July 28th, 2003, 3:10 am

September 9th, 2008, 5:25 pm #9

...What many have forgotten (or never knew in the case of the 'under 40' enthusiasts) regarding what it was like to live with a Fiat as a daily driver...

I'm old enough to remember when Fiats were being sold new in the U.S. ...and they had, to be brutaly honest, a horrible reputation for reliability. And to make matters worse, the quality of the the dealer network was also horrible. I knew many that bought Fiats (new and/or used) and after 10 or 20 thousand miles of ownership vowed never to make that mistake again (here in the Northeast, that typically happened after trying to get the car through the first winter).

To be fair, the same goes for British and French cars ...and some Chryslers

I currently own three Fiats (more specifically, two Bertones Xs and a Fiat 124), I love 'em and think they're a hoot to drive... but would I want to depend any of them as my daily transport... no way...

With that said... Don't give up, and I hope you have better days with your X...

Jim W. (in the Northeast)
I have driven and used my Fiats as daily drivers and commuters for long periods of time ever since 1978. My viewpoint has always been: "They ain't Buicks." You don't drive them until something breaks, then fix it.

All that being said, it did take about 16 months to pull together my present '74 X to the point that I want it. Had some significant teething problems with Megasquirt.

Hang in there, Matthew, once you get things fixed, then you know they are right for a while.

Ciao,

Mark Plaia
SeaX member #007
74 X1/9 - il mela verde
fiatmarko@comcast.net
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Joined: July 5th, 2005, 4:45 am

September 9th, 2008, 5:37 pm #10

I sold my wife's Volvo wagon (and gave her mine) in June to buy my 81 X. The car had been sitting for awhile, but seemed in really good mechanical shape.

I bought it knowing that I would need tires soon, but other than draining the gas tank replacing some fuel lines, it seemed good to go.

I went ahead and changed the brakes, oddly enough, after putting the front wheels up on jack stands, the dampers don't dampen at all anymore. I guess they drooped past their wear mark and killed the seals.

I drove the car for a few weeks, parked it for vacation, and when we came back all was well. Then a month ago the ECU died. The car was down for a few weeks while we got that figured out.

I'm fighting a misfire now, that seems like it is caused by the voltage regulator in the alternator, because the Megasquirt logs show a dip in battery voltage (down to as low as 7.5v) which coincides with a spike in AFR.

Last Friday my starter took a crap, I've had to bang it with a wrench a couple of times to get it going.

Then, this morning, I started getting fog on my windshield.... yup, heater core.


I'm sure the X is wonderful when operating correctly, and even with the blow front dampers it isn't unrewarding to bang up through the gears, but come on... enough is enough... I'm a full time student, full time work (yes, 40+ hours at work, 13 hours at school) with a stay at home wife and 2 kids. Why won't the X give me a break?

I'm reasonably mechanically inclined, I've removed and rebuilt engines, never gone to a mechanic for anything, I've bought old cars before.. Heck, I've even had a Fiat 1500 (in a Yugo) but I'm in despair this morning.

I'm looking at front dampers, tires (still), starter, alternator, and heater core.

Sorry for venting... I hope yall's X is treating you better than mine.
....and maybe a pretty thorough check of your car to make sure it is not going to completely discombobulate on you any further.

I'm on my second X. The first one turned out to be beyond hope, and certainly I was a little late and very financially foolish to have not figured it out sooner. This second X took about 2 years to sort out, and get it to its current state of [knock on wood here] pretty damn near complete reliability, with the odd occaisional normal failure of some 29 year old part. It has been a great 10 years with this car, originally as a daily driver and currently as a weekender car.

And you learn to work smarter, quicker and with more confidence on the car as you go. My alternator has been in and out of the car so many times now, I've got it down to about 15 minutes removal time....You also get smarter about anticipating problems, and doing the proper maintenance to avoid most rude surprises.

One step at a time. Enjoy the beauty and concurrent frustrations of Italian engineering and design and don't let it get in the way of enjoying the beauty and frustrations of real life with family, schooling, work et al.

You're in good company here! Best of luck,

Todd

Last edited by tlromer on September 9th, 2008, 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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