Nitroracer UltraDork
3/1/18 9:43 p.m.

Glad to see this project moving along again!  When I saw the first post on this page I was surprised it was from two years ago already.  

Burrito Dork
3/6/18 8:48 p.m.

So, the next big thing that sidelined the car last year was that the swaybar was still fouling the transaxle.  I went through all that trouble to fabricate new mounts to hold the Yugo 5 speed swaybar, and it got me about 3/8" of clearance where 1" was needed.  The swaybar is a locating member on the 128 Sedans and Wagons, so it is absolutely necessary in this application as it sits.


I think there's three, maybe four ways to gain more space where it counts:


1. Go back to a 4 speed.  Not happening.  I don't even own it anymore.


2. Move to the more typical X1/9 or 128 Coupe front radius rod setup.  This is currently Plan B.  It would involve quite a bit of fabricating and some reconfigurin' of the whole kajigger.


3. Move the current sway bar down.  I'm not even sure it this would work, it would change the suspension geometry and involve nearly as much fabricating as #2.


4.  Move the engine and transmission up.  This is the easiest option.  It requires the least amount of work for the biggest bang for the buck.  I can go up about an inch before the transaxle wants to coexist with the frame rail and the intake manifold becomes one with the hood.  It will also gain me some much needed ground clearance at the oil pan, but at the cost of raising the center of gravity.  Since this is a just a quick cruiser and not a balls-out racer, I am A-OK with this.  This also has the benefit of being 100% reversible. 


So, lets raise an engine, I guess.  The 128 engine is supported at 2 main points, with a 3rd point acting as a torque rod.  The passenger side mount looked to be the easiest to modify, so that's where I started.  Here's the stock motor mount freshly liberated from it's happy home.



After a judicious amount of fire the old rubber bushing gave way and I scrubbed back any residue with some 60 grit paper.  I also took the time to measure how far out the center pin stuck from each side and decided 1/4" (or 6.3mm) was just about perfect.  I know from prior experiments that masking tape has a small amount of silicon on it and theorized that it would act as a reasonable release agent since some numpty forgot to order some proper stuff.  So here's the mount all cleaned up with a chunk of 1/4" plate with a 18mm hole poked in it.



I super glued the pin into the offset hole taking care to keep it square to the plate.



Only really manly men use pretty pink hot glue guns. 



The pretty in pink glue gun secured the pin and plate nicely to the mount.



Then some black 80A durometer Polyurethane was mixed and poured in the void.  I did not vacuum, degas, or pressurize the mold when it was curing.  This product touted itself as not needing any of that, which is why I bought it.  smiley


This was left to cure for about a day and half.



I took a little bit of work to free the masking tape and super glue from the mold.  Apparently the superior tape for this kind of thing is packing tape, which releases easier and leaves a better surface finish.  Noted.


After that, I just slapped it back on the car and viola, half of a Fiat 128 engine lift kit and custom poly mount kit is complete.



I may have made some miscalculations on the transaxle mount, and honestly lowered that side of things instead of raising it.  I unfortunately had to cut up the mount in order to modify it, so I'm in a holding pattern until the new one, along with the some other parts, arrives later this week.

Mezzanine Dork
3/7/18 9:16 a.m.

Really interested to see how the urethane mounts change the feel of power transfer and NVH. I'll be going down this path for my exxie, but without the raising/(inadvertent)lowering effects.

Nice work as always.

coexist Reader
3/7/18 10:12 a.m.

I have a 5spd 128 sedan with the unresolved sway bar issue as well.  The previous owner who installed the 5spd accommodated it by keeping the ride height a little higher, and having some much stiffer springs.  It is basically OK, but I want to lower the car so I have to figure it out. 

I was encouraged read about your fabrication of the bar mounts, so I'm sorry to hear that it didn't do the job.

Other options I have considered:

1. Add some more bend to the sway bar, with a jig and a (20 T?) press

2. Get a bar from Europe that is made for the 5spd. Maybe $350 with shipping.

3. Have a bar made. Coincidentally, the place I found that seemed up for it is in Portland:


If I were to go that route, I would consider making the bar from smaller diameter, and adding more stiffness in the back (another custom bar?)

One of the 128's I got cheap was in mid conversion to radius rods, which is maybe one of the better solutions. But the geometry was done wrong, and was one of the considerations in scrapping the car.

Looking at the Argentina 128'ers , I saw a sway bar that is mounted behind the engine. But I couldn't translate enough of the text to determine if this was a good idea or not.






2_3 New Reader
3/7/18 11:44 a.m.

When reading forums from argentina, remember that lots of people use fiat uno gearboxes in their 128s (you will probably read about it as "caja lancia") because it's more durable and has lots of different gears available.


maybe this will be of help:

Sway bar for 5 speed 128:

sway bar for 4 speed 128:


From what i've read in forums, this is solved with the 5spd 128 bar or with the bar from a 147 or uno with modifications.

Burrito Dork
3/7/18 5:08 p.m.
2_3 said:

When reading forums from argentina, remember that lots of people use fiat uno gearboxes in their 128s (you will probably read about it as "caja lancia") because it's more durable and has lots of different gears available.


maybe this will be of help:

Sway bar for 5 speed 128:

sway bar for 4 speed 128:


From what i've read in forums, this is solved with the 5spd 128 bar or with the bar from a 147 or uno with modifications.


That 5 speed sway bar is different from any others I have seen and it looks to be exactly what I need.  I looked into buying off of Mercado Libre a few months ago, but couldn't make sense of Argentina's export laws.  Any information you can give me regarding shipping one of those bars to the USA would be extremely appreciated.


The European 5 speed sway bar is the same as the 5 speed Yugo bar as far as I can tell.  It's been a while since I've read up on this stuff, but I think that was the general consensus on XWeb.  128 Rally 5 Speed Sway Bar from Croatia.  That's the same as the bar that's currently in the car.  On that one, they made room for the longer transmission by jogging the bar down and then back up.  The Argentinian bar looks like it's considerably wider over all.  At about 65 USD, it's a real deal too!



2_3 New Reader
3/8/18 7:39 a.m.

I think exporting just one piece will be easy, but i don't think the sellers are used to doing that


I asked the seller if he ships to the US, if not, maybe you could send the bar to me and I send it to you via dhl or something

coexist Reader
3/8/18 10:37 a.m.

If it makes sense to ship three 5spd bars from Argentina to the PNW in the US for a 45 year old Italian car, I would take two.


2_3 New Reader
3/8/18 12:33 p.m.

The mercado libre guy doesn't ship internationally. Checked on ups, assumed 10kg (maybe too much?) and i got around us$800 for shipping


Try to find how to send them and I can do it


Maybe we should talk privately to keep this thread about the car?

LMGill New Reader
3/9/18 7:54 a.m.

I had a similar issue with the 128ski race car. I purchased a Colotti 5 speed not realizing the 5th gear bump was so prominent. Raising the engine was not an option, as it was the radius arm in the way. After some trial fitting of the gearbox end cover, I just had to make a new radius arm and move the mounting point on the control arm end, of the radius arm, 1/2" further out . The sway bars on this car are mounted behind the axle, so they where not an issue.

hobiercr SuperDork
3/9/18 9:00 a.m.

In reply to 2_3 :

Look at DHL for shipping. Most of the air shipments I do to SA go DHL and their rates are significantly better.

Burrito Dork
3/19/18 1:07 a.m.

I've been fighting a cold the last two weeks and have been moving a little slower than usual because of it.  The new transmission mount came in along with a driver's side inner CV boot and the trunk latch hardware the car has always been missing. 

The CV boot was like for like, so nothing special there.

The old one was definitely bad...




The trunk latch was a NOS unit that has probably been sitting in this neat little bag since the mid-70s.  The trunk now latches for the first time since I have owned the car.  It's been held shut with some rare-earth magnets and a bungie cord on the inside of the trunk for the last 2 years.  Feels good to have it shut properly for once.



The trans mount was easy enough to modify, once I realized that I had to move the mount down in order to move the engine up...blush


Anyways, some scrap 12ga got marked out and cut on the trusty old vertical bandsaw.  I need to get some different blades for this thing.  The 1/2" tall ones that are on it really don't like making curves and it seems like cutting curves is all I do on it.  surprise


Then over to the belt sander to clean up the profile and my joke of a drill press for some hole-pokin'.



Aaaaaand, that looks to be the end of the photos for that particular bracket.  It was ugly as sin, anyways.  That little plate got welded to the backside of the trans mount.  I moved the holes up, to move the mount down, to move the engine up.  Make sense?  laugh


At any rate, the engine and transmission now sit happily 3/4" higher than they did 3 weeks ago, and there is now about 1.5" between the swaybar and the trans.  It's hard to say at what rate the sway bar moves; it's certainly not a 1:1 ratio with the wheel.  (disregard the brake hose rubbing on the trans...)



The hood still closes and latches without any cospatial issues, although I will admit it is close!



There's four things I still need to address with this whole raising the drivetrain project. 


1.  There's a really nasty sympathetic vibration around 2500rpm that'll try to rattle your teeth out.  I assume it's coming from the poly bushing I made.  It certainly seems like it's coming from that side of the motor.


2.  The trans mount really is one of the ugliest things I have ever made.  Really, truly awful.  It pained me to put it on the car, but I was tired of seeing the car beached on jack stands in the driveway.  I'll probably pull it off and beautify it with an angle grinder so I can sleep easier at night.


3.  That brake hose is still rubbing on the trans.


4.  The lower radiator hose now wants to occupy the same space as the brake master cylinder.  I think I can get away with just pulling the hose off and cutting it down a bit.


Other than that, I am really close to putting this car back into service.

brad131a4 Reader
3/19/18 1:12 p.m.

Huh it looks like it would be possible to make a bracket for the control arm. Wish I knew how to draw on this as I'd send a pic of what I have envisioned in my head. Then just make two blocks to lower the front mounts the same amount. 

Burrito Dork
3/24/18 9:08 p.m.

So, now that we're close to being back on the road, I thought it might be time to scrub some shine back into the paint.  We had a couple of really nice 60 degree days last week so I spent some quality time with a fairly aggressive foam pad on the buffer with some cutting compound.


Here's the hood in it's chalky and oxidized state.

And after a good rubbing.


Passenger side and trunklid done.

Celebrate diversity!

Once I get everything cut back to this level I'll go back over with something less aggressive and give her a good waxing.  I'm about 6 hours into cutting it back in now.  The weather has since turned to E36 M3 again, so I am in a holding pattern until the sun reappears.


The driver's side rear quarter had a far too much primer on it.  My own stupidity is to blame here.  There's a lesson to be learned in never trusting a painter.  (I wonder if that guy is still in jail...)

I knew that the majority of that primer was hiding perfectly good yellow, so I set about shaving it back off with some 1500 grit.

This is about as far as I can go without exposing steel.  That's a pretty huge improvement in looks if you ask me.  This is, of course, after buffing.  Look at the stark difference between rear quarter and door!  It's like whole new car!


Then there was that 20% off coupon on eBay last week.  I had been watching a set of early 128 fenders in Greece, but they were just too expensive for my taste.  20% off really took the sting out of that, though.  I think I paid $235 shipped for two NOS (but not OEM) fenders.  They arrived intact with real Grecian dust.  Very authentic!

I don't expect to get these on the car anytime soon, but it will be nice to know that I have them.  The passenger fender is probably the scabbiest part of the car, except for maybe the lower trunk corners.  blush 


In the meantime, I am going to continue scrubbing the existing paint back into life.  I am going to revisit the "Banana Treatment" as JKB calls it and grab some more of that Montana Gold graffiti paint to hide the primer splotches to the best of my ability.  Although, I think this car is more "Citrus" than "Banana", but we're keeping it in the fruit family so all is well.  I'll do a small amount of body work on the rear quarters, rocker panels, and rear filler panel in the coming weeks and shoot them all in the cheater paint if it's a good match.

Mezzanine Dork
3/25/18 11:45 a.m.

I was just about to ask if you had any cans of banana paint left around from the sub-liter beater!

I can't believe how much more yellow that car is after buffing - it's the same Giallo as my exxie, now that you've cut all the oxidation.


The rims look so damn good on there.

paranoid_android UltraDork
3/25/18 12:39 p.m.

I probably already said this, but i'll say it again- I looooove this car!

java230 UltraDork
3/25/18 1:14 p.m.

That buffed out nice! 

brad131a4 Reader
3/25/18 1:21 p.m.

Hey Burrito are you coming up to Issaquah on the 15th for the All Italian car show at the Triple X?

Burrito Dork
3/25/18 6:39 p.m.
brad131a4 said:

Hey Burrito are you coming up to Issaquah on the 15th for the All Italian car show at the Triple X?

I can't say that I even knew about it until you asked.  I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I'm not going to be able to trust the car for a ~300 mile weekend quite yet.  Maybe by the end of April...

ssswitch Dork
3/25/18 11:23 p.m.

So glad the project is still going.

I wonder if the poly bushings will settle down a little. I know I've installed poly bushings (obviously, made by other people and not myself) before that were awful for vibration for about a week and then magically stopped being quite so bad.

Hmm, that sort of also describes how you boil a frog in a pot.

Maybe you could take a very tiny drill bit and experiment with adding a void to them?

Burrito Dork
3/26/18 12:06 a.m.

I spent bit of time poking around on the car and playing with my paint options after a quick trip down to Dick Blick Art Supplies.  I grabbed a can of "Citrus" and a can of "Easter Yellow", both from the Montana Gold line of acrylic graffiti paint.  I didn't bother with the Easter Yellow after seeing the results of the Citrus.  The Easter Yellow is probably a good match for the oxidized paint, but otherwise it's way off.


The sample on the cap really made me think I was onto something!


I cut up a couple of pieces of scrap tin and shot them with white primer.



And then shot each one of those with Banana and Citrus.  The can of Banana has been sitting in my basement since the 850 Spider got cut up, 4 maybe 5 years ago?  We'll forgive it for going off in the can a bit.


And again on the shady side of the car.


The Citrus is definitely a little closer after clear coat.


But it is still certainly too yellow.  I mean, it matches better than the primer, but I'm not so sure it's good enough.


It's only now that I sit down, think about it, write about it, and look at the pictures on a larger screen that I realize that the color on the Banana can is totally different from what it was 4 or 5 years ago.  Look at the front fender on the 850.  That's a totally different color and way closer to what I'm looking for now.


Damn I miss that car and those wheels!  Heartbreaker!


I think tomorrow before work I will make the pilgrimage back to the art shop and exchange the Easter Yellow for a fresh new can of Banana.

ssswitch Dork
3/26/18 12:11 a.m.

What makes it "graffiti" paint, specifically? The can looks pretty high-quality, nicer than most Home Depot spray bombs I've used.

A quick google seems to turn up a lot of lacquer spray paints, which are an interesting idea for a car.

Burrito Dork
3/26/18 12:33 a.m.

In reply to ssswitch :

That's what it is marketed as.  It really is a nice product and beats cheap cans anyday.  It has a much finer spray pattern than your typical rattle can, too, and they sell all sorts of nozzles with different spray patterns.  The standard nozzle is good for what we are doing here, though.  I have played with the small nozzle pack in the past and found that the standard one is best for wide, smooth coverage.  At least in my experience.


There's 215 colors in the "Gold" line of solid colors, but there's a whole slew of different options outside of that.  They probably offer a thousand different colors and effects.  They're even pretty reasonably priced at around $7 a can.

Montana Gold 


brad131a4 Reader
3/26/18 10:31 p.m.

I think the yellow cab color might be closer to the car from what I saw.

crankwalk SuperDork
7/13/18 2:32 p.m.

I love this build and I wanted to bump this thread just to say that.

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