Lancia Motor Club

Model Technical and Interest => Fulvia => Topic started by: nthomas1 on 07 May, 2017, 06:37:35 PM



Title: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: nthomas1 on 07 May, 2017, 06:37:35 PM
Iím progressing slowly with my S2 Coupe rebuild, and plan a concerted effort when I get back to the UK at the end of this month to get the bodywork completed and the car painted.

So far, my strategy has been to keep the car as a rolling shell with engine still installed.  Thatís how it is now.  All interior and exterior trim has been removed as has the glass and closures (bonnet, boot lid and doors).

Iím now wondering whether to remove the rear suspension and the front subframe and engine.  

The pros of doing this are: (1) the painting of the car could go ahead unencumbered by the installed mechanicals, (2) it would enable me to disassemble the suspension and chassis components and refurbish them, and (3) access to the rear springs and shock absorbers would allow me to correct the abnormally high ride height of the rear of the car.

The cons are: (1) Iíve never done anything on this scale before, (2) recent forum threads about difficulty of removing hub nuts has made me very nervous about the undertaking, and (3) I would have to invest in some form of support for the car, so that it can still be moved around, and can be transported for painting.

I have read up extensively on refurbishing approaches and techniques and have studied the forum threads and those of other Lancia communities in detail - and have built up a large library of information and reference photographs.  However, thereís no substitute for hands-on experience.  As a late starter to car mechanicals and electrics, Iíve have already achieved a lot more than I ever expected to in getting the car to this stage.  Jobs like glass removal, bodywork repair and dashboard renovation have been tackled with (in my opinion, and by my own standards) quite a degree of success, despite a garage with no power, and only rechargeable tools at my disposal.  Iím fortunate to have built up a lot of general do-it-yourself expertise over the years and this has put me in good stead for the rebuild work.

So, the question is do I proceed with the rear suspension, subframe and engine removal?   If I do, would it make sense to keep the engine installed in the (rolling) subframe - even though this would limit access to the subframe for refurbishment?   Any thoughts on where Iíd encounter the biggest problems, and what special tools Iíd need?  And is there any advice on how best to support a non-rolling body shellÖÖ is it possible to hire mobile supports or would I have to buy them (but hopefully be able to sell them after the project is complete)?


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: andyps on 07 May, 2017, 08:33:17 PM
I don't know particularly about the removal of things you have discussed but in terms of supporting the car and making it mobile without my suggestion would be to make up a frame to stand it on. One way to do that would be based on a bread trolley if you can get hold of one - they are surprisingly strong! Alternatively, and probably better, would be to use suitable steel tubing or angle iron to make a bespoke frame and mount it on castors so you can move it in any direction - I noticed Aldi had some large castors this week for £10 each, didn't check the load rating but they certainly looked strong.


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: nistri on 08 May, 2017, 12:56:30 PM
"to correct the abnormally high ride height of the rear of the car." Without measuring the actual height it is difficult to say if it is abnormally high. Most cars suffer from definitely low height at the back because of weak springs. The height should be checked with the spare wheel in the boot, tools and petrol in the tank. Of course, also standard wheels and tyres. If it is a bit higher than expected (good springs), it should settle after driving the car for, say, 1-2 K miles.


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: nthomas1 on 08 May, 2017, 03:46:58 PM
I don't know particularly about the removal of things you have discussed but in terms of supporting the car and making it mobile without my suggestion would be to make up a frame to stand it on. One way to do that would be based on a bread trolley if you can get hold of one - they are surprisingly strong! Alternatively, and probably better, would be to use suitable steel tubing or angle iron to make a bespoke frame and mount it on castors so you can move it in any direction - I noticed Aldi had some large castors this week for £10 each, didn't check the load rating but they certainly looked strong.

Thanks Andy.  I was wondering about something like that.  I've seen quite a few contraptions on the various forums that other people have constructed.


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: nthomas1 on 08 May, 2017, 03:52:11 PM
"to correct the abnormally high ride height of the rear of the car." Without measuring the actual height it is difficult to say if it is abnormally high. Most cars suffer from definitely low height at the back because of weak springs. The height should be checked with the spare wheel in the boot, tools and petrol in the tank. Of course, also standard wheels and tyres. If it is a bit higher than expected (good springs), it should settle after driving the car for, say, 1-2 K miles.

Thanks Andrea.  I measured the height of the wheel arch tops on my car before I started the rebuild, and I measured four Fulvias at the AGM last year.  My car sits 5cm higher at the back and 4cm higher at the front than the average of those four cars.  The owner before me did some classic tours and had fitted a roll cage and tripmeter etc, so I wondered if he had raised the suspension.  Would I be right in thinking that the ride height is a function of the spring stiffness and the shock absorbers used?  Is there any other way that ride height may have been increased - for example by using spacers of some sort?


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: nthomas1 on 08 May, 2017, 05:15:47 PM
Here's one of three rolling frames I found on the various forum threads.  I found a similar one made of wood.


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: lancialulu on 08 May, 2017, 05:46:56 PM
Nothing to do with shock absorbers..... Lower front generally is down to the spring to top-wishbone rubber bobbins going soft / collapsing (in part/full), or less likely the spring itself has weakened. I know that when this happens the car is dramatically lower and generally riding around on the bump stops (Series 2) - (Series 1 coupe has a flatter spring to begin with....). Rear ride height can be down to the spring "riding up". When fitting the rear springs there are a number of silent blocks (upper and lower rear shackles, lateral stabiliser bar and shock absorbers). All these need to be tightened with the rear suspension in compression (the manual gives the settings). So you can see if this has not been done correctly then the rear will be higher. Equally if the rear shackles are loose or  the silent blocks worn out then the spring will be higher. Yes you can use spacers to raise the front or rear but this is most unusual (v rare).

Thanks Andrea.  I measured the height of the wheel arch tops on my car before I started the rebuild, and I measured four Fulvias at the AGM last year.  My car sits 5cm higher at the back and 4cm higher at the front than the average of those four cars.  The owner before me did some classic tours and had fitted a roll cage and tripmeter etc, so I wondered if he had raised the suspension.  Would I be right in thinking that the ride height is a function of the spring stiffness and the shock absorbers used?  Is there any other way that ride height may have been increased - for example by using spacers of some sort?


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: nthomas1 on 08 May, 2017, 08:22:15 PM
Nothing to do with shock absorbers..... Lower front generally is down to the spring to top-wishbone rubber bobbins going soft / collapsing (in part/full), or less likely the spring itself has weakened. I know that when this happens the car is dramatically lower and generally riding around on the bump stops (Series 2) - (Series 1 coupe has a flatter spring to begin with....). Rear ride height can be down to the spring "riding up". When fitting the rear springs there are a number of silent blocks (upper and lower rear shackles, lateral stabiliser bar and shock absorbers). All these need to be tightened with the rear suspension in compression (the manual gives the settings). So you can see if this has not been done correctly then the rear will be higher. Equally if the rear shackles are loose or  the silent blocks worn out then the spring will be higher. Yes you can use spacers to raise the front or rear but this is most unusual (v rare).

Thanks Tim - that may well explain the extra height at the rear.  Can a similar reason explain the front being too high?


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: nistri on 09 May, 2017, 05:59:41 AM
"I measured four Fulvias at the AGM last year.  My car sits 5 cm higher at the back and 4cm higher at the front than the average of those four cars. " Are you sure their height was correct :D?


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: nthomas1 on 09 May, 2017, 08:18:06 AM
"I measured four Fulvias at the AGM last year.  My car sits 5 cm higher at the back and 4cm higher at the front than the average of those four cars. " Are you sure their height was correct :D?

Good point Andrea.  Is there any way of finding the factory measurements for an S2?


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: lancialulu on 09 May, 2017, 08:25:03 AM
Thanks Tim - that may well explain the extra height at the rear.  Can a similar reason explain the front being too high?
nope. If the spring has been changed for a aftermarket remanufacture then the steel and tempering could create a stronger spring with consequential ride height increase. But this is very uncommon. Also if the spring clamping in the centre is not correct(or broken in some way) then the spring could move a bit. But you would hear this driving. Also always measure a fulvia on horizontal ground......


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: nthomas1 on 09 May, 2017, 08:36:25 AM
Interestingly, in the S2 sales brochure the car in the photograph looks like it has similar gaps between tyre and wheel arch top at the front and rear, whereas the diagram underneath appears to show the car with a nose-up attitude.  I was hoping I could find a factory picture that would allow me to measure the ratio between tyre diameter and the gap between top of tyre and top of wheel arch! 


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: stanley sweet on 09 May, 2017, 10:49:51 AM
That brochure shot is strange. I've never seen a Fulvia sitting that level unless it's been lowered slightly for track use. Most Fulvias have a nose down attitude. Here's a photo of mine. The suspension has never been touched since I've had it and as you can see it sits higher at the back. It's exaggerated slightly by having lower profile tyres so it wouldn't be any good me giving you any measurements.


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: lancialulu on 09 May, 2017, 11:00:25 AM
Fulvias do have a positive rake. S1 is less pronounced and as already discussed has different front and back springs. A lot depends on full tank (& dead body etc in the boot).....


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: the.cern on 09 May, 2017, 07:59:58 PM
Hello Norm, I cannot help with ride heights etc, but a couple of points re a dolly or similar to keep the shell mobile. In my experience it is always worthwhile using steel/iron rimmed castors, this minimises rolling resistance. It is amazing how nylon or runner rims can distort and make moving the shell so much more difficult. The second point is to always have two, if not all four of the castors lockable. Then, when you want to really lean on a tool, the shell will not just run away from you!!! These points are made from bitter experience!!!!

Good luck with it all,

                                Andy


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: frankxhv773t on 09 May, 2017, 08:08:19 PM
I have a feeling the old Autocar road tests included a ride height figure on the dimensions diagram. Might this be a source of information?


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: nistri on 10 May, 2017, 05:50:57 AM
A simple, rough, yet very empirical way of telling if the ride height is OK, is to see if one can place his hand vertically between the top of the tyre (correct size: 165/80/14) and the highest point of the rim of the wheel arch. Many Fulvias are riding too low. Andrea


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: lancialulu on 10 May, 2017, 07:18:05 AM
I have a feeling the old Autocar road tests included a ride height figure on the dimensions diagram. Might this be a source of information?

The gold portfolio MOTOR test pg 85 has some test data giving ground clearance under front suspension 5.5" and some height datum points for a S1 coupe (14x145 tyres):

Top front bumper 15.75"
underside front bumper 11.5"
Top rear bumper 17.5"
Bottom rear bumper 15"
Bottom of door to ground 11.75"

I think the underside of the front bumper might be under the number plate.....

This is fine but my cars do not have bumpers..... etc etc


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: nthomas1 on 10 May, 2017, 07:28:23 AM
Thanks for all the tips on ride height.  I'll do some further checking when I get back to the UK, and will be sure to remove the bodies from the boot first!


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: nthomas1 on 05 July, 2017, 07:04:03 PM
Thanks to all who have commented.  After much thought I've decided to go ahead with the removal of the rolling subframe. It's way beyond anything I've ever done before!  So far I've disconnected the cooling system, all electrics, and the choke and clutch linkages.  In the next few days I'll have a go at disconnecting the fuel feed (looks straightforward), and then the brake lines (if I can work out which to disconnect) and the heater pipes (ditto).  From searching the web and various forums I've found half a dozen different designs of supports for the front end of the car and I'm opting to make one out of strong timber - supporting the car by the top subframe extension mounts, braced across the wheel arch openings, and supported on 100 or 125mm castors.  I have a couple of nephews who will help me with the lifting.  I have also been getting back to bare metal on the rear of the front panel and valance.  Getting the subframe/engine out will enable much better access to complete this task.   Onward and upward. 


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: Neil on 05 July, 2017, 09:59:43 PM
Norm, don't forget the steering connection, one bolt on the split joint, use cable ties to hold the rubber boot together to make it easier.  You should be able to unbolt the front callipers from the hubs tie them up and then you can leave the hydraulic hoses untouched.


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: the.cern on 06 July, 2017, 02:54:53 AM
Sounds like fun ..... !!!
Just a comment on the castors ...... I have, over the years come to the conclusion that any castors for a job like this should have steel wheels and brakes!!
Good luck,
                Andy


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: SanRemo78 on 06 July, 2017, 07:19:06 AM
Depends on the floor surface, nylon wheels are a good compromise but a locking faclilty is essential!


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: simonandjuliet on 06 July, 2017, 08:31:11 AM
Do you want the dimensions and plans for the box section repair panels, if you do I can dig them out and post pictures?


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: nthomas1 on 06 July, 2017, 10:04:38 AM
Do you want the dimensions and plans for the box section repair panels, if you do I can dig them out and post pictures?

Thanks Simon - I've already bought a pair of mounting boxes.


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: nthomas1 on 06 July, 2017, 12:58:07 PM
Norm, don't forget the steering connection, one bolt on the split joint, use cable ties to hold the rubber boot together to make it easier.  You should be able to unbolt the front callipers from the hubs tie them up and then you can leave the hydraulic hoses untouched.

I hadn't thought of that option with the callipers Neil.   Then I'd only have to disconnect the thick hose running from the Servo.  Can't find that in TAV at first look though!


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: nthomas1 on 06 July, 2017, 01:01:52 PM
Heater pipes removed this morning. I have to say I'm enjoying this process of disconnecting things before removing the subframe/engine. It's a great way for a beginner like me to better understand how the Fulvia works. Poring over the TAV parts diagrams and physically handling each component is educational and quite satisfying! I can also see how much more quickly the jobs could be done a second time round, thanks to increased knowledge, plus no need to take the multitude of photographs, and probably less time labelling cables.  I'm sure I'm preaching to the converted.


Title: Re: Rear suspension, subframe and engine removal
Post by: davidwheeler on 06 July, 2017, 07:04:55 PM
Actually to extract the engine/subframe from my S2 Sport, I made a lenght of 2"x4" or thereabouts to fit across the front of the engine compartment with pads about 6"x3" to fit under the wings, tied it to the front to stop it shifting and then lifted the car off the subframe with a block and tackle.   Much easier than trying to jack it up!