Lancia Motor Club

Model Technical and Interest => Fulvia => Topic started by: Caracad on 26 February, 2018, 11:27:07 AM

Title: Fulvia 3 1.3S Ride quality.
Post by: Caracad on 26 February, 2018, 11:27:07 AM
Last year I had to have surgery on my back, which was successful.
However my back will never be totally "fixed" and back pain is a constant irritant.

My problem is that it does seem to be worse after a longish drive in the Fulvia.

I realize that the seats would seem to be the obvious culprit. However they do have reasonable lumber support, which I have increased with extra padding.
I reckon they now offer better than average back support.

Now, I really love my Fulvia, and love the way it drives. Well all except the ride quality over broken surfaces. It really does crash and bang over poorly surfaced roads.
I am now worried that it is this harshness that is causing my back issues.
The thought that I can no longer drive the Fulvia without harming my back is a bit depressing.

How should a good Fulvia ride and is the series 1 better in this respect. Period road tests always praised the ride quality of early cars.
If series 2 and 3 coupe are firmer riding, then presumably fitting Series 1 Springs might be the way to go.

I'm running 165/80/R14 Sinceras at 25 psi.

Any opinions on this much appreciated.

Title: Re: Fulvia 3 1.3S Ride quality.
Post by: lancialulu on 26 February, 2018, 12:58:48 PM
Hi Mark

Having driven 160 miles and back to race Retro on Friday in my screaming 1600 HF (17mph/1000 in 5th on 70 % tyres - you do the math for 5000) I think maybe you should look at your seats / springing and dampers / steering/steering wheel.
Maybe I am lucky but I have yet to have a sore back from driving a Fulvia. I set the front up quite firm (19mm arb, spax adjustable shocks and S1 front spring) but leave the back standard with de-carbon shocks. I have a similar set up with my 1600 Sport which we go all over Europe in. The HF has thinnish seats but very supportive, the Sport has better padded seats and in some way are not so supportive. I am 1.75m tall and 86 kgs. I have lowered the steering wheel for ergonomic comfort. Think how you are putting in steering effort - maybe this is the aggravation of your back.

Anyway that my 2 p worth. Hope you stick with it....


Title: Re: Fulvia 3 1.3S Ride quality.
Post by: GG on 26 February, 2018, 01:48:02 PM
Fulvia ride quality is normally very good and supple. If it is crashing, it needs to be brought up to specification.

Normally people first look at the shocks, and make sure they have the right ones. Check that of course.
Then the tires, make sure you have the proper sidewall height, and someone hasn't put on "performance" tires with a lower stiffer profile.
Check any the bushings in the suspension.

Last, and in some ways as important as any of the rest, are the interleaves on the leaf springs. These are almost always overlooked, but as they age they get stiff, and the leaf springs don't flex, they bind a bit. Its amazing what changing this can do to make the ride as it was originally. Unfortunately one has to do the front and the two rear springs, which is a PITA, but it is worth it! I had a Fulvia that went from "well I guess its OK, for an old car" to "boy is this a sophisticated ride, quite nice".

Title: Re: Fulvia 3 1.3S Ride quality.
Post by: Caracad on 26 February, 2018, 02:19:32 PM
Thanks for the advice,

I have rebuilt the rear axle and fitted new interleaves and dampers. I think the back of the car is actually fine.

Its definitely the front that feels hard. Perhaps I should have a go at getting the front spring out.

Title: Re: Fulvia 3 1.3S Ride quality.
Post by: kevbo on 26 February, 2018, 07:03:30 PM
I had a Fulvia 3 Coupe which I enjoyed hugely, however the one area I had a bit of difficulty with was the seating.  I felt my seats lacked support under my thighs, also with the distance between the pedals and steering wheel meant I drove the car in a sort of crouched position.  There is an adjustment of sorts that can be done to effectively raise/lower the rear of the seat base which only makes a small difference. 

I now have a Sport which I have had no problems in at all, the seats being very supportive all round.  Looking at picture of HFs I would imagine the seats are similarly supportive. 

Obviously, the 'crashing' sounds suspension related, in fact it sounds like my modern BMW 2 series which rattles your fillings should you drive over potholes! 

Title: Re: Fulvia 3 1.3S Ride quality.
Post by: nistri on 01 March, 2018, 07:46:05 AM
My advice is to look very carefully at the front suspensions. Andrea

Title: Re: Fulvia 3 1.3S Ride quality.
Post by: fay66 on 01 March, 2018, 09:06:32 AM
What's known as the Classic Italian Driving Position, - long arms- short legs!
8227 8)

Title: Re: Fulvia 3 1.3S Ride quality.
Post by: Caracad on 01 March, 2018, 12:54:07 PM
I agree the driving position and seats arenít great. Seat lack thigh support and I feel too high up.
I have managed to drop the rear of the seat base, which helps a bit.
Have considered aftermarket seats, but nothing really looks right.

Iíll definitely overhaul the front suspension though.

Title: Re: Fulvia 3 1.3S Ride quality.
Post by: kevbo on 01 March, 2018, 11:39:45 PM
You could try to increase the height of the front of the seat base with a strip of wood or something underneath the front of the base.  My seats in the Fulvia 3 had been recovered but possibly they also needed refoaming to bolster the front of the base to give better thigh support.

Title: Re: Fulvia 3 1.3S Ride quality.
Post by: Caracad on 09 December, 2018, 03:50:39 PM
Just wanted to update on this topic I started some time ago.

I still consider the ride quiality of my 1300 coupe poor.
It stops me taking it on longer trips and is the one thing I would change.

I have now improved the seats, replacing the foam and improving the thigh support.

I realise that the car is particularly uncomfortable when the fuel tank is low.
Filling it with petrol settles the rear end more.

My car was riding very high at the back so I removed the second smallest leaf from each spring.
This has made a massive improvement, but not enough to stop the back of the car bouncing around.
It never really settles.

The front end is curious as sometimes it feels quite smooth. Other times you feel every bit of road and not in a good way.

I have now fitted expensive period Michelin tyres, as they are a little softer.

I think perhaps I am expecting too much from a nearly 50 year old car with leaf springs.
It is possible better damping would help, but most people think original decarbon is best.
Just possibly my car has a particular problem, but not sure what that could be.
The other thing is the higher riding S2 & 3 cars maybe had stiffer springs.
Perhaps I would enjoy a series 1 car more.

In the meantime I donít want to sell the car as I think I may regret it. Itís much more a car to look at than drive, which is a shame.

Title: Re: Fulvia 3 1.3S Ride quality.
Post by: frankxhv773t on 09 December, 2018, 07:04:33 PM
Have you tried other people's similar model Fulvias. That might show if there is something wrong with your car or the model just doesn't suit you.

Title: Re: Fulvia 3 1.3S Ride quality.
Post by: fay66 on 09 December, 2018, 09:19:21 PM
My Series 1 1.3 Rallye Coupe was never like that, and my 2c Berlina has a very supple ride.
I'd agree with Frank you need to try someone else's Series 2 Coupe to get a comparison, Certainly haven't heard any complaints of a similar nature in my 20+ years of owning Fulvias.

8227 8)

Title: Re: Fulvia 3 1.3S Ride quality.
Post by: Caracad on 09 December, 2018, 10:25:20 PM
I really must try out another Fulvia.
Itís not just me either, my partner describes it as an old bone shacker.

Iím sure the Berliner rides better with itís longer wheel base and more weight over the rear axle.

Also it wouldnít be such an issue if UK roads were a bit smoother.

Title: Re: Fulvia 3 1.3S Ride quality.
Post by: frankxhv773t on 10 December, 2018, 01:18:58 PM
Having said which, one of the traditional strengths of Lancias was that they were designed to ride well on  poor Italian roads.

Title: Re: Fulvia 3 1.3S Ride quality.
Post by: chriswgawne on 10 December, 2018, 03:47:11 PM
Each time there is a new post on this thread I want to contribute........but I haven't yet because fundamentally I cant understand the criticism of the Fulvia ride quality so I don't know really what new to say that hasn't already been said.
We have driven Fulvias continuously since the early 70's and the only occasions when either of us has been unhappy with the ride ( my wife Jacky is truly excellent at pointing our such deficiencies whether as a passenger or driver) have been due to incorrect tyre pressures, incorrect tyre sizes, badly worn steering joints, a bent wishbone,  old ineffective or harsh dampers or on one occasion a broken leaf in a rear spring. Oh, and one car we test drove had rotten rear front subframe mounts so the car was all over the place.
I can only suggest that Caracad drives a good Fulvia asap so he can see what he is missing and then the problems with his car can be addressed.

Title: Re: Fulvia 3 1.3S Ride quality.
Post by: GG on 10 December, 2018, 06:03:33 PM
I'm right behind Chris on this. Just lovely is Lancia's supple ride. There are examples that ride poorly, but these are not up to snuff with bad rubber, or any one of a number of things that isn't right. Sometimes its as simple as tire pressures, which are often too high - consult the manual for those. Sounds silly, but it really does matter, especially on bumpy roads.

Agree with the recommendation of riding in another car. Something is likely amiss, although its possible that something just doesn't gel for you.

Did you ever do the front spring interleaves? 

Title: Re: Fulvia 3 1.3S Ride quality.
Post by: Caracad on 10 December, 2018, 06:51:40 PM
Itís good to hear from Fulvia drivers in praise of the way the cars ride.

I know that generally speaking the Fulvia is considered a very comfortable car.
This why I am so disappointed with the reality of driving mine.

I have tried different tyre pressures, but not found a compromise that works.

The rear has new original spec. Dampers. They seem too hard in bump but allow too sudden a rebound.

Front dampers are still the originals. I wish Bilstein did replacements, as they are generally excellent. I have heard the Konis tend to be too hard.

Not removed the front spring yet. Havenít figured out a safe way of compressing it.
I was also thinking the condition of the lower control arm bushes might have an effect.

Title: Re: Fulvia 3 1.3S Ride quality.
Post by: lancialulu on 10 December, 2018, 08:07:57 PM
Riding high at the back is due the incorrect spring strength and or incorrect setting of the springs. On the former, there were replacement leaf springs made in the wrong steel specification (mostly in UK) and were too stiff. Re the setting, the rear leaf springs need to be compressed before tightening ALL the metalastic bushes. Compression spec is 80mm twixt bump stop and top of leaf spring mounting.

I think a forensic look at the rear spring could solve your issues.

Title: Re: Fulvia 3 1.3S Ride quality.
Post by: Caracad on 18 January, 2019, 02:37:44 PM
An update.
So I found some Bilstein B6 dampers for the Fulvia.
These were rather expensive but a Fiat Barchetta I used to own was transformed when I fitted a set of B4s (standard spec).

I didnít think Bilstein made dampers for the Fulvia, but these seem completely genuine with the offset eyelet on the rears and correct length.

The dampers I removed were original De-Carbon on the front, still in perfect working order as far as I could tell. The rears were only a year old, supplied from Italy, gas mono tube.

Anyway in summary, the car now rides much better. Less crashing about, and much less body movement.
The whole setup is, in my opinion, still very firm. I believe the spring rates on my car are higher than I would like, but at least the dampers can now keep up.

My coupe is an original low mileage car from Italy and I believe the springs are original.

Itís interesting reading various reviews, tests and comparisons of the Fulvia.
One article comparing it to an Alfa 105 GT saying how much better the Lancia rode. Another article saying the complete opposite, that the Lancia seemed to lack suspension travel compared to the Alfa.
In general earlier S1s seemed to get praised for their comfortable ride, S2/3s less so.

I have read that the journalist John Simister, owned two Filvia HFs and couldnít get on with them because of the poor ride.

Anyway I need to some more mileage, to properly assess whether my damper investment was worth it.
Iíll update in due course.