Fiat Coupé 20V Turbo Plus - Back to Former Glory

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Fiat Coupé 20V Turbo Plus - Back to Former Glory

Post by jas_racing on Sun Dec 06, 2015 9:18 am

Evening All,

After completing the restoration and rebuild of my mk1 UT last year I've been itching to get stuck into my next project - bringing my former daily-driver 1999 Fiat Coupé 20V Turbo back to former glory after retiring her from daily service in November 2014.

I bought her in December 2007 from a chap near Newark - he'd only owned her a few months but was short of cash so I swooped in and bought the car at a very favourable price. Admittedly it needed a bit of tidying up plus the turbo oil seals were starting to go (common issue) but more importantly it was the right colour and a "Plus" model. I already owned a normal 20V turbo model but had hankered after a Plus for ages - no difference in performance but the Plus came with a few extra's that to me make a huge difference i.e. 6-speed gearbox, push-button start, Recaro seats, red Brembo front calipers, different wheels, front strut brace, 180mph speedo + other stuff I can't recall right now!

I took her from 63k to 118k miles between early 2008 and late 2014 and had very few issues, even with a stage 1 remap applied that took power from 220 to 260bhp (best £200 I've ever spent!). After several months of work in 2008 to bring her up to my standard she looked (in my eyes at least) stunning:




The 5-cylinder howl on boost is highly addictive! I'd have happily carried on driving her for many years to come but sadly in early 2014 I noticed that the (all original) paint on the roof and bonnet was deteriorating big time (another common issue) plus with the list of MOT advisories from late 2013 on my mind I took the decision to retire her Sad pending a future project to bring her back to life and former glory.

This is how she looked after being retired (complete with a few cat paw prints):



Not pretty Sad

The plan was/is to do a full overhaul of all suspension & brakes, deal with any (hopefully minor) rust issues underneath then a full respray. The engine & 'box run perfectly so no need to do anything in that department. I got started in March this year - not busting a gut to get her done in double-quick time, just doing a little bit each weekend to make steady process.

First was the rear end underside...which turned out to be MUCH worse than I thought. More to follow!
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Re: Fiat Coupé 20V Turbo Plus - Back to Former Glory

Post by jas_racing on Sun Dec 06, 2015 9:19 am

So, onto the rear end...

Stripping down the rear suspension & brakes made me realise just how knackered everything was...and how corroded it all looked. At 16 I don't consider her an 'old' car but the years and miles have taken their toll. I'll let the pictures do the talking...

Subframe to chassis rear mount:


Inner arch, pop-stud hole for the arch liner:


Underside of the spare wheel well, where it meets the rear panel (common corrosion area):


Crusty rear trailing arm (and coil spring in the background):


Floor pan:


Where the inner arch meets the sill, driver's side:


Subframe to chassis, other side:


Subframe, where the trailing arm pivots:


Interior still looks good though:
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Re: Fiat Coupé 20V Turbo Plus - Back to Former Glory

Post by jas_racing on Sun Dec 06, 2015 9:20 am

After a few hours with some large spanners and long breaker-bars I had the grotty looking rear subframe and trailing arms off:


Eew:


Trailing arm:


This then allowed me to poke and scrape at the areas of corrosion on the chassis:










Bottom of the spare wheel well not looking good after a poke around:


All the pop-stud holes in the inner arches had caused a lot of corrosion so I set about cutting out a few bits to see just how bad they are:


My original thoughts of merely treating a few areas of surface corrosion went out the window at this point as clearly some welding would be required. I spent a few days in two-minds about whether to ditch the project as 'too far gone' or not but the present Mrs jas_racing convinced me to stick with it. Whilst I can weld odd patches in, some of the stuff pictured above is a bit too much for me to tackle so I decided to do what I could and leave the rest to a pro to do at some point down the line.
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Re: Fiat Coupé 20V Turbo Plus - Back to Former Glory

Post by jas_racing on Sun Dec 06, 2015 9:22 am

So, after discovering more corrosion than I'd anticipated I hatched a plan to deal with the minor/surface stuff myself courtesy of POR-15 but leave anything that needs welding to a specialist to do at a later date (prior to the full respray).

A couple more shots of the corroded areas once I finished scraping & exploring:




The grey area in this one is the factory underseal, the black on the left is the underseal I had done in 2010, so it seems they didn't drop the fuel tank to do it censored


Onto the POR process, the usual Clean > Prep > Paint stages, a few shots after Prep: (love the way the Prep stuff turns the orangy corrosion grey)





Having learnt the hard way in the past just how difficult it is to get POR-15 paint off your skin I was taking no chances:


Two coats of POR-15 paint were applied, took about 3 hours in total rolling around on cold gravel on my back :rolleyes:








Finally, two coats of Dinitrol Underbody Wax:











Mechanicals next Smile
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Re: Fiat Coupé 20V Turbo Plus - Back to Former Glory

Post by jas_racing on Sun Dec 06, 2015 9:23 am

To get started on the mechanicals I sent a pile of parts off to the shot-blaster, several weeks later I got them back but they'd already spent some days outside in the pouring rain by the time I collected them:




After POR Clean & Prep:



Two coats of POR paint:




I decided to replace the bearings in the trailing arms too as these do tend to wear on Coupé's and it's dead easy to do when the arms are already off the car.  Old bearings out and inner bore cleaned up ready to accept the new bearing:


New bearing kit (for one side):


Pic of one end when the kit was fitted:


For the rear beam and anti-roll bar I decided to go a different route than POR-15 as this project is more about durability than appearance, and where I work we rather fortuitously have both a galvanising plant and powder-coating line.

A reminder of how the rear beam looked when it came off the car:


Beam was shot blasted (sorry no pics of this) then galvanised along with the ARB:



Rear beam after powder-coating and with new uprated mounting bushes fittted:



ARB after powder-coating:



Rear beam with new load-proportioning valve and brake pipes fitted:





Brake pipes are copper-nickel and I had stainless steel brake pipe nuts custom-made as I've spent too much time over the years struggling to undo corroded mild steel/zinc plated ones.

New Monroe dampers to go on the rear beam (easier to fit with the beam off the car as the bolt is only accessible through small access holes in the rear chassis rails once the beam is mounted on the car):


Ready to fit:


And finally back on the car:

Not easy to do on your own!

Trailing arm fitted on N/S:


And O/S:


Another shot of the beam in place:


You've probably noticed but all fasteners are new too, mainly stainless steel but odd ones that need to be high-tensile are 12.9 grade mild steel.

ARB is fitted behind the beam in this pic (not that it can be seen!) but this pic was to show the new spring fitted connecting it to the load-proportioning valve:


That's pretty much up to date now, great to be bolting bits back on! Smile


Last edited by jas_racing on Mon Dec 07, 2015 6:21 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Fiat Coupé 20V Turbo Plus - Back to Former Glory

Post by youknowturbo on Sun Dec 06, 2015 1:21 pm

as usual with you jeremy, mint!!

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Re: Fiat Coupé 20V Turbo Plus - Back to Former Glory

Post by st1allstar on Wed Dec 16, 2015 9:53 pm

looking good jeremy, good luck with the project
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