Thursday, August 23, 2012

Concorso 2012: Luigi bows out with grace

Last weekend was Concorso Italiano in Monterey California on the famous Pebble Beach Concours weekend. We had registered for the show some time ago as Fiat was honoring the 500 and was holding a special gathering for the Italian micro cars. Having had good successes in previous events we decided that this would be Luigi's last show and that future events would have him entered only as a display piece.

The journey started a few days earlier when a last minute flight was booked and a rental truck was acquired to transport our Fiat from southern to northern California. First stop was to a Home Depot for some lumber to act as ramps and next was the drive up the coast to the show. On the day of the event the weather was perfect and Fiats from across the US and Canada had made the trek out.

By shows end we were unanimously chosen as best Fiat 500 and were humbled to finish second to best Fiat of the show to a magnificent pre-war Fiat with exceptional history and a very special ownership tale; a truly deserving victor.

In addition we were astounded to meet our new friends Emanuele and Anna from Turin Italy who were visiting and sought us out having seen Luigi on this blog and recognizing him on the grass. The power of the Internet never ceases to amaze us and it was wonderful to make the acquaintance.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Crazy Task #5: Block sanding the radiator

As work continues so does our decline into insanity. Today's installment of 'Crazy Task' shows Paul block sanding the radiator to perfection removing even the smallest ding or dent that may be present. While I did tease him for doing this he did express his views that when the radiator was made, and it was new, it would have had no marks on it so that is what he was replicating.

Through the cloud of sanding dust and chemical fumes his rationale began to make sense. I guess we are both losing it!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Buffing with diamond: Micro polishing the gearbox internals

While the internals of our gearbox were found to be in remarkably good condition, they are still mechanical parts that are over 40 years old and will show signs of use. Recently dad and I spent two full days micro polishing every machine surface inside the gearbox in order to bring them back to a factory fresh state. In addition to this we removed any burrs or marks that could affect the operation of the the machine.

This is a very time consuming process where ultra fine abrasive papers (2000 grit and finer) are used in conjunction with machinists cutting oil to just polish the surface of the internals but without removing any significant material that will affect critical tolerances. Final polishing is done with an assortment of diamond pastes that bring the parts to a near mirror finish. You do not want too shiny a surface as it affects the ability of oil to stay attached to the surface during operation so naturally it takes time, patience, and experience to get right.

This is not the service you get with your average re-build but we can now be sure that the gearbox will operate as it did the day it left Ferrari.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

An odd issue lets you get even with Ferrari: Money saving gearbox tip

While inspecting the gearbox for wear we were reminded of a great money saving tip that was passed on to us by a very experienced Ferrari tech. The Dino gearbox has the odd number of 5 forward speeds with synchromesh. Each gear has its own synchro ring but it shares a synchro hub with one half being used for one gear while the other half is used for its sister gear on the gearbox cluster.

As such 5th and 4th share a synchro hub, 3rd and 2nd share a hub, but 1st gear only ever uses one half of its hub because its sister gear (reverse) is not synchronized. Because the hubs are perfectly symmetrical and reversible, when re-building the gearbox the 1st gear synchro hub can be flipped putting into service a perfect un-used half.

If you have ever priced out synchro rings for these gearboxes you will see that this tip can save you upwards of $600. Getting even with Ferrari is worth even more.