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Old 18th March 2013, 22:26   #31
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Default Re: BMC 8903 - A 1960 Fiat Select - Here I go again!

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Dear all - latest update:

Work done on the car on this Sunday:
1. Carburettor replaced, MCS1023 fitted, external vent with high float level without vacuum advance connection. Works perfectly, engine started in half crank without any choke assistance.
2. After running for some time with the new carburettor, then distributor replaced once again, unit without vacuum advance fitted. Dwell angle and ignition timing re-adjusted of course. Engine ran still better now, with lots of water coming out of the tail pipe. Works perfectly, engine starts with 10 repeat cranks without any accelerator input.
3. Intake manifold heater hoses replaced. Old hoses had to be cut to remove, they were completely brittle, worn out and choked. Original EPDM hoses are fitted.
4. Starter motor wire found in four pieces joint together, completely exposed to bare metal, replaced.

Next work:
1. Need to check the valve timing just to be sure, although the engine breathes much better now. It does not take long to open, see the correctness of the alignment marks on the crankshaft / camshaft and put it all back.
2. Exhaust system, although made in stainless steel seems to be completely choked, I will replace it next week to see the difference in power. I expect drastic improvement in performance once this is done.
3. Accelerator pedal is sticky due to incorrect position and orientation. Fulcrum parts are not original, they are worn out, therefore complete accelerator linkage needs to be replaced which includes the pedal (difficult to get the original one), its fulcrum with the holding spring, the main shaft, the return spring from the chassis and the link to the carburettor.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
Hi Behram , hearty congratulation for your new possession, I am sure its the cars boon that its second owner is going to take care of it much better than its first owner. Good luck and happy riding Behram.

When i was reading your thread right from the beginning i was amazed about your knowledge about the car engine and other parts. I felt anxious and tensed as i was reading through your post as i am not sure how the engine of my car works. I just go by the mechanics words and promises. U know my friends used to tease me that doctors are the easiest people to cheat when it comes to cars, that we blindly believe them and change what ever they ask us to change even when that part can be repaired. So i wish i had people like you near me to see and tell about how my car works and runs, but we are nearly 2500 kms away and i can't get my car there. please let me know if by any chance u come down to Coimbatore in Tamilnadu or anywhere near it , it would be a pleasure to have you around to check on my car.

I wish god creates some opportunity for you to come here for the sake of my car . Fingers crossed !
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Old 19th March 2013, 09:31   #32
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Default Re: BMC 8903 - A 1960 Fiat Select - Here I go again!

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Hi Behram, hearty congratulation for your new possession, I am sure its the cars boon that its second owner is going to take care of it much better than its first owner. Good luck and happy riding Behram.

When I was reading your thread right from the beginning i was amazed about your knowledge about the car engine and other parts. I felt anxious and tensed as i was reading through your post as i am not sure how the engine of my car works. I just go by the mechanics words and promises. U know my friends used to tease me that doctors are the easiest people to cheat when it comes to cars, that we blindly believe them and change what ever they ask us to change even when that part can be repaired. So i wish i had people like you near me to see and tell about how my car works and runs, but we are nearly 2500 kms away and i can't get my car there. please let me know if by any chance u come down to Coimbatore in Tamilnadu or anywhere near it , it would be a pleasure to have you around to check on my car.
Dear Drkannant - I used to come down to Coimbatore quite often for work in Avinashi Road, Singanallur. In fact I was there in the last week of December. Whenever I am in Coimbatore, I always make it a point to visit "Dhanam Motor Stores" (previously Alagendran Motor Stores) and pick up any fiat part that may still be available. I was pleasently surprised during my last visit, I bought quite a few parts. "Long time back" I had stayed in the Coimbatore Club for 3 months and ate "tiffin" in the evenings till I found a restaurant bang opposite platform no 1 of Cimmbatore station where I could at least get some sambar and rice to eat in the evenings as well, so I know Coimbatore, not very well but quite well. .

Well, as far as my interest in the fiat 1100 goes, I have grown up around this car, I have learnt on this car and it was my job to work on this platform for 10 years when I worked in The Premier Automobiles Ltd from 1984 to 1994 (I still work in the automobile industry, now based in Pune). The best thing about this model is its absolute simplicity and perfection in design. I have seen the original tracings of 1953 which were available in the Kurla factory in Mumbai. In those days there was no CAD, everything was manual and the drawings were so perfect and detailed, it boggles the mind. That's why, till my car works perfectly, I just have to keep on correcting it, I cannot compromise, I was never taught to compromise! There is only one way to do a perfect job and that is the only correct way!

Just read this gem of an example, which modern car can give you this experience? - day before yesterday was a Sunday. Wifey tells me that we have to go to my in-laws' place in Malabar Hill in South Mumbai. I quietly decided to take BMC8903 instead of my regular car. Its 20 kms one way. I knew that the exhaust system is completely choked, I knew that I have to overhaul the radiator, I knew that the bottom hose pipe has outlived its life many times over and it could leak any time, I knew that I had to put the original pressure cap back in place of the nonsense there now, I knew that the fuel guage does not work so I have to keep on putting petrol in the car to prevent the tank from running dry, I knew that the accelerator pedal ball stud is nonsense, its return spring is not original due to which the pedal sticks, so general reliability was very suspect. I don't use my cars like this but I wanted to see how it behaves. Even with the bad exhaust, from dead cold, with electronic fuel pump running, it started properly, idled at 550 rpm quite well, the tail pipe spewed out a decent amount of water, the sound and pressure pulse on my hand at 6 inches from the tail pipe end was not bad, the clutch was nothing great, still the gears slotted in perfectly, it went 20 kms and came back 20 kms without missing a beat. I was not satisfied with the performance but at least I knew what direction I have to take now.

What I am trying to say is this - with this car, you can learn! Now I strategically know that I need not open the timing chain cover but I must first target and hit the exhaust system, change it completely so that I will learn further. What dress level of muffler? Let's see now! Obviously the stainless steel system will be preserved.

If you can develop this capability, nobody will ever pull a fast one on you.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 19th March 2013, 22:16   #33
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Dear Drkannant - I used to come down to Coimbatore quite often for work in Avinashi Road, Singanallur. In fact I was there in the last week of December. Whenever I am in Coimbatore, I always make it a point to visit "Dhanam Motor Stores" (previously Alagendran Motor Stores) and pick up any fiat part that may still be available. I was pleasently surprised during my last visit, I bought quite a few parts. "Long time back" I had stayed in the Coimbatore Club for 3 months and ate "tiffin" in the evenings till I found a restaurant bang opposite platform no 1 of Cimmbatore station where I could at least get some sambar and rice to eat in the evenings as well, so I know Coimbatore, not very well but quite well. .

Well, as far as my interest in the fiat 1100 goes, I have grown up around this car, I have learnt on this car and it was my job to work on this platform for 10 years when I worked in The Premier Automobiles Ltd from 1984 to 1994 (I still work in the automobile industry, now based in Pune). The best thing about this model is its absolute simplicity and perfection in design. I have seen the original tracings of 1953 which were available in the Kurla factory in Mumbai. In those days there was no CAD, everything was manual and the drawings were so perfect and detailed, it boggles the mind. That's why, till my car works perfectly, I just have to keep on correcting it, I cannot compromise, I was never taught to compromise! There is only one way to do a perfect job and that is the only correct way!

Just read this gem of an example, which modern car can give you this experience? - day before yesterday was a Sunday. Wifey tells me that we have to go to my in-laws' place in Malabar Hill in South Mumbai. I quietly decided to take BMC8903 instead of my regular car. Its 20 kms one way. I knew that the exhaust system is completely choked, I knew that I have to overhaul the radiator, I knew that the bottom hose pipe has outlived its life many times over and it could leak any time, I knew that I had to put the original pressure cap back in place of the nonsense there now, I knew that the fuel guage does not work so I have to keep on putting petrol in the car to prevent the tank from running dry, I knew that the accelerator pedal ball stud is nonsense, its return spring is not original due to which the pedal sticks, so general reliability was very suspect. I don't use my cars like this but I wanted to see how it behaves. Even with the bad exhaust, from dead cold, with electronic fuel pump running, it started properly, idled at 550 rpm quite well, the tail pipe spewed out a decent amount of water, the sound and pressure pulse on my hand at 6 inches from the tail pipe end was not bad, the clutch was nothing great, still the gears slotted in perfectly, it went 20 kms and came back 20 kms without missing a beat. I was not satisfied with the performance but at least I knew what direction I have to take now.

What I am trying to say is this - with this car, you can learn! Now I strategically know that I need not open the timing chain cover but I must first target and hit the exhaust system, change it completely so that I will learn further. What dress level of muffler? Let's see now! Obviously the stainless steel system will be preserved.

If you can develop this capability, nobody will ever pull a fast one on you.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
Dear Behram, you just don't stop surprising me
I just live on the race course where Coimbatore club is situated and I did buy all my spares from Dhanam Automobiles as I remember dad going there for all is car parts. The owner of Alagendran automobiles did know my dad very well for so many years as he was his regular customer buying all spares for his Fiat and Ambassador. The Mechanic who is doing my engine works is an old timer who does only Fiat cars and know my dad and the car well. His name is Adhinarayanan. Do you know him by any chance?

So now that you are very familiar with Coimbatore, why don't you make a trip to Coimbatore for my cars sake, my car and me will be blessed.

Last edited by karlosdeville : 20th March 2013 at 09:52. Reason: Grammar
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Old 23rd March 2013, 16:39   #34
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Default Re: BMC 8903 - A 1960 Fiat Select - Here I go again!

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The owner of Alagendran automobiles did know my dad very well for so many years as he was his regular customer buying all spares for his Fiat and Ambassador. The Mechanic who is doing my engine works is an old timer who does only Fiat cars and know my dad and the car well. His name is Adhinarayanan. Do you know him by any chance?
Dear Drkannant - I do not know Mr.Adhinarayanan. If I remember correctly, the owner of Alagendran Motors Stores was one Mr.Srinivasan. I purchased parts worth almost 1 lakh rupees (certainly not fiat parts) from his shop but I hassled him so much about exactly what part I wanted from which car, he almost threw me out of the shop. I wanted the parts for a new project prototype. I could not disclose the details to him, so he did not understand and got quite angry! In hindsight, I find it all quite amusing because after whatever was done in Coimbatore, at the peak of its production, that vehicle sold @ 3000 per month! I hope I can visit Coimbatore. .

Dear all - work done on BMC8903 on last Sunday 17 March is as follows:

1. Complete exhaust system replaced: Only the tail pipes and the small muffler above the rear axle (after the main muffler) were of stainless steel, the front pipe and muffler were useless aftermarket parts. The front pipe which came out was made out of 4 pieces, haphazardly welded together, they were of unequal diameters too! The muffler was very small and flat, it was very badly choked, there was major carbon build-up inside both the apertures. All mounting fasteners were bad, they were all non-standard, most of them had to be physically cut to remove. The Y bracket was badly misaligned. The exhaust pipe support U bolt did not have a holder at all and its threads were stripped. All the old hanger straps had almost disintegrated, the whole thing was held together by wires. Everything which was nonsense was cut and thrown out! Fortunately, the original exhaust hold-down brackets welded in the body were very good. Therefore, brand new front exhaust pipe and original muffler to part no PAB12453 are now fitted. Custom made 2" diameter tail pipe is fitted. All M8*1.25 8.8 grade new fasteners are fitted. New brass fasteners for the exhaust manifold flange are fitted. The Y bracket misalignment was corrected. Original Y bracket supporter is fitted. All new hangers are fitted. The engine now idles very quietly and comfortably.

2. Accelerator control system replaced: The accelerator pedal was held on the floor by only one screw which was loose and corroded. The pedal ball fulcrum was broken, its bottom hinge was completely jammed. Complete pedal assembly along with its hinge and ball fulcrum with original spring clip and linkage replaced. Pedal reworked to cut the rubber flashes on both sides which come in the way of the fulcrum. TVS 8.8 grade M6*1.0 bolt used for the fulcrum, locked without end play.

3. Battery hold down bracket replaced: this was corroded, loose and its J bolt threads were stripped. The whole battery was jumping up and down in its cradle. The whole thing looked terrible also. Battery relocated in the existing cradle (on RH side only) towards the steering gear, temporary bracket to relocate the hold-down bolt is made and fitted. New J bolts purchased, cut to exact length and fitted with flanged nuts. Battery cables temporarily relocated properly, new cables being made to replace. Completely new hold-down needs to be made as a final solution.

The acceleration is much better than before. I am still not satisfied.

Next hits - complete servicing and replacement of all oils, I suspect oil quality, therefore I always buy from a trusted petrol pump only (less chance of adulteration due to institutional control). I have seen engine performance change drastically for the better, just by buying oil from a good petrol pump within the city and changing it. Then its on to the clutch, brakes and suspension.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 28th March 2013, 08:56   #35
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Dear all - good news, target activity completed! .

I am now the "official" owner of BMC8903. I recieved all the updated books back from the RTO. One time tax, green tax, mechanical passing, insurance, PUC, everything is now absolutely perfect! All the relevant stamps are now there in the original blue cover book of 1960. That book itself is an antique now and I believe that it is priceless! I can now use the car in Mumbai without any reservations.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar

PS - by the way, are you guys angry at me or what! why no replies? .
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Old 28th March 2013, 09:09   #36
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Dear Behram Sir

I have been a silent reader of all your threads. The passion you have towards automobiles in general and Fiats in particular is infectious. I am part of the automobile industry too, and quit my job at India's largest car maker to move closer to home, and to pursue a career in vehicle testing / ABS & ESC application.

Your posts are really educative and filled with valuable information. It's amazing that you take time out of your schedule (I know what it must be like to be at a senior post in a big OEM's R&D division) to restore your vehicles in such detail, and at the same time, share your knowledge on Team BHP. Hope to meet you someday (may be officially, or personally!).

Regards
Viju
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Old 28th March 2013, 12:12   #37
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Dear Behram Sir - I have been a silent reader of all your threads. The passion you have towards automobiles in general and Fiats in particular is infectious. Your posts are really educative and filled with valuable information. Regards Viju
Dear Viju - thanks for not continuing to remain silent, I appreciate. My reply to you is as follows:

I have realized that nothing is more important than "Customer-Centricity" through the route of "Customer Insight". "Product Clarity" and "Auto Passion" are the tools to be used to achieve this desired result. Knowing exactly what the customer wants and giving it to him again and again and again and again is really what everybody is trying to do but very few are succeeding. Why? Because they tend to forget the basics, which is the desired result to aim for. This is:

"Nothing happens to the car - EVER - the customer only adds fuel and drives".

It is that magic word "EVER" which raises the bar and changes the equation completely. I work on my fiats because it continuously teaches me how to analytically approach each issue in the car so that the contents of the above sentence become a reality. Believe you me, it is not easy, it is very difficult and at times, frustrating. You try and try and fail and fail before it all comes together, but its OK because failure is also hypothetical success. If you do not try, you will never fail.

It will be my pleasure to meet you. Send in a PM next time you are in Pune or Mumbai, we'll catch up.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar

Last edited by DHABHAR.BEHRAM : 28th March 2013 at 12:14. Reason: add info
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Old 28th March 2013, 14:25   #38
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Default Re: BMC 8903 - A 1960 Fiat Select - Here I go again!

Dear Behram sir...Hearty congratulations on acquring another Fiat 1100 to your collection. It has come to right hands and looks stunning.
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Old 28th March 2013, 15:23   #39
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What a coincidence.

I believe I saw you yesterday night driving slowly down Worli Sea face.I slowed down right next to you and gave you a thumbs up to which you smiled and said thank you. I was in an Audi A6. I absolutely love the car. What I love even more was the way you were driving it. Doing about 30-40 kmph in the left lane with your elbow on the window pane and gripping the thin steering wheel with just two fingers. Absolutely fantastic! I even took a picture.

I love these surprises i get when i am in Bombay!
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Old 29th March 2013, 08:36   #40
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What a coincidence. I believe I saw you yesterday night driving slowly down Worli Sea face.I slowed down right next to you and gave you a thumbs up to which you smiled and said thank you. I was in an Audi A6. I absolutely love the car. What I love even more was the way you were driving it. Doing about 30-40 kmph in the left lane with your elbow on the window pane and gripping the thin steering wheel with just two fingers. Absolutely fantastic! I even took a picture. I love these surprises i get when i am in Bombay!
Dear Novitec458 - thank you for your lovely comment but it could not be me, I am in Pune for the whole week as I work there. I miss the car for the whole week. I am in Mumbai only on Sundays. That must be my dear son Cyrus enjoying the Worli sea face promenade in the car, which is how this car is meant to be used and relished. You have made my day Sir, thumbs up for you too! .

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 4th April 2013, 18:22   #41
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Dear all - work done on the car on this Sunday 31 March is as follows:

1. Replaced engine oil and filter cartridge: with engine at normal coolant operating temperature, drained the old oil which came out black, dirty and sludgy, it seemed to be ages old and had clearly outlived its life. More than 4 liters came out, capacity is 3.5 liters, thank God it was more and not less! Removed the oil filter cartridge, it had to be physically pried out of its seat to remove, it was completely choked to the point that the cartridge had compressed inwards and stuck to the center pipe, it also seemed to be ages old. Had to clean the inside of the filter bowl with petrol after removing it out of the car, to get all the sludge out. It was a very dirty job to do, it took almost 30 minutes to clean, but its perfect now. The bottom distance piece was so dirty, it had to be sandpapered to clean it! I had the new oil filter cartridge with me, so assembled it with new seals in place. New oil was purchased from HP petrol pump, it cost 972 rupees for 4 liters, 3.5 liters added, level exactly matched to dipstick maximum mark after starting the engine and filling the filter bowl. Oil pressure built up instantly, engine NVH has gone down drastically as expected, smoothness is now finally just about good.

2. Replaced radiator bottom hose and all radiator mountings: radiator was actually loose in its mountings on the chassis, it was vibrating up and down because all its mountings had almost disintegrated, which was expected after 53 years of service. All rubber mountings replaced. Santro radiator mounting rubbers are fitting perfectly as if they were made for this car so they are used, alongwith Premier Padmini cup washers and rubber spacers with sleeves. The condition of the bottom radiator hose is worth a comment, I just don't understand how such things can be done, it was actually working! There was a piece of rubber and a piece of cloth tied on top of the hose, very poorly stuck with M-seal, oozing out all over the place, trying in vain not to leak, somehow holding on! . It had to be physically cut with a knife to remove and throw out. All the radiator apertures, water pump and cylinder block elbow had to be sandpapered to clean out the well water deposits which had stuck on in years so that new hose could be fitted. EPDM reinforced bottom hose used with new clips, cut to correct length and fitted.

3. Engine to chassis earth cable replaced: After 53 years of "somehow-survival", out of the many strands that it started its life with, only some 5 strands were still connected, everything else had broken and disintegrated. I wonder how the starter motor was operating! Therefore, this thingy was removed and thrown out, original Premier Padmini earth cable fitted after cleaning the chassis / bell housing areas. Voltage drop across the engine measured, it is now 0.02v as measured by multimeter (limit of acceptance standard is 0.1v).

4. Chassis cross member aligned: to provide correct clearance to the clutch linkages. Final alignment will be done after removing the engine / transmission during restoration.

Car is running much better and smoother than before, next hits are transmission and axle oils, alternator mounting bracket of S1, servicing, suspension, steering, brakes and complete revamping of that idiotic wiring! Whew, lots to do, no time! Till next Sunday then,

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 9th April 2013, 13:15   #42
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This actually looks like a bollywood movie, the eternal love of a car, chase/wait for it and how finally it ends up with its lover.

Wish you many many miles with the the beautiful car, and its very impressive to see how much in detail you know about the car and dont hesitate to grease your hands to make your love shine to glory.

I hope you would have sorted the other niggling issues by now.
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Old 9th April 2013, 14:56   #43
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This actually looks like a bollywood movie, the eternal love of a car, chase/wait for it and how finally it ends up with its lover. Wish you many many miles with the beautiful car, and its very impressive to see how much in detail you know about the car and dont hesitate to grease your hands to make your love shine to glory. I hope you would have sorted the other niggling issues by now.
Dear invincible7 - thank you for your gracious comments, now that you mention it, yes, it is indeed a bollywood movie come true! I always had a soft spot for the BMC registration. As you have read, I am still sorting out the niggles, it is a never ending process but I am enjoying myself. I am not starting the full restoration as I do not have parking space in my house. Once fully restored, I cannot park it outside. But in my mind, I am very clear what I need to do with the full scale restoration. When I am through with that, it will look and work better than new. I really wish I had place to park!

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 9th April 2013, 17:01   #44
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Default Re: BMC 8903 - A 1960 Fiat Select - Here I go again!

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Dear invincible7 -

I really wish I had place to park!
Best regards,
Behram Dhabhar
I've a good secure spot that you are more than welcome to "park" your Car!
Free, just for the pleasure of looking at it.
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Old 12th April 2013, 19:43   #45
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I've a good secure spot that you are more than welcome to "park" your Car! Free, just for the pleasure of looking at it.
Dear John - thanks for your gracious offer, I appreciate. I certainly don't mind walking down a couple of thousand kms one way, every time I want to take it out for a spin down Mumbai's famous Marine Drive! WBF1 will have good company as well. .

Dear all - just for information, last Sunday evening I missed BMC8903. Wifey and I went to The National Center for the Performing Arts (you know!) at the Oberoi end of Marine Drive (you know!) in "Typical Bawa" style to watch a typical Adi Marzban Pasi comedy "Laughter in the House" (you know!). The audience was 100% Parsi, all in typical Bawa getup, I saw old gentlemen in suspender trousers, elegant ladies in parsi garas, greeting each other and having a great time. Going there in BMC8903 with wifey by my side would have completed the period Parsi experience perfectly. Alas, I did not take it there because I knew I would not get parking inside and I could not bring myself to park it by the seaside! Sob sob, some experiences are gone, forever!

Maybe "at the Sophia's" next time (you know)! That's a typical Bawa for you (you know!) .

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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