1982 Fiat Spider 2000


Some 1980 and all 1982-1985 Spiders had a 1995cc four-cylinder engine with twin cams and fuel injection, developing 102 HP and 110 ft/lbs of torque. It's an interesting engine - very torquey with a 6000 RPM redline. The original engine in my car was actually from the 1980 Spider, which I crashed. Just before I crashed it, I whacked the oil pan on an underground gas tank cover at a filling station, due to the diminished clearance from the lowered suspension. This broke the pickup off the oil pump and led to ome trouble down the road. I had the oil pump fixed and main and rod bearings replaced, but the damage had been done and there was a bit of a rod knock occurring for the last several thousand miles I drove the car. Along came someone either on craigslist or Mirafiori with an engine from a rusted Spider with 62,000 miles, for $250, and so I had my spare engine (which included an alternator and some fuel injection pieces).

I started by planning to just freshen up the engine with new gaskets, etc. However, after I checked the valve clearance and took the cam towers off, and then the manifolds, I realized I was only ten head bolts away from really doing a good job. So I ended up taking off the head and examining things, and I guess while I've got it sitting in front of me on the stand I might as well replace bearing and rings and stuff.

I should mention here that the Mirafiori shim exchange is wonderful.

While delving into No. 3 cylinder, I noticed many small nicks and gouges on the top of the piston. The cylinder head showed a large gouge where something was driven into the head - a washer or possibly a broken spark plug electrode that fell into the cylinder and eventually exited out the exhaust after banging around a bit.


After some consideration, I am taking the lazy way out for the engine decision. The engine that was in the car (originally from the 80 Spider) was in good shape, not burning or leaking oil, except for the aforementioned rod knock on acceleration. I always thought this was something really bad developing, but decided to take a look anyway. There was a little surprise waiting for me in the oil pan:

The oil pump pickup had broken off again. This explained a lot, and I suddenly wondered if maybe the engine was (more or less) ok and that new bearings and pump (and an undented oil pan this time - I theorize that the weakened old pan was no match for something that hit it. Plus I have a guard now too) would get me a long way toward driving the car. And it so happens I have an extra pump and oil pan, from the other engine. Crank journal measurements and visual inspection show the crank to be undamaged, so I'm just going to spend $25 on bearings and put the original engine back in the car. Then I'll build a new awesome 2-liter engine at my leisure from the other engine and swap them out in the distant future.

2L rod bearingsJustin torques

We installed the new bearings and torqued them down to spec.

I compared the two crappy oil pans I had, and the one from the spare engine seemed the least banged up, so we installed the oil pump and placed the oil pan gasket in preparation for bolting on the oil pan, only to find it was the wrong gasket. The front holes were misaligned and a strange cutout existed where none should be. A hole punch and RTV sealant got me around this little obstacle - I am going to replace the pan anyway at some point so it should hang together at least that long.

oil pan gasket