Ital Pickup

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Welcome to the homepage for my new Ital Pickup - 15th July 2012.  I plan to develop the this website as I work on the car.  The first step will be to get her roadworthy - she has a current MOT until November 2012, but the engine has run a big end bearing, so it needs dropping out and checking to see whether the damage is confined to the bearing shells, or whether I'll need to have the crank reground or a replacement crankshaft.

The bodywork is good with very little rust, the rear roof has been kind to pickup bed.  No great plans yet, just to get her back on the road and live with her for a while.

I shan't get into this until I have finished my Marina Coupe's new engine - see www.marinacoupe.co.uk so probably next year.

Here's some pics to be going on with.  If you want to correspond then I can be emailed at chris@italpickup.co.uk .

 

   

 

   

 

 

   

 

Engine work

As previously stated, the key thing to get back on the road was to sort the engine out.  I drove the pickup down from storage to my house watching the oil pressure light flicker all the time and listened to a big end clatter away to itself.  I got her onto the drive and spent the weekend dropping the engine out.  On stripping it down, as suspected the no. 3 big end bearing surface was quite heavily scored.  The difficulty was trying to work out what the cause was of the big end breakdown.  The cause as it turned was something even more spectacular, the no. 1 piston had a broken top ring, which had liberated itself through the edge of the piston crown and left plenty of debris in the sump.  I'm guessing but it seems that enough of the loose metal picked up into the oil and damaged the big end.  So off the crankshaft went to the engineers for checking to identify what to regrind it by.  The report wasn't good - the number three big end was so heavily scored that it was beyond a regrind when the biggest oversized shells are +40 thou.

      

One used crankshaft and piston - only good for scrap 

This means that I had to find a replacement crankshaft.  Maybe some years ago I could have found one new on a shelf in an old BL garage or perhaps order one from a Unipart dealer.  These days that option is no longer available so my option was to find a second-hand crankshaft or a complete engine. The BL A-Plus engine was used in Minis, Metros, Maestros, but all in cases these were in transverse positions unlike the Ital which is in-line and is unique in having a flat plate end for the in-line flywheel.  Also the block had quite a big lip it the top of the cylinder bores although there was no obvious scoring, it would need a rebore and oversized pistons to sort it out.

A trawl round the owners club didn't turn up anything immediately, however the www.fastmarinamagazine.com forum turned up forum and club member Paul Viney, who knew of a 1.3 Ital being stripped for banger racing.  Normally I'm not a fan of banger racers as they have been known to banger perfectly good cars, however on this occasion the guy was going to race a car that was way beyond economic repair and he want to fit a Ford 1600 crossflow engine and Ford gearbox and he had contacted Paul to let him know that there was an opportunity for club members to strip out the interior, glassware, engine and gearbox as he wouldn't need them.  It seems that he had previously done the same to a Mk1 Marina and then when the car was beyond racing, he had sold the rear axle and front suspension to maximise the amount of parts that could be recycled back into other Marinas.  How enlightened.

I made a call and did a deal over the phone so everything was looking up, the downside was that it was 120 miles from where I live.  One Saturday in Februarya\n to Worthing to pick up Paul and then onto Littlehampton to view the car and the engine and gearbox.  The guy was as good as his word and I picked up the gearbox as well (just in case).

The plan 

Whilst the original crankshaft was being assessed, I sent the head away to be reconditioned and unleaded inserts added with slightly larger than standard inlet valves.  I tracked down a new water pump and a high pressure Metro Turbo oil pump.  I had also picked up a high ratio valve train, with a 1.5:1 ratio rather than the standard 1.25:1.  It doesn't change the valve timing, instead it lifts the valves off their seats further than standard rockers will.

The rebuild

After cleaning the block off, I stripped the sump and cleaned the oil sludge out, checking for metal and foreign bodies, before checking the main and big end bearings.  Looks good and there is minimal end play as well - I needed a bit of luck.  So sump on and out with the engine enamel to smarten it all up a bit, then on with the head. 

     

     

Since I last updated the web page, I have got the Pickup on the road and MOT'd.  I then began to learn about what low gearing really means.  The axle has a 4.55:1, great for hauling 575kg of stuff about using a 1.3 engine, but as a usable classic car not great.  I decided to add on some larger wheels to counteract the rear axle - watch this space.