by Brian Long, spring 1997
Technical stuff by Brian
Flavia mainpage by Huib

The latest Newsletter has been read & reread avidly; always a pleasure to see it arrive. This time, however, I am forced to put chilled Anchor aside to take friendly issue with Martin Williams over comments he made in the latest of his most interesting series on the intricacies of Flavias.

He advocates disposing of the Solex carburettor found on these cars for a Weber. Whilst not detracting from the Weber’s reputation - my Flaminia has three of the lovely things - I feel that he might have acted a bit hastily & consigned the Solex to an unwarranted end & affected the originality of the car.

To establish my credentials first. Four Flavias: one a 1500 sedan, the first Lancia I ever owned. It had done over 150000 miles; was owned by a RAF office who used to drive it from Aden to England via Turin on leave each year. I still have its "ADN" plate in my garage. It was fitted with a huge dual chamber oil bath air cleaner & had one of the subject Solexes.

Then came an 1800 Flavia coupe, sold to a banker in Sydney after I had rebuilt the front & rear end after it had been mercilessly punished through the Outback by the previous owner who had sold it through the trade in Parramatta Road. Oversize front Konis had bottomed the lower wishbones rendering them concave! The front engine mount had broken & the engine was resting on the rocker boxes. I thought the rumbling noise was big ends! Rebuilt the dual circuit booster & had a beautiful touring car for the long late night trips between Colac & Sale in the days when we lived there. It went to pay for the B20...another saga!

Two late Milleottos then; one a carburettored version & the later one was with the much maligned Kugelfischer injection. I believe this one is still in Gippsland but now with a carburettor. The two were as different as chalk & cheese. I remember another post-midnight dash to Colac in the latter with Big-Three oriented brother-in-law on board plus family, luggage, etc. He couldn’t believe that the, now licence-terminating, speed at which we were quietly cruising at could be achieved from four cylinders, let alone 1800 cc!

All that aside. I used to have problems with the coupe’s carburettor from dirt in the fuel. Until cleaned out the whole fuel system, I used to follow the very clear instructions to be found in a Sunbeam Alpine Workshop Manual for cleaning these units in place.

I did have to replace the diaphragm in the second throat actuating mechanism when I first acquired the car. Careful adjustment of the linkages ensured that the second throat was released beyond a certain accelerator position. Provided the air velocity through the first choke was high enough i.e. the accelerator hadn’t been floored at low revs, the second throat would open progressively over the last 20%-odd of pedal travel. A wonderful arrangement & so sensitive it was that you could travel with the accelerator just "resting’ on the release point for the second stage. Great for overtaking manoeuvers!

So, I rest my case. Persevere with the original carburettor & keep the car the same way! Other ramblings? A wonderful three weeks in Melbourne over Xmas. Several precious days of which were spent under the B12 & in the entrails of its gearbox. The lower shaft seal had been leaking oil for ages. So after receiving a little Xmas package with a new seal from Omicron I set about replacing it. Along the way I also replaced the spider joints & needle rollers in the outboard UJ’s with spares I had bought from Tom Sheehan twenty rollers per arm of each joint, tapping out the bearing cups in the ends of the driveshafts after extricating the hefty circlips that hold them in place. New seals, a touch of heat from the propane torch to ease the outer bearing cups back into the drive shaft ends & no more grease all over the wheels now.

The gearbox seal was a straightforward job too. Once the clutch assembly was out, the quill shaft is exposed with a circular nut with four grooves machined in it. I know there is a proper factory tool to undo it, but I wrapped it in soft aluminium & used a small set of multigrips to undo it. Very little effort was required. This nut held in place a remarkable "spline adaptor" which had the coarse spline for the clutch plate on the outside & a fine spline on the inside to transmit the load to the gearbox input (quill) shaft.

The rest was easy. Undo the nuts holding the clutch housing onto the gearbox & carefully lift off. Replace the seal, plenty of oil & the right way around. Then, as the manuals say "reassemble in the reverse order" using a new gasket cut from gasket card; another relaxing job! Note that you have to remove the louvred cover on the underside of the clutch housing to oversee the engagement of the throwout fork with the thrust bearing carrier.

By now David was home from work so we juggled the transaxle back in place & aligned the propshaft. This I have always done by spraying plenty of WD40 on the splines & then, whilst carefully sliding the coupling home, note whether there is any tendency for it to be deflected, even slightly, from sliding home freely. If there is an deflection, shim the propshaft carriers appropriately. It takes a while & presupposes that the propshaft is true. But it works.

I then treated the car to a new exhaust system. Nearly sixteen years of intermittent use had destroyed it. I thoroughly recommend Carnegie Mufflers on Dandenong Rd., opposite Radio Parts. They were listened to my concerns about not damaging the pot joint gaiters, using the original spring hangers etc. etc. Then across the road to Lawrie Delarue’s tyre shop for a complete tyre rotation & balance. They can do ‘on-car’ wheel balancing also. Both establishments said that they are happy to accommodate eccentrics such as us. (Or me!)

After all that Lancia activity, the rest of the holidays & the festive season were enjoyed with family & friends over many BBQ’s, the best wine in the world & a lovely drive to Lorne & back in the rejuvenated B12 which ran as smoothly as ever even if we did pick a stinking hot day to come home!

Next thing to look forward to is Castlemaine; but at least the cars are ready to go now.

- Brian Long -
at present living in Kuala Lumpur. Email: panjang@connexus.net.au.

April 2000. Young Harry, Brian's grandson, has all the genes of a true Lancista
Technical stuff by Brian
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