by Brian Long, november 1997
Recollections by Brian
Flavia mainpage by Huib

Hello Brian
I couldn't help but mail you when I recognised your name from the UK Lancia Club newsletters etc that I used to read 10 years ago! I always enjoyed your contributions.
I was searching the 'net for info on Flavia 2000 coupes when I came across your name. I have fallen in love with one that is for sale here in Perth, but that is the only reason to buy it and there seems to be a whole suite of reasons not to buy something getting on for 30 years old and then expect to drive to work in it!
Can I ask - what were/are Flavia coupes like as cars and is there any particular faults of which I should be aware when examining the car, please? Yes, the car still has its Solex carby.
Regards, Chris

How could I not reply after those flattering comments! Flavias are just great. As you saw from my article on the Lancia Website, I have had a few of them. The coupe I had was a 1.8 carb. model- with the two large speedo & rev counter dials. Earlier 1500 cc models had a strip speedo & a small circular rev counter at one end of it. The Flavias then became 2000's around the time of the Fiat take over. The earlier ones were called Flavia 2000 and still had the four speed gearbox. The 2000 had a rather notchy five speed unit. The epitome of the range being the HF variant.

Things to look for:

Settled front suspension. Everything heavy is at the front of the car & they tend to get a nose down appearance. You can check this by seeing how much clearance there is between the rubber bump stop & the bottom wishbone. (at least from memory I think that is where it is) Anyway there should be a good 1 1/2 inches clearance/gap.
Surprisingly enough, apart from the time taken to do it, getting the front spring out is a logical step by step exercise. I had mine out on the coupe & had the lower leaf replaced with one about 2mm thicker. This lifted the front of the car up & then I had to do the rear springs because it then looked tail heavy!

Pot joints: while poking around check the gaiters on the inboard & out board CV joints. They shoud have no tears or splits. Grease everywhere will tell you that they are damaged. MUST be replaced if torn. Again a straight forward job PROVIDED you have the right tool to undo the castellated nut on the end of the drive shaft. I made my own from a piece of water pipe that I had turned down on a lathe to equal the diameter of the bottoms of the castellations & then handfiled out the 'turrets' to fit into the castellations on the nut. A bar handle was welded onto it plus a stud to fit the threaded hole in the shaft.
To check the outboard universals for wear, accelerate on full left or right lock. A clicking sound means some wear. A nasty clunking means very worn. I found with my Flavias that although they clicked a bit, refilling the gaiters with grease stopped it. Moral: Dont accelerate on full lock!

Brakes: lack of use and old brake fluid plays havoc with the pistons & cylinders mounted on the calipers. Water, which is absorbed into the brake fluid because it is very hydroscopic, settles out in the bottom of the cylinders & rusts both the cylinder & the pistons. You dont notice this happening and as the pads wear, the corroded piston slowly moves out over the brake cylinder seal. Because of the corrosion, the brake fluid leaks out. Only solution is to have the cylinders resleeved with stainless steel and to rregularly change the fluid. Have a look at the calipers, they will be wet with brake fluid...carefully peel back the gaiter on the caliper for a better look.
The brake booster can also suck fluid from the hydraulic section into the vacuum section if the 'o' ring seal on the thrust rod between the diaphragm chamber & the split system master cylinder is worn. To check, remove vacuum hose from diaphraghm housing & dip a piece of bent wire into the cavity. See if it is wet with fluid. Solution, remove booster & rebuild. You might need to get a new thrust rod.

Engine: Indestructible, the bottom end lasts for ever. However, if the coolant has not been kept fresh with required anti corrosion additives, there may be corrosion in the head which can cause head gasket leaks or water to leak out through some of the threaded plugs in the head. Check for oily emulsion in cooling water or whiteish, pale engine oil. The engine should run quietly although they tend to rock a little bit because of their horizontally opposed design.
Abnormally low oil pressure indication is caused by worn pressure sensor.Check with a pressure gauge screwed into the sensor's tapping point.
Worn timing chain is a problem. It can jump if the engine runs backward due to hard starting or the car is pushed eg forward with the gearbox in reverse. Remedy. there is a brass plug off to one side of the top of timing chest which holds the spring for the hydraulically assisted tensioning idler. Drill & tap this plug, say 1/4" & insert a threaded rod with a lock nut. Run the rod down until it bottoms on the idler piston & then back it off a turn, tighten locknut. This stops the idler being forced back due to tension being on the 'wrong' side of the timing chain.
Some had Bosch K (?) jetronic fuel injection which might be a problem these days to keep running properly. They used to have trouble with the air flow sensor & the throttle position transmitter.

Gearboxes, likewise. Should not be noisy, synchros are not weak e.g. Alfa second gear. Clutch should be smooth & progressive.

So there you are! They are great cars, capable of many miles of effortless cruising & contrary to first impressions they are EASY to work on provided you have the right tools & take your time. But this applies to any Lancia.

Parts should be fairly easy to get. Graheme Ward in Q'land has some stuff. Omicron in UK have a comprehensive catalogue & I often order stuff for my Flaminia & Aurelia by fax against my VISA card & it arrives within a week or so.

They are great cars, effortless tourers NOT tear away from the lights machines.
Hope the foregoing is of help. Let me know if there is anything else you need to know. I could bore you to sobs with stories about my Flavias! And, yes, they are fine everday cars for going to work in.
I am .cc this note to Huib Geurink in Holland. He is a Flavia enthusiast also & has an excellent Website.
Kind regards & happy motoring. - Brian -

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