Part 1 of the Uno Turbo Conversion


Well, why not?

Late one night I was driving home listening to the radio (rather loudly) when I looked down at the tach and realized that I WASNíT in 5th gear!! I immediately shut off the radio and shifted to neutral and listened rather painfully to a strange crunching rattle coming from the engine. I wasnít sure if it was the top or bottom of the motor, but it got MUCH worse above 2000rpm. I nursed the car home and started taking the engine apart to see where and how much damage I did.


The head wouldnít come off and I didnít want to take it to a garage yet to open the oil pan, but to make matters worse, I deployed to Kosovo for 9 months. While I was there, I made arrangements to have the car taken to a Fiat dealership (thinking they would be the most qualified to do a rebuild) where it sat for about 6 months. After I got back from Kosovo, they told me that they werenít able to work on it or get parts. Strange, seeing as how they had a red í82 X-1/9 parked next to mine that they claimed belonged to the garage itself!

PIC00012    PIC00011

I asked about doing an Uno Turbo engine swap and they told me it was impossible. Too many problems involved. I guess they just didnít want my business. After searching for a new block (which the dealership said I needed) and not finding anything affordable, I decided to hunt for an Uno Turbo motor and to hell with what the dealership thought was and wasnít possible! I finally found one by accident while looking for parts to go on a different car. Seeing an Uno on the other side of the junkyard from the Fords, I took a chance and climbed up on the car it was stacked on and peered into the engine bay. Sure enough, there it lay, in all itís dirty, road grime covered glory, an Uno Turbo 1.3 liter, almost complete.


Complete enough for me at any rate! 2 days and 200 Euro later it was in the hatchback of my Escort on its way back to the workshop for examination and initial disassembly. In an interesting karmic twist, I was working under a new deadline: the Army decided not to let me become a civilian and I was to deploy to Iraq! Most of the rebuild, cleaning, fabrication and modification plans had to be scrapped as I would be cutting it close just to do the work needed to get the engine in the car. And I barely did that. The engine was in, exhaust modified and cables reconnected the day before flying to Kuwait. So now the car sits, waiting for me to come back and finish the job properly. At least the impossible part was doneÖ

See what I did and the story of how in Part 2.

Things still to be done (in no particular order)

Complete engine rebuild

Engine beautification

Transmission rebuild with Uno internals

Engine bay clean, de-rust and repaint

Custom dual exhaust - DONE!!

Oil cooler upgrade/modification

Intercooler upgrade/modification

MegaSquirt and MegaJolt Lite Jr or UltraMegaSquirt when itís available

Adjustable blow-off valve

Adjustable wastegate control

Replace engine bay crossmember

Boost and oil pressure gauges on A-pillar

Fender flares or body kit

15Ē wheels mounted

Stainless steel brake hoses

Height adjustable Coilover springs on modified KYB AGX struts

LED interior lighting

Color-matched painted roof

Some (ok probably most) of that wonít ever get done and the list will be added to later. Some of the parts have already been acquired and will be taken care of either during my vacation in August or after I return to Germany from Iraq for good. The engine and tranny may go to a shop, to be rebuilt while Iím gone.

Oh, and not ALL Fiat dealerships are bad or evil orÖ just the one I had to deal with at that time. Iíve been to MANY others that were more than helpful in my strange quest for parts and advice! But Iíve never been back to that oneÖ