Towed home by a Pinto..LOL! As for the original poster, is there any way you can raise the headlight and leave it up? Every car I've seen that has popup headlights has some method to raise the lights in case the motor dies, it's usually a small handle or knob located close to the headlight pod itself. If you can find it, raise both of them and leave them up for good. For your gas smell, are you absolutely sure there are no leaks? It takes a very small amount of gas to be able to smell it. Other things to check are a badly adjusted carburetor or a leaking intake manifold. Also check the fuel tank and associated hardware for leaks.
Timing belt broke? yeah, it happens on ALL cars with a timing belt, if not changed in time. A broken timing belt isn't really enough for claiming the car to be rubbish. The engine in an x1/9 is actually pretty reliable, if serviced on a regular base.
A broken timing belt IS enough to claim that a car is junk, because the use of a timing belt was a stupid idea, especially at a time when other cars were still using a far more reliable timing chain. However, even when the engine was functioning properly, for it, it was still a pathetically slow, gutless, cramped, cheaply appointed car. All of which adds up to "rubbish."
I am looking into buying an X1/9. They are a beautiful looking car in all its glory, but not sure what to look out for other than rust when buying one. I am female knocking on for 40 and am short in the leg; would this car be suitable? Do the seats adjust?
For the headlight, it's most likely a bad earth. Pop up the left headlight, and underneath you will find the ground for the headlights, check it, and give it a little CRC, and take off the screw and put it back on. WOrks 90% of the time.
Sometimes cheap people replace the original headlights with ones off a mini, and that can also be bad. The mini ones aren't as bright, and put a heavier load on the electrics.
You will get that a little more with the X simply because the engine is so close, but it should not be very strong.
Check the fuel lines, as they may be perished even if they look OK. Also check the exhaust, as the petrol smell can also be noticed if the exhaust manifold is cracked or loose very common). The fuel lines and injectors can also get blocked, typified by a "whining" sound.
Sorry, this is a feature of the X1/9. The worst place for rust is in the radiator pipes that run through the chassis from back to front, make sure you always use good antifreeze with rust protector. I had to gut my X and make new piping (out of exhaust piped I had galvanised, actually).
I'm half thinking of buying an X1/9. What kinda car was it, were they any good|? Was the engine any good? Did it give many problems?
The X1/9 is (in my opinion) a drivers car. It's a no frills, 2 seater, mid mounted fun and can be picked up very cheap.
As stated above, they can suffer from rust, and the Italian electrics leave a bit to be desired, but most (if not all) classic cars will require maintenance or restoration.
They're not "gutless" or particularly slow, considering the engine is only a 1.5 at most as standard. In fact they go quite well.
They're not a practical car or a comfortable car, but a lot of fun and I love mine (and I'm not the only one!). What I would say is that if you have no real mechanical knowledge (like some people who post on here!) don't buy one. I'm not pigeon holing you here, but maybe you should go for something like a Mazda MX5?
We have just bought a Fiat X19. When do the timing belts need to be changed? At what mileage?
Anything else we should look out for?
From memory, on those cars you do it earlier - while many Japanese cars are done at 80-100K km, on those I'd play it safe and change it at about 60,000 km.
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