magnetic pick-up cable

Tech chat w/ Marc Matzer
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magnetic pick-up cable

Post by Marc » Tue Apr 17, 2007 6:25 pm

Allen you are so right!I cant tell you how many failures I have seen with these pick-ups.Heat seems to destroy them in no-time,especially the two wires in the cap area.Thats one reason I have a sticky concerning heat shields,no heat shield ,expect premature failures.Headered cars and cars with the heat shields removed take note.
Gently lift the two wires up under the cap and look at them carefully,they might look good at a glance,underside of the wire could be exposed and shorting out against the base,also touch them and see if they feel hard and brittle,if they are ,replace them.No spider should travel without a spare pick-up or a clutch cable...

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Post by bran100 » Tue Apr 17, 2007 11:06 pm

Here's a picture of a very ugly magnetic pickup I removed from my 82 with 144k miles. I don't believe it had ever been changed.

photo of pickup
1982 Fiat Spider
Draper, Utah

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Post by Denise » Wed Apr 18, 2007 4:30 am

Good grief! How did it even work for so long to get in that shape? :shock:
Mine was giving me problems a few months back and the wires looked good except for a slight indention in one where it looked like it got pinched under the cap. The wiring was broken inside the insulation.

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Post by mbouse » Wed Apr 18, 2007 9:22 am


That looks like mine last year. Couldn't see that the insulation had all deteriorated until i attempted to remove the unit.....then all the insulation fell off all over the place.

I was left with a nest of bare wires.

Now, i carry a spare in the tool box.
Mike Bouse
FLU Board of Directors
1978 Fiat Spider mostly stock
1980 Fiat Spider modified
Home of the Michigan SHORTER SHIFTER

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Post by allenlofland » Wed Apr 18, 2007 9:44 am

On the 2 liter Beta's the pick up is similar, actually the same in fact with a small diff that can be simulated when needed to use a Spider Pick up But the OEM is best. These pick ups can last forever :badgrin:
UNTILL I buy the car.My zagato had the original when I purchased it, the seller drove the car 200 miles the week before I got it, When I started up the car for the first time I noticed it, I pulled the pick up and the exterior wire covers where ok, old but ok except for one thing, they completely crystalized and tuned to powder in my hands. :) That seller was so lucky.
Since I have learned to stock one in the trunk and can swap one in no time . Sort of like learning to Bleed the cooling system, Its just FIAT STUFF 8)
Allen & Lynette Lofland
Wichita Kansas
Back on Land with Our Fiat :)

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Post by rpconlon » Wed Apr 18, 2007 3:24 pm

As well as heat, the wires are in constant motion from vacuum advance and they rub the base.

Ron Conlon
2016 Fiat 500 Sport
Ottawa, Ontario

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Dist heat shield

Post by Marc » Wed Apr 18, 2007 3:46 pm

This might work good ,and might be an easy way to fix the problem as far as heat goes... take some header wrap and cut out a circle the size of the dist base,then cut a slit up to the middle and cut out a smaller circle,so it looks like a donut,then high temp silicone it to the underside of the base of the careful not to silicone shut the breather holes.Its working on my car,look at the pic of the Marelli plex 201 in my car and you'll see what I am describing,so far ,the wires inside the cap seem to be supple and feel new .
That didn't stop me from ordering two more from Vick's yesterday.It's a Fiat thing...

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Post by jseabolt » Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:05 am

rpconlon wrote:As well as heat, the wires are in constant motion from vacuum advance and they rub the base.

Finally someone agrees with me!

I used to get about three years out of a pickup. I finally said enough is enough. I replaced the pickup, advanced the static timing about 7 degrees and disconnected the vacuum advance hose. That was about 12 years ago and I still have the same pickup.

I don't know why I settled on 17 degrees BTDC. The engine just seems to idle and cruise smoother there.
1980 Fiat "turbo" Spider
1987 Yugo GV "turbo"
1980 Brava 4 door

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