404 engine tuning
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Thread: 404 engine tuning

  1. #1
    Tadpole GerhardF's Avatar
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    Default 404 engine tuning

    Hi all,

    First of all I'd like to thank admin for allowing me onto this forum.

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    I would like to ask for some assistance in getting more out of a '76 404 1.8l GL Auto. Quite a mouthful there .

    I recently bought the vehicle from an old fellow and are now the proud owner, after wanting one for a couple of decades.

    Although there were literally thousands of 404's around in South Africa during the 70's and 80's, most of them seemed to have, along with the guys with technical know how, vanished.

    To cut a long story short, I'd like to build the vehicle into some sort of a "retro street racer", as guys in the 70's and 80's would have done it.

    Some ideas are to lower it, to add some period signage to the body, exhaust, suspension, widened/banded original steel rims and obviously engine power; while still keeping the classic look we all love. Some kind of "sleeper" car would probably the correct term.

    Thanks in advance, any help and guidance would be much appreciated.



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    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 404 engine tuning-1480144231768.jpg   404 engine tuning-1480144531977.jpg  

  2. #2
    1000+ Posts robmac's Avatar
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    The car looks to be in good condition.

    My advice is to keep it as the manufacturer built it and enjoy it as is, with all limitations if any.

    The 1800 engine is an admirable match for the car and gearing. Brush up your driving skills, most of Rally successes of 404s were standard cars.

    Good condition, rust free 404s are becoming rarer as each year passes.
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  3. #3
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    Is that a Pietermaritzburg number plate??

  4. #4
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    I'm with robmac; leave it as is. That's a real nice example.

  5. #5
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    It looks so good just as it is and how I remember them in Regan's window so many years ago.
    I'd be treating it to new dampers and tyres if it's just a bit tired but then again it's not mine.


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  6. #6
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    I am with them!

    Nice car.

    More photographs please.
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    Yes, leave it alone, that Argentinian one looks horrible.
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  8. #8
    1000+ Posts fnqvmuch's Avatar
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    welcome congratulations, etc.,etc. from my experience the built in dynamics and efficiency of 404s makes them quite capable of surprising people - that said, my experience was not the automatique, and i wonder if that is the issue; maybe swap it? (the car i mean, for something less rare ...)

  9. #9
    1000+ Posts Peter Chisholm's Avatar
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    And I vote the same as the rest - do some maintenance if necessary, but leave it as is! The picture of that yellow and black thing looks just awful.

  10. #10
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    Ditto, to all the above. Being as rare as they are now, keep it as a classic.
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  11. #11
    1000+ Posts Mike Tippett's Avatar
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    Gerhard, welcome.

    Firstly I would be remiss if I didn't ask you what the serial number of this beauty is, so I can add it to the register.

    Next, I am in agreement with the "keep it looking stock" crowd. That said, it is possible to make small upgrades that do not alter the look of the car but nevertheless will make it a little quicker.

    Best of luck with the car.
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  12. #12
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    Keep it stock PLEASE.

    They are such a lovely car unmolested. Tune the engine if you like, but leave the rest be.

    Dave
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  13. #13
    1000+ Posts robmac's Avatar
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    And make only modifications which are reversible.

    Ie If you are fitting an additional accessory, try to do so by use of existing mounting holes , rather than drilling new ones.
    bahay, COL and Dano like this.

  14. #14
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    I yearn for one just like that you've got


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenoniJap View Post
    Is that a Pietermaritzburg number plate??
    Its Mpumulanga plates, the uncle stayed in Middelburg, near Witbank

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  16. #16
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    Thanks all for the numerous replies, I love the classic look as much and actually attached the wrong image still getting used to the blog interface.

    Ive done extensive mechanical refurbishment, using only original parts, like the universal joint at the front end of the drive shaft, normal service items, dampers, re-wire (it was redone by a rather incompetent electrician imo), interior is mostly done, exhaust system, tyres, brakes, carpet in the boot area, new headlights, new fuel pump and hoses, new ignition leads, all body rubbers etc... it's a list of endless joy.

    It's now at the stage where I use it at least 3 out of the 5 days to work and back. It's only 25 odd kilometers one way, but an absolute pleasure.

    I will take all the comments into account, thanks a mil for that and I'll attach more pictures as soon as I'm at work again.

    The pictures attached to this post, is more what I have in mind .

    Thanks again.

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    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 404 engine tuning-1480259325795.jpg   404 engine tuning-1480259349720.jpg   404 engine tuning-1480259364320.jpg  

  17. #17
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    Some more images...

    Some were taken during the suspension and drive shaft refurbishment. It's quite beneficial to have a bunch of eager apprentices at hand to help
















    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 404 engine tuning-1480267567108.jpg  
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  18. #18
    IWS
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    On my 404 sedan I had slightly wider rims - 6" - and I thought that complimented the look of the car nicely, without taking away from the classic styling. Very slight modification of the inside lip on the rearwheel arches was required to accommodate the 185/15 tyres.

    (And I like the photos - including your dog friend in the front seat, and the very nice Capri next to the 404. What is story behind that car?)

    Ian.
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  19. #19
    Tadpole GerhardF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IWS View Post
    On my 404 sedan I had slightly wider rims - 6" - and I thought that complimented the look of the car nicely, without taking away from the classic styling. Very slight modification of the inside lip on the rearwheel arches was required to accommodate the 185/15 tyres.

    (And I like the photos - including your dog friend in the front seat, and the very nice Capri next to the 404. What is story behind that car?)

    Ian.
    Hi Ian,

    The Capri belongs to a colleague of mine, his dad gave it to him some 20 years back. Very nice vehicle, V4 engine and the vehicle is completely untouched as far as any modifications or restoration is concerned. Its in extremely good condition.

    Thanks for the tip on the wheels, I thought to go around 1" wider inside and out to avoid offset changing.

    Cheers

  20. #20
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    Check the wheel clearance from the strut body and tie rod ends, it may not be possible to go 1 inch inwards. The 404 would look a lot better with the headlight rims used elsewhere in the world, the South African ones are a bit ugly, like the Argentinian bumper pipework.
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  21. #21
    1000+ Posts Mike Tippett's Avatar
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    The front fenders of the ZA versions weren't as peaked though or so I was told...so the "rest of the world" 404 headlight rings could look very strange. That said, the photos seem to show European style front fenders/guards. Hmmm....

    I once ran 180 HR 15s on a 404C with stock 4.5" rims and they did kiss the lower spring cup occasionally. That was only 1.5 centimetres, split evenly between inside and outside.
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  22. #22
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    OK, forget that idea then!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Tippett View Post
    Gerhard, welcome.

    Firstly I would be remiss if I didn't ask you what the serial number of this beauty is, so I can add it to the register.

    Next, I am in agreement with the "keep it looking stock" crowd. That said, it is possible to make small upgrades that do not alter the look of the car but nevertheless will make it a little quicker.

    Best of luck with the car.
    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the welcome...

    I'll send a photo of the plates as soon as possible, please do elaborate on upgrades as implied in your message?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by GerhardF View Post
    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the welcome...

    I'll send a photo of the plates as soon as possible, please do elaborate on upgrades as implied in your message?
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  25. #25
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    True. Our fenders were not so peaky therefore the original Deucellier rings and headlights would look very clumsy on a post-'73 SA 404. Actually Mike, these are not Euro style fenders, it's the later SA style....more especially since this is a GL model, GL's were introduced in 1974. The last time we had the Euro fenders on our 404s was some time in 1973.
    ianrobbo likes this.

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