October 2009 - Donor disassembly


October 2nd; Today I decided to investigate the differences between the rear bumper of a "normal" Alfasud and the Giardinetta. I've heard that there are differences but have no further details. I have an Alfasud TI bumper (first series) on my loft and I disassembled the metal frame from the third series plastic bumper which was assembled to my vehicle. As you can see in the picture below the width of the attachment bracket is different and also the length. Very interesting to finally see the differences in real life. I already read that the chrome bumper itself is common with other Suds, but now I've seen it with my own eyes.

1st series Sud bumper with short and bigger pitch brackets and Giardinetta frame with longer and smaller pitch brackets.

1st series Sud bumper with short and bigger pitch brackets and Giardinetta frame with longer and smaller pitch brackets.

Alfasud Berlina / TI Alfasud Giardinetta
B1 = Width dimension between bumper brackets for "normal" Sud bumper = 1065mm G1 = Width dimension between bumper brackets for Giardinetta bumper (body attachment) = 970mm
G1* = Width dimension between bumper brackets for Giardinetta bumper (bumper attachment) = B1 = 1065mm
B2 = Distance from centre of farthest bumper hole to nearest bumper bracket hole centre for "normal" Sud bumper = ??mm G2 = Distance from centre of farthest bumper hole to nearest bumper bracket hole centre for Giardinetta bumper= 300mm
G3 = Pitch between 2 body attachment holes of bumper bracket for Giardinetta = 84mm

October 4th; Again quite an exciting day because today the donor vehicle will arrive. It will come all the way from the Northern province of Friesland. First I had to get my car out of the garage to make way for the donor to be put in. The brakes are stalling slightly but with some effort the car was out and manoeuvred in the correct position in 15 minutes. I finished just in time. At around 9:30 A.M. the car arrived. I only saw the vehicle so far on a few pictures. I hope the missing parts of my own Giardinetta are available on the donor. It's hard to believe that now I'm the owner of 2 Giardinetta's. Still I find it terrible to disassemble such a rare not with the intent to put it back on the road again. The only consolation is that all required documentation is missing to allow it back on the road. The unloading went quite smoothly. Soon it was in the garage ready for disassembly.

Donor vehicle on trailer in front of the garage. Left hand side my vehicle.


Donor vehicle on trailer in front of the garage. Right hand side my vehicle.


Slowly lowering the donor from the trailer with a winch.

2 Giardinetta's within a few meters from each other, what an amazing sight!

My dad is again present to help me with the disassembly of the vehicle. This job has to be finished as fast as possible because my other Giardinetta has to stand outside now. I decided to put a cover around my Giardinetta to avoid dust, dirt & rain to come inside. It's already October so the weather conditions are worsening. I put some wire around the cover and some stones on the cover to avoid it from being blown away. One small disappointment is that the complete seats (front & rear) is not original. I was hoping to use the front seats for my own Giardinetta, but the donor has Corbeau GT seats and the rear bench has been refurbished in the same fashion. The disassembly starts with the boot. The boot is in a good condition. It's of the 904B type with a Alfasud sticker instead of a chrome Alfasud badge. I decided to disassemble the hinges. The next thing is to get the black trim and wood trim out. I'm glad the trim is black like mine. The wood trim is in good condition except for the trim above the spare wheel. That piece has a big hole for the LPG tank. All 4 round locks for this section are in working order so that is a good thing because some of mine are missing. The rear bench and the bench hinges are taken out. The bolts with which the front seats are attached to the body are unfortunately not co-operating so I will leave that for another day. The next step is the rear windows. I take them with the famous "washing pin" method. Due to the fact that these windows are so scarce it's quite exiting to take them out. I don't want to damage them. Within 15 minutes both windows are out without any damage.  Then the rear lights are taken out and the right hand door. The left hand door hinge doesn't give in so I'll leave that for the moment. All in all a pretty successful day with little setbacks.  

My Giardinetta with a protective coat to keep the autumn weather conditions out.


Trunk with fairly good black & wood trim except for the hole in the wood trim for the LPG tank.


904B boot disassembled.


Wood trim removed, LPG tank in spare wheel well clearly visible.


Black trim completely removed and window disassembly in progress with "washing pin" method.

Rear bench, right door & rear lights removed.

October 5th; First task today is to get the driver seat out. The reason why I couldn't get it out yesterday is clear now. The weldnut in the body has come loose so no matter how much I turn the bolt will not come loose. I decided to use a hacksaw and saw the bolt in half. Due to the fact that my hacksaw is quite blunt it takes a lot of effort to get through the bolt. The seat is out now. The passenger seat has the same issue but now the saw is too blunt to use it. The next thing is to take out the front seat belts. I was hoping this vehicle also had rear seat belts to fit in my own vehicle, but unfortunately it doesn't. The slim black plastic trim on the top of the boot rubber is available on the donor, that's a good thing, it was missing on my own. Now the roof headliner. I will take out the headliner because I need one of the metal tensioners to fill in the empty spot when my sunroof will be welded shut. In order to take out the headliner the roof handles have to be deleted. Another good thing, in my car these handles were missing so now I can complete my own vehicle. Also the trim near the C-pillar has to be unscrewed. The last hurdle is to take out the windshield. The windshield is already cracked so it will definitely break during disassembly. Lying on my back on the vehicle floor I pushed out the windshield with my feet. As expected the windshield broke into many pieces. Now the headliner can be taken by releasing the metal tensioner bars.

Front seat belts removed. Unfortunately no rear belts available.


Black slim boot trim on top of rubber, nice addition to complete my own car.



Headliner trim near C-pillar fastened with 5 screws.


Boot hinge attachment through roof with nuts and thread studs.


Nuts #on boot hinge thread studs (2 nuts per side).

Windshield removed and headliner partially deleted.

October 6th; All in all the condition of the body is quite good. Now that all windows are out the window frames are clearly visible. The front frame has some rust but nothing drastic, the rear side window frames are very good. Only the LH side has some small rust the rest is in excellent condition. What a terrible shame that this vehicle will never be on the road again. Since the car failed the roadworthiness check many years ago I expected a much more deteriorated body. Today I will take out the air box in the service area, the LPG specific air filter and the headlights. The headlights are of the 3rd series Alfasud TI type so no use for me. Possibly I can sell them and then buy parts I do need.

LPG air filter housing, interior air box.


LPG air filter housing & interior air box deleted.


Headlights deleted.


October 7th; When looking at the VIN number I found out that this is a 904A vehicle instead of the 904B I expected it to be. The 904B boot and the first registration date of 1979 put me off. The identification tag on the LH inner wing (should be on RH inner wing!!) shows that this was originally a 904A1. That means a first type Giardinetta with the five speed gear box. Another surprise is the fact that the VIN number is only 2 numbers away from mine. What a coincidence. The original colour of this vehicle was the orange coloured Corallo Torre del Greco which is the same as mine. I sent an e-mail to the Alfa Romeo Centro Documentazione to find out as much information as possible on this car.

Donor VIN number, surprisingly a 904A 2 VIN numbers later than my Giardinetta.


Roster besides left hand headlight for airflow to air filter.                                                                    


Air flow roster deleted.


904A1 Identification tag on left hand inner wing.


Door lock trap of right door.


October 8th; Today I will get the dashboard out including the interior heating appliances. It's always convenient to have a spare heater control unit. Due to the fact that I already disassembled the dashboard from my own vehicle I pretty much know how to get it out, but anyway it takes some time. The complete heating unit is also disassembled. Next I took out the antenna including the cable. Also the handbrake lever including cable is taken out. Next is the boot lock mechanism including the cable. The last activity for today is trying to figure out how to disassemble the throttle and choke cable. It's completely unclear to me how to take them out and the documentation I have available also no hints are mentioned. I'll leave it for a later point in time.

Dashboard disassembled.


Antenna on roof.


Heater control unit.


Throttle & choke cable. I can't figure out how to loosen these cables.


Handbrake lever and cable disassembled.

Boot lock. Very useful Giardinetta unique spare part.

 October 9th; I will take out the hood release cable including the emergency cable. Also the ignition coil in the service area of the engine bay. With a new saw I can finally get out the passenger chair by sawing the only remaining bolt in half. The new saw goes through the bolt quickly, what a difference with the blunt old one. Now that the seat is removed the carpet can be taken out. I'm very happy with the black carpet. It's completely in tact and in very good shape so that will look much better than the current strange green coloured carpet I have. After taking out the carpet the floor becomes visible. The whole floor is covered in papers dating from 1986. I have no idea what the function of these newspapers is. The next thing is to get out the steering column. By releasing some bolts I have it loose, but how to get it over the pedals is unclear to me at this point. It looks to me that at least 1 pedal has to be deleted in order to get sufficient room to take out the steering column.

Hood release lever including emergency release (white handle).


Hood release lock in service area of engine bay.


Ignition coil in service area of engine bay.


Steer column covers removed & steering shaft released.


Passenger seat, carpet, steering shaft taken out. Note the newspapers on the floor.

Hood release cable & lock deleted, heater already gone since October 8th.

October 10th; Today the preparation for taking out the engine will do done. Disassemble the wheels, loosen the driveshafts and exhaust, release the front crossmember, disassemble the cooling fluid hoses and electric connections to the engine. The driveshafts are connected to the differential with 8 internal hexagon head bolts per side. I tried with a normal hexagon wrench. This doesn't work so I'll try with an extension to apply a bigger torque. Also this method doesn't work. As shown in the past the Dutch Alfa Romeo Club forum is an excellent source of information so I will check if somebody can give me some tips on how to get these bolts loose. All coolant fluid hoses and electrical connections to the engine are removed (I hope). I was lucky that the cooling system was already completely empty. The next thing is to disassemble the front subframe. Luckily my brother leant me his air gun. Almost no chance to disassemble this part by hand especially since the bolts are so long. Now the subframe is loose I can understand why the yearly roadworthiness check was failed many years ago. The subframe is extremely rusty and in some sections the metal is completely rusted away. I can imagine that it would be rather dangerous to drive with such a suspension. The amount of rusty pieces of metal which fall down is unbelievable. I will clean that up tomorrow. The exhaust came loose surprisingly easy. Normally the nuts from exhaust manifolds are tough to loosen or the thread end in the cylinder head brakes. None of these typical issues occurred and it was loose in a whisker. The front of the vehicle is lifted as high as possible to make way for the engine to move away under the vehicle. In order to guide the engine during the lowering operation a towing cable will be used. The towing cable is wrapped around the engine near the bell housing. That's it for today.

Steering column disassemble, how to get it over the pedals is unclear to me.


My dad pumping up the car to a height which will allow the engine to be roll under the car.


Exhaust & front subframe disassembled. Front subframe extremely rusty.

Towing cable wrapped around the engine and attached to pulley block.

October 12th; First thing to do is clean up the rubbish which came from the front subframe. As you can see in the picture below the amount of rust is significant. Yesterday I posted a question on the Alfa Romeo Club forum on how to loosen the driveshaft bolts and useful tips came as a reply. Apparently these bolts are equipped with Loctite which prevents loosing during vehicle usage. The way to get them loose is hit the bolt head with a hammer. This will break the Loctite connection and allow easy disassembly. The pulley block is unfortunately not attached directly above the engine so the cable makes an angle. Let's hope this will not cause uncontrolled movement. After loosening the central engine mount the engine is hanging only by the cable. So far no uncontrolled movement. My dad is lowering the engine and I look whether the clearances are sufficient and whether any appliances are still connected somehow to the engine. Whilst lowering I see that one cable from the ignition is somehow still connected. Now the engine can be lowered onto the bed with wheels which is positioned on the floor.

Rust from the front subframe. No wonder this car didn't pass the roadworthiness check years ago.


Driveshaft loosened from differential with tips from internet forum.                                             


Pulley block & towing cable under tension.


Engine on the floor, now lift the body to allow movement of the engine.


Engine moved away from the engine bay.


October 13th; Pick up where we stopped yesterday. First I will remove the gearbox from the engine. The lower bolts are somewhat hidden and it took me some time to find them. The gearbox is much heavier then I expected. When moving it to the loft we were very lucky that no accidents happened. That's something I will never do in the same way again. Now the carburettors are taken off. The front suspension is the next thing. I will keep the suspension as it is right now. This means that releasing the 4 nuts attaching the strut to the inner wing is sufficient. Both the left hand & right hand side are therefore out quickly. The last task for today is the rear suspension. That should basically be a relatively simple task. The majority of the bolted connections is loosened easily. When loosening the shock absorber nuts the suspension fell down on the floor with a big bang. Unfortunately the right hand front bolt of the Watt linkage is not co-operating at all. I tried hitting with a hammer, sprayed a ton of WD40 and also tried to saw the bolt in 2. After hours of struggling we call it a day for today.

Front suspension removed.


Rear suspension wheels removed, ready for disassembly.


Engine on bed, gearbox & carburettors removed.


Engine number AS30168 601402 double twin choke carburettor 1300cc engine.


Rear suspension loose except 1 bolt of the Watt linkage.


October 14th; Today I want to get out the rear suspension after several hours of hard labour yesterday. Again I tried hitting with a hammer, unscrewing and sawing. The available room for sawing is very limited so it takes a lot of time. In the end the body bracket to which the Watt linkage arm is attached bent outward just enough to disassemble the arm. A lot of sweat, some blood and a reasonable amount of swearing lead to the final disassembly of the rear suspension. From now I and my dad will take some rest, the past 2 weeks we achieved a lot. Now I will look for someone who is interested in the body. The body is way too good to simply bring to a demolition yard. I want to get my own Giardinetta into the garage as soon as possible.

Rear suspension finally disassembled.


October 21st; The body has found a new owner. I'm very glad that happened. The body is in such good shape that it would be completely blasphemous to not use it to save another Giardinettas' life. I came into contact through the Alfa Romeo Club, the body will be picked up on the 22nd. The final parts to disassemble are the front wings and the gas tank. Luckily my dad was again there to help. The gas tank is attached to the bottom of the car with 2 metal straps which can be released by turning the bolts. All in all it was out swiftly. The next item is LH & RH front wing. I can't use these 3rd series Alfasud wings for my own vehicle, but maybe I can sell them to reduce the costs for my own project. Basically I would really like the tow bar as well because it is an official Alfasud Giardinetta tow bar, but I can't figure out how to loosen it. Since the empty body will be picked up tomorrow there is no time left to figure this out.

3rd series front wing detached from vehicle.

Final status after almost 2 weeks work

October 22nd; Today the empty body will be picked up. A strange feeling. I want to keep the body for myself but I have no room so it has to go. The good thing is that this body will be used to keep another Giardinetta on the road so that's a very good cause. The car is lifted onto the trailer with the pulley block and then pushed out the garage. The past weeks have been educational for me. This will help me during the project of my own vehicle. I wish the new owner of the empty body a lot of success with his project.

October 25th; Today is the day that I can finally put back my Giardinetta into the garage. It has been outside in the mostly terrible October weather for almost 3 weeks. The weight of the vehicle is reduced drastically by the deletion of many components. I can put the car back into the garage on my own.

Cover removed from my Giardinetta, ready to be put back.

Giardinetta back in garage.