March 2011 Continued welding

 
     

March 2nd: At E-Bay Germany I won a first type parking brake lever including cover. With the postage costs included this was again an item I didn't anticipate and consider in the restoration budget, but I guess that's my own fault. This lever is coming from an 1976 Alfasud Berlina and has the plastic cover as it should have. Unfortunately I was not only one quite interested in this part. In the end 10 bids were sufficient to win the item. Currently my car has a rubber cover from a later type Alfasud. A surprise to me is that the seller is the same seller I bought the first series dashboard from last year July. I assume he still has some parts laying around from the Sud he disassembled. From the same gentleman I also bought a boot release level including cable. This part was cheap and it's always convenient to have a spare part.

E-Bay Germany auction for first series Alfasud parking brake lever including cover ended on March 2nd after 10 bids.

 

E-Bay Germany auction for first series Alfasud boot release lever including cable ended on March 2nd after only 2 bids for a very low price.

March 6th: The seller of the 2 E-Bay items informs me that he still has some other left over items lying around and some e-mail discussion starts on the content and the price. In the end 3 boxes of miscellaneous parts are the outcome of the discussion/negotiation. Now the only roadblock could be the shipment costs. Due to the size of some parts it will be expensive to send them from Germany to the Netherlands. Let's see if a solution can be found.

March 9th: Today the papers from the Dutch registration office (RDW) were received that the registration of my Giardinetta is valid until March 2012. As explained earlier in the Netherlands the licence plate numbers tell the age of a vehicle. A car receives licence plates upon its first registration and these licence plates remain with the vehicle even if the owner changes. My car was built in 1977 but first registered in the Netherlands in April 1978 therefore the licence plate number is from 1978. In my opinion it looks very nice to have an old vehicle with an old registration. I'm happy the old licence plate number is valid for another year. Due to the fact I'm not living in the Netherlands at the moment I was not sure how to get this arranged. After some searching on the Internet I found out it is possible to arrange this thorugh internet. This was the first time for me to do this operation by Internet. It's good to see it functions well. This is much better then bothering my parents to do this item for me.

Confirmation paper from Dutch vehicle registration office "RDW" regarding validity of original licence plate number.

March 10th: After a short break the welding activities will commence today. The spare wheel well is the item to work on today. There are several small holes which need closing and there is also some 2 rather strange repair welded sections. Luckily the welder is able to fix this and make it appear neat again. As a first item the boot is taken out the get good access without the danger of the boot falling on the back of the welder. The holes are welded shut relatively quickly. The strangely welded repair sections are taken out and a repair piece is made by hand. This will be welded a next time.

Vehicle status after short break.

 

Boot removed to allow easy access to the spare wheel well.

 

Holes in spare wheel well for attachment of aftermarket tow bar from previous owner.

 

Holes and 1 of the strangely welded repair sections seen from the vehicle inside.

 

Holes and 1 of the strangely welded repair sections seen from underneath the vehicle.

 

Strangely welded repair sections cut out from spare wheel well (note the Alfa badge in the background).

 

Some holes welded shut, smoke from welding still present.

 

Excessive weld material grinded away to create smooth surface for welded holes.

 

Hand made repair peice for big hole in spare wheel well.

 

March 21st: The second day for the spare wheel well. Today some hand made repair sections will be welded in position. I am happy that the welded is a very meticulous gentleman and a true Alfa lover who wants to bring cars back in their original condition. For example the hand made repair section is even equipped with the same profile as originally. Such kind of detailed work can only be done by a craftsman with passion to restore something properly. Not only the original profile is restored even the triangular shaped drainage holes are hand made. A great compliment for the craftsmanship and the eye to detail.

Repair sections welded in position seen from underneath the vehicle.

 

Anti-corrosive coating applied after grinding the weld seams to remove excess material.

 

Repair section with original profile made and anti-corrosive coating applied.

 

The removed material sometimes showed 3 layers of sheet metal on top of each other.

 

Another repair piece finished and triangular drainage holes added.

Repaired spare wheel well seen from vehicle inside, great craftsmanship!!!

March 25th 2011: The loading floor has 2 holes on the vehicle inside which were previously used for the bolt attachment of the aftermarket tow bar. Of course these 2 holes have to be closed to obtain the original specification for the loading floor. In the vehicle floor (under vehicle) 4 of these holes have to be closed. This is an easy task for the welder. It took me quite some time to find out the original specification for the loading floor holes. I could guess that the holes on the vehicle lower side had been added as non original features. For the holes inside the vehicle this was a bit more hard to distinguish. Especially the big hole seems to be punched by a die instead of a later drilled hole. Luckily after some searching I found a kind gentleman of the Dutch Alfa Romeo club who was willing to provide me with pictures of the Giardinetta he is restoring. That vehicle never had a tow bar and therefore an original loading floor geometry. It appears the big hole is an original hole and all other holes have been added later. Thanks a lot to the kind gentleman who provided me with the information/photos. After bringing this section of the loading floor back to its original form and grinding away any excess material the sections are treated with an anti corrosive coating.

Another task for today is to attach the hand made jacking points to the rear end of the sills. These jacking points are not available anymore for a very long time. During the previous restoration of my vehicle during the nineties the lack of these jacking points was solved by attaching sawed pieces of tube. Now that so much effort is put into bringing the car back to its original condition these rear jacking points of course also have to be done.

Holes on right hand side of loading floor, only big front hole is original.

 

Holes on left hand side of loading floor, only big front hole is original.

 

Holes on right hand side of loading floor closed except for big original hole.

 

Holes on left hand side of loading floor closed except for big original hole.

 

Holes on right hand side of loading floor closed and treated with anti corrosive coating.

 

Holes on left hand side of loading floor closed and treated with anti corrosive coating.

 

Hand made jacking points to be used to replace non original geometry for rear jacking points.

 

right hand side rear jacking point made out of tube, to be replaced by original shape.

 

Original shape welded to right hand rear side, same to be done for left hand side.

Welded jacking points treated with anti corrosive coating.

With the German E-Bay seller from whom I bought the parking brake lever in the beginning of the month I made the arrangement to pick-up the parts in the town of Herungen Germany just across the border at Venlo the Netherlands. The seller will be at the local flower auction. Unfortunately I had a misunderstanding and the seller was actually there but he didn't bring the parts because in his opinion the appointment was made for 1 week later on April 1st. Whoops my parents drove all the way to Herungen for nothing.

March 26th 2011: Today the headlight bracket and the left hand sill / door opening are planned to be attacked. The first task is to fix the right hand side headlight bracket. What has happened is unknown, but the bracket itself is bent and the threaded stud to attach the headlight to is broken off. Such a job is of course a very simple one for the gifted welder and therefore finished relatively quickly. As all of the welders work is of high quality also for the bracket a final quality check is done by assembling an appropriate nut to see if the part functions properly. Another task to strike out from the "things to do" list.

Right hand headlight bracket bent & threaded stud broken off.

 

Restored bracket with anti corrosive coating applied, nice job.

 

Functionality check of threaded stud with appropriate nut.

 

The left hand sill / door opening needs some work to become decent again. Near the A-pillar there is a piece of metal severely affected by rust damage and the transition of the door opening near the B-pillar requires work to look like the original geometry again. A start is made by removing the surface rust on the lower side near the sill and removing additional paint/filler at the B-pillar transition. By removing the surface rust the appearance is much better. A dent at the B-pillar transition is found.

Left hand door opening transition at B-pillar in poor condition.

 

Left hand door opening rust affected area near A-pillar.

 

Left hand door opening surface rust removed, base material is good.

Left hand door opening transition at B-pillar in refurbished.

March 27th 2011: The work done on the left hand door opening yesterday will be finished today. The bare metal will be treated with anti corrosion coating to avoid new surface rust from appearing. Except for the severely rust affected area on the lower side the door opening is mostly finished. The ledge where normally the door rubber is attached to looks quite poor and requires work as well. Also the inclined portion of the A-pillar is affected by surface rust and needs cleaning.

Left hand door opening transition at B-pillar with anti corrosive coating.

 

Lower portion of door opening recovered except for severely rust affected area.

 

Left hand door opening ledge for door rubber affected by surface rust.

 

Left hand door opening looking much better then a few days ago.

 

Left hand door opening inclining section at A-pillar affected by surface rust.

 

March 28th 2011: Recently the pace of the activities is going up and today another piece of the project will be done. The lower section of the left hand door opening which has a portion which is severely affected by rust will be replaced with healthy material. First the sick material is cut away and a repair piece is made by hand. With pliers the repair piece is held in position during welding. After welding the usual grinding of excess weld material is done. When finished the section looks perfect! The second task is to remove a shallow dent at the B-pillar transition. A tool is welded to the dent and then the dent is pulled out with manual force.

Left hand door opening rust affected section during cutting operation.

 

Sick material bent away.

 

Hand made repair piece held in position to check size.

 

Repair piece held in position with pliers during welding operation.

 

Repaired section after excess welded material is grinded away.

Shallow dent at B-pillar pulled out by using special tool.

The next item to tackle is the rest of the door opening. The inclined section near the A-pillar is cleaned of all surface rust, then the section where the hinges are attached is cleaned thoroughly and finally the ledge where normally the door rubber is attached. The removal is quite labour intensive work. Luckily the rust is all surface rust and no additional areas have to be replaced. After all this work of course the usual anti corrosive coating is applied. What a difference to a few days ago. All material is healthy again and the anti corrosive coating looks a bit like the final colour the car will get once it's finished so it gives a small impression of the end result. However the end result is still far .... far away.

Door opening neat A-pillar completely clean from rust.

Left hand door opening looking fantastic after hard work of welder.

After finishing the left hand door opening the right hand door opening needs very similar work. The lower section near the sill is more severely affected by rust then the left hand side. Just as on the left hand side also the right hand side needs refurbishment for the ledge of the door rubber. Also this section is worse then on the left hand side. There are several holes in the ledge which need mending.

Craters caused by rust in right hand door opening on lower side.

 

Additional rust damage in right hand door opening on lower side.

 

Quite some surface rust on the inclined section near the A-pillar.

 

Ledge for door rubber affected by rust.

 

Lower section near B-pillar transition replace by healthy metal material.

 

Section after grinding of excess weld material, looks great.

 

Repaired section treated with anti corrosion material.

 

March 29th 2011: The second day for the right hand side door opening the rest of the lower section will be dealt with. 2 additional sections have to be replaced because the base material is too far away to be restored. The same approach as on the other days is taken to remove the unhealthy metal material and replaced it with new material and grind away excess weld material and finally treat the repaired material with anti corrosive coating.

2 additional sections which need replacement.

 

One of the rust affected sections cut away and the other section cutting operation started.

 

Lower section of door opening rust affected material cut away.

 

Repair section welded in place.

 

Repaired section treated with anti corrosion material.

 

Ledge for rubber restored (holes repaired) and surface rust removed.

 

Lower A-pillar treated with anti corrosion material.

 

Upper A-pillar cleaned from surface rust.

 

Upper A-pillar which needs some seriours repair at a later stage.

Upper A-pillar treated with anti corrosion material.

 March 30th 2011: So much work has been done this month, even today progress will be made. The rear valance needs an exhaust clearance hole and some rust is available which needs to be restored. With a steel brush attached to a drill a start is made in removing the paint. Unfortunately a very thick layer of filler pops up. This is unexpected and a disappointment. The valance appears to be in much worse condition then expected. With a pick and a chisel you can even make holes in the valance.

Rear valance with clearly visible rust damage at the lower ledge.

 

Pick can be easily pushed through valance, very thick layer of filler becomes visible.

 

Thick layer of filler on the whole width of the valance.

 

Thick layer of filler on rear corners as well.

 

Chisel can be pushed easily through rear corner section.

Hole left on rear corner section by penetration of chisel.

March 31st 2011: The welder is of course frustrated by the discovery yesterday of the rear valance so his work is finished for this month. The welder again delivered high quality work so I am very happy with the results. Now the homework for me is to find a better or new rear valance. Unfortunately the rear valance of a Giardinetta is a unique parts and quite different from the Alfasud Berlina/TI one, but the chance is very small of ever finding such a Giardinetta specific replacement part is close to zero. I will look for a Berlina/TI one and hope the part can be transformed into one that fits my Giardinetta. On E-Bay Italy and Germany you can find these Berlina/TI valances relatively easy as brand new parts. The price differences between the different suppliers are quite high and also the shipment costs to the Netherlands have to be added so in the end these costs are unexpected and frustrating.