April 2011 Continued welding

 
     

April 1st: The first type parking brake lever I won at E-Bay Germany on March 2nd will be picked up today. In addition to the handbrake lever I also purchased other parts from this gentleman which he still had lying around such as; first type seatbelt locks, heater, headlights, chrome door trim for windows, steering rack and several other parts. My parents are so kind to pick the parts up just over the border at Venlo at a flower auction site. Although some parts are Berlina specific and therefore not suitable for my Giardinetta I may be able to trade them with someone for parts I do need. Thanks a lot mom and dad for taking the time to pick these parts up.

Truck in which the 3 boxes of Sud parts came.

 

Parents trunk and rear bench partially filled with Sud spare parts.

 

Rear shock absorbers & steering rack.

 

Pedals & several miscellaneous parts.

 

TI steering wheel, pedal box & several miscellaneous parts.

 

Fuel tank cap, C-pillar ventilation rosters, brake booster & windshield rubber.

 

Parking brake lever & miscellaneous parts.

 

Berlina/TI rear light units.

 

Carello healights with orange indicator lights.

 

3 boxes of Sud parts spread out.

 

Radiator & heater unit.

 

April 4th: As shown at the end of the previous project stage of March ’11 the rear valance is beyond repair so either a Giardinetta genuine spare part has to be found or a Berlina/TI replacement part has to be purchased and then altered. The Giardinetta rear valance is due to the different rear end shape of the body in itself also quite different. The fact that the chance of finding a Giardinetta specific rear valance is close to zero forces me to order an Alfasud Berlina/TI replacement part. These parts are readily available and if you for example look on the E-Bay auction site you will find several sellers offering them. 2 versions for Alfasud vehicles are available, before 1979 and after 1979. The difference between these 2 parts is the presence of an exhaust clearance hole for the pre-1979 parts. By far the cheapest supplier is the well known and well rated supplier Alfa-Service Hurtienne in Germany. I placed the order on the 4th, paid on the 5th and the part was delivered on the 6th. That is fast service. The part is directly delivered from Germany to the address of the welder.

Screenshot from Alfa-service Hurtienne Internet shop with Alfasud rear valance.

April 6th: The new Berlina/TI rear valance bought in Germany is delivered to the welder today. Unfortunately the package is delivered during the welder's well deserved sleep after a night shift. The differences between a Berlina/TI rear valance are pretty obvious now that the new part is positioned below the Giardinetta valance. Not only the height is clearly different, the bumper attachment hole positions, the width and the profile are different. All in all a labour intensive job to do.

1. Giardinetta valance has the bumper bracket holes more inboard and in a lower position.

2. Giardinetta valance height is significantly lower. The Giardinetta one is lower to allow easy access to the boot.

3. Giardinetta valance is less wide.

4. Giardinetta valance has a smooth surface whilst the Berlina/TI one has a horizontal profile pressed into it. I assume the horizontal profile of the Berlina/TI part is merely there to stiffen out the part. The part is significantly wider and taller therefore the stiffness becomes quite low. That is my personal theory, I have no evidence it.

5. Giardinetta valance has a hole for the wiring of the back-up light.

6. Giardinetta valance has a flange in vehicle rearward direction at the left and right hand edges for connection to the body.

New Berlina/TI valance in front of Giardinetta valance.

Many differences in geometry between Giardinetta valance and Berlina/TI one.

April 11th: Today the work on modifying the rear valance will start. As a first operation guidelines are drawn on the new valance to determine the position of the bumper bracket holes and the back-up light hole. The next step is to cut out the current valance. Upon removal the poor state becomes even more evident then it already was. Besides the rust damage in the lower section the amount of filler applied is enormous. Additionally the material behind the valance is also quite badly affected by rust and some interesting spider webs appear. At least the car is environmental friendly. These webs must have been formed during the 10 years the vehicle has been standing still. On the right hand side 2 parkers are protruding the metal material which definitely don’t belong there. These parkers appear to be for the attachment of the final exhaust bracket to the body. This bracket apparently has been repaired several times. Another task to add to the ever growing list of things to bring back into its original condition. The exhaust bracket itself looks quite mutilated and must have experienced some serious heavy duty usage in its lifetime.

Guidelines for new bumper bracket holes (more inboard).

 

Rust affected material behind valance with interesting spider webs.

 

Parkers on rh-side for final exhaust bracket not original.

 

Removed valance with extensive rust damage & thick filler layer.

 

The inside lower section of the removed valance is in pretty poor condition.

Inside of removed valance to see geometry for bumper bracket holes.

Now that the valance is removed the proper width can be determined by positioning the removed part on top of the new part. Quite some material needs to be cut away to resemble the width of the Giardinetta valance. Several iterations/adjustments are made to ensure the proper width. Trial fits by using pliers are helpful to determine the correct size.

Removed valance on top of new part, what a difference in width.

 

Width of new valance adjusted to required Giardinetta width.

 

Width adjusted valance trial fit held in position with pliers.

 

Horizontal profile carefully removed by welder, true craftmanship!

 

Another trial to determine the correct valance height.

 

April 12th: The rear valance adjustment continues. Firstly the flanges on the left hand and right hand side will be added. The newly made flanges look exactly like the original ones. The next item is to add the bumper bracket holes. For starters the 2 holes are made and then even the flanges of the holes will be bent inwards like the original. Such small details indicate the level of commitment of the welder to return the vehicle back in its original shape. With the flanges and bumper bracket holes added the valance is really starting to get very close to the original Giardinetta shape.

Flanges added on side, bumper bracket hole outline scratched into metal base material.

 

Bumper bracket hole during creation process.

 

Bumper bracket holes cut out from base material.

Bumper bracket flanges bent inwards like original valance.

April 13th: During the rear valance creation process a strange section in the horizontal area of the boot opening frame. The previous owner fairly informed me that on the rear end there had been a small accident in the past. The original material must have bent downwards and in order to compensate the height difference this section has been stuffed with filler. Of course this needs to be addressed and the original shape will be restored with replacement material. The metal ruler clearly shows that after welding the repair piece is straight without any application of filler. Although the previous owner clearly informed me that he had a small accident at the rear end I didn’t expect to encounter any issues on the horizontal section of the boot frame, but now the geometry is back in the original shape. The restored section is of course immediately treated with anti-corrosive coating. The rust affected material behind the valance is brushed clean and the rotten section is cut out.

Very thick filler layer on horizontal section of boot opening frame.

 

The ruler clearly shows the gap which has been stuffed with filler.

 

Strange section cut out and repair material in place to determine dimensions.

 

Repair piece welded in place. Ruler is evidence for proper straight geometry.

 

Difference between material cut out (thick filler layer) and new section (no filler).

Repaired horizontal section treated with anti-corrosive coating. Rust removed and rotten material cut out.

April 15th: A feature to suit the exhaust clearance hole needs to be added in the section behind the rear valance. In order to avoid re-occurrence of rust damage as much as possible drainage features need to be taken into consideration. Of course the easy way out to weld the 2 materials flat to each other could be taken, but the welder is meticulous and strives for the proper original and functional geometry, luckily for me.

Material behind valance (front) and newly created valance (rear) show a proper drainage function.

Exhaust clearance hole fully functional, rotten material cut-out on right side.

April 17th: As seen on the 11th the exhaust bracket is quite mutilated. The attachment is provided by welds on the lower side and 2 parkers on the upper side. The exhaust bracket itself is pretty bent and will require some fixing. The outside of material behind the rear valance is affected by surface rust. With a steel brush attached to a drill the rust is removed as far as possible. Of course another strange repair section is found. As always the material is cut away and replaced by new material. To attack the rust a blue coloured rust converter is applied in 2 coats. Today the first layer will be applied. Unfortunately another unexpected problem area is found. In the left hand lower corner of the boot opening area rust is found which is not on surface level and needs replacement material. The boot stopper on the left hand side has the lower of the bolts head broken off. The donor vehicle which I disassembled in the end of 2009 had the same issue but then on the right hand side so I assume this to be a standard issue for Giardinetta’s? The stopper is firstly removed by disassembling the upper bolt, the broken lower bolt now remains. It is removed and the thread is checked by assembling a new bolt. Luckily the thread is not damaged. As the final operations for today the holes required for welding the valance will be drilled and a second coat of rust converter is applied. The frustration of the welder about the rear end of the vehicle become pretty obvious and he leaves a Dutch note on the section behind the rear valance which clearly describes his state of mind. Although it's written in Dutch I assume a translation is not required.

The final exhaust bracket looks mutilated.

 

Holes made by parkers for previous repair attachment of exhaust bracket.

 

Mutilated final exhaust bracket removed.

 

Rust on material behind rear valance removed with steel brush as far as possible.

 

Irreparable section cut-out.

 

Initail tack welds placed to fix repair section.

 

Drainage feature on section behind rear valance reinstated to become functional again.

 

Repaired section finished.

 

First layer of rust converter applied.

 

Another unexpected rust affected area in left hand lower corner of boot opening.

 

First layer of rust converter applied.

 

First layer of rust converter applied.

 

Bolts assembled to test functionality of thread, luckily no damage.

 

Holes for welding purpose drilled in rear valance.

 

Second coat rust converter applied and welder frustration expressed in Dutch.

 

April 18th: Because the second layer of rust converter needs to dry the rear valance can't be welded today so the left hand and right body end lower corners will be dealt with. Both sides have rust damage issues which need mending. The right hand side is the most severely damaged. The lower section of this corner is completely cut-out and will be replaced with a hand made repair piece. Due to the curves in this section making a repair piece is challenging. As always the welder shows his true craftsmanship and makes a nicely fitting repair section. To be honest I have no idea how he does it, but every time a nicely fitting handmade repair piece is popping up. Firstly the top section is welded in position and then the lower section. As always the excess weld material is grinded away and a nice smooth surface is remaining. The right hand lower corner is ready for the next 30 years.The left hand lower corner is less severely affected by rust than the right hand side one. Here only a small repair piece will suffice. Also this repair piece is made by hand. The same operation as for the right hand side is applied to the left hand side. After welding and grinding the excess weld material a smooth surface is the good looking end result. As a final operation the orange coloured anti-corrosive coating is applied. The last work for today is applying the anti-corrosive coating to the material behind the rear valance.

Poor condition of right hand lower body end, several rust holes.

 

Rust affected section of rh body end during cutting operation.

 

Rust affected material cut away.

 

First section repair piece partially welded.

 

Excessive weld material removed, material healthy and proper geometry.

 

Right hand lower body corner end restored and anti-corrosive coating applied.

 

Small rust affected section of left hand lower corner body end.

 

Hand made repair piece for left hand lower corner.

 

Left hand lower body corner end restored and anti-corrosive coating applied.

Material behind rear valance treated with anti-corrosive coating, ready for welding of valance.

April 19th: The big day of welding the hand adjusted rear valance has come. The material behind the rear valance is restored to a proper and healthy base and the final exhaust bracket is  reshaped and put in position. The welding of the lower section of the valance can commence. With the aid of pliers the part is held in the proper position and the welding of the lower section and the flanges on the right hand and left hand side starts. Now that the valance is partially in place the position of the back-up light wiring hole can be determined. The hole is drilled and another sub-task can be taken from the list of making the rear valance. With the lower side of the valance welded the height of the valance can also be determined and welded. The excess weld material is grinded away and that finished the rear valance. The welded sections are immediately treated with anti-corrosion material. A labour intensive work has finished. During the restoration as always some frustrating unexpected items appear, but the newly made rear valance looks exquisite and is another sample of the welders dedicated and high quality work. For for the welder assembles a very thick exhaust end piece. It looks very funny but I guess I will stick with the original specification for the muffler.

Rear valance held in position by pliers.

 

Nicely restored final exhaust bracket visible through exhaust clearance hole in valance.

 

Height of valance still needs to be adjusted.

 

Height of valance adjusted, valance ready for welding.

 

Valance welded and excess material grinded away.

 

Anti corrosive coating applied to welded section, very thick exhaust end piece assembled for fun.

 

Old poor state valance and newly made adjusted valance, what a huge difference.

 

April 24th: A Giardinetta specific part that is missing from my vehicle is the back-up light bracket. Due to the fact that the back-up lights on my vehicle were in the Alfasud Spring light trim assemble to the boot the original bracket was deleted. With the aid of 2 kind Dutch Giardinetta owners I was able to get the detailed dimensions of this Giardinetta specific bracket and the welder is able to make the bracket. Thanks a lot to the 2 friendly Dutch gentlemen who enabled me to have a bracket in line with the original specification made. By looking at the pictures the welder again shows his skills by making the bracket in  line with the original one out of normal sheet of metal material. Excellent work by the welder! The only work to be done for this part is to weld it to the rear valance and add the 2 assembly holes for the back-up light. One hole for the threaded stud and 1 hole for the plastic anti rotation feature.

Base sheet metal material with guidelines scratched to determine the folding lines.

 

Excess material cut away and initial bends made.

 

Majority of bends made for back-up light bracket.

 

Back-up light bracket finished except for welding to valance and assembly holes.

 

Nicely handmade bracket in line with the original specification.

 

April 27th: The sill ends have been reshaped during the previous restoration in the nineties to a flat & closed geometry. Normally the sill end protrudes shortly into the wheel arch and a hole in the centre is present. This will also be put back into original condition. Firstly the underbody coating needs to be removed to get a proper & clean welding surface. Although not the most difficult task of this restoration the attention to detail and the commitment to achieve the original specification of the welder is amazing. Both the left and right hand sill end are soon back into the shape & condition they should be. These sill ends were another item I overlooked myself, but luckily the welder is a very professional and meticulous guy who points out such kind of details.

Left hand rear sill end with non original flat shape.

 

Left hand rear sill end brought back to original shape with slight protrusion and hole in centre.

 

Restored left hand sill end treated with anti-corrosion coating.

 

Right hand rear sill end unfortunately also with non original flat shape.

 

Right hand rear sill end body coating removed.

Right hand rear sill end during restoration process.

Another original feature which unfortunately has disappeared during the previous restoration in the nineties is the horizontal seam above the sill behind the left & right hand door. This is again a very important detail in my opinion that can't be left the way it currently is. The only solution is to remove the paint from the body in the affected areas and see what the status is and how it can be returned into the original condition. During the removal of the paint it becomes clear that also in this section a huge amount of filler has been used to cover up the previously visible seam. In some section the amount of filler is unbelievable. The welder's state of mind is going down the drain again. After the frustrating repair/reconstruction of the rear valance this also seems to be a huge amount of work.

Rh-side, behind the paint a thick layer of filler where the seam is supposed to be.

 

Original position of seam visible, but filled with weld material. State of mind of welder clearly depicted by sad face.

 

Lh-side, behind the paint a thick layer of filler where the seam is supposed to be.

Original position of seam completely invisible, a lot of work to restore.

April 30th: A further attempt to restore the horizontal sill seam behind the doors is on the schedule for today. Tape is put on the body at the waist line to serve as a straight guideline for the sill seam. The frustration level of the welder is growing & growing and therefore the attempt for today is a short one. This annoying work will be continued in May. A lot of work has been done in April. Loads of respect for the patience of the welder.

Tape put on waist line of body to serve as a straight guideline.