January 2015 (almost) Final disassembly

 
     

January 1st 2015: On the first day of this year I will continue with the de-wiring of the engine. During this process I label the wires as much as I can, but sometimes I bump into wires which are not connected to anything, I label those as "unknown" with an approximate area where I locate the wire(s). The generator has 1 cable which has no clear function and is not connected, the same applies to the starter engine. I will have to find out at some point whether these wires should be connected are are just excessive wires. The removal of the wires is a task which proceeds quickly. Looking at the engine from above the removed wire make it appear a bit less messy.

The next item is to remove the front suspension arms. These arms are connected to the subframe on the front size with a key width 19mm bolt/nut and the identical size bolt/nut on the rear side. The rear side of these front arms is connected to the bush of the rear suspension arm. I start on the left side. As can be expected these bolts/nuts are tightened pretty strong and a whole lot of force is required to release them. On the front side after the nut is removed the bolt is hammered out by using a worn out hexagon key. From below hammering to get the bolt out on top. The same approach I was intending to use for the bolt on the rear side. Unfortunately the bolt is not moving. When I try to use the 19mm wrench to turn the bolt the bushing turns with it. It appears that the bolt and the bush have become one. Hammering a lot and spraying WD40 doesn't help at all. Additionally I try to turn the bolt in clockwise and counter clockwise direction but the bush keeps on turning with the bolt. After a 45 minute fight with this bolt I decide to leave it for the moment and start on the right hand side front arm. For this arm also a big amount of force is required to release it. After release the same approach as on the left side with hammering the hexagon key is working well. Both the front bolt and the rear bolts are pushed out this way. By jiggling the arm a bit the arm can be taken out.

Engine wiring removal.

 

Front suspension arm front bolt connection to subframe.

Front suspension arm front bolt connection to subframe removed.

 

Front suspension arm rear bolt connection to rear arm removed.

Front suspension arm removed on right hand side.

 

January 2nd 2015: My intent is to get the drive shafts uncoupled from the differential. The inner hexagon bolts with which the drive shafts are connected to the differential tend to be stuck to a level in which violence is required to get them loose, lets hope that's not the case here. A hexagon key size 6mm is required for these bolts. The accessibility is relatively limited due to the rubber sleeve. A maximum of 2 bolts can be released then the wheel has to be put back to enable turning the driveshaft. Lucky for me the release of these inner hexagon bolts is running relatively smooth. Some time is lost by assembling the wheels to enable rotating the drive shaft. The 2 drive shafts are released from the differential is a much faster pace then I expected. Every now and then some tasks appear that run smooth although that doesn't happen a lot to be honest. The right hand side appears to have a bigger impact due to the fact that the front suspension arm is removed and therefore the shaft itself can be moved away from the engine. On the left hand side I wasn't able to remove the front suspension arm yesterday because the rear bolt is stuck the rear suspension arm bush. I sprayed with WD40 yesterday when I stopped with aim to have it soak for some time and attempt to release this bolt again. I will give it another try today. Hitting the bolt from below with a hammer doesn't help just like yesterday. I keep on hammering at it, but the bolt doesn't come out. Frustrating, but I can't stay stuck here forever and therefore decide to continue with something else. Just as yesterday I spray the bolt from the top side and the bottom side with WD40 in the hope that I can release it tomorrow. The lateral support bar assembled to the right hand cylinder head is connected with 2 bolts and I release that to enable engine removal. For me it's hard to imagine the effectiveness of such a part, but who am I to doubt this?

The brake lines running to the front brake callipers have to be released as well for the engine with gearbox to be disassembled from the vehicle. The brake lines have 2 different sizes so 2 different keys have to be used. The top section appears to be an 11mm connection, the bottom side is a 14mm connection. The disassembly is not progressing. The top side seems to be a little smaller than 11mm and the key comes loose twice. Unfortunately this phenomenon results into damage of the hexagon head of the metal brake line connection. I wonder if this connection is in Inch size instead of metric size, the 11mm seem a tiny bit too big. This is something I have to ask my fellow Alfisti on the Dutch Alfa forum. Continuing the current activity will only result into additional damage.

Since I want to make some additional progress besides the drive shafts I move onward to the parking brake. The engine will be removed together with the gearbox/differential unit, therefore the parking brake has to be released from the body. The parking brake bracket is connected with the body by three 13mm head bolts. These bolts are located on the inside of the vehicle and therewith have no corrosion issues and enable a swift removal. Now that the bracket itself is loose the cable needs to be released from the lever. The cable is connected through a small barrel shaped metal part which in itself is fixed with a small and thin spring. Removing the spring is done with a screw driver. Since the part is thin I'm slightly worried it may brake during removal, but luckily my fear proves to be wrong. I just have to make 100% sure I don't lose this small yet important part. I decide to put all parking brake parts into a small bag including the spring. I will have to write a warning on the bag to ensure the small part is not lost. Probably I will tape the spring to 1 of the parts, because it's so small it's very easy to get lost. With the parking brake removed the only gearbox related item remaining to be done on the car inside is the removal of the gear lever knob. This parts is removed easily by pulling it.

Hexagon key to release drive-shaft from differential.

 

6 Bolts of left hand drive-shaft released.

Lateral engine support bar connected to right hand cylinder head.

 

Lateral engine support bar released from cylinder head.

Non co-operative brake-lines.

 

3rd series Sud parking brake connected to body.

Parking brake disassembled.

 

In the evening after the small work of the day I have a telephone conversation with a Dutch previous Giardinetta owner. He had 6 Giardinetta's during his Alfa enthusiast period in the eighties and nineties. He used to write Alfasud related articles in the Dutch Alfa club magazine "Het Klaverblaadje". Due to the fact he that he owned 6 of these rare Sud's he has some tips to take into consideration during the restoration process to avoid corrosion in the future. Some of the tips I may use. During the conversation an interesting topic is raised. The kind gentleman informs me that the Giardinetta has a bigger diameter stabiliser than the other Suds due to its higher loading. That sounds quite strange to me because the higher load of the Giardinetta is concentrated in the rear end, the front is the same as any other Sud. Although it's very hard to imagine it would be interesting to find out such a difference between the Giardinetta and the other Suds so I will measure it tomorrow. The documentation I found about the diameter in a 1979 Dutch magazine (Autovisie nr. 10 mei 1979) clearly shows a 24mm diameter for all Sud vehicles. Measuring is the only way to find out for sure.

January 3rd 2015: The activities which enable the engine removal are progressing slowly, but at least some regular progress is made in this winter holiday. Another thing which needs to be done is the disassembly of the heater unit. Although this has no impact on the engine removal it's still a task which needs to be completed at some point in time so I'll have a look whether I can make some steps here. The heater unit was found to be kitted to the body in December 2014, this will have to be cut loose, however I will start with a trial to remove the control unit by releasing the 2 Bowden cables attached to it. Since these Bowden cables are bent at the end to avoid them getting loose during usage the only way to release them is to remove the springs from the control unit levers. These springs should be removed with a screw driver. Due to the fact that he control unit is made out of plastic the amount of force which can be applied to release the cables is small otherwise damage (cracks) may appear in the control unit. Some attempts to release the springs from the levers results into nothing. I will have a look whether the cables connected to the heater unit can be removed. The connection on the heater unit side is more tricky then the one on the control unit, the only option available on the heater unit side is a very small internal hexagon screw which potentially can be removed. I will give it a try. Unfortunately this connection is so tight (probably Loctite applied???) that the small hexagon wrench twists without any movement of the screw. I decide to leave this particular task for what it is, the heater unit can also be removed together with the control unit once the kit is cut loose from the firewall. A very unfortunate discovery is the the heater unit housing is damaged. It appears to be coming from a grinding device most probably used during the welding of the new window frame. The welds are always grinded down to be become invisible. Of course this is my fault, I should have removed the heater unit before the welding activities, but unfortunately there wasn't enough time back in 2010 when I moved the car to the welder, this is an item I have to find a solution to in the future. Potentially I can exchange the damaged housing with a spare housing I have laying around? The problem is that the grinding operation resulted in a hole in the housing, that may lead to unwanted water and dirt entry during usage.

The fuel line coming from the fuel tank needs to be dismantled from the right hand carburettor. An easy task due to the clamps used, the fuel line is removed quickly. On the left hand side of the firewall 2 fuel lines are running which also need to be disconnected from the engine. One of these lines is connected to the mechanical fuel pump and the other one is connected to the lower side of the right hand carburettor. The clamps with which these 2 hoses are connected are worn and therefore difficult to remove. In the end I decide to pull off the hose from the fuel pump since that one is only fastened with a tie-rip. The long fuel line with the worn clamp doesn't have that option so I will remove it from  the carburettor and then pull the fuel line away from the engine to the left hand side. That's a better solution than trying to remove the worn clamp. Now all fuel connections to the engine are loose. As a final activity I measure the front stabiliser diameter with a digital calliper to check which diameter is on my car and whether it complies to the expected 24mm. The measurement shows a value of 24.29mm and therewith is the right diameter.

Heater controls fastener with clip pretty tightly.

 

Hexagonal key put into lever of heater unit, extremely tightly fastened.

Heater unit housing unfortunately damaged by grinding device during window frame replacement.

 

Fuel lines removed from carburettor.

Stabiliser diameter measurement 24.29mm.

 

January 4th 2015: Hopefully today I will be able to finally release the right hand side front bolt of the subframe. This is now the third day I am attempting to get this bolt loose. It's getting very frustrating. For 3 days in a row hitting this bolt with an impact driver and several times spraying with WD40 from the top and bottom hasn't proven to be successful. Hopefully the amount of hitting has caused the WD40 to penetrate the thread of this non co-operative bolt. For 2 days in a row I've sprayed the WD40 also at the end of the activities to let it soak, lets see if it was sufficient. Just like the other days I use the impact driver and a hammer to attempt to release the bolt. After hitting for a couple of times no progress is made. My frustration level is rising and this frustration is going into the hitting. As can be expected with frustrated actions this goes wrong and I hit my hand instead of the impact driver. After some swearing I hit the bolt a couple of times more, but the pain is obstructing the activity. I return to the house and search for some Coca Cola because I've read and heard on several occasions that it sometimes works to get things loose. There's one 0.5 litre bottle available so I will put that to use and check of it works. After poring it on the specific bolt I let it soak for a few minutes. The pain in my hand has reduced to an acceptable level so I'll give the impact driver another chance with the Cola as lubricant. Hitting the bolt again several times doesn't result in any movement. After hitting several times the pain in my hand is increasing again. It looks like it's turning blue and yellow and a swelling is starting to appear so I guess this means the end for today even though I haven't achieved anything. The misses has a special Japanese wet band aid that may help to stop the swelling. The band aid is wet and feels very cold when applied to the skin. It contains something similar to tiger balm and thus results in a cooling effect. I wonder if this "Japanese technology" will help to keep the swelling at a manage-able level. Luckily for me I hit my left hand and not my right hand otherwise I would be running into issues with my job which is starting from tomorrow after a long winter holiday.

Cola to try to release front subframe bolt.

Japanese "wonder" band aid after hitting my hand with a hammer.

January 8th 2015: After a few days of applying the special band aid the swelling on my hand has reduced to an acceptable level. It becomes a bit of a standard routine, but today I will try again to loosen the subframe bolt. Hitting the bolt with the impact driver many times doesn't help at all (again). Spraying WD40 on the top and bottom side will hopefully help although I've tried it before without any  success. After letting the WD40 soak for some time I decide to try it again. Again hitting the bolt with an impact driver many times results into no progress. The frustration level is increasing and increasing. I will poor some additional Cola on the bolt and let that soak till tomorrow when I will try it again. I also took a small gas burner of the misses in the hope to heat the bolt sufficiently to get it loose. The burner is a kitchen type very small tool and therewith not very powerful. Applying the heater for several minutes makes the bolt more hot than I expected although the power of the flame is insufficient to make the bolt glow. Hitting the hot bolt with the impact driver unfortunately gives the same result as before, no movement at all.

In the mean time to make at least some sort of progress I will try to disassemble the complete front suspension. The nuts on the steering rack balljoint tend to get very stuck as well, lets see what these nuts will bring. Both the left hand and right hand side balljoint nuts are loosened with relatively little effort. Releasing the nut however doesn't enable the balljoint to come loose from the strut. Since the balljoint has a conical shape it is stuck to a level which requires a special tool to release it I guess. I give it a try by partially assembling the nut to the balljoint and hitting it from below with a hammer. As expected this doesn't help to get the balljoint loose. Another day with no progress, my mood is not improving recently.

Track rod balljoint nut release.

 

3 different media used to try to get subframe bolt loose.

 

January 9th 2015: Another trial to get the subrame bolt loose. I hope the WD40 and Cola have soaked in sufficiently. The impact driver is used intensively these days. Either my power is not sufficient or this bolt is fastened to a level that doesn't make any sense. As mentioned my frustration level is growing and therewith hopefully also the power to hit the impact driver. After another 50 trials without any effect the only thing left to do is put another dose of WD40 and Cola on the bolt and give it another try tomorrow. Since my mood is going down the drain I search the Internet once more for methods to remove bolts which don't come loose in a normal way. All I find is tips pointing in the same direction as the things I have tried such as applying WD40, Cola and heat up the bolt. I found a website that states "it doesn't help to swear or get angry" & "don't give up applying creeping oil even if it takes 2 weeks to soak in properly". I will just keep on adding the creeping oil and try every day to get the bolt released. My brother has an 8 Bar pneumatic power tool, I'll ask him if I can borrow it and give it a try with that tool.

January 10th 2015: A fellow Giardinetta owner from the USA is looking for some parts, I have 2 of those and will send them to him. The small plastic end cap of the steering rack and a NOS gear lever part. Unfortunately the big plastic steering rack cap is broken so I can't send that one. The USA owner would like to have both plastic caps, but that won't be possible. The spare steering rack from which I take the plastic end cap comes from a German 1978 Alfasud Super. I bought several parts from this vehicle from German E-Bay in April 2011 and now it can serve someone at the other end of the world, that's a good thing.

German Alfasud Super steering rack with plastic end caps of which one is broken.

NOS Gear lever and small plastic end cap for steering rack destined for the USA.

 

The 2 Alfasud parts packing in a box to be sent to the USA.

Box with parts ready for shipment.

Luckily for me my brother has time to stop by with the pneumatic tool so I can give it a try. I hope the 8 Bar is sufficient to get the bolt to move. After keeping it hammering for about a minute and a half the air tank is empty and it starts pumping air. No progress is made and I spray the bolt once again with WD40 and let it soak for a short time. Another trial is made and I keep it hammering again till the air tank is empty. Again no progress so I try it with the impact driver. Strangely it seems like the impact driver made a 90 degrees turn, but that could be due to the fact I let the driver slip out of my hands and the impact of hitting the ground made it turn. I put the driver back to the position to release a connection and hit the bolt several times, now the bolt doesn't seem to move so it must have been a figment of my imagination. I keep on hammering it but no movement. Once again the pneumatic tool is used, but again no movement after a minute of application. My brother suggest to put the tool to the fasten direction instead of the release direction. Lets give it a try, the bolt starts moving and now I put it in the release mode and the bolt comes loose. After struggling for a long finally a positive result. I thought the bolt was never going to be released.

Compressor for pneumatic tool borrowed from my brother.

 

8 Bar pneumatic tool for subframe bolt removal attempt.

Initial trial to remove subframe bolt with pneumatic tool.

Front subframe bolt removed ....................... but the wrong one :-(

When downloading the pictures from the camera the 2 pictures of the released bolt are not good so I decide to take some more pictures with more lighting. To my big surprise it seems I have released the wrong bolt. Now that I think of I was wondering why the stabiliser dropped to the ground when the bolt came out, but now I know :-( The shock is quite big, in order to release some stress I will go by bicycle to the supermarket nearby and buy some stuff required for diner. I must have accidentally switched the pneumatic tool from the bolt I have been attempting to release for some time now to the one which is directly behind it and I already loosened manually before. 30 minutes have passed and now it's time to give it yet another try. Firstly I will try with the impact driver. Just like all the previous trials this doesn't result into the desired release, then I use the pneumatic tool again. With several minutes of pneumatic violence and 2 refills of air the bolt doesn't move a bit. The only way to proceed is to spray WD40 and poor some Cola again and leave it to soak for another trial tomorrow morning.

January 11th 2015: Another attempt in the long running soap series to release the subframe bolt. Both the impact driver and the pneumatic tool don't get the bolt moving. After trying for about 15 minutes I give up for today and apply WD40 again. Almost 1 spray can of this stuff went into this darn bolt. In order to do at least something today I remove all parts lying in the vehicle and gather all tools on the driver floor. In addition I remove the stabiliser completely and put it aside.

Removed loose parts lying around inside body, looks pretty clean now.

Removed stabiliser from front subframe.

January 15th 2015: Yet another trial. Another 30 minutes of trials result into nothing. Hitting the impact driver now resulted twice in the driver turning 90 degrees, but the bolt is not moving? Potentially I have hit the driver so hard that it turned 90 degrees without moving the bolt???? No other option then to apply WD40 again in the hope that it penetrates the connection sufficiently to release it. A colleague at work suggested to apply more WD40 to the bolt head because potentially the friction between the bolt head and the subframe is very high due to corrosion and that avoids the bolt from moving. Since I want the bolt to be released I follow any suggestion.

January 16th 2015: The fact that I hit my hand pretty hard with the hammer on January 4th in an attempt to release the bolt makes it very obvious at work that I'm trying something but not succeeding. In the discussion at work  a colleague suggests to talk to the workshop to check if the have a high wall thickness pipe to make a big lever. Another thing I haven't tried yet so I walk down to the workshop and talk to the manager. They have a big twisting tool that should do the job. Since they have 2 of those tools I can borrow one for the weekend to give it a try and then return it. When comparing it to my own twisting tool the difference in size is very obvious. After coming home I want to give it a try immediately of course. In order to increase the chances on success I apply WD40 once more. With this big lever the torque which can be applied is significant. When putting all my weight on the lever the bolt seems to be turning slightly. I do hope it's true and not that the bolt head is breaking due to the high torque. With a whole lot of force and effort the bolt starts turning. After a few turns I try the pneumatic tool to increase the speed, however the required torque is still too high. I continue with the twisting tool. The subframe is coming loose from the body, but the bolt head remains stuck on the subframe. The other three bolts I release with the pneumatic tool now. Now that the subframe is out the root cause of the bolt being so enormously stuck becomes visible. The bolt has thickened significantly in the middle section due to rust build up. The joy of finally releasing this darn bolt after so many tries is enormous!!!!!! Maybe I have to have a more detailed look into the spacer in the body. If the subframe bolt has this amount of rust I suppose the spacer will show the same issue? I will ask the welder who is coming tomorrow to help removed the engine/gearbox.

Borrowed big twisting tool (bottom) compared to my own tool (top).

Non co-operative right hand side front subframe front bolt and bolt fastening stabiliser clamp.

 

Stabliser clamps removed from subframe on left and right side.

 

After so many tries finally the right hand front subframe bolt comes loose.

 

The root cause of all this misery is the significantly thickened bolt due to rust.

Front subframe front engine support torn off, will have to be replaced.

January 17th 2015: A very chilly morning today. Not so tempting to work in the garage without heating but the good thing is that the "Surgeon" is coming to help remove the engine/gearbox & suspension. Since he is very handy I hope significant progress can be made with the final disassembly. The welder will come around 10:30, that gives me an opportunity to disassemble the rear front suspension arms in advance. The access to the bolt head for this connection is quite poor. It is close to the body floor and therefore it's not possible to use a big tool, in addition the position of the head is very deep and that limits the access even more. With some struggling I'm able to get these bolts loose. The struts are now just hanging by the topmounts which are fastened to the inner wing with 4 M8 nuts. I remove 2 of the 4 nuts on each side. This keeps the struts in position for the moment because the track rod end balljoints still have to be disassembled to allow full removal. The "surgeon" will bring a special tool for that so I remove only half of the nuts, just for preparation purpose. That's it for what I can do right now, the rest will have to wait till the welder is here.

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Upon arrival of the "surgeon" first some cups of coffee are served to discuss the strategy for today. The first item to do is of course the engine / gearbox removal, when there's time left the rear suspension and fuel tank with filler pipe are the next targets. When we walk into the garage the "surgeon" is apparently surprised by the preparation work I've done. That was exactly my intent so I'm happy that worked out. It's great that somebody like the "surgeon" helps out to get a bit of pace into the project, but of course that should mean that I have to ensure the effort to get progress comes from myself.  Due to fact that the majority of preparations for the engine / gearbox removal have been done the remaining items have to be dealt with such as the brake and clutch line removal and the speedo cable removal. With the tools I have available I wasn't able to remove the hydraulic lines for the brake and clutch, luckily for me the welder has some decent keys to get these loose. The speedo cable is an easy feature to remove if you know how to do it. This cable is secured with a spring like clip in the top of the gearbox quite close to the engine, I didn't know that, but from now on I do. The drive shafts will be removed from the hub as well since they are obstructing the engine removal path. Whilst removing the driveshaft on the driver side it strikes me that the end of the driveshaft is split in two. I've never seen that before and neither has the welder. I have to look whether that's original. Now everything is ready for the engine / gearbox removal. The garage is not that big and therefore we decide to open the big garage door to gain some vital room. The bolt which runs through the central engine support which is connected to the firewall is the only thing keeping the engine in position. Now that the garage door is open there is no way to use the tool connected to the attic which I used for the engine removal of the donor vehicle so the remaining option is to use a car jack with some wooden material on it to avoid damage to the sump.

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January 25th 2015: It's time to clean up after the engine removal, today is good day for that. The front wings are currently stored outside and that can't be the intent for these nicely repaired parts. I shove the parts stored in the bicycle shed around a bit to make way for these wings. The rear axle can stay outside, anyway I don't have room to put it anywhere dry. The wings are stored dry now, that's the way it should be. Whilst re-arranging the parts in the shed I come across the Alfasud TI QV front seats which were assembled to my car. I won't be putting those back in because I want to come as close as possible to the factory original specification appearance wise. The Italian gentleman Stefano who approached me through the Giardinetta website to check if we can make some kind of trade because he's missing the front seats for his TI QV which has almost completed a full restoration can now be provided with some decent pictures of the condition of the seats. The seats are pretty okay for their age, only the passenger seat has a small hole near the seam which connects the TI fabric to the all black fabric. I will provide the pictures and see what comes out of it. Personally I'm most interested in trading for some missing parts for my own car instead of selling because I want to make my car complete.

Parts out in the garden, front wings to be moved inside.

TI QV seats taken out of storage and pictures taken for Italian gentleman.