May 2015 Continued coating removal


May 1st 2015: Although today is a weekday I have a holiday. From the afternoon my dad will come over and help me with the continued coating removal. Even though there is still a very long way to go the progress made in April was good, hopefully May will be just as productive. To make a good start we start on the 1st day of the month. The C-pillar and partially the luggage compartment are the targets for today. My dad will concentrate on the right hand C-pillar and I will continue with the left hand C-pillar and do some of the luggage compartment where time allows. The weather today is very good, basically a shame to work inside a garage, but if that would be a reason not to work the project would be even slower than it already is. In March 2009 the project was started which means that already 6 years have passed in the mean time.

In order to get better access to the C-pillar section the wagon door will be removed. 2 inner hexagon bolts on top of the hinges and 2 key width 10mm nuts on the inside of the vehicle connect this part to the body. It is removed easily. The part weight is without the window very light. The part can be easily handled with 1 hand. After a little more than 3 hours the right hand C-pillar is progressing well. Probably 1 more session and then this section will be as good as it can get with the tools available. Personally I concentrate on the left hand C-pillar and the luggage compartment floor & spare wheel well. The coating on the floor is pretty thick and below the dark coloured layer there is a white coloured ductile layer. The thickness is approximately 1mm I would guess. This layer can be removed with the chisel quite good. Once a small breach in the layer is made the chisel moves forward whilst removing the coating quite good. By removing this layer the original orange body colour is appearing more and more. To be honest it makes me long for the day when the car is returned to it's original colour completely.

Wagon door removed to improve accessibility.


End result of left hand C-pillar section after some hours

Right hand C-pillar section at the end of today's activities.

Spare wheel well & flooring brackets coating partially removed.

May 7th 2015: A continuation of coating removal for the spare wheel well, the luggage compartment floor and the beam in front of the spare wheel well are the target areas for today. Primarily I use the putty knife for this work but at some areas where the coating is more tightly sticking to the metal the chisel is also sometimes used. During the coating removal I encounter a rather peculiar fact. On the right hand side floor the section nearest to the taillight should originally have a sound deadening material applied to it, but it's gone. This must have disappeared during the previous restoration in the nineties because the section underneath the black coating shows the grey coloured primer paint instead of the orange body colour. This is something I would like to have put back so I have to search for sound deadening material with the same/similar thickness and texture. The coating removal in this area is showing some results so that's encouraging to continue.

Another unexpected item is the fact the fact that when removing the black coating from the front side of the beam in front of the spare wheel well the original orange body colour appears, but on top of this beam almost immediately removal results in coming to the bare metal. That is not my intent so I stop the removal in this section, but it's very weird because the car was painter in the factory in a more or less controlled environment so such huge differences in the thickness of the orange body colour are not to be expected. The funny thing is that in all other sections excessive removal results in the red coloured base layer becoming visible, but on the beam I immediately strike the bare metal. I have no idea how this can be. Only in very limited areas of the top side of the beam you see a little of the orange colour. Potentially this is the spread within the painting process in the Alfasud factory.

Spare wheel well, flooring and beam status at start of activities.


Spare wheel well, flooring and beam cleaning result of today.

Sound deadening material missing on right hand rear floor.


May 8th 2015: Another chance to make some progress. The goal for today is the clean the black coating from the left hand rear wheel arch and do some detailed cleaning on the luggage compartment floor and the beam which I started yesterday. The fact the rear wheel arches have a quite large patch of sound deadening material makes the cleaning operation rather difficult. In addition the wheel arch has a round geometry and has several detailed sections. Lets put the putty knife to work and see what I can achieve. As was to be expected the removal goes very slow. The more or less straight section in vertical direction doesn't co-operate at all because kit is applied in an abundant volume. A short break will hopefully inspire me to get more result.

Left hand rear wheel arch with black coating.

Initial result of coating removal, not very promising.

In order to get some progress in the coating removal I start using the hot air gun. This enables a much more swift removal of the kit however a complete removal of this kit seems to be impossible. During the removal activities I find a difference in geometry between the left hand and right hand wheel arch towards the rear end. This may be intentional due to the fact that the left hand side has the fuel filler pipe running behind that particular section, but it could also be that it's just a repair section in which the original geometry wasn't kept. I need to find that out somehow and then check what a potential repair would be in terms of effort and money. After spending some time at this section I shift the activities to a further detailing of the coating removal on the beam and the luggage compartment floor. It's a time consuming job and the visible progress is not that much. Relatively frustrating, but that's the way it is. Not very satisfying result for today but it's at least something.

Left hand rear wheel arch end result after using hot air gun.

The spare wheel well is filling up with removed coating quite well.

May 9th 2015: Here we go again, for a change today will consist out of ................... coating removal. Some detailing of the left hand rear wheel arch and start the activities at the section in front of this wheel arch are the main items for today. The progress on the wheel arch is very small. Putting in quite some time doesn't help apparently. Since there is so little progress I move to the section in front of the wheel arch where normally the trim is connected to the side wall. On a quite big area the coating is brittle and can be removed with relatively little effort when compared to the more stressful sections. Unfortunately again an unexpected surprise pops up. Most probably the side wall trim was removed with a high force at some point in time and this bent the metal material in the lower corner section near the rear wheel arch. This item needs to added to the list of things to ask the welder for potential repair. Since he's very handy he can maybe use some tools to get the material back into its original shape. Although this section won't be visible once the trim is applied I prefer not to have these kind of small damages on the car. I will ask and see if it can be mended.

Left hand rear side wall before coating removal.

Result after today's activities, unfortunately some bent material available.

May 13th 2015: After work I will put a few hours into the project. the small beam in front of the big beam in the luggage compartment will be addressed. Partially the top coating was already removed, but it of course has to be removed completely. Also the side which faces towards the passenger compartment needs to be cleaned. The top section goes relatively smooth and the nice thing is that almost no black coating is remaining. I wish all sections would become as clean as this one by just applying a putty knife. The face pointing towards the passenger compartment is going in a same way. Not too much time consumption and a good result. I don't have the time to finish this face in the evening, but significant progress has been made. It's important and nice to have sections like these where visible progress is made.

Small beam in front of big beam needs some detailing.


Top surface of small beam finished with good result, very little coating remaining.


Front surface of small beam progressing nicely.


May 14th 2015: After the initial cleaning of the small beam yesterday I will continue today and see how far I can get. Just like yesterday the coating is coming off quite good. Almost no residue of the black coating remains during the removal process. Comparing to the other sections of the car I did so far the cleaning runs well. The small beam is clean after a relatively short time. Once the small beam is completely clean I start the work on the upright section of the big beam behind the small one. The accessibility is poor due to the small beam. Due to the limited access getting it completely clean is tough. After struggling for some time the result is clearly visible, but far away from the intended completely clean status. I will have to attack this section at a later point in time.

Status at beginning of today's activities.

Small beam face completely clean, face of big beam significant progress.

May 15th 2015: My dad helps me out again in the garage on this sunny day after lunch. I am lucky to have helping hands at some times, it helps to keep the spirit up. A first activity is to get the rubbish out of the spare wheel well. The month of May rubbish consisting out of removed coating and kit has been gathered in the spare wheel well. A fair amount of debris is present. After this cleaning operation my dad starts work on the right hand rear wheel arch and I will do the floor underneath the rear bench. Just as on the left side the right wheel arch is difficult to clean due to its round shape and many detailed grooves and emboss items. The floor is a completely opposite area, with the putty knife the cleaning goes in a smooth way just like the small bracket I cleaned yesterday. The level of adhesion to the floor and brittleness of the coating makes the removal a less tedious job than it is for the other areas on the car. I'm progressing pretty fast. My dad is also making good progress but compared to the flooring it appears less to my father. The level of difficulty is of course very different and therefore making a comparison with the flooring does no justice to the effort my dad puts in. One odd thing I encountered whilst cleaning the floor is 2 pieces of tape. The small piece of tape in the centre I can understand. It serves to cover the hole. The other and bigger piece of tape which is besides the small piece of tape in the centre is strange. I hope and thing there is no big hole underneath that tape. By pushing the tape softly from the top I can't find any hole, this is something I have to look into the next time. Besides the tape another weird thing on the floor is the application of the paint. In a big section the orange paint of the body is missing and only the red coloured primer is applied. For the Alfasud Berlina and TI vehicles this may have been a more or less sensible cost saver because anyway the section underneath the rear bench would never be visible unless you would disassemble the part, but for the Giardinetta with a tilt-able rear bench this kind of cost saving results into a unusual sight with only a part of the visible flooring being in the body colour and the other part being in the red primer colour. Due to the good weather the temperature in the garage is rising to a level in which small breaks are helpful to keep the mind fresh. After enjoying a nice cold drink in the garden the cleaning resumes with some fresh spirit. The result achieved for rear wheel arch is good although it's not yet finished. The progress on the flooring is very good. I estimate that at least 60% of the floor is cleaned today with a satisfactory result.

Status at start of activities.


Rubbish cleaned from spare wheel well.

2 Pieces of tape, the centre one is understood, the bigger one not.


End result of right rear wheel well cleaning for today.

End result of rear floor cleaning.


May 17th 2015: Another day of continuation of the rear floor coating removal. It should be possible to finish today if the pace of the activities is the same as the day before yesterday. The only tool required is the blunt putty knife. No chisel or heat gun is necessary. As hoped and expected the remaining coating on the floor removes just as "easily" as previously. After a few hours the floor is almost completely clean with no black coating remaining. It's nice to see more and more of the original orange paint appearing during these activities. Near the right side wall a small section with coating remains. A round hole becomes visible and the material inside the hole is quite soft. I hope this is no unexpected rust item. Since my right hand is getting tired of the constant hammering on the floor I will leave the detailed investigation on this particular matter for the next project day. All in all a nice result for a couple of hours.

Another day of floor cleaning.


Very satisfactory result after a relatively short time. Funny sight with the different colours.

A suspicious round area on the right hand side of the rear floor.

This round area is not looking and feeling good.

May 22nd 2015: After work the weekend starts and that's a sign to at least try to make some progress. For this evening I will work on the area besides the right hand side rear passenger. This area of course also has the black coating applied to it and needs to be cleaned. I use the putty knife because the section in the middle with the holes cut-out (most probably for weight saving purpose) is too fragile to work with the chisel. After only a short time I stop the activities because unexpected visitors arrive. This area has definitely become cleaner, but just like the rest of the car it's not as clean as I want it to be. The rather doubtful area I found on May 17th is now up for a detailed cleaning to find out if there is a problem. Since soft geometry was found the application of the putty knife is dealt with in a more soft way not to worsen potential damage. Since the section is relatively small and the coating/paint is just as brittle as on the previously cleaned sections the area is clean quickly. The soft material appears to be foam. Maybe this is the infamous foam with which the chassis beams are filled? When looking under the car it's not clear to me where the material is coming from, but foam in the chassis beams is the only logical conclusion I can make.

Right hand side rear passenger side wall before activities.


Not much progress today, but at least the section is cleaner than when I started.


Doubtful area on rear floor below bench appears to be foam.


May 23rd 2015: Yet another "enjoyable" day of coating removal. Today's targets are the right hand rear side wall next to the rear passenger and the small remaining section of the floor underneath the rear bench close to the left hand side wall. The right hand side wall is a continuation of the work which was interrupted yesterday. 90 minutes of coating removal result into a better appearance however still not as clean as I would like it to be.

Right hand side rear passenger side wall before activities.

Improved appearance after some effort.

The second target area is the floor underneath the rear bench on the left hand side. Since I previously used this specific area to gather the removed material this section hasn't been touched when it comes to the coating removal. As a first thing I of course need to clean up all the paint chips that have gathered here. The amount is quite something. The remaining coating now becomes clearly visible. Fortunately the coating here is just as the rest of this area nice and brittle instead of ductile and sticky. The removal is progressing well, the crisp paint pops off with an acceptable amount of force applied to the putty knife. During the removal the same geometry hole with foam inside is found on this side of the car. Another confirmation that this is the way it's supposed to be. The rather cheap application of base coating on the floor underneath the bench is also applicable to the roof. The roof is yellow (Giallo Pompei), but on the inside where nothing is visible for the end customer the grey coloured base coating is only visible. It's an interesting way to save money during the production process. During the paintjob I will request both the roof and the floor underneath the rear bench to be sprayed in body colour fully.

Gathered paint chips from rear floor.


Remaining coating appearing after removal of paint chip debris.


Last section of coating removed from floor underneath rear bench.

Inside of roof also only has base coating an almost no body colour.

May 25th 2015: Finally the time has come to pick-up the windows I bought in November 2014. The seller lives in Nijmegen and since I don't have a daily car I have to fetch the parts with the train. On May 24th there was a possibility to go to Nijmegen because I was travelling with the train anyway, but after asking the seller he offered to bring the parts to a station nearby where I live. For me that is of course an ideal situation and I gladly take up this kind offer. The gentlemen drives a blue MiTo so finding him at the station where we arranged to meet is very easy. When walking out of the station hall I immediately notice the car. The conversation is easy, most probably due to the fact that he is an Alfista as well. He owns a Duetto 1750 from 1970 besides his MiTo. After an interesting conversation it's time to go home. As a nice surprise a plastic bag is included in the deal with a left and right rear light. The weight of the 3 windows together is quite something. I'm happy I brought a backpack so I can put the plastic bag in there. The windows I will hand carry. Normally I always take the stairs in the station,  but today I will take the escalator due to the circumstances. Several people are looking strange at me walking around with these windows under my arm. I only have to go 1 station so I won't potentially bother other passengers for too long. After a short ride I arrive at the station I need to get off. The end destination is about 500 meters from the station, lets see if can manage that distance. The weight is starting to become very demanding on my untrained arms. They seriously start to hurt, I clearly underestimated the weight or overestimated my muscle power and have to take a break just before I reach the goal.

Set of Giardinetta unique windows picked up at railway station (rim of blue coloured MiTo from seller in the background).


After taking a required break to get a bit of feeling back in my right arm the check of the status of the windows starts. Firstly the rear window. The heating lines are significantly discoloured, potentially a thorough cleaning operation will resolve that. Small rubber abrasion is visible at the top of the window. The chrome trim inside the rubber is missing of course, but I knew that when I bought the windows. A funny or better said ironic detail is the very weathered Valvoline Tectyl sticker in the left hand lower corner. Although the car of which these windows were taken was apparently "protected" with Tectyl that didn't help very much judging by the rust in between the rubbers. I put the rubber back as good as I can and start the status check on the rear lights which were added as a free bonus by the seller. The lens of the left hand rear light is cracked and therewith useless, the fitting however is in good condition for it's age so that's a nice spare part to add to the stock. The right light is in good condition for the fitting and the lens is unbroken but slightly scratched. A good spare part. Next up is the left rear side window. During the hand carry operation I pushed out the chrome trim so I will have to put that back. When looking in the chrome trim profile it's filled with debris. No idea yet what it is, rust or something else. I take a putty knife and start cleaning. The material which falls out starts to float in the air so that should indicate it's not rust, but something lighter. It is material from a tree. It's amazing how much of this material got stuck in the chrome trim. Some rust can be found in the rubber. As can be expected some rubber abrasion is present on the window. The vertical metal profile (near the B-pillar) has rust damage at the bottom section. When putting the chrome trim back it clearly appears that this task should be done when the window is not yet in the rubber. Besides the appearance function the chrome and metal trim items also have a function to get the rubber on the right tension. Unfortunately the rear vertical metal trim is missing. I thought to have seen when the windows were offered for sale, unfortunately it seems to be true. For the right rear side window the same diagnosis is applicable, some rubber abrasion on the window, rust damage on the front side vertical metal trim and the missing rear vertical trim. All in all an interesting addition to the stock of spare parts, too bad I don't know from which vehicle these windows are coming. Looking at the metal frame of these windows the car must have been in the Bruno Cilento colour. After checking the status I tie the windows together with a string and get the ladder out to enable putting them on the attic. Since the windows are sensitive to damage I have to re-arrange the parts before I can bring them up. During the re-arranging of the parts I encounter a box with logos and some interior parts. In this box is a switch for the rear window heating and it has the symbol which is applicable to the first series Sud. I couldn't remember I had this switch but that's a nice discovery. In addition this box contains the Alfasud logo for the wagon door so I take that with me downstairs to compare it with the mould I received in March to check whether it's the right one. After some re-arranging of the parts on the attic I manage to get just enough space to put the spare windows. When picking up the windows I notice that the rubbers are marked with an "s" for sinistro which means left, and "d" for destro which means right. For the rubbers it's pretty obvious on which side they have to go so this marking is redundant in my opinion.

Rather ironic Valvoline Tectyl rust protection sticker on rear window.


Rear window with discoloured heating lines, some rubber abrasion & missing chrome trim.


Bonus rear lights received with windows, unfortunately left lens broken.


Left rear side window with Bruno Cilento frame, some rubber abrasion & missing rear metal frame.

Left rear side window with rust damaged vertical frame & chrome trim pushed out.


Significant amount of rubbish coming out of chrome trim.

Tree debris which collected inside the chrome trim of the left rear side window.

Left hand rear side window with re-assembled and cleaned chrome trim.


Right rear side window with same issues as left window (rubber abrasion, missing frame & rust damage).

Left rear window rubber marking "S" for "Sinistro".


Right rear window rubber marking "D" for "Destro".

Ladder in place to bring windows to the attic.

When positioning the Alfasud logo near the wagon door it seems to be quite big even though the width is half of the tipo 904B Alfasud sticker currently on the part. There's a good way to check if the size of the logo I have is correct. The friendly fellow Giardinetta owner who sent me a template in March to enable the correct position will serve as a confirmation guide. Comparing the Alfasud logo with the template shows that the size & geometry is the same so this logo will be used to determine the hole pattern in the wagon door. The little time remaining today will be used to remove coating from the spare wheel well. Due to the many curves in this area the removal is slow. After some time I have to stop. The achievement is not impressive, but any progress is something.

Placing the Alfasud chrome logo near the wagon door makes it appear relatively big.


Comparing the logo I have with the template luckily shows it's okay.


Spare wheel well at start of activities, black coloured coating on bottom side.

Spare wheel well after activities, cleaner, but not satisfactory yet.

May 29th 2015: Whilst looking at an English forum about a very meticulous restoration of a 1976 first series Alfasud TI my eyes are caught by 2 cage nuts which are applied to the front inner wings. These are for the front bumper attachment. This reminds me that my front inner wings also have these rectangular shaped holes. So far I thought these were not original holes. The best way to find out is to have a look at the parts catalogue. Indeed the cage nuts are shown in the parts catalogue with the part number 2100.94732. The English gentlemen restoring his TI added a link to the German E-Bay seller who sells stainless very similar cage nuts. Since these nuts fit very well looking at the English log I will use the link he put and order the nuts on E-Bay Germany. The nuts come in a set of 10 pieces. The front and rear bumpers use the same cage nuts for this application so in total I would need 8 nuts in case the rear ones are also gone, therefore a set of 10 nuts is excellent. 

After diner it's time to watch the car on these specific areas. On the front side the square holes in the inner wing are present and the ordered cage nuts will hopefully fit in them. On the rear end there are no square holes in the chassis beams so I can't imagine that the same cage nuts are to be applied, however the parts book I have states the same part number for front and rear. Almost every single time I work on the I run into some detailed issues which I haven't considered myself yet or haven't got a concrete answer to, sometimes I wonder when the list of surprises is going to stop. Since I currently don't know which item to take on I start cleaning the fuel filler pipe. There's a lot of sand on it and at several portions the black paint is peeling off. When picking up the part the weight is lower than I expected. In addition the inner surface is not painted and shows quite some white coloured corrosion which would indicate the part is made out of aluminium. The outer surface however which has a brittle layer of black paint applied to it sections with white corrosion and some areas with brown coloured corrosion. The brown coloured corrosion is not possible if the pipe is made of aluminium. A cleaning of the pipe leads to quite some sand on the ground. the 2 hoses attached to the filler pipe are cut off with a Stanley knife. The rubber seal which is below the flange that attaches the filler pipe to the body is kept in place by kit. This kit is cut into pieces with a Stanley knife to enable disassembly. The state of this rubber itself is not very good. I'm sure I won't find such a seal as a NOS part so either I have to re-use it or make something by myself out of rubber or any other appropriate material.

Cage nuts assembled to front inner wing for bumper attachment. Picture courtesy of "vecchioalfa".


Front inner wing with rectangular holes without cage nuts.


Stainless steel cage nuts on E-Bay Germany.

Stainless steel cage nuts on E-Bay Germany, size details.

May 30th 2015: These are going to be the last activities for May because tomorrow I have no time. Today again my dad will help me out so I hope we can make some progress. My dad continues working on the right hand rear wheel arch, which he started on a week before. I will work on the underside of the floor starting with the area near the spare wheel well. Due to the fact that I'm now working under the car I have to find some position that enables me to work more or less comfortably whilst lying on the ground. The misses found a solution by positioning my head on a cardboard box. That works significantly better indeed. The access to the floor is given but tiresome on the arms because it is above my head. Underneath the car again a thick layer of body protection is applied. The only way to get the coating off is to use the hot air gun and then scrape it off by using a putty knife.

The work that my dad puts in is showing good result, but according to him the result is too little. Looking at the time required to achieve the result I can imagine it's not very satisfying, but I'm very happy with the result, unfortunately my dad isn't. Underneath the car the progress is there, but slower than I want. The position in which I have to work has a negative impact on the speed. In the mean time the application of force to get the coating off resulted in the fact that the cardboard box underneath my head collapsed. Whilst looking for something to put inside the box to avoid collapsing I find a plastic jerry can for windshield fluid, that will work well I assume. After about 3 hours of work we call it a day for today. The difference in the appearance of the rear wheel arch is significant. Underneath the car there is a lot of debris which came off the floor, but I would have expected to get more result. The month May is ending, the result achieved is hopefully sufficient to achieve the goal of having the car finished for painting at the end of the year. I'm targeting more progress for June.

Right hand rear wheel arch with black coating.


Right hand rear under floor after initial coating removal attempt without hot air gun.


Right hand rear wheel arch after coating removal.


Right hand rear under floor after coating removal with hot air gun.


Quite some coating removed from the under floor.