25 year old Alfa 75 back from the brink (hopefully)

  1. Dcal

    Dcal Forum Supporter

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    The two doors on the PS looked in pretty good shape, till I stripped all the trim off.
    Of course then there were a couple of scabby bits.



    Tackled the rear door, window section first.



    The patches in the bottom of the doors were straight forward and luckily the rot didn't go into the front skin.



  2. Dcal

    Dcal Forum Supporter

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    Continuing to work my way around the car and have arrived at the boot floor.
    Numerous problems here and none of them overly simple to sort, for example.

    Scabby spare wheel well with nasty previous repairs where the floor bungs had been welded up and a patched over towing eye.


    I could have just got the grinder out and cleaned it up a bit but if you have read much of this thread you will know that not my approach.

    First job was to make a couple of sets of dies for the floor bungs and the pressings in the floor to accept the bungs.
    Having recently got a Boxford Lathe (from Austin on here) I decided to try my hand at machining the dies, instead of just cutting them out of plate and hammer forming them.

    Ended up with two sets of male and female dies that allowed me to press the two blanks types using my hydraulic press.
    I then cut the excess off to form the bungs. Also had to drill the center out of the floor pressing type.



    Next process was to drill the duff repairs out with a hole saw and tack in the replacement



    Weld in pace and repeat two more times.


    At least now I've made the tooling the pressings are simple and quick to make, but will I ever use them again?
    • IMG_4750.JPG
    indy4x, Exuptoy, ronan and 6 others like this.
  3. slim_boy_fat

    slim_boy_fat Forum Supporter

    ^^ My first thought when I saw pic #6 was "What's the remains of an adjustable spanner doing stuck on there", all was revealed in the next one :ashamed:
    Dieselkid 63 and Dcal like this.
  4. Dcal

    Dcal Forum Supporter

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    Hi slim,
    I see what you mean (now) but with the standard of the previous repairs on this thing anything is possible
    Makes a change from using them for engine mounts
    slim_boy_fat likes this.
  5. Dcal

    Dcal Forum Supporter

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    More work on the spare wheel well.
    I bit the bullet and cut out the towing eye and floor.
    I've never tackled a shape like this and I knew this was going to be at the limit of my skills but if you don't try you don't learn.
    I used techniques from David Gardiner's excellent bodywork restoration DVD which I got on the recommendation of someone on here.

    Step one was to cut out the offending section.

    This could all go horribly wrong.


    I then split the floor from the towing eye to see what I can save and to give me an idea of the shape I need to form.

    Before making the patch I had to make a tool (of sorts)
    I hollowed out a dish in a lump of timber pile using a circular saw. It's half rotten but will do for practice

    Then cut out a fairly oversized patch and started to hammer it to shape.
    The idea is to shrink the outside and stretch the center to form the curves.


    No fancy hollowing hammers here, just a 2 pound ball peen but seems fine for the job.

    You beat the steel towards the center which raises puckers which you then hammer flat and in theory this thickens the steel at the edges to holds the shape.


    After a lot of hammering and checking and hammering the patch was close to the correct shape and I started to dress out the dents using a hammer and dolly and one of the rasps I got from hotponyshoes.


    I had to cut out part of a step in the bottom of the spare wheel well to remove all the rot, but I was able to use my modified bead roller to replicate the step in the patch.



    It was then just a matter of a final trimming to size and welding it in.
    I welded in a small patch towards the top first as I had enough bother making the main patch the size it was.



    Just need to finish grinding the welds and a bit more dressing to finish it off.
    ian f, Exuptoy, zx9 and 8 others like this.
  6. Dieselkid 63

    Dieselkid 63 Banned from forklifts

    Wellington, New Zealand
    Outstanding dedication! I love following this project as you seem to be having a go at lots of different processes all the way along.
    maxiboy likes this.
  7. Dcal

    Dcal Forum Supporter

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    Thanks Dieselkid, but I'm just an amateur compared to you with the dedication, time and detail you put into your Harrison.

    I'm in no real rush and really enjoy learning a technique or making a tool to solve a problem.
    I will probably have more fun fixing the car than actually driving it, but no sign of running out of projects yet, so should be able to do both before too long.
    This was going to be a rolling restoration, now I'm thinking of taking the engine out to tidy up the engine bay properly (and get access to the bulk head repairs)
  8. Dcal

    Dcal Forum Supporter

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    Wee bit more done on the spare wheel well
    This is the towing eye (or adjustable spanner according to @slim_boy_fat :laughing:) after I removed it and took off most of the previous repairs.


    And the other side


    Same bit after a quick blast


    Welded in a new bit to the easy side first


    Then trial fit to make the other side


    And useed the bead roller with home made tipping tool and old skate board wheel to start to form the shape


    And weld it up


    Gave it another bit of a blast clean and painted with Galvafroid before plug welding it into place

    ronan, Rannsachair, maxiboy and 4 others like this.
  9. Dcal

    Dcal Forum Supporter

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    Some more patches to the boot floor -

    First a small patch to the back panel / boot floor


    Then a bigger one beside it


    And then another one beside that one




    And yet another one beside that one


    And then the patches to the back panel



    If this is getting boring for you, how do you think I feel?
    It's starting to get a bit like eating an elephant, but I'm nearly out of the boot.

    I know the welding isn't improving much but my grinding is getting much better.

    Just noticed there are two different beers on the ramp!
    No wonder I'm turning to drink.
  10. slim_boy_fat

    slim_boy_fat Forum Supporter

  11. Dcal

    Dcal Forum Supporter

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    Moving on and into the DS rear wheel arch and rear jacking point area.
    Decided to strip the rear suspension and trans-axle out to do a proper job.
    It didn't need to come out for this work, but decided it had to come out sometime even though I'm struggling to find space to keep stuff.


    I'm no expert, but this looks a lot like a version of the gearbox and diff from an Alfasud!
    I know the Italians took the engine and box from a Fiat 128 and stuffed it the back to make the X19 with very few mods, but don't know if they went the other way with the Alfetta and the Alfasud or even if the sud came first but certainly looks like they were picking from the same the same parts bins.

    Haven't worked on a Sud in over 20 years but the calipers are certainly the same.
    I remember having to buy a 7mm spanner and cut it in half to adjust the pads! (Still have both bits of that spanner)

    One of the jobs on this will be adjusting the LSD which has gone AWOL


    As always on this thing there have been previous repairs carried out.
    I was going to redo all of them but decided to leave some of the repairs in place and just finish them off a bit better.

    Some of the repairs had already thrown in the towel and returned to nature, so it was back to guessing, but at least I had an idea what to expect.


    I cut out the worst of it to see what I had to work with.


    And in fairness beyond the localised rot it is fairly solid.
    So just a matter of making small patches and welding them in.


    And making yet another jacking point, starting with 25mm box.




    And fitting and welding it into place.


    delta9, Rannsachair, galooph and 2 others like this.
  12. bricol Member

    N.Yorks, UK
    What makes you think the LSD has gone awol? They were only a 25% lock up - which was not enough to get you moving up hill if one wheel was on wet grass and the other wasn't . . . ask my mum . . . I did throw quite a lot of her front lawn up the front of the house. It was, however, enough to punt the car sideways under acceleration when one wheel crossed snow and the other didn't . . .

    I hated those calipers - undo the lock nut, wind the screw with an allen key . . . and still couldn't get new pads in . . .
    I don't think it's got much in common with a Sud - seem to remember that box was shorter - but it does remind me why you couldn't handbrake turn a Sud going forwards ;-) The 75 re-used Alfetta mechanics, which did appear around the same time as the Sud, so no doubt used the same design cues in castings etc.
  13. Dcal

    Dcal Forum Supporter

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    Hi bricol,
    I think the LSD needs adjusting as when I checked the torque required to overcome the LSD and I turn one wheel the other turns in the opposite direction (same as a standard diff)
    It should take 1.5 kg/m to overcome the plates but it took exactly nothing.
    They do need adjusting from time to time, so I'm hoping it's just wear, but time will tell.

    You are probably right about the tran-axle. It's clearly different but the family resemblance is certainly there.

    Only alfa would put two different adjusting systems on the same caliper.
    One side is as you describe and on the other half of the caliper ther is a 7mm headed bolt head.
    Mad or what.
  14. droopsnoot

    droopsnoot Member

    Well done so far - this is very reminiscent of the Audi coupe I'm working through at the moment. I've just completed the repairs to the back panel and a couple of bits of boot floor, and now need to start working forwards. Nice to see someone else doing similar stuff, though your shaping on the double-curved bit of the spare wheel well is much better than I've been able to manage so far.
    Dcal and slim_boy_fat like this.
  15. Dcal

    Dcal Forum Supporter

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    Hi @droopsnoot,
    Thanks for the kind words and encouragement.
    Do you still have a Droopsnoot? My first car was a HC Viva, just 1256, but I always liked the 2.3s.

    I'm getting pretty OK with 90 degree bends and folds, but the curves are another matter.
    Having said that I'm really pleased with how the wheel well turned out (considering it was my first attempt at making that particular patch.)
    I used thicker metal than the well was constructed from which gave me more scope to stretch it without making it too thin.
    The biggest help, for me, was getting David Gardiner's DVD and realising that if I went too far with the stretching I could probably bring the panel back by shrinking it.

    Few photos of the repairs in the DS rear wheel arch area.

    I was going to cut the whole arch out and start from scratch, but I decided to just tidy up the existing repairs and fix any other rot.
    Hopefully by the time I need to do it again I will be better at making wheel arches.

    I've also decided I need to get this thing on the spit, take the under-seal off and blast all the rusty bits underneath, but I'm going to finish the outer panels first and get them into epoxy primer before tackling that job.
    The fact my delta is still on the spit is another major problem that needs to be resolved.

    I could give this a quick going over with a wire brush in a grinder but I think if I blast and epoxy the rust around all the mounting points and bolt holes now I should be able to stop it before it gets terminal.
    You can also see the previous repairs in the above photo.


    I took the factory under-seal and the tar the previous repairer had slapped on.
    The only place the tar stuck half properly was to the welds, everywhere else it came off in sheets, which was a blessing.
    Imagine the work involved if he (or she) had cleaned, abraded or even primed it before getting the tarmacers in.


    Few patches to close in the rear of the sill.


    Dragged out my former for the sill jacking points


    Not so easy to get good shots of the inner arch but I patched them up as well.
    • IMG_5268.JPG
    Exuptoy and brewdexta like this.
  16. droopsnoot

    droopsnoot Member

    Oh yes, still have the Firenza in the avatar (which I must update sometime), and a Sportshatch which was my previous restoration project, turned out to be a nine-year job in the end. The Audi was put on one side as the hatch wouldn't have lasted without prompt attention, it was rescued from a hillside in Wales.
    slim_boy_fat likes this.
  17. Dcal

    Dcal Forum Supporter

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    Hope this doesn't turn into a 9 year project but sometimes I wonder.

    I had great plans to get stuck in over Christmas as I had 3 weeks off. Two days before I was due to finish I took a dose which turned into a chest infection and I haven't been in the garage until this week which is really depressing.
    Anyway got a bit more done.

    DS rear arch finished repair


    Few other small patches to the same rear arch

    I know I should have done the whole arch but if I don't call a halt some where I'll never get it finished.

    Moved on to the front DS jacking point.
    I had done a bit of work here before on the sill but had left the jacking point as it was the least rotten of the lot.
    This was the wrong approach as the other three were pretty far gone, the rear ones were totally gone and I was just guessing what to replicate.



    Turns out there are small steps in the the section where the jack slides into the jacking point that I didn't form in the previous ones. Still 1 out of 4 is better than none and lesson learnt for the next time.
    Always start with the best pattern you have.





  18. bricol Member

    N.Yorks, UK
    I have to admit, when I did some floor repairs on my integrale 15 yrs ago when I got it, I simply missed the central jacking points off. Forming the recess in the floor to accommodate them was hassle, and they only caught all the crap.
  19. Dcal

    Dcal Forum Supporter

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    Just had a look and the central jacking points on my delta are ok. Makes a change.

    Finished the most of the welding on the underside of the 75 so next job on the list is not one I am looking forward to - the dreaded 75 bulkhead.


    As always doesn't look too bad and I was going to let it go until next winter but in for a penny and all that
    Also a couple of dodgy bit at the bonnet hinges.



    First job was to take the dash out.


    With the dash out the extent of the rot at the hinges became apparent


    And at the heater air intake


    Considering the amount of welding required I decides to removed the complete scuttle panel which meant I needed to remove the bonded windscreen.

    What I use for that is a couple of strands of the wire used for cutting the horns off cattle and the like.
    Don't know if it's still available but got a few meters a long time ago from an agricultural merchants and a little goes a long way.
    I cut the sealer at the top and bottom of the windscreen and fed the wire in then just sawed the screen out.

    Screen is de-laminating so need to replace it anyway but it came out in one piece, which is always nice.

    With the screen out I drilled out the spot welds on the scuttle and cut at the bottom of the screen pillars.


    I then did the same with the closure panel for the heater air intake which came out in one piece. Mixture of spot welds and mig welds holding this in.

    With that out of the way you can really see the extent of the repair required at the heater intake


    and at the bonnet hinges

    • IMG_5528.JPG
    indy4x and Exuptoy like this.
  20. bricol Member

    N.Yorks, UK
    I think the issue with the scuttle was those horrible rubbery, plastic drain tubes thingies - they'd block up and water would sit there rather than drain out. I couldn't figure out where the sound of sloshing water was coming from for a while, until one morning leaving a night shift, and turning a corner, the heater fan obviously took in water, and threw a lot of moisture up on the screen . . .

    They didn't improve much - similar things do similar things on my 159 - compounded by a seam missing sealant - and that led to 1/2" of water sloshing around the drivers side of the car under the waterproof carpet (it wasn't wet on top) - took a while to find that!
    Exuptoy, slim_boy_fat and Dcal like this.