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

  1. Dcal Member

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    Hi @marlinspike what projects do you have on the go?
    Still got the Saab?
    Any chance of an update?
    It's a bit lonely on the car projects front here at the mo, could do with a bit more variety.

    Starting to put a few bits back on the car and discovering bits that need sorting as I go.
    I've finally accepted that there is no way this is going to be on the road during the month of May.
    It doesn't mean I'm throwing in the towel, just that I'm going to take the time to get it as near as possible.

    The next couple of bits is a good indication as to why everything seems to take so long.
    First is a tee for the heater at the back of the block which had seen better days. (Why would anyone run a car without antifreeze?)


    I couldn't find a replacement so decided to fix it.
    Also as I haven't started the welder for over a week I might have been getting withdrawal symptoms, which could have clouded my judgment.

    Bent a bit ms pipe I had in the scrap pile

    Then found and cleaned up another bit of scrap the required size.


    Before welding them in I decided to make barbs to retain the hoses and as I didn't have a tool for the job welded it on instead.


    I made the mistake of not welding the 10mm pipe barb before bending it so it was harder to clean up the weld but still a reasonable effort and certainly good enough for the purpose (I think)


    Don't know how to finish it off.
    I fancy plating it but couldn't be bothered to set up the plating kit for now.

    Next bit
    While I was painting the drive shafts I noticed a socket head bolt was missing (or at least most of it was.)
    I tried unbolting the rest of the bolts but no go, so cut all the heads to split the flange from the CV joint.
    Didn't think to take a photo but this is what a previous person had done to try and get the bolt out.


    It looks like they had just tried to drill it out but if you look carefully you can see that they had also cut through the flange into the bolt with a junior hacksaw.

    There wasn't much bolt showing
    But I was able to weld a 8mm bolt to the broken threads and screw the broken bit out.


    I then hammered a bit of aluminum pipe into the bolt hole to prevent filling the hole with weld, vee out the saw cut and weld it up.


    Clean it up, chase out the threads and job done


    Expect more of this extreme boredom over the next few weeks but it's all part of a project like this. (I've come to realise.)
  2. marlinspike Member

    United Kingdom
    Still got the Saab. If I had known how much work it needed I wouldn't have bought it. It sits on the drive, mocking me.

    Some good news though - ages ago we got a replacement door because the original was rotten, but it wouldn't hang right. Tried every adjustment, no luck. Couldn't swap the hinges because we couldn't undo the bolts on the old door. Miraculously, after a year of sitting in the garden, the old bolts released, we swapped the hinge and we finally have a door that closes. This might not seem a big deal, but when you feel like your project has stalled it gave us quite a boost. Costco had a deal on Bridgestone Turanza tyres so we got 4 new tyres fitted for £215.

    After 4 years on the drive it was looking pretty forlorn, so I bought an Argos da polisher, a few pads, and got cracking with the clay mitt, Meguiers Ultimate Compound, and Black Hole Glaze. Just getting the paint looking decent felt like progress. Baby steps lol.

    If the clutch hadn't gone we would almost be close to mot'ing it. The clutch pedal just goes to the floor, so need to make a decision on whether to have a go at replacing or rebuilding the master and slave cylinder ourselves or getting a mobile mechanic out.

  3. Dcal Member

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    @marlinspike looks like you are close.
    Bonnet looks to have turned out great and one final push could get it on the road.

    Is it a 900?
    Always liked the 99 and 900 series cars

    I know nothing about Saabs but the clutch could be an easy fix.
    Worth trying to bleed it, if only to narrow the problem down.

    Good luck with it
  4. akdaka Member

    If I remember correctly the SAAB's have a joint reservoir for the clutch and brakes. I had the slave cylinder go and was relayed home many years ago. I remember the AA guy pointing this out when he came out hence the relay home. Must I admit I miss the SAAB these days.
  5. marlinspike Member

    United Kingdom
    It's a 1992 Saab 900 turbo 16S. 260k miles on the clock lol. It needs a few minor things, but the clutch is the main issue. It's been fun, but I wouldn't restore another car without a big garage to do it in though - nothing gets done during the autumn/winter.

    Yes, it's one reservoir. We will probably try just bleeding it first. A slave or master cylinder change is doable diy, but a bit daunting.
  6. melle Member

    Bath UK/ Dublin IRL
    With that mileage I would just replace it, they're cheap enough. Did mine a few months ago when I had the knee bolster out to fix the cruise control, which made it an extra easy job.
    marlinspike likes this.
  7. Dcal Member

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    Starting to gather the parts I need to get this back on the road.


    Some minor progress in rebuilding the shell.


    Suspension back in so at least I can push it about the place.
    Doors back on so I can line everything up and make a start prepping the body work for paint.


    I noticed a few spots where the lacquer was lifting on the horizontal surfaces (bonnet, roof and boot lid)
    The bit below is a corner of the sunroof.


    No big deal I thought but I ended up scraping "all" the lacquer off the flat areas, leaving the base coat behind.


    I don't intend to take it back to bare metal and I am going to try and seal it with epoxy primer.
    I really hope this sorts it and I don't end up fighting the paint work like @Pigeon_Droppings2

    Bits of the car have been repainted.
    From what I can tell it was to repair rust spots starting around the front and back screens, sun roof and trim fixings.
    I will spot blast any rust before priming.

    Boot lid wasn't too bad but is a pain to do as there are so many fixing holes that need sorting.

    • IMG_8042.JPG
  8. bricol Member

    N.Yorks, UK
    Drill those gearbox mounts for a through bolt now - it'll be easier ;) I couldn't believe how quick they used to fail.

    I didn't see any propshaft doughnuts? I would imagine yours will be old and feeling their age - when they go, as the prop rotates at engine speed, they make rather a loud bang on the tunnel!!
  9. Dcal Member

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    @bricol Good tip on the gearbox mounts I was thinking of tacking captive nuts to the mounts or the crossmsmber a I remember they were a pain to get out.
    Socket head bolts might be a good option as well.

    The drive shift had already let go and tried to make a bid for freedom.
    The previous owner had replaced all the drive shaft donuts and bearings.
    I know the donuts are new because he left the clamping bands on!
    I marked everything, took the drive shift apart and painted it.
    Just need to put it back together and considering it's history, get it ballanced.
  10. Pigeon_Droppings2 Member

    Looking very good...our experience with the epoxy primer is that it's amazing stuff so I think you'll be OK.

    Just wished I had started the project with it instead of the bar coat and standard primers....lesson learned for next time for sure!
    marlinspike and Exuptoy like this.
  11. Dcal Member

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    Thanks @Pigeon_Droppings2 the epoxy certainly goes on nice but I find it doesn't sand as nicely as a 2K primer (maybe it's the make I'm using)

    Got the boot, roof, sun roof and some trim primed over the weekend.


    The previous paint seems to have been carried out to repair rust spots and I sanded most of the paint to revel the rust, then spot blasted before priming with epoxy.



    Slow process but it's a no brainer to do it when I'm this far in.
    There were a few spots that were really badly pitted (like the PS front door) and I mixed up some Jotamastic 87A and applied by brush before flatting back


    I think it sands well, but we will see if it lasts.

    The door trims had certainly seen better days and the UV seems to have caused a fair bit of damage to the flat sections. (The trim on the top in the photo below is still on the DS door, the lower one is off the PS door after sanding all the paint and primer off)

    I decided to sand all the paint off before giving them a coat of plastic primer because, as explained by @norsa on a paint thread spot priming plastic isn't straight forward, the plastic primer won't dry on a painted surface.


    After the primer dried I filled the damage with Upol Dolphin stopper along with the rest of the chips, nicks, dings and damage that you are bound to get on a 28 year old car.


  12. Dcal Member

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    Last and final patches to the shell (there is a bit of patching needed on the DS rear door but leaving that for the moment)

    These are a slightly out of sequences but thought I'd post them anyway.

    Small patch required to the bottom corner of the rear screen.
    Not a big patch but it needs the rear screen out for access and is an awkward shape (as always)


    Screen out and cleaned up to let the dog see the rabbit.


    I've lots of grinders but sometimes a Dremel is the only tool for the job.

    Area cleaned up and new patch made, fitted and battered into shape.


    Then some 87A


    And seam sealer.


    The other side was rusty but sound so just required a clean up and the same treatment.


    Also sorted a rust spot to the top corner but it just required welding and ground back.



    Job done but now I need a filler strip for the rear screen. (The old one was as hard as a w****'* heart)

    Anyone know of a universal filler strip that would do?
    The correct one is NLA
  13. Dcal Member

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    Just working my way through the prep for painting.
    The nasty scabs on the doors I filled with epoxy mastic as a HD stopper and it seems to be good for the job, then Dolphin Glaze and spot primed with epoxy primer after flatting.

    I was going to paint the doors on the shell but it was too awkward to mask the insides of the doors and the door shuts that I had already painted.


    Decided it was easier to just take the doors and mask the door shuts.


    After two coats of epoxy, two coats of 2K primer and a guide coat


    Then wet flat back with 320 Mirka Abranet and it's starting to come into shape.


    The bottom of this door still needs work but hopefully a couple more coats or 2K primer will sort it.

    I like using different colours for each paint layer as it immediately shows when you are cutting through. The intention is to stop before rubbing through the epoxy as this is an excellent protective coat. If just one colour of epoxy was used it's difficult to know what paint thickness is left on top of the steel.

    Same process was carried out on the rear door, front wing, boot-lid and sun roof panel.
    I'm really impressed with the Abranet mesh sand paper.
    It seems expensive for sand paper (and I know there is no sand in it) but just one small sheet was needed to block all the panels mentioned.


    Before taking the doors off I spent a fair bit of time trying to get the rear wheel arch into shape. The whole arch is covered with a plastic cover so I could have spent less time on it but I might as well do as good a job as I can and anyway it's good practice for when there is no option but to reach for the plop.


    I've now also put the epoxy, 2K primer and guide coat onto the roof and quarter panel.



    I intend to let it sit in primer for a couple of weeks to make sure everything is fully dry before a final sanding and top coat. If I just sand now there could be a bit of shrinkage in the undercoats which could show up in the finished paint.
    I've plenty to be going on with so no chance of running out of work yet.
  14. jpmillermatic

    jpmillermatic Member

    great progress....amazing work in all that prep!

  15. Dcal Member

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    Hi JP, you've been quiet lately, hows your Dakata coming along?
  16. jpmillermatic

    jpmillermatic Member

    Hey, Dcal

    yes, it had been a busy winter...but I did manage to get a few things done on the Dak. Im almost done welding in the outer patch panel on the (american) passenger side fender on the bed of the truck. Its really strong again now that it has all its structure back!

    loving the progress here....what color are you going to apply?

    slim_boy_fat likes this.
  17. Dcal Member

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    I'm trying to.keep everything standard.
    The body colour is easy (PPG 602 Nero metallic) the trim was a "lot" harder to match but finally got a colour that I'm pleased with which is a base coat with a matt lacquer.

    I've the engine bay and door shuts done just need to paint the outside.
    Exuptoy likes this.
  18. Tifa

    Tifa Member

    More please..following this with interest....FULLY subscribed!
  19. Dcal Member

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    Hi @Tifa thanks for the interest.
    At times I feel like I put far too much detail into some of these posts and they are more than a bit dry, but it can be a slog getting through a job like this and there is no point (I think) in trying to put a gloss on it.
    Always encouraging to get a bit of feedback though.

    Anyway, there is more to come.
    I have, by and large, been posting in real time for the last few month and will try to keep that up until I get it finished.
    I have just missed my deadline for getting this on the road (I knew I would 2 months ago)
    I wanted to drive it to our local Italian Car Club today but ended going far too deep into it for that to happen.
    I did take it (on a trailer) just because I said I would last year.



    I need to set another deadline!
    cr500dom, slim_boy_fat and Exuptoy like this.
  20. jpmillermatic

    jpmillermatic Member

    I love WIP shots...that looks great.