Panel Welding Progress. - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums

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post #1 of 402 (permalink) Old 05-16-2005, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Panel Welding Progress & Kamm Tail Restoration.

Time to post an update on the Spider body work.

The side marker holes will be welded shut to look "Euro". Step #1 was to grind off the paint using a wire wheel.
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post #2 of 402 (permalink) Old 05-16-2005, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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Next was to cut a piece to fit as closely as possible in the hole. The piece is from a scrap Alfa Spider body panel, so this is authentic, Russian, original steel. The piece is held using a welding magnet. The magnet is so-so. I tried using little screw-on clamps, but they didn't work very well. The idea is to hold the piece perfectly flush to the surrounding metal while welding.
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post #3 of 402 (permalink) Old 05-16-2005, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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This work may seem a bit basic to some of you, but it's all new to me. I thought I'd post it for anyone thinking of doing similar work.

Now comes the fun part. The sheetmetal must be tack welded in very short increments to prevent heat warping. Place a few welds several inches apart, let it cool, then place a few more. Eventually, the entire perimeter will contain weld. It's necessary to clean the welds of carbon black so that new welds are added to clean sheetmetal.
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post #4 of 402 (permalink) Old 05-16-2005, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
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Using a grinder and a Norton cutting wheel, the welds are ground down to flush. You can't grind too long in one spot or the heat can warp the metal. A talented, experienced person can weld in a patch piece and metal finish to the point that no filler is required. I am not one of those people. A little skim coat of filler and proper block sanding should have this looking perfect some day. Here's how it looks after grinding and priming.
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post #5 of 402 (permalink) Old 05-16-2005, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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OK, after repeating these steps on the other side of the car, it's now time to try something more challenging. The nose of this Spider suffered a bludgeoning some time in the past. I beat the metal as straight as possible, but couldn't get the nose quite right. The vertical wall on the forward edge was angled wrong. So, the next solution seemed to be to replace some portion of the nose. Many people recommend replacing the entire upper nose cone, but I couldn't get my brain around that. The upper nose fit perfectly to the hood and the headlamp openings were perfect for installing Carello covers. I didn't want to mess with all of those areas. So, I decided to cut out just the portion of the nose that was damaged. Since the car will be fitted with a chrome grille, the little notch in the center of the nose would need to be shifted to the right about 1/4" so that the grille would fit properly. This could be accomplished by cutting out the metal and carefully aligning the new piece. I bought a nose from a dismantled car and stripped the area to bare metal.
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post #6 of 402 (permalink) Old 05-16-2005, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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Next step was to start making cuts. This was a time-consuming and incremental process to make a piece fit right. I needed to align the notch in the middle of the nose with the "V" in the lower nose cone so that the grille would fit. Also, the vertical wall on the edge of the nose had to have a continuous, smooth sweep from one side of the car to the other. I was less concerned with the large, relatively flat surfaces of the nose since these are easily worked with hammers and dollies. Also, a little skim coat of filler on flat areas can be easily block sanded to become free of waviness.
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post #7 of 402 (permalink) Old 05-16-2005, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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After carefully trimming and trimming and trimming, fitting the grille, trimming, bending and trimming, the patch piece is nearly ready.
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post #8 of 402 (permalink) Old 05-16-2005, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
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It's time to start tack welding with the Mig.
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post #9 of 402 (permalink) Old 05-16-2005, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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I used some vice-grip type clamps and the welding magnets to hold the panel flush. Duct Tape is also useful for holding the pieces together, as long as you don't weld too close to the tape. You don't want to contaminate the welds.
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post #10 of 402 (permalink) Old 05-16-2005, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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The welds are then ground down. If you have to reweld any areas that were missed, be sure to do this before the welds are fully ground flat. The welder can easily blow out previous welds that have been ground thin. By the way, I used an inexpensive Mig welder from Harbor Freight. It's the only welder I ever used, so I can't say whether it's any good. It seems to work just fine, however.

Here is the finished result. I may work this area a bit more, but that's enough for now.
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post #11 of 402 (permalink) Old 05-16-2005, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
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The front side marker holes will be welded shut just like the rear except that a small, round hole will be added to mount the European round side marker lamps.

Here's a shot after laying down some tack welds. You can see the carbon black around the welds. This needs to be cleaned off with a wire wheel before attempting to add more weld.
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post #12 of 402 (permalink) Old 05-16-2005, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
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OK, that's enough for now. Posting these pictures helps to keep me motivated. Thank you for your time.

Bill / 1977 Alfa Romeo 4C2000 / 2012 BMW S1000RR / 1975 BMW R90/6
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post #13 of 402 (permalink) Old 05-16-2005, 05:40 PM
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Wow, great work, Bill! You've really been keeping busy(and I'm still collecting pieces ).

Keep posting the work as it gets done so the rest of us can follow the process.

La vita e troppo corta per non guidare Italiano! (Life's too short not to drive Italian!)

You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundries are those of imagination. That's the sign post up ahead. Your next stop: [COLOR=Red]The ALFA Zone[/COLOR].

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'76 Spider Veloce(tucked away in my garage)
'76 Spider Veloce(a roller)
'79 Spider Veloce(parts-donor lawn ornament)
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post #14 of 402 (permalink) Old 05-16-2005, 05:45 PM
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Great job, Bill. That fist side marker hole looks photoshopped. Keep up the good work. Before you know it, you too will have a trailer queen.

Brian __________________________________
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post #15 of 402 (permalink) Old 05-16-2005, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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Ron, thanks. That nose cone took me a whole day. It's getting quicker as I get a feel for it. Here's the semi-finished front side marker.
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