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Discussion Starter #1
Hi AlfaBB,

I'm just getting into the restoration of my newly acquired 67 Sprint GT Veloce and have some questions about fender cutting and when to media blast. My intention is to do a rotisserie restoration. While I've done some extensive reading on the BB about other's experiences, I need some clarification on the following:

-Fenders (or wings)- I anticipate needing to replace the radiator support, lower wings and sills. My first thought is to remove the car's front sheet metal so they can be media blasted all at once. Should I cut the wings and sills off before the car leaves to be media blasted?

-Fender Cutting- Exactly where should the horizontal sheet metal cut be made to remove the lower part of the fender? Is it 12" from the bottom of the fender?

-Fenders and Valance- I intend to re-use my front fenders, step nose and valance. Is it reasonable to keep these four pieces connected while being removed from the car for media blasting? Is the process simply drilling the spot welds and grinding the seam welds for removal?

-Cutting Tool- Is a 4 1/2" angle grinder with a cut off wheel the best tool to cut these panels? If not, what does everyone use?

-Body Restoration Order of Operations-
1. Strip car of parts including front fenders and sills.
2. Mount car on rotisserie.
3. Media blast entire car.
4. Etch prime entire car.
5. Repair/replace sheet metal defects found from media blast.
6. Paint the car.

Anyone disagree with this order? Thanks in advance and looking forward to your thoughts.
 

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I think your order sounds about right - will you be blasting the car yourself? If not how will you transport the rotisserie mounted car to the blaster? I left mine on wheels and it made things much easier. I didn't know how much sill rust I'd have so I left the sills on, but had I known that the outers were coming off for sure, I agree with your thinking - let the blasting and the etch priming 'reach' the insides - this will save you a lot of time.

My only other comment is that I can't exactly tell how much metal you're proposing to remove - doesn't sound like enough to need to worry about the chassis flexing, but use common sense here.

Oh also, #6 should be renumbered #6000. But you'll get there =)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info, R-MM. Before I go crazy with cutting sills and drilling spot welds, are you aware of any links that detail where to cut?

Yes, I'm thinking paint will be closer to step 6000!
 

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My suggestion is the following:
  • If you intend to remove the whole panel then yes buy yourself a spot weld drilling out drill bit. Wonderful things. With these Alfas you will still have to cut as well as not all seams are spot welded. Some are butt welded, ie. front panel to front guards. Stick your head carefully up inside the front wheel well and you should see this neat seam.
  • If you intend to cut the rusty bit off the bottom of the rear of the front guards (for example) then I would suggest you order the repair patch first and then cut lower than you need for this repair so you will only end up with a single butt welded seam. Later on (probably years) you will come back to this area and have to scribe and cut again for the actual welding of the repair patch on. And yes a cut off wheel in a 4" or 4.5" grinder is a great tool. I've worn out 4 now I think.
Pete
 

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I second the spot weld drill recommendation and add to it that if you first wire-brush all the paint away the spot welds will show themselves more clearly as low points. It helped me to first punch (with a center punch and deadblow) a little mark so that the pin of the spot weld drill bit has something to keep it located.

I used a mixture of 4-1/2" cut off wheels (last forever) and dremel cut off wheels (last about ten seconds). The truth is that the perfect tool would be one of those pneumatic infinitely variable cut off wheel thinggies whose diameter I think is sized between the two, but I don't have serious air in my garage so I have never looked into it.
 

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The truth is that the perfect tool would be one of those pneumatic infinitely variable cut off wheel thinggies whose diameter I think is sized between the two, but I don't have serious air in my garage so I have never looked into it.
I can confirm that the little (3"?) air powered cutoff tools are fantastic.
 

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I second the spot weld drill recommendation and add to it that if you first wire-brush all the paint away the spot welds will show themselves more clearly as low points. It helped me to first punch (with a center punch and deadblow) a little mark so that the pin of the spot weld drill bit has something to keep it located.

I used a mixture of 4-1/2" cut off wheels (last forever) and dremel cut off wheels (last about ten seconds). The truth is that the perfect tool would be one of those pneumatic infinitely variable cut off wheel thinggies whose diameter I think is sized between the two, but I don't have serious air in my garage so I have never looked into it.
I second all of this as good advice!

The only other thing I recommend is a good set of cold chisels to easily break what's left of the spot weld without ripping and/or bending the material.

Go slowly, wax on wax off, look and understand (photograph) the panels you are taking apart. It's really quite simple construction.
 

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Yup a good cold chisel set, which often includes punches and drifts as well, is a must. When I think back on all the screwdrivers I have shamed by misuse...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Flange Photos

Thanks for the recommendations on getting the panels loose. I'm a little perplexed on how to get the fender off the car where it mates up with the door. I called Vintage Customs to ask them, and they said they just bend the flange away to get it off. The hitch is my car has spot welds along that flange that are not accessible via drill. Classic Alfa calls this the "Front Wing to A Pillar Panel".

How do I remove the fender from this piece?

Lower Front Valance- The lower valance had close to 3/8" of bondo in it and wire wheeling the panel revealed a tear and some significant damage where corrosion ate away where the valance meets the radiator support. Would you recommend saving the lower valance, or replacing it with a new one?

Thanks in advance. Progress is slow as we have our first newborn baby now.
 

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Why are you removing the wing (fender) completely, is it damaged above the wheel arch or swage line? (Edit) Although looking at your photos this question may be moot as you've already started to remove all the other spot welds.

If you don't plan to use the wing again then simply cut it off.
If you do plan/hope to use the wing again, then perhaps a Dremel (grind) will let you get at the spot welds easier.

I cut my wings off, they had been repaired badly by a dozen people prior and I wanted access to the complete A pillar and door hinge structure.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Fender Removal

Thanks for the response, Craig. I'm removing the front fenders because the radiator crossmember needs to be replaced. My battery tray was totally corroded as well and I'm expecting to have to do some repairs around that area also.

I'm under the assumption that removing the fenders and nose is the correct way to do those repairs. I also plan to replace lower front wings, outer sills and possibly a lower valance.

Was your fender spot welded inside that flange? Thanks and talk to you soon.
 

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Yes, the wing is folded over and spot welded. I cut mine off (Duetto) as I bought new complete wings. Seemed more economic than fussing with two repair panels and allows me to visually check all the nooks and crannies (windscreen support) and replace the front rad support and inner wing/battery box construction. This was all toast in my car too.

Personally, I believe the best way to do any of these repairs confidently and quickly is to mimic how they left the factory. Anything with rust or a patch on my car is getting a new panel where available fitted. I currently have my Duetto completely in pieces but it's a very similar car in construction. I'm doing rear floors in my GT (today) but they're simpler and can be done on the driveway.
 

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Thanks for the response, Craig. I'm removing the front fenders because the radiator crossmember needs to be replaced. My battery tray was totally corroded as well and I'm expecting to have to do some repairs around that area also.

I'm under the assumption that removing the fenders and nose is the correct way to do those repairs. I also plan to replace lower front wings, outer sills and possibly a lower valance.

If you're looking to do this and reuse the original panels I think you'll find you're up for a serious amount of work. Even replacement of the whole 3 panels (fenders and nose cone) is an expensive exercise. I'd try find another way.
 

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I would bend the edges of the guard back and if necessary grind out the spot welds, if they are holding the guard on?.?.? Easy to weld up the holes after the grinding if necessary.

I've discovered with removing my door skin that this is possible and hopefully soon I will be able to fold them back correctly.

But what about removing the guard where the guard connects to the actual A pillar not where it connects to the gap filling panel.

Oh and yes I think if you can remove the whole front clip then there are some advantages in doing this, but somewhat scary. I didn't do this but the best way to repair the front clip is to be able to get to both sides for hammering and shrinking work ... plus lots of trial assemblies required.
Pete
 

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I agree with Pete. Separate at the A pillar. NOS fenders come with that splash panel so that is the desiref way. I do not know how the repros come.

Also agree that keeping the whole clip together is the best plan but you need help handling it

FWIW

Ken
 

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If you're replacing the front apron as a patch panel, you can do the radiator cross member without pulling the front clip off.
True, been there and done it that way.

But looking at the amount of bog in the front of that car it needs a lot of hammer and dolly work. The best way is to remove at least the front panel completely. If you can get to both sides you can do amazing things with a hammer, dolly and a gas torch ... with a lot of patience.
Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Bonnet Hinge Bracket & A Pillar Support- Take it or Leave it?

Thanks so much for the advice! While studying some photos, it appears that some shops remove the bracket that the bonnet hinges are mounted to, while others don't. I understand from other posts that the alignment of this piece is crucial to get the front end correct. The same goes for the A-pillar support that I'm contemplating unfolding the fenders from.

I'm leaning towards taking the bonnet hinge bracket off so I can get to the back of the nose for hammer/dolly work, but thought I would pose the question to the guys who have done it before. Any opinions? Please refer to photos of both. Thanks Alfaholics and other AlfaBB for photo credit.
 

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To get to that panel you'll likely need to destroy the nose cone top section due to the amount if spot welds etc. The last photo you've used is all NOS panels and they were assembled off the car (obviously) - but only after some very careful triple checking.

That nose subframe is not available as a repro.

Interestingly that assembly as shown came as a spare from the factory all pre welded.
 

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I don't know about step noses but the nose of my 1750GTV has very few spot welds holding it on. Along the top at front of bonnet area (i think) and along the bottom, plus a few around the headlight brackets, that's all.

I personally would only take the outer "skin" off myself as that is just visual alignment. The inner panels need to align for making things work, like bonnet hinging, etc.
Pete
 
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