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Discussion Starter #1
Alfisti,

I put my spider into a guard rail back in December. I have sourced a donor spider for the sheet metal I need to bring my baby back to life. Before I start though I would like to take some measurements to make sure the chassis is straight. Does anyone have the chassis specs or measurements that might be used on a "frame machine" to check for straightness? I have access to a frame machine but need the numbers. I am really not sure what they measure or how. I have the shop manual but I did not know if the various diagrams and measurements in there are good enough for this type of check. Might not even be measuring the right stuff.

Any advice here is welcome.

The hit was light. I was doing less than 30mph and had to choose between hitting a car or ramming a guard rail. It was a bum deal either way. The good news is the guard rail was fairly high. It collapsed the top of the nose and banged up my fenders and hood. Everything else appears ok. I measured my alignment and found the front camber shifted 0.5 degrees towards the passenger side of the car. Some adjustable control arms will fix that. Also, drivers door rubs the latch post slightly when closing door. Gaps look ok though. I think I could easily adjust it to work properly and still have correct gaps.



Thanks!!

Tim
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Ok, option number two is to find a good shell and transfer parts rather than try to fix the sheet metal. Is there anyone out there with a good shell for a S3 spider (soft tail) within a few hundred miles of Baton Rouge, LA?? I really do not need anything more than the shell. So blown engines, bad or missing suspensions, etc. are not a big deal. Obviously, little to no rust and decent paint would be a plus. I would like to make my transfer and drive away rather than having to have the whole thing repainted.

If anyone has any better ideas, please let me know.

Tim
 

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Frame repair.

Hello, I have a degree in Automotive Body Repair. It has been sometime since I practiced but I have some thoughts about your Alfa.

It seems that a body shop would most likely remove the hood, both fenders and nose cone to gain access to the damaged frame areas. You need to see where the bends and folds are to see when you have pulled enough to remove them, and have access to hammer them if need be.

Once the panels are off, you can measure diagonally from one point to another, much like you measure to determine if something is square. You can do this across your trunk opening to see if that moved, your ****pit from windshield to opposing door opening edge and hood opening near the cowl panel to the opposing headlight or some other detail on the fender. These cross measurements must be equal. Just be sure you are measuring from symmetrical points, like hood hinges or hood bumpers, things that are most likely equally distant from the center line.

And if you start at the rearend, mark a center point from the edges of your trunk, then a center point near the top well, and one on the top of the windshield, one the cowl panel, then on the nose cone or front bumper. Run a string from the rear mark to the front mark and see which ones no longer line up.

Without detailed specs, a body shop may be able to get you close using this type of measuring. Frame workers can do amazing stuff just understanding geometry and knowing the direction of force from the accident.
 

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Looking closer, the body shop would need to also do vertical measurements. Your radiator support looks like it may have been pushed down, which could allow that cross measurement to be equal, even tho it is obviously out of whack.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Another Pic

I like the idea of using basic geometry to make sure things are still square. You make a really good point. Even without the actual chassis measurements it should be possible to determine if things are square. Duh, wish i had thought of that weeks ago! Thanks for the idea!!

Here is another picture of the car:



Let me elaborate on various things we have found....

The upper radiator support appears to have crumpled from the hood and moved towards the engine. The front suspension has shifted 0.5 degrees in camber to the passenger side of the car. The drivers door has good looking gaps but rubs the latch post when closing. There is a dimple on the passenger side of the car that may or may not have been there before the accident (this car has lots of dings and dents). There is a tear/crack in the passenger front fender at the lower front corner of the door.

Otherwise the car seems the same. I think tomorrow afternoon I should have the time to strip all the bolt on parts from the front of the car. I should be able to take some measurements starting at the rear and working my way forwards like you said. Checking things vertically is a good idea too. What are the expected tolerances for a car like this? 1/16"? 1/8"? Perfection?

Tim
 

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Door gap and hood gap is the usual tolerance for the fenders.
ie: if the gap is funny, then the panel isn't set right/true as being a unibody there's no shuffle room or ovid bolt holes to aline such things like in a frame type construction, ergo something isn't true.

As to actual tolerances, prolly a couple mm wouldn't be too far out of whack. (seemingly up to 10mm either way in some instances)
 

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I wouldn't expect perfect unless you find a body shop with the repair details for the Spider frame. And your tolerance might have to be a judgement call on your part.

I just found out my 79 front end is pushed to the drivers side almost a full inch. The PO had the work done at a good shop, but seems as tho they just made the outside look good and the car drive straight, however the hood hinges have both been drilled and bent to move the hood to the passenger side a good half inch or so.

However, the PO drove it for years after that fix with no issues, as long as it looked good and drove straight, didn't wear tires, he wasn't worried. But I am going to have to fix it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Those are all good points. I have been discussing the whole situation with my father in law. He is a long time dirt track racer and has dealt with many bent frames. His thoughts where that the suspension does not have to know the car is bent. As long as everything is aligned or adjusted properly in the suspension to track straight and have even tire wear then the shape of the frame/chassis does not really matter. Of course this is a unibody car, not a tube frame with sheet metal riveted to it. But still, if the pickup points for the suspension all agree with each other then what is in between does not matter.

Of course the other side is making it look right. Panel gaps don't lie. I am really interested to see what is underneath all the exterior metal. I will be on the prowl for creases and such that don't belong. Once I have the squished metal removed I can put a new hood on the car and see how straight the gaps are down the sides. Could be a real eye opener!

Now as far as tolerances are concerned, I am at a loss for what would be right. Looking from car to car I have seen an assortment of clearances between engines and airboxes, vvt solenoids and radiators, etc. There are several spiders in my area of the same vintage. The feeling I have gotten is they have all been hit and put back together or perhaps the build quality at alfa was not an exact science. So maybe to set my tolerances I should take some measurements on other cars and compare mine to theirs. If things all appear the same then I have a green flag. If things are bent I will have to figure out the next step.

Of course, if anyone has a nice shell sitting around of the right vintage, I am sure we could work something out....

Or if someone wants to make an offer on my baby, we might be able to make it work. That feels like a really depressing idea though.

T
 

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$100 as it sits.
$200 if you ship it to me :)

Nah, you'll get it redone.
I vaugely recall someone else had a simular crunch with simular damage a bit back (JohnM?) and while it was depressing, it got back into good form without a lot of heartache.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Now if someone could just tell my wife that same thing.....

T
 

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Oh I have been comparing part numbers on international auto parts website and see the part numbers for some items are identical, like floor boards, rockers and such. I would be curious with the different generations out there, how many major generations of frames there were. Depending on years, you might be able to use frame specs from an earlier model even.
 

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Tim:
That looks like sheet metal replacement only. Mak'em take the panels off at the seams and use weld=thru primer on the new seams.

I have a Autodata fact sheet for the 1750-2000 chassis. If you send me a email address I will send it back to you as an attachment.

Bud Feigel
Lexington, Kentucky
[email protected]
 

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i don't know if you noticed, but that car has been damaged in the past.. bondo on top of th driverside headlight.and along the side of the same part of the headlight.
 

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I know all cars have some filler from the factory, but that does seem a bit much on that head light area. I don't know what the build process is on Alfas, maybe more filler from the factory is normal?

I would take one of those spec sheets also :)
 

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That is not factory bondo filler. There is some lead work on the inside closer to the hood that is factory around the headlight. ghnl that is what he needs. We used to have a set of tram bars that we would hang from measurement points on the chassis. The points need to line up for it to be straight. Today they use lasers.
Get under the car, and you will see holes in the frame. Start out by finding A measurement hole(point) then B and then C (using ghnl's sheet for this info)
You could make a simple set of bars see link.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/FRAM...t=Motors_Automotive_Tools&hash=item35aed23215
 

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i don't know if you noticed, but that car has been damaged in the past.. bondo on top of th driverside headlight.and along the side of the same part of the headlight.
Great eye bianchi! Thick Bondo!
 
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