Alfa Romeo Forums banner

1 - 20 of 402 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,155 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,155 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
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.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,155 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
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.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,155 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
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.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,155 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
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.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,155 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
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.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,155 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
After carefully trimming and trimming and trimming, fitting the grille, trimming, bending and trimming, the patch piece is nearly ready.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,155 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
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.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,155 Posts
Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
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.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,155 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
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.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,155 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
OK, that's enough for now. Posting these pictures helps to keep me motivated. Thank you for your time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
266 Posts
Wow, great work, Bill! You've really been keeping busy(and I'm still collecting pieces :D ).

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

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,155 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Ron, thanks. That nose cone took me a whole day. :eek: It's getting quicker as I get a feel for it. Here's the semi-finished front side marker.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,155 Posts
Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
ossodiseppia said:
Great job, Bill. That fist side marker hole looks photoshopped. :p ;)
Thanks. You put the mark very high on the wall. If my car looks half as good, I'll be thrilled. It's a lot of fun, but sometimes it would be nice if Photoshop could fix the actual car !!!
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
12,195 Posts
Impressive work!!

I better find my car in it's new garage as I'm getting way behind many of you :eek:
Pete
ps: I'm sure it is in there somewhere ... under all the boxes, etc. that result from moving houses.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
718 Posts
Bill - you're pretty **** brave to cut metal sections out of the body. If it was me after making the first snip, I'd be yelling, "I've really messed things up now!! :eek: " Great job... keep the pictures and commentary coming.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,155 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Three more weld patches to go: left front side marker lamp hole, driver's side lower B-pillar/quarter panel and the right rear wheel arch.

I forgot to mention -- when adapting the heart-shaped grille to a rubber bumper car, a small bracket needs to be added to secure the top of the grille. You could probably screw something to the reinforcement under the upper nose cone, but I decided to weld on a bracket. This is something that was not mentioned in the conversion kit from Spider Point.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,975 Posts
Bill, you're going to come to Connecticut and make a couple of repairs to my car, right? :)

(I keep telling my wife I need to learn to weld. I don't tell her it's because the PO cut a square notch out of my Spider's rear valence to clear dual tailpipes and it needs to be restored to its semicircular notch.)

Great job.
 
1 - 20 of 402 Posts
Top