147 Re-Shelling - Alfa Romeo Forum
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(Post Link) post #1 of 15 Old 04-05-16 Thread Starter
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147 Re-Shelling

OK, I have posted a small intro but for the speed readers - I'm fairly competent mechanically and have limited experience on a 147.

Situation - my July 01 147 (5 door, silver, 2.0 manual) was in the middle of a car sandwich, it will require new front chassis tips, crossrail, wings, bonnet, undertray, grille inserts, front bumper trims, front bumper padding, condenser, fan shroud, fan assembly, heatshield, O2 sensors. AC compressor block, AC dryer, rear hatch, boot floor and beaver panel, boot inner trim panel. I patched the fan back together and replaced the rad with a new Nissens, to keep it driveable. It's fully insured for a decent amount. However I really like it; it's been very reliable and I've become used to its interior.

So, in anticipation of a "total loss" with my insurers, I have picked up a February 03 silver, 5 door car - the main differences to me are its sunroof and Selespeed. This car has a busted cam belt and 50% more miles but relatively good body.

What I plan to do, is what I call a re-shell, basically using only the 03 car's bodyshell, glass and hung panels. The rest will come from retention of salvage on my 01 car.

Main questions are on the dash and harness. I can't find any good pictures online to reveal the dash structure. Also I don't know if the harnesses are one long "snake" from nose to tail, or if there are interconnects. And - whether the dash harness is an "either or" variety with plugs that may or may not be used depending on whether the car is manual or Selespeed. Certainly this is how the French like to do it.

I'm presuming that with the driveline and dash out, a pedal box swap is not insanely difficult, and the shifters won't be a hassle to interchange.

With the wiring, how many items are coded in to the body computer, and also how many store the mileage? Is the transponder matching code stored in the column hub, or is this just a "passive" component? I've further got some vague idea the VDC sensor box changed around 2002 - is this right?

I don't want to stay with the Selespeed partly because of concerns about the shift actuation fluid leaking into the gearbox. The accumulator sphere is no worry, I have a 150 Bar testing pump/gauge that could be adapted to bench test this item. Also, the hydraulic clutch is relatively light and has been trouble-free.

Cheers; look forward to any advice on achieving my preferred outcome.
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By far the easiest fix will be to put your good engine into the sele car. If you really wanted to you could look to convert to manual later, but it's a much, much bigger job than fixing any part of the sele system, should it ever go wrong.

This assumes the broken cam belt car is good in all other respects.
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I'd have thought that effectively you do need to "reshell" your car - ie swap all the mechanical and electrical components. The body computer (the bit behind the fuse box) is what controls most things, including the immobiliser, so you'd need to swap the immobiliser chip from your keys into the replacement shell's keys, and use your body computer/fusebox and engine ECU. If possible I'd use your wiring loom too. You can probably keep the central locking and electic windows, but might well have to run proxy alignments once everything is installed.
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Sounds like an interesting project but I can't imagine that its going to be worth the time and trouble to do it. 147's are not expensive these days plus its not certain that the insurance company will let you keep the remains of your car.
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Wow - a mentally large amount of work for (I'm afraid to say) little or no return! Appreciate you like the car but there are lots of really nice examples out there which will be far cheaper than what it will cost to sort out a new shell plus more fun to look at a few examples and a lot less hassle!

Good luck in whatever you decide to do!
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Just replace the engine and try the selespeed gearbox.

Cherry pick any other parts but keep the box, loom computers, pedals etc in case you don't like it.
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(Post Link) post #7 of 15 Old 07-05-16 Thread Starter
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Thanks all, especially rgwm who has addressed some of my principal concerns. I'm comfortable in the path I'm taking with my claim; my insurer will not be bearing the cost burden, nor will I be making unreasonable demands of the at-fault party.

Re the attached image, are there harness layout diagrams anything like this for Alfas? The one pictured, is for electronic suspension on a Citroen C5, and shows some of the (specifically identified) harness, module and interconnect locations. I can probably find much of it via EPER parts diagrams, but not sure if it's infra dig here to buy a cracked set of these discs.

I admit not being familiar with the term "proxy alignment" - is this manufacturer jargon for matching the configuration of the body computer to the shell's physical characteristics? I haven't the "ECU scan" software and dongle (yet) but have available a couple of good third party diagnostic tools which seem to have reasonable dialogue with the ECU and body computer.
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Not sure if there are diagrams like that....tho I'm sue no-one on here will have any problem with an Ebay Eper disc

Yeah, "proxy alignment" is telling the canbus system that the bit of electical kit its trying to identify is a "friendly" - the Body computer needs to be able to identify all its clients, effectively
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(Post Link) post #9 of 15 Old 08-05-16 Thread Starter
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Excellent info, thanks. Can I perform a proxy alignment with one of the higher end third party tools or is it a job for the "ECU Scan" gear?
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(Post Link) post #10 of 15 Old 09-06-16 Thread Starter
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One quick question, I've been buried in paid work and this hasn't afforded the spanner time I'd like.

I can buy a good running '07 147 2.0TS (5 speed) drivetrain this week at the right price; would the motor be a bolt-in? This would simply allow the car to become and remain mobile while I sort out what happens next. If I leave the Selespeed car powered down while the transmission is out, will the clutch self-adjust on powering up again (assuming I retain the Selespeed flywheel and clutch cover/disc)?

Thanks, Adam.
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(Post Link) post #11 of 15 Old 21-08-16 Thread Starter
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A few disruptions later, and I have an almost-stripped facelift car. This was in UK terms, an 80K mile, Cat B 2.0 /5 speed with modest impact damage along the front offside. Drove beautifully! (The green sticker on the front window is a mandatory "Authority to tow" form for vehicles that are not able to be safely driven from the scene of an accident.)

The motor from this one is going into the Selespeed car; I am going to compare harnesses but it really looks like the manual cars delivered here, came with dash and front harnesses that could also accommodate Selespeed boxes. I'm thinking the facelift harness, six years newer and less miles, might be good to put in.

I'm now stuck wondering if the cars with the first type ABS/ESP (yellow connectors on the sensors) would have satisfactory dialogue between their earlier body module and the later ABS/ESP computer! Has anyone tried this?

Big WIN on my $400 Selespeed, I went to check it's history online and found that it was still registered (equivalent of UK taxed/insured) three months after the seller saying he was going to cash it in. A quick transfer of the title and now I don't have to go through hoops to put it back on the road, just a quick once-over and pay the 650 annual fee.
In acknowledgement of the poster who referred to a "mental" amount of work to re-shell a 147, I can see exactly where this remark comes from; it is a car that is built very differently to the Frenchies. Much less of a modular design practice, it is more "layered" in assembly and you really do have to dig down to remove or exchange some items.

Cheers, Adam.
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(Post Link) post #12 of 15 Old 01-09-16 Thread Starter
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Having now reduced a 147 shell to scrap metal with a recipro saw, I wanted to bury a few comments in this thread where many will miss them.

Structurally, the 147 is very interesting! It goes beyond the magnesium dash frame.
  • There is high strength steel in the shock towers, sill stiffeners and firewall (which is almost armour plate in its strength and thickness).
  • The rails are differently braced; the RH rail (engine side) is stiffer, with extra reinforcing. So in the event of a frontal impact the drivetrain is biased towards skewing away from the passenger compartment. Clever, eh?
  • To augment this, the left lower A-pillar (from below screen) is more reinforced than the right.
  • There's quite a lot of foam used at panel junctures. Unlike cars of an earlier era I didn't see it holding water or deteriorating to an acidic powder.
  • A lot of the skeleton seems to be constructed with the aid of plastic locating clips/flaps/pegs. This presumably is so the welding processes require minimal oversight. The flaps contain the spread of foam.

After painting as a complete unit, it would seem the harness clips and captive fasteners are next fitted. Side and rear felt wadding is applied to cavities and bituminous sheet stuck on. Cabling is then laid in, followed by inner firewall insulation. These latter two points are about face to many manufacturers, and make harness access/repair harder.

The pedal box with brake servo and clutch master is fitted on its metal firewall plate, and the dash brace with wiring attached is then laid over the top. Interestingly the carpet/underlay goes in about now, again at odds with many makers who fit it much later. HVAC follows. The good side of this, is it's not so hard as some cars, to remove and service the heater box!

It also appears, although I didn't test the theory, that you can lift the dash skin off without removing the steering column.

As a side note on the front mechanicals, people speak as if removal of the subframe is a job to fear. It has none of the French issue with multiple brake lines clipped to its inner faces, you need to unbolt a couple of PAS metal line clips, remove the rack bolts, drop links, free the bottom ball joints and then it's about eight subframe bolts to take out. Rust might make it a problem, but compared to a 2001 Peugeot the removal is a lot more straightforward.
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Unfortunately on a 156 (not sure about your 147) the subframe is a bit more difficult than that because you also have to remove the section of the exhaust under the subframe and unbolt and lower the rear section, then unbolt and lower the 'transmission tunnel' part that carries the gearshift and whatnot. Awkward and time consuming, though not too challenging.
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(Post Link) post #14 of 15 Old 01-09-16 Thread Starter
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Yep, know that part, I (anthropomorphically) call it a "spine". With the rack free, it only needs loosening down enough to disengage the plastic locating pegs on the subframe's trailing edge.

Forgot to mention the front exhaust though.
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(Post Link) post #15 of 15 Old 03-09-16 Thread Starter
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Thought I'd chuck in this picture of my 2005 boot/chassis floor pan. Gotta love the lack of rust.

I plan to carve off the rails and re-use some or all of the floor pressing itself, plus the rear panelling.
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