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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Are panels available for the area to the front of the sills?
Both sides have goe the same way. The drivers side is a little worse, as the bottom of the wing is missing. I'm guessing a replacement wing will be easier. The advice I seek is about repairing with oxy-acetylene. Can I just spot fix it or must it be seem welded?
Rust Driver sill.JPG
Rust Pass sill.JPG
 

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I wouldn't use Oxy acetelene, not only is it more dangerous the heat from it will make it more likely that you will get panel distortion.

Conventional gas shielded mig will be easiest and give the best results.
 

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Load of rubbish Symon, it depends on the gas welding gear and the experience of the welder. You can rose weld as easily with oxy/acel as you can from mig. I use both for my restoration work with the finer stuff usually done with gas as gas welds are also much,much easier to planish for a better finish than mig welds. Gas welding requires a little more skill but is better however structural parts on modern unibody construction require mig and I would regard that bottom of the inner wheel arch/sill joint as structural therefore I would suggest a mig welderis necessary unless you have a Henrob torch on your gas unit( I do) .
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The MOT guy failed it due to rust being within 20cm of the sub-frame mount, however the jacking point is closer, and when I jacked up the car, there was no noticeable flexing in that area, so it looks more like it is a seal for the front of the sill, not really a critical load area - there is/was a huge oval bung there. I only have gas equipment at the moment, and the area in the wheel arch is really difficult to get to with a MAGs helmet on without stripping off the front wing and suspension. Personally I'm not keen on MAGs as it has a tendancy to spit molten metal balls everywhere, really messy. If I had the money I would go TIG for sure. I'm not bothered that MAGs welds are ugly and super-hard and difficult to make pretty, as this is an area hidden behind the arch liner. I guess the car is beyond economic repair really so I may as well have a go.
 

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Before you start patching that up, strip the underseal off the whole sill. you will likely find a few more rust patches. Also check out the floorpan and the rear Chassis beams, particularly around the rear trailing arm mounts.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Ransoman, the MOT tester kindly circled all the holes with big yellow crayon - theres a few to do each side, but the floor pans seem ok so far. Disappointing for a car with 52k miles on it.
 

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The bit pictured is easy for anyone remotely competent with a MIG. Cut it back, the lower flange looks ok, clean it all up and wallop a plate on it. Fill the inside with rust proofer.

If the other holes are on the outside of the sill and under the plastic covers, then they are fairly simple too. If they are on the edge of the floorpan, then the interior has to come out to do it properly.

Depends on how much you like the car. Botching it to pass the MOT is a few hours work. If there are several bits on the sills, then doing it properly is a few days work. The place that MOTd it will have a tame welder....
 

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Discussion Starter #9
rxe! Your lad is spitting image of my lad. I totally read your thread and enjoyed every minute of it, apart for the bee sting face swell that was a bit upsetting. My car is a bit annoying really, I didnlt check it properly when I went to buy it, the interior was perfect, it drove great and had documents to prove 52k miles. That will teach me. This lock-down thing has made it really difficult to get anyone to work on cars around Cambridge, maybe they are scared of Alfas? It is our second 156, the other has 165k on it, and is a bit creaky, but not nearly as rusty. I do want to save it, it was only £300 and it IS car of the year 1998.
 

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I’m still a little sad, two years on, that I had to let my 156SW TS go to be broken because of floor corrosion in the rear footwells and front sills. I’d read rxe’s brilliant thread and thought it eminently fixable, but with it also needing new suspension all round, a cambelt, an exhaust, and a rear main seal (which also meant a new clutch), it was just too expensive. I couldn’t do it myself and actually couldn’t get anyone else to do it, even with offers of money. Not worth saving as it wasn’t a V6, apparently.

Externally at 162k miles it was pretty mint, apart from the bottom of one front wing, and in a good colour - Nero fuocco. The interior was spotless.

Ok, maybe not just floor corrosion.....
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I started removing the rust on the front sections of the sills today, and while I was there, I noticed the underseal on the floorpan looked a bit 'scabby' so I had a pick, and the underseal just started coming off in large bits, revealing really severe corrosion. I wasn't expecting that. Its as if the factory just slopped a rubber coat onto bare steel. I wonder if this car was parked up on the seafront for 10 years...Oh my I wonder if this car really is saveable now. Damn it.
 

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I started removing the rust on the front sections of the sills today, and while I was there, I noticed the underseal on the floorpan looked a bit 'scabby' so I had a pick, and the underseal just started coming off in large bits, revealing really severe corrosion. I wasn't expecting that. Its as if the factory just slopped a rubber coat onto bare steel. I wonder if this car was parked up on the seafront for 10 years...Oh my I wonder if this car really is saveable now. Damn it.
It might still be savable. That is what i am doing to my GT right now. get all the underseal off, back to bare metal/primer and asses. I have only found 1 hole on mine so far and that is on the sill.

Clean back as much rust as possible using a wire wheel on a grinder, Electric file, Flap disk, paint removal pad etc, whatever your weapon of choice is, then give it a thin coat of rust converter. Really work the converter in with a stiff paintbrush into all of the pitted areas then leave overnigh. Go over the converter with some 400grade wet and dry paper. re-apply the rust converter to any area that revealed fresh brown rust then once dry, key the surface and give it 2 coats of Zinc 182, then a chassis black enamel paint and finally a fresh coat of underseal. this may take a few weekends though,

It's a tough job but hopefully worth it in the end.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the words of encouragement ransoman. So far I have holes in the front sill caps, the O/S floor, O/S sill, O/S rear suspension mount.I gave up at that point. My weapon of choice is a mini belt sander, really takes the rust and underseal off in all those tight places. I am lucky I can park the car up on the front garden, while I mourn it, maybe I will fix it up bit by bit or use it as a spares source. We have another 2001 156 with 160k miles on it, and the chassis looks way better. Sure there are a few rusty bits, but the rust seems to have been contained in small areas, rather than spread like wild beneath the underseal. I will need to remove the brake lines to get to one hole, and the carpet to get to another, and the rear supension for another one. And I noticed a botched repair that has been a few years ago near the other side brake lines. That is a lot of work for a car not worth much. :( My 1975 Alfetta GT has hardly any rust underneath, so I will check out this zinc 182, is it an etch primer ?
 

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I feel your pain!

Here is mine, gutted to say the least...

 

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Need photos. I’ve not seen a hole on a 156 (yet) that needed rear suspension removal.

They’re pretty random. My 51 plate V6 has never been welded and is perfect. 51 plate JTD - some welding. 03 plate GTA - lots of welding.
 

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Need photos. I’ve not seen a hole on a 156 (yet) that needed rear suspension removal.

They’re pretty random. My 51 plate V6 has never been welded and is perfect. 51 plate JTD - some welding. 03 plate GTA - lots of welding.
As you say, pretty random in terms of corrosion. The late facelifts (2005) are supposed to be the most prone to corrosion, but my X-plate V6 wasn't in a good way at 8 years old!
 

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Thanks for the words of encouragement ransoman. So far I have holes in the front sill caps, the O/S floor, O/S sill, O/S rear suspension mount.I gave up at that point. My weapon of choice is a mini belt sander, really takes the rust and underseal off in all those tight places. I am lucky I can park the car up on the front garden, while I mourn it, maybe I will fix it up bit by bit or use it as a spares source. We have another 2001 156 with 160k miles on it, and the chassis looks way better. Sure there are a few rusty bits, but the rust seems to have been contained in small areas, rather than spread like wild beneath the underseal. I will need to remove the brake lines to get to one hole, and the carpet to get to another, and the rear supension for another one. And I noticed a botched repair that has been a few years ago near the other side brake lines. That is a lot of work for a car not worth much. :( My 1975 Alfetta GT has hardly any rust underneath, so I will check out this zinc 182, is it an etch primer ?
That mini belt sander is a god send. I saw it on one of RXE's threads and knew I had to get one. I have quite a lot of surface rust on the top of the rear suspension towers and this is the only tool that gets into it.

Zinc 182 is not an etch primer but can be used on bare steel and sticks very well. you will need to etch prime any galvanising first or it won't stick as well. Most of my galvanising was so weak or thin it came straight off without actually trying and most of the floorpan isn't galvanised anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
I gave up working on my 1998 156, and moved on to the 2000 156. The task was to replace the front springs, which all went fine until I got the the 10mm cap screw pinch bolt. Breaker bar, and socket, just rounded the cap.So far 45minutes taken. So the alternative method involves removing the hub, I used the little mini belt sander in a vice to shape my chisel just right to unstake the hub-nuts, and also to turn the outside of my 36mm socket down. But no amount of jumping on a 3/4 inch breaker bar would undo that nut - the brakes don;t seem to grip the discs enough. Now I DO have oxy, and I saw this thing on youtube where you are supposed to heat the nut up really hot, and then stick a candle on it. I think I need an impact wrench - any recomendations? (No compressed air at the moment).
 

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I gave up working on my 1998 156, and moved on to the 2000 156. The task was to replace the front springs, which all went fine until I got the the 10mm cap screw pinch bolt. Breaker bar, and socket, just rounded the cap.So far 45minutes taken. So the alternative method involves removing the hub, I used the little mini belt sander in a vice to shape my chisel just right to unstake the hub-nuts, and also to turn the outside of my 36mm socket down. But no amount of jumping on a 3/4 inch breaker bar would undo that nut - the brakes don;t seem to grip the discs enough. Now I DO have oxy, and I saw this thing on youtube where you are supposed to heat the nut up really hot, and then stick a candle on it. I think I need an impact wrench - any recomendations? (No compressed air at the moment).
Put 2 wheelbolts back in then use a pry bar against them and the road to lock the wheel in place. Then you can use as much force as you can.
 
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