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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This is the continuation of this thread in the 156 section....

http://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/alfa-147-156-and-gt/780898-persuade-me-that-restoring-a-156-v6-is-stupid-idea.html

So, we all know that restoring 156s is economic suicide, but I can justify it by getting the children to do all the work - it can form part of their DT project at school. Well, that works for me anyway! I am not lifting a spanner on this one, they are being told what to do, and I will intervene only when adult levels of violence are needed.

What have we bought for £200? An S reg 156V6 with 134K on the clock, no brakes and a suspected head gasket failure. Bargain! Bought unseen, driven away unseen as it had 3 inches of snow on it. Started first turn though, which is promising.



Photo courtesy of Andrew who sold us the car, chief mechanic is fiddling with a ratchet strap at the front.

Clearly once you have your own car, you have the ability to get busy with the jetwash and snowfoam:



This would have been a stunning picture with the right composition:


With loads of washing, a quick wax + sealer, she looks pretty presentable. I did the roof, chief mechanic can't reach the roof.



The bodywork is very straight - all gaps seem pretty much spot on, certainly better than my 156. Either never bashed, or repaired properly. Engine scrubbed up OK with some rags and WD-40:



Fixing the number plate lights:



Crusty bits! Probably hiding more awfulness behind, we will shove a camera into the sills to check them out. A set of Veloce side skirts will hide any welding that we need to do.



Someone has nicked the air con. Note also the tippex mark on the cam belt cover. There is one on the other side and corresponding marks on the sprockets. If this engine is timed to within 2 teeth accuracy, I will be surprised.



Shot from within the boot. The interior is obviously damp. This is the "top" of the boot, with the inner lining of the boot at the bottom of the photo - yes, the white stuff is mould. The sound deadening (middle of pic) is sodden. No sunroof on this car, so it is either the rear window bonding or the door seals.




Rough plan for the car:

1) Strip out the (velour) interior completely, check the floorpans and weld as necessary.
2) Find the water leak - basically put chief mechanic in the boot while I jetwash the car. Don't let him out until he has found it.
3) Put a nice red leather interior in (got this off the bay). The people who did the welding in the passenger footwell cut the carpet up so we will need a s/h carpet from somewhere.
4) Fix the brakes. It is a catastrophic leak somewhere, probably the front pipes.
5) Change the cam belt. Needs doing urgently.
6)Worry about the head gaskets. If this is proven, we will take the engine out, do gaskets + belts in one hit and check the clutch.
7) Drive it and see what the suspension is like. Next to my 156 it looks like it is on stilts, it is a amazing what a 30 mm drop does!
 

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Following with interest, I think that its class that your teaching your kids how to do all this stuff, especially when the likes of my generation (20s) and those coming up have lost a lot of skills that are common knowledge to a lot of the older generations.
Its not that most kids aren't interested either, its more that we live in a society where if its broke we replace and not fix.
 

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Following with interest, I think that its class that your teaching your kids how to do all this stuff, especially when the likes of my generation (20s) and those coming up have lost a lot of skills that are common knowledge to a lot of the older generations.
Its not that most kids aren't interested either, its more that we live in a society where if its broke we replace and not fix.
Absolutely right ........ Most of us older fellas learnt about fixing cars the hard way. Because we had to. The cars were rubbish and we needed to be under the bonnet at weekends to keep the things going so we could get to work on Monday ........ I too think it's great that your kids are learning these skills......... I've subscribed as well and I'll be watching with interest.

Peter
 

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Stolen A/C is about normal for cars this age. I'll be watching this one with interest.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks for the comments. If I can teach him that you can fix a big bit of complex machinery, and how to do it safely, then that will be progress!

Two material achievements today: the head gasket and the fuel filler cap. I will let him provide the update on the filler cap - he now thinks I am completely OCD and need medical help for my obsession about shades of silver.

So onto the headgasket, which is the problem that may lead to the engine coming out. The previous owner listed this in the advert, and has obviously had cooling issues in the recent past.

On the V6 you really only need to test for leakage of gases into the coolant - the cylinder liners are totally surrounded by water, so any leaks will go into the coolant. You are testing for CO2 in the coolant, and as the greens keep telling us, Busso V6s have a bit of a track record with CO2......

Thankfully Sykes make a natty little CO2 tester that does this for you. You attach it all to the expansion tank, run the engine up to temperature, and allow any gases in the coolant to bubble through the detection fluid. The fluid starts off purple, and turns yellow in the presence of C02.



In summary, we have no leaks at all. They do a standard and "sensitive" fluid, neither turned yellow. So the working assumption is that the headgasket is OK.

I need to check on my other 156 but as soon as we turned the engine off, the header tank (which was at min) filled up as soon as we depressurized the system. This may be completely normal behaviour, I've never done this particular test before.
 

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This job is so easy, a 12 year old can do it. All you have to do is undo two allen bolts holding on the fuel filler cap, take the old cap off, replace with a new one and do the bolts up again.



I thought that my dad was OCD, but even I can see the difference in the shades of silver.

 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Starting the interior stripout and finding the leaks. Having done some trim removal in my time, I remembered that attempting to pop the press studs with bare hands is generally painful and you end up breaking everything. So when I saw these on ebay, I got a pair:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Sykes-Pickavant-Trim-Removal-Pliers-04600000-Premium-Quality-Product-/330675339898?pt=UK_Hand_Tools_Equipment&hash=item4cfdc9427a

Absolutely brilliant tool, you locate the notch around the plug and squeeze the handles. We stripped out the back of the car with zero trim breakage and all plugs intact.

Here they are in action:



Chief mechanic's assistant comes to find out what on earth we are doing:



Rear parcel shelf is only held in by these plugs that the head rests sit in, they just lever out:



With all the interior out, time to find the leak. I manned the hose, chief mechanic just about fits in the boot:



It turns out that the car has had a rear quarter panel at some stage - not a severe impact as there is no deformation of the interior structure. The seam (visible on the LHS of the boot aperture) is leaking, and there is also a leak behind the left hand rear light. The panel is fine, so we will apply Tiger Seal inside and out to fill up the seam.

An initial inspection under the rear carpets suggests that the rust is not too bad. The "dimples/drains" in the floor pan are clearly a bit crusty, but nothing extending beyond this....yet.
 

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Nice easy fix is a bonus. Leaks can be a royal PITA to find.
 

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We have taken out the seats and have exposed the floor pan, covered in tar. It does not look too bad. This is the passenger side.


This is the drivers side and it looked perfect until dad stuck a screwdriver through it.



A needle scaler knocked all of the tar off. The vibrations really hurt!:cry:



This is the passenger side cleaned up.



Drivers side not so bad



Some say that he can eat his whole weight in crunchy nut cornflakes, and that his feet smell worse than a muck heap.... all we know, he's called plasma-Stig



Plasma-Stig in his natural habitat



Drivers side cut back to good metal



Passenger side.



We could not do any welding because dad only had 2mm steel which is only good for ship building (That's what he said any way).
 

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Is that chief mechanic wielding the plasma cutter? :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Certainly is! It is my welding jacket, which is why he looks completely swamped. All of the cuts are his own work - I was on camera and fire duty, but given the lack of underseal on these cars, there was not a lot to burn. Probably safer than an angle grinder....
 

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Certainly is! It is my welding jacket, which is why he looks completely swamped. All of the cuts are his own work - I was on camera and fire duty, but given the lack of underseal on these cars, there was not a lot to burn. Probably safer than an angle grinder....
:thumbs:
 

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Great work! I'm very jealous of that plasma cutter!
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
There has been a small hiatus as the Chief Mechanic had a bit of an incident on the rugby pitch - got a concussion which was obviously serious as he was off his food and not terribly interested in plasma cutting.

However, all is fixed now. First thing to do is to template the holes in floor so we can make a patch. Cardboard is good for this as it is easily cut and bent to shape.



We then transferred the template to some 1mm sheet steel and used the plasma to cut it out. Then you get busy with the MIG and the hammers to tap it into shape. This is Plasma-Stigs close relative, MIG-Stig.



Big patch tacked in. Apart from a small section at the top right, this is all his own welding. He's now seamed up the whole patch.




With the floor pans fixed, we thought we'd get the front up in the air and have a poke around. His first go with a windy-gun:



He spotted this instant MOT fail, and I got the hole in the driveshaft gaiter.



A quick pry and wiggle revealed nothing obviously wrong with the suspension, which is a small bonus, but note the overall crustiness of the metal work, not looking good.

We decided to hunt for the brake leak, so I filled it up with fluid and worked the pedal while he looked underneath. Soon pinned down to the offside rear rigid pipe:



This looks a bit of a pig as it seems to go behind the fuel tank, but we did not investigate further as the back of the car was only on a single trolley jack.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
The crustiness in the wheel arch prompted us to take off the wheel arch lining. Oh dear.



Giving the underside a quick hit with a wire brush exposed the horrible bodge job that was done on the floor pan - they did it from the top and assumed a layer of goop would suffice for protection. I suppose if you are tasked with welding up an MOT fail for a few quid, this is what you have to do. Chief Mechanic's welding is materially better...



I gave him the crud-thug and let him loose on the wheel arch.


Then we cut the obvious rubbish out - it is not actually a complex repair, but the wing will need to come off so that we have decent access to the front of the sill. The sill itself is solid.



Removing the front leg that the bumper and wing bolt to. It has completely gone at the bottom, but you can get new ones and they just screw on.

 

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Discussion Starter #17
I am starting to see why these cars end up in the scrapper. You can keep them bodged together for a while, but in the end it all gets very expensive to do it properly. Rough financial position so far:


Cost of car: £200
Replacement fuel filler in the right colour: £18.
1 m2 sheet of 1mm steel - £16

That's it for expenditure so far. Planned expenditure:

Complete new set of discs and pads - £170 (MTEC)
New brake flexis - £70 (Goodridge)
New chassis legs for the front: £120 the pair (Alfisti.net)
New body seals (front to back, above the doors) - £150 (alfisti.net)
New outer CVs - £80 (euro car parts)
Steering rack boots - £18 shop4parts
Cambelt kit (inc pump) - £200 shop4parts
New trailing arms - £80 shop4parts
New rear hub bushes - £15 shop4parts

If you were doing all of this at a garage, the labour would be astronomical.
 

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I broke a twinny that was probably in marginally better shape because of a similar parts bill. It doesn't make any financial sense at all. All credit to you and chief mechanic for doing it anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
OK, it has turned serious, and adult intervention is required. Welding up floor pans is one thing, but doing a full on rebuild of the front wheel arch and sill is quite another. I want him to enjoy it, not be put off rust for life!

Once we tried to cut back to decent metal at the front, an alarming amount of floor pan came away. This is the view from underneath, looking to the back. I need to cut out all of the previous repair that is in the foreground of the photo, but when I was doing the cutting, the tar was still on the floorpan, so I was restricted to a slitting disk. The plasma will make short work of it:



Thankfully it is much simpler than it looks - apart from the bit at the front where I have to undo the previous botching. The sill itself has superficial corrosion, but is solid - most importantly the flange to weld to is solid. This is it after grinding off the remains of the floorpan:




So all I need is a piece of steel with a right angle. Weld one side to the sill and the other to the floorpan. Simples.

Interior is de-tarred. The little tabs at the back of the passenger seat are fine!


This is the driver's side. Not nearly as bad, probably what the passenger side looked like before the welding job was done. If this is done properly it will be easy and permanent, not nearly as bad as the passenger side.


Note to everyone who thinks they have a "rust free" 156 - the drivers side looked perfect both inside and out - until the needle scaler showed how bad it was. Get underneath and poke it with a screwdriver because this is much easier to fix when caught early.

Some progress, this is the first patch on the passenger's wheel arch:



Not finished yet, just given it a quick blow over with primer to stop it rusting.
 
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