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Discussion Starter #1
When I first picked up my lovely GTV I had it checked over by a couple of places and this is how the conversation went (After discussing all the other things wrong with it)

Guy:You know you can tell if a car has been kept near the seaside.. very bad corrosion, especially if it's not been looked after.
Me: Yea?
Guy:Yeah.. Your car's not like that tho...
Me: Yea? (Hopeful)
Guy:No.. Your car looks like it's been kept on the beach!

So I've got through my to-do list of major things (well affordable things anyway..) and am now looking at the underside of my car. I've searched through threads on here and have some ideas but can you guys help me work out what I need to do? Of major note was 'rear quarter' however I forgot to take note of specifics :(

1). Which areas should I look at mostly? Depending on life stuff I may only have time to do the most critical/worst affected areas before the bad weather sets in.

2). Which areas should I avoid?

3). Preparation.. Remove rust with wire brush ok or do I need something more substantial?

4). Recommended sealing (No compressor so looking at stuff I can paint on or aerosol)
Something like: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/HAMMERITE-WAXOYL-RUSTPROOFING-BLACK-SPRAY-400ML-/130499355556?pt=UK_Body_Shop_Supplies_Paint&hash=item1e625e23a4 ? How much would that cover?

I can tell already it's not going to be a fun job :)
 

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Alfa galvanised most of the panels on the GTV but the floorpan for some reason didn't get treated. 155 and 145/6 of the same vintage are exactly the same.

The floorpan will probably be rusting all the way along the inside joint with the sill.. and possibly at the rear trailing edge of the footwells. There is also a rust trap just behind the front wheel arch.

Alfa's of that era have a thick rubbery mastic goo applied to the underside.. It's pretty good.. but anywhere where it covers a corner, or a joint (such as that pressed and welded seam where the floorpan joins the sill) the mastic eventually becomes more brittle and eventually splits.. allowing water to get in.

That water rusts the ungalvansed floorpan, which lifts the mastic and thereby allows more water to penetrate. You can only see the full horror of what's gone on when you peel off the (now) loose mastic.

You should remove the sill covers to be able to see what's going on. Get a big screwdriver and use that to lift off the loose mastic and rust. I'd also suggest using a small hammer to tap the screwdriver like a chisel, as if you were sculpting.. it makes any scabby bits of metal fall off.

If you penetrate into the car with the screwdriver, you need to get the metal welded.

In any event, you have to remove as much of the mastic and paint and seam sealer that you need to, until you see fresh metal. The mastic sticks pretty hard.. so if any lifts off, the metal underneath is rusted. If you can't lift it or pull it off the surface, then you're good.

Clean up the rusted metal between the good areas with a wire brush and the screwdriver/chisel method until you have just smooth/thin rust exposed.

The more rust you remove the better.. a wire brush attachment to a drill will make it easier.. but if you have a sanding disk, that would be good too. If you tap the rust and hear a "metal" clang then that's fine. if it's crunchy.. then it's rust.

Treat the rust with Rust killer. Bilt Hamber do some excellent treatments but the Big H. sells Kur-rust which is also half-way decent.

Then (when it's cured) you have to seal the converted rust in. Use something like smooth Hammerite since it forms a skin over the rust. You don't need an aerosol... just brush it on.

After that, when it's dry, you can apply something thicker over it, like Waxoyl underseal.... so that you have several different layers of protection on it as thick as the original protection was (i.e. when the repaired section reaches the height of the good areas).

If you find a hole, particularly at the floor-sills joint, then you should weld more metal over the top of it. If you've cleared the paint, mastic and old rust off until you get to good metal (you can't weld metal onto rust), that makes the welder's job easier (they hate all the preparation..)

You will have to take the carpet out since the welding will melt it otherwise and you may have to shift some wiring and possibly the seats. It's why rust is the biggest killer of cars.. the effort to resolve it is way higher than for any mechanical issue.

Personally I'd get the lad to weld on a sheet of galvanised or even stainless steel (why not?) since this is all that's holding your floor to the sill and you don't want to be doing it again next year or the year after, I reckon..

Welding shops tend to have some high-build underseal stuff that they'll spray about 5mm thick over the repair.. so it's pretty much done forever once they've welded it. Before you reassemble the beast treat and paint the inside of the repair (inside the car) so that it can't rust again from the inside out. Finish off with some waxoyl poured into any seams or joints so it blocks out any way for water to get in.

Re-create any drain holes, if you've blocked them off, or you could end up with puddles inside the car (though I've never had any water inside the car.. so I dunno what those little vent/drains are actually for, apart from being a rust magnet.. )


Ralf S.
 

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I would love to see a piccy so that i can 'compare'. have been doing that job for a few weeks now. Rad Crossmember, suspension plates and underfloor. Worse on the drivers side than pax but no rust holes, taken off with an electric drill/wire brush, kurust, hammerite and underseal. Looks different to the mastic but leaving it would be worse. A bit of penetration in the centre but you cant move those pipes ' out of the way' The back quarters were the worst. Having difficulties get the sill covers off so thats for another time
 

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Alfa galvanised most of the panels on the GTV but the floorpan for some reason didn't get treated. 155 and 145/6 of the same vintage are exactly the same.
Floorpans ARE made from galvanised steel. As they use galvanised stock rather than galvanising the panel after manufacture (the cost of which would be prohibitive) when the panel blank is pressed from the strip or roll that's fed into the press it leaves an ungalvanised edge exposed. Poor quality underbody coating allows water to attack the edge, resulting in rust which spreads under the galvanised layer. On my 145 which, thanks to an MoT advisory, I caught in the early stages, the rust had only spread at most 50mm from the edges - once I'd removed that I was onto undamaged galvanised material.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I would love to see a piccy so that i can 'compare'. have been doing that job for a few weeks now. Rad Crossmember, suspension plates and underfloor. Worse on the drivers side than pax but no rust holes, taken off with an electric drill/wire brush, kurust, hammerite and underseal. Looks different to the mastic but leaving it would be worse. A bit of penetration in the centre but you cant move those pipes ' out of the way' The back quarters were the worst. Having difficulties get the sill covers off so thats for another time
Ok more strange looks from the neighbours tonight as I'm taking pictures of the underside of my car then :)

I'll try to post them up tonight.
 

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Floorpans ARE made from galvanised steel. As they use galvanised stock rather than galvanising the panel after manufacture (the cost of which would be prohibitive) when the panel blank is pressed from the strip or roll that's fed into the press it leaves an ungalvanised edge exposed. Poor quality underbody coating allows water to attack the edge, resulting in rust which spreads under the galvanised layer. On my 145 which, thanks to an MoT advisory, I caught in the early stages, the rust had only spread at most 50mm from the edges - once I'd removed that I was onto undamaged galvanised material.
I welded floors in both 145s and a 146. No sign of any zinc plating anywhere. Must have washed off in the rain.
 

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GTV's rust nowhere near as badly as 145, 155, and 156's from what I have seen.

Some 8 year old 156's have had massive holes in the floor where as GTV's I have seen have been better.

The thing is though the oldest GTV's are 16 years old, so a bit of rust is to be expected really.

The GTV was built in Arese, where as the 145, 146, 155 and 156 were built at Pomigliano D'Arco. The Pom factory has quite a history of making rusty cars, including the Alfasud.
 

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If you have the time, remove all bolt on components. I am in the process of changing my subframe / replacing bushes. With the subframe and petrol tank cover off you'll reveal many hidden rust spots which whilst are not bad on mine, do need nippping in the bud. Worst area has to be just around the rear jacking points (subframe can remain to treat this area) and on the petrol tank cover. After 12 years on the road and 56k, everything is still solid but in need of a good grinding and recover of paint and underseal.
 

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GTV's rust nowhere near as badly as 145, 155, and 156's from what I have seen.

Some 8 year old 156's have had massive holes in the floor where as GTV's I have seen have been better.

The thing is though the oldest GTV's are 16 years old, so a bit of rust is to be expected really.

The GTV was built in Arese, where as the 145, 146, 155 and 156 were built at Pomigliano D'Arco. The Pom factory has quite a history of making rusty cars, including the Alfasud.
Agreed, this is probably the best thing going for my car, almost no rust and 13 years old :D
 

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The GTV was built in Arese, where as the 145, 146, 155 and 156 were built at Pomigliano D'Arco. The Pom factory has quite a history of making rusty cars, including the Alfasud.
It's not the factory - the 145/6, 155 and 156 simply didn't have galvanitzato on the floorpan. Alfasud was made using thin gauge, cheap steel from the Soviet Union that was more rust prone.. Steel is actually an alloy - the modern stuff contains more other metals and more carbon, so it stronger, lighter and more rust-resistant than in the old days..

Ralf S.
 

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Agreed, this is probably the best thing going for my car, almost no rust and 13 years old :D
I'd guess they built the GTVs more "by hand" and the application of the mastic poo was just done more thoroughly.

The "weak spot" is that lip where the sill and the floorpan sheets are curved round 90-degrees, pressed together and welded. The mastic on that joint is exposed, so it can get damaged, it can become brittle and split.. and since the joint is a bit "lumpy" I'd guess the coverage doesn't always get right over and into any gaps in the joint.

Also, the sill covers on the GTV seems to protect that lip more from the elements..

The drain holes and that triangular panel behind the front wheel also have their own issues.. :D

Ralf S.
 

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My last GTV had surface rust on the inner sills where the front wheels had chucked up stones and worn through the underseal.

I have heard stories of GT's and 159's having patchy underseal on the floorpans, which isn't good.

Certainly from what I have seen later Alfas are not as well rust protected as cars built between the late 1980's and the late 1990's.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I still remember my first car.. An old S reg fiesta (It was old 20 years ago).. As you were driving along you could see both front wheels going round through the huge holes in the floor. And then we discovered one of the rear suspension mounts was only attached to the rest of the car with underseal, rusted all the way round it.

I'm hoping my alfa is not in that state :) I'll go see if I can get any pic's of the underside once the kids are asleep.
 

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My last GTV had surface rust on the inner sills where the front wheels had chucked up stones and worn through the underseal.

I have heard stories of GT's and 159's having patchy underseal on the floorpans, which isn't good.

Certainly from what I have seen later Alfas are not as well rust protected as cars built between the late 1980's and the late 1990's.

When I took my GT diesel in to Autolusso Ned said that the entire underside was covered in surface rust because it had been made without any underseal at all :rolleyes:

From memory he did say that they were seeing alot of Alfas from that period (2005) with the same issue. Why Alfa decided to skimp on this is a mystery because other than that my GT was faultless.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Oooohhh...

I see lots of rust...

I dont know what's bad rust and what's ARGGHHH rust.. I've not poked any of it yet but if anyone see's anything bad on these could you guys lemmie know what you think?

Drivers Side right behind the sills.
Drivers Side Behind Sills.jpg

Looking across the back (Yes that's a tempoary exhaust fix :) ) Big patch to the right of the exhaust behind that cylindery thing?
Looking Back.jpg

Looking from drivers side forward
Looking Forward.jpg

Passenger Side behind sills
Passenger Side Behind Sills.jpg
 

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That's just light rust, strip the underseal off wire brush the metal and recoat with fresh underseal or waxoil
Yeap, looks exactly like mine did before I sorted it. Once wire brushed, I used rust killer followed by hammerite followed by waxoil underseal. In areas I couldn't reach, like inside the jacking point, I used clear spray Waxoil.
 
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