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Old 22-07-2020   #1
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Post My Fight With The Steel Edition - Rebuild

Hello!
I was thinking about creating this thread for a few months, but finally, I decided to create it.

First of all, I'm not a native English speaker, I learned English by myself, so if I make a mistake, please don't get upset, Iíll do my best to avoid any mistakes.

I got this beauty a few months ago, i.e. October 14th, 2019, but for the next few months I don't really do anything with it.

At the beginning I just wanted it to be a "spare" car, to go somewhere grab parts for other cars, etc. Typical workhorse.

On the other hand, I thought it's a nice car, made and mostly used in Italy, then It goes to Poland, sadly Polish "mechanics" have enough time to damage it a lot (but I don't know it back then) also Polish owner doesn't care at all for this car. So there are dents, missing body parts, missing emblems, cracked bumpers, destroyed lower radiator support, and many many more.

So the question is why I bought it?
As I mentioned first, I just wanted it to be my workhorse but what was the most important to me, there is almost no rust anywhere on the body, just small surface rust spots, but overall whole main body after 19 years of life is just perfect. Also, it really looks nice and I very like older cars.

This is why I decided that I just don't have the heart to let this car just die as a workhorse. So I parked it on the outdoor spot(roofed) and started slowly disassembling it and restoring reusable parts.

It took me a while, cause often it was too cold outside to work or I doesn't had a time (I had to work on other cars, etc.) but It moves forward.

I also have a few questions and I believe this is the only place where I can get the answers.

What else I can say about it?

I believe that this car has all genuine parts that were mounted on the day of the production and the previous owners just don't really care. When I was turning the steering wheel it takes more than 90 degrees to just start moving the wheels.

Inside the engine instead of oil, was just a sludge, so previous owner just forgot that you have to replace fluids, power steering fluid was just a black liquid. Gearbox oil wasn't there, I wanted to drain it when the engine was still inside the engine bay and all that drain out was just a little bit of oil. I believe that somebody drained it and forgot to pour enough of the new oil inside the gearbox.

The engine was also leaking oil, later I found out why. Oil was leaking between engine head and camshafts carrier body. So I removed the camshafts carrier just to find out that somebody did it before, and when mounting it back just fuc.... just stripped all the threads inside the head. Instead of repairing it properly somebody just used longer and thicker bolts, it wasn't tightened properly so it was leaking. Also, threads for these small aluminum caps that are on the camshafts carrier were damaged.

The funniest part is that this car just worked nicely. The engine sounded good, gearbox worked fine I really didn't expect so many damaged things.

My plans?
Disassemble it completely, repair all the rust spots properly, renew all protective layers under the car, repair all the body dents, repaint it.

Later, what comes later, I think it is more of a resto-mod then just a rebuild. I don't really care to keep it 100% genuine, I want it to be my, and reliable.

First I want to increase front suspension width, it's an understeering car, it just needs a little bit more of the width on the front to get that grip. I believe this is why Fiat decided to have wider swingarms in the HGT version, it's always nice to be able to turn when you're going faster.

The suspension is also weak, and it can't last long on the poor roads. So now I'm thinking about it, custom suspension sounds good but requires some tools that I don't currently have, maybe It's possible to refit a suspension from a different car. Alfa 156 suspension ain't that bad, but I'm not completely sure if it's possible, on the other hand, double wishbones sounds too good to just let these thoughts go away. Lancia Delta 2 has similar suspension to brava/bravo and people make wonders with it.

Forum is huge and it take some time to found different stuff, so If you know about any topic where somebody fitted different suspension into similar car or build a new one then just let me know.

But my current plan is to prepare the engine bay, so I'll stick to it.

I think it's enough for the first post. I'll post more later.

Photos later, since I can't post URLs now.
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Old 27-07-2020   #2
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Re: My Fight With The Steel Edition - Rebuild

Today I had some time to work on Brava. Sadly it reveals a big problem. I started my work from front to back, today I started to striping down the trunk, rear bumper, etc. and I found welding marks, after removing stuff from the trunk I was looking at the most terrible welding job that I've ever seen in my entire life, words cannot describe how F up it's.

It's another point on my list, that needs to be done properly. I need to hunt down body part, buy MIG welder, 'cause I've always used MMA and fix it before I'll paint the whole body. So probably few more weeks will past before I'll do it, for now, It can wait, but it's badly rusted :/
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Old 06-08-2020   #3
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Re: My Fight With The Steel Edition - Rebuild

I hope the rebuild goes well, you will find that after maybe 11 years of life a few problems start on these cars, and the repairs that are made are just enough to keep the car running. There are very common rust areas, fortunately the engines are good IF you do basic maintenance.
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Old 11-08-2020   #4
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Thumbs up Re: My Fight With The Steel Edition - Rebuild

@bluejohn125 I had to take care of my dad, he recently was injured in car accident + I have to find a good lawyer, cause he got some money from insurance for a car but they don't want to pay for a health injury, sadly it's a common practice in my country but with a good lawyer, it should be fine.

In the meantime, I had other car to repair and I slowly disassemble more of the Brava, as I said there is almost no rust on this car but I still need to find a right rear quarter in good condition to repair FU body repair, but in fact, it's nothing to worry too much about.

The subframe is damaged, left bottom side, I saw that after disassembly, but now when I'm sure that I not only want but also need to widen and upgrade the front suspension I think that I will repair the damage on the subframe, after that I'll make a subframe jig and then I'll be able to weld myself a nice tubular subframe.

Now I need to remove the rest of the interior that left in the car, order good epoxy primer with rust inhibitors for old cars, clean engine bay, repair all surface rust spots, and repaint it. Slowly but surely I'll finish this car, + it's also a car where I can test different stuff + I don't have a lot of spare time so yeah it will take some time. at least it makes me happy and I can relax during work.
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Old 11-08-2020   #5
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Re: My Fight With The Steel Edition - Rebuild

Iíve always had a strange fondness of the Brava and nearly bought one myself about 6 years ago but ended up in a Renault Twingo somehow...
Theyíre really hard to find now but I would like one as a project car
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Old 13-08-2020   #6
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Re: My Fight With The Steel Edition - Rebuild

I like how it looks, after over 2 decades it still looks nice and with some modifications it can look even better I have to sort my photos from the work on this car and upload some here. And yes it's hard to find these cars on the streets now, I even have a problem now with finding a rear quarter in good condition on the junkyard.
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Old 13-08-2020   #7
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Re: My Fight With The Steel Edition - Rebuild

This one is from the day when I get it. It really looks good on this photo, sadly it wasn't such a pristine condition in real life
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Old 29-08-2020   #8
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Exclamation Re: My Fight With The Steel Edition - Rebuild

Yesterday I had some spare time so I started to prep engine bay. I wanted to dismantle everything that left so I can clean it, remove minor rust spots, and prepare it for 2k epoxy primer.

Almost everything is removed but I need some help with those plastic cable clamps (in red squares) if there is any way to remove it without damage? It would be nice to reuse them 'cause I'm not sure if I can buy those anywhere. Any idea?

I also removed "wall" with pedals, few minutes with heat gun and and it was an easy job.

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Old 04-09-2020   #9
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Re: My Fight With The Steel Edition - Rebuild

I dismantled more of the car, there is nothing more inside or under the car. For now, I only left the rear suspension, cause I don't want the body to fall off from the front jacks ( i also don't want to go under a car that stands only on jacks, now the rear wheels are fixed in place so even in the worst-case scenario it won't turn me into a sweet jam).

Removing plastic cable clamps was easier then I thought. There is a small plastic pin inside each of them, it just requires a gentle tap with something thin and it can be easily removed without any damage, and can be reused later.

The next steps:
Clean engine bay, at least twice,
Repair rust spots,
Remove old damaged mastic,
Clean again and prepare for 2k epoxy primer.
Remove the front windshield,
Prepare the metal under the windshield for 2k epoxy primer.
Paint the engine bay and windshield frame with 2k epoxy.
Paint the engine bay with the base coat, renew mastic after 1 coat, put a second coat, and 2k vhs clear.
Squeeze under the car and repair rust spots, dents, bigger dents, wash everything, renew anticorrosion protection under the car.
The worst part, clean all the filth inside of the car,
Remove old crunchy deadening mats,
Weld "new" rear right quarter,
Repair all the rust spots and other damages,
Prepare inside for the 2k epoxy,
Paint inside with 2k epoxy primer.
Drink a beer
This is all for now

I don't know if I don't repair the subframe, for now, making a tubular subframe will take some time and I need subframe to measure and test everything required to upgrade and widen the front suspension. It's slightly rusted, damaged on the left underside. In fact, this whole car is damaged underside. Probably the previous owner ran over the curb, cause the damage goes through the whole length of the car, even the fuel tank has marks.

Does anyone know if the alfa 156 rear suspension will just fit plug&play?
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Old 07-09-2020   #10
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Re: My Fight With The Steel Edition - Rebuild

To replace the rear subframe you may be lucky and find that the Multipla or Marea is the same, also possibly Fiorino van ?

Do not change the front suspension, there is no need. HGT had a wider 5-pot engine to fit, and needed wider front wings for the wider track. To upgrade grip fit 195/50 15 tyres instead of standard 185/55.

Alfa has very different rear suspension.
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Last edited by bluejohn125; 07-09-2020 at 10:54.
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Old 07-09-2020   #11
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Re: My Fight With The Steel Edition - Rebuild

Aye I just looked how 156 rear suspension looks like I should do it earlier I was convinced that it's similar but oh boy, it's a completely different animal. Even 916 suspension looks more "retrofitting" friendly.

I have to replace the front suspension. I can change wheels ET but after all, it will increase the stress on the wheel bearing, so I want to make it the proper way. But! The main reason is the poor condition of polish roads.

Fiat suspension OEM parts for Brava can be completely damaged after 2,4 (aftermarket are even worse) thousand miles, so as an owner You're forced to dismantle and replace everything at least 1-2 times a year (in my case at least 5-6 times a year...).

It takes time, it takes money and still, this suspension is just too weak for the rough polish roads. 156 suspension lasts at least 4-6 times more!

I think that I already know, how I'll fit it without welding anything but first I need to prepare the engine bay and repair the subframe. I already started to remove old mastic, rust, etc. and for now I'm pretty surprised, there are many spots, rust-free, where I thought I'll find a ton of it.

Also, I'm not sure yet, but maybe it will end with 1.4 abarth tjet.



Today I want to finish this side and put on 2k epoxy, tomorrow right side and then inside of the engine bay.
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Last edited by Tetsuo; 07-09-2020 at 18:10.
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Old 10-09-2020   #12
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Re: My Fight With The Steel Edition - Rebuild

The weather wasn't good for a few days but yesterday I was able to finish one side
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