Lancia Delta Integrale specialists and enthusiasts
Our prince Charles once called a housing development 'A massive carbuncle on the face of a well loved friend',
our Evo is a well loved friend, who does keeps making demands on my friendship!
and it does have two carbuncles which need fixing, urgently.
A Lancia Delta Integrale fights a loosing battle against rust,
the Delta was designed a long time ago, before rust traps
were addressed at the drawing board. The Delta body required strengthening to withstand the Integrale's greater power, making more double skinned rust traps. The car is also Italian, where it's sunny and nobody cares about rust anyway!
So...with the motor out of our Evo, it's a good time to have a look in the engine bay. There are rust holes on both suspension struts,
I started to dig in the offside hole, a small burst in a common place on the suspension turret in the engine bay.
I hoped it would be a simple repair, cut out the rusty bit and plate it. This wasn't to be, we know how our Deltas hide their corrosion
until the repair is a major operation, this was one of those repairs.
The rust had started behind the inner wing suspension support frame, and spread upwards until it appeared at the top.
Difficult to see under the wheel arch, impossible to see with the
wing liner in place.
Here's what was revealed with some digging, it just grew!
The strengthening frame is applied by spot welding to the inner wing when the car is made, no paint is applied behind it, but it does have a run of sealer around the edges. This of course invites rust,
the frame is a thicker gauge of metal than the car, so the
rust goes for the car's thinner metal first.
The inner wing rusts through, inside is another strengthening rib of lighter metal which the rust attacks. This is all going on behind the frame, and behind the suspension turret and inner wing, so is easily missed. However it is structural, and reduces the strength of the chassis member, so needs fixing.
After scraping off the underseal with a hot air gun,
this was the view. The hole cut by me from the inside is seen at the top, but the suspension mount frame doesn't look too bad. It is bad though, with the inner wing behind it rotted through, and structurally weakened.
Our Evo was mot'd 1 month before this operation, not our regular man either, it was a strict job, with a wheel alignment at the same time.
This corrosion is very well hidden.
I drilled out the frame's spot welds and cut the lower part of the frame away, I then removed the suspension frame lower section.
I cut away the rusty inner wing, chassis rail, and inner strengthening frame. I fabricated and welded in a new inner rail, then primed it.
I welded a sheet over the top, after priming the back of it, then puddle welded it on the replaced chassis rail, to mimic the original spot welding.
This is the plated inner wing, I primed the back of the sheet metal, there's an access hole inside the engine bay where I'll squirt waxoyl to protect the inside.
Have a look on Youtube if you like, there's a vid of the
The other side of the car needed doing too, but I couldn't easily get the pipes off the brake control box. So I left the pipes alone and removed the box's mounting frame, I supported the metal brake box. I then removed the car's outside fender, I was then able to access the repair in the same way as this side.
On the bench I fabricated a new lower section for the strengthening frame. As I said it uses a thicker metal, so I did too, I made a flat section on the vertical rails so I could better weld it to then car,
I have no spot welding equipment.
This was then welded to the car, with the vertical rib
extending over the remaining existing top section,
allowing for a good strong weld here.
I used a thicker grade welding wire for the heavier metalwork, being careful not to burn through the Lancia's own light steel.
This is the finished repair, when the primer had dried I gave the welds another grind down, then applied some seam sealer, then red primer spray, afterwards brushing a generous coat of cellulose single pack gloss, mixed to match the original red.
With the strut back on and the inner wing liner in place, this repair can't be seen, but I know it's done!
I feel much happier, and I'm sure the car feels a bit more stable on the road.
I ground off the welded area, primed, rubbed down, seam sealed, red primered, then glossed both repaired struts,
they look good now.
The power steering pump drive wheel had worn a groove in the chassis rail which I also repaired, I filled it with weld then
ground it flat.
The engine is back in too, this is one of many jobs made much easier when that big lump engine is out of the way!