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Author Topic: HPE VX suspension advice  (Read 202 times)
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monte/hpe
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« on: March 28, 2021, 12:07:41 PM »

I have read through the past forum posts and can't find a definite answer.

I recently purchased an HPE VX which has new original spec suspension fitted. I don't have previous experience of these cars and therefore am looking for some advice.

Can I say at the outset I am quite fussy about ride and handling in a car and frequently have upgraded suspension in the past cars for great control in particular at the rear. eg Barchetta/306GTI/Rover Vitesse.

My feeling is the secondary ride is not well controlled in particular at the back. It tends to 'bounce' a bit too much for my liking. Everything is properly set up and tight. as the springs absorb the shock  and the dampers control the bounce, my inclination is possibly the springs are too soft in particular driving one or two up without load. That typically will be how the car is used. The front end feels fine although could do with a bit more control. If that was the only issue I wouldn't bother with any changes.

On the forums and part supplies i see upgraded spax dampers and shorter stiffer springs. I do not want to compromise the ride by making it too stiff but would wish to see if I could control the 'bounce'. I appreciate the HPE VX had different suspension to the standard HPE and am confident that the correct new suspension is fitted to my car.

It is a 1984 car and i appreciate the compromises that existed back then. I have 4 older cars than that plus more 80/90/2000 era cars.

Hence my request is:  What do other HPE/VX owners experience and what advice do they have for suspension changes or upgrades?

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WestonE
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2021, 04:47:54 PM »

Hi this does sound like worn dampers to me. This is fair enough given the age of our cars. In some case these Beta's are on their OE dampers.

Coupe's and Spiders tend to motor boat under hard acceleration and loose traction. In spiders this is because of a lack of rear spring pre-load and very strong front springs. From memory I am fairly sure VXs had uprated front springs, but I am not sure if the rears were also uprated. 

Years ago I shortened the rear strut rods on my beta Spider and used gas inserts and lowered springs all round. It was a great handling car.

Now I have multi- setting custom Gazmatic Gold coil overs. I doubt Gaz kept the designs, but no harm in asking them.

If you can get them I think I would fit the Spax Top adjustable dampers. Expect to need the weld on insert collars sold by Beta Boys to convert the sealed struts on your car.

I hope this is on some help.

Eric     
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monte/hpe
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2021, 07:09:50 PM »

Thanks Eric

The dampers are brand new as is almost the whole rebuilt car. I would agree that is what it feels like were it not for that. It is possible they could be a bad pair although new as they may be new OE. I would need to check that.

Otherwise wasn't sure what a new car felt like in its day? It just may be the way they were. I will dig out some old road tests from 1980's and see what they said.
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rossocorsa
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2021, 08:51:08 PM »

I don't have much experience on HPE but I can tell you that the OE Beta dampers in general are quite firm and well controlled, I'd say that there is something wrong. Taking another angle on it though I'd be tempted to get the suspension checked over and especially get a proper 4 wheel alignment done. I am presuming it won't have budget tyres on?
« Last Edit: March 28, 2021, 09:02:47 PM by rossocorsa » Logged
monte/hpe
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« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2021, 01:46:14 PM »

The tracking etc does appear fine.

I was reading a Road Test in Motor from 12th November 1983. It says:

'Another criticism voiced by our testers was that the suspension settings allowed too much body motion at speed over certain surfaces. In other respects though, the ride is generally above average for this class-slightly firm and jiggly at low speeds and with a tendency to jolt over severe disturbances but fairy comfortable and absorbent overall.'

Back then, Motor was quite a critical magazine. I am trying to find other contemporary tests to compare.

If this is a problem with 'jolting' is the issue too soft damping or springs that need more control?

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betaveloce
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« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2021, 02:25:52 PM »

I too replaced all four dampers on my HPE (I.E., not VX) a few months ago; after replacing the front ones, the car handled worse than with the old leaky ones, and as a result did not pass its MOT... I then had the car tested and it appeared that one of the brand new front shocks did not work at all. So yes, it is possible for new items to fail  Cheesy

Off course I was told that this had never happened before  Grin, but they sent me a new pair without hassle; I replaced them again (not really my favorite thing to do  Undecided) and all is well since  Wink

The dampers are brand new as is almost the whole rebuilt car. I would agree that is what it feels like were it not for that. It is possible they could be a bad pair although new as they may be new OE. I would need to check that.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2021, 02:27:36 PM by betaveloce » Logged

Beta Coupé 1.8 '74
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rossocorsa
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« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2021, 03:10:02 PM »

The tracking etc does appear fine.

I was reading a Road Test in Motor from 12th November 1983. It says:

'Another criticism voiced by our testers was that the suspension settings allowed too much body motion at speed over certain surfaces. In other respects though, the ride is generally above average for this class-slightly firm and jiggly at low speeds and with a tendency to jolt over severe disturbances but fairy comfortable and absorbent overall.'

Back then, Motor was quite a critical magazine. I am trying to find other contemporary tests to compare.

If this is a problem with 'jolting' is the issue too soft damping or springs that need more control?



Regarding tracking they are very sensitive and often set up wrong, I wouldn't rely on the intuition that it's right it's well worth checking but needs to be done by someone reliable and after all the suspension components have been checked.
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rossocorsa
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« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2021, 03:24:33 PM »



If this is a problem with 'jolting' is the issue too soft damping or springs that need more control?



Not in relation to Lancias but I think jolting is often a result of incompatible compression and rebound on the dampers.
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monte/hpe
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« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2021, 04:54:36 PM »

Hi

I agree. It is the way it feels. We had a look at the springs and dampers with the car up on ramps and they appear to be perfect.
 
Your comments and reading the early road tests is what was making me think that this may be the way the car was.

Back in the 80/90's i generally thought that Peugeot made the cars with the best ride handling balance of all manufacturers. The 306 was sublime. I had a 305 GTI but I thought it was too bouncy at the back at very high speed so put bilstiens on it. The cars of that era, 505; 405gti and Mi16/ 205 etc were lovely.

Some other cars from that era made by other manufacturers had compromises that i didn't like. I simply didn't drive any Lancia's at that time other than my Fuvia 1.3 so don't have a memory that I can go back to. Hopefully a few on here did own or drive them back then and may recall what they were like new?
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WestonE
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« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2021, 06:14:36 PM »

I focused on dampers straight away because once spring rates and pre-load are correct they make a huge difference to ride and control. The Beta suspension system is remarkably well designed and the rear setup was extensively copied by other manufacturers like Ford for the Focus and Mondeo.

I have 14 clicks of bump and re-bound adjustment on my Monte and also now on my Beta Spider. Ride concerns like bouncing or harshness in the travel are dampers not coping. I can go from wallow/bounce to nearly rigid with the same springs in place with my Ledas and Gazmatic units.

Try to get the Spax top adjustable inserts if you can.

Eric     
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monte/hpe
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« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2021, 01:36:59 PM »

I have seen the other thread running here about SPAX dampers. Are ht elate HPE VX an insert into a unit or a separate unit ? If  asseverate unit do we need to pull part the strut unit to put in the insert and are modifications necessary?
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peteracs
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« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2021, 08:11:09 PM »

My understanding is that only the early cars had replaceable inserts, the others are sealed and hence have to be modified to take replacement ones.

Peter
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