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Author Topic: Beta Volumex HPE restoration  (Read 9740 times)
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squiglyzigly
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« Reply #60 on: February 08, 2023, 01:54:10 PM »

It’s taken a bit of work but finally I think I can say the welding repairs to the bodywork and chassis are complete. I have plans for a number of modifications to improve chassis stiffness and integrity and maybe I will find a few more repairs when the drivetrain assembly is dropped out. But as far as I can see, the ‘repairs inside and out are finished.
The last repairs to the rear strut areas were a straightforward case of removing the poorly actioned previous repairs, cutting back to clean metal and double skin repairs to a better spec than factory.
Most of the previous repairs were removed with a pair of pliers and a screwdriver. A bit worrying when you consider we are allowed to run cars without an MOT once they achieve ‘Historic status’.


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« Last Edit: March 01, 2023, 08:52:30 AM by squiglyzigly » Logged

VX HPE (resto started Sept ‘21)
Beta Saloon 2.0l s2 1979 (completed July 2020)
Beta coupé VX (completed April 2017)
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« Reply #61 on: February 08, 2023, 02:00:44 PM »

Hi Ian

Out of interest what mods are you making as we are just starting the restoration of the HPE and always interested in improving what is probably not such a stiff chassis?

Peter
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Beta Spyder S2 pre F/L 1600
Beta HPE S2 pre F/L 1600
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« Reply #62 on: February 08, 2023, 02:03:46 PM »

Cut back to clean metal and first skins in place. All skins have been double seem welded inside and out and spot welded together in the middle of the new panels. Maybe a bit OTT but it floats my boat.


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VX HPE (resto started Sept ‘21)
Beta Saloon 2.0l s2 1979 (completed July 2020)
Beta coupé VX (completed April 2017)
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« Reply #63 on: February 08, 2023, 02:20:13 PM »

Hi Ian

Out of interest what mods are you making as we are just starting the restoration of the HPE and always interested in improving what is probably not such a stiff chassis?

Peter

Hi Peter,
Some of the mods are already here such as the extra spot welds that were not very well spaced from factory, and the small fillets joining panels hiding behind the rear strut towers. There is a box section in that area that has not been properly utilised IMO. (The fillets are in the next pictures to post) These gaps were factory hidden behind seam sealer.

I also plan on making an easily removable rear strut ‘K’-brace as the HPE obviously lacks a rear shelf for cross bracing. I have purchased some threaded handles which are used for various machine clamping applications. This K-brace will likely be my next job so I’ll post this as I go. It will join rear turrets, floor and the center of the rear suspension cross member. The cross member will be removed and the open box design closed-in with a fourth side, like the Deltas and Themas if my memory serves me?
Other strengthening will focus around the front end, under the wheel arches and along the chassis rails. Modern cars seem to have focused quite a lot in these areas for good reason.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2023, 02:56:16 PM by squiglyzigly » Logged

VX HPE (resto started Sept ‘21)
Beta Saloon 2.0l s2 1979 (completed July 2020)
Beta coupé VX (completed April 2017)
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« Reply #64 on: February 08, 2023, 02:25:24 PM »

These subtle fillets welded into the rear turret area made an obvious stiffness improvement noticeable from just climbing in and out of the car during the repair work. And I only weigh 73kg!


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VX HPE (resto started Sept ‘21)
Beta Saloon 2.0l s2 1979 (completed July 2020)
Beta coupé VX (completed April 2017)
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« Reply #65 on: February 08, 2023, 02:33:47 PM »

I never really understood the strange rectangular pressed shape in the inner arch where the rubber brake hoses meet the rigid brake lines with a bracket. It looks like a poor attempt to add a little rigidity bit in turn created a poor water trap that has rotted just about every Beta I’ve been under. So my repair got rid of the water trap and I put the rigidity in with a ribbed (for extra pleasure) inner panel similar to the original ribbed effort the factory used on the upper area of the strut tower. Again seem welded and spot welded to keep the news skins together.


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VX HPE (resto started Sept ‘21)
Beta Saloon 2.0l s2 1979 (completed July 2020)
Beta coupé VX (completed April 2017)
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« Reply #66 on: February 08, 2023, 02:38:25 PM »

Final touches are decent quality PU seem sealer to all welds inside and out, a tidy up and primed ready for final painting.


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VX HPE (resto started Sept ‘21)
Beta Saloon 2.0l s2 1979 (completed July 2020)
Beta coupé VX (completed April 2017)
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« Reply #67 on: February 08, 2023, 03:33:12 PM »

Hi Ian

Thanks, I can see the rear strut tower mods and look forward to seeing your other mods which I will discuss with my bodywork guy as it will most likely be a small amount of extra work to the work he currently has to do. Nigel commented to me only recently that there was a noticeable difference in rigidity of the HPE compared to the Coupe.

Peter
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Beta Spyder S2 pre F/L 1600
Beta HPE S2 pre F/L 1600
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« Reply #68 on: February 08, 2023, 05:24:20 PM »

Hi Peter,
Yes I completely agree with Nigel. I guess it’s a more open space without any parcel shelf so it will always flex more than a coupe. I’m also looking into a little mod under the boot floor. There’s already a stiffener just above the fuel tank but it’s not tied to the chassis rails 50mm away. I’m fairly sure that can be extended quite easily without fouling the tank.
Every little helps.
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VX HPE (resto started Sept ‘21)
Beta Saloon 2.0l s2 1979 (completed July 2020)
Beta coupé VX (completed April 2017)
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« Reply #69 on: February 08, 2023, 05:24:34 PM »

Hi Ian

Fantastic work as I have now come to expect. You are absolutely right about that water trap built into the rear turrets being the standard rot location for all Betas. It is not a surprise on the lack of rigidity of the HPE at the back when you look at the Coupe's X brace and the Spyder's brace and heavy gauge sheet steel addition. I believe the later Spyder is stiffer than the Coupe assuming it is not rust lightened! My modern BMW Estate Car (Touring in Marketing BS) has 2 chunks of steel that clip in place between the rear struts when the seats are not down. I think the tricky bit will be how do you keep the versatility when you want it and effective tight bracing the rest of the time. Pins and R Clips maybe with the brace flat on the boot floor when not being used?

Cheers

Eric    
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« Reply #70 on: February 09, 2023, 02:19:03 PM »

Hi Eric,
Thanks for the compliments. This is the first complete restoration I’ve done with the workshop at my own home. So without time and travel constraints, I’m doing things the best I can and enjoying the restoration to the max whilst learning all the way.

I like your idea of storing the K-brace when not fitted, that hadn’t crossed my mind. I think I’ve got a secure way to clamp it into the structure whilst keeping it easy and quick to remove when loading up in Wickes car park. But the proof is always in the driving.

Looking forward to seeing you get stuck into your new workshop. It’s looks excellent.

Ian
« Last Edit: March 01, 2023, 08:57:34 AM by squiglyzigly » Logged

VX HPE (resto started Sept ‘21)
Beta Saloon 2.0l s2 1979 (completed July 2020)
Beta coupé VX (completed April 2017)
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« Reply #71 on: February 10, 2023, 02:17:12 PM »

Hi Ian

Thanks I am really looking forward to the days when I am using the garage and not organizing it and or adding new bits of kit. Off to B&Q tomorrow to have a whole stack of extra shelves cut so I can finally load the cupboards properly.

I have over 2.6 meter headroom with the annoying sectional doors gone so I am considering options for a ramp.

Cheers

Eric 

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« Reply #72 on: February 10, 2023, 03:21:11 PM »

How about making an X brace with a bar across the top and a tube bottom?
If it could rotate about a pivot at the bottom and locate on a pin welded to the top mount (with rose joints perhaps?) it ought to give a bit more rigidity and be capable of folding down to lay on the boot floor when not needed?
Guy
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« Reply #73 on: February 10, 2023, 05:56:22 PM »

Hi Guy,
My description of K brace is very poor. A better description would probably have been a ‘Y’ brace.
My intended brace will be a regular strut to strut brace across the top and triangulated down to a central point on the floor behind the seats (red section).
The floor in that location is flexible and serves no purpose but, the blue section will be under the floor and will bolt on top of the rear suspension cross member and provide a platform for the brace to bolt to.
The crossmember (yellow) as mentioned will be boxed in with sheet metal to increase its stiffness instead of its current flexy 3 sided construction.
Hopefully pulling all the points together to work together.

Any thoughts?

Cheers
Ian

I intend using 4 of these die-cast M10 thread clamping handles. They seem rugged enough to take a good nudge for tightening them up and they also have a lift-up ratchet to position them conveniently.



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VX HPE (resto started Sept ‘21)
Beta Saloon 2.0l s2 1979 (completed July 2020)
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« Reply #74 on: February 10, 2023, 07:00:25 PM »

Hi Ian, if the floor is weak in the middle then it'll flex with the loads transferred? Joining the floor to the suspension crossmember will effectively create a new box section to stiffen it all up. I need to poke my head underneath the car to look at the crossmember. If my memory is correct the crossmember has two tubes through which the transverse arms are bolted front and rear? The arms being on the outside of the beam? In which case boxing it in should increase it's stiffness a bit. I think the trick will be making the new box from thick enough material and a tight enough fit between the floor and the top of the cross member so that any flex in the floor is eliminated.

My memory of the anatomy of the HPE is fuzzy in this area (despite having had 3 of them). I think the rear suspension crossmember is fixed with two bolts each side? If you could drill through the centre of the threaded hole into the cabin where would that appear? If it's between the struts I'd have thought replacing the captive thread with a threaded tube that's the depth of the box section, properly welded in, would give you an ideal fixing point for the base of a diagonal X braced frame to the top of the two towers which could be tied together where they cross?

I think that a cross brace would be significantly stronger than the Y you've proposed? But either is going to help rear end stiffness!

Guy
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Alfa Romeo 159 T1 2.4 Q4 Sportwagon - Believed one of 4 in UK.
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« Reply #75 on: February 27, 2023, 10:14:49 PM »

The rear brace and crossmember is done. After much thought I decided to go with my original idea. The more I looked the more an ‘X’ brace looked problematic. Whilst it might offer a little more structural stiffness it would have been difficult to make a mounting point on the n/s lower turret area. It’s a busy area with pipes, cables and fuel filler hose down to the tank. I couldn’t see a way to make an easily removable brace.

So I started by stripping the crossmember back to bare metal with a wire brush on an angle grinder. The finish was good but a broken wire planted itself in the tip of my nose and needed removing with pliers. Lesson learnt.

Then I fabricated the strengthening plates to make the crossmember a box section. This was very satisfying and something I’ve been meaning to do on my coupe for years.



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VX HPE (resto started Sept ‘21)
Beta Saloon 2.0l s2 1979 (completed July 2020)
Beta coupé VX (completed April 2017)
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« Reply #76 on: February 27, 2023, 10:20:05 PM »

Next up I made a pedestal to sit on top of the crossmember to give a mounting point for the strut brace above floor level. Once I had this assembled under the car I could start work on the strut brace Itself. First of all I needed some captive mounting points on the top of the turrets.


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« Last Edit: February 27, 2023, 10:22:18 PM by squiglyzigly » Logged

VX HPE (resto started Sept ‘21)
Beta Saloon 2.0l s2 1979 (completed July 2020)
Beta coupé VX (completed April 2017)
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« Reply #77 on: February 27, 2023, 10:33:25 PM »

Then the final fabrication of the strut brace with an adjustable left and right hand thread for fine adjustment that will undoubtedly be needed each time it’s removed and refitted.
Once you tighten it in, the difference is very noticeable whilst sitting on axle stands at the rear of the sills. Without the brace, the turrets and the shell flex outwards when you put your body weight on the rear boot slam crossmember.
With it bolted in, the car see-saws the front end up in the air. Its solid.

The total weight of this installation was on my mind throughout as I don’t want a 1700kg modern car. So the various parts where measured with the Brace itself at 1.8kg, pedestal 450g, strut upper captive mounts 260g and plates for crossmember 350g. All up with fixings comes in around 3kg. I’m very happy with that.


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VX HPE (resto started Sept ‘21)
Beta Saloon 2.0l s2 1979 (completed July 2020)
Beta coupé VX (completed April 2017)
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« Reply #78 on: February 27, 2023, 11:38:16 PM »

Hi Ian

That looks oh so neat a solution. Any chance of making the removable section available to others….?

Peter
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« Reply #79 on: February 28, 2023, 09:49:06 AM »

Hi Peter,
It’s not completely finished yet as I want to make some brackets to store the brace when it’s removed. Eric gave me this idea and I think it will be much better than chucking it in the back when you need the open space.
Making the brace for others has a few issues, there’s no point making it bolt into the floor without the pedestal underneath on the crossmember as the floor is a flimsy unsupported sheet. Also for me, I have limited time to make multiple copies as my full time job dictates, and I need my time getting this restoration done.
I like to share the progress on here for others to use if they wish.

But I do think just a single straight removable brace on the turrets will be a big improvement for any HPE. And these clamp handles are as quick and easy as can be.
Also I’ve got a few other little mods to do this week if the materials arrive which are aimed at adding more structural integrity for minimal weight. Every little helps.
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VX HPE (resto started Sept ‘21)
Beta Saloon 2.0l s2 1979 (completed July 2020)
Beta coupé VX (completed April 2017)
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