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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Took out my driver's seat today to remove the central consol, replace handbrake cable and maybe carpet too. Slight issue, after undoing, one of the seat fixing captive nuts vanished. The sheet steel around it had broken off.

Have now retrieved it, using telescopic magnet thingies, and got a bolt through with a plate to hold it there. What to do next though? Can't drive it to a garage for welding.

Am tempted to try brazing it or even metal glueing it - as under compression when fixed and there is quite a large round plate around the captive nut that would stop it pulling out. Could be an issue if ever need to remove the seat again though.

Have noticed signs of cracking around two of the other three fixings. Can only think it is fatigue, probably not helped by the slight gap between the seat runners and the fixing steel, caused by the carpet. Will put re-enforcing washers over each of them when re-fitting to remove the gap between seat runner and fixing point. Passenger seat fixings look fine - which sort of agrees with the fatigue idea.

Have also noticed, when adding text to the photos, the rear of the handbrake fixing appears to have some cracking too. Out of all the places I expected to have metal issue on this car, these were not them.

Any suggestions anyone?

UPDATE: Just ordered some Permatex steel weld epoxy glue - apparantly has a tensile strength of 4500psi so should be able to keep things in place as long as not tightened too severly. I hope....
 

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I would say most 164s have experienced the sheetmetal ripping out at the handbrake, years ago. I have not seen the issue at the seat mounting points before though. What really needs to happen is some welding in those areas. My car had already been repaired probably around 5-6 years after it was sold new. A reinforced area of metal was welded in at that time and never caused a problem again, during my ownership or my dad's before me. The sheetmetal should have been strengthened in some way at the time of manufacturing in both of those places, but specifically at the parking brake lever. If your car is an auto trans car the problem did not show up as soon, due to less use of the parking brake.
Charles
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Welding in extra sheet steel would be the way of choice. Not practical at the moment though as have no welding gear. Will keep it in mind though. Might prep the car when carpet out and drop in seat with three bolts to drive to a workshop. Will see how the rear suspension/fuel tank change goes timewise...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
What about brazing? I have been avoiding the idea due to heat spread from a gas torch but cost wise it is a lot cheaper to buy a butane/propane mix torch and flux/rods than welding kit and strength wise should be fine if braze in spreader plates, shouldn't it?
 

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For the LS, which came with well cracked metal under the handbrake mounting, I bolted in a wide metal plate to spread the load out. Has worked very well for years, very tight feel. Would do the same if the S ever gives me that trouble (hasn't yet, as I do not reef hard on the lever, but it has always felt a little soft/flexible, but no change, used daily).
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
For the LS, which came with well cracked metal under the handbrake mounting, I bolted in a wide metal plate to spread the load out. Has worked very well for years, very tight feel. Would do the same if the S ever gives me that trouble (hasn't yet, as I do not reef hard on the lever, but it has always felt a little soft/flexible, but no change, used daily).
Had been thinking about adding a plate for the seat runner bolt. Not entirely given up on it. Would need some kind of captive bolt included and not raise the seat runner. Could maybe braze a captive bolt to a plate and then bolt or rivet the plate in place.

Alfa make great cars, just why do they have to make them so hard to keep?

Can I ask where you bolted extra metal to for the handbrake?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
How about a push-on washer or circlip to hold the bolt up and prevent it from dropping down along with some liquid steel?
Nice idea. Not sure how to do it in practise clip wise. Hoping the liquid steel/steel weld will be enough to keep it up until seat remounted. With washers on top of each mount, filling the gap between them and the seat runner hoping it will all be fine. Won't know for a week or so as car being quite heavily stripped for multiple part changes but will post results when they happen.

Cheers.
 

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Looks like there may be some weak metal underneath. Have a good look at the under body and replace any missing metal. Brazing, convenient if you strip out the carpet and scrape all of the undercoating off, may be a liability if you don't. The length of time needed to heat the metal so the braze rod melts will cause things to glow. I would rather to a wire weld, keep the heat more localized. It's difficult to tell without knowing what is underneath.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Can drop an endoscope through the hole. From what can tell nothing but empty box section. Would prefer welding to brazing for the same reason though. Going to try the mega glue first and see how it goes.
Handbrake mounting wise, will add a plate.
Carpet is coming out - want to check the entire floor area and have another to put it just sitting in the shed so might as well use it.
 

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Best bet would be to cut a big hole in the bottom of the box section from the bottom if you can, to access the area from below and put in a load spreading plate, held from above with something like pan head bolts, with an attached seat mounting nutplate. Then cover the access hole in the bottom with a sealed and multi-screwed on spanning cover strap/plate.

You want to spread out the seat nut loading as much as possible in the as built thin floor pan sheet metal. I do see more local radial cracking from the hole edges. You might drill small 'crack stopper' holes at the very ends of those cracks.

I seriously don't think that the filled epoxy will hold for long, as it will probably just detach from the painted sheet metal under repeated loading, its attachment area and surface adhesion properties not all that great.

Glad it's not my car, but I should check. I don't like doing these kinds of repairs.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Drilling crack stopper holes is a great idea.
Not sure about cuttung an access hole in box section underneath - don't want to start getting structural cracking further down.
The expoxy rated at 4500psi and only used to hold dropped part up until bolted together with seat, which will then hold it in place. Long term am going to have to get it all welded - when have own welder as can't drive it with no driver's seat.
 

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I once had the extreme pleasure of owning a Ford Bronco 2 with manual 4x4 hubs (which I found out after I drove into a snow covered field). I had removed front seats to repair some rusted metal. Shortly after, I went for a short drive with my wife and upon hitting a small depression, she and her seat lifted off of the mounting spots and settled down with a "thump". I had forgotten to bolt the seat down.
can you drive with 3 of the 4 bolts in place? Yes. Should you? That's up to you.
Forget the glue. Many promises but lean back once the joint will likely crack. If you are worried,push the busted nut down to keep it accessible, purchase a large "mushroom" bolt (those used for concrete or blocks) or spreading finger-type and fasten with that. It will keep you in place until you have a proper repair done. Keep in mind that you may have to drill that out later and retrieve the stock nut.
 

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The 4500 psi strength value you quote is not the same as adhesion to another surface strength. In many cases, the epoxy just lifts/pops off it's mating surface long before the epoxy matrix itself breaks. That's the usual joint failure mode.

I agree that if you don't want to rebuild the box section with doubler plates, etc, then welding is the usual repair, usually with a reinforcing washer around the nut, also welded on.

One location in 164s which often requires this type of repair is the mounting hole (IIRC, a square hole with a plastic insert, the corners being fatigue stress risers, bad) for the coolant tank, closest to the top of the left front suspension strut. That hole will crack in the wheel well sheet metal toward the engine, down under the tank, and also toward the closest mounting hole for the strut. I had to have that welded up with a reinforcing washer many years ago in my 91S. Others have reported the same.
 

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Took out my driver's seat today to remove the central consol, replace handbrake cable and maybe carpet too. Slight issue, after undoing, one of the seat fixing captive nuts vanished. The sheet steel around it had broken off.

Have now retrieved it, using telescopic magnet thingies, and got a bolt through with a plate to hold it there. What to do next though? Can't drive it to a garage for welding.

Am tempted to try brazing it or even metal glueing it - as under compression when fixed and there is quite a large round plate around the captive nut that would stop it pulling out. Could be an issue if ever need to remove the seat again though.

Have noticed signs of cracking around two of the other three fixings. Can only think it is fatigue, probably not helped by the slight gap between the seat runners and the fixing steel, caused by the carpet. Will put re-enforcing washers over each of them when re-fitting to remove the gap between seat runner and fixing point. Passenger seat fixings look fine - which sort of agrees with the fatigue idea.

Have also noticed, when adding text to the photos, the rear of the handbrake fixing appears to have some cracking too. Out of all the places I expected to have metal issue on this car, these were not them.

Any suggestions anyone?

UPDATE: Just ordered some Permatex steel weld epoxy glue - apparantly has a tensile strength of 4500psi so should be able to keep things in place as long as not tightened too severly. I hope....
Had the same issue in mine. Cut one out of a parts car and placed underneath the broken part and screwed seat back in. Worked fine. Safe? Not sure?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks Del. Don't need the epoxy to hold a mega load, just the nut in position but good points.

Will check out that coolant mount. Cheers.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hi Jason,
Can I ask how you accessed the underside of the mount? I thought these were in a seal box section with no underside access.
 

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Hi Jason,
Can I ask how you accessed the underside of the mount? I thought these were in a seal box section with no underside access.
It's all open under the mounting areas. Once you get seat out, you will see the cavities. Under carpet. From memory I may have had to cut carpet or you can peel it back by removed sill parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Wow. That is fantastic to know. Thank you. Am taking the carpet out so should see the cavities.

Any idea how to remove the rear seat squab when it has the height adjustable headrests (series 2 1995)? I've removed the five bolts/screws that are enought for the fixed headrest version but the headrests themselves seem to be preventing the removal. Wondering if they can be removed separately, maybe by twisting the adjustment pillars...?
 
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