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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - adjust the spring or the damper ?

My 72 RWA 1275 is back on the road as you may have read and during the rebuild I fitted the frontline telescopic damper kit all round. however, I find the ride to bouncy. . .I have the dampers adjusted to the minimum and have spoken to frontline about my issue to which they suggest do circa 500 miles and then things should be better. I may have done 200 miles max so far.

Whilst I have faith in what I am told the idea of another 300 double vision inducing miles feels like its going to be a chore and I wonder if others have either taken a leaf out of the springs, or changed back to lever arms or both ?

It feels more a rear end issue than front, but any advice would be useful.
P Bentley

As always there are loads of threads on this, but when I looked at going telescopic front and rear I kept finding posts indicating that a hard ride even at min setting was par for the course.

Regards having faith in what FL say, just ask Nigel and he will, I think have a few (very harsh) words about that!

FWIW, everybody who has ridden in my car has been amazed at how comfortable and well damped it rides, it has standard front and rear springs and rebuilt uprated LA dampers from Stevson Motors.

One thing you can do however is oil your rear springs - I used a 3in1 aerosol can and sprayed the gaps on the rear leaf springs (used the whole can) - my car had been stood from 1992 to 2008 and the rear spring had stuck together, so you got a massive kick in ar*e on every bump - oiling them made such a difference. In the good old days Rolls Royce used to grease the leaf springs and then contain the grease in a leather bag wrapped around the spring.
Malc Gilliver

If the ride is bouncy it's normally because the car is under-damped and/or over-sprung. Soft springs and stiff dampers make for a smooth ride while stiff springs and soft dampers lead to a jiggly/bouncy ride. Having said that, I fully agree with Malc about keeping leaf springs in good condition. Though I have ditched the whole rear suspension on my 1500 midget for a coil-sprung set-up, I have in the past taken leaf springs to pieces, cleaned them to bare metal and reassembled with lots and lots of grease and the difference is amazing. If the leaves are binding you then have an artificially hard spring and a bouncy ride. If the standard suspension is in good condition it works surprisingly well apart from the dreaded bump-steer and axle-tramp; but with gentle driving and normally smooth roads neither are problematic or even noticeable. Nevertheless, in my view the standard system is much less forgiving than a modern car when pressing on a bumpy road.
Nick Nakorn

I guess the obvious question is...

Why not just increase shock the setting by a few clicks ??

On my FL kit, (for the front) has just a knob with I think 10 settings ... im guessing it would be the same for the backend also

Are you sure all the hardware is secure and tight

I think FL is correct, its going to need a few miles for everything to settle in, personally I think you may ""start"" to begin seeing some differences starting in the next 50 - 100 miles at the very least

But yeah, your the 1st to say its to bouncy, that ive seen
Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Are you the person that put on those fiberglass springs on a few months back ???

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

thanks guys will try the lube idea on the leafs and report back.
P Bentley


You made me laugh with your last comment... it was so matter of fact, flip, and just off the cuff... great style points

Greasing the springs would be a good idea but Gez the amount of work to do it, is not far from probably 10 - 15 hours. maybe even 20 hours per spring if there in really bad shape

Unless im misunderstanding something....The process is as follows

the spring has to be removed from the car, disassembled, belt sanded, media blasted or some type of rust removal process, cleaned to shinny metal, greased up, reassmbled, then reinstalled and adjusted back onto the car

Just spraying the outside of the spring with some WD40 isnt going to do the trick

If as you say its adjusted on the minuimal setting id try turning up the shock setting by a few extra points to a harsher setting before I spent a month of free time rebuilding and greasing the leaf springs

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

got to say I agree with get more miles in despite the fact I'd believe an offer to make me a multi-millionaire from a Nigerian General much more than certain 'specialist experts' telling me the time of day

other things to consider -

if you replaced the bushes what did type did you use

what tyre pressures are you running at

as Nick has put try adding one or two clicks to stiffen the dampers, I'd start with the front dampers one or two clicks more then do the rear if required, then back to adding to the front one or two clicks more and so on

I've recently dropped all four of mine to two clicks off softest as part of the experiment after changing tyres but it's too bouncy on some roads so I'm going to increase one click at the front and see how it goes - I've found the tyres used make a big difference, I've had three different sorts since fitting the upright dampers

this Sunday we'll do 200+ miles, it is possible for these cars to do more than short journeys Peter ;)
Nigel Atkins

ETA: my dampers are the Avos (local company) and have I think 14 clicks from softest to hardest

if you count the first click at softest as one then as I put I'm currently on two clicks from softest

and I should have put as Nick and Prop have put try adding on a click or two
Nigel Atkins

If you wanted comfort and not sporty handling you should have kept the std shocks......
Onno K

Onno nailed it... from reading about this

I have no experiance with tubes at the back,

but there is overwhelming input in the archives about LA shocks in the rear are the way to go with both comfortable pleasure and run of the mill demon possessed driving

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

When I oiled my rear springs, I simply got an aerosol can of 3in1 oil - might have been the PTFE version and using the long red straw it came with I just ran the can up and down the springs where the black plastic shows between the springs and it worked - your mileage may vary, but it only took me about 15mins - did it for a couple of days and it made a massive difference.

I'm sure taking them off and taking apart is the better way - but I got away with just spraying !

Malc Gilliver

Always been happy with the OE lever arms, get some decent quality ones and they're fine on a road car.

Been in telescopic equipped cars and they always feel too hard to me for long distance comfort.
SR Smith 1

If the car is too bouncy it is because the dampers need to be increased, not decreased. Literally, the springs are jiggling the car up and down as you go over every bump in the road. The dampers job is to limit this excessive enthusiasm - to damp it down. Increase the damper setting.
Guy Weller

P do you really mean bouncy or is it hard?
J.W. Vlaanderen

hard ride = over-damped and over-sprung. But I think the problem P Bentley has is bouncyness.
Nick Nakorn

He did clearly say it was too bouncy. Which is why I said increase the damper setting.

With very little damping and hard springs bounciness can be interpreted by some as a hard ride, particularly when over rougher surfaces.
Guy Weller

Tried the couple of clicks over the weekend, but only got to do a run of 30 miles or so, it was certainly no worse.

As for why I changed Onno. . . .I felt it would be a step forward, but now im not so sure.

Will keep to the setting at two clicks and try the various methods of lubing the springs before reverting to lever arms if need be.

I did see the funny side of your note Prop. . .it was a double bluff !

The bushes would have come from Moss. . .so whatever they supplied. A friend of mine worked there up until recently and no doubt supplied the better of the choices available. As I write this I seem to remember them being blue if that is a factor as to their type ?

Will carry on driving about and see how I go.

cheers for the input and wisdom shared.

P Bentley

give it more time

if you added two clicks to the rear you could try taking one or both of them away but leave the fronts as they are and see how it feels

I find unless you've got it terribly wrong then it can take a good few miles on different types of roads and road surface conditions to decided if the damper settings need more adjustment and that might be going back to the previous setting which is why I prefer to do small adjustments that way hopefully you only need to go back one setting if you go too far

all this assumes the dampers and springs are fitted correctly and are fully functioning
Nigel Atkins

How many clicks from min damping to max on these shocks please? I'd not expect to feel any difference with just a 2-click adjustment, but understanding the range would help.
David Smith

This thread was discussed between 27/06/2014 and 30/06/2014

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