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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - changed all of my springs, bushings, links

Well, I am getting in deeper and deeper.....
During the last few weeks I have done a lot to my 73.
I will write this into several different postings to split up the subjects. This one is about suspension.
I bought the Moss lower stiffer front springs (not competition 400 spring rate). I got those because for pre-74 cars they are lower. In my pictures you can see the difference. The car is now significantly lower in the front. I am happy with the front springs except that I would not mind if they were stiffer (height is good). The quality of these UK made springs seems good.

I got the Moss one inch lower stiffer rear springs. This is not the competition 2 inch lower springs. Moss motors told me that my car would be too low if I go the 2 inch lower springs (because they were referenced to the later cars). I am not happy with the rear springs. In fact, the car looks jacked (too high but mostly the right side). The quality of these springs is not acceptable. The rear still needs to be lower and stiffer.

The next step is to upgrade the shocks. I have discovered (of course you would also expect this) that if you have a stiffer suspension you need to match the shorter bounce rate with uprated shocks. With stock shocks the car almost feels worse than it did with the softer springs. I have not yet decided if I should stay with lever arm shocks (but they need to be stiffer) or to convert to tube shocks.

Here are my pictures (chronological). The suspension stuff starts near the end of the page:
http://www.pangalacticconsortium.com/cars/MG_midget//index007.html

I took pictures of EVERYTHING!

I had a lot of trouble figuring out how to safely (for me and the car) hold up the body and the rear end. I did a few things that I did not like much but I think that it did no harm. I needed four jack stands and two floor jacks to replace the rear springs.

I removed the bracket for the rear springs (bolts in the trunk) rather than try and remove the shackle bolt.

For the front springs I decided not to follow the book procedure. I just put a jack under the lower control arm, disconnected the shock and then slowly lowered the jack and let the spring unload. It got hung up at the base. On both sides I had to wedge it out with a bar. Now that I have shorter springs I don't think that I would have that problem.
Rebecca

R Harvey

Hi Rebecca, when you tightened up the rear springs and shackles, did you do this with the full weight of the car on the wheels?

If not, this may be the cause for it sitting high as its good practice to hand tighten the nuts and then do the final nip up once the car is back on its wheels.

It could also be that they just need some time to settle down to the proper ride height.

HTH
Mark
Mark Whitmore

I thought that I was careful to do it with the full weight of the car. However, I did lower it in stages.

I don't think that I paid as much attention to when the shackles were tightened (but final tightening was done with car down). Did you see the picture of my new springs put together so you can see that they are not the same? The old springs were better matched.

Perhaps I should try and loosen them again with the weight on them and then tighten them again. Would this help. I guess I would have to unspring them too in order to make it like they were just being installed (to try again and tightten).

Rebecca
R Harvey

Hi, I think that you would be ok just loosening the nuts a bit and letting it settle and then tightening them back up.

The other thing that i thought: Is the rear shackle (rear of spring to bodywork) facing in the correct direction?

IIRC it should be facing towards the rear of the car, sometimes it will settle the wrong way and cause the car to sit too high.

I see what you mean about the springs together, not sure how much of a difference that would make. Can you remember which spring out of the 2 was fitted on the side of the car that now sits higher?

HTH

Mark

Mark Whitmore

Unfortunately I cannot remember which spring went on which side.
I think that the shackles are both bushed out the way they should be (towards the back). I will try loosening the nuts and then push down on the bumper to see if they will settle.

Rebecca
R Harvey

Your doing a great job, i really enjoyed your photos, id alo loosen but leave loose over night then tighten, just let gravity do its thing.

Prop
Prop

thanks for the encouragement and the tips.
Rebecca
R Harvey

wow, so thats what these cars look like when they arent caked with rust...
Seth Brecklin

Good point, Seth. It occurred to me that I really can't help Rebecca. I've never worked on a clean car before...

-:G:-
Gryf Ketcherside

Gryf,

In that case you should be a god send and a wealth of info to me...hahaha

washed once in almost 2 years

Peop
Prop

Completed the same task recently plus changed the front spring bracket. A frustrating job as the springs and bracket were poor quality and required modification before fitting. The bracket was dimensionally different the original bracket that came off, and the spring was noticeably wider on the clips than the part that came off. The replacement parts were obviously never checked, considering the mark up of a part that cost 30p to produce then resold for 11 you would think part of the service would be some dimensional control. Will take this up with them.

I have heard stories of the springs settling very quickly and required replacing in as little as 3 years. Its a shame there isn't a better replacement for this part and also a polybush is not available, unlike the MGB, for the front eye bush. Hurt me to replace the front spring bush with a one! I guess I could have machined a polybush to fit, but with the small diameters involved not sure it would take the stress in this critical area.

I have read reports about retempering the spring, but with nylon strips between the springs, not so easy.

I have a set of springs with an extra leaf and nylatron busshes fitted. Sadly they are for the rubber bumpered model, and therefore no use to me..... Any interest, otherwise EBay in a few weeks time?
P J Guest

PJ when springs are retempered they are totally disassembled so the nylon interleaving is not a problem (this would be replaced anyway).
David Smith

David,
Do you know what re-tempering costs? Or anyone else for that matter?

Guy
Guy Weller

when I was into classic trials about 20 years ago there was a spring works in Bristol who would do it for less than the cost of new ones. Nowadays, no idea; first find a spring works....
David Smith

These people quoted me about 30 each (for frogeye springs) about a year ago) They really sounded like they knoew what they were doing and said that they had a reckord of the Spring rate for practically every UK car made. They aren't the kind of place that would have a website though. Just two old chaps if I remember correctly.
They retempered a pair of Taxi Springs for me years ago when I had an FX4

Brost Forge Motorspring ServiceLondon Holloway Spring Manufacturers & Distributors.
Brost Forge Motorspring Service

0207 6072311
Brost Forge Motorspring Service
149 Roman Way
Holloway
Islington
London N7 8XH
Telephone:
0207 6072311




Gary lazarus

Rebecca, part of your rear shock problem is that they are no longer statically in the center of their travel since you lowered the rear with the new springs. The easy solution is to swap the lower spring plates from side to side and invert the tab the shock link bolts to. That will lower the bottom shock static position about 2" and will give you much better range on the shocks for no expense. You're going to be loosening the spring plates and U bolts anyway. This is pretty well standard procedure when converting to tube type shocks, but it's easy and works well and if you decide to do a tube shock conversion later on the plates are already done.

Bill Young

This thread was discussed between 10/08/2010 and 23/08/2010

MG Midget and Sprite Technical index

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