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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Dampers MK3

Just read the thread from frogeye dampers. I have a simular question, but then about what kind of oil to use.
I have been told that you can "adjust" the smoothness or stiffnes of the dampers by using thicker or thinner oil. Some say to use regular 5W40 oil, others say that you have to use oil they use in those garage lifters/jack's. the 5W40 is thicker than jack oil, wich is a kind of hydrolic oil.
When i got my MK3, about 10 years ago, the first thing i have done is to change the oil wich was in the dampers with automatic gearbox oil. After that the ride was much better, not so "soft". Can anyone can say somthing about this, or can recommend a kind of oil?
Niek Lammerts

I thought you had to use 20 weight fork oil and that any adjustment was done by altering the valve. See this site -
Mike Howlett

Hello Mike. Thanks for the info, it is very usefull to me!
Niek Lammerts

Good article! I was going to say the same - keep the same oil, but work with the valving instead.

Having said that, Peter Caldwell told me that he doesn't do uprated valves in his well-regarded rebuilds, and doesn't recommend them. Peter, are you there? Perhaps he could weigh in with the expert's view.

Gryf Ketcherside

I might be wrong but I thought the lever shocks were used on "London Taxis" so that's what took them to still be used in 90s

this is the (Penrite Shock oil No1) oil that Sussex Classic Classic MG Parts and Brown & Gammon sell -

I'm sure I heard a story about putting milk in as it curdles it gets thicker, probably used by dodgy dealers!
N Atkins

MILK! That explains a lot! LOL

OK, the Morgan article is mostly correct. (just some details that are peculiar to Morgans don't necessarily apply to all shocks)

There are several types of valve bodies that vary by hole numbers. There are several spring-wire diameters for both springs. That we "don't do uprated valves" isn't quite the case, it's that we make or assemble valves from other stock shocks depending on what the customer wants.

What's important to realize is that any manner of hand testing on the bench is essentially only testing the bleed valve which is a simple Vee groove machined in the small cone shape. It's very unlikely that you can approximate the rapid oscillations encountered by a suspension in use. Thicker oil can cause damage to the poppet valves in the base of each piston, and when they blow out, there's no damping.

Stick with the 20W oil recommended (AW68 spec). At most use 30W (AW ISO 100) Best are synthetics like Silkolene or Redline suspension oils. They hold up under heat waaaaay better than standard hydraulic oils.... and these shocks get hot.

Peter Caldwell

the milk story was from a friend in the motor trade during the 60s-90s

I couldn't listen to some of another friend's stories of the tricks a mate told me went on in the trade and especially in the classic boom of the '80s, Japan probably had 200% of the surviving Mini cooper steering wheels in the '80s :)

good to hear another informed vote for synthetic oils
N Atkins

I've used 30W to replace the original oil in the front shocks - well what was left of it and it was black and horrible, so this thread is very welcome. Now for the rears!

Jeremy 3

This thread was discussed between 14/06/2011 and 15/06/2011

MG Midget and Sprite Technical index

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