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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Dismatling leaf springs

Sort of thinking out loud here...

I got bored the other day and (rightly or wrongly) decided to dismatle the rear springs to paint all the leaves individualy before rebuilding (one of these doing a job properly things).

The bolt that holds the springs together doesn't have a head on it so I was wondering if anyone knew why? It seems strange they are so hard to disassemble (and therefore to assemble in the first place!)

To get it appart I gripped it in mole grips and got the nyloc nut half way off before it got really stuck (bolt was banana shaped)! So I chopped the bolt and will replace it with a socket cap bolt.


M Le Chevalier

Lol simple lesson - what's hard to take apart is harder to put together!!!!

well replacing them with socket caps will make them easy for me to assemble, I'm confused as to why people in the 'leaf spring factory' would struggle with such a bizzare bolting arrangement.

M Le Chevalier

Lol they were paid too!

The head of the bolt is the shape it is because it is designed to locate the spring into the mount
Robert (Bob) Midget Turbo

aahhhh... of course. may have to re think my plan then. oh well.

M Le Chevalier

Use an imbus bolt. internal hex.

Alex G Matla

I used an "imbus" bolt as well.

Now about these "Mole Grips"...

I believe you meant to use the term Vise Grips:
Trevor Jessie

In the UK - and most particularly in Scotland, they are definitely Mole Grips.

Anyway, we wouldn't want to use a misspelling of the word vice.
Do you call vacuum cleaners Hoovers in the States? Or does that just refer to a Dam? In the UK we now often call Hoovers, Dysons which is maybe taking product identification a step too far!

Sorry for random off-topic mental meandering!

Guy, quite agree - and d'you fancy cleaning up that Wiki entry by replacing the strange American wrench with Grips.
David Smith

I am fairly sure they were mole grips! Although they weren't self locking ones. and an imbus bolt is a the same as a socket cap bolt/screw.

On the topic of nomenclature, a little trivia which people may or may not know. A bolt is only a bolt if if it has a straight section of the shank. If the thread goes all the way up to the head then it is technically a screw.


M Le Chevalier

I thought a bolt with a complete thead was a set?
BH Harvey

maybe I am wrong about that one as well. Why is life so confusing?! :-( ha ha

M Le Chevalier

You must have been bored !
Why paint the spribngs individualy anyway ? The paint will only wear off where the springs rub together.
You have to be carefull doing stuff like this to springs because it can change the characteristic of the spring. The same as greasing the leaves before assembly.
S Langston

yeah, I was sort of bored and had the desperate urge to paint something! I have had the midget 6 months and done nothing but pull things apart and chop out rust, it was getting a bit depressing!

M Le Chevalier

I think the proper term is Set Screw. So 2 wrongs do make a right!

Never grease leaf springs. Well, not unless they are the old style pre-war ones that are then wrapped with leather gaiters or Denso tape. The grease attracts and holds grit which then rapidly wears the springs where the leaves rub together. This produces notches in the spring and the resulting stress riser causes them to break.


As was said, the head is round because it it the locator for the axel. Typically, you do not expect to ever unscrew that bolt because springs don't get replace that often.

When disassemby is required, you just stand over the spring assembly with a tire hammer, and knock the nut off in one fell swoop. Then, you replace it with a new spring center bolt, avaliable at any spring shop.

Because the center bolt is new, there is no problem tightening it up. The hollow hex head is not needed to tighten it. Mole Grips or Vice Grips are plenty good enough. And, because you bought a proper spring center bolt, you have some confidence that you have the correct grade of steel.

C R Huff

This thread was discussed between 04/04/2011 and 06/04/2011

MG Midget and Sprite Technical index

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