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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Drop links

MK3 midget.
About 18 months ago I overhauled the front suspension fitting all new bushes TRE's and drop links. On reassembly I noticed that the near side drop link appeared to be miss aligned. As M O T was due shortly I decided to see what happened, a pass with no problems. As I had fitted new TRE's I though that wheel alignment might be out. When I took car for wheel check I pointed problem out to garage. On completion they said the roll bar should slide and they had centralised it but in reality it was no different.
At my latest MOT I got a fail for " anti roll bar insecurely attached front". I have never had any end stops fitted to roll bar. The fixing of jubilee clips to act as end stops was acceptable to pass MOT.
I do not think that I fitted links to wrong side (I notice L and R have different part numbers). Is it possible to fit upside down?
I will attempt to attach image although in reality it looked worse than photo.
Any advice please.
SW Newman

Unable to submit image as file is too large!!!!
SW Newman

Success at obtaining image

SW Newman

The good side!!

SW Newman

The left does look a bit odd, could it be upside down and/or a RH, I don't know, sorry.

I do know that modern made rubber can be piss-poor and possibly like me you made the mistake by changing original drop-links that seem to last many decades for modern made ones that might only last months.

If you have your original drop links still put them back on or at least compare the LH links.

Once you have it sorted I'd recommend end-stops, fitted inboard of the ARB bush brackets.

Your car looks far too clean to have had any use to discover any issues from the overall.

Nigel Atkins

It may be something to do with the relative angles, but to me it looks like the offside end of the ARB is in line with, or even a touch outboard of, the outer mounting bolt for the drop link bracket.
But the nearside end appears to be well inboard of the middle bolt.
If so that would account for the dissimilar angles of the links.
I don't even know if it's possible to fit a RH link on the nearside end.

Missed the edit window:
I should have said I don't think it's possible. They are handed.

Fit the end stops, but allow a reasonable amount of clearance as the ARB is supposed to move a little laterally and should be free to self adjust as the attachment points on the lower wishbones move in an arc as the suspension goes up and down.

I think I will see what difference refitting other way up makes. Unfortunately I do not have original links although I was very careful to fit new ones as per old. I do recall thinking links were identical so maybe I was supplied with two the same. As I am away I will do shortly
I fitted with car jacked up and did not notice anything odd until car was on ground.
SW Newman

Did you perhaps fit the bar upside down? The flattened ends of the bar are angled slightly, though I don't see why that would pull one more out of line than the other.

An acquaintance of mine has had the same problem with incorrectly aligned anti-roll bar drop links.
Alan Anstead

Mine roll bar doesn't sit centrally either.

When I jack the car up from the front on the middle of the central cross member one wheel comes up sooner than the other. And when the car is on 4 stands one of the stands needs to be 1/4 inch higher than the rest.

At some point I need to check the flatness of the garage floor, but its concrete so I would expect it to be flat.

Obviously something somewhere isnt quite flat/ symmetrical from one side to the other but I'm not losing sleep over it.


I have fitted link up the other way, no difference. I also fitted the good side link up the other way, no difference. When I buy some endstops I will try a new link on bad side and see what happens.
SW Newman

Let us know how you get on.

Don't take this the wrong way and ignore it if you already know - left hand is as you look at the car from the rear of the car looking forward - and NEVER assume the part you ordered and received is correct, mistakes happen with the information on databases and with storage and labelling of parts.

I notice Toss list the LH link as AHA7012A, what does the extra A on the end stand for(?) and their price is high for the part.
Nigel Atkins

I cut the link and threaded the ends then made a threaded sleeve locked off in position with nuts but not everyone has availability of a lathe. In the meantime said acquaintance has purchased correctly orientated links from Kent based MEV.
Alan Anstead

Thanks for all you suggestions. I have fitted new drop links and stops. This has made no difference the left hand link is still out of alignment. If I adjust stops to 10mm from brackets and drive car it ends up with link becoming more out of line. I have tried roll bar the other way up but still left hand link is misaligned. I am sure the bar was correctly fitted previously.
I have noticed that the right hand side suspension is sitting a good 12mm lower than left as measured from centre of wheel to wheel arch. Any suggestions. I intend to remove roll bar completely untill a solution is found as the drop link I removed was badly damaged.
SW Newman

If you've fully disconnected the bar then it should be out of the equation at least.

My understanding is that the stops butt up to the bushes (am I wrong?) and the bushes give enough flex, 10mm each gives 20mm of movement.

There are often differences in measurements from side to side, front to back and diagonal. Are there any differences in the parts or the way they're fitted from one side to the other, were the springs a matched pair and nothing added to them or other fittings.

You could perhaps try swapping spring or other bits from one side to other to see if that makes any odds to the ride height or even your drop link issue.

Just for comparison. -

ETA: looking at it again, allowing for different in angle of photos is it the r/h/s drop link at a different angle?

Nigel Atkins

It is the left hand link that is misaligned.
I did not replace springs at time of refurb but I did measure them and they seemed to be of correct height.
SW Newman

Yes I was thinking that if there is a problem on the right it might show up as a misalignment on the left (12mm lower on left could be that right is too high sort of thing).

Both my drop links are just off vertical (to my wonky eye) whereas yours look to be swinging to (bottom) right.

What year Mk3 do you have and what are the ride height measurements each side at front?
Nigel Atkins

The bar should move side to side! And this will move the drop links out of true vertical, depending on where the suspension is sitting. The furthest out is when the lower wishbone pans are both equally horizontal. Any movement away from this will thrust that droplink laterally, but that's why they have rubber bushes, to allow for movement.

If your drop links are permanently mismatched - leans in more than the other, then try pushing the ARB across until they look the same and then reposition the stops. But not too tightly, the ARB still needs to be allowed some degree of lateral movement. This needs to be done with the car on level ground. And if you Jack the car up enevenly, or do one side ahead of the other this will also cause the droplinks to each take up a different angle.

as the ARB is disconnected what about taking it off and checking it's not bent or too off symmetrical at each end.
Nigel Atkins

Slightly off topic, but the lock tab on your calliper doesn't appear to be doing much.

Dave O'Neill 2

They look like the ones I got recently and a waste of time, just cleaned all threads and used split washers and threadlock instead.
Nigel Atkins

Thanks for further feedback. When I remove ARB I will provide accurate measurements for ride height. I have been tightening links with car on axle stands could this be a problem?
SW Newman

Nigel. My midget is 1972.
SW Newman

I'm no mechanic or expert in anything so I just go on what I can remember being told or learnt or can learn.

As I remember it you fit the ARB and links with the car on the ground and settled from any previous jacking up or being on axle stands, then you go for a gentle drive to centralise the bar then you fit the end stops with the ARB centred - but I could well be wrong, again.

1972, thanks, 72 could be the longer or shorter front springs and have ARB as an extra, not that it matters in 2019, just good to get more info sometimes but not on this occasion.

Nigel Atkins

Thanks again for all your inputs. I have refitted ARB with car on ground and it does look better. I am undecided if I should butt stops up to bushes as there are many threads warning of failure of mounting brackets.
Guy, how much clearance do you recommend?
I have more accurately measured my ride height which is 330mm on RHS and 345mm on LHS. My midget is RWA and is fitted with lowering blocks.
I expect everyone is fed up with me going on about my links. I have not yet driven car since refitting bar but if links still misalign I will remove. I will fit new springs over the winter and get on with driving. I am on holiday now for a couple of weeks.
SW Newman

The failure of the mounting brackets is more to with the extra stress of an uprated ARB and/or a weakness already in that area.

I had to have the mounting bracket plates beefed up on my Midget but originally when my uprated suspension was fitted the "expert specialist" did not fit any end stops whatsoever.

I drove like this for 2 1/2 years and then my mate noticed my ARB was off central and said I should fit end stops for road use to stop lateral movement, I took this to mean putting the end stop against the bracket bushes (but I'll check with him again). Later I saw David Smith had put to someone else to fit them inboard so I moved mine, again butted to bushes to stop lateral movement other than what will be in the bushes.

Guy is very often correct about matters and I'm very often wrong so I will check with my mate as he's worked on the odd classic or two, and when they were new.

I took the photo below for another thread.

I have a RWA with (now) Magic Midget uprated standard ride height front springs, I've just checked my ride height for you and it's - 355mm on RHS and 350mm on LHS.

I wouldn't worry about 15mm difference, go down less than even roads for a good few miles and things may settle differently. My 15.5" steering wheel is often a degree or two of centre after jacking the front up and lowering but it settles back quickly.

Nigel Atkins

This thread was discussed between 18/07/2019 and 01/08/2019

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