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MG MGA - Bad parts: Front spring pans

Now that winter has finally arrived, I set to fit my ARB this morning. I am replacing all the suspension rubbers and the shock absorbers at the same time.

It was very frustrating to get to the point of refitting the lower trunnion into the spring pan arms and discover that the new spring pans are 4mm narrower than the old ones, so the trunnions wouldn't fit between the arms. It was obvious when I compared an old pan to a new one!

I believe the source was Leacy (will have to dig through some invoices) but suspect that as usual others are around of the same supplier and being sold by the usual suspects.

I have also fitted a set if trunnion rubbers that have been sitting in my drawer for three years and appear to be very substantial. Of the eight rubbers I removed today three had melted into goo.
dominic clancy

Sounds like you need a bigger hammer!!


Hi Dominic,

why don't use the MGB V8 bushes for the trunnions ?

Giovanni Delicio

Using a BFH to force things into a hole 1/8" too small just damages things. The parts should be correctly dimensioned. I would also rate this dimension as extremely safety critical, because the only way around it is to assemble the arms to the pan loosely, and the whole weight of the car is then sitting at a focus of four 5/16 threads.

Gio, for the A arm bushes I use Poly bushed, the trunnion seals are the ones fitted to each end of the swivel links

dominic clancy

What finish do you apply to your spring pans and wishbones Dominic?

I have just bought a new set to replace the new set that were fitted 8 years ago, there is virtually no paint at all on the old ones even though the car has rarely seen wet or salty conditions.

I have been considering powder coating or POR 15 but I am open to suggestions.
The job is on hold just now as on closer examination, there is almost no paint on the left of thefront extension either.
(Probably caused by anti freeze dripping from the rad overflow, another job to fix)

Then I have a bit of work to do on the front valence-- you know how it goes--- and so I may as well remove the whole lot and sort it out over winter.

So any tips on the best paint for these bits would be appreciated.

c firth

I have powder coated mine, make sure they mask the bits of the trunnion the bushes go onto.
A Bowie

I powder coated mine, as well. If you powder coat the trunnions, be sure you have cleaned every bit of old grease out first. Otherwise, when you bake the parts to cure the powder coat, it can run out and ruin your finish.

D Rawlins

Hi Dominic & all,

Concerning the issue you highlight.

On a similar note, I purchased exchange shock recently and the arms were at least 5 mm further apart and had to be pulled in by the large pivot bolt/nut. I asked Moss about this but didn't get a conclusive answer.

I tend to stay away from V8 bushes, as they wear the pivot arm and don't provide any more stability than urethane bushes.


Mark Hester

I always use a high gloss spray paint on new parts. It seems to last well as long as they are painted immediately on receipt. I pick it up at the local supermarket.

I have replaced the pivots as well, as the originals were in fairly poor condition on the threads, and had a lot of pitting on the pivot surface from sitting in the grass on a Florida airfield for a long time.

The pans are indeed from Leacy, I am waiting on an answer to my request for a refund. I would also be highly dubious of the pans Mark describes. There are lots of conflicting forces in this area of the suspension, and having loose parts or forces focused on a small area instead of being spread over a large mating surface can't be good for avoiding stress fractures.

Fortunately in my case I must have replaced the pans before, because the old ones are in good shape and have the hole for the sway bar tie rod, so I just reused them. These are correctly dimensioned to allow the trunnion and seal assembly to fit snugly into the assembly , and everything fits together perfectly without any stress.

The only thing that I think is perhaps not quite correct is that hole for the sway bar tie rod on the new front A arms is not tapered, but the lower joint on the tie bar has a taper. Is the reinforced hole supposed to be tapered?
If so, both Leacy and Moss are supplying substandard parts (LH from one, RH from the other)

dominic clancy

I bought my pans and front links from Moss because I was installing an anti-sway bar. They fit fine, but they were also purchased a number of years ago. I found that the black finish as supplied was low quality, and damaged in many places, so I stripped and powder coated them prior to use.

I used the SPF poly bushings from Kirk's Auto. They incorporate a bushing inside of the poly bushings, that slides over the lower pivots. So you get the advantages of the V8 bushings in that they can be used over pitted pivots, and I think with less worry of the inner bushing getting loose and wearing the arms, and also don't have to be pressed in and out of the arms. And since they move freely on the inner bushings, you can tighten down the nuts and install the cotters without the full weight of the car on them. One less thing to have to remember to tighten later.

The only downside of the SPF bushings I could see is that they are dark blue instead of black, which might be spotted by a sharp eyed judge, but it isn't really noticeable unless you are looking for it, which is a distinct improvement over the horrible red bushings sold by Prothane.

D Rawlins


I am about to install a sway bar and I had not noticed any issues with the a-arm to the lower joint on the tie bar. I was curious so I pulled out the parts for a look-see. Sure enough the Moss tie bar (264-840) has a taper on the lower joint. However the reinforced Moss a-arm (264-035) does have a matching taper. Admittedly it isnít much of a counter sink, but it is there.

I purchased some used spring pans with the sway bar holes so hopefully they will be ok size wise. As I did when I rebuilt my front end about 5 years ago I will bead blast the pans. They will get a coat of POR-15 followed by a couple of coats of satin black.


John Backman

Dominic, why were you replacing spring pans? They are very heavy duty metal - were they worn out where the spring sits?
Art Pearse

I have a litre tin of POR-15 which I bought to paint the suspension parts (+ a tin of POR top coat to finish)

In your experience, have you been able to re-open a part used can of POR-15 once it has been used and sealed again?

I have heard that it goes off rapidly once opened and so I may be best to wait until I have all the suspension parts off at the same time to paint them all in one go.

c firth

Once you open the can of POR-15, use cling film, or carrier bag plastic, between the lid and the can - it won't come apart again otherwise. Also, the solvent in POR-15 is very quick to evaporate and gets claggy quite quickly, so don't paint on a hot day. I would have everything prepped and ready to hang up then paint everything in one go. I read somewhere to not expose the primer to UV to dry it and paint the top coat after a couple of days. I hung my chassis from the garage rafters when i POR-15'd it.

Colin Manley

As mentioned previously, chassis supported on the front and the rear had mooring line passed through the open rear tube and hung from the rafters.


Colin Manley

and another ....

Colin Manley

I bought the new pans because original MGA ones don't have a hole for the sway bar tie rod. I probably replaced the originals at some time in the distant past because of elongated holes.

I still haven't had a response from Leacy, so will have to call them

dominic clancy

Colyn x2,

You are quite correct about the fact that POR15 is hard to save once the paint can has been opened. So far I have been successful in saving leftover POR15 by transferring it to a clean, dry glass jar. The lid must have a good seal. I used a leftover peanut butter jar. I punched a couple of holes in the top. Before sealing the holes with large sheet metal screws and some silicon caulk I shot a bit of oil paint preservative, Bloxygen, into the jar.

So far I have been able to remove the screws, pour out a bit of POR15 and reseal. Before reinserting the screws I carefully clean off the top of the lid.

John Backman

Last question about POR-15 John. (Sorry for steering this thread away from your subject Dominic)
Why do you need to punch the 2 holes in the lid of the storage jar John?
c firth

I figured it easier to remove and replace the screws than it would be to try to remove a stuck lid from a glass container. Two holes is just to provide the convenience of a pour hole and a vent hole.

I suppose if you are meticulous about cleaning the rim of the glass container, the use of the screws isn't necessary.

John Backman

A painters trick on fitting a lid to a used paint can is to use a 8 or 16 penny nail and tap holes around the top of the can to let the paint drip back into the container and allow a tight seal and easy to reopen later.


The question of sub-standard parts ( and allegations of cynical suppliers ) came up at this weeks natter. The spring pans were specifically mentioned, with the problem described exactly as you did.
Apparently the technical support at MGoc simply said ď just tighten them up hardĒ.

I donít know the situation in Switzerland but here it probably wouldnít occur to me to buy those items new because there are plenty of good condition used ones around at most autojumbles etc. Similarly for the wishbone arms, although I do remember buying new ones of those way back when they were available from Rover. Perhaps try Andy Jennings or the MGB Hive.

I changed pans and arms on my MGA to allow fitting an ARB, the old parts are still in good condition.
You have probably seen that some owners have modified the non-ARB arms and pans to suit an ARB; so maybe thatís a plan B if you canít get any satisfactory parts.

As for paint finish, I tend to give a good clean then etching primer and satin black, from aerosol cans.
I donít expect it be concourse standard, not even at first never mind in a few years. I donít really like gloss black for mechanical parts, thicker areas in corners etc can look too much like water or oil leaks or make actual leaks less obvious.

I donít understand Markís comment that the V8 bushes wear the pivot arm. If they fit and are installed correctly then there are no wearing points, other than the exposed Ďrubberí ends, but that is only the same for the polyurethane items.
J N Gibson

I had first intended to modify my original pans to accept the anti-sway bar links, but when I noticed that Moss had new MGB pans available for a reasonable cost, it no longer seemed like an efficient use of my time. If the new pans are no longer dimensionally correct, that of course changes things. In reality, I probably spent more extra time stripping the rest of the shoddy powder coating from the new pans, than I would have spent modifying the originals.

As far as the anti-sway bar goes, as mentioned here in the past, I was fairly displeased with Moss' "original style" kit. The only parts from it that wound up being useable, were the links, front wishbone arms, and the brackets (and some of the hardware). I ended up purchasing an original MGB 5/8" bar from a member here and used that instead. It's not exactly the same as an MGA bar, but the major dimensions match, and more importantly, it was STRAIGHT unlike the Moss version. It's also interesting to note that the kit did not include the necessary later style spring pans.

D Rawlins

I cannot believe that a supplier understands the insurance liabilities of supplying a substandard safety - critical part like this. There's a world of difference between concentrating all the weight of the car on the four 5/16" bolts in shear than the same weight over a clamped surface of 40cm2. If the bolts shear (and I have seen warnings about reusing arms with oval holes) then it is game over for steering, suspension and probably brakes too. I am sure if it was spotted at a safety inspection it would be an immediate fail and non-roadworthy decision. Do I want to risk it with an insurance claim? Definitely not.

Fortunately the previous spring ans have the correct dimensions and everything is now in stalled. I am just waiting for a new pair of front bump stop rubbers as one (an original I have to add) has spread like a flower (must have been a hard bump).

The bar is an original MGA one I picked up at a jumble for 10USD, so it is straight and fits beautifully.
dominic clancy

Leacy has now agreed to refund the cost of the pans, without me having to return them.

If there is a general problem here it is worth Barney recording it.
dominic clancy

Leafy has now agreed to refund the cost of the pans, without me having to return them.

If there is a general problem here it is worth Barney recording it.
dominic clancy

Dominic, -- I would be happy to record it. Please send me a picture of the faulty part, and the supplier (as many suppliers' names as possible if they sell the same faulty part).
Barney Gaylord

Has anyone else had a problem with this part? Leary and MGOC so far identified as having the wrong dimensions on stock, and Leacy has sold 29 this year (so they can't possibly be the only ones with stock from the responsible manufacturer)

I suppose this just emphasises that we are really lucky to have such great general availability of parts, and that on the way cost cutting at the manufacturers will take its toll. But complaining and asking for a refund is the only way to feed back when the parts are rubbish.

For the faulty control box I had from Moss recently I have now found a source that recons the original Lucas ones.

dominic clancy

Okay, got it. Check to see if the Faulty Parts report is correct:
Barney Gaylord

Looks good to me. I'll be amazed if these are the only two retailers with these parts
dominic clancy

This thread was discussed between 21/11/2015 and 04/12/2015

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