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MG TD TF 1500 - compressing front springs with chain not working!

There is a Jan, 2010 thread in archives but BBS won't let me reactivate it, but it is EXACTLY the same problem I'm having today. See photo below.

The problem is the entire front chasis raises off the jackstand instead of the spring compressing as you can see looking at the orange jackstand. The chain is taught but the more I pump the jack, the higher the chasis goes. The spring doesn't budge that I can see. The engine is NOT on the car by the way. The chain is looped around back of shock with padding just like in Schack book & Dave's web site.

HELP! What am I doing wrong?

Ed
PS: No Laverne, I do not own a tractor!

efh Haskell

How did you know I was gonna ask that Ed?

To much slack in your chain. Let the jack back down, take the slack up and try again.


Should I even ask why you're doing this? New bushings?
LaVerne Downey

There is no slack. Photo illusion. I've also lowered the chasis to minimum on stands and tried different positions for the jack like archive suggests. Note that the archive post did not have a final resolution mentioned! Hum...:(
efh Haskell

Let the jack fully down. Pull the chain up until the jack meets the lower wish bone. Jack will be off the floor, thats ok. Jack away.
LaVerne Downey

Why do you have to do this??

I tooky my whole front end apart and never had to mess with chains or anything. Not sure what I'm missing.
l rutt

With the body off and the engine/tranny out of the car there is not enough weight to compress the front springs. In order to compress the springs you can wrap a chain around the assembly as Ed has done. You can chain to a floor plate if your lucky enough to have one or you can and weight to the chassis...some do it differently than I did.

LaVerne Downey

Ed, here is a tractor type idea for you. You have a pickup right? Put the rear bumper over the top of the dumb irons and block between the bumper and the frame. Try jacking that up and see if the weight of the truck will compress the springs. Front end of the truck would be more ideal with the engine weight but more obsticales like oil pans and steering and such.
LaVerne Downey

Laverne, no way to get our suv anywhere near the front end of the TD. Good idea though.

That said, your last idea worked "Let the jack fully down. Pull the chain up until the jack meets the lower wish bone. Jack will be off the floor, thats ok. Jack away." See photo. I have successfully removed the right front hub, etc. That's the good news!

MAJOR PROBLEM! As you can see in the picture the chain is still as tight as it can get even though I've lowered the jack all the way down! The reason is there is still enough tension in the spring to keep the chain locked up tight! I've tried pumping the jack back up but that does NOT give me any chain slack! In other words, I'm screwed!!! I've knocked that 2x4 out since this picture and chain is still on tight because the spring still has tention. No, I don't have a cutting torch.

ARGH!!!! NOW WHAT???? I'M STUCK IN A DANGEROUS SITUATION! ANY IDEAS WILL BE APPRECIATED!

I don't understand how everyone else has done this so easily with no weight on the frame??? The lack of weight is obviously the problem. There is nothing in the Schack book nor anywhere else about adding weight! What am I missing??? Maybe I'm just tired.

efh Haskell

Ed; It's not going anywhere with that chain on it-remain calm. Probably not much tension remaining on spring. Should be able to reverse the process and reinsert the fulcrum bolt-or a long punch might be easier. Process can be made to work-will the wood block go back inbetween the spring pan and the jack? Gonna have to have a bit more slack in the chain next try. Post if you can't get hooked back up and we'll figger sumthin out. Dan
Dan Craig

IT'S DONE! By hook or crook and a 5 lb sledge my wife and I managed to turn the jack on it's side with a loaded spring pushing against it. VERY DANGEROUS - DO NOT ATTEMPT! However we finally got the tension off, pulled the spring, raised the arm which loosened the chain. It's Miller time!!!!!!! WHEW!

I'm here to tell you guys there's something missing in the Schack book about doing this with the engine weight removed! Looking at Dave's pictures real close might be a clue. Dave, if you read this, was your chasis sitting on the floor when you compressed the spring maybe? (It was only 5 years ago and I expect you to remember?) Maybe that's the missing link, although Schack's picture shows the frame sitting on a bucket.

TD 8686 is disassembled! How I'll ever get those springs back together some day remains a a mystery though!

Thanks all!
Ed
efh Haskell

Ed; I'll try to show you an alternative method that works well for me,if you like. No chains, jacks, or tractors. Hang it there. Dan
Dan Craig

Sorry Ed, I actually thought of that dillema after I sent you the note but got tied up on a home project.

I'll be waiting to hear Dan the mans solution.
LaVerne Downey

Ed,

In the above picture, you are losing a lot of leverage due to the chain being on a considerable angle to the right. If the chain were vertical above the jack where the 2x4 is located, you would have no problem in compressing the spring. Move the bottom of the chain as far out on the lower arm as you can for maximine leverage. If I remember, I had to anchor the upper end of the chain to the upper suspension arm to be sure it did not slip off. I suggest you try this on the other side. This system worked well for me and I had no other help. Just be sure you get the chain adjusted to the shortest length possible.

George Raham

George Raham

Ed - If all else fails, go to Agent Orange (AKA Home Depot) and get several sacks of builder's sand and stack on the frame - about 400 lbs worth because with just the engine in and the body off, there is still not enough weight to get everything together. Cheer - Dave
David DuBois

Ed, This is what I use. It's the smaller version, slightly modified by grinding off the corners of the hook mounts to a 45 degree angle, so's to enter the small hole in the bottom pan. Works very well and no worry about anything getting out of control. PJ

Paul Jennings

As I recall, although it was about 20 years ago, I simply stuck a 2x4 between the frame and the garage ceiling. TD springs won't go through a garage roof if placed properly. Bob
R.AF. Robert Finucane

Sorry Ed, a bit late to the discussion. But I'm happy to report that the wallboard repair-soffet alignement-prime-ceiling paint in the lower level is now ahead of the color selection department. Now I can work on other things (like engine cooling baffle systems for a client) and MG stuff, both here and on my own car.

I'm also glad you safely worked out the problem. The following discussion will help you get the suspension reassembled.

The things offered by others as solutions were very close, but got you in a bit of trouble. In reality, to get the fulcrum pin out of the shock arms using a jack, one only has to compress the spring enough to get the chain to take over for the fulcrum pin connection. This requires only about an inch or so of spring compression. The pin will still be under some shear load. After tapping out the fulcrum bolt, the chain takes over, keeping the spring compressed and preventing it from letting go. To remove the spring, one needs to lower the A-pan until the spring is fully relaxed.

The spring is 9-1/2 inches relaxed. Call it 10 inches to be safe. Compressed between the shock arms and the A-pan but dangling with the chassis on jack stands the spring is probably about 7-1/2 inches (someone could confirm this if they like). This means you need to have about 4 inches of slack chain before you start jacking the front A-pan. Too much slack and you raise the chassis as in your photo without compressing the coil spring, too little slack and you run into your second problem, the fulcrum bolt is out, but the coil spring will not unload.

Once the chain and the jack have the load of the spring, you remove the pin, and lower it so that the A-pan drops and the spring tips out. Keep in mind that the lift of most small jacks is 15 inches, so you should have plenty to play with.

If, after removing the fulcrum bolt, the coil spring is still tight, you must re-insert the bolt as suggested, adjust your chain for the additional slack required, and try again. I'm afraid you started at one extreme (too much slack), and then went to the other (too little slack) which is why you lost faith in the process.

Hope this helps,
dave
Dave Braun

Ed -- A bit late as well, but hope this helps along with the other good advice you've received. I had almost the identical problem with this as you have experienced and after receiving helpful suggestions from the good folks on this BBS I was able to complete this task successfully. I have recorded such in both pictures and narrative on my web-site:

www.mgtf54.jeepaw.com

Scroll down to near the end of the sequence of photos and narratives and you'll find the section on compressing the coil springs.

Cheers -- John
John Brickell

John in WA, another incredible web site to add to my MG favorite list! Thank you for doing it! All kinds of great ideas I can use. I'm at the exact point you were last April-bare frame and anxious to start cleaning it up. Your explanation of the spring issue will help when it's time to reassemble. Where are you now? Thanks!

Dave B, you must be right about getting the slack "just right". Somehow I must have messed this up on all attempts.

For your collective ammusements:
I removed the other side's spring based on the WSM alone - no chain/jack at all before I attempted the chain trick! What I didn't understand is the WSM obviously assumes the body/engine weights are still there!! Duh! So I happily drove the upper pin out like it says and WHAM! You know what happened! Luckily I had some scrap wood under the work area which prevented any damage (I hope). The brake hose was still attached though. You've never seen anybody remove a brake hose so fast!

Dan, I think we're all anxious to see your method! Please post it!! This I gotta see!

Ed

efh Haskell

Wow Ed, thats scary. That flying spring could have done you some serious damage.
LaVerne Downey

Yes, it was a shock. So you know, the spring flys down when this happens! It forces the A-arm to the ground with it. With the car on jacks, like Dave correctly states, there is luckily only an inch or so of compression left in it - WHEW!
efh Haskell

Ed, glad to share my experiences with fellow 'T' restorers. I have certainly received much valuable help from folks on this BBS. Feel free to contact me directly if needed at

beemers2up at yahoo dot com.

I have completed the front end assembly and I am now in the process of doing the MGA 4.3 differential conversion from the standard TF 4.875. I have recently dissembled both of the differentials and am now in my second reading of both the Carl Cederstrand text and the Southeast MG T club's write-up of this procedure.

Cheers and good luck -- John
John Brickell

Crap Ed! You could have been killed!
Dave Braun

Ed; Sorry for the delay-wanted to use pics and I have been out of town. No big secret or complex tooling-just ratchet straps and some careful routing. I hook to the lower control arm just outboard of the spring pan. Route upward to the inside of the upper shock arms and over the rounded portion of the shock. I hook to the opposite side spring pocket to get a nice straight pull. Tighten both together-if one should fail you have a backup in place. Straps I use are rated at 1000 lbs breaking strength. Don't use them for this process if any deterioration in the webbing is visible. Route away from sharp edges or add something to blunt the possible cutting edge. This has worked well for me. Several pics follow. Stay safe, Dan

Dan Craig

This is easier on a bare frame.

Dan Craig

Crossed the straps.

Dan Craig

Routing on the side you are hooking up

Dan Craig

I did this with a cable come-a-long. Worked easy.
Bruce Cunha

No doubt stronger than webbing-just trying not to scratch the finish. Got the electric TD hummin yet? Dan
Dan Craig

Nice and imaginative method, Dan! I would stress that pulling only one spring pan at a time would make this safe, as pulling both at the same time will result in twice the tension on the strap for each inch of movement of the spring(s).

warmly,
dave
Dave Braun

Definatly Dave. Hooks on the stationary end are in the spring pocket opening to provide a solid pull point. Trying to do both at once would be just plain greedy. Later;Dan
Dan Craig

Dan, ratchet straps eh! Looks interesting. I can't say I've used them before but I assume there is some way of SAFELY releasing the tension on a strap SLOWLY?

The 2 hooks at the spring pocket opening seem awful far "inboard". Do you really have enough power to compress the spring from that point? (Obviously you do or you wouldn't have done it this way, but it seems wierd??)

Also, in 2nd photo above what are the "loose" ends of the straps attached to or are they just loose?

Dave, "pulling only one spring pan at a time...". Not sure what you mean. Do you mean do the left side of the car at a separate time from the right side? Or do you mean pulling on the top vs. the bottom spring pan? Or maybe pulling on one strap at a time?
efh Haskell

Ed; Play with the straps a bit before you tackle the project. You will find you can release the ratchets one click at at time-with 2 straps in place you can alternate the release for additional safety. Hooking as pictured works-compressed the spring on the chassis pictured last night to recomfirm the process. Loose ends of the straps are just laid out of the way. Dave is just saying to install one side at time-don't try to compress both springs at once. Install one side;then set up on the opposite side and install it. Ask all the questions needed-wanna get this right. Countin' on you for a beer--stay safe. Dan
Dan Craig

Dan, where did you say you are in MO? I grew up in St. Louis and we get there once in a decade. Home of Budwiser - king of beers. I owe you guys several!!
efh Haskell

Ed; We live between Springfield and Branson-back in the hills and hollers. Thinkin about doing the Glenwood Springs Rally in June-may see you there? Dan
Dan Craig

Dan. Used a couple of 2x4's to protect the frame and arms.

As for the kiddie car. It took a back seat to another project I was talked into. My son is into Anime and goes to the conventions they have aroung the country. His character has a intersting weapon that I recreated out of wood.

Have the motors for the kiddie car and now that the TD and the B are out of the shop, I have the room I need to get back to work on it.

Bruce Cunha

Looks kinda like a Bullpup conversion. Belch flame or anything?
Dan Craig

Bruce, I don't see me or LeeAnn in Ohio this year but I do know that both of us would really like to see some pictures of the mini TD you promised to return to Ohio. We'll miss you all. Just be sure to take pictures.
LaVerne Downey

I don't quite understand what all the fuss and effort is about. Just go buy a $40 spring compressor and do it safely.
Steve Simmons

Steve, the problem is I live in a small ski town at 9,600'. There isn't a spring compressor store within 200 miles! Yea, could probably get one on the web, but I'm trying to use what I have - a jack and the book. I think I'll search for one before reassembly. Good idea.

If anybody out there has one they no longer need I'ld be interested in purchasing it.

Ed
efh Haskell

Steve, because the spring is so short with the top several inches shielded by the crossmeber, and also so far inboard of the outer A-arm, the usual type won't fit. The factory manual also says to jack it up under the spring pan, then assemble, etc. Problem is with no motor or body, the frame jacks up too, etc. George
George Butz

Ed, I had the same problem when I restored my MGA. I fastened tie down loops to the floor with concrete anchors at the front and back and that gave me the resistance needed to compress the springs.

Andy

Andy Preston

Andy - WOW! That is the most extreme solution yet. Obviously it worked.
efh Haskell

Is a TD spring shorter or more shielded than an MGA? I don't recall off hand but I thought they were approximately the same. If so, then a spring compressor fits just fine. The trick is finding a small one. Here is what I use...

http://www.mgnuts.com/temp/springcompressor.jpg
Steve S

Steve, I have never seen and internal one like that. Are the hooks and mechanism removed through the hole in the bottm of the spring pan? George
George Butz

My goodness. What a lot of sledgehammers to crack a small walnut. Just get a fat friend to stand on the chassis while you do the job. Worked for me, except that I was the fat friend and a pal did the undoing.
Geoff Love

Steve, do you remember where you got that thing? Not seeing it on the web.
Ed
efh Haskell

Hi Ed, Here is an image of my internal coil spring compressor, which looks similar to Steve's. It appears to only need about a 3 1/2" hole to fit everything through. I bought it from K-D Tools many years ago. The item number at that time was #2528. Hope this helps.
Cheers, Phil

Phil Atrill

Phil, thanks for the image. I really like the staggered claws.

warmly,
dave
Dave Braun

George, yes they are removed through the spring pan.

efh, I bought mine at a local auto parts house but you can also find them from other sources including Mac Tools, and occasionally on eBay.
Steve Simmons

This thread was discussed between 08/04/2010 and 13/05/2010

MG TD TF 1500 index

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