Front Suspension and Brakes.
Untouched for 33 years, this is what you get. Remarkably, some of the rubber components were still intact, which is testament to the high quality of material used – compare that to the lousy imported components currently available, that have a very limited life expectancy.
These shots proved useful when rebuilding, to replicate the original brake line positioning and shape.
Once the body was removed the full extent of the overhaul was clear to see. Every thing had to be stripped to the last nut and bolt.
Front suspension stripped down easily thanks to the thick covering of oil and grease, several pounds of which is on the floor. Chassis required fully degreasing before going for shot blasting. Also this is a useful shot recording where the front brake pipes run.
Both springs had broken at the base end, the left hand in two places. I had no idea before stripping, as the car appeared to maintain it’s ride height.
Broken front spring. The front shock absorbers were shot when the car was in use as I couldn’t afford to replace them. I topped them up with engine oil…not ideal. The effect of the lack of damping must have caused the springs to fracture.
Having stripped the front suspension and brakes down, it was then a case of assessing the condition and wear of each component, the most critical, being the king pins. Fortunately, those were in excellent condition, only needing cleaning, but the wish bones were showing signs of wear and were relaced for new.
Cleaned of their thick layer of grease and road dirt and Jizer degreased. King pins and trunions are in good condition and servicable. Power wire brushing and painting to follow.
Fitting new springs and wishbones.
New wishbones fitted which included the additional reinforced hole for retrospective anti-roll bar fitting. I fitted the heavy duty MGB V8 inner wishbone bushes, which are kept slack until the car is eventually back on it’s wheels. A small jack under the spring pan acts a spring compressor.
Once the new spring is located in the top retainer and the lower pan, the jack can be raised ready for fitting up the king-pins and trunnions. At this stage, the bolts connecting the pan to the wishbones should be left slack and only fully re-tightened when the chassis is back on it’s wheels unsupported. This also applies to the inner wishbone retaining nuts.
Compressing the new springs to enable fitting of the swivel pin assembly. Even with the weight of the engine, the chassis started to lift before the required height was achieved. I added weight by loading two old gearboxes onto the chassis. An option here is to find a couple of willing and preferably weighty helpers to stand on the chassis. The outer bolt connecting the wishbone to the pan in this shot is temporary, as this will eventually take the anti-roll bar.
For fitting the trunnions and new rubber seals to the king-pins, reference should be made to the workshop manual to be sure. It’s a bit of a fiddle single handed, but eventually it all went together. The front wishbone has the reinforced outer bolt hole to take the anti-roll bar, which can only be fitted after the chassis extension is back in place.
A friend pointed out that the trunion bolts are back to front i.e. castellated nut should be at the front. I think that’s correct as factory fitted, but all the parts guides show the reverse. Maybe it would lose a few points in a concours event, but as I have no intention of doing that, they will stay as they are.
Photos missing here are of front brakes before drums were fitted.
Before – note how much shorter the original track-rod end is compared to the new one as supplied by MGOC.
Steering rack was checked, cleaned, re-shimmed, fitted with new rubber bellows and filled with oil.
The nipples suggest grease, but the rack takes 1/2 pint of EP 80 or similar.
Chassis extension fitted, awaiting new anti-roll-bar. Shortly before my car was produced, in fact the same month (April 1959) and from chassis 66574, the anti-roll bar was offered as an option, with all cars being fitted with the chassis front extension and modified spring pan assemblies.
Anti-roll bar kit was from Moss Europe.
Anti-roll bar installed
MGA 1500 engine/chassis
Another new/old part issue – having finally tightened up the track-rod ends and used all the thread on the tie-rods, the hubs are not aligned, in fact considerable toe-out is evident and no further adjustment is available. Having consulted with MGA Guru Barney, I find that all new track-rod ends are in fact too long and will only work with some surgery. Mine were new from MGOC Parts and they make no mention of this problem. I checked with Moss Europe the dimensions of their product and they are the same. The solution is to remove the track-rod ends and carefully cut off maybe a quarter of an inch equally on each one, to give additional adjustment. Alternatively, the thread on the tie-rod can be extended by the same amount using a suitable die. Either way its a bloody nuisance and particularly bad that the top suppliers sell them in the knowledge that they are not fit for purpose. Letters will be written. Issue – MGA track-rod ends. Problem solved by tracking down new old stock units, from Ebay.
Moss Europe track rod end which is identical to MGOC part and both too long.
Bill Jeffries – firstname.lastname@example.org