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71 Midget front end noise.

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padutchmidget Richard W
Landisville, PA, USA   USA
Thanks in advance for any help. I have a 71 Midget. I have replaced the upper shock to spindle bushings they were warn and squeaking. I added a stock front sway bar (used OEM) I purchased from a member here with new Moss End links, bushings and brackets. I did a tape measure toe check and adjustment. The left front tire was wearing badly on the outside and the toe was way off I believe the toe was way out. I gave the car 1/8 inch toe in and adjusted it several times to center the wheel and now it drives straight and the tires (after I switched the warn to the back) seem to be wearing pretty well. The issue I have still is a pretty loud thump almost a bang coming from the right front when hitting bumps, this is really bad when hitting any wash board like bumps. The bang seems to be happening on the upstroke and downstroke movement of the suspension. I have looked around, not as close as I would like it's 4 degrees here, and there was nothing obvious.I am new to the shock setup these cars use but mine seem to be functioning correctly, they pass the bounce check, the upper bushings are new so I think they are OK. I am not sure if this a kingpin issue or if the lower A frame bushings could cause this symptom. Any advice would be helpful.

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ken472 Avatar
ken472 Ken Petersen
Luverne, MN, USA   USA
I would put a jack under the lower A arm and check for any wheel movement both side to side and up and down. You can also remove the front wheel and visually inspect the lower A arm bushings. I know this is no fun in the winter with an unheated work area. I think I would wait til spring if that was the case.

padutchmidget Richard W
Landisville, PA, USA   USA
I intend to do that thanks. I am just hoping that someone here has heard this before. The Armstrong shocks are new to me and the fact that they basically take the place of an upper A arm concerns me. The noise is like a telescopic shock with destroyed bushings it is pretty loud but not metallic, thud thud on every wheel impact. I am also unsure if this would be a symptom of Kingpin play or wear.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019-02-02 10:19 AM by padutchmidget.

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refisk Avatar
refisk Rick Fisk
Frankenmuth, MI, USA   USA
Richard,

Check the three bolts that fasten the damper to the chassis for proper tightness.

trevorwj Avatar
trevorwj Trevor Jessie
Louisville, KY, USA   USA
The trunnion that you installed the bushings in... did you remove it when you installed the bushings? Im wondering if some shims and/or thrust washers got mixed up.

padutchmidget Richard W
Landisville, PA, USA   USA
I didn't dis assemble anything more that removing the wheels, removed cotter pin, nut, bolt washer and bushings then reassembled. i didn't remove or reassemble the spindle, lower A frame or shock. Rick I will check the mounting bolts but they look pretty original and undisturbed. If the Armstrong shock has failed will the lever more really freely when disconnected from spindle?

ken472 Avatar
ken472 Ken Petersen
Luverne, MN, USA   USA
It has been my experience that the shock will leak first. I had a really bad set on my car

padutchmidget Richard W
Landisville, PA, USA   USA
I opened the hood, shocks are dry, I assume they would leak where the shaft comes out of the shock body and both are dry. I didn't put a tool on the 3 mounting bolts but a bounced the hell out of the front end and there was no movement of the shock body as if the bolts were loose. I am thinking either there is up and down play in the king pins ore some kind of extreme wear in lower A arm bushings. If i find play in king pin bushings i would do best to exchange of have mine re built right? I am not afraid of tackling the job but I think this requires a press and reamers. I don't have either of those any longer. What attaches the king pin shaft to the outer lower A arm is that the trunion? What do you all think?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019-02-02 11:43 AM by padutchmidget.

refisk Avatar
refisk Rick Fisk
Frankenmuth, MI, USA   USA
If you find that the kingpin bushings are worn out you will probably find out that the A arm fulcrum pin and bushings are worn out too. It's a big job that does require special tools. I would have Peter Caldwell rebuild everything. He has the tools and expertise to get it done quickly and correctly - better than new.

I would put a floor jack under the A arm and raise it up enough to remove the wheel. Then you can easily check the kingpin bushings and the lower fulcrum pin for wear.


In reply to # 3884765 by padutchmidget I opened the hood, shocks are dry, I assume they would leak where the shaft comes out of the shock body and both are dry. I didn't put a tool on the 3 mounting bolts but a bounced the hell out of the front end and there was no movement of the shock body as if the bolts were loose. I am thinking either there is up and down play in the king pins ore some kind of extreme wear in lower A arm bushings. If i find play in king pin bushings i would do best to exchange of have mine re built right? I am not afraid of tackling the job but I think this requires a press and reamers. I don't have either of those any longer. What do you all think?

padutchmidget Richard W
Landisville, PA, USA   USA
Can the front springs come out safely with a floor jack? I am not sure how much tension they are under I have never removed MG springs before. I was wondering if changing the front end parts is safer and easier without dealing with spring tension.

oleanderjoe Avatar
oleanderjoe Gold Member Joseph Baba
Fresno, CA, USA   USA
RICHARD: It is all explained in the book. The springs are let down thru the bottom of the A Arm using longer bolts, .

In reply to # 3884786 by padutchmidget Can the front springs come out safely with a floor jack? I am not sure how much tension they are under I have never removed MG springs before. I was wondering if changing the front end parts is safer and easier without dealing with spring tension.



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padutchmidget Richard W
Landisville, PA, USA   USA
I have a service manual that was in the car when I bought it a Chilton's. I will look into it on there. I watched a bunch of John Twist University Motors videos and he suggests watching for wear in the upper bushings that I have already changed. There are a bunch of videos about the trunion bushings and King Pin wear but no one talked about the inner bushings. I was also watching a bunch of SU carb videos, my carbs idle really rich, I have taken to adjusting the gets with air filters installed but then it takes alot to warm it up and seems to burn more fuel.

Kerr Avatar
Kerr Platinum Member Norm Kerr
Ann Arbor, MI, USA   USA
Of the available manuals, I found the Chiltons to be the worst. Then Haynes, then Bentley is the very best. I had all 3 at one time, finally threw away the Chiltons as it was worse than nothing (not enough illustrations, written by folks who specialize in American cars).

The Bentley is a reprint of the original factory manual, so it doesn't explain everything, I found the Haynes complimented it very nicely (where one was too brief the other had more detail, and vice versa).

To answer your question: a jack can be used, but as Jack mentioned, it is safer to use a pair of long, course threaded 5/16" bolts and nuts to replace two of the little ones holding the spring support to the A arm (diagonally opposite), then with the long ones installed remove the 3rd and 4th short ones, and then unscrew the long ones to let the spring extend. Super easy and quick.

A floor jack can be used but there's more risk of it moving while in progress and things getting ugly. The two long bolts method is pretty foolproof.

Without the spring and wheel on, it is much easier to diagnose the front end (and disconnect the sway bar so each side can be stroked fully up/down by hand).


Norm

padutchmidget Richard W
Landisville, PA, USA   USA
Norm,
Excellent tutorial thanks! About how long of bolts will be needed maybe a grade 8 pair will do best.

NickC Avatar
NickC Silver Member Nick Cherau
Fredonia, NY, USA   USA
1971 MG Midget MkIII "Little B"
2004 Honda Civic "Ticket-in-waiting"
Five inches long. And grade 8 is overkill. I use standard grade but if you want to be conservative grade 5 would more than do. I'll add my kudos extolling Peter Caldwell's expertise, and a very fast turn-around. Besides doing my king pin bushings, I've got a set of his rebuilt shocks mounted. A true craftsman. Norm Kerr's advice on shop manuals is spot on. I would add the Autobooks manual written by Kenneth Ball, #745. The illustrations are clear and precise, unlike the muddy reproductions in the Chiltons. It's the book I carry in the boot in case I break down and need to explain some of the finer points of British automotive engineering to some mechanic out in "banjo country". As a practicing mechanic for most of my life, my mantra has always been; you can't have too many books nor too many special tools. I've spent a fortune on both and never regretted it for a moment.

As to your noisy front end - take a look at the sliding joint on the steering column. Not much you can do about it if it is worn enough to cause noise but will give you peace of mind. The 4 bolts securing the steering rack should get a look-see also. It takes very little looseness to create a loud bang. Incidentally, I found, through this forum, that John Deere Special Purpose Corn Head grease is perfect for lubricating the steering rack. I bought a JD grease gun filled with a cartridge of that grease dedicated to the sole purpose of keeping my rack in good nick.



Nick Cherau
Fredonia, NY
1971 Midget MkIII "Little B"
2004 Honda Civic Si Hatchback "200K and still a blast"

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