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Redoing 1970 front suspension

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Tafletcher Travis Fletcher
Lenoir city, TN, USA   USA
Over the past 1.5 years I’ve been slowly getting my late grandads midget back on the road. I’m to the suspension part now and my wife and kids want to get some front suspension parts for my bday. I have driven the car on the road (it sat for 27 years before I got it) but know I need to go through the suspension before going on extended trips with it. Where should i start with the front suspension? I know the bushings need to be replaced. I’ve seen kits that come with fulcrum pins, kingpins and bushings. The springs have a “metal spacer” in them. I assume this means they’re worn out and grandad just stiffened them up with that “fix” and they should be replaced too? Not all that well versed In suspension but I can be taught and I know how to research and learn!

Thanks all!

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Kerr Avatar
Kerr Platinum Member Norm Kerr
Ann Arbor, MI, USA   USA
Hi Travis,
You have asked an excellent question!
So many folks get half way into it and then ask after they've already purchased a bunch of stuff.

My advice: buy rebuilt front end assemblies from World Wide Auto Parts, he's a regular poster here and many have commented on how great his parts are (me too).

He'll sell you new A-arms, with fitted fulcrum pins, and re-bushed and reamed kingpins and uprights.

Then, all you need to decide is whether your dampers are leaking or not. If not, then they are OK. If they are leaking, have him sell you a rebuilt pair of them too.

Finally, all you have to get is urethane bushings for the inboard A-arm attachment, the special bolts for there, and bushings for where the upper fulcrum mates to the damper arm.

Oh, and decide whether to also rebuild the brakes, replace their flex hoses (don't forget the one at the rear axle too).

Hopefully, the three fasteners you have to undo for this job (2 at the inner a arm and one at the damper x upper fulcrum) will come out clean and not require any drilling or cutting due to rust.


Good luck and keep us posted!
Norm

Tafletcher Travis Fletcher
Lenoir city, TN, USA   USA
Thanks Norm! I’m definitely a planner so I’d hate to get into a project and not have a plan. I have already done the brakes before I put it on the road so we are all good there.

I’ll look up world wide auto.

Also, am I right about the springs likely needing replaced since the metal stiffener is inserted?

Thanks for the help!

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200mph Avatar
200mph Platinum Member Mike Joy
Winston-Salem, NC, USA   USA
Travis,

Probably yes. Spring spacers were usually inserted to prop up a sagging spring, but occasionally were used to prevent tire to fender rub.

Before you tear everything apart, take out the spacers, and measure vertically from the center of the wheel to the edge of the wheel opening on the fender... using that measurement eliminates having the tire size throw off the measurement.

Compare to others. That's a good indicator if the springs are shot.



MG drivers outlook:

. . . . . "Anyone going slower than you drives like a MORON, and anybody driving faster is a FREAKING IDIOT!". . . George Carlin

200mph Avatar
200mph Platinum Member Mike Joy
Winston-Salem, NC, USA   USA
If you decide to buy new springs... ask about the free standing height of the new springs... some of the new ones seem to be too long, and leave the car looking as if its on stilts.

I've sold all the good, used springs I had... but they are available on the buy-sell forum.



MG drivers outlook:

. . . . . "Anyone going slower than you drives like a MORON, and anybody driving faster is a FREAKING IDIOT!". . . George Carlin

Tafletcher Travis Fletcher
Lenoir city, TN, USA   USA
Thanks for the info Mike. Once weather warms up I’ll do this first before tearing into suspension rebuild.

S1 Elan Kurt. Appley
Akron, Ia., USA   USA
I have three sets of used springs and all are a different height. The rubber bumper cars springs are much higher.

Homerr Avatar
Homerr Jeff Kogut
Seattle, WA, USA   USA
1966 MG Midget MkII "Sold!"
1970 MG Midget MkIII "Midget On A Spit"
1971 MG Midget MkIII "The Donor" ~ For Sale ! ~
1973 Triumph TR6    & more
Travis, I'll be doing this soon too. Here are some resources I've bookmarked which may help.

http://www.mikeamick.com/76midget/



https://www.applehydraulicsonline.com/collections/mg-midget

Kerr Avatar
Kerr Platinum Member Norm Kerr
Ann Arbor, MI, USA   USA
In case this is helpful, here is the front spring free-height (from the Bentley manual):

'58~'65 = 9.4"

1/'66~'72 = 9.59"

'73~'75 = 9.85"

'76~'79 = 10.2"

(intriguing item: the front spring did not get lengthened when the heavier 1500 engine and transmission, and the very heavy black bumpers, were adopted. It was actually done 1 year later)

Regarding tolerances, modern production cars use a +/-10mm tolerance, or approximately +/-3/8".

My guess is that new springs are close to these numbers, but their spring rate is all over the map. The originals were supposed to be 271lb/in, and be 7.08" when compressed with a 750lb working load.

Sprite1956 Roger Parry-Jones
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia   AUS
Guys,

If you are tempted to take a standard stub axle and fit it with Timken cone bearing without using a remanufactured "Super Stub" type axle, you may increase the likelihood of stub axle cracking, especially if you delete the bearing spacer. I've seen many standard stub axles crack, catastrophically, at race meetings, especially if the owner has fitted taper bearings. If you have a standard, original stub axle (and the BTA 745/5 EN16T castings from the last of the Midgets are the strongest) stick with the plain bearings! I had a collection of cracked but "apparently" serviceable stub axles over the years. I've swapped them (as 'core' replacements) for remanufactured stub axles. When the standard stub axles break, without warning, (although losing brakes is an indicator as the brake disc may push the caliper pistons back as the stub axle wobbles) on a track, the disc snaps, the brake line tears away and the wheel goes horizontal in a fraction of a second. You have no control. Ask me how I know....

Wider wheels, stickier tyres, enthusiastic driving, curb thumping, stuffed bearings, shock absorbers etc. give a much smaller margin for safety. So, do yourself a favour, either buy new remanufactured stub axles for your precious when you rebuild, or fit plain bearings and live with life of gentle, winding country roads (without potholes!). After sixty years of spirited driven Sprites and Midgets, this is one weak spot that we all need to be aware of.

Good luck out there and drive fast but safe!

Roger

Kerr Avatar
Kerr Platinum Member Norm Kerr
Ann Arbor, MI, USA   USA
x2 what Roger said, keep the spacer and make sure whichever kind of bearings that are used do properly transfer the nut load through their inner races and the spacer, into the base of the stub axle (by measuring their width and comparing to the original ones)

littlecars Avatar
littlecars David Bassett
Nashville, TN, USA   USA
1965 Chevrolet Corvair "Ski Team Transport SOLD!"
1965 MG Midget MkII "Buffoon"
1966 MG Midget MkII "Swiss Cheese...SCRAPPED"
1970 Triumph Spitfire MkIII "Tamara's Turd... SOLD!!!"    & more
Travis, since you are a good ol' Tennessee guy, I may be able to part with one of two sets of front coil springs appropriate for your 1970. One pair has been blasted and repainted black. The other two are as they were taken off the car. Both pairs match in height, which is to say they WILL NOT be the higher ones designed for 1500 Midgets. Let me know if these are of interest to you for the project. By the way, my last two Midget parts cars came with those soft metal coil spring spacers that you turn with a 1/2 inch socket drive.

Tafletcher Travis Fletcher
Lenoir city, TN, USA   USA
David,

Yes I would certainly be interested. PM me details if you would please!

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