Prep for test fit — Rear suspension

This post continues the description of the test fit preparations (Ref Prep for Test fit — Rear axle and hubs).

The rear springs were in a sorry state – with a lot of surface rust and the rubber parts in varying states of disintegration. Anticipating this I ordered a set of front and rear rubber suspension components from the Daimler and Jaguar Spare Parts Club. Being a member means I can be very lazy and ring up and order “a full set of suspension rubber parts for a Mk2 please”, no mucking about with part numbers, and soon a box of goodness arrives.

At this stage I’m not sure if I’m going down the Polybush route for the suspension bushes, but for the test fit I ordered the standard rubber bushes … which are not too expensive. The reason I was a bit tentative about the Polybush approach was that I’ve heard reports that the ride can be a bit harsh; however, a reader has recently indicated that the Polybush comfort range has a ride more similar to the original rubber bushes  — thanks Pat! 

First up I removed the front mounting pads which had all but disappeared.

Front mounting pad

The bushes in the spring eyes were in poor condition, so I decided to replace them which proved to be a bit of a challenge as the metal outer of the bushes were well and truly rusted into the spring eyes. As you can see from the image below, the spring eye bushes are made up of a metal outer sleeve, the rubber bush, and an inner metal sleeve. 

Replacement spring eye bush

I managed to push the inner metal sleeve and the rubber out of one of the spring eyes relatively easily; however the other refused to budge. Rather than burn the rubber out of the eye with the associated smoke and fumes, I used a trick I discovered on YouTube which was to drill a series of holes around through the rubber bush material.  Drilling the holes relieves the pressure on the bush which can then be pushed out of the eye. This worked a treat.

Removing the first bush

This left me with the challenge of removing the outer shells. I used a hacksaw to cut carefully through the metal shell and then peeled it away from the spring eye. This required a bit of hammering. I used a cheap (soft) screwdriver to get things moving. I was hoping that the screwdriver wasn’t hard enough to damage the spring eye, in case the springs are reusable. As far as I could tell no damage was done.

Cutting the outer sleeve
“Peeling” the outer sleeve out of the spring eye
Remnants of the spring eye bushes, on the left of the image you can see the drill marks made when removing the stubborn bush

Because the springs were a rusty mess, and I don’t like dealing with rust covered things, I decided to give them a clean and a lick of paint to stop any flash rust. While waiting for a fine day, so I could wire brush the worst of the rust off outside (and not fill the Man Cave with the residue), I decided to press the new spring eye bushes into place. I’m never sure of the correct way to tackle removing and fitting bushes, so I just do whatever seems to work at the time. A press would make things a lot easier, but I’m running out of room for more engineering equipment … I need more space!

getting things moving
Using a socket as a “receiver”
All done

A quick clean with a 3M rust and paint stripper brush on an electric drill made short work of the worst of the rust on the springs. Even though outside I used a respirator and of course eye protection. I then applied the first two stages of the POR-15 process; Cleaner Degreaser and Metal Prep before (eventually) a quick spray with some matt black paint. Using POR-15 was probably overkill, but there was plenty of rust still on the springs so this should keep it at bay for a while.

Springs after an application with Cleaner Degreaser

The Metal Prep left a coating of white phosphorus on the springs, due the the amount of rust still about. I decided not to worry about this and just wipe it off with a damp cloth later.

Springs drying out after Metal Prep applied, two high powered lamps keep things warm to drive out the remaining moisture

I replaced the centre rubber mountings. Two G clamps kept the spring leaves in place during this operation. Somewhere along the line, when the suspension was removed before dip stripping the shell and me bringing the front and rear suspension assemblies home, the centre clamping plates disappeared. Luckily just as I was pondering what to do about this, I spotted an auction on trademe for a pair of plates. Easy.

New centre rubber mountings.
Replacement centre mounting plates

After the promised quick coat of paint, I measured the free camber of the springs to get an idea if I’ll be able to reuse them. The manual states the free camber should be between 87.5mm and 94mm. I measured 96mm (LHS) and 93mm (RHS) … so I may be able to reuse them, time will tell.

Measuring the free camber, after the promised quick spray of paint.
New front mounting pads on

I got rid of the worst of the inevitable rust on the rear torque arms using a wire wheel mounted on my bench grinder (Yep more debris to vacuum up). The bushes in the torque arms were in quite good condition, so I decided to leave well alone. Time for that later.

Reat torque arms

The panhard rod bushes were a greasy mess. After throwing them away and cleaning everything up (the bench grinder, barely used for years, is getting a good workout), it was obvious that the washers needed replacing (I already had the bushes). I also found that one end of the Panhard rod was bent, I wasn’t too worried about this for a test fit, as I thought I could straighten it up with a bit of heat, but I noticed a trademe auction for one and snapped it up.

Parnhard rod, with a bend on one end
Replacement washers
New Panhard rod, bushes, and washers
New bushes and washers

That’s it for the rear suspension for now … OK now for the front suspension

4 thoughts on “Prep for test fit — Rear suspension

  1. Hi Phil, once again a nice job. Torque arm bushes look great. On my car they looked great until the suspension was on full drop and we twisted the torque arm sideways and then cracks in the rubber appeared, which were not evident in the normal ride position.
    Like you Phil, I had to replace my panhard rod because of damage. We found the easiest way to fit it was to put the suspension on full drop and when the rubbers ( polybushes ) were in place, at each end, put a gearbox jack under the rear axle and jack it up as far as possible and this forced the rod sufficiently far through the wheel arch to enable us to fit the bush and nuts. Also when we were setting up the Panhard rod length and the torque arm bushes we again put the gearbox jack under the back axle and jacked it up until the weight was just coming off the rear wheels before we tightened them up. Hope this helps. Pat


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