New Rear Suspension

December 2015

With the passenger sill behind me, and a load of shiny new suspension components arrived, I thought I'd fix them, before turning the car around and attending to the driver's side sills. It'd be nice to get on with something mechanical rather than metalwork.

After a great deal of reading and research, I'd elected to go for: new parabolic springs; telescopic shock absorbers; lowering blocks to bring the car down to the original height of the chrome bumper models; and new "speed pro" bushings. As a bit of a luxury, I also splashed out on a panhard rod kit. I ummed an ahhed for ages about making one (which isn't technically hard, nothing I've not done before); but decided eventually that it would just take too long to design and build one. If there were a set of blueprints knocking about it'd be fairly easy, but coming up with something from scratch always requires a lot of trial and error, at least the way I do it!

Panhard Rod

The kit consists of the rod itself plus a couple of brackets; one fixes to the boot floor, the other to the rear axle.

All very straightforwards actually - drill the holes in the boot floor and bolt in, and the axle bracket just takes the place of one of the existing spacers:


I did grind the load spreading plates a bit to fit around the bulges in the floor (though actually they seem to deform around any lumps as you bolt them down, so I probably needn't have bothered). And I had to enlarge the hole in the main bracket which gives access to the end of the suspension top mount (green arrow) as it didn't line up.

Before I could connect it up though, I had to fit the rear axle.

Rear Axle

I initially tried the method shown in the book, which is to fit the front of the springs and leave the rears on the ground, move the axle into position over them, and connect it all up. However I had the devil's own job doing that - the rear axle is heavy and tips forwards, making it very difficult to get the u-bolts on. In the end I gave up, and fixed the springs to the axle first, before moving the whole lot into position, connecting the front spring bushes, and jacking the axle up. Much easier, at least I thought so. In the process, I found that the replacement bolts I'd bought for the front bushes were a bit short - they are nothing special (the originals were some sort of stepped affair, but obviously it's not that important as the modern versions are just ordinary bolts) so I can just buy some longer ones.


Getting the bushings into the rear spring shackles was a mammoth struggle. There's very little room and they are incredibly tight, even with plenty of sililcone lube on them. I thought I was going to burst a blood vessel or several trying to push them in. I managed a couple with a G-cramp but there isn't room to do that on most of them. I only managed with the help of my trusty slip-joint pliers, dunno what I'd have done without them, I was really at the end of my tether. One of those "simple" jobs which ends up taking an entire evening...



Well, I've been appallingly bad at keeping this up-to-date. It's now July 2016, so I will have to write from memory. As it happens I haven't done a great deal on the 'B' for various reasons, time being the main one.

Anyhow, I started putting the suspension all back together, but found that it wouldn't all fit. Specifically, even with the spring spaced upwards as far as it would go, the shock absorbers (and check straps) were still too short:


Hmmm. Measuring the body height showed that it was now sitting 1 3/4 inches higher than before - even with the lowering blocks fitted! This was actually something I'd worried about, as I'd seen some online reviews which suggested that the parabolics were too high (though to be fair, also plenty which said they were the best thing ever). So I contacted the seller (Moss) and sent them back, they suggested I try a pair of chrome bumper ones which are apparently lower.

For interest, I refitted the old springs to see how that looked; the shocks are still too short, though by much less. However that doesn't seem right to me at all; admittedly the car is stripped down so is lighter, very light in fact, but I'd expect a bit more leway before the suspension was in full droop. But maybe it compresses more than I'm expecting...I guess I'll find out later.

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