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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Cannot get the front springs in

I have the shocks mounted and the A land too thanks to the info from Fergus. Trouble I now have is that even though I tilt the spring pans as far back as I can, the springs are too long to get between the A pan and the turret. The springs have been sitting in a box for 15 years, have a free length of 25.5 cm (10 inches).

I am well used to the procedure of slotting them in and lifting the pan with a hydraulic jack, having done this on numerous MGAs.

What am I missing, or are the springs too long?
Dominic Clancy

when you say " I have the shocks mounted" are these the original lever arm dampers or telescopic shocks ?

If you are working on a Spridget, then you haven't pushed the lower wishbone down far enough,mine tend to bind on the wishbone rubbers a little, even then there is some compression on the spring - force it into the spring retaining shape in the pan and jack it up

What's "the A land'.

Malc Gilliver

Try it this way, and jack it back in.

Or use a lever.

Lawrence Slater

The A pan (not A land- I hate auto spell checkers like the plague but missed that particular "correction") is pushed right back against the chassis leg, so I can't push any further back. Picture attached. Everything you can see in the picture with the exception of the spring support and the rack is brand new.

According to Lawrence's photo, I am not the first to experience this. Not having a scissor jack, I may just remove the spring support and slot the spring in and replace the support.

Dominic Clancy

Dominic i prefer the method of putting everything else together onto the wishbone such as dampers,stubs and king pins and then pass the spring up through the centre of the wishbone put the spring locator from the middle of the wishbone under the spring and using two nuts & bolts about 125-150mm long in diagonal holes wind the spring up into position. Once pulled up you can put two correct bolts in the remaining holes and then swap out the long ones for the correct ones.
Over time this has been discussed a few times you may find better info in the archives.
Dave Pratt

Did mine like Lawrence's

But instead of a jack I gave it a big kick and it went in. All other wheels were on the ground for this, and the car up on an axle stand.

When it's like that you can get spring compressors on it if you have any.
Rob Armstrong

There are no wheels on the car yet, the rear axle is almost ready to mount, and the front suspension bits are all assembled. I have just discovered that the front shocks are both snagging and locking at various stages of their travel, and one refuses to go up all the way (both are the originals cleaned up and with an oil refresh) so they are both in need of replacement. Ho Hum

Dominic Clancy

Yes, from the position shown in Lawrence's photo, but without the jack, a good backwards kick like a mule, with the sole of your boot will just pop it into position
Guy W

I might be too late with this (took me a while to type and spell heck) but to expand a little on what Dave put -

different people have preferred methods

IF you’re only changing or putting springs in to me the two bolt method is the least involved as it doesn't interfere with or involve work on other parts or components

. I used two M8 hex head set screws (13mm spanner), nuts and washers – 120mm long (these are long enough for 1500s too)
. threaded rod could also be used of course
. these are not essential – but as 'belt 'n' braces' I used extra washers and spacer tubes (8mm ID copper pipe) to make getting spanners on easier once at top, I also used a second nut on each as a back stop, I also had a scissor jack under just in case (a 'bit of string' to add to the 'belt 'n' braces')
. again not essential but a 13mm and/or ½” deep set ring spanner might also help
. place a 1 1/8” (28.6mm) thick piece of wood between the lever arm and the bump rubber to prevent the wishbone from dropping too far while extracting the spring
. check that you use the two diagonals easiest to get at before you start to compress the spring
. tighten each just a little and evenly across the two
. once fully tightened put in the other 5/16” fittings and remove the compression bolts and fittings to replace with other sets of 5/16" fittings

I wonder if the placing a 1 1/8” (28.6mm) thick piece of wood between the lever arm and the bump rubber to prevent the wishbone from dropping too far would help with your present top alignment (depending on what you're doing)
Nigel Atkins

Most of my Spridgets had shortened uprated springs, but ISTR that with standard springs, it helps to loosen the spring seat before pushing the spring into position.

Failing that, Dave and Nigel's method.
Dave O'Neill2

Ive done it both ways

Personally, Im a fan of the 2 bolt method.

Theres no right or wrong answer, it comes down to whats in the tool box and personal choice/experiance

I like really course threads my self, and new hardware with some spray makes it alot easier to wind up the nuts

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

A bob each way ...

I do as Dave & Nigel, but jack the spring seat almost into place and then insert the standard retaining bolts to do it the rest of the way.
For B I use Lawrences method but with a big lever not a jack.

Be boring if we were all the same :-)
Paul Walbran

According to Vizzard/Stapleton the free spring length can be anything between 10.2" and 8.7" depending on stiffness. I would guess the longest is the standard length and demand for stiffer front end is satisfied by the shorter ones.
G Williams

I used the two bolt method to replace standard springs with 9.5" freelength 360lb rate without problems

I got the 9.5" freelength 360lb springs from Kim Dear at Magic Midget for a reasonable price and they're great -

(9.5" freelength 360lb rate. Retains standard ride height to overcome sleeping policemen, rough surface autotests/auto-solo's etc, whilst reducing body roll/ brake dive. £27.50 each)
Nigel Atkins


It's been a while since I have done it, but I don't think it ever occured to me to anything other than pass the spring up through the bottom with the spring pan removed. This would be like Dave P & Paul W mentioned.

As to whether you use long bolts or a jack may depend upon whether the engine is installed or not. Without the engine the jack probably won't compress the spring enough.

C R Huff

Vizzard nor Vizard has ever written about Spridget springs in any book.

Stapleton's information on spring free length is correct and I know that since he owns a set of spring compressors he has used them on occasions when fitting springs to a Spridget
Daniel Stapleton

Charley - dead right there on needing the engine in if using a jack!
Paul Walbran

I used to try the 'force the spring in with the stub axle disconnected' method until I got it wrong one time and ended up with a broken garage window and a spring in the garden. There's a lot of potential energy in those springs. Only trouble with the less dangerous method is if you have Frontline suspension you have to remove the lower shock mount first.
graeme jackson

Paul and charley,

thats not entirely true...(((Paul Walbran, New Zealand
Charley - dead right there on needing the engine in if using a jack!)))

using a snickers candy bar this guy will sit on the wing and hold the car down while you jack the spring into place


My reservation in hades has been confirmed

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

"if you have Frontline suspension you have to remove the lower shock mount first."

Précisément. Which is why in my pic, I demonstrated the jack method. But could have used a lever too for the same effect.
Lawrence Slater

The springs went in today with the two-diagonal-bolt method. Thanks to all for the continuing help and advice.

Tonight the car is standing on wheels for the first time in 16 years!

Dominic Clancy

well done
Nigel Atkins

Congratz....well done

Once in a while someone here maybe sorta l knows what we are talking about...that or just a luck guess...

But the good news... it worked for you...LoL

Vegas baby, vegas !!!

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Here is a picture we took to celebrate the car sitting on wheels for the first time in 16 years

Dominic Clancy

This thread was discussed between 03/02/2014 and 16/02/2014

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