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MG MGB Technical - Lever arm damper

Hi. I've some up down free play in one of my front shocks. Its only slight but makes a knocking noise on the road. I know i can get cheap recon units but my experience of these is they are pretty inconsistent. So I'm going to strip mine down and attempt to find the cause of the play then refill with 20w motorcycle fork oil. Has anybody done this? Any tips or thoughts on what's causing the play?
G Britnell

The bores wear at the points of most movement (the middle where the car sits usually); then there's little you can do other than strip and rebore/sleve the cylinders and make sure the pistons aren't damaged too. Sounds almost like an engine rebuild really.

You can try and cheat with thicker oil etc, but you're just slightly delaying the inevitable. The recon units sold by the usual suspects are rubbish. They're simply repainted (poorly) after a media blasting and filled with new oil. Whatever was wrong before will be still wrong. You may be lucky and get a unit sent in that wasn't faulty in the first place, but don't hold your breath.

If you want to stay as standard level arm (and you should) then get a set from (World wide auto parts). Well worth the shipping charges as they're better than brand new.

One speaks as one finds, and with two cars over a combined total of 170k and 45 years, and maybe four or five replacements, I've had one what I would call 'premature failure' of a recon lever-arm damper where it started weeping from a shaft seal maybe a year after fitting.

Up and down free-play around the mid-point of travel is probably due to faulty valving. Whether it's worth fiddling with that is debateable, given the recons are so cheap. Newly manufactured ones were available not long ago.
Paul Hunt


There are articles out there on rebuilding shocks, I have two, on front and rear, but they are in PDF format and won't upload. Try Google.

Herb Adler

The new ones are worse than the recon ones. I had a pair of fronts with the holes for the upper trunnion pin at completly random places in relation to the end of the arms.

I wonder if that's why the MGOC at least no longer have a price on them!
Paul Hunt

This thread was discussed between 20/03/2015 and 22/03/2015

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