Sep 042013

The issues getting the rear suspension fitted meant that there wasn’t time to fit the front suspension let alone the engine.

The front frames were removed to fit the tiny radiator support brackets. As the frame bolts pass through the front suspension mounts, these and the roll bar were refitted at the same time as the frames.

I must mention to Andy at Hutsons that it would be a good idea to fit the radiator brackets on S2 cars before bodyshells are returned to customers.

I started with the easier upper wishbones and found the castellation nuts need to be fully tightened to compress the rubber bushes. This pulls the front and rear fulcrum mounts together so the bolts holes line up.

The original camber shims had been re-plated and were fitted behind the front and rear mounts. I suspect the shimming will need to be changed when the geometry is finally set up because the new engine frames have been fitted.

At least it should be a good starting point. The rear mounts also have a strengthening plate fitted on the reverse side on the engine frame, under the nuts. One of these was missing so I suspect at some point the suspension had been dismantled and they’d forgotten to refit it.

The castellation nuts were then backed off as they should only be fully tightened once the full weight of the car is supported by the suspension to avoid damaging the rubber bushes. The wishbone pinch bolts were also not tightened as the fulcrum shaft will need to be rotated during the final setup to set the castor angle.

The upper wishbones were fairly easy to install as they simply bolt on The lower wishbones were much harder as both the front and rear mounts need slotting into the engine frame

For now the aim is to get the car back on four wheels so it can be moved around more safely. The front suspension can only be completed once the engine has been installed when the torsion bars are fitted. This will require the upper ball and steering arm joints to be separated. So at this stage, only the lower ball joint was fully tightened. Without the torsion bars the car should just settle on the shock absorber bump stops.

The moment had arrived. The lowering of the car back on to its own four wheels. Something that hadn’t happened for many, many years. The trolley jack was lowered very gently …. touch down (pats on back etc) …. then lower …. and lower …. and lower …. and so it carried on. I had to close the bonnet and control the jack from underneath but I was getting worried that the bump stops wouldn’t be reached. Do they even have bump stops?!

Will the bump stops ever be reached? ..... No! The car had to be put back onto the axle trolley.

The trolley jack finally reached it’s lowest height so I had to revert to Plan B – back on to the axle trolley until the engine and torsion bars are fitted. Ho hum …. a FAIL! I really should have just measured the compressed shock absorber length when it was off the car and then done some simple Maths. Another lesson learnt!

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