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Tr3 Rear suspension

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Pinnytr3 Pinny Loketch
BROOKLYN, NY, USA   USA
Should I replace my rear angle shocks with the conventional setup sold by moss? Will that soften the ride in the back?

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charleyf Silver Member Charley Fitch
Redding, CA, USA   USA
1962 Triumph TR4
1963 Triumph TR4 "MR.T"
I would say that you need to find a friend with a TR3 with conventional shocks and get a ride in that car before spending any money to "soften" the ride. I have two "TR4's one with conventional shocks and the other with modern KYB shock conversion. I don't feel the difference in ride or handling.
As many would say these cars were never designed to give a soft ride.
Charley

TR3driver Randall Y
Confusion, Los Angeles, USA   USA
NO
Your harsh ride doesn't come from the shocks and the conversions almost always cause other problems down the road.

Pulling the springs off and apart for cleaning and lubrication will make much more of an improvement. Also check that the suspension is reasonably well centered in its range of travel. If the springs have sagged, or been replaced with ones that sit too tall, the ride becomes horrible.

But it's never going to ride like a modern car. The design doesn't leave much room for travel, so you don't want a softer suspension (since that makes it more likely the axle will hit the stops). And the factory made it plenty stiff for normal driving (tho stiffer can be an advantage if you drive hard).

Tires also make a bigger difference than you might think. Some of those "vintage" tires ride like they were made out of wood!

If you do want to do something with the shocks, my suggestion is to send them off for rebuilding. Maybe someone can give a link for Peter Caldwell at World Wide Auto Parts, I don't have it handy.



Randall
56 TR3 TS13571L Once and future daily driver
71 Stag LE1473L awaiting engine rebuild
7? Stag awaiting gearbox rebuild

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templebuchanan Silver Member Temple Buchanan
Crescent City, CA, USA   USA
1961 Triumph TR3A "Buck"
I've been thinking on the same issue for my 61 TR3A. Something not right with rear passenger side suspension. Plan on taking down when monsoon season hits here soon i hope, we need the rain. Figuring the springs will need rebuilt or replaced, same with shocks. Seems there are a lot of different options for both. The rear tube shock conversion kits are interesting, but which one if at all? Would lean more towards performance than comfort, but don't want to ride a haywagon either. Have read through old conversations on this subject, will be interested to hear current opinions.

TR3driver Randall Y
Confusion, Los Angeles, USA   USA
A busted spring is a definite possibility. This was on my "barn find" TR3 when it came to me, after being off the road since 1975 or so.


So I cleaned up the springs from my previous TR3A and used them, as they didn't appear to have been damaged in the wreck. After 5 years or so, I found this. The missing piece had fallen out, which alerted me to the problem.


But if there aren't any obviously broken or damaged leaves, I would probably just clean up and paint what you have. I've heard over and over of new springs that don't give the correct ride height, which of course screws up the ride. The ones I bought from TRF a few years back were almost twice as stiff as they were supposed to be! (Measured at 222 lb/in, factory spec is 128 lb/in. A pair of original springs measured 110 and 137 on the same setup, so it wasn't too far off.)

The springs are supposed to be kept oily (paint them with used engine oil every 6000 miles) to prevent the leaves from rusting. But if this service isn't done (or you drive in rain or snow), rust can get started between the leaves. The rust makes the leaves bind to each other and act like a much stiffer spring for small bumps, which really messes up the ride. Once the rust is in there, I believe the only way to get it out is to disassemble and clean the spring.

Here's the link for Peter Caldwell (that I mentioned above)
http://www.nosimport.com/british-cars-nos-parts/british-triumph/tr2-tr3-tr4-tr4a-parts/triumph-tr3-tr4-rear-shock-absorber-armstrong-rebuilt-by-world-wide-nosimport



Randall
56 TR3 TS13571L Once and future daily driver
71 Stag LE1473L awaiting engine rebuild
7? Stag awaiting gearbox rebuild

TS27952L Johannes Eichert
Gross-Gerau, Hessen, Germany   DEU
Hello there: I did clean my old springs, painted them a bit to prevent corrosion on the outside and started with oiling them (using some left-over engine oil).
Then clean the springs each year and repeat oiling them. Important: I oil them with the rear end lifted on the jack - this relaxes the springs and reduces compression between the leaves.

My experience is: In the beginning, when the car hit the road again the first time, the rear end seemed to be very hard. But now - seven years & 20thousand miles later - it is quite soft. Every time when I repeat the oiling I get some "rusty-red" oil out between the leaves - there is probably a lot of rust between.
I am quite sure that this rust (in combination with dirt, sand,...) between the leaves will increase friction and thus make the spring make stiffer. And it may "sand" a bit off the leaves with the years…..

Cheers, Johannes

templebuchanan Silver Member Temple Buchanan
Crescent City, CA, USA   USA
1961 Triumph TR3A "Buck"
Turned out I had a loose shock mounting bolt on passenger side, stripped, wallowed out hole on shock and plate. Appears I will be able to get away with barely drilling holes out to accept a 10 mm bolt. Other 3 bolts converting to 3/8" socket cap screws so you can use an allen wrench to tighten per a recommendation from the british forum. Weekend project is to get the leaf spring bushings and shackles off, hopefully no spring damage. Shop manual says to use a 5 \16-24 bolt screwed in to pin and then using a pry bar to lever out leaf spring pin. Seems like there should be a puller or extractor for that, found them for large trucks.

Ok with sticking with the lever shocks for now. Wonder if any of the tube shock conversion kits offer better structural rigidity, seems too me having (2 ) 3/8" bolts securing the shock a weak connection for the forces applied to it. Other question is it worth the extra $ to go poly bushings and what is the best manufacturer?

Suspect rear axle has a leak or 2, wonder what the most likely sources are? Thx.

Geo Hahn Avatar
Mt Lemmon, AZ, USA   USA
To pull that pin I used a length of all-thread and a long socket as a spacer (as proposed by Randall). Pulled right out - possibly much easier than trying to lever it.

I also use the socket-head cap screws but also use Stover nuts which have held very well (better than NyLocs).

templebuchanan Silver Member Temple Buchanan
Crescent City, CA, USA   USA
1961 Triumph TR3A "Buck"
Will look for a link to Randalls recommendation on that, trying to visualize in my head how that works, sure it will come to me after dragging myself underneath the car back and forth a bit and all that goes with it. Hate beating and prying like that, nothing good ever happens.. Never heard of Stover nuts until recently, not at local stores. Small fastenal store close by, will check them out. Thanks.

TR3driver Randall Y
Confusion, Los Angeles, USA   USA
Geo covered most of it; I'll add that I think Grade 8 or better all-thread is a good idea. Mine were so tight that I thought the threads would strip before the pin moved, and they looked significantly worn afterwards. (I used a new piece for the other side.)

The threads in the head of the pin were full of gunk, so I used a bottoming tap to clean them out. IMO it's also a good idea to double-nut the length of threaded rod so you can tighten it into the head. (Just to make sure it is engaged as much as possible.)

I got my Stover nuts, hardened threaded rod, heavy "setup" washers and so on from McMaster-Carr. They don't have too many brick n mortar stores, but they're good to deal with by mail order. Generally, if you submit your order by noon, it goes out the same day. (Actually, I'm fortunate enough to live within 20 miles or so of one of their warehouses, so I can just run over there on Saturday morning if I need to.)
https://www.mcmaster.com
Often, the biggest problem in dealing with them is the incredible variety of things they carry.

They did stop carrying what I think of as "Stover nuts", with the conical top. However, they still carry "top lock distorted thread locknuts", which should work just as well.

On the shocks, make sure you can get a socket in there before you enlarge the hole. Mine are so tight that I can't get a standard socket in there; had to grind down the walls of one to fit. I also ground down some hardened flat washers to fit under the nuts, which seems to help keep them tight.



Randall
56 TR3 TS13571L Once and future daily driver
71 Stag LE1473L awaiting engine rebuild
7? Stag awaiting gearbox rebuild

TR3driver Randall Y
Confusion, Los Angeles, USA   USA
In reply to # 1591997 by templebuchanan Ok with sticking with the lever shocks for now. Wonder if any of the tube shock conversion kits offer better structural rigidity, seems too me having (2 ) 3/8" bolts securing the shock a weak connection for the forces applied to it. Other question is it worth the extra $ to go poly bushings and what is the best manufacturer?
IMO, stock bushings work just fine. I couldn't tell the difference with the poly ones I got from TRF.
Quote: Suspect rear axle has a leak or 2, wonder what the most likely sources are? Thx.
The input shaft seal is by far most likely, IMO. While you have the flange off, be sure to polish the surface where the seal rides on it. If you can't easily polish away the mark left by the old seal, consider installing a Speedi-sleeve.

I only have a photo of it being held in a vise, but I used the same tool (just a 3' or so length of hot rolled steel with some strategic holes) to hold the TR3 diff flange while removing and tightening the nut.

When tightening, torque to 85 ftlb then go enough farther to get the holes to line up.

Next would be the back cover. While it is off, check the sealing surface of the cover and repair any damage caused by overtightening the bolts or jacking under the pumpkin. I like to glue the gasket to the cover with RTV (one of the very few places I use the stuff), then lay it on a flat surface while the RTV sets. Hylomar or grease will do for the other side.

Also check the face of the diff housing to be sure it's flat. I like to rub a flat fine tooth file across the surface, to see if it picks up any high spots around the bolt holes.

Then there are the output shaft seals. The outer seals (in the wheel bearing housing) often get blamed when it's really the inner seals (in the axle housing) that are leaking. If it leaks oil, it has to be the inner seals because the outer seals should only have grease inside them.

PS, all this can be done without removing the axle from the car.



Randall
56 TR3 TS13571L Once and future daily driver
71 Stag LE1473L awaiting engine rebuild
7? Stag awaiting gearbox rebuild



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019-01-25 11:34 AM by TR3driver.

templebuchanan Silver Member Temple Buchanan
Crescent City, CA, USA   USA
1961 Triumph TR3A "Buck"
Cool, so far all appears within my abilities. Need to read ahead a bit, figure I might need to order a puller or two. Still on the fence rubber vs poly bushings. Ill probably go poly so I might not have to do it again, not that it appears it's been done for a long time, if ever. Anyone know the axle bearing dimensions off the top of their heads?

Also, if a man wanted to pull the axle to make reconditioning easier (I'm up on 16" Jack stands, be nice to rebuild on table ), any other major complications other than brake lines?

Thx.

Temple

brucejon Avatar
brucejon Gold Member Bruce Jones
Santa Cruz, CA, USA   USA
1960 Triumph TR3A
1963 Triumph TR3B "Tupperware TR3"
1969 Triumph Spitfire MkIII
1972 Triumph TR6
In reply to # 1578434 by TS27952L Hello there: I did clean my old springs, painted them a bit to prevent corrosion on the outside and started with oiling them (using some left-over engine oil).
Then clean the springs each year and repeat oiling them. Important: I oil them with the rear end lifted on the jack - this relaxes the springs and reduces compression between the leaves.

My experience is: In the beginning, when the car hit the road again the first time, the rear end seemed to be very hard. But now - seven years & 20thousand miles later - it is quite soft. Every time when I repeat the oiling I get some "rusty-red" oil out between the leaves - there is probably a lot of rust between.
I am quite sure that this rust (in combination with dirt, sand,...) between the leaves will increase friction and thus make the spring make stiffer. And it may "sand" a bit off the leaves with the years…..

Cheers, Johannes

After much research and recommendations of spring rebuilders, I elected to use lubriplate, which is graphite paint (i actually used ezglide, a competitor). I took a my springs apart, cleaned up the rust, lubriplated, and reassembled. Rebuilders say oil or grease attracts dirt, which works its way into the springs.



60 TR3A (red), 62 TR3B project, 72 TR6, 69 Mk3 Spitfire EU setup
https://spitfiremk3.wordpress.com

TR3driver Randall Y
Confusion, Los Angeles, USA   USA
So you're going to rebuild instead of just change seals? That's significantly more hassle, as the old shim packs usually get damaged, and you can't trust the new bearings to be absolutely identical to the old ones. The specs are pretty tight, but allow enough tolerance that you have to check the various dimensions and bearing preload.

Removing the axle isn't too bad, but is enough work that I would (did) leave it in place just to change seals. You have to remove both backing plates, then slide it to one side until the other side drops past the frame. Of course it has to be lifted to get the flanges past the frame rails, which bears a lot of resemblance to pumping iron without a spotter.



Randall
56 TR3 TS13571L Once and future daily driver
71 Stag LE1473L awaiting engine rebuild
7? Stag awaiting gearbox rebuild

templebuchanan Silver Member Temple Buchanan
Crescent City, CA, USA   USA
1961 Triumph TR3A "Buck"
After reading more on it I agree with Randall, planning on doing seals with axle in place. Rebuilding differential out of my ability and hopefully not necessary at this point. Everything soaking in pb blaster, Will get fired up soon and get the springs off, see if any damage to springs and go from there. Johannes suggestion to take springs apart, assume sandblast and graphite paint makes sense, might go there. Is there a source for new bands, closest spring shop 2 hours away or more. Good news/bad news is that we have gorgeous for us winter weather so priorities dictate up the coast I think run on the F800 with a buddy or two tomorrow, Dungeness crab season finally open so crab cooker coming out, ride, sauna, crab and beer by the fire pit. That's a good day. Also means procrastination on Buck.

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