Saturday, 2 February 2013

2009, New Suspension

In 2009, after 36 years,  BT offered me money to leave and not wishing to be rude I accepted their kind offer.  I decided pretty quickly in case they changed their mind!

Now being officially retired meant I had more time to spend working on the TR7, but the better half also had plans for the house so I couldn't spend all my time in the garage just yet.

Driving the car more also meant the poor condition of the suspension became more obvious.  The ride was generally not very good so I decided that new springs and dampers were called for.  Not surprisng really, as they appeared to be the original ones fitted in 1980. This is a pretty simple job on the TR7, the biggest problem was battling with the spring clamps on the front struts. This is a bit scary as there is a lot of potential energy stored when you have a road spring fully compressed, but I managed it without losing any fingers. I also fitted a set of roller bearings in the strut top mountings to improve the steering.

With the ride now improved, other things started to suggest themselves to me. I decided a set of polybushes for the suspension would be a good idea and I would also like to upgrade the front brakes at some time.

Polybushes must be one of the best things to do on an old car.  They are much easier to fit than replacement rubber ones and they are said to last for ever.  You can get a variety of different grades to suit all driving styles from soft road to hard race settings. Mine are somewhere in between.  I also replaced the front subframe mountings with polybushes at the same time. Interestingly the old subframe mountings I took out were standard rubber but seemed almost  new so I kept them "just in case".

The front subframe job is another slightly scary one. The engine has to be supported separately whilst the subframe with all the suspension and steering attached is lowered.  There are four long bolts holding the subframe to the chassis rails and all mine came out nicely.  I have heard these can be a problem sometimes as they seize and have to be sawn off.  Not a nice thought.  Bit of a fiddle lining it all back up but it went together  pretty well.  The manuals do not show the layout of these bushes very well but luckily one of the guys on the TR7/8 Forum (Odd Hedberg from Sweden)  has produced photos showing the proper sequence which makes it all very simple.
Odd Hedberg's Excellent Pictures

Better handling and steering were obvious as soon as I drove the car so what to do next?

Rear Axle Bump Stops.  Working on the rear suspension I happened to touch one of the axle bump stops and it just fell off.  Turns out it was some kind of original foam material and it just fell apart - perhaps not too surprising after 30 years.  I spoke to Robsport about new ones and decided that the cheaper rubber ones would be fine, no need for the much more expensive poly ones. The way I figure it 10-15 years with the rubber ones will see me out anyway.

Fittting them was interesting. No way could I get them to push into the chassis mounting hole so I devised a special tool method as shown in the pictures.
Just needs a piece of wood cut to length and a Jubilee clip (hose clip).
Apply plenty of lubrication and fit the Jubilee clip (not too tight) round the mounting lug.  
Then with the piece of wood in place as shown you can jack up the axle which pushes the bump stop into its mounting hole, taking the Jubilee clip off once the mounting lug has engaged.   EASY.

Wood block and Jubilee clip in place

Jacking pressure applied,  now remove Jubilee clip

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