Posts Tagged ‘Suspension


Project KP30: Strut-In

My struts came back a couple of days ago so I’ve been able to get the KP back on its wheels.  Despite the fact I feel like a massive sell-out getting struts made, they site nice and ride nicer, with loads of scope to go down should I ever want to.  Compared to the collapsed, slack, leaky, knocking legs I took out these feel amazing!


Project KP30: Strut-Out

Two crashing tubes of leaky awfulness is pretty much all that is holding up the front of the KP these days; 34 year old internals and no OEM replacements are not conducive to a well damped suspension.  Having rebuilt them more times that I’ve dragged the exhaust over a speed hump, I decided action was required.

A couple of emails to Gaz suspension (I’ve ran Gaz stuff on my cars for year s and it’s always been good) and they confirmed they could do what I needed: new internals whilst retaining my top mounts and coilover stuff.  Good times.

With Spring only just round the corner (hey, I’m an optimist…) I stripped them off…

…boxed them up and shipped them out.

See you in 2-ish weeks….


Project Roadster: DIY Wheel alignment

Between coilovers, winter roads, potholes and bad luck the Roadster’s tracking had slowly crept out to a point where it was driving me mad.  None of the local garages had any equipment to do the alignment without a rig hung over the wheel (the car is far too low and there’s no point raising it to get it tracked!)  So, I dug out the the old “Wheel True” and some trusty string!

I measured total toe across the front and rear wheels, then moved the kit on to one side to measure the relationship front to rear.  Once done for both sides it was apparent the RH front wheel had an extra 3mm toe out!  That’ll be why it was pulling to the right then!

A quick track rod tweak, measure, drive up the road and remeasure and it’s straight as an arrow!

I’ll have to do the KP when it comes out in a few weeks too!

You can’t beat having a relaxing and successful day on the spanners!


Project MK1 Cavalier: Build Pics

Ok, so some of you guessed it. In fact, Guy even posted a picture of the exact car! Well, before I throw up some pics of the whole car I thought I would get the boring build stuff out the way.

The car was minter than mint when I bought it.  It had even won a trophy, so I can’t take any glory for just how nice it is.  Mountains of cash had been spent on things like a new Vinyl roof, fresh paint, suspension..the list was pretty endless.  What it didn’t have, was stance.

First off was wheels: BMW Mini banded steels in 15×8 and 15×9 with 185/45 and 195 45 tyres.  The wheels needed painting so I gave them a coat of gloss black:

I gave the car a full service: All fluids, set the tappets, new thermostat and temp sender:

Then it was onto what really counts; suspension!

New ARB drop mounts:

Shortened the springs:

Rear converted to MX5 adjustable platforms:

So, the car was on the deck.  And that’s pretty much where it settled!  After a short drive it was sat on the bump stops at the front, even though they had been cut in half.  This called for some pretty drastic action as it was pretty much un-drivable.

I swapped out the front dampers as they were bottomed.  I used Mini rear dampers as they used the same mounts and were about 2.5″ shorter:

To solve the bump stop issue and get some travel back I had to modify the subframe:

I removed the rubber bump stops and cut the bump stop towers:

I then cut the end I removed down to it fit inside the cut-off tower end and welded it back together. This effectively raised the stop 50m. Here it is back together:

The car is now dropped around 120mm and has loads of plush travel; no crashing, no bone shaking, just a smooth ride like you would expect from a big saloon car. Oh yeah, the car?

Well here’s a pic of how it arrived:

It’s a 1980 MK1 Vauxhall Cavalier! Stay tuned for “after” pics!


Project KP30: Retro Rides Gathering Prep Part #2

Well, it’s now t-minus 15 hours to kick off and the car is just about done!

I’ve spent the last couple of evenings rebuilding the front struts and changing the oil in them.

One of the valves had blown clean out of the damper tube…That’ll be why I had no damping then!

All back together:

Re-fitted the struts, checked the ride height, then changed the diff oil.

Tomorrow I need to pack, sort out some tools and wash it!

It appears all the flies in the world decided to take me on. I won.


Project Roadster: Rear Alignment

The rears have been rubbing a bit, so I thought I would dial in some more camber and hit the arches with a big hammer.


Toe: 0 degrees

Camber -3 Degrees + however much is added by the lowness so, probably around- 4-5 degrees?


Project KP30; Open Leg Surgery

Well all has not gone smoothly with the top mounts. They added around an extra 35mm to the length of the strut I had to screw the coil-overs down to get the height I wanted. Problem was I had run out of travel on the damper so it was locked solid even with no bump stop fitted.

I had been living with about 25mm travel with the stock top mounts which was OK, but it did crash a little over anything bigger that a pebble! That and the tyre rubbed on of the arch under hard cornering.

Time for some drastic action. Cutting springs is for pussies; cutting struts is where it is at!

I stripped all the internals out and drained the oil. I have always been a fan of these struts as they are so easy to rebuild and can be completely stripped to nothing. In this pick you can see the inner damper tube and the piston. Both of these needed shortening as well as the strut shell.

First to go was the shell;

I measured up the struts and made the first cut. I wanted to take about 2.5″ off the total height of the strut. This whole thing was a pretty one shot deal as I have no idea where I would have got a replacements set of struts for it from if it went horribly wrong!

Here is the bare strut shells, one cut, one stock;

The strut features a threaded cap that hold it wall together a the top. As I had no way of cutting a new internal thread on the strut shell I cut and reused the threaded top section I had removed.

I then welded this back onto the strut shell making sure it was correctly aligned to the rod ran true.

Next  job was shortening the damper tube. Quick measure and a cut. Here it is next to the stock tube;

Now came the really messy part;

I turned down the damper rod to allow me to cut a new thread on it and create a new platform, lower down, for the top mount bearing top hat. This took ages as the rods are hardened and chromed;

The excess 2.5″ was then cut off

and I cut a new M14x2.0 Thread onto the rod.

I also turned down some new nylocks to fit;

I ordered some new 7″ springs to replace the 9″ spring I was running. This allowed me to bring the collar to roughly the middle giving me maximum height adjustment;

Meanwhile my strut seal arrived from Toyota, only a 3 month wait and I only have 1 of them so far! Well, at least I have one I guess!

Last job was to clean everything thoroughly, a fresh coat of paint and put it all back together;

So now I have my KW top mounts fitted and at the height I am running easily 3.5″ of plush travel so no more crashing and the camber I have dialled in has killed the rubbing for good!

I’m just glad it worked out or I would have be keeping chickens in it until I found a new set of struts!

Fitment pic (looks high as it’s shot looking up the arch, the tyre is tucking slightly though.)