View Full Version : Spitfire Spitfire spring replacement

08-14-2007, 12:52 PM
I just received my new rear spring and before I put it in I wanted to check with you experts to see if there are any pitfalls I should be aware of before I start. I want to avoid the kind of experience Tinster had with his front spring /bcforum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/eek.gif

Andrew Mace
08-14-2007, 01:12 PM
Nothing particular, except that I suggest undoing at least the bottom shock absorber nut and disconnecting the shock from the vertical link, which will allow the axle assembly to fall that much further out of the way when you undo the spring eye bolts on each side.

I don't think you'll have the same kind of "stored energy" problem you would have with a compressed coil spring, but my above suggestion is based on experience changing a rear spring on a Herald. My rushing and nonthinking resulted in my removing the spring eye bolt and having the end of the spring crash down and crush the rubber brake hose and fitting in the wheel cylinder. Not fun.

At risk of introducing you to the intoxicating world of Shipwright's Disease, though, I would suggest that this is a good time to check various other bushings in the rear suspension, as well as u-joints and the brakes, and tend to them as needed.

08-14-2007, 01:32 PM
- Andy's quite right...great time to check everything else under the wheel arches while you are there. I caught that "highly contagious" disease real bad, dismantled everything and replaced all bushes, brakes, flex pipes, bearings, u joints etc. etc. Not sure what year your spit is but if you need help getting it all back together let me know I've got lots of pics.

08-14-2007, 04:11 PM
When you get the new spring, it will have a retaining bracket on it, holding it all together. Make sure you have the spring secured and compressed in a vice before removing that bracket (voice of experience).

Compress it, undo the bracket, and then slowly open the vice to allow the spring leaves to expand again before reassembling.

Similarly, use a vice to compress the old spring when you remove the pivot bracket, and when you reinstall it on the new spring.

Also, when you install the pivot bracket, make sure you have clearance right through and past the spring leaves for the mounting studs. I found this very fiddly when I did mine. The spring sits in a particular spot in the differential, and you must make sure the studs are properly aligned through the pivot bracket.

Last point, lubricate the spring leaf contact points before assembly. If you have an annoying squeak when its back on the car you'll regret not thinking of that.

08-14-2007, 05:53 PM
If you have someone on the other side it really helps to get it in place and lift the spring retainers over the rear end. Don't shove hard or when it's free it will take the fingers off your help. There's a slight twisting motion that helps. The bolts are a pain, but if you have a couple of seal puller bars,(they have a pointed other end), it will help in the alignment. Hopefully you will have it on jack stands as you will need your jack on the bottom of the brake hub to get the shock back in place on the new spring.


08-14-2007, 06:39 PM
If you haven't replaced the u-joints recently, I would suggest that you replace them when you replace your rear spring. But be careful of the quality of the u-joints you buy.

Andrew Mace
08-14-2007, 10:02 PM
...Hopefully you will have it on jack stands as you will need your jack on the bottom of the brake hub to get the shock back in place on the new spring.I discovered many, MANY years ago that a: the car should be on suitable stands for this or most any sort of job, and that b: the scissors jack that came with my Dad's Herald was a virtually perfect fit on the bottom "tube" of the rear vertical link (jack running perpendicular to the axle shaft, that is) and made an excellent tool for lifting that link into place for connecting shocks, radius arm and spring bolts!

08-15-2007, 12:36 AM
This has to be the best forum on any topic on the internet. Great tips guys, thanks. I definitely always use jack stands. The Bentley book says to undo the lower shock mount but says nothing about taking the spring apart. Now I'm confused, is this necessary? As for shipwright's disease; I'm replacing the rear spring, rebuilding the clutch slave and master cylinders, replacing the drive shaft,rebuilding the carburetor and pulling the head for a valve job so my budget is blown for now. U-joints and brake shoes were replaced recently. It's a 78. Anything else that's not urgent is going to have to go on the big list.

08-15-2007, 08:24 AM
You don't take apart the spring. Leave the varous outer straps that are there to keep the leaves aligned. But when you fully remove a spring, the leaves all flex, and a gap between each leaf is created.

In the case of a Spitfire with a swing spring, the spring is captured between the pivot bolt and the top of the mount. If you squish the spring in a vice, it makes removing that pivot bolt quite easy. If you just try to pull it out, it's darn hard as the spring is pushing against it. You likely won't succeed at removing it, and it you do, you'll only get it part way out. As soon as it clears one hole, it'll **** and bind.

So hold the old spring compressed to remove the bolt. And hold the new spring compressed to insert that bolt.

After that, it all just drops on.

08-15-2007, 09:52 AM
OK I think the light is slowly coming on. Is this the bracket that needs to be removed?
Bentley says the spring clips are stamped "Front" on one side and they're not. And then it says the ground edge at the center of the main leaf should face rear, it looks like both edges are ground. So I guess I should just go with the direction of the bolts on the spring clips?