View Full Version : TR2/3/3A TR3 Front Suspension rebuild?????

02-16-2012, 11:09 AM
I want(need) to overhaul the front susp on my TR3. First, I'm very uncomfortable with dealing with the spring removal,so will probably have work done by shop. Problem... I want to have the pieces powder coated while disassembled. No shop is going to tie up a rack (or space) for three weeks while the parts get stripped and coated. One solution I've come up with is to buy complete used susp knee for both sides, disassemble, coat and have ready to take "installable" ( is that a word) parts to the shop. Not fond of the idea of buying parts I don't need to accomplish this.
any input or thoughts?
How much re-assembley could I do prior to taking susp parts to shop, as far as assebling control arms, knucle, trunion and ball joints,without creating problems for their installation?
I had a spring compressor start to crack with a loaded spring in it once. I was able to get the load off before it broke but I was younger and I don't think my heart can go that fast now.

02-16-2012, 11:31 AM
Taking them apart is not too hard. It is putting it back together that needs the spring compresser. By the way, I just use long all core rod in the pan and slowly tighten instead of using spring compressers. Then when you get it up close, replace one bolt at a time.


02-16-2012, 12:38 PM
I disagree, a spring compressor is necessary even for disassembly. The good news is that it's easy to build your own or buy a purpose-made one. Plus, since it goes through the center of the spring (not over the outside), and actually doesn't try to grab the spring at all; it is <span style="font-weight: bold">very </span>secure and the chances of having an accident are very small. I went rather overboard with mine, using 3/4" threaded rod and a plate that fit over the shock studs; but the smaller ones sold by the usual suspects should work fine. The forces involved are well within the ability of even 1/2" mild steel threaded rod (and no castings to crack).


So my advice would be to buy or build a proper compressor, and do the work yourself. That way you can take your time for powdercoating, and not buy any more parts than are necessary. You can also check for some things that a shop might overlook, like bent A-arms or vertical links; condition of the threads, etc.

Good time to consider doing the steering as well, at least inspect the silentblocs, idler arm and steering box. And of course since you'll have the shocks out anyway, this is the time to change them if they are near the end of their life.

PS, here's a shot of it in use, taking my 56 apart. The spring was still under some tension at this point, which illustrates why I feel a compressor is required even for disassembly.


02-16-2012, 01:42 PM
My spring compressor is much like Randallís and it also homemade, but mine is better. What Randall suggests is right on, and yes doing it yourself is rewarding and not difficult. I would like to ask if you have the engine in or out of the car. This makes a difference with putting the shocks back in because you will need some kind of ballast to lift the car into to compress the spring and get the shock in. Basically putting the shocks in with the engine out requires some inventive thinking.

02-16-2012, 02:11 PM
... Basically putting the shocks in with the engine out requires some inventive thinking.

I had my wife stand on the frame about where the radiator would sit! :devilgrin:

02-16-2012, 02:20 PM
... Basically putting the shocks in with the engine out requires some inventive thinking.

I had my wife stand on the frame about where the radiator would sit! :devilgrin:

Did you have to take her out to dinner beforehand?!? (just seeing if that needs to be added to the cost!)


02-16-2012, 02:23 PM
I was just reassembling my front suspension a few days ago, It really is a straight forward job with the springs and as it was mentioned above all you need is a threaded rod, some nuts and washers plus something that will fit in to a spring pan to hold it. I also use an old clutch bearing while working with the compressor on the Triumph or Minis, it is placed under nut on top of the rod. It makes the job a lot easier and compressing and loosening is nice and smooth.

02-16-2012, 06:19 PM
Boy Art you live dangerously

Russ Austin
02-16-2012, 06:41 PM
One tip I may recommend, do one side at a time so you can refer to the other side when you reassemble. Itís much easier to do this way if you have never done it before.

02-17-2012, 07:35 AM
Even if I did do it myself, I'm still thinking getting the used assemblies is a good idea. If i did one side at a time, which I agree is a good idea, each side would be a 3 week process waiting for the powder coating to get done, making it a 6 week project at least. 6 weeks that I can't move the car. Another advantage is that the lower arms, upper arms and verticle link could be partially pre assembled on the bench,before even tearing down the existing susp, and installed as a unit onto the car. Meaning less time rolling around on the floor.
Anybody know of some extensive photos or video of the process? I've read through the Haynes manual and it seems pretty straight forward. What about reaming the trunnion bushings? Need a machine shop for that? Do any of the bushing have to be pressed in?

02-17-2012, 08:08 AM
The bushings can be installed easily enough without a fancy press. A small vise will push them right in, or you could suck it in with a 1/2" nut, bolt and washers. Or, I suppose you could just whack them in with a hammer if you're careful. You will need to ream them however. I used an adjustable reamer because I have a set of them. A fixed reamer will be fine. If you hunt around, you can by a 5/8" (0.625") reamer on line for about $15-$20. This is a total DIY project.

02-17-2012, 05:27 PM
I took my lower arms to the machine shop and they were happy to install bushings and ream them for proper clearance. Was very cheap (I recall $40 or less). I like to do everything myself (including home powdercoating of suspension parts) but I'd rather have them ream these bushings than try and do it myself at home. It was too quick and easy.
By the way, I do have an extra TR3A front suspension setup in storage so if you want one, send me a PM and let's talk.

Here's my suspension, using Eastwood's home powdercoating kit.


02-17-2012, 08:55 PM
Thanks to all for the input. Think I have it all solved. Would somewhat like the experience of doing myself, but didn't feel I could have the car torn down stationary in the garage. Found a local guy who is machinist and mechanic and operates a small reasonable shop. Currently has MGA in mid restoration in his garage. He has relative that does powdercoat. I've ordered the Magic kit from TRF...on sale!!! so will have basically a new front end. Then I can move on to the next project. I'm pretty comfortable with doing everything else.