View Full Version : TR2/3/3A Topping off rear shocks on TR3

11-18-2012, 10:24 AM
The thread I started on the interim forum has been lost along with all the others. That's OK as I had received many good replies and information before it was lost and I made note of everything. But I added something last night that I'd like to repeat here (not greatly significant but perhaps helpful to some).

Yesterday afternoon, I drove to another town north of here to see the fellow who installed the new front and rear suspension on my car before I purchased it.

He confirmed that the rear shocks on my car are new (Moss products).

When I told him that I was interested in learning how to maintain and/or top-off the shocks, he did the following: he bounced the rear of the car a couple of times. When he stopped, the car immediately settled down. He then told me that if the car had continued to bounce a little on its own that the shocks would need some attention, but because the car settled immediately, the shocks are OK.

He also said that if I wanted to check and/or top-off the shocks, that I should do what people on the BCF have recommended, but that when I take the fill plug out I should stick a bent twist-tie in the hole to check the level. If it comes out wet, then the level is OK. He said it is better to check this way than to add fluid until it runs out of the hole because it's easy to overfill.

When he was bouncing the car, there was a squeek from the passenger side leaf spring. I told him that I was going to oil them and he said that I should not use oil or grease because they "eat" rubber bushings. Instead, he said I should apply some automatic transmission fluid (NOT manual transmission fluid) because it is safe on rubber. That was new to me!

My friend has been working on Triumphs professionally for many years, so I trust his judgment.

Geo Hahn
11-18-2012, 10:37 AM
Well, the important thing I suppose is to lubricate them with something. If oil eats rubber My car would have been in a lot of trouble many years ago.

In fact there isn't much in the way of rubber involved with the springs, mainly the Slientbloc typr bushings at each end and that isn't where you'd be oiling. I use a paint brush (after wire brushing the edges) with several thin applications to let it creep in so it isn't as if there is oil going everywhere. It does drip for a couple of days.

ATF (the oil, not the G-Men) sounds like a reasonable choice as it is pretty thin, I've been using hydraulic oil for years just because I had to buy a 5-gallon bucket for a job that only required 3 gallons.

I never could bring myself to follow the manual on this and use dirty engine oil.

11-18-2012, 11:04 AM
George, my thoughts exactly. When I told my friend that there's little rubber on the springs, he said it was the bushings he was talking about. Anyway, ATF is easy enough to use, and I'll go with that.

I, too, chose not to use "dirty engine oil." I suspect that was written back in post WWII days when people were still conserving things.

BTW: This final version of the BCF is great!

Geo Hahn
11-18-2012, 12:47 PM
It is great -- but I feel like we're in one of those Twilight Zone episodes where a couple of guys think they are the last ones on Earth.

Since the Triumph List is also down it may take awhile for folks to find out it's safe to come out of the shelters.

11-18-2012, 01:00 PM
George... My thoughts exactly. It's like walking into a newly renovated building and finding all the rooms empty. It may take some time for all the members to return...

11-18-2012, 02:52 PM
I did try used engine oil one time. I had painted a car in the 80's that had nearly 180,000 miles. Part of the paint job included fabbing new door skins and repairing a few minor dings. After I let the new paint cure for a few months I applied the used oil to the underside of the left half of the car intending to do the right side when I had time later. That time never happened and when we decided to stop driving the car at about 455,000 miles the left side was as good as the day it was painted while the right side had plenty of rust coming back. The used oil had clung very well and was great at penetrating the seams. The biggest con was that the excess oil took a month or so to drip off. I would do it again.

11-18-2012, 06:18 PM
I have always heard that the fact that these cars leak so much oil is the reason so many have survived.

That having been said, when I got my car about three years ago, I removed all the oil, grease, and grit that had piled up on the frame over 50 yars, took it down to the metal, treated the metal with rust converter, rust encapsulator, and two coats of chassis black paint. At the start of each driving season (springtime), I look things over and touch up any paint that has been chipped off by rocks and gravel. Otherwise, I am letting a new coat of oil, grease, and grit coat the chassis.

My local car friends laugh and say that nobody is going to know if the chassis is well painted, but I tell them that I know...

11-18-2012, 09:15 PM
I was actually thinking of trying motorcycle chain lube. Its quite runny until it gets tacky, I think it'd get between the leaves ok given its under a little pressure from the aerosol. Certainly is not a messy option at all.

11-19-2012, 09:57 AM
It always surprizes me how complicated -- i.e. how many details and options there are -- even seemingly simple procedures on these cars can be. That doesn't mean that we should be daunted by any of this. What it underscores is the importance of this BCF forum for providing good guidance. The manuals alone don't do it. Nothing beats experience. Many thanks to all.

11-19-2012, 01:37 PM
I'm not disagreeing with you, Ed, but I'd like to point out that the information on lubricating the rear springs (including a warning not to get oil on the rubber bushings; as well as many other items that are frequently overlooked) is in the owner's manual, aka "Practical Hints for the Maintenance of the Triumph TR3". Definitely required reading, IMO, even if you don't do your own work.

Paper reprints are available from the usual suspects, or there is a PDF available at
https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B2H2NJt34OffNjQ4MTkyNjItZTVmYi00M2U2LWJhY WUtMjEyZDgxMzUyNzUw

11-19-2012, 02:01 PM

You are right... as usual. I have the Practical Hints, and refer to it often, but it wasn't of much help in topping-off the rear suspension -- where this thread began -- and the matter of oil on the leaf springs just came up as a sidebar from my friend. I wasn't thinking about that when he found the squeek and made his recommendation.

The BCF is such a good source of information that, I admit, I often post a question before thoroughly researching it in the manuals.

11-19-2012, 04:41 PM
"BTW... Wouldn't WD40 work well? It has the advantage of cutting through any rust, and lubricates pretty well.