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Thread: Raising Ride Height

Forum to discuss Austin Healey Sports Cars

  1. #1
    Yoda Michael Oritt's Avatar
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    Post Raising Ride Height

    My 100 is suffering from "Bachelor's Lean" and the left rear ride height is lower by about 1/2" (the front is fine).

    Short of getting new springs or having the present left spring re-arched is there any way to cure this?

    Also, what is the thinking on this method of re-arching:

    https://www.mgexp.com/forum/mgb-and-...twist.3263558/
    Last edited by Editor_Reid; 01-04-2020 at 04:11 PM.

    Best--Michael Oritt
    1954 Austin-Healey 100 Le Mans
    1959 Elva MK IV Sports Racer
    1961 Ginetta G4

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    Jedi Warrior red57's Avatar
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    Re: raising ride height

    How/where are you measuring the height difference - the frame or the fender wheel arch? I have seen quite a variance in fender arches so would suggest trying to measure the frame to ground if possible to make sure you aren't just seeing a body inconsistency. I would also suggest corner weights if you haven't already done that, as you know that is more important to handling than visual appearance.

    But if it really is 1/2" different, I would just swap the springs. Unless the entire rear is too low, then look into local re-arching (by a spring shop) or buy new springs.

    It strains credibility to think the use of an engine hoist would work to 're-arch' springs cold - if they are that soft, why wouldn't they would just sag again? Also seems like a scary thing to have that much force in something that could slip loose.

    Dave

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    Obi Wan RAC68's Avatar
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    Re: raising ride height

    Hi Michael and Happy New Year,

    Around a decade ago, my Healey had also sunk in the rear to a height that started to take a toll on my Ansa resonator. Concerned with the loss and not liking the height of the rear, my first thought was to try re-arching my original springs. I took them to a service that did truck springs and they did the job. I was told that the springs would raise the Healey rear height higher than I would like but it would settle down and be where I wanted. The car did settle down but further then the height I started with.

    I then decided to buy new and purchased a set of rear leaf springs from Moss. After installed, the Healey was higher then ever and it only took around 8-months before the car was again down lower then ever.

    Frustrated, I decided to go back to my original springs and took the long #2 leaves from the Moss sets and inserted then into the each pack. This raised the rear by stiffening the springs the springs and reducing sag. At first I thought the additional stiffness would detrimentally affect the handling and ride. However, the rice was very comfortable and I really saw no difference. As for the handling, it seemed to improve but not so much you could really say there was a discernable change.

    As with your Healey, the passenger side seemed higher then the driver. However, since the frame was under the springs and differential, installing a spacer between the spring and axel would lower the height. Since I had gained a little more height than I was looking for and my difference was around 3/8" difference side-to-side, I decided to try placing a 3/8" spacer on the passenger side to bring that side down.

    By raising the Healey's rear driver side and then evening the passenger side by lowering the passenger side, my rear body height is now even on both sides.

    One last point. A Healey's body height is more of a perception then an actual measurement. Fender installation and how the wheel openings enclose the wheels is a major part of the image of rear body height as an actual distance measurement from ground to body underside. My 3/8" spacer was determined through experimentation and settled upon by the results of the impression made.

    Just my thoughts,
    Ray(64BJ8P1)
    Last edited by RAC68; 01-02-2020 at 06:30 AM.

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    Re: raising ride height

    I have a little experience of this. Before I had my Healey I had a 1954 MGTF with the same problem. I took the springs off and found one of the leaves had been "modified" previously (after I cleaned them both up!). I looked into new v's re-arching and concluded new was cheaper, quicker, less trouble with carriage costs and was told that the modern metals were better anyway. So I went with the new. After I fitted the new springs there was still some difference in the ride height and a knowledgeable friend suggested I swap the front springs around. Job done no further problems.
    I had a similar experience with my Healey. I took it to John Chatham (some year's after the MG and I'm a lot lazier/older now!) who fitted new. All was well for a while and still is but for a creaking suspension. I can get rid of the noise by spraying with some Teflon lub on the leaves and bushes but it comes back after a few weeks (annoying to have to do this once a month). I've been told that "oiling" the springs isn't a good a idea as they work by friction between the leaves so I need to have a closer look. I'm not sure if he fitted new or poly bushes or even replaced the old ones and he doesn't seem to remember. I understand poly bushes are prone to creaking. I'm taking the drums off later this month to get them balanced so I'll have a closer look.
    AJ

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    Obi Wan RAC68's Avatar
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    Re: raising ride height

    Hi AJ and Happy New Year,

    Leaf spring creaking is caused by metal-to-metal movement under pressure. Although not all leaves in the spring move, those that do cause your noise. Spraying will provide a lubricating film and reduce the creaking for a short period, however, the noise will return.

    Back in the '80s when I redid my Healey, I separated, cleaned, and painted each leaf and replaced the old and warn thin metal strips I found between the leaves with stainless strips. Mistake. for decades I put up with the creaking. A year or so ago, I was working to rectify the British Lean in my Healey and my research identified the mystery metal as Zinc. A couple afternoons later, I was down at a home center (i.e. Home Depot, etc.) and found and purchased a roll of Zinc used as roof edging to eliminate the formation of moss.

    After dismantling the springs, I cut strips of zing the same dimensions as the shorter adjacent leaf and inserted the strips between. Although I may not have had to place a stripe between all leaves, not knowing which I could leave out, I thought it a safer option.

    To date I have had a Non-Creaking quiet ride.

    All the best,
    Ray(64BJ8P1)

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    Re: raising ride height

    Because my original zinc interleaves shifted out from between the leaves, decided to replace them with tape.

    Damping via friction between the leaves went out with Hartford shocks. See coil springs and torsion bars.

    I used teflon adhesive tape between the leaves >15 years ago and it's still running fine with no squeaks.

    If you decide to go with tape, what you want is 2" or 50mm ptfe or teflon adhesive tape.

    screenshot.2032.jpgscreenshot.2033.jpg
    Steve Gerow
    Altadena, CA, USA
    Maker of most complete Big Healey rear disc kit
    Check out my galleries:
    http://www.pbase.com/stevegerow


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    Editor_Reid  (01-02-2020)

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    Yoda Michael Oritt's Avatar
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    Re: raising ride height

    I am just back from measuring and the car is in fact low on the left both back AND front (as many of you predicted) by between 3/8" to 1/2" (+/- 1/16").

    The actual ground clearance measurements from the concrete floor to the points of intersection of the transverse cross-members and the chassis rails--within the tolerances of a 4' spirit level and a steel tape--are:

    Front left: 6-1/8" . Front right: 6-5/8"
    Rear left: 7-0" Rear right: 7-3/8"

    I don't know the source of the fore and aft rake but I really cannot notice it and in any case it does not bother me. The lean to the left does disturb me esthetically, and btw it is probably a bit greater when I am on board. However, given the tolerances of parts for our cars, etc. I wonder if it is worth doing anything or, in the words of Mick Mulvaney, should I just get over it?

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    Re: raising ride height


    Michael,


    If the levels were even, would you ever notice? From where I am coming, it is a matter of perception and what you like. I went through the effort because it both bothered me and was an interest and a challenge to correct. As I see it, pursuing improvements and corrections are integral parts of what has kept me interested for the past 55 years.

    Keep in mind that the structure of the Healey (any model) is not as ridged as you may think and, as an example, wheel torque and driver-only operations seems to have worked on the left rear spring. Additionally, since the right spring is higher than the left, it could have an effect on the height of the front suspension. As you have seen, as the left rear sinks, the right front will be slightly relieved and get higher. Also, since there is some rigidity to the frame the left rear being lower will also contribute to the left front being lower as well.

    IMG_0199 (2).jpgIMG_E0204 (2).jpg


    Since these forces have developed during a long period of operation and frame/body-component settling, although my rear is now even, the front right is still slightly higher than the left, but it is not discernible by eye. Additionally, I lowered the front so the car is more even overall.

    So, is it worth addressing?

    Just my thoughts,
    Ray(64BJ8P1)


    Last edited by RAC68; 01-02-2020 at 07:05 PM.

  10. #9
    Yoda Michael Oritt's Avatar
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    Re: raising ride height

    All--

    Thanks for the good advice, both for the car and the mind.
    I am measuring my options and for now suspending taking action....
    Last edited by Michael Oritt; 01-05-2020 at 01:48 AM.

    Best--Michael Oritt
    1954 Austin-Healey 100 Le Mans
    1959 Elva MK IV Sports Racer
    1961 Ginetta G4

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    Obi Wan RAC68's Avatar
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    Re: Raising Ride Height

    Hi Michael,

    I can't blame you for putting this issue's correction off as long as possible as its solution involves a broad analysis of a number of components and not just springs. I must admit that I started my pursuit thinking the solution would be easier and the breadth of considerations more restricted. It is not. So take your time and what consider the contributing factors that could be involved (i.e. frame sag, spring sag, panel adjustment, etc.).

    All the best,
    Ray(64BJ8P1)
    Last edited by RAC68; 01-06-2020 at 03:09 AM.

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