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MGB Brit are bad engineers

Boggsy64

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Well I don't mean to bash them, lots of good British stuff, but why make the mgb front end one piece with the shocks???????????.?.??..?.????
Who in their right mind would make the shocks a principle member of the front end??? In order to replace a shock you have to release the springs... I know mcpherson struts later..... I am glad the world has become sane....to a sort, but still wonder what were they thinking?
"We make the best crap in the world and our shocks will never possibly in a million years fail" or " who needs to economically maintain their car??? Lets make it a special $100 item each to replace ( not including labor)....... Hah..hah..lol
I replaced my own so the labor was mine. I cannot imagine bill from a shop for what should be a $ 50 job in total.
Anyway love my mgb and work with Brits so tally ho and all that British crap....lol
 

Mickey Richaud

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So, the point of your post is...?
 
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My first reaction to this post was - DUH, you're just figuring this out? Add usual leak oil, Lucas, etc. joke here. But then I remember the comments about the the MGB I've read - twin SUs, work well-don't change them; factory exhaust manifold-same; lever shocks-keep them working,they work well; seems to me the engineers got the MGB pretty much right from the get go. This does not include the mandated changes after 74.5 Leave it to the powers that be to mess up a good thing. (No discussion of a poly tickle nature, please! :smile: ) And so I must echo Mickey - your point is......?
 

PAUL161

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The Brits did a pretty good job on building the MGB! Nothing wrong with the shocks and how their designed! Their an excellent shock if properly maintained. Look at some American cars where you have to drain the cooling system, pull the bottom rad hose off, undo a motor mount, jack up the engine, just to change a spark plug! There are more, but I won't get into those. The MGB as most of us know, was designed for the blue collar market. It was quite a car in it's day and still is if properly maintained. I think those boys did a wonderful job! If any bad or undesirable designs came into view in their later years, it was because of us and the American market forcing the Brits to make changes to our newer automotive laws. JMHO. PJ
 

Sarastro

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I'm not sure of the reasoning behind the use of lever shocks, and probably by now no one does. I am aware that the basic suspension design existed from the earliest MG independent front suspensions. The MGB, MGA, and TD/TF are essentially the same. The design does, however, eliminate the upper A arm that was common on many cars, saving costs, and since the shocks were not expected to be replaced regularly, like those in American cars of that era, the difficulty of removing them is not unreasonable.

Remember, these cars were not expected to be around 50 years later. 10 years and 100,000 miles were considered pretty good in those days, and, in fact, many of the parts actually WERE expected never to be replaced within the car's lifetime. You're driving a car that already is at maybe four or five times its expected life, and you're going to have to replace some things that the first owner probably never had to touch.

Finally, it's probably a good idea not to criticize engineers or engineering until you understand a little more about it.
 

PAUL161

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The Armstrong shock is a unique design. With it's duel pistons pushing oil back and forth through a metering valve works extremely well. These shocks are also adjustable for stiffness depending on how you drive the car. To do this properly, the shocks should be off so the resistance can be measured to make the right and left shocks equal. Peter at World Wide Auto will set your shocks up to your liking when you have him restore them. If Peter restores your shocks, you'll never have to touch them again. He does awesome work! JMHO. PJ
 

MustangSix

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When that design went into production on the MGTD it was a nearly blatant copy of the late 30's GM suspension. Take a look at something like the 1937 Pontiac and you'll find it is very familiar looking. The one major departure was the use of rack and pinion steering, but otherwise the layout is the same.

It's actually an elegant design that combines the functions of shock absorber and control arm, creating a compact and efficient layout.
 

David_DuBois

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"When that design went into production on the MGTD it was a nearly blatant copy of the late 30's GM suspension."
Not so. The independent suspension for the TD was taken directly from the Y type MG, which was ready to come out on the market in 1939, but had to be postponed due to WW2.
Cheers,
 

MustangSix

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"When that design went into production on the MGTD it was a nearly blatant copy of the late 30's GM suspension."
Not so. The independent suspension for the TD was taken directly from the Y type MG, which was ready to come out on the market in 1939, but had to be postponed due to WW2.
Cheers,

I stand corrected. That would make the Y-type a blatant copy.
 
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JPSmit

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Fascinating to read, every once in awhile, I muse on the technology of Ms Triss. 1976 was the final chapter of British Leyland's run and in many ways, the car is horribly built! It is old technology, poor fit and finish, inefficient construction. It is not a stretch to say that my car is better now that when it left the factory and I am no engineer. At the same time, when I go to a cruise night I realize almost all cars of the era were built as poorly. When we consider that a minvan can now outdrag an average muscle car of the era. All of which reminds me of how far the technology has come in 30-40 years, it is truly mindboggling. Yes we can complain about new cars being bloated, overly technological, removed from the driving experience, but, I have put close to 2000 miles on my "economy Kia" since last wednesday, in air conditioned comfort at highway speeds and it never even occured to me to even check the oil before I left. Don't get me wrong, I love my old cars, but they are exactly that, old cars and there is a reason they don't build 'em like they used to, a reason I completely agree with. BTW, my son's godfather owned a body shop, and I remember asking him, years ago, whether they built them better then, (thin metal etc. etc.) he answered this way, "it used to be that when we repaired a car, we always had to clean the blood off the seats, we haven't had to do that in years, you tell me."
 

Sarastro

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JP, you make some good points.

One of the many reasons for the demise of the British automobile industry, which was at one time the third largest in the world, was their inability to keep up with the technology. As a result, the Japanese ate their lunch. I've marveled at how such a huge industry could be brought low so quickly, and I have a few ideas of why that happened. You can blame overpowerful unions and such things, of course, and that's one factor, but by far not the only one. I suspect that the British class structure was a big factor. The people who ran those companies were upper-class types, who had no idea of how to deal with the unions, and generally were not technical people. They were in their positions because of their breeding, not ability. They were in those positions because of who they were, not because of what they knew or could do. So, when things went south, they were helpless.

At the same time, in England in the 50s and 60s, only 1% of the population went to a university, and maybe 1% of those became engineers. The engineers (especially a superstar like Donald Healey) were an elite, and no one questioned their designs. Today, any engineer who designs something has to survive a very critical design review, and because of all that scrutiny, designs are well tuned and debugged. Not so in those days. That says a lot, I think, about the quality of the designs: mostly pretty good, but a lot of "what could they have been thinking?" too.

(I was in the British school system from 1957 to 59, so I had an inside view of the situation. In those days you took an exam when you were 11 years old and it determined your education from then on, and in effect, the rest of your life.)

But, anyway, the technology has indeed progressed. I'm amazed at how much better cars are today than in the 60s. Much of this is due to the digital revolution, but of course things like crash safety have nothing to do with that. I still love the old cars, but from time to time, I really get a craving for a Miata.
 
OP
Boggsy64

Boggsy64

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Sorry to all. The posting I wrote was after a long day of tearing the front suspension apart and the shock to axle bolts were both stuck tight (as it notorious I hear). I just vented my frustration, as I wrote with banged up hands and fingers! I do love the car and it got me 2200 miles this summer from Arizona to North Carolina using 22 quarts of oil along the way.. but no breakdowns at all. I should not complain about the problems with an old car. I am currently rebuilding the suspension and motor. Will reserve a full rebuild for later (pulling the engine and tranny). Want to have some fun driving this fall so getting it mechanically sound for now. By the way I am an engineer and do understand the mechanical aspects. The shocks are very good units to have lasted 80k+ miles and one is still good. Just hate to see what it would cost for the non-mechanic to have someone replace them.
 

JPSmit

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Sorry to all. The posting I wrote was after a long day of tearing the front suspension apart and the shock to axle bolts were both stuck tight (as it notorious I hear). I just vented my frustration, as I wrote with banged up hands and fingers! I do love the car and it got me 2200 miles this summer from Arizona to North Carolina using 22 quarts of oil along the way.. but no breakdowns at all. I should not complain about the problems with an old car. I am currently rebuilding the suspension and motor. Will reserve a full rebuild for later (pulling the engine and tranny). Want to have some fun driving this fall so getting it mechanically sound for now. By the way I am an engineer and do understand the mechanical aspects. The shocks are very good units to have lasted 80k+ miles and one is still good. Just hate to see what it would cost for the non-mechanic to have someone replace them.

wow! Well, that explains it, no one has ever used this board to vent before, especially after a frustrating day. ;) in fact, I have never seen it on the entire internet. :D who knew you could use it for that? :smile:

Seriously, we've all been there, and if we had ever acted on our frustrations there would be a lot of cars at the bottom of lakes and full of buckshot. Bsides, it gives us all something to talk about - (pretending it has never happened to us)

have agreat day!
 

Mickey Richaud

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It's OK, Boggsy - some of us were a bit quick to snap as well. Like JP said, who knew? :blush:

Amazing what a cold beer and a shower can do for you attitude following frustration and busted knuckles, ain't it?

:cheers:
Mickey
 

Bossbill

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Who would design shocks to be a principle member of the front end?
Mr. McPherson.
As for Formula one -- what design uses shocks as a principle member?
Do you mean coil-over shocks?

The McPherson strut was designed in the late '40s and first used in '49. It was popularized on the Ford Consul in '51.
Although it was "modern" when we first saw it in America (Cortina's, Z-cars, etc), the real advantage of this suspension was cost. It was cheap to build!
No upper arm (the onion head at the top is the virtual upper arm) and in the case of Ford's early implementation, half of the lower arm is the swaybar!
Ask me how much I enjoyed that design on my L-M Capri and early Cortina.

Kinematically, the Short/Long Arm design of the MGB is superior to most simple struts. The execution, well ... not so much.

I think cost was the real devil in keeping the lever shock.
I don't think they ever changed the suspension from the MGB offering onward. Just some minor details.
It never got ball joints, one piece control arms or anything else more up-to-date.
The money wasn't there.

Interesting take on the education system leading to the downfall of the British car industry.
Hadn't thought of that.
 

TRMark

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Miata? Somebody said Miata? I figure people buy em because they couldn't find a good TR4 or they wanted air-conditioning. Oops, just realized I wandered into the MG forum, better get out before I get my arse kicked.
 
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