Updated 29th May 2006 and March 2007 due to new Shock Absorbers and Springs fitted. See bottom of page.
To the Sharp Eyes some of the Pictures show more work required. This is part of an ongoing restoration of my 1972 SE5a. Do not look to close at bodywork etc. This will be done in 2006. I wanted to get all the "Dirty Oily" Jobs done before doing the bodywork. All the pictures are expandable by clicking on the Pictures. There is my effort at a DIY Spring Compressor and Information about fitting Rear Wheel Cylinders and Shoes and a small modification to improve Handbrake, see below.
As with all this type of work ensure that the Car is well supported.
A GTE landing on you is guaranteed to give you a Sense of Humour Failure.
Not to much Information to give as most is obvious. As all the good books say assembly is the reverse of removal. One idea is to soak all the Bolts etc with Removing Fluid such as PlusGas the Day before (WD40 is OK but is not a proper Releasing Fluid, PlusGas is a lot better). When removing the Front Shock Absorbers make sure there is support below the Bottom Wishbone, It will probably be OK but best to make sure as if it drops to far it could put strain on the Brake Hoses. When removing the Front Shock Absorber Bottom Bolt you may have a problem sliding the Bolt out as the Bottom Wishbone could get in the way. If it is remove the Bottom Plate that bolts onto the Lower wishbone, only four bolts plus the Roll Bar link. If you do not need to completely remove the bottom bracket once the four bolts are off you can jack up the upright by the bottom of the Trunnion ( A thin piece of wood may be needed to get the Jack to push on the bottom of the Trunnion ). By Jacking up the upright the lower Shock Absorber bracket will not need to have the Roll Bar Drop Link removed and so you will not have to struggle with the Roll Bar Tension. You will need to support the Rear Axle when removing the Rear Shock Absorbers as the Axle will drop onto the Exhausts. Support the Axle when removing the Rear Shock Absorber Bolts then lower the Axle until it just rests on the Exhausts. This will give you just enough room to remove the Shock Absorbers. The Rear Left Shock Absorber requires a bit of "Persuasion" as the Body Molding will get in the way but it can be removed without the need to drop the Exhaust. Fitting SuperFlex Polyurethane Bushes to the Shock Absorbers can be "Fun" but leaving them in boiling water for about half and hour helps and use the Grease as supplied. "Squeezing" them in using a Vice is the way to go but make sure that they stay "Square" with the hole they are going into or they will suddenly go sideways. Once in they will need to be pushed all the way through, use a "Socket" of suitable diameter that will allow the Bush to be pushed through with the Socket against the eye of the Shock Absorber. Before pushing the bush all the way through fit the Insert/Sleeve, it is easier. There are other ways of fitting Polyurethane Bushes but this way works for me. I only used Polyurethane Bushes on the Front Shock Absorbers and Anti-Roll Bar with Normal Rubber Bushes else where, This is a personal choice, Polyurethane Bushes all round can give a harder ride. I do not want to "Race" the Car or to corner at Warp Factor Six. When fitting the Top Ball Joints the Taper will try to slip when tightening the Nut. Jack up the Bottom Wishbone to put "Pressure" on the Taper. Now place a piece of wood ( To avoid damage ) on the Top of the Ball Joint and hit downwards. This will force the Taper into the Top of the Vertical Link. The Nut can now be tightened. You may need to hit it downwards a few times until the Nut is tight. Replacing the Brake Flexible Hoses is also easy. When doing the Rear One to the Axle a bit of arm twisting is required to get at the Hose and when doing the Front Ones it is easier to remove the Spare Wheel and Tray. They can be removed and fitted without removing the Wheel and Tray but it is a lot easer if you remove the Spare Wheel and Tray. There is information about fitting Rear Wheel Cylinders and Brake Shoes by clicking on the relevant pictures below. Removing the Anti-Roll Bar is also easy but to get at the Upper of the Two Bolts that hold the Bar to the Front of the Chassis you will need to remove the Spare Wheel and Tray ( See picture below ) to get at it. This almost completes the work required with the Suspension and Brakes as with this and what has been done recently ( New Servo, Master Cylinder, Rear Cylinders, Discs, Pads, Bearings, Seals, Hoses, etc etc ) replaced and others parts overhauled I feel as confident as I can be that this with other work done will ensure confidence with the Car and reliability.
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Front Right, from this,
Front Left, from this,
Rear Right, from this,
Rear Left, from this,
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Fitting Rear Wheel Cylinders and shoes can be found by clicking on Images below.
Also Handbrake Modification.
( Both Images take you to the same place).
For Exploded Diagram click on picture below.
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Anti-Roll Bar Top Bolt position.
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My DIY Spring Compressor. More Information on Sizes etc by clicking on Image.
New Shock Absorbers and Springs fitted 15th April 2006.
Following the work done above I was not completely happy with the ride and handling of my SE5a. It was OK but being a "Picky Bugger" I thought I could make it better. One of my concerns was the cost of replacing the Shock Absorbers and Springs ( Over £100 per corner ) as my Scimitar is only for fun but after a bit of thought my conclusion was why not so I went for Adjustable Shocks ( Adjustable for both Damper Rate and Spring Rate ) and uprated Springs. Fitting was not difficult ( Same as above ) but the bottom Spring Adjuster on the Rear Shocker was very close to the bracket. I put in a washer to space it away from the bracket and all looks OK. This can be seen in the pictures of the Rear. At this time ( 16th April 2006 ) I have not much to say as I have not tried them properly. The only bit of driving was a quick blast around the block to bed in and settle the Springs after fitting and before adjustment. The adjustment of the Shock Absorbers is done by a knurled knob at the bottom. Easy to get at when fitted, can be adjusted without the need to jack up the car, there are 40 clicks from one end to the other, I have set them to the middle position and will tweak over the next couple of weeks. The Springs can be adjusted by jacking up the Car ( To much weight on Springs to adjust easy unless jacked up ). It is relatively easy to do. One full turn on the Rears adjusts the height by 1/4 inch. One full turn of the Fronts adjusts the height by 1/8 inch. I adjusted ride height to 5 3/4 inches measured from the bottom of the chassis either side of the Engine. This gave approximately 26 inches from the Front Wheel Arch to the ground. This is slightly less than the recommended ( Recommended by who ? ) but with 5 3/4 inches from ground to chassis the bottom wishbone was horizontal so giving the widest track possible and what I think will be a good starting point before adjusting. If I adjusted for the Wheel Arch height of 27 inches the Car looked too high although I may have been used to the Car looking low due to the old springs being weak. The measurements could be variable due to production tolerances. I will give my thoughts and comments of performance in a couple of weeks. I have shown some pictures for those who may be interested. The make of Shock Absorbers are GAZ and were supplied by Autoshocks as were the Springs. The expected delivery time was two weeks but this proved to be nearer four. Not a problem for me but may be worth a thought if you are thinking of ordering some. I requested they fit the Springs and this they did as well as supplying the "C" spanner for Spring adjustment at no extra charge. The Information on the Springs were Fronts, 250 lbs. 65mm x 12:00". Rears, 225 lbs. 65mm x 13:00". The Numbers on the Shock Absorbers is, Front, GP6-2202, Rears, GP6-2314. Each Shock Absorber comes with a certificate of performance and test by SPA Dynamometers. A copy of one of the Certificates can be seen below. Click on image to enlarge.
These pictures show that I need to give things a good clean as they have acquired dirt etc over the winter.
The following Information was added 24th March 2007
The new shock absorbers and springs have been fitted for nearly a year. The springs did settle a bit but not very much. I have been "experimenting" with ride height etc and I am able to give some better information about adjustment. I have found that it is better to adjust the springs (Ride Height) from High (Hard) to Low (Soft). The reason I recommend this way is when the springs were to low (soft), when the Car went over bumps etc it gave the impression that the suspension was too hard when really the suspension was "bouncing" but this was also dependant on Camber Angle ( see below ). The starting setting I recommend is 26 1/2 inches (67.5mm) at the Front and 28 Inches (72mm) at the rear. These measurements were made from the ground to the wheel arch at the center point of the wheel. There was a slight discrepancy with the wheel arches due to "Production" tolerances so I found a more accurate method was to measure from the bottom of the chassis to the ground but to start with use the wheel arches as the measurements will be close enough. The Ride Height I have finally settled with is 26 1/4 inches (66.5mm) at the Front Wheel Arch and 27 1/2 inches (70mm) at the Rear Wheel arch. This gives a measurement of 6 1/2 Inches (16.5mm) from the Chassis bottom to the ground both front and back. I would suspect that there are variances with Scimitars so I would recommend that when you are doing final adjustments you use the bottom of Chassis as the measurement point. This Ride Height gave the best all round performance of Ride comfort and road holding especially at speed. When the Ride Height was low there was a slight "instability" with the steering ( without adjustment of the Camber Angle ). This was not serious but made driving at speed on Motorways etc less relaxing so camber angle adjustment should be made when the hight is altered. The adjustment of the shock absorbers was left in the center of their range. After the spring adjustment the shock absorber adjustments could be noticed better. Avoid adjusting the Springs and the Shock Absorbers together as you will not be sure what adjustment has made the difference. I realize that ride comfort etc is a personal thing but I think that if you use the measurements that I have advised it will be a good starting point. As the ride height was varied the Camber Angle altered. The lower the Car the more negative the Camber Angle. Adjustment of the Camber Angle to neutral gave the steering a more comfortable feel especially at speed so I would recommend when you have the ride height to where you want adjust the Camber Angle to as close to center as possible ( No Camber Angle ). Adjustment of the Camber Angle can be found below. Adjusting Camber Angle may seem like a lot of work but it is well worth the effort as the improvement in steering stability is very much better, even a couple of degrees negative Camber Angle make a lot of difference as well as better tyre wear as even a couple of degrees negative will give excess tyre wear to the inside of the tread. To get more than a couple of degrees positive Camber Angle without adjusting would mean that the Car would have to be very high on the springs unless there is a problem somewhere with the suspension. Adjustment of the shock absorbers is a personal choice. I started with them in the middle of their range. This seemed to be OK but I found 3 to 5 clicks anticlockwise from the middle of the adjustment ( Turned control fully clockwise then fully back then turned to middle of range ) was best for all round comfort. If you do not use any very bumpy roads the middle of range is better for high speed cruising but is a bit stiff at lower speeds. This is my preference but may give you some idea where to start.
I have no experience of other makes of Shock Absorbers on a Scimitar so I am unable to make any comparisons but I have found that the original Shocks and Springs have proved to be OK. If anyone would like to buy them I am open to offers. If you are interested in buying them click here. If someone does buy them I will remove this link.
The information below was amended on the 15th July 2007
There is a good diagram showing Front Wheel Angles at different ride heights.
Acknowledgements and thanks go to Alan Dean for the diagram, click on image to expand.
The following information relates to a SE5a with standard 14 inch steel wheels. Different ride heights affect the Camber Angle. A difference of 1/2 inch in ride height gives approximately 1 degree change in Camber Angle. The lower the Car the more negative the Camber Angle will be. Measuring the Camber Angle can be done by using an accurate vertical point ( spirit level ) and measuring between the top of the Wheel Rim and the Bottom of the Wheel Rim . 1 degree is equal to 3.3mm between the spirit level and the Wheel Rim. Do not use the Tyre as the bottom being in contact with the ground will give a false reading. These measurements while not exact correct are very close. Assuming there are no problems with the suspension components a ride height of 26 1/2 inches measured from the Wheel Arch will give a Camber Angle of 0 degrees.The picture below shows the thickness a spacer would need to be ( approximately 4mm ) between the Chassis and the Top Wishbone Mount to give a 1 degree change in Camber Angle. The image below is courtesy of Alan who I give my thanks.
Click on Image to expand.