Bouncing Back

The people who share my office were again confused as I opened a parcel as if it contained the Lost Treasure of Atlantis today, only to find me staring in awe at four 70mm M8 bolts with Allen heads. Bought from an eBay shop called “Bolt Me Up”, they were the vital missing component for the reattachment of the suspension.

Lorna was nice enough to cook dinner tonight, so I could spend the entire evening covered in grease and wielding a spanner and socket wrench. As a result of my hard graft The Duke is back on four wheels!

LR Series supplied all the other stuff, but managed to send me a centre dowel bolt for the rear springs which is too short. I tried to argue about it, but they wouldn’t have any of it. As a result, I took the advice of a bloke on the Land Rover forums and used a metric equivalent. Thus my deep deep joy at the arrival of my parcel.

Other forum members kindly helped out with the nut and bolt pictured above too. Military spring hangers have an extra central brace which I couldn’t find anywhere on the parts list. It turns out it’s a 4 1.2″ x 1/2″ bolt and matching nyloc nut. I’ve shown it here in case anyone needs this info in the future – not least me!

Here’s the rear left hand spring hanger all bolted up and working. Haven’t got a pic of the front of the spring, but I can say that fitting it was very hard work indeed. In the end, I settled on a simple but frustrating plan, which I repeated until I got the springs in place…

  1. Attach the back of the spring to the spring hangers to keep it from wobbling about.
  2. Present the front of the spring to the slot in which it sits, line up as best you can and get a bottle jack under it.
  3. Slowly and carefully jack up the spring. The whole back end may lift up, it’s a very tight fit!
  4. If you manage to get close to lining up the holes, grease up the bolt and smack it through with a lump hammer and go to step 6.
  5. Otherwise, if you fail to line up the holes and end up with the spring too far forward or back, don’t bother trying to move it, just remove the jack, unbolt the back of the spring, wiggle it free and go to step 1.
  6. Jump up and down in celebration and perhaps reward yourself with a beer.

The U bolts were relatively simple to get on – once the spring is attached at both ends. Some gentle taps with the Lump Hammer to get them over the axle, then just a case of bolting them up.

Here’s a shot showing the brake pipe guard. I need to get some P clips for this. I am very pleased I remembered to attach it as it’s sandwiched between the axle and the spring. If you were to forget, you’d need to undo the U bolts to fit it.

So, the back end is looking much smarter now. I got a coat of underseal on there the other day, which makes it look much nicer and hides the welded patchwork around the rear crossmember. A couple more coats are required before the tub can go back on.

I had a great time jumping up and down on there too – the greased springs really make a difference, even to a man jumping. I think they’ll make for a much smoother ride, but I’m not doing the front ones ’til I have an MOT!

So, the rear suspension is back on! Still a little welding to do on an outrigger and some missing bracing on the crossmember. Plus I need to tie down the brake pipes, finish undersealing the chassis, make a new rear wiring loom (with fuse box), drill drain holes and squirt some waxoyl inside the chassis, test the generator wiring harness and clean and treat the bottom of the tub. Then I can slap the tub back on! Woo!

One thought on “Bouncing Back

  1. The nuts you used on those ubolts concerned me a little, they look way too small, the correct ones are at least twice as thick. Good luck with your restoration!

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