How To - Replace Your Shocks and Spring with Spax Dampers and Lowering Springs (TF) - MG-Rover.org Forums
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post #1 of 38 (permalink) Old 21-09-2010, 21:59 Thread Starter
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How To - Replace Your Shocks and Spring with Spax Dampers and Lowering Springs (TF)

This guide can be used to either replace your OEM Shocks and springs or do what I did and fit Spax 28 setting Krypton dampers and lowering springs. If your fitting different after market shocks the process might be a little different with other types of shocks but not massively so.

Before you start…

This can be a bit of a job, allot of the parts your going to encounter will likely be coated in a healthy dollop of rust, expect a bit of a challenge. However if you follow the guide anyone half competent with a spanner should comfortably manage over a weekend. All work is carried out at your own risk and remember that springs under compression can be dangerous!

Ok so here is my new suspension, it's more or less what you'll get in Mike Satur's red kit, there are:

Two Spax Front Shocks Part No: G3253
Two Spax Read Shocks Part No: G3254
Two Short Mike Satur Red Loweing Springs (Rears rated to 500lb)
Two Long Mike Satur Red Lowering Springs (Fronts rated to 300lb)
4 Seat area widening disks
4 new bottom bolts
4 nyloc nuts (on top of the damper shafts)

The part numbers for the shocks are stamped on the bottom incase you get them mixed up, the springs should have the poundage written on them but obviously they are different sizes and shouldn't get mixed up



Start by removing the two bolts which hold on the expansion tank, I there 8mm



Grab a hold of the spring retaining clip on the overflow pipe with a wide pair of pliers and slide it down the pipe. Pull the pipe off.



Move the tank over towards the engine so it’s out the way and you should see the top of the suspension



Before starting on the passenger side unplug the battery

We need to remove the ECU mounting bracket with the ECU on it. Start by undoing the two bolts (8mm) holding on the ECU mounting bracket (on my car its painted blue so you can’t miss it!) There very hard to photograph but there are no other bolts to mix them up with. The red arrow in the next picture shows the right hand side bolt.

You also need to unplug the ECU itself, this is a bit fiddly. The yellow circle shows a ‘handle’, this needs pulling up as you pull the plug out. It’s a bit fiddly but a bit of swearing should see it off. There are two of these plugs going into the ECU, the bigger one on the top and a smaller one on the bottom. The bottom one comes out the same way except the handle needs to be pulled down.



After both bolts are removed and the ECU is unplugged the bracket will move freely. However there are two multi-plugs a green one and a gray one. They don’t need unplugging. Just get a thin negative screwdriver behind them and by depressing the plastic tab they will slide off the ECU mounting bracket. This is nearly impossible to get a picture of because of the tight space but here you can see the plugs clearly and the red arrow points to the gray plugs tab.



Now remove the ECU mounting bracket with the ECU still on it and put it somewhere safe. You’ll now see the top of the left shock.



Right at this point I should tell you to put a 5mm Allen key in the top of the shock absorber shafts (in the middle of the nyloc nuts) and then use a 17mm spanner in an anti clockwise direction (while holding the allen key to stop it turning) to loosen the top nuts.

However as you can see from this picture mine were rusted to heck and the hole for the allen key was pretty much a perfect circle.



Now if your either very lucky, or if your shocks were recently changed then skip these next steps as the nyloc nuts will simply wind off (if this happens then you’re a lucky…. Person lol)

I wasn’t so lucky so out came the impact gun, this can stop you from needing the allen key as it whips the nut off so quick the shock absorber shaft does not have time to spin



However I wasn’t that lucky, as the threads were as badly corroded as the center hole. This meant the nuts just got stuck

On some cars (like the R25/ZR) you can get in at the shaft from below with a pair of mole grips to stop it spinning, unfortunately there is no room to do this (that I could see) on the TF.

So plan G…. G for grinder!!!

Now be warned! Doing this is a last resort. A: its tricky, there is not much room to wield a grinder in the engine bay. B: there’s fuel lines in there so be 100% certain you have no leaks and C: The OEM shocks will be utterly destroyed once your done. They can not be reused! So if your planning on just fitting new springs and keeping the OEM shocks then stop now and save up for new shocks!



As you can see above the trick is to go clean and straight with the grinder, use a good thin cutting disk. Once through the nut get a long negative screwdriver and a small hammer and tap it away from the stem like in the picture.

Note the big washer on top of the rubber bush, don’t loose either!

Repeat on the other side

Right now into the wheel well, Choc the front wheels and jack the car up and support on axle stands (make sure there on the sub-frame and away from an suspension components).

First job is to remove the two bolts holding on the Anti Roll Bar, the bolt head is 16mm and the nut behind it 14mm, a decent spanner on the 14mm will stop on part of the suspension allowing you to concentrate on removing the bolt.



There well and truly in there and made mostly of rust, soak liberally in WD40 or something similar (preferably Duck Oyl) and use as long a breaker bar as you can find to get them off, make sure the socket/spanner are on there as squarely as possible, you don’t want to round this bolt!

No matter what you do more than likely this will happen



Don’t worry though, check the yellow pages and get down to your nearest fasteners and get two new bolts (and nuts). They’ll set you back all of 50p! and worth every penny to save hassle if you need the Anti Roll Bar off again.

Now pop round to the other side of the car and remove the Anti Roll Bar bolt on that side.

The Anti Roll Bar will now swing up and out your way so you can maneuver the shock out.

Time for the lower shock absorber mounting bolt.



That’s where it goes (no idea why I didn’t take a picture of it before I took it out but never mind.)

Again this is a pain to shift it’s a 15mm and the trick is a long breaker bar, try tightening it slightly (16th of a turn at the most) to free it off after a ton of WD40. Once its moving remove the breaker bar and attach your ratchet and don’t stop until its out as the heat generated by unscrewing is your friend!

The shock should now drop (you may want to take the big rubber ring off the top to make things easier)



Swing the Anti Roll Bar out the way and lower the shock down as far as you can



It then needs to go up and towards the back of the car



Pull it out like so



And there you have it, one Shock absorb-less wheel arch!



TIME FOR A CUPPA

The good news is the fronts are a bit easier!

First you need to remove the two 10mm bolts holding the fuse box in place



So you can see the passenger side top mount, just swing the fuse box out the way and you can’t miss it. If you have 2 horns you may need to move one to see the driver side but I only had the one and had no problems accessing the two mounts, both can be seen here



Now either use a 5mm allen key and 17mm spanner to remove the top nuts (if your lucky) or whip out the angle grinder…



I believe in the brute force approach!



The above pic shows again the aftermath of the cut. Again make sure you don’t loose the washer and rubber bush!

Now jack the car up and place axle stands under the front sub-frame, make sure you don’t touch any suspension components with them, and watch the back of the car to make sure it doesn’t move on the rear stands!

Now there is no faffing on with an Anti Roll Bar this time, just undo the 15mm Bottom bolts, again soak with WD40, slightly tighten if need be and use a big breaker bar. The bolt you need is circled below



The shock will drop down (although it may be rusted in place…. No not MAY be, it WILL be rusted in place!) a big hammer will take car of that!



Once the shock has dropped it will come out easily (no worming your way through like the back)

Now time for a well earned cuppa! The good news is it’s fairly straight forward from here…..

Last edited by Adam-MGTF; 22-09-2010 at 20:04.
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post #2 of 38 (permalink) Old 21-09-2010, 22:00 Thread Starter
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At this point continue to follow this guide if your fitting Mike Satur springs and spax dampers, if your not then still continue to follow this guide but obviously modify what your doing to be specific to the shocks and springs your using.

To use the new Spax dampers we need to nick some parts off the OEM ones, this means dismantling the old shocks.

Here’s what it looks like when removed from the car



Take off the top rubber ring (it probably came off while you were wiggling the shock out the wheel arch)



Remove the rubber bush



Now the next step is optional but highly recommended, fit spring compressors to either side of the spring and tighten them both slightly (and in turn equally) so a ľ turn one side then a ľ turn the other. You don’t need to do them much at all, it’s just to hold the spring in place while you undo the retaining nut.



Get a pair of mole grips and attack them to the spacer washer (the arrow points to it in the above photo). This will grip the shaft as you undo the spring retaining nut (14mm). One the washer starts to spin remove the mole grips and use them to grip the shaft itself.

Unless your lucky and you can get an allen key in the top of the shaft in which case do so and unwide the spring retaining nut with a 14mm spanner 



Once the nut is off slowly decompress the spring, just unwind each clamp in turn (one then the other) by a ľ of a turn each time until they come off

Then remove the spacer



then the small washer



Then the big washer



Then the spring top seat (with the locating peg in the case of the Rears as pictured, the fronts don’t have this peg)



Now slide off the spring



And now the damper dust cover



And last but not least the rubber stop



Congratulations your spring/shock assembly is now stripped!

Last edited by Adam-MGTF; 22-09-2010 at 20:03.
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post #3 of 38 (permalink) Old 21-09-2010, 22:01 Thread Starter
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Ok now we need to build up the Spax dampers with our lovely new Mike Satur lowering springs!

Hereís your damper, pretty isnít it?



Pop on the Mike satur spring seat widening washer



And then the rubber bung



Now the shock absorber dust shield



Then the new spring



Pop on the top spring retaining washer (pictured is the front one with the locating pin)



Pop on the big washer



Then the little one



Now apply a healthy smear of copperslip to the threads of your damper like so



Pop on the spacer



And winde on the spring retaining nut



Now get an adjustable spanner and pop it on the top of the shock shaft. This is a much better way than the useless OEM allen key arrangement but does the same job. Make sure the grip the spanner has on the shaft is square and tight. Now tighten the 14mm nut. This will compress the damper. Stop when it wont go any further



Pop your rubber bush back on



And the spring seat rubber thing (thatís itís technical name)



You may find it better to pop this rubber spring seat thing back on as you maneuver it back onto the car (like with taking the old ones off space is tight on the back and itís easier to just put this on when the assembly is more or less in place)

Rinse and repeat for all 4 spring/dampers and you get this



Almost too pretty to put on the car!!!
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post #4 of 38 (permalink) Old 21-09-2010, 22:01 Thread Starter
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But not really so lets get them on because you don’t want to leave your TF looking like this!



We’ll start with the rears
Make sure your rubber bush is in place



Pop the washer on top of it (the one I told you to make sure you didn’t loose ealier)

Now maneuver the spring/shock assembly up into place in the reverse of getting it out.

Pop the shaft up into the hole (stop sniggering) and make sure the locator peg is in the rear most hole (grow up, is it really that funny?) as the pring seat bush (thing) wont sit right if you get it in the wrong hole (thanks petevick), and make sure that the selector dial on the shock is pointing outwards otherwise you wont be able to choose the setting you want!

Once the shaft is in its hole screw on the nyloc nut (come on now stop laughing!)



Pop an adjustable spanner on the top of the shaft like you did to tighten the spring locator nut. Now tighten the nyloc nut up.


Now for reasons know only to the gods I forgot to buy new bottom bolts but if you have bought your set off mike satur you’ll have new ones. I would not recommend re-using the old ones

So here is a picture of me re-using the old bolts! Lol make sure you copperslip the bolt before putting it in, this will make it easier to remove next time



To get the bottom of the shock to line up with the hole is a tricky exercise and cant be explained by pictures

Basically you need to tighten the nylock nut up as much as possible. Then stick a trolly jack under the hub and jack it up until the hub lines up with the bottom of the shock. It’s tricky and requires total precision or you may cross thread the bolt (and you do not want to do that!)

Once this is done go do the other side, once that is done you just need to pop your new bolt in the Anti Roll Bar like so (don’t forget to copperslip the bolt!)



Now get a screw driver and turn the selector all the way to the left (anti clockwise). Then turn it right for as many clicks as you want the damper set at. The further you turn it clockwise the harder the damper setting.



Now copperslip over the selector to make sure it doesn’t rust (proper grease may stay in place longer)



Pop your back wheels back on!

Last edited by Adam-MGTF; 23-09-2010 at 18:38.
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post #5 of 38 (permalink) Old 21-09-2010, 22:02 Thread Starter
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Now the front

Make sure the rubber bush is in place



And the washer



Pop the shaft into the hole (really stop it your just being childish!)



And screw on the nylock nut



Pop the adjustable spanner on the top of the shaft and tighten the nylock nut with a spanner (I got a picture for the front, forgot on the rear)



Now pop a jack under the hub and jack it up to line everything up to slide the newly copperslipped bolt in place (again I got a picture for the front, forgot for the rear)



Now adjust the front shocks as you did the rear (generally youíll want the fronts a few settings below the backs but have a play to see what suits your driving style)



Now pop some copper slip on the adjuster like the backs and pop you front wheels back on!

DONE!

What a marathon but well worth it!
Big thanks to the writer of this guide: http://www.mgf-tf.mgfans.co.uk/how_t...f_dampers.html which kept me right.

Just like to thank CJJ for doing such immense guides I had to have a go myself and to Paul Swan for being a total star from start to finish and keeping me right when all was going to hell! And of course the academyÖ.

Hereís some pics, Before



And after



What a difference and it handled amazingly for the 10 miles I got out of it before the engine decided to shuffle off this mortal coil!



Hope you enjoyed the guide it was grand to write any questions pipe up - peace
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post #6 of 38 (permalink) Old 21-09-2010, 22:32
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Nice detailed how-to, are there meant to be any pictures in post 1 and 4, I only see pics in 2 and 3?
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post #7 of 38 (permalink) Old 22-09-2010, 05:27
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.......Big thanks to the writer of this guide: http://www.mgf-tf.mgfans.co.uk/how_t...f_dampers.html which kept me right........
your welcome


fix the pics in #1 & #4
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post #8 of 38 (permalink) Old 22-09-2010, 10:27
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Great how to but oh so painful on the knuckles, particularly the rears!

BTW I didn't need the spring compressor to undo the fronts' top nuts as they have long threads. Unfortunately the rears do need the spring compressor due to the shorter bolt length - just a few mm more would make life so much easier.

Best to change the bottom mounting bolts too as they can shear in use after being loosened/tightened, Perry (in Greece) can vouch for this. New bolts easily available from Mike Satur for just a few £s.
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post #9 of 38 (permalink) Old 22-09-2010, 19:52 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by TipperMG View Post
Great how to but oh so painful on the knuckles, particularly the rears!

BTW I didn't need the spring compressor to undo the fronts' top nuts as they have long threads. Unfortunately the rears do need the spring compressor due to the shorter bolt length - just a few mm more would make life so much easier.

Best to change the bottom mounting bolts too as they can shear in use after being loosened/tightened, Perry (in Greece) can vouch for this. New bolts easily available from Mike Satur for just a few £s.
hey, thats why i said in the guide to change them lol, i only didnt because i had bolts of the wrong sleeve length from my local fasteners, so i planned on replacing them as soon as i had the correct bolts.... then the car broke lol






as for the pictures there should be LOTS of pics in all 4 posts, i can see them all, who can't?



as for the guide being detailed i lost count of how many pictures i took but i wrote it on Word and the word count was 2998! ive wrote shorter assignments for uni!!!


pete, thanks so much for your guide mate! i couldn't have done mine with out it, i just expanded on it with a few more pics
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post #10 of 38 (permalink) Old 22-09-2010, 19:59
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Same as the other replies, only 2&4 showing pics. Although the write up is probably detailed enough!
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post #11 of 38 (permalink) Old 22-09-2010, 20:03 Thread Starter
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Same as the other replies, only 2&4 showing pics. Although the write up is probably detailed enough!
maybe but i like pics in how-tos (CJJ style) and ever since i wrote a how to on fitting lowering springs to a 200/25/ZR i have got used to taking pics of everything and i reckon pics are better than no pics...... hmm i shall have to PM a mod lol
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post #12 of 38 (permalink) Old 22-09-2010, 20:27
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All the pictures are working for me.
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post #13 of 38 (permalink) Old 22-09-2010, 20:35
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No pictures in posts #1 or #4 from where I'm sitting either...
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post #14 of 38 (permalink) Old 22-09-2010, 20:50
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top notch! great how to - bookmarked for the very near future

(btw same deal here with the pics, can't see 1 & 4)
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post #15 of 38 (permalink) Old 22-09-2010, 20:55
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still no pics in #1 & #4
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post #16 of 38 (permalink) Old 22-09-2010, 21:07
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You need to be logged in to see the pictures, presumably all the members who have responded are logged in...

I need to flag this up.
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post #17 of 38 (permalink) Old 22-09-2010, 21:54
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I'm loged in and can't see any pics in posts 1 4 & 5
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post #18 of 38 (permalink) Old 23-09-2010, 05:24
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Possibly too many pics in a single post?
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post #19 of 38 (permalink) Old 23-09-2010, 06:30
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I think the problem lays in the gallery, each post seems to have its own gallery #532, 533 and onwards however for me, only 2 galleries are visable which correspond to the posts that have photos.

Can galleries be marked as private or limited acccess? If so I would imagine that is what has happened?
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post #20 of 38 (permalink) Old 23-09-2010, 17:11 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Kameleon View Post
I think the problem lays in the gallery, each post seems to have its own gallery #532, 533 and onwards however for me, only 2 galleries are visable which correspond to the posts that have photos.

Can galleries be marked as private or limited acccess? If so I would imagine that is what has happened?
AGRH! the gallery's are privet thats the problem, give me a min
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