Suspension Fitting

With the suspension parts overhauled and painted it was time to make a start on actually bolting something to the chassis. I started at the front by fitting the bottom wishbone poly bushes. The bushes weren’t exactly the easiest thing to fit but with some patience and persuasion with a vice I managed to fit them. I offered one up to the correct side (don’t forget that a lot of the suspension parts are handed) and worked out just where I needed to fit the spacer washers to ensure a non-stressed fit. I trial fitted the bottom wishbone bolt and realised it wouldn’t fit into the hole so used a round file to remove some of the powder coating until the bolt would slide home. If you look at the way the chassis is built it is quite obvious that the bottom wishbone bolt can only go in from one direction (the front) so started to push it into the front poly bush, then a spacer washer, into the chassis tube, spacer washer, poly bush, final Washer and then the castellated nut which was done up finger tight.

The top wishbones were next to be fitted. The upper shaft was fitted first and I wasn’t sure whether to put the bolts in from the front or the rear, the obvious way is from the rear so that the shock absorber bolt fits easier but I remember the original bolts went in from the front so did them that way. I may change them the other way soon. The poly bushes were fitted into the upper arms next, these proved to be a lot easier than the bottom bushes and with the chrome washers in place they were fitted onto the shaft and the end nuts put loosely into place.

The upper ball joint was fitted next which is a relatively easy job, just the two bolts, one long and one short to fit plus the castor shims. When I stripped the suspension I counted how many castor shims were used each side and made a note then fitted the same amount of new shims to give me a good starting point when I was ready to adjust the suspension to AK’s settings.

Next thing to fit was the front hub carrier. I started by bolting on the bottom ball joint then it was an easy job to fit the hub carrier to the bottom wishbone and top ball joint! With the hubs overhauled as per previous page I bolted on the new brake discs then fitted the hub to the stub axle and tightened the nut as per the Haynes manual to ensure the correct endfloat. I fitted a new split pin then the dust shield and finally filled the hub with bearing grease through the nipple.

Once the other side was fitted it was time to fit the shock and coilover units. I assembled the units by winding the shock adjuster nuts right the way to the bottom then placed the spring onto the shock and fitted the top retaining ring, which was quite a tight fit on the front units. I then bolted the shock unit to the AK supplied bottom mount (remembering to use the spacer tubes saved from the rear suspension strip) with the shock adjuster placed inboard so that it is easy to get to once the car is built. The shock was then bolted to the top mount on the chassis (again with a spacer tube) and the bottom plate lifted slightly so that it could be bolted into place onto the bottom wishbone. With the other side done it was time to tackle the rear

rear suspension

Fitting the diff is not a difficult job but it is a heavy item so use caution! Check before the diff is fitted whether you’ll need to make any holes in the chassis under the diff for the brake lines, I did and was glad that I remembered to do so as it would be nigh on impossible to drill the necessary hole with the diff in place. Do not tighten the diff bolts at this stage as some slight movement will be necessary to get the bottom swing arms into place.

With the diff in place I then fitted the bottom pivot bracket and lockwired the bolts in place (in hindsight I should have done that job before I fitted the diff) then the spacer tube was fitted and finally the bottom swing arm. Fortunately a friend, Pete Goodwin, had called in to look over the Jaguar back end as he is thinking of making changes to his, and he spent the whole afternoon helping with the overhaul and fitment of the swing arm.
The pivot shaft was offered up to the bottom swing arm and pushed part way through the bearing and washers, then into the pivot bracket through the spacer tube, the other side of the pivot bracket, the bearing and washers and finally into the hole in the chassis. Sounds simple but in reality the shaft was quite tight and took some “gentle” tapping with a mallet to persuade it through all the bearings, washers, pivot bracket and chassis but with Pete’s help it was soon done.
The nuts were tightened up at the chassis end and the bracket that ties the rear of the diff to the chassis was fitted. This fits onto the pivot bolt at the rear of the car before the nuts are fitted then is bolted to the chassis via two holes, which need to be drilled, and a couple of M8 bolts and nyloks.
Next the driveshafts were put together with new universal joints which is basically the opposite to their removal on the overhaul page. Before the driveshafts can be put in place the rear brake discs need to be fitted, check out the brake pages for info. With the brake discs fitted I fitted the driveshafts but used spacers under the nuts as I need to take them off at some point to check the camber angle. The hub carriers were slid into position and the pivot shaft was pushed into place followed by washers and new nylok nuts. Once the carriers were in position it was time to fit the driveshafts into the hubs. Remember to fit all spacers at this point including the endfloat spacers! The drive shaft was pushed onto the hub and the large nut and thick washer were fitted, torqued up and secured with a split pin. The camber was checked as per AK’s instructions and shims fitted between the brake disc and the driveshaft to get the correct angle. The other side was done exactly the same, for the record I needed 3 shims on one side and 4 on the other. Once the camber was checked and the driveshaft nuts tightened correctly I fitted the coilover shock/spring combination, two per side and nipped up the nuts as the final tightening will be done with the full weight of the car on its suspension and set at the correct ride height.

Well that’s the suspension fitted. I could fit the wheels now and have a rolling chassis although I’ll probably leave that for another day as there is more room to manoeuvre with the wheels off.