Lowlites, Splitties, Thous and Millions Lowlites, Splitties, Thous and Millions
Lowlites - Splitties - Thou's - Millions

Suspension Mods

Keeping you in suspense ...


The best thing you can do for your Minor's suspension is to replace all the rubber bushes with one of the latest plastic-style bushes;

Nolathane/Polyurathane Bushes

In New Zealand, Nolathane is by far the most readily available, and is in most cases actually easier to get than the standard rubber bushes. Polyurathane is available but not as readily. Nolathane is generally of a harder grade than polyurathane bushes and is a much nicer red anyway. Nolathane is available at most suspension shops and even some service stations, and Morris Minor-spec parts are usually available off-the-shelf.

The only problem with Nolathane is that it is a fairly hard material, and will stiffen the ride of your Minor quite considerably if you replace all of the rubber bushes in the Minor suspension system with it. If this is what you want, (maybe you're happy to sacrifice ride for handling), then Nolathane will do the job brilliantly.

A happy compromise can be reached by replacing only some of the standard rubber bushes. The combination is up to you, but I recommend fitting Nolathane bushes at the front to the lower swivel pin (where the wheel upright meets the wishbone), the front of the torsion bar (where it fits into the chassis eye-bolt), and in the leaf-spring hangers at the back of the car. With this set-up, you will notice the difference in handling but will still have a fairly forgiving ride.

In the UK, polyurathane bushes seem to be the prefered option. There is a poly bush replacement available for every rubber bush on the Minor.

Telescopic Shocks

Telescopic shocks fitted to the front and rear of your Minor can transform the handling from nervous and jittery into cool, calm & collected corner-taking. There are a number of kits available as bolt-on modifications, and as such are generally very good value and are recommended for most modifiers out there. Full instructions should be provided with these kits and should only take a few hours to fit, even for the novice.
For most applications, standard gas filled shocks will be sufficient, but for those of you who may want to do a bit of rallying, sprint work or towing with your Minor you may want to look at adjustable shocks such as Spax Adjustables. These allow you to simply turn a screw and instantly either harden or soften the ride. Although more expensive, they are definitely useful.

The general idea for front shock kits is to retain the standard Armstrong lever-arm shocks only as a top locator for the king-pin. In some cases the oil control valve mechanism in the shock is disabled, although this is not strictly necessary.

The telescopic shock is located at the bottom end by a bracket or bolt on the outer end of the lower wishbone. Some kits bolt to the side of the wishbone which has generally been found to not be strong enough. Others use a clamp arrangement to provide a locator on top of the wishbone.

At the top end a tried and trusted method is to bolt the shock to a thick steel plate that bolts to the outer face of the lever arm shock absorber. Note that you'll need to replace the standard blots with special longer versions with the correct thread style. These are not available in New Zealand and must be specially made.

A vertical slot is cut in the inner guard to accept the plate and the telescopic shock bolts to it under the guard. Longer bolts are required for the lever-arm shock since the steel plate should be at least 4-5mm thick.

Another option involves bolting or welding a long thick plate to the inner guard which has a mounting for the shock welded onto it. This avoids the need for cutting a slot into the inner guard and avoids having to find longer bolts with the correct thread.

With either method, the shock should be oriented with the top end close in to the inner guard and the lower end as far out on the wishbone as possible. This is because of the arc the outer end of the wishbone travels through when the wheel hits a bump in the road. The telescopic shock will therefore provide more resistance for bigger bumps and less for smaller bumps, therefore smoothing out the small bumps and damping the big ones.

A coil-over shock kit is available from JLH Minor Restorations in the UK. This kit includes a custom bottom arm that takes the shock and coil mountings and is also fully adjustable. Another benefit is that it spreads the suspension load over two points on the chassis instead of through the single eye-bolt through the chassis leg. A steel plate that is welded onto the inner guard to take the upper mountings of the spring and the inner guard is gusseted for extra strength.


Kits are also available for the rear end of the car. The simplest method is to remove the Armstrong lever-arm shock and replace it with a telescopic using a shock mounting plate from the Minor Van. The lower end of the shock bolts to this bracket which is bolted to the leaf spring where the axle attaches. The upper end bolts to the pin that used to carry one of the joints of the standard shock. This results in the shock absorber angling back and up from the loer mounting point - not ideal, but certainly more effective than the lever-arm.

Another option is to use the Van bracket again but this time the top mounting is attached to a bracket that runs underneath the floor from side to side. The floor panel bracket should be a thick steel plate or bar which spans the width of the car. This provides extra stiffness and location for the top shock mountings. Again, the lever-arm shock absorbers can and should be removed completely.

JLH Minors also do a telescopic shock kit for the rear that provides 'turrets' for the shocks and allows them to be mounted vertically.

Apparently, independent rear suspension kits are currently under development by a few companies in the UK. I'll keep you posted as and when I get the information.

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