Telescopic Front Shock Absorbers
When I first bought the Coupe, I realised that the car needed the front suspension sorting out. Some research told me that the suspension alignment itself is quite good, however the execution, quality of bushes etc. and the damping left a lot to be desired.
The first thing I did was to replace the front tie bar bushes with polyurethane ones from SuperFlex Ltd. This firms up the handling by allowing less movement in the suspension leg, particularly under braking. The original BL bushes were pretty ropey anyway, so in went the polyurethane ones. If you don't do anything else this is definitely a worthwhile mod.
My thoughts then turned to fitting telescopic front shock absorbers, the ability to dial in the bump & resistance would allow me to tune the handling to my own preference. What I have found is that without the teles', as you turn into a bend or roundabout, the outside front of the bodywork leans over as the standard shocker does nothing to resist the weight transfer leading to very heavy understeer. Having fitted the teles'; the weight transfers into the shock absorber which resists the movement of the body, the car has less understeer and follows your intended line of travel better, meaning that I can turn in with more confidence and be in greater control.
This is still a popular mod to the front suspension, but off the shelf kits come up rarely and as the conversion still seems popular I have had a set of drawings produced so that any of you budding Marina modders out there can have some made up yourselves. The drawings started as 1:1 scale, but through the process of making them into a *.pdf document, they will have become distorted. Please go by the dimension shown. You will see that I have had only one side drawn up, make up another in mirror image for the other side. Let me know if there is anything else that would help.
The original method of mounting the brackets is to take the original shock absorbers off and then refit them with longer bolts, so that the new brackets sit in front of the shocker body. I bolted mine through the inner and out wings, with crush tubes inserted, it would be possible to weld them as well as or instead of bolting.
I fitted them by securely mounting the bottom bracket first and loose fitted the shocker with the top bracket attached at the other end. Then using a spirit level, I got the shocker vertical from a 'side on' view. The top bracket should then line up with the angled flat area, just in front of where the lever arms are fitted. Mark and drill, or mark and weld as you choose.
The bottom brackets should be those from a late Ital, they match exactly to the original BL Special Tuning design and work a treat. To secure the bottom brackets requires tie bar yokes with the extended bolt to go through the back of the shocker bracket, your Marina ones are likely to be too short. Again late Ital tie bar yokes do a perfect job. The lower shocker pivot bolts are 1/2" diameter and I used a lock nut against the captive nut for safety.
I used Spax shockers (shown elsewhere) and detailed on www.morrismarina.net , together with SuperFlex Ltd. bushes; rather than the rubber ones supplied by Spax. SPF0718-80 at the bottom (from the Marina page) & SPF0718 at the top.
The bottom bushes have 1/2" ID stainless steel tubes, the tops are a larger diameter and I couldn't find anything to fit so I made some up myself. If you are having the top mounting plates made up, it would be a good idea to have some stainless steel bush inserts made up to match the top mounting pin at the same time.
Now the legal bit:
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Link: Spax Top Shocker Bracket
Link: Ital Bottom Shocker Bracket
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