By: Jon Faine

This is not explained in the workshop manual

Rear spring removed.

Despite sitting unloved for over a decade, the rescue MGB is back on the road. My last report (UC 486) saw my freshly pimped and primed rear leaf springs rolling in the dirt – wet paint and all. Trestles can be such temperamental things.

Once repainted, I attempt the ghastly task of wrestling the springs in place without a hoist.
I do not recommend this.

First of all, the car has to be lifted on to stable car stands and secured for the abuse that will follow. 

A liberal dose of your preferred penetrating oil will save a lot of anguish. Two trolley jacks or other grunting devices are required for what follows, which also involves a vocabulary you do not want young children exposed to. 

Removing the old leaf spring is only possible after releasing tension – in the spring, as well as the home mechanic.


Out with the old and in with the new

The front shackle is not hard to access, and with a few gentle taps emerges blinking into the sunlight. The central saddle is next. The leaf springs are sandwiched between two mounts, that themselves are secured with U bolts. Once undone, surrender any hope the bolt holes in these two plates will ever align again.

The rear most suspension bush is caked in crud. The securing bracket is tucked away in a crevice between the boot side panel and the rear guard. Swearing loudly whilst upside down under the car undoing the bolts, invites the ingestion of large chunks of cascading road gunk.


Once the rear bushing is disconnected from the car, the entire assembly wants to drop on  your head. This is not explained in the workshop manual. 

The replacement second-hand springs, newly painted, needed new bushes. This can only be done with the help of my modest garage-sale hydraulic press that was lurking in a remote corner of the shed behind the garage-sale engine crane, tucked away behind the garage-sale ping-pong table that was unreachable because of the garage-sale table saw, marooned behind the garage-sale trestles the springs fell off. Reorganising the shed took as long as refitting the springs.


Newly bushed, painted, polished and gift wrapped, the front shackle mount is easily attached. The central-mount upper bracket on the driver’s side turns out to be buggered, so a pause in hostilities ensues for a few days while a replacement is sought and found. The new rubber cushions fit snugly, the U bolts reach and using two trolley jacks, allows the manipulation in a vertical plane that invites the spring to sit where it ought to.

The theory is that one hydraulic jack slips under the axle while the other compresses the leaf spring to fit into its home. One jack can be used to lower the axle, while the other lifts the spring. 

Small problem – the jack pad is in the way of the saddle bolt holes and you cannot both jack up the spring and insert the bolts where the jack is. A search through the ‘bits of crap that don’t go anywhere else’ box reveals an appropriately shaped and deep enough spacer and after an inordinate amount of grunting and even some hitting, the U bolts meet their new best friends. Then the rear bracket and new bushes are a comparative  walk in the park and it slowly dawns on me, the rear spring on the driver’s side is done. Now to do it all again on the other side ...


As the water pump dribbles like my grandmother, it has to be replaced. The radiator comes out, gets a flush and in a fit of amateur enthusiasm, a spray with heatproof black paint. The fan retaining bolts show meek resistance and the various bolts holding the water pump to the block accept their fate too. I am astonished at how basic the MGB turns out to be and with new gaskets, grease where it’s called for and clean new rubber everythings, the pump is swapped over in about the time it takes to read this … unlike the next job on my list.

The driver’s door quarter light window was apparently used for fifty years as a door handle. Repetitive tugging on the top of the chrome frame has weakened the mounts and destroyed the rubber seal on the base. Replacement involves removing the entire window glass from inside the door frame. A day is spent kneeling on the concrete, juggling the winder movement, the front channel, the rear channel, the mounting brackets and the door glass. YouTube videos confused me even more and I am convinced the process could’ve been adopted by the CIA to torture captives at Guantanamo Bay. 

Despite these challenges, the car is now on club plates and eager to be driven. It makes me smile. 

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