Rear Spring Replacement
By Tom Mason
Originally published in the Austin-Healey Magazine, December 1992
One of the clearest signs of shot rear leaf springs is that the body sags in the rear and the car sits down on its tires when you look at it. This is especially evident on BJ8's since they sit a little higher on their springs. Normally, there should be three inches between the top of the rear tires and the wheel arch, or in my case, you should be able to pass four extended fingers between the tire and fender.
My car finally started to sag, especially on the driver's side, so it was time to take my own medicine and replace the springs. I was fortunate in that all the bolts came off easily, except that one of the U-bolts broke and had to be replaced.
The remounting sequence is the front bolt first, then connect the rear double bolt (See Figure 1). However, you will find that the rear bolt will not want to fit because the springs are new. To spread the spring out, place a block of wood on top of the spring, between the spring and the body and then jack the spring up in the middle. The block of wood will cause the spring to move backwards horizontally and then you can replace the double-bolt at the rear shackle.
Finally, you can jack the leaf spring up in near the middle and replace the U-bolts.
One side took four hours and the other took 20 minutes, which is how these jobs often workout.
If your car is rusty, you may need a torch to remove the old parts. If your car has not been on salt, it should be a lot easier. In any case, the repair is well worth the trouble and the improvement in ride and handling can be quite dramatic. Finally, I bought my springs from SC Carbs and their quality on this part probably makes going to them worth the extra effort of shipping from the U.K. Good luck!
Not what you were looking for? Don't forget you can check our back issues using the AHCUSA Magazine Index.