Kris Kane wrote:
My wife and I currently own only one Triumph-a 1979 Spitfire. We purchased
it 2 years ago with aspirations of restoring/rebuilding it to drive and
perform better than
the condition it was in 1995. While this thread is going on about the rear
suspension, is there anyone who just hates the rear suspension setup with
the transverse leaf springs? I was told by a local shop, that could re-arch
the springs if I wanted, that doing so would not guarantee the car sit
straight. My only alternative at the time
was to buy a new leaf spring set. I hate leaf springs.
My question is: has anyone ever installed a set of coil-assisted shocks on
the rear and eliminated the leaf springs altogether?
If this is a subject that has been covered already, and there exists FAQ's
it, could someone please guide me to them?
The idea is good, unfortunately the amount of engineering involved would
almost make it prohibitively costly. The spring acts as the upper control
arm and the axle shaft acts as the lower control arm - that's why it is
called a "swing axle" suspension.
You'd need to design, fabricate and install some form of upper control link
in lieu of the removed leaf spring. While it certainly "could" be done, I
don't think it would be very easy, it would require a lot of trial and error
set up, and would also be expensive unless you own a fabricating shop.
You say you hate "leaf springs", but I am not clear why. Although not the
"best" design for handling purposes( this is subject to debate for some
folks - Corvettes use them and seem to handle great), a transverse leaf set
up is effective, simple and cheap - which pretty much describes most LBCs of
the 60s and 70s. Your's is a 79 Spit which has the "swing spring" rear
suspension. I recently restored my 64 Spit and in hindsight, I should have
probably swapped to the later swing spring design when it was all apart.
The transverse leaf spring setup is a pretty sturdy, reliable system and
unless you plan to autocross the car or race it in vintage races it should
be just fine for the street. In fact, there are a LOT of Spitfire racers
who have cars with the same suspension design that can run circles around
more sophisticated set ups so long as you know how to adjust it properly.
If you have camber problems consider a "camber compensator" - typically a
cable and pully arrangement that sounds "hokey" but works pretty damn good
from what I've heard. Keep in mind, the sping set up is only PART of the
entire handling equation. There are so many other things you can do to make
it handle great I don't think the transverse leaf is a problem.
My $.02 is that if you want a superb handling LBC buy a Lotus Elan or Lotus
Europa - those babies are phenomenal when it comes to handling, just a
little fragile and expensive. Sorry I couldn't offer more encouragement.
Ross D. Vincenti
64 Spitfire 4
64 Porsche 356C Coupe