Front dampers

It is time to get the dampers installed before my delayed uprights arrive. This particular job was easy. Getting the top bolt out was awkward, but a hard push on the bodywork to flex it and reliance on the IVA strip and masking tape to protect the paint allowed me to wriggle it out on either side of the chassis.

RHS top damper fixing

RHS top damper fixing

I decided to tackle the top bolt first when fitting the damper. It was going to be most awkward, so best to retain the most freedom of movement to get it inserted correctly. An extra pair of hands helps here (thanks Barry); one of you flexes the bodywork and holds the damper while the other focuses on getting the bolt in place.

A bush is needed in the top damper mount point, slathered in Coppaslip. Coat the bolt too and it makes the insertion process easier, if no less awkward.

RHS damper

RHS damper

The eagle-eyed among you will spot two things in the first photo in this post.

1: I’ve got an SV chassis and the correct dampers for it, shown by the hexagonal extension piece below the top mount.

2: I forgot the spring washer under the head of the bolt when I fitted it. Sigh; it was the next day when I spotted this, and no extra pair of hands to help, but with a bit of grunting and swearing I managed to remove the bolts on both sides and replace them with the spring washer in place this time. At least I proved that removal and reinsertion can be done solo, if you need to.

LHS Damper

LHS Damper

The front suspension is now ready for the uprights and the anti-roll bar. As prep, I’ve dug out the components of the anti-roll bar and fitted them together. Offering the components up to the front end of the car, it’s obvious the bar is going to have to bend quite a bit to make it into the cups on the upper wishbones. Lots of parts of the car seem to require a degree of flex to fit, so I’m getting quite blasé about forcing stuff to fit now.

I’m realising what a learning experience this is. Problem solving, how to use tools, which tools to use, when to use force, when not to. All very different from my office-based day job, and at the same time, quite similar in a “meta” way. This is a theme I’ll probably develop here as I understand more about it, it’s a very interesting side-effect of taking a punt into the unknown and challenging myself with the build.

While I’ve been typing this up, my uprights have arrived. Score!


I didn’t mention this in my original post, because I thought I’d have it sorted by now. However, this is a problem of access to the bolt head and I am having some issues torqueing the bolt accurately.

I’ve tried with hex sockets and long reach ball-end hex sockets. I still can’t get perpendicular enough to get good purchase with the ball end. A check on Blatchat mentioned wobble bars (thanks Scott) and I took to the shops and picked up a set, but still I’m not quite able to get the traction I need.

For now, I’ve settled on comparative feel with the lower damper bolt which is easily accessed. I figure it’s close enough, and have made a note to have it checked before IVA.]

[UPDATE 2: Simon in a comment below pointed me in the right direction. Rather than buying a tool, make one. Out with the Dremel (or in my case a cheaper copy from Lidl) and off with the ball-end of an Allen key.

Socket and the top of a Allen key.

Socket and the top of a Allen key.

There was just enough room to get the head of the torque wrench and the tiny socket in far enough to drive it properly. I’m please to say my guess wasn’t too far off but I’m much happier knowing the bolts are properly torqued.]

2 thoughts on “Front dampers

  1. Hi Rob, reading with great interest your build blog. Have a 360R – SV that arrived in May and due to other commitments I am as far as you having completed the entire front end. Couple of suggestion : 1. Top bolt for dampers I purchased a set of Halfords ball end allen keys (£5). Cut the small end of the right one to make a straight ball end key. Its length was then suitable to enable a socket to be put on the end so that it could be correctly torqued. 2. ARB. With the round plastic balls on it was near impossible to get it into the correct position. The balls would not fit into the cups. I removed the powder coating from the inside of each and ensured balls would freely move in and out. Final assembly was then simple and only required bush fitting at that was more to do with pushing against the grease in the cups. Will be interested to hear about your engine installation as that next on my list.



    • Hey Simon. Thanks, glad you are enjoying the blog. Also, thanks for the tip to get the top damper bolt torqued – nice trick, I’ll give it a go. I didn’t have the same trouble with the ARB (I’ve installed it but not written it up yet), but then I have the S, so perhaps a less stiff ARB? Or less powder coat inside the cups perhaps? Mine has a red dot and red bushes. Lots of grease and a firm shove and the balls were home in the cups. The engine goes in this weekend, fingers crossed. Please let me know how you get on with yours.

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