Spring has Sprung

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Will Anderson
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Spring has Sprung

Post by Will Anderson » Sat May 19, 2018 10:06 am

An interesting one recently as I put the SE5a in for its MOT having checked it over and expecting it to pass no problems.

It had a couple of advisories on the usual slight play in a wheelbearing (subjective as to what constitutes "slight play" or normal end play IMO) and a generic "oil leak" comment that I think relates to the gearbox unless there is a rocker leak I am not seeing.

However, it failed on a broken front coil spring. The tester said the break was fresh with no oxidisation of the broken surfaces so I thought it was just bad luck although I didn't remember hitting a pothole on the way to the centre. :?

I left the car there and ordered up a couple of springs from GW as I am of the opinion that suspension components should be replaced in pairs. It was over a week until the garage could fit the springs and when they went to do the work they found that, despite the fact the car had not moved, the other spring had also broken. :?:

I should have taken a photograph but both springs failed on the same coil and on close inspection off the car there was a small 1/16th inch semi circle of rust indicating the start of a fracture in almost the same place on both springs. The springs and dampers were AVO units and were bought from QRG and fitted in 2010 about 7,000 miles ago.

So, was I just unlucky or was this a defect that was in the springs from new, not that it really matters but a coincidence like that puzzles me.

I don't want to open up a debate on the issue of MOT exempt vehicles (No, I really don't! :) ) but if it had not been checked I could have been driving around for quite some time before I noticed that, one of the reasons I will continue with the MOT check on ASE 5A, even although it could be exempt.

On another matter, I just replaced the plugs with NGK iridium and there is a noticeable improvement in the smoothness of the engine, quite a surprise that it was so obvious.


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SE5a 1973, SE5a 1972, Middlebridge 14, 42 & 67, P.O. Middlebridge 46

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Post by scimjim » Sat May 19, 2018 10:21 am

I think the material specs for springs must have changed - I’ve seen dozens of failures over the past 10 years or so, but don’t recall seeing any on road cars in my first 20 odd years of playing with cars?

All of the broken springs I’ve seen, seem to be fatigue cracking caused by corrosion and/or damage. The worst was a mk1 Grand Scenic, where the spring seat is a water trap and the bottom coil on both rear springs had simply corroded and snapped off :shock:


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Post by Will Anderson » Sat May 19, 2018 10:30 am

scimjim wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 10:21 am
I think the material specs for springs must have changed - I’ve seen dozens of failures over the past 10 years or so, but don’t recall seeing any on road cars in my first 20 odd years of playing with cars?
Good point Jim, Likewise, I never remember problems with springs up until around 10 or so years ago and have subscribed to the deteriorating road theory but, in thinking about it, having run landrovers off road for work and Subarus on some dodgy tracks I never had a broken spring on them but started to pick up the odd one on work cars in the past decade.


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Post by reliant-reviver » Sat May 19, 2018 12:22 pm

Part of the issue with modern vehicles is that most springs have less coils per inch and hence are put under a greater stress compared with a greater number of coils compressing the same distance.

Out of interest which coils broke? Part of the active section or at the base?


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Post by Will Anderson » Sat May 19, 2018 1:34 pm

Hadn't considered that.

They broke about 1/3rd of the way up the overall length of the spring from the base.


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Spring has Sprung

Post by Alan SS1 » Sat May 19, 2018 10:55 pm

odd you saying about broken springs and not realising, the 480 had been stood with back wheels / axle about 12" in air as I was renovating the whole rear subframe area, which was done over a few weeks (or maybe even a month) and as I put it back down , there was a loud bang, which I just took to be the front disc/caliper moving as wheel rotated (or not), transpired the top coil had snapped about 3/4 turn of material, which MoT spotted, i'd only driven it a few times to/from work so not done any serious damage. oddly not enough to see a list to either side, or alter steering , or even see the break as it was right at very top of strut . . . . again a fairly new spring, but previously it had broken the very bottom turn where it sits on the pan. really difficult to remove a broken coil spring from strut, after wrangling it from the car !!


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Post by gtcse8 » Sun May 20, 2018 10:30 am

Dave Caswel`s Sabre rear springs both snapped last year.

Probably because someone had welded a steel ring to the bottom of them to try lift the ride height. :roll:

Will photo the one I still have and post later.

Bit busy at moment trying to get some MB blower fans working correctly :dh


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Post by Will Anderson » Mon May 21, 2018 6:10 pm

Now you know why I gave it to you to work on and didn't try to do it myself! :lol:


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