Replacing MGB Front Lever Shocks – What they don’t tell you…

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I received my rebuilt front lever shocks from Apple Hydraulics and installed them last week. I was looking forward to the new shocks and the install seemed quite simple, right?

I read the Hayne’s manual.

Simple Instructions

I read the Haynes Manual and the complete removal and installation basically two small paragraphs.

I then also googled it and found the following useful videos on Youtube:

1- Dr-Doolin’s version – Click Here. However, if you look very closely at the time stamp 2:57 of the video he puts the steel punch to tap out the fulcrum pin into the hole and not on the protruding bolt. He skipped the part where the fulcrum pin refuses to come out and started at the point where the fulcrum pin was released from the positioning plate. This step I shall name “Obstacle One“.

2 – MGB Easy also made a video – Click Here In this video he does not even show Obstacle One.

Obstacle one starts with the instructions whereby you “gently tap the fulcrum pin out of the link”. So that is what I did. Tap, tap, tap.

Big Hammer

Nothing happened. With a screwdriver I was able to ply apart the lever shock arms that demonstrated clearly that the pin was moving without issue through bushings on both sides. The real problem is not the pin. Some said cut it. Others said get a bigger hammer. I tried that to no avail. In fact, I tried tapping, smacking, hammering to the point of exhaustion. I sprayed it with penetrating oil, WD-40 and let it sit over night.

The next morning, I awoke with one mission; remove two Fulcrum Pins. Again, I started with the tapping and smacking and spraying penetrating oil with no luck. I posted a question on my local MGB Club of Ottawa and one member, Trevor Whitehouse suggested to use a C-Clamp with a large socket and penetrating oil. He also mentioned patience.

First, lets look at the issue. Below shows where the Fulcrum Pin gets seized against the positioning plate and the C-Clamp solution. I was so excited that this worked that I forgot to take a picture of the C-Clamp in action, but I am certain you will understand how I did it. I took another bolt (not the castellated nut) and put in on the fulcrum pin threaded side flush to the end. Then I put a 1″ socket around the seized end and started to squeeze with a C-Clamp. Within seconds it popped out. I mean “Popped” like a real loud pop sound.

So this is one thing they don’t tell you in the books or videos.

The second and more important part is how you remove the shock after you have removed the four bolts. Its more than likely that there are years of accumulated dirt sitting on and around the shock. So, when you remove the shock, gently lift it upwards and do not slide it off so as to avoid pushing the dirt into the four bolt holes. Clean the complete plate and blow out any dirt inside. Additionally, clean the bolts, lock washers and washers before reinstalling the new shock. I know this because I had to tap one hole and I am almost certain it was because dirt, sand and other road crud got into the threaded hole and was also on the bolts. I had no such issues installing the second shock because I cleaned everything. Here is a picture of the installed shock and torque settings. If you click on the picture it will enlarge for you.

One final note is that the re-built shocks may not line up perfectly with your holes. This would be my Obstacle Two. It took me an hour of fiddling to get all four bolts threaded properly.

In conclusion, this was a nasty job for me until Trevor suggested the C-Clamp and until I figured out to clean everything and be cautious about filling the bolt holes with dirt.

I also want to mention that on day one I had a helper on the first day, Michel Pilon who drive an incredible Triumph Spit Fire with quite the unique carburetor system (pictures below). I also had support from Steve at The Sports Car Factory. Thank You, Steve!

Michel Pilon’s AMAZING Triumph Spitfire!