Stripping the front suspension
The rebuild of a Morgan will usually result in stripping down the front suspension. The bronze bushes in the stub axles have to be replaced along with new kingpins. Although tackling the job may seem quite daunting, it is really quite straightforward. Whilst you are stripping the suspension down it is worth looking for wear in other components such as wheel bearings, brake discs, brake linings and steering damper blades etc. I do not suggest the following account is the correct or safest method and there are various methods described in literature and the internet, but this is how I tackled the job. My Morgan has passed all of its MOT's since the rebuild and I have not encountered any wheel shimmy. Before you start, jack up the front end of the car at least 15 inches and MAKE SURE you place axle stands under the lower front suspension tube, then proceed as follows.
1) Remove the brake calliper
The brake calliper (1) is secured to its mounting bracket (2) by two bolts. The heads of these bolts should each have a hole in them. A loop of wire passes through both holes and locks the two bolts together, preventing them coming undone in service. Cut the wire and remove it. Undo the bolts, then lift and tie back the callipers from the brake disc.
2) Disconnect the Track Rod.
Remove the split pin and undo the castellated nuts that secure the track rod end ball joints (4) to the stub axle steering arms (5). Use a suitable extractor to remove the ball joint taper from the stub axle arm. DO NOT hammer the ball joint taper as it can damage the threads. Replace the castellated nuts and washers on the ball joint to prevent losing them.
3) Remove the Shock Absorber.
Undo and remove the shock absorber lower mounting nuts complete with washers. Pull the lower ends of the shock absorbers from their mounting studs (6). At this stage it is possible to compress the shock absorbers up out of the way. However, for the little extra effort it is worthwhile completely removing them and storing them with their fixings and washers etc.
4) Remove the Hub Assembly
The Hub (7) is supported on the stub axle (8) by taper roller bearings (9) & (10). The assembly is retained by a keyed thrust washer and castellated nut (11) which is secured by a split pin via the access hole in the splined portion of the hub. Remove the split pin and undo the hub nut. Withdraw the complete assembly including the bearings and oil seals. Take care to note which side the hubs are fitted, as cars with centre lock wire wheels will undo themselves if you fit them on the opposite side from which they are removed (see Fig1). Undo the securing bolts and remove the calliper mounting bracket from the stub axle. It's wise to label, record, and store the various components. Digital photographs can be really useful at this stage because a chassis up rebuild can take a long time and there are no really good workshop manuals when reassembling your Morgan.
5) Remove the Steering Damper Blade.
Between the base of the mainspring and the stub axle is a bronze thrust plate (12) which is separated from the steel steering damper blade (13) by an alloy spacer. Passing through these three components are two long bolts. Undo the bolts and remove the alloy spacer. The steel steering damper can now be withdrawn from its trunnion on the chassis by pulling gently outwards.
6) Disconnect the One Shot Lubrication Pipe.
The 'One Shot' lubrication pipe is connected by a union (14) to the Autolube Bolt (15). The Autolube Bolt is screwed into the top of the king pin. This hollow bolt MUST NOT be removed at this stage as it secures the king pin which locates the main spring. If the main spring is released suddenly, it has enough energy to cause severe injury or damage. Use a spanner to lock the Autolube bolt in place whilst unscrewing the lubrication union. Lift the One Shot Lubrication Pipe clear and tie it back out of the way.
7) Replace the bottom plate bolts with studding
One method of releasing the front suspension is to place a jack under the king pin and remove the two bottom plate retaining bolts. As the autolube bolt is slackened the jack is lowered and the king pin, complete with springs will simply fall away. However, if the main spring escapes or the jack slips things can get really interesting! There is a safer and more leisurely way of dismantling the suspension. By replacing the bottom plate retaining bolts with two lengths of studding all of the energy stored in the mainspring can be released in a controlled and gentle manner. A red circle in Figure 1 indicates the lower suspension components located in the bottom lug of the cross frame. For clarity Figure 2 illustrates these components enlarged showing the bottom plate bolts replaced with studding. Ensure that the hollow Autolube bolt (15) and the large nut on the lower end of the king pin (16) are still in place before loosening the bottom plate retaining bolts (17). It is also a good idea to place a jack under the lower end of the king pin. Undo one of the bolts carefully and replace with the studding then repeat the procedure with the other bolt. Now tighten the nuts on the studding to ensure that the bottom plate is secure before removing the jack.
8) Release the Kingpn.
Remove the lower king pin nut (16) then carefully undo the Autolube bolt (15) and immediately replace with a long Philips screwdriver ensuring that it locates in the hole at the top of the king pin. This will prevent the king pin from moving sideways until enough compression has been released from the main spring (18). Undo the lower studding nuts a few turns at a time. The suspension bottom plate will now be pushed down by the main spring and the rebound spring (19) as illustrated in Figure 3. As the bottom plate is lowered the rebound spring will pass through the bottom suspension lug until the stub axle (8) makes contact with it. Most of the compression in the mainspring will now be released and it will be safe to remove the screwdriver.br>
9) Remove the Stub Axle Assembly
Pull the mainspring outwards and the king pin (24) will be dislocated from the upper suspension lug as shown in figure 4. The main spring can now be lifted away complete with the bronze thrust plate (12), the king pin dust cover (23) and its rubber bush (22). Carefully support the stub axle with one hand whilst removing the king pin along with the rebound spring (19). Remove the studding and bottom plate (21). If the front wings are still on the car it is wise to put an old cushion above the king pin whilst performing this procedure as the kingpin may still be slightly under compression.
10) Remove the Bronze Bushes Examination of the tubular part of the stub axle will reveal the two bronze bushes (26) that act as the bearings between the king pin and the stub axle itself. Thoroughly protect the stub axle and grasp it firmly in a good vice, preferably mounted on a robust bench. With a steel bar and a heavy hammer it should be possible to simply drift the bushes out of the axle housing. However, the bushes are usually very stubborn & resist the most determined effort to move them. To avoid using too much force, you can use a hacksaw blade to cut along the length of the bushes which will make removing them effortless. Replacement bushes can be purchased from any Morgan agent or direct from the factory. It is good policy to order new kingpins at the same time as they will also be worn.