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NeilR

swing spring vs camber compensator

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I have just acquired a Herald that will form the basis of a project with my 16YO son.

I've read the various fora and have seen comments on camber compensators and swing springs. Is there any informed opinion about which is better for sporty handling or handling on the limit??

The camber compensator seems to take quite a lot of ground clearance away - is this an issue?

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If you can find one, a courier spring is excellent. Stiff and flat..... I used on in my herald estate that did loads of rallying/autotests/solos etc.

A swing spring, even the uprated one sold for heralds, is a bit soft and can sit too low. On my vitesse it sat very low! That was with no lowering blocketc. No experience of a camber compensator....

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I have run a camber compensator on the Vitesse since mid 70's all be it also with a fairly stiff decambered rear spring as well, I have always liked the handling it induces, but yes it does reduce ground clearance in the centre of the car, although only to about the same amount that rotoflex cars have (those rear wishbones only gave about 4.5" when new).

I used to make batches of camber compensator kits back in the 70's, I'm now running one of Joe Curries from the States, they are a very well made kit.

Alan

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Neil,

The swing spring does everything that a compensator does, and without losing ground clearance.  Just fit a swing-spring, but you'll need the longer half shafts too.

But, IMHO, conversion to a Rotaflex suspension completes the job.     It can be further improved by doing away with the rubber donut and using CV joints instead - Nick knows a lot about this, or Canley's sell kits.     If you were to go this way, then you would need to add wishbone brackets to the chassis rails, and while OE pattern brackets are available, a "Racing" variant that puts the pivot 1" down and 0.2" out is useful.    This and a diff-to-spring spacer, can reduce camber change from bump to droop to 

 

Bump

Neutral

Droop

1" spacer under spring PLUS “Racing” bracket

-1

-2

+1

Which should be compared with the original:

 

Bump

Neutral                                

Droop

Standard bracket, no spacer

-1

+2

+8 

If you don't go so far, and will compromise your ground clearance a little, lowering the car with a spacer between diff and spring is useful.  This induces negative camber, which was unacceptable with the original cross-plys, but now with radial tyres works very well.   As the wheels are in negative at rest and rolling, they have further to go before they 'jack-up'.  Add a stiffer spring, as above, to limit movement, and you have a very chuckable rear suspension.

John

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Depends what you intended use is for the car.

In standard form the "on limit" handling is definitely a bit hairy - tuck-under is real!

Part of the problem is the ride height that gives a slightly positive camber as standard.  Simply lowering the car by 3/4" to 1" (using a lowering block or turning some spring leaves upside down) immediately improves matters considerably and if driven correctly (absolutely no lifting off or braking mid-bend!) it's possible to make rapid progress.  I ran my Herald for many years like this, often driving like a hooligan, and didn't die once.......

Courier van spring is, as mentioned a good thing to have, but not easy to find.  Beyond that a camber compensator removes the tuck-under risk at the expense of some wheel travel under droop conditions and reduced ground clearance.

A Swing spring (as used on MkIV  & 1500 Spit) does pretty much everything the camber compensator does and does NOT need longer driveshafts.  My choice would be to keep the shorter driveshafts and fit wider wheels (5 or 5.5") - which don't fit if you use the longer shafts. You do need to fit the matching thicker front anti-roll bar to match and you do need to try an source a proper spring intended for Herald/Vitesse use and the Spitfire ones are not really up to the extra weight of the Herald.  Canleys used to do one specifically IIRC.

While I do agree with John that the roto-flex based system (with CV shafts) gives the best results, it's a fairly involved and costly process and it's possible to get 85 - 90% of the way there in handling terms with much less effort.

Nick

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You don't HAVE to fit longer halfshafts, Triumph didn't until 1973, after the swing spring came in 1970, but they do provide more negative camber, with no need for a diff spacer, so fit what you can git!

Triumph changed the production tyre from a Dunlop C41, cross-ply, to a radial SP68 shortly before the longer shafts were fitted, and the two changes may be related if ST realised that the radials would work with more negative camber.  And we all use radials these days.

John    

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Don't forget that the length and angle of the rear radius arms also changed with the swing spring and the longer drive shafta, which I think on a herald and vitesse means changing the radius arm mounts and their position.

Alan

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3 hours ago, JohnD said:

You don't HAVE to fit longer halfshafts, Triumph didn't until 1973, after the swing spring came in 1970, but they do provide more negative camber, with no need for a diff spacer, so fit what you can git!

Why do they provide more negative camber.........?  The extra length means slightly less camber change for a given change in ride height

 

2 hours ago, oldtuckunder said:

Don't forget that the length and angle of the rear radius arms also changed with the swing spring and the longer drive shafta, which I think on a herald and vitesse means changing the radius arm mounts and their position.

This is another reason to stick with the short shafts.  This way you only have to change the spring and ARB.

Nick

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Firstly thanks for all of the responses - swing axle Triumphs are a new thing for me.

The car in question is this one: https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/kingsbury/cars-vans-utes/triumph-herald-coupe/1179188230

More on this in a moment.

Nick's comments about the use are pertinent: the car will not be staying a Herald in many respects. In 2015 I was gifted a fibreglass body which had been found sitting on a Triumph Herald chassis. The body looks like the pics attached - sorry for the poor quality, they are scans of when the car was found 15 years ago. The story is that the then owner wante to teach himself how to work on cars, so he bought this as a running and registered (taxed in UK terms) car and then proceeded to take it apart. He then found out that he actually had no mechanical aptitude and stopped and the car languished for 10 years in a shed. The owner prior to me found the car and 'saved' it from going to the tip. He was an Alfa enthusiast and did not like the Triumph chassis and running gear. He hoped to make a separate chassis and use Alfetta running gear and suspension on a home made chassis. However he did not realise the legal issues or the amount of work. More than 10 years passed, in which he sold off the chassis and papers to go under another Herald. The body then came to me along with a host of Alfa bits.

Now someone, somewhere put in a huge amount of work to make this and I think it's worth saving. The issue I face is that under Australian road rules if I make a new chassis, which I'm capable of, then the engineering fees to certify is will be over 5,000UKP. Plus the car would have to meet near current emissions - virtually impossible. So I plan to restore it to it's Triumph roots and argue the case that it is a re-bodied 'Herald'. The Herald I have found is a 1961 Coupe that is a basket-case, fred flintstone car - if you sat on a seat you'd go through the floor - but the chassis is mostly sound. I will give the body to some local Herald enthusiast in exhange for a bottle of red for a friend who will store the car. The front corners of the out-riggers are filled with dirt and rusty, but that is an easy repair. The main chassis rails, particularly around the diff are oily and sound. For me the best part is that the car has a Datsun A14 1400cc, 85bhp engine and 4speed gearbox. This is Nissan's copy of the A-series engine and they were very popular to transplant into Morris Minors etc in the 1970/80's and easy to get tuning parts for as well as happy revving to 6,500rpm.

So I have a chassis, a desired negined, and a car 'ID' that was registered in my state, plus a fibreglass body. Changes to the chassis will include replacing the sill structure with some RHS steel and welding a steel floor under the cabin section. Stiffening the chassis with some plates. Adding a roll hoop and proper seatbelt mounts - I don't like the holes through fibreglass. The a brake upgrade will have to occur, discs of some sort on the front. I have learn on this forum that the Australian cars were all Mk1 chassis, but with changes for export to make them tougher, which I'll have to investigate.

As for the use of the car, I want the car to be used for sporty sunday drives, motokhana's and perhaps the odd hillclimb. Ideally I want it to have as few vices as possible at the limit, even if that limits is at modest speeds. To make it easy to get back on the road then modifications to what is already present is the way to go. Rotoflex is expensive locally and hard to find and shipping of large parts from the UK to Australia expensive, hence the query about swing springs and camber compensators. The American forum is very pro compensators, but I'm concerned about loss of ground clearance as I plan to lower the car to have a little neg camber. So it seems that the swing spring is the go.

I hope this was not boring for all who read it, but I trust it fills in the gaps.

BTW all advice of handling and chassis issues are welcome

 

 

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Wow, Neil!   That is about as far from "I've bought a Herald I'm going to restore" as it's possible to get!   The ultimate Bitza car!

The separate chassis of the Herald lent itself to 'specials', or which there have been several commercial versions from the Bond Equipe to things like a Gentry, and even wooden bodies like the Burlington.   And if you're going as far as this, then some of the more extreme mods that have been done to the Herald concept will be a piffling change.    With such a light body, moving the engine backwards will help balance the car,  then reducing the weight of the suspension - one reason why Triumph dropped Rotaflex  was the massive wishbone.    Swing spring is lighter, but retains the heavy uprights - modern alternatives are lighter and include disc brakes - eg MGF - and a fabricated wishbone isn't difficult (see my posts: http://sideways-technologies.co.uk/forums/index.php?/topic/7605-newer-rear-suspension-wishbones/&tab=comments#comment-100424

 

Do you know anything about the origin of the bodyshell?   The doors, except for the hinges, and front windscreen look entirely Herald and the rear quarterlights GT6, and the whole thing has a strong E-type influence.   Is it made of fibreglass?    If so, there must have been moulds, so copies could have been made and been on sale, I presume in Oz, so posting about it in your national classic car press may reveal some history.

Good luck - please keep posting your progress; this car has to roll again!

John

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Thanks John. The vagaries of Australia road rules mean that non-standard mechanical modifications to suspension are either vorboden!! or expensive to engineer. This is the root cause for my desire to keep it all 'triumph' per se. I have other cars if I need speed, this is more the odd motorkhana and the nippy drive on a sunday. Chassis mods to increase strength and stiffness on the other hand are easy to argue for. The engine could go back and inch, but then it's all setup how it is and I'm loathe to alter the diveshaft etc. My son and I are quite heavy, tall blokes so perhaps we'll help to balance it out!

What's the best way forwards with uprights and front brakes? I've been told that I should consider the late pattern uprights that you can bolt a caliper to, but I'm not sure if these even fit an early car?

The bodyshell is quite possibly a one-off. The lower section looks to have been moulded from a Herald - the floor ribs and holes etc are all present. The body is a 'cut and shut' affair, you can see the join lines in the fibreglass. I suspect it was moulded from an E-type - it has the shape, deep sills, short doors and curves. I would not be surprised that it was the project of a panel beater somewhere or something of the like. I am familiar with fibreglass and this body has been very skillfully done in places. I've been trying to find history etc for the past two years and have found nothing out about it - we have few magazines left in this country. It has been registered (taxed), was bought with plates, but no record remains and the previous VIN is not known or available.

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Has the looks of a Rochdale Olympic, but they were all fibreglass monocoque with Triumph front suspension & usually A series engines or Ford 1500 pre-crossflow.

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I actually own a Rochdale Olympic, so I can compare them. As I've noted this body seems to be a 'bitsa', but a well done one. I'm not sure if it has more/less overhand than a GT6, but the longer wheelbase will alter the look a little - it is still a modestly sized car.

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oh dear, that old canard - do we respond with soap and washing jokes?

GT6 are you a member of the TSOA?

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I have Spitfire 1500 front uprights/brakes etc and a 1500 spitfire swing spring on it's way to me. Dampers will be next and I've read that Koni seem the best of what's available, short of getting some Bilsteins made locally, which will be twice the price.

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Konis do seem to be best available based on my experience.  They lack useful touches such as adjustable spring seats and damping adjustable on the car though.  Have had bad experience of AVO and no experience of Gaz or Protech.

Nick

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I likewise have not had a good run with AVO's. I love bilsteins, but no adjustment possible. Koni yellows are available in a motorsport damper in roughly the right size - on the books at least.

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