The original Luvax shock absorbers are increasingly difficult to source and repair, and become problematic quite quickly thereafter. This applies to both front and rear units. In fact, my original Luvax were useless so I had them rebuilt for around £300 several years ago by an “expert”. Despite replacing most of the internals, one seal leaked and I could not get similar damping rates despite adjusting the internal screw. My car already had telescopics on the front and they are excellent.
This article describes suitable brackets for installing telescopic shock absorbers to the rear of the TA. I see no reason why the same brackets and shock absorbers should not fit the TB or TC in a similar manner. No modifications are required to TA original equipment and it would only take an hour or so to replace the original Luvax units.
The drawing (Figure 1) shows the bracket measurements for one side, the other side being a mirror image. Details of the suggested shock absorbers are shown on this drawing, and cost around £85 the pair delivered (Jan 2012). As I received two different units initially (one black, one grey, different serial numbers) please check you receive two identical units, preferably painted black. The kit for one side is shown in Figure 2, and the lower bracket assembled in place in Figure 3. The finished rear axle compartment is shown in Figure 4.
The bolting can be bought from your usual supplier and does not have to be BSF, but I bought these anyway, at around £5 per set of bolt, nut and plenty of thick washers. Any competent blacksmith can make the brackets, mostly from offcuts lying around his shop. The bolt head welding position is not critical, but the bolts do need to be approximately perpendicular to the angle brackets. I suggest you do the drilling yourself, preferably with a pillar drill, use sharp drill bits and be patient.
You should be able to do the whole lot for under £200, and much better they will be too.
(1) The lower brackets could be shortened by one inch, but 6″ looks just fine. If you want to shorten them, after offering them up to study clearances from all other equipment, cut off the excess with an angle grinder before drilling the holes. Note they are assembled on the outside row of bolts. (Inside bolts causes interference with the chassis and petrol pipe). Also, the lower plate on my car curves slightly due to the fixing bolt tension, and this provides just the right amount of angle to align the bottom shock absorber bushing.
(2) Don’t tighten up the large nuts until everything is assembled on the car. This allows the rubber bushes to take up the slight out of vertical remaining after all the thick washers are added.
(3) I did consider re-using the existing lower mounting bracket but this would mean the top of the shock absorber would be 90 degrees out from the bottom. I don’t know much about shock absorber design but this can’t be good practice, can it?
(4) There is an alternative method, with the mounting bolts pointing along the car rather than across. This is possibly a more elegant solution, but the geometry and fabrication is more complex. I cannot see that it makes much difference. Whichever method is used there is very little room to do anything and avoid everything else.
(5) Please note that telescopics are not acceptable for VSCC events, should you be thinking of this. I’m not in to competition, just road use.
I hope all the above is clear enough. (Polite) comments are welcome, to improve the breed!
Ian Linton, April 2012