A labour of love

Frontline Developments 5-link rear suspension fitting – part 2

Frontline Developments 5-link rear suspension fitting – part 2

This is a follow-up post to my earlier coverage of the dry run at fitting the 5-link suspension kit, which includes more detail of the trickier aspects of this job, so do go back and read that one first if you’re undertaking this.

Once I had painted the underside and interior of the shell I decided it was the perfect time to complete the final fit of most of the rear suspension whilst I still had great access, since I would be taking the shell off the rollover jig and dropping it back on the ground to spray the exterior.

This stage absolutely proved the value of completing the dry build well before painting, and was a really enjoyable day’s work. With all the relevant holes pre-drilled in the shell it was a breeze to bolt the components back on and torque them all down “for real”, without damaging any of my precious Bracken paintwork. In the picture below, the main subframes, trailing arms, torque reaction bars, and Panhard rod mounting bracket are all loosely bolted to the underside.

On the inside of the boot, the Panhard rod bracket is very well-secured with these bolts and chunky strengthening plates.

I mentioned it briefly in my rear axle refurb post, but the locating brackets in the axle do need a couple of modifications in order to mount the new Frontline brackets onto it. These pegs, which previously held the axle rebound straps, need to be cut off completely, whilst there is also a small tab on the front that needs to be removed (I think I’d already cut it off by the time I took this picture unfortunately).

The end result should look something like the below example. At this point I trial fitted the Frontline brackets to the axle, since I hadn’t done that during my dry build for the shell modifications. All fitted nicely, there are just a few more holes to drill through to secure the Frontline brackets onto the original locating brackets. Obviously I again did all this before I painted the axle!

With the axle painted, the shell flipped over and removed from the rollover jig, supported on axle stands front and rear, and then also painted, I fitted the axle and the rest of the suspension components. I failed again to take many good pictures of these last steps, but there was nothing too challenging to contend with – the trickiest bit was getting the bolts through the lower shock absorber mounts.

The final part of the installation was fitting the Panhard rod itself, probably the simplest step of all, and then measuring very carefully to ensure it was positioning the axle dead centre between the wheel arches. This should help a lot with minimising any issues with tyre rub against the arches on either side later on, which I had problems with before when running wider than standard tyres.

And that should be just about it for the rear suspension, apart from setting up the adjustable shocks later on when the car is on its wheels.

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