A Guide To Front Spring Removal And Refitment


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Staff member
I came to Sydney last Tuesday so as to provide assistance to a good friend of mine. Rob too has a 1974 Rover 3500, in British Racing Green. The task was to remove and refit his front springs, refurbishing the top links with new bushes in the process.

It was over 20 years since we last removed the springs from his car. The top links at that time were fitted with locally sourced remanufactured bushes, which proved to be far too soft for the task at hand. Consequently, they suffered from extreme wear. Fortunately, the car had not seen too many miles in the years that followed, so their replacement was not an immediate priority.

Now the time had arrived to do so, and as changing the front springs really needs two people, I came down to assist. With the car facing out from the garage and the guards already off, the car was raised and placed on stands. The front wheels were removed along with the off side shock absorber, as this side would be undertaken first.

The seal between the taper of the top ball joint and the top link was broken, thus allowing separation between the two in due course. Using the trolley jack, the swivel pillar was raised so as to compress the spring. The retainers were fitted directly opposite each other, thus establishing the optimum safe position for retaining the spring in the compressed state. The stored potential energy within a compressed spring can, should it convert to kinetic energy, result in personal injury or death, so correct positioning can minimise the possibility of such an occurrence.

The retainers are slowly tightened so as to withhold the spring, each time raising the swivel pillar will ease the difficulty encountered in compressing the spring. With the spring now compressed to the point where it is no longer exerting force against the spring cup, (this can be identified by the ability to rotate the spring between the base unit and the spring cup), the top link retaining nuts are removed and the link withdrawn whilst another pair of hands holds the spring from dropping out.

The near side now followed suit, and the with the process fresh in our minds took less than 50 minutes to accomplish, less than half the time, which was excellent.

The next day I dropped off the top links along with new JRW inner bushes for fitting, which was undertaken at Sydney’s most reputable Land and Range Rover Engineering centre. The following day we went to collect and were very pleased with the work done.

Refitting is a reversal of removal, except that the spring must be compressed on the ground, which does take a little longer. The outer bracket along with a pair of new JRW cone bushes and locally sourced ball end rubbers are also refitted into the top link. The position of the inner bracket mounting face being at 90 degrees to the anti roll bar mounting face also adds to the difficulty of fitment. With Rob holding the spring up, I positioned the tynes of the top link within the base unit guide holes. The top link must now be pulled down against the static position whilst simultaneously pushing the link towards the base unit. Once the tynes exit their locating holes, the washers and nyloc nuts can be refitted.

The top ball joint is refitted into the top link, and the shock absorber follows suit.

The procedure is exactly the same for the near side. Once complete the anti roll bar can be positioned and refitted to both top links.

With the wheels reacquainted with the hubs, Rob’s Rover was ready for a short and successful test.

The following photos present a pictorial of the procedure.

Heavily worn replacement bushes

The ball end bushes proved to be in very good condition, but were replaced nonetheless.

My custom made spring retainers.

Separating the top ball joint taper from the top link.

With the shock absorber removed and the swivel pillar not supported, the spring will open as shown.

The retainers fitted at essentially 180 degrees to each other.

The spring has been compressed and is retained.

The retainers are longer than the free length of the static spring, so no difficulty is encountered in their removal.

Top link

Corrosion free is always a pleasing sight.

Spring retainers await removal.

Spring retainers removed.

Retainers fitted to near side spring.

Spring compressed awaiting top link removal.

Near side spring out and on the ground.

The complex shape of the top links is clear to see.

The main arm exhibits curvature along two planes.

New inner bush perfectly positioned.

The necessary 90 degree angle between the two mounting faces can be clearly seen.

Retainers fitted to replacement spring. Although there was nothing wrong with those springs removed, Rob decided to fit his new set of the same brand.

Compressing the new spring.

Off side spring and top link refitted. The shims for ensuring the correct camber can be seen beneath the inner top link bracket.

The new ball end rubber can be seen along with the three channels that form the spring cup.

Top ball joint and shock absorber refitted.

Near side spring held by retainers and in position.

Awaiting retainer removal.

All back together.

Looking very nice indeed.



Well-Known Member
Impressive catalogue there Ron .
I will store and use in future reference .
Great work and thanks for taking the time to record this.


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Nice Ron,

this is alsmost exactly what i used to in the past.
In my case i found convenient to remove also the front doors (piece of cake in a P6) because the pillars are fastened on the bulkhead with bolts not studs and nuts as in late cars, and it is a PITA trying to align the bolts.


Staff member
those are heavy duty spring clamps - wouldn't like to try that with more normal ones...

Are the springs completely stable in those clamps?



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Staff member
Thanks gents for all the appreciative comments. I am very pleased to know that my post will be of assistance to other forum members and Rover Owners.

pat180269 wrote,...
Thanks for that I will need to do this soon. Do you have any drawings for the spring compressors so I can make some up ?
Hi Pat,

Not at present, but I'll take some measurements and come back to you.

Dave3066 wrote,...
Is your ball joint splitter also a home made tool?
Hi Dave,

I didn't make it as it happens. I actually purchased it from a gent in the U.K some years ago. From memory he had an association with Rover, either through work or ownership, but that association was ending, so I was very lucky in being in a position to purchase what he had to sell.

billoddie wrote,...
K Mac springs?
And finally...are his old ones for sale?
Hi Brenten,

They are indeed K-Mac springs. I will ask, but I tend to think that he will probably hang on to them.



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Staff member
rockdemon wrote,...
those are heavy duty spring clamps - wouldn't like to try that with more normal ones...

Are the springs completely stable in those clamps?
Hi Rich,

They clamps don't move once the spring in under compression. They do work extremely well I have to say.

Excellent write up Ron.

Another easy way to get the spings out is to remove the wheel and lift the car (preferrably on a two post hoist) then lower the Bottom link onto a fully extended jack stand and when the spring compresses naturally fit the HD spring clamps as pictured and lift the car back up. Just remember to grab the spring before it drops out on the floor :D


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I've seen this done with 3 21 ton nylon straps which are normally used for securing a car to a transporter instead of proper compressors and lifting the car. It certainly was effective and very easy as all your access issues are solved. I won't comment as to the safety aspect.


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Well I went over to the car tonight for a reccy really but ended up getting stuck in, first one off in 1 1/2 hrs, second one off in 1/2 hr.
No boing, no danger, had a secret weapon though ;)
Many thanks to all for the advice, didn't use rods in the end.

Sorry, put this in the wrong thread - doh.
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I use pushrods from a 6cyl jeep ground to fit the slots, must be solid rods, not with oil holes. Make sure they are turned the full 90 degrees when inserted. They fit perfectly in the grooves. My front springs have white and blue stripes painted on, any idea what they could be, cant find a reference to them
From a 1970 service newsletter: Normally, identification (of a road spring) is by a narrow coloured stripe painted down the entire length of the spring. This…should not be confused with the other coloured stripe, either red, white or blue, which is painted on the centre three coils diametrically opposite the identification stripe. This is a material grading code for production purposes only.

So, which of those stripes run the entire length?

Can anyone supply or have the dimensions of the packing washers that go between the front suspension top bush brackets and the body. Original part number looks like it was 620033 also what are they made from? I have two cars and neither have any camber shims that I can see, but the packing washers look like rubber on one car and plastic on the other. I'm assuming they also act as a water seal around the long bo

DSC00792 (Small).JPG


Well-Known Member
The packing washers do the same as shims when it comes to adjusting front geometry. No rubber here as it takes a load for the suspension and you want a solid mating surface.