Even though I zinc plate most of my own components, I took the larger front suspension parts in to a local plating company. I told them “no rush” but expect to get them back in a day or so. Once they are back in my hands, they will be packed up with the rest of the components that are being reworked and stored until I get ready to start working on the rest of the puzzle. Rather than just have a box of assorted parts rattling around, I am wanting to get all of the bushings and replacement pieces put back together as much as possible.
I am not building up a car for racing, just a good “fair weather” driver. There are several vendors out there and different types of kits. I would like some feedback on your experiences as to which ones are most complete, less problematic, etc…
I will post pics of the parts when I get them back in hand.
My opinion (worth what you are paying for it) is that the stock bushings are fine, they don’t squeak and last twenty years. I did, however put a heavy duty front sway bar and adjustable Koni’s on the front (adjusted to about 50%), but I autocross the PrtKty.
This works best for hard driving up to about 60 MPH. If you hard drive at speeds up to 140 or so, you need to put it back all stock because that is what it is built for.
I have the red urethane bushings, gas pressure adjustable front shocks, upgraded torsion bars and front anti-sway bar. The steering rack mounts are original type but the picture frame is reinforced with Classic Jaguar blocks there they fit to avoid flex and crush.
Overall my ride quality is harsher than I’d like. I’ve set the shocks to their lowest setting, but I have been told the black rubber bushings would make a big difference in road feel. If I am ever in the position of replacing them I’d avoid the red urethane ones. YMMV
After today’s posts, I’m really leaning toward the black ones. OEM versus 3rd party comes into play. Heck when I get this restoration completed, I doubt if I’ll put on more than 500 miles a year so I might cheap out a bit and go with aftermarket.
I drove my 69 OTS yesterday, and again marveled how well the engineers NAILED the GT concept in late 50’s. Still a great riding handling car. As John said, don’t stray too far from what they spec’d. I have a CJ thicker front anti roll bar. I think it helped lean a bit. SNG black poly front bushings did nothing the OEM Metalstik stock ones didn’t do. A lot of work for nothing. Can’t wait for them to squeak (as Lloyd said) to make me crazy. I have GAZ shocks on the front. They’re not compliant on small bumps. The car’s jiggily. I can’t imagine what uprated front torsion bars would contribute on the road, to John’s point.
So my advice is make the car work properly with stock components and go from there. The smart guys who designed and built the E were really, really close to what a grand touring car (1960 definition) should be. I’d like to think I drive it hard. Still think my diff gear change to 3.07 was my best mod I’ve made to the car. Love that 3’rd gear pull! (No disrespect to Jerry M.)
Could no possibly agree more: make an E Types suspension up to factory snuff, and for street it is optimal.
The “E” is designed for racing on roads at speeds around 140MPH. You do not make sharp turns at 140MPH.
However, like a few of you, I don’t race at that speed. I autocross at speeds up to about 60MPH.
- Autocrossing is a constant series of sharp turns.
- Driving/accelerating through a turn is very different at 60 than at 140. At 60 MUCH more power is delivered to the rear wheels, resulting in the rear end wanting to “oversteer” and lift slightly on the inside rear wheel. A heavy duty front sway bar will hold the rear end more “level” resulting in less ability for the inside wheel to “lift” and thus lose traction. It cuts down on body “roll”. Having run the same car without and then with the HD front sway bar I can tell you there is a very noticeable difference.
I’ve done pretty much all of it on front suspensions on E Types over the last 25 years from racing to autocrossing the cars. The set up of the front suspension of an E Type is typical 1950’s - to 60’s thinking. Crappy roads and crappy tires. They were set up to understeer because in the era it was thought that extreme understeer was safer than the alternatives. Better off when going off to see where you were going rather then do it backwards. To get the desired understeer the suspension was designed to go into significant positive camber on the outside wheel, and negative camber on the inside as the car rolled into a turn. Take a look at old photos of E Types racing - the camber changes are truly frightening. These changes reduce the ability of the tire to generate grip. When Jaguar actually prepared the cars to race they dropped the upper control arm (UCA) pick up points about 1.125 inches, causing the UCA to take on a decided downward slope to the center of the car - the opposite of the road set up. This allows the UCA to in effect, fold in on itself as the picture frame rolls unto the turn, increasing negative camber on the outside wheel and positive on the inner. Most of the E Type racers have modified their suspensions to do this - I also have it on my street car that I autocross. It’s a transformational change but not easy to accomplish as it induces bump steer which has to be dealt with.
The reason why harder suspensions and stiffer anti roll bars work on street (otherwise unmodified ) cars is that by reducing roll they correct some of the really bad suspension movement in roll that induces bad camber changes. In effect they (only) cover up the bad mechanics. I’ve used both harder torsion bars and bigger sway bars. I found that the bigger torsion bars reduce the ride quality to unacceptable levels. The bigger sway bars don’t have the same effect unless you hit a significant bump with one wheel. They are neutral in most driving situations,. A 1" anti sway bar is also transformational but you need to reinforce the picture frame to use it, and the arms that connect it to the lower control arms are a bit dodgy as well (a problem I never successfully solved). As said these changes cover up the problem. The dropped UCA actually solves the issue, and enables me to use a hollow sway bar that is only 80% as stiff as the stock bar. A cardinal rule with non ground effects cars is that the softer the suspension the more cornering force it will generate. (There are other issues with it but no space…etc)
If you want better handling and feel here’s what I recommend : Use a heavier bar, put as much negative camber as you can get into the front suspension - that is take out all the shims except those on one side that you need to equalize the setting, and get some decent tires. A set of Avon CRZ66 tires in 205/70 -15 size will blow you away - at least for a while - they have a hardness rating of 80. Polyurethane bushing do virtually nothing, but poly rack bushing are a must.
That’s my two bits!