XK120 rear shock absorbers and links

Hi guys,

I know this has been dealt with before some years ago. And here we go again.

The rear shock links on my 52OTS are tired and worn out - actually they are on their way out.

I have new links and bushes for this but as I can understand the way this is designed it will only be a matter of time before the new ones comes of. SO -. what to do?

My question is really - how to get the old ones of and the new ones in???

I have planned to fix one side at a time since I only have one floor jack. But do you need to decompress the absorber before you can take of the link and put the new one in?

When it was on a lift - I could not remove the links cause the suspension was hanging and therefore the absorber was stretched.

Or - if you have another idea to just have the old links stay put so they do not fall off?

All the best


I drilled and tapped holes in mine and put in screws with large washers.


If you put your jack under the leaf spring you can then take out the link.

Hi Rob,

Thanks for sharing pictures etc.

It looks like you have set a pair of screws through the link or how did it work out?

I may have understood the procedure wrong?

Many thanks


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Not completely through, just in a blind hole.
I used 1/4"-20UNC but you may be able to get 6mm taps easier.
screw and washer added

Hey Per,

Mine were also “finished” but I decided to solve it in a (slightly) different way, partly using the old components.
Picture below shows the disintegrated “Link and Pin” construction.

I re-used the old pin but in combination with new rubber of the correct size (I compared a lot of rubber tubes before I found the correct size…).

If you keep the new rubber slightly longer than the bushing, the large washers at both ends will compress the rubber and create a good fit.

Just like Rob, I drilled a hole in the original Pin and tapped it and then screwed in a bolt (with a large washer under the head) to keep the rubber in compression mode…

Of course, using new pieces of rubber is not the same as the original rubber-bonded construction. But if you accept the additional large washers, this is a safe and functional solution that will last for many many miles (or kilometers in your and my case).

Bob K.


Hi Bob and others.

I made the links with new bushings - pressed them in and fitted them, as they were fitted back in the days.

Im on my way through Germany and on the way one of them went out and then - I had no damper/shock working in my left side. Felt weird driving on the freeway in Germany.

I stopped - and fortunately the link were still there.

I managed to get the bushes pressed in again. But the problem with the shock arm and the point on the axle where the link goes in is —- the arm and hole on the axle does not align. Therefore the link will get stressed and fall off.

When I put it back in - managed with help at a gasstation and by using the original jack (works perfect).

Because I do not have a workshop at my hand and I am on my way - I did the best I could with what I had at hand - some steel wire. Wrapped it around the top of the link which is in place but it still want to work its way out. This time only the upper part - the one fasted to the shock arm is in right place.

It is one of the bushes (two for each link hole) which is on the way out again.

Maybe its far fetched - but i know its not good to drive without one shock that is disconnected. The second best must be to try and keep the link in with steel wire.

If you have other handy ways to keep it in while on the way please write them.

All the best

A guy passing through Europe in a Xk120.

Best regards

everyone should carry heavy duty wire in their car really, especially if its an old one

Its saved my backside a couple of times

heavy duty wire, tape, and a roll of electrical wire

I have these units out of an old MKVII

I believe they have a different damping rate than XK120, and also have a slightly different size of mechanical components, so those drawings will help me work out what to do with them

Something sounds wrong there. They should be in reasonably close alignment.
Can you give us a picture?

Sorry my way of writing it. They are pretty close in being aligned- but still.

I will travel on today - and get more heavy duty safty wire.

Or maybe I will try and get at hold of a shop where I can get the links fixed the way you guys have done.

Just wanted to know if it was ok to ride on even though the one link is causing problems.

We are going through Belgium today - on our way to celebrate 100 year at the Le Mans. People needs to see a proper sports car - and one with a history when it comes to Le Mans

All the best


You just went south of my place (near Eindhoven, NL) and we could have drilled an extra hole at the other side of the pin (the side without a nut) and put in a bolt…

Drill a hole in the Pin, tap a thread of whatever type is around (M6, M8 or M10 is available everywhere in Europe) and look for a bolt that matches the thread and use a large washer (what we call a “D x 3D” washer. Your rubber can no longer escape!
As an emergency repair, you could even use a larger self-tapping screw or even a self drilling/tapping screw, again with a very large washer.
May be some garage underway to Le Mans is prepared to help you. Might take 30 to 60 minutes.

Bob K.

Hi Bob

I went to a garage in Osnabruck - we drilled a hole - put on a washer and thats it. Fixed. The bushings that came with the links I put in cant sit properly.

Now both sides are fixed.

We go home from Le Mans sunday - maybe we stay near you before we drive back to Denmark.

Thanks for the help.


Happy D-Day Everyone. I’m just back from an XK 120 Rendez-Vous that saw many 120 Racer types as we drove through the Northern California Sierras in a spirited fashion. I had myself, and my gal, plus all our “stuff” for some 5 days on the road. We were somewhat “Loaded”.
I recently rebuilt the entire front suspension, including the steering box on my low mileage, mostly original '52 FHC. I went for the Spax adjustable tube shocks at the front, and a thicker Moss front sway bar. However, the rear shocks, links, and leafsprings remain original.
With the added weight in the boot/trunk, I experienced some “wondering” of the rear axle; at least that’s what it felt like. I am a NEWBY to these XKs, so I don’t really have anything to compare too.
The front shock manufacturer recommends to start off at the very lightest/softest settings, then dial up a notch at time for your desires. So far, I can’t tell a difference, and the front seems fine with my EXCELLENT new Blockely tyres/tires.
From the seat of my pants, I can maybe up the front shocks a notch or 2 for super spirited Mountain driving. However, I am at a loss with the lever action rear shocks.
Is Apple Hydrolics the go-to for us in the US? I don’t wish to violate this mostly original car for the tube-type shock conversion. I’m not a racer, but I do push things with this car.
Any suggestions on how to improve this low mileage, mostly original buggy?

We don’t usually do much with the rear lever shocks except fill them up with shock absorber oil and replace the seals if they are leaking.

Also check the condition of the rubber in your rear shock links.

How do you keep the Pins from spinning when removing the Mounting Nut? I tried an impact wrench. Now that I see the taper…I wonder if I could use a Pitman Arm Puller to push the taper into the Shock Arm…trying to keep it from turning. Haven’t tried heat on the Nut…and since the Rubber Bushes are perished…that may work. I doubt they have parted in 72 years.
Thanks for any ideas!


Don’t know about modern replacements for the rear shock dampers. But we do know that Jaguar came to the same conclusions and updated the rear shock damper during the production of the XK 120.

Two different versions of rear shock dampers (of the Girling PV.7 type) have been used on the Jaguar XK 120 over the period 1949 - 1954. The difference is in the valve setting to affect the flow of oil and thus the character of damping.


The first type (Jaguar C.3752 & C.3753 for RH resp. LH) was used from start production until about May 1952. These first Girling rear dampers can be recognised by the stamped figures 59 (for RH damper) and 60 (for LH damper) on one of the mounting bosses.
The stiffer later dampers (Jaguar C.7214 & C.7215 for RH resp. LH) were stamped 71 resp. 72 on the same spot. See pic.


Now the question is what month your XK 120 FHC was manufactured and whether you have the early or later version?

I also heard about companies that used to “upgrade” these lever arm shock dampers for racing purposes (which was quite common in those days). May be the companies that still recondition these type of hydraulic shock dampers could also replace the valves & springs.

Bob K.


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