Friday, 29 January 2021

Hotchkiss M201 Jeep Update; `Jeep Sag`; leaf springs and shocks replacement...


A couple of wet days spent in the garage working on the Jeep, With LED lights now wired in and a heater to keep away the worst of the cold it's good to make good use of the worse days of January weather getting the Jeep ready for warmer weather ahead, hopefully after Lockdown comes to an end in Spring...

Part of owning an historic Jeep is going to be working on them and for myself learning on the job, I am not a qualified motor mechanic, I build up mostly Fatbike bicycles these days, but worked a lot on my past motorcycles and had to fix Golf Course machinery in a previous job as a Head greenskeeper, and all that is self taught with a bit of help from knowledgeable  folks, internet group user pages and YouTube etc... all learning on the job.
With something probably always needing done on a 55 year old Jeep, the manual that came with the Jeep will no doubt see a lot of use, but first I had to buy some suitable tools to carry out services and replacing parts.

I need AF thread tools so a panner set and sockets were purchased, along with feeler gauges, and two used spanners via eBay for brake adjustments...


A second £30 LED work lamp from ALDI as these are really good and have had one already for over a year...


One underneath and one above the rafters will provide good enough light with the additional pair of LED strip lights now wired up in the garage, 


Big compressor will be handy for general garage duties like tyres, as well as air line cleaning stuff...


Battery charger, Trolly jack and axle stands, wheel chocks, and a wood block for jacking either end of the jeeps wheels clear of  ground contact...


Grease gun...

After a month of ownership I have clocked up around 100 miles on a dozen or so short drives around town and one along the coast and a found few things I wanted to address, the biggest started to come to light the more I put the miles on,  the Jeep has started to lean to the left had side (drivers side/nearside). 
A search online reveals a common problem with Jeeps with ageing leaf springs, and is referred to as `Jeep Sag`, with a level garage floor sitting a spirit level along the windscreen shows a drop of approx an inch to the left...



One of my Landrover friends suggested swapping the front shocks around as an easy job to try cure it, while a mechanic friend reckoned the leaf springs need re sprung or replaced, entering another lockdown rather than go to find a Blacksmith and travel (unnecessary travelling not allowed). I decided I would swap the shocks and if it still has the same lean after trying that I would order online replacement front leaf springs and shocks and replace, then it's a job done I don't need to do later on...

So swapping over the front shocks was straight forward enough to do.  First learning on the job confirmed having watched several Youtube films - some left hand side/near side wheel nuts and leaf spring nuts/bolts are left hand thread, so `righty loosie`  not the usual `lefty loosie`

!




There are no broken leafs visible in the front leaf springs...


Split pins removed soon had the shocks swapped over...


It was obvious the difference in shock lengths once swapped, I pulled the shorter one longer to fit on the rhs,
When off and side by side you can see the difference of length - around an inch...


Shocks back on and swapped across...



Back on it's wheels and rocking the Jeep to settle the shocks and the Jeep still sagged the same amount to the left hand side...



So are these shocks ok or do they also need replaced?, and is it the rear leaf springs causing some of the sag?, or is the chassis a bit twisted?,

I was unsure wether to replace all the suspension at once but with so much having been replaced by the previous owner in the last few months that he owned it (This Jeep had previously sat for 5 years unused), it made sense to replace the whole suspension just now then its all renewed at the same time as fuel tank and system, brakes, and steering, and tyres. Then it will be ready to use for warmer days ahead...

Front and rear leaf springs and new shocks were ordered from Dallas Auto Jeep specialists here in the UK and arrived a few days later. A lot of cash but will probably need done sometime in the future and its one less a worry of a mechanical fail happening while using the Jeep...
I painted the 4 leaf springs and top side of  new shocks that are painted black with the one can of `Drab Olive Green` spray paint I bought to touch up some other areas,  1 can is not not enough to spray everything But can finish underneath the springs  along with a few other areas where welded repairs were done once more cans that I ordered arrives before the Jeep goes out again.... 



A dirty job with grease etc to swap the leaf springs so I just left the old go Pro camera running to make a wee film doing front springs and shocks rather than try use my phone for pics...




So with the front end suspension replaced the Jeep now has only a 1/4" lean to left hand side now!, 
swapping the rear suspension should fully solve the problem, or as I just mentioned it may have a bent chassis!, but I'm sure it will be ok...



One of my Landrover friends told me to keep the old springs as they can be rebuilt and re shaped by a Blacksmith, Something he said he wished he had done over the years fixing up old Landy`s - having thrown old Leaf springs away which actually have better quality steel than most aftermarket modern leaf springs...

So another wet day came around so with the heater on and lights set up I set about fitting the rear leaf springs and shocks. These were slightly easier than the front because of no torque steer arm, there was a couple of issues but sorted as I came across them...




The shackle U bolts seem a bit too long as they had larger nuts on some under the lock nuts. when it came to re fitting with the new replacement leaf springs the thickness of the springs if different - less leafs on the new springs and about a 1/4" more tightening on the U bolts, so I added more large nuts to a couple where needed to take this up,  I think these shackle bolts come in different widths and lengths so may need to get shorter length ones.  I can look into it and swap them out easily enough if recommended by someone with more knowledge...









Here is the old spring with new spring on top...


see the thinner new spring, it has less leafs...



The other issue which also happened with the front replacement shocks was the rubber bushes were too firm to push in enough to get the split pin through so as with the front I used the rubber bushes from the old shocks to the new rear shocks,
I will find out if there is a tool to compress these rubber bushes?, and if so can fit the new bushes later, but the rubber on the older bushes is fine and not perished...


Last thing to do is grease up all  8 pivots on the leaf springs front and rear and job done!...


And the Jeep is sitting level now!,  a good job done...


And here is another wee film of the rear being done...




Will paint up underneath when it is dry as still damp today from being rinsed off for salt from a quick spin up the shops at the weekend...
The Jeep should drive even better with new suspension - they are sold as road springs and should compliment a lot of the work done by the previous owner..


More soon on the Jeep!...

Thursday, 28 January 2021

Isolation Cycle Pt 10; In search of Snow...

 


Up to Aitkengall Windfarm and Moneynut forest for a change of scenery, and maybe, just maybe a wee bit snow left from recent days...



The wind farm had a few big ice puddles that were solid and supported your weight, and with no incidents we took the road to drop down through the forest...


And we were not disappointed with several miles of crusty snow pedal deep in places...




G`s first cycle on snow using a Fatbike and she was soon leaving her own Scalextric slot...




Back on the road home and both buzzing...


A wee film, Song is `New Seeds` by Boards of Canada...

More soon...

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Isolation cycle Pt 9; Around the town...

 


A lovely winter morning to be out for a cycle, out without G I just went a pedal around Town to stretch the legs and make a different film today...

Famous Son of Dunbar, Conversationist John Muir.... Link; John Muir


Funny, this sign for the long gone Arcades is still here!...


The long gone sand is returning slowly to the East Beach!, after the recent works were done to try retain any sand that is brought in with big waves and storms...



Down the Harbour, and another monument to another son of Dunbar, Robert Wilson, inventor of the propulsion propellor, Link; Robert Wilson 


Another monument,  and prob my favourite, the 25 Pounder Howitzer, to honour the Artillary Regiments that had a presence in Dunbar for many years, Link; 25 Pounder Gun





Past the war memorial and along the cliff top trail...


WW2 Coastal defences re positioned to stop coastal erosion...


A souvenir left in one of the blocks from 1940,  remains of a wheel barrow...



One last well photographed  object, Belhaven bridge a tidal bridge and nickname of `The Bridge to Nowhere`...


Surly Pugsley is a monument to how great fun Fatbikes are!, maybe one day they will be recognised too!




Wee film, Song is Melanine` by Tycho, 


More soon...