Home Installation of a Handling Kit

Octagon Newsletter … June 1996

By Wayne Watkins

Last fall I was standing on the sidelines at Western Speedway watching some of the other MGBs in our Victoria MG Club slalom. Number one son points out that while my 'B' has a fair amount of body roll, the 'B's belonging to Dave Gatey and Roger Burgess corner nice and flat. Not being overly competitive I commented that no matter what you do, there is always someone who is going to be faster.

After some thought, and knowing I was going to be in the neighbourhood, I picked up a special handling kit from Octagon Motors. I knew what to expect because I had dropped by Roger Burgess’ home to see him installing his some months before. Roger called me a few weeks later to say that it wasn’t worth the effort and I would gain no advantage by installing a set of  these anti-sway bars on my car.

I finally found a few hours and did the installation. I used the usual ‘Wayne Factor’ … estimate the time will take and then multiply by 2.5. Front sway bar first, remove the old, install the new thick one … piece of cake. Now move to rear of car. Read instructions thoroughly all the way through before beginning. Experience dictates that this is a good idea. I am experienced. Forgot what chamfered means … looked up in dictionary. Slap palm of hand to forehead. Use template supplied on regular 8 ½ x 11 inch paper. Punch holes and drill from the template. After much filing and elongating of holes, I realise it would of been better to reproduce a template onto show card stock in order to obtain a more precise hole location. Proceed with installation of rear sway bar. Only two of the six bolts installed before I read, for the second time, that flat washers (supplied) should slide onto the bolt before installation. Installed the other brackets onto the U-bolts.

One nut does not feel right as I remove it with ½ a can of penetrating oil. I am correct … it is stripped. Refer to the instructions, which say, if the U-bolt needs to be replaced, here is the part number. This is Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Tried to re-thread the bolt for a temporary hold. It was a valiant try, just not enough material. Put it together as best as I can … new U-bolt on Monday. Oh yes, one bracket was painted, one was not (what do you expect from a British Supplier). Final connection of drop links. In true British form, they don’t fit. Well they will if first you take a ¼ piece of file and ream out approximately one thousandth in order to slide in the drop link. Oops, still won’t go in … no room between the leaf spring and bracket. Unbolt U-bolts, including the hand tightened nut with no threads and drop down enough to fit drop links. Note that instructions could have been more helpful, if they suggested the drop links could be loosely fitted first before the plates are attached.

Final result … while the next slalom will tell for sure, it seems to corner flat, just like in the ad. Also no skinned knuckles this time and the 2.5 factor was closer to 3.0.Worth the effort for the improved cornering while touring. Not being competitive, I realise that, if there is some improvement on the slalom course, that would be a bonus. But, of course, that is not the reason for the installation .. right Dave and Roger!!

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