In Part 1 of Refreshing the MGB GT Armstrong hydraulic lever shocks I talked about taking apart the MGB Armstrong front shocks in order to hopefully refresh them and put off having to purchase rebuilt units. While they are certainly ugly there’s nothing a good cleaning and decent paint job can’t fix.
I just happened to be at the dentist a few days back and was given a brand new toothbrush. Fortunately my dentist is a car guy with a Triumph and Lamborghini in his stable so using this toothbrush for cleaning my shocks is likely OK.
Logic would have it that the best way to clean these would be to use a solvent of some sort but it is recommended to only use oil. It took about 10 changes of oil in each shock to get them clean. At this stage there was still a small amount of goo in the shocks but they certainly look way better than before.
Here’s what the shocks looked like after cleaning. One thing of interest is how badly made these shocks really are. Typical of British manufacturing of the time the castings are quite rough. This certainly isn’t a Porsche or BMW.
It is recommended to add either 20W motorcycle/ATV fork oil, hydraulic ram oil, AWE68 oil or 20W engine oil. Does it make any difference? Maybe, maybe not. I used AWE68 oil as it was available and equivalent to 20W.
The shock is filled to just below the level of the gasket and cover plate. Looks good compared to the mess before.
I cut some new gaskets from scraps left over from the Payan engine gasket set that I purchased. Whether they needed the addition of Permatex Blue RTV I don’t know but it certainly can’t hurt.
After screwing the cover plate back down the shock is turned over and the valve and piston are removed. Additional oil is added while working the shock arms through their full motion. Bubbles will come out of the oil. Keep on adding oil and moving the arms until the bubbles stop. When you reinstall the valve and piston oil will come out making a nice mess but that’s part of the fun.
Here’s the good news. Both shocks now work beautifully, don’t appear to leak and cleaned up nicely. I guess the only decision now is what colour to paint them.