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Duchess front ballast question

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Viewing 19 posts - 1 through 19 (of 19 total)
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  • #306532
    Michael Davis
    Participant

    @oldnslow

    Hey all, I have a Duchess.  does any one know how the fiberglass ballast box is secured to the car? I am referring to the one in the front trunk behind the grill. I need to remove mine, but it is filled with hardened concrete! Who ever filled it did leave a lifting lug/loop exposed, so I am thinking they were thinking it may need to be removed some day?!

    If it is bolted under all that concrete, I may have a time of it getting it out, eh?

    Thanks, Mike

    #306534
    crash55
    Participant

    @crash55

    look under the car to see if there are bolts . hand winch or engine lift ? or big hammer & bust it up . look through the library to see how to do it right . remove the torsion bars till you get the right ride height . also the less weight is like free horsepower

    #306536
    secretagentcat
    Participant

    @secretagentcat

    I own a Duchess and I removed my ballast box a few years ago. It was filled with pea gravel and it was only secured with 2 angle brackets that were screwed into the wooden top of the fiberglass box and then to the wooden frame just under the front of the trunk, by the grill. I removed the rocks and the box lifted right out.

    Hope this helps…

    #306549
    Michael Davis
    Participant

    @oldnslow

    I got it out. Thanks!

    #306550
    secretagentcat
    Participant

    @secretagentcat

    Great!

    May I ask if yours was attached the same way as mine…That is once you got that heavy block of concrete out?

    It must have been a tough job!

    #306551
    Michael Davis
    Participant

    @oldnslow

    At one time it had bolts that attached to a metal frame that is under the wood brace that supports the grill top. But they had rusted off. But the damn thing was so heavy I didnt know it wasnt attached. Im going to replace it with sand bags that I will strap down. This will give me access to the headlight and horn wiring, which was the reason for this project.

    #306553
    secretagentcat
    Participant

    @secretagentcat

    For what its worth, I removed my ballast all together. I’ll be changing the stance with drop spindles, when I change out the front brakes. Until then, I’ve driven her many times without it and haven’t had any problems…I like the extra space I have up in the Boot…I use the fiberglass box, that held the pea gravel, to hold tools and etc…

    #306554
    Michael Davis
    Participant

    @oldnslow

    How is the braking with no ballast?? Do the front wheels lock up easily?

    #306555
    secretagentcat
    Participant

    @secretagentcat

    I’ve never had them lock up with drum brakes but I’m not sure how she will be with disks. I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. In the meantime, I avoid hard braking at all costs…I really hate cleaning out the car after I’ve dirtied my pants!!! 😯

    #306556
    edward ericson
    Participant

    @edsnova

    I have a BCW car. No ballast in front. When I first bought it I could lock up the brakes—and did once coming up fast behind Mossberg where he stopped at the bottom of a hill!

    I found that replacing the 15-year-old tires with new ones helped immensely.

    Even better was when I reduced the pressure in the fronts to like 16-18 pounds. Really! There’s hardly any weight up there, you don’t need a lot of tire pressure.

    Pulling all six of the smaller torsion leaves from both beam tubes made it better yet.

    The disc brakes were the cherry.

    I can still lock them up, of course. But the rears will lock too then so just hang on.

     

     

    #306557
    secretagentcat
    Participant

    @secretagentcat

    And wear clean underware!

    Because First You Say It…

    Then You Do It!!!

    Lol

    #306558
    R.Putnam
    Participant

    @rickputnam

    We have a FiberFab, new drum brake system, with drop spindles. No pea gravel or concrete, just plenty of tools and supplies for longer trips. I’m with Ed, it’s all about good fresh tires, what a better ride and braking with quality tires. We keep our rear drum brakes adjusted up (with vw rear engine) and no braking issues. The oem design brakes will lock up if heavily applied, I would consider rear disc brakes with so much weight on the rear wheels. we run 30psi in the rear, and like Ed 20psi in the front. Good luck, and thanks for the posting.

    #306560
    Michael Davis
    Participant

    @oldnslow

    Im familiar with pulling torsion leaves from my early days of lowering Bugs on the cheap and letting them sag to the bottom. Thats not what Im looking for now. What I want in this car is a normal suspension ride and height. How many leaves do you reckon I need to pull to get the car to have the normal amount of suspension sag? Im not looking for a low stance, I just want to get it standing in the middle of its suspension travel.

    As it is now, after removing the ballast, it has sprung upwards and is at its upper limits against the the shocks. They are shorter shocks, I put them on because the when I had the ballast box in the car,  I estimate it is 300 pounds, it was bottoming the other shocks. I had no front suspension at all. I want the suspension to be at the level it would be if this was a Beetle on it.

    Im looking for a nice plush ride. I drive this car alot. Several hundred miles a week if  the weather is good.

     

    Perhaps I will unbolt the shocks, and see where the suspension sits before going to crazy. I might get lucky and have the right amount if sag, but the wrong shocks!?

    #306586
    Michael Davis
    Participant

    @oldnslow

    So, I removed the shorty shocks and yep, the suspension rose dramatically. The shorties were keeping the suspension in dang near full compression mode. Drove it around the block a bit with no shocks to let the suspension settle. It is sitting at half stroke, just like it should, so I wont be removing any leaves. Perhaps that has been done previously, as the suspension is plenty soft. I can bottom it out with a few really heavy pushes on the front bumper. Im a big boy though, 260 pounds. It rides a bit high from a purists point of view, but I will sacrifice that for comfort. Plus it will be loaded with luggage and tools and such.  Im hoping it will track down the highway better now that caster will be back to factory setting. I know, drop spindles. Maybe someday.

    So, now a new set of standard stroke shock absorbers are in order.

    I can for sure feel a bit more pep in the motor since removing that battleship anchor from the trunk! And the steering is much lighter. All in all, quite an improvement.

    #306590
    edward ericson
    Participant

    @edsnova

    Good news!. FWIW, minus all the small leaves my car rides about stock height—not lowered. That’s how much lighter the TD is over the front wheels than the Beetle.

    Get you a set of caster shims too. You won’t regret it.

    #306595
    Michael Davis
    Participant

    @oldnslow

    Ok. I cut and installed a new panel behind the grill, to replace the battleship anchor box, cut and installed a new trunk floor,and new front shocks. After a test ride, i put 70 pounds of sand in the trunk. (Inside a nice gym bag, so it can be taken out easily and just looks like luggage. This set up seems to be best. Nice ride, good stability. Next is a professional allignment and new skins all the way around.

    #306646
    Paul Mossberg
    Keymaster

    @pmossberg

    Unrelated to the thread, but I must protect my reputation (as murky as it is!).

    My friend Ed notes his brakes locked up when he came up fast ” behind Mossberg where he stopped at the bottom of a hill.”

    For the record, I stopped at the Stop sign, which just happened to be at the bottom of a hill. I know. Silly me. 🙄

    Thread drift over.

    I built a Duchess in 1982. Owned her for thirty eight years. Back in the heyday, most manufacturers provided recommendations on softening the front suspension. Classic Roadsters Ltd. took a different approach. They added the weight box. That was quite a challenge lifting the 150 pound box, over those broad fenders and down into the trunk.

    Now that you removed the box Mike, you may want to search the forum for recommendations re: removing leaves from the front torsion tubes. Of course, there’s no need if you are happy with the ride and handling as it is!

    I second Ed’s comments re: tire pressure. I rode around on 28-20 pounds for years, based on “modern knowledge.” Big mistake. Turns out even stock VW Beetles ran tire pressures in the low 20’s. When I lowered the pressures, the car changed completely!

    Paul Mossberg
    Former Owner of a 1981 Classic Roadsters Ltd. Duchess (VW)
    2005 Intermeccanica Roadster

    If you own a TDr and are not in the Registry, please go to https://tdreplica.com/forums/topic/mg-td-replica-registry/ and register (you need to copy and paste the link)

    #306652
    edward ericson
    Participant

    @edsnova

    I meant no disparagement of my friend and mentor. Of course he had a good reason for stopping!

    #306655
    Paul Mossberg
    Keymaster

    @pmossberg

    I (and everyone else) knows that Ed. I saw some humor in the situation.

    And have a crystal clear memory of the view in my rearview mirror! 😯

    Paul Mossberg
    Former Owner of a 1981 Classic Roadsters Ltd. Duchess (VW)
    2005 Intermeccanica Roadster

    If you own a TDr and are not in the Registry, please go to https://tdreplica.com/forums/topic/mg-td-replica-registry/ and register (you need to copy and paste the link)

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