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Old 17-02-2018   #1
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Lowering a 76 124

I am considering getting a lowering kit for my 1976 124 Spider. I have 2 questions. One, is it extremely difficult and requires a full shop with special tools to accomplish and two, is it worth the effort? If any one has before and after pictures that show the difference, please post.
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Old 18-02-2018   #2
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Re: Lowering a 76 124

Fitting the rear springs is straightforward, just requires a means of raising and supporting the car safely and normal tools. Points to watch are not to over-extend the rear brake hose as you lower the axle and you'll need to adjust the rear brake-proportioning valve linkage to take account of the axle being closer to the body with lowering springs. Also check the lower shock mounting on the rear axle - they sometimes crack/break off.

Fitting front springs is a little more difficult - main problem is compressing the springs - springs compressors that fit on the outside of the spring generally won't fit - you need one that goes inside the spring - there used to be one designed for Mercedes cars? that worked great. I've heard (I'm not in the U.S.) AutoZone? or one of the major parts suppliers do one for hire. Having removed the shock absorber, compress the spring and either disconnect the top balljoint or iirc you can remove the top A arm pivot bolt to remove the spring. If you find it difficult to push down on the lower A arm in order to remove the (now) compressed spring, disconnect one end of the anti-roll (sway?) bar - makes it a lot easier.

Points to watch are - again support the car safely, don't strain the brake hose (best to remove and tie up the brake caliper if unsure), check the top shock mounting in the bodyshell (shock tower) for cracking. Iirc the top part of this is only held in place by 4 spot-welds and can pull away, especially if stiffer shocks are fitted, worth reinforcing if doing bodywork (access is poor with engine in situ). Ideally you'll need to check/adjust wheel alignment (tracking and especially camber settings) afterwards but you may get away without this. Maybe see how the car drives first?

So the job is entirely feasible to do at home with just basic tools plus hire a spring compressor and then bring the car afterwards for the wheel alignment if you're not equipped for this.

One final point. Fiat use shaped spring pads (cushions) above the top of the springs into which the end of the springs engage. Top springs (F+R) use a sheet metal pressing over a rubber cushion. If you are fitting lowering springs, these top mounting pads may need to be rotated to allow the new spring ends to seat correctly. (the pads/cushions are a push-fit, just prise off and place on top of the spring before fitting the spring).

Just to clarify - the lower spring ends engage in pressings (depressions) that match the spring end shape in the lower A arm (at the front) and on the rear axle but the upper spring pads/cushions are moveable in order to allow the upper spring ends to seat correctly.

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Last edited by F123C; 18-02-2018 at 10:32.
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