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Discussion Starter #1
Just picked up a '75 Spider to round out my garage, midlife crisis, etc. :thumbup:



The PO did an excellent job maintaining the car, and recently replaced all the suspension bushings, but I find the rear a bit soft (I can push the backend several inches with one hand) and the ride height too low (about 21.5" to 22" from ground to wheel well). So I ordered a pair of new Centerline Performance springs, I seek some info on how best to get under the backend.

Some searching shows that folks like to lift the rear by jacking under the differential.

Once it's up there, what are the options for placing jack stands? Most pics show them under the jacking points. If those look dodgy (I need to inspect them), where else might I support the back end to give me room to drop trailing arms, swap out springs, etc.?

TIA
 

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Honestly, if you don't think the rear jack points can hold up the car then you probably need to ask yourself if it's worth putting new springs on it. They shouldn't be "dodgy"

The rear feeling soft and being able to push it down a couple of inches is normal. You certainly wouldn't want to compare it to a Mini Cooper. Measuring height to the wheel well arch depends on the tires. The correct way to measure is between the top of the axle tube and the rubber bump stops at each end. The specs are in the manual and depend on the model year.
 

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The back end is supposed to be soft

Do a search and have a read on preferred suspension set ups, you'll find most people (with decades of exp.) keep the rear soft to ensure traction and predictable handling.

Of course it's also a personal and subjective thing but do some reading first.

If you don't trust your jacking points and sills you shouldn't to be driving the car, that's where all the strength is. The floors and transmission tunnel are made of tissue paper
 

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I will echo Paul and Craig on this. If your jack points aren't safe, changing out the rear springs should be much lower on your list of priorities.

But, if your jack points are solid, I like to jack up the car fairly high, put axle stands at the jack points and then, put my hydraulic jack under the differential to "play" with the weight. If your jack doesn't have a piece of hard rubber on it, use a piece of wood to protect the dif.
 

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I'm going to repeat what more experienced guys said above about having a soft rear end. Alfa engineers designed it this way, and it works great. Alfa's are renowned for great handling. Alfa engineers were not stupid.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

If you put in those stiff springs, you'll probably need to compensate with new front springs, shocks, sway bars, etc. The suspension is a system.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the responses.

As for the jacking points, they may well be kosher. I was merely anticipating snags there, since I am used to the tire-changing jack points being worthless (i.e., on the Mini), and prefer frame spots instead. Happily, I haven't seen extensive rust underneath, so the side points may be fine.

Maybe the rear softness is "working as intended" - and I certainly don't expect the back end to stiffen up like the Mini. That said, she currently rides low and soft enough to scrape the muffler and pipe on all but the shallowest of dips, driveways, etc. I've also pored over other threads on ride height, and pictures of other Spiders, all of which suggest that the current rear height is off.

If the new springs throw the system out of whack, I suppose I'll need to explore some spacers to get better clearance with the current springs - or double down on stiffer front springs, shocks etc.

Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Finally got a manual and checked the clearance (as best I could) between the axle and the bumpstop. It's woefully less than the 33mm spec, so those springs are shot. The new springs arrived today though.

We'll see if they alter things too far in the wrong direction.
 

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...checked the clearance (as best I could) between the axle and the bumpstop...
I measured my "two fingers" and they came out to about 36 mm so I just used them like a feeler gauge. In your case it sounds like someone might have helped his girlfriend move a refrigerator at some time in the past :whistling:
 

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.... those springs are shot. The new springs arrived today though.
Keep in mind that if you disconnect both limit straps and both shocks, and lower the differential enough to release both springs, you may stretch / break the brake flex line. To avoid removing the flex line and then having to re-bleed the system, just lower one side of the differential at a time, and replace one spring at a time. I usually raise the side I'm not currently working on, to ensure that the brake line doesn't get stressed.
 

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Keep in mind that if you disconnect both limit straps and both shocks, and lower the differential enough to release both springs, you may stretch / break the brake flex line. To avoid removing the flex line and then having to re-bleed the system, just lower one side of the differential at a time, and replace one spring at a time. I usually raise the side I'm not currently working on, to ensure that the brake line doesn't get stressed.
Thanks for the heads up. Currently, I am puzzling through how to get the **** thing up at all.

The jack points look pretty solid, but I need to raise the car a bit just to get my floor jack under the differential at all, let alone with a piece of wood drilled to keep the load off of the drain plug. Hopefully, I can jack up one side under the jacking point to slide a couple planks under the wheel for enough clearance to position the jack/wood block under the middle.

The bushings were refreshed last year, so I am only going for the springs. I'll do them one at a time to lay off the brake line.
 

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Thanks for the heads up. Currently, I am puzzling through how to get the **** thing up at all.
Yes. You will need to use a "low profile" floor jack to fit underneath the differential. If you don't have one, you might be able to raise one side of the rear with the tire jack under one of the jack points (to get the additional clearance needed to fit your standard floor jack under the differential). Then you can proceed to raise the differential with your floor jack to get both sides up and insert jack stands. But of course you will have to include this extra step when reversing the procedure upon completion of your work....
 

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Yes. You will need to use a "low profile" floor jack to fit underneath the differential. If you don't have one, you might be able to raise one side of the rear with the tire jack under one of the jack points (to get the additional clearance needed to fit your standard floor jack under the differential). Then you can proceed to raise the differential with your floor jack to get both sides up and insert jack stands. But of course you will have to include this extra step when reversing the procedure upon completion of your work....
Yep, getting her back down is the main puzzle. My plan is to see if some boards under one of the back wheels will get me enough space to start lifting. If so, then I can lower it back onto the boards to get the jack out and then finish by jacking up that side to remove the boards.
 

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This seems odd, I've never had any problem getting a regular floor jack under the differential. What size wheels/tires do you have. Standard for that vintage would have been 185/70-14.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
This seems odd, I've never had any problem getting a regular floor jack under the differential. What size wheels/tires do you have. Standard for that vintage would have been 185/70-14.
The wheels/tires are standard, but the rear end sits too low because AFAICT, the springs are shot.
 

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The wheels/tires are standard, but the rear end sits too low because AFAICT, the springs are shot.
Sagging springs will never affect the height of the differential to the ground, only wheel and tyre size. Springs affect the height of the body shell only.

This is a really simple job, jack the thing up chuck some jack stands under the jacking points or somewhere else. I assume you will need a spring compressor and rip the old springs out and chuck in the new ones and drive off.

2 hours max, with a lunch break.
Pete
 

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...This is a really simple job, jack the thing up chuck some jack stands under the jacking points or somewhere else. I assume you will need a spring compressor and rip the old springs out and chuck in the new ones and drive off...
It is an easy job and you don't need a spring compressor. Put the jack under the trailing arm, disconnect the bottom shock mount, remove the rear attach bolt and lower the arm until the spring comes out. The axle is already hung by the limit straps.
 
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