Talk Morgan

SSL verses Rutherford?

Posted By: Redfate

SSL verses Rutherford? - 29/12/18 10:56 PM

Hi, I am considering up grading the front suspension on my 2009 4/4. The stock suspension clatters and bottoms-out over pot holes and sleeping policemen even at slow speeds. It handles fine but is just too soft.
I've seen adverts in the club mag for SSL suspension and also for Rutherford suspension via Tim Ayers at New Elms.
Does anyone have experience of the Rutherford set up? Or does anyone know which might be better for general road use?
Cheers
Paul
Posted By: Steve19

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 30/12/18 06:04 AM

Hi Paul, for what its worth i have a 2010 Roadster and i replaced the stock shocks with the Rutherford shocks and i have definitely noticed a marked improvement in overall handling, a simple upgrade well worth the money in my opinion
Posted By: dmh

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 30/12/18 07:42 AM

I switched to Suplex and AVO shocks - a difference yes - but not sure it was worth £1300 ?

Good Luck
Posted By: Richard Wood

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 30/12/18 08:17 AM

Front AVO adjustables from Cain £174/pr inc. plus modest fitting charge. Huge positive difference.

Rutherford spec ones from HOE even cheaper.
Posted By: dmh

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 30/12/18 09:15 AM

Better shock absorbers as indicated by Richard - might be the way to go - at least initially.
Posted By: John V6

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 30/12/18 09:16 AM

The MMC shocks suck & wear out fast.
http://www.gomog.com/allmorgan/ShockFailing.html
Replacing them is an easy home mechanic job.
http://www.gomog.com/allmorgan/shocks.html
Posted By: Redfate

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 30/12/18 09:46 AM

Thanks guys, that's interesting.
I hadn't really considered just changing the shocks on their own! It's well worth a try though isn't it.
The car drives well and handles most things well until it hits a bump or a pot hole so thinking about it I guess the springs can't be too bad?
I guess I should try just changing the shocks and then go further if that doesn't work.
Posted By: stefan s

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 30/12/18 09:46 AM

I switched to the Suplex kit and it is realy an big diffrent on our 2009 +4. The AR the +8 and our previous 4/4 did not have any problem with the original frontsuspension.

Stefan
+4
+8
AR4
Posted By: MOG 615

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 30/12/18 10:32 AM

Paul

Although I am not totally familiar with that era 4/4 , many +4 owners of that period have improved front end bottoming out by fitting harder springs. (140 lbs from memory) These together with a front end rebuild incorporating hard chrome king pins and spirally grooved bushes certainly did the job. Someone like Cain at Wolf Performance is well versed in this and can offer advice and help (or do the job at reasonable cost)

The SSL front kit does improve the handling by taking the rebound spring out of the equation BUT it generally results in slightly "softer" (but very well damped and controlled) handling so perhaps not the route for you?

However in most cases the SSL front is a very worthwhile mod, it makes the car much better on bumpy surfaces , and the handling is "tighter" so I do heartily recommend it.
Posted By: sospan

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 30/12/18 10:41 AM

My rear Khonis failed so replacements bought. I got the AVO’s from Tim Ayers and replaced the fronts at the same time. A definite improvement after playing with the settings to get them right. Fronts are easy to replace. Rears easy too if you remove the rear shelf for access to the top mount.
I am contemplating options for the front.
Bearings and new springs on the front (Mulfab version). Do I go for SSL instead?
Undecided. I need to try a car with it fitted.
Posted By: andymot

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 30/12/18 10:50 AM

Hi Paul,

I have a 2015 4/4 and was experiencing the same issues with bottoming out and clatters etc that you describe. I had a chat to Cain at wolf performance who has sorted my car better than I thought possible.

Its now more akin to a posh "Caterham". He upgraded the springs to heavier duty - also changed the re-bound ones to suit. This was complemented by a set of adjustable shocks. Car is transformed and no hint of clatter or banging. Handling is greatly improved.

Whilst he was wielding the spanners he sorted the steering with some new bearings and a few tweaks to the alignment which has truly sorted the steering.

All supplied and fitted for less than the other option and with enough change to add a Panard rod.

Cain isn't a salesman and I'm sure he'd be pleased to discuss what he/you can do a 4/4 that's clattering - I'd strongly suggest you speak to him before you decided on the SSL kit or anything else.


Posted By: Redfate

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 30/12/18 11:25 AM

Hi Andy,
That sounds good.

"Its now more akin to a posh "Caterham". He upgraded the springs to heavier duty - also changed the re-bound ones to suit. This was complemented by a set of adjustable shocks. Car is transformed and no hint of clatter or banging. Handling is greatly improved."

If you don't mind me asking, what sort of money are you talking for that service? Just an approx guide.
Thank you.
Posted By: milligoon

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 30/12/18 11:26 AM

Happy Rutherford user here.

Had front and back done at same time as getting harden chromed king pins fitted.

Transformed the car from the Standard setup it came with (what ever springs were available in the parts bin at the time!)

New Elms fitted the Mulfab bearings at the same time and selected the springs to accommodate this.

Why Rutherford? in my case it was a no brainer New Elms is 15 minutes from me.

Obviously I can't compare it to a suplex setup as I haven't had one and this is my only Morgan.
Posted By: Redfate

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 30/12/18 12:04 PM

Hi Happy Rutherford user :-)

I bought my car from Tim at New Elms although its a bit of a drive from where I live :-)

He does seem to know his Morgans and races his own cars, I am tempted with Rutherford I have to admit :-)

Paul
Posted By: Paul F

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 30/12/18 12:18 PM

A 4/4 of your era has front springs that are insufficient for the job in hand. Many have upgraded to heavier duty springs to good effect. The factory shock absorbers are not great either.

I have upgraded our 2014 4/4 to adjustable AVOs and it made a big difference but did not prevent the bottoming out. When the King Pins are changed, I will be having heavier duty front springs fitted.

Tim Ayres will be able to advise on all counts.
Posted By: meabh

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 30/12/18 12:20 PM

I can confirm what Andy said. My Plus Four had 140lb front springs and Mulfab bearings with Spax all round and a Panhard Rod. It was firm and supple seemingly at the same time.
My 2010 Roadster came equipped with Avo's front and rear and is different but doesn't clatter or bottom out.
Posted By: Burgundymog

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 30/12/18 12:33 PM

Originally Posted By andymot
Hi Paul,

I have a 2015 4/4 and was experiencing the same issues with bottoming out and clatters etc that you describe. I had a chat to Cain at wolf performance who has sorted my car better than I thought possible.

Its now more akin to a posh "Caterham". He upgraded the springs to heavier duty - also changed the re-bound ones to suit. This was complemented by a set of adjustable shocks. Car is transformed and no hint of clatter or banging. Handling is greatly improved.

Whilst he was wielding the spanners he sorted the steering with some new bearings and a few tweaks to the alignment which has truly sorted the steering.

All supplied and fitted for less than the other option and with enough change to add a Panard rod.

Cain isn't a salesman and I'm sure he'd be pleased to discuss what he/you can do a 4/4 that's clattering - I'd strongly suggest you speak to him before you decided on the SSL kit or anything else.




+1 very pleased.
Posted By: Gambalunga

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 30/12/18 03:13 PM

The SSL system has a couple of advantages over the standard set up. If offers a comfortable ride with good handling, it has a rising rate second spring and is adjustable for both ride height and correct fitting.

The priority with the standard SSL kit is towards a comfortable ride however if someone wants a more "sporting" ride and handling they do also do a race kit. I am told that a higher rated spring can be provided on request. The softest spring from the race kit would probably be appropriate for fast road use but I have not tried it.

I am sure similar results can be achieved with careful selection and fitting of appropriate parts however I consider the kit fitted to my car well worth the expense.
Posted By: Redfate

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 30/12/18 06:41 PM

Hi Peter,
Did you buy the kit and fit it yourself?

I would like to fit mine myself if possible. I like playing in the garage and it helps to bond with the car :-)

That said, I'm thinking I'll probably need a "professional" to steer me in the right direction of what i need to buy.
I'm thinking I'll call Cain at Wolf Performance on Wednesday and also Tim Ayers at New Elms, explain what I think my car does and listen to their advice.

This time of year is great for playing with the car and preparing it for greater things come the better weather :-)
Posted By: Tony Quinn

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 30/12/18 08:23 PM

I had the SSL front suspension kit on both a 1954 Plus 4 and now on a 1961 Plus 4. I'm very satisfied with the combination of supple ride and good handling. It's designed to firm up when pressing on. This seems not to be appreciated by some users who feel that because it is supple over bumps at moderate speeds, it must be too soft for press on motoring. Not so. Having said that, it's a matter of personal preference. Both your preferred driving style and the quality of roads in your area may influence your decision.

The kit comes with excellent instructions with back-up advice from Peter Ballard if required. If you are moderately competent with a set of spanners it is easy to fit because it requires little compression when installing. The compression of the main spring is carried out by adjustment after the initial installation so that the bottom of the stub axle just comes into contact with the rebound spring. It usually requires checking and minor re-adjustment after, say 500 miles.

I have driven a 2004 Plus 4 fitted with the Rutherford spring and damper kit. I found it to be a bit 'jiggly', probably more due to the geometry of the track rods on Morgans of that era which resulted in bump steer. So it may not be a fair criticism of the Rutherford/AVO kit.

You can try my 61 Plus 4 but I'm in North Somerset whereas you are in London, but you're more than welcome. My Plus 4 also has the SSL rear 5 link kit. Very pleased with that too. Not cheap but I'm planning to keep the car for a long time.

Tony
Posted By: Heinz

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 31/12/18 02:36 AM

I have no experience with the SSL kit but here we have a lot of satisfied users. On my 2014 4/4 I have changed the dampers with AVO ones all around which are adjustable. And I have 140 pound springs of Mulfab in the front as well as the 4 seater 4 leaf springs in the back. The new rear leaf springs was the latest change in September of this year. Therefore I can report which single change has which effect.
It depends what you want, I can say that this final setup is very good and enjoyable. Especially the rear leaf springs allow to set the rear dampers softer and the result is a good match. With the original much too soft leaf springs she bottomed out at each railway crossing and consequently I hardend the dampers. That was a bad compromise because a damper has not the function of a spring. Now, with the stiffer leaf springs she rides softer but much more controlled and without bottoming because I can afford to set the damper softer.
A side effect is, that the braking is much more effective and the car feels very secure. Another very enjoyable side effect is, that with the stiffer leaf springs you have an immediate acceleration feel when throttling. And the cardan will not touch the floor any longer under hard acceleration in first gear when your tank is full and you drive with a passanger.

Both positive effects are caused by the stiffer leaf spring. A too soft spring as the OEM Morgan one is has the ability to warp. It becomes an S. Thus the energy of the acceleration does not feed directly the wheels, but this energy is consumed first by deforming the springs. Thus the indirect time-delayed feeling when acceleration is wanted.

To summarize, my investments were not too high. Regardless if you want to invest in SSL front system (which I personally would not do so far), it is very important to have the rear optimized in any case. As I prefer the more classic and rustical route. And the fpur leaf 4 seater springs are way cheaper than a 5 link rear axle.
Posted By: Redfate

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 31/12/18 10:14 AM

Hi guys,
The one thing that seems glaringly obvious from all this advice is that any change will be an improvement over the stock set up :-)
And all of you that have changed something have been very happy with the results.
I find that very reassuring, as it looks like I won't make a mistake and buy a poor set up which ever I choose.
Worse case scenario, if I end up not buying the best one, is it will still be big improvement by the sounds of it :-)
Also I now know I can find a way to stop the clattering for sure :-)
Thank you all,
Paul
Posted By: IvorMog

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 31/12/18 12:10 PM

I researched this long and hard before I bought and in the end went for the SSL and fitted it myself.

To get the optimum set up on the "Rutherford" setup or similar fixed spring methods you have to make sure you have exactly the correct length springs to get the correct interaction between the main and rebound just kissing the stub axle whereas with the SSL you can adjust it to get that relationship perfectly setup. Even then there will be some settlement in the first few (500 - 1000) miles and you can readjust with the SSL to get back to the correct setup.

You can't readjust the fixed spring setup without fitting new springs or shimming it and that means stripping it all down again or going back to the dealer.

So adjustability is one big benefit but don't underestimate the effect of the secondary rate riser spring on the SSL. It means you can start with a slightly softer main spring which give a very compliant cruising ride but than stiffens up with more aggressive cornering and absorbs some of the pothole bumps as the rate riser spring comes into play.

And a final benefit for me is that the preload is adjustable so when you are fitting it you don't have to compress all the preload. You can fit it with very little preload and then adjust to suit when everything is in place and fully contained. IMO much easier and safer. ( Although compressing springs is not necessarily unsafe if you do it properly and take the right precautions.)

As a generalisation, you can buy and self fit the SSL for about the same price as a dealer fitted "Rutherford" setup.

But then you also get the satisfaction of having sorted your own front end whilst really understanding how it works and being able to "play" with it in the future.

BTW, when I did fit the SSL it was a huge improvement over the standard setup both in cruising and spirited driving.
Posted By: Gambalunga

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 31/12/18 02:20 PM

I would agree 100% with both Tony and Bob smile
Posted By: Hamwich

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 31/12/18 02:35 PM

Originally Posted By IvorMog
I researched this long and hard before I bought and in the end went for the SSL and fitted it myself.

To get the optimum set up on the "Rutherford" setup or similar fixed spring methods you have to make sure you have exactly the correct length springs to get the correct interaction between the main and rebound just kissing the stub axle whereas with the SSL you can adjust it to get that relationship perfectly setup. Even then there will be some settlement in the first few (500 - 1000) miles and you can readjust with the SSL to get back to the correct setup.

You can't readjust the fixed spring setup without fitting new springs or shimming it and that means stripping it all down again or going back to the dealer.

So adjustability is one big benefit but don't underestimate the effect of the secondary rate riser spring on the SSL. It means you can start with a slightly softer main spring which give a very compliant cruising ride but than stiffens up with more aggressive cornering and absorbs some of the pothole bumps as the rate riser spring comes into play.

And a final benefit for me is that the preload is adjustable so when you are fitting it you don't have to compress all the preload. You can fit it with very little preload and then adjust to suit when everything is in place and fully contained. IMO much easier and safer. ( Although compressing springs is not necessarily unsafe if you do it properly and take the right precautions.)

As a generalisation, you can buy and self fit the SSL for about the same price as a dealer fitted "Rutherford" setup.

But then you also get the satisfaction of having sorted your own front end whilst really understanding how it works and being able to "play" with it in the future.

BTW, when I did fit the SSL it was a huge improvement over the standard setup both in cruising and spirited driving.


I fully support everything Bob says. I fitted my SSL setup on April 12th 2013. I needed to adjust it a couple of times in the first 500 miles but since then I've not needed to touch it, it's been perfect.

Wild horses on their bended knees wouldn't persuade me to go back to a stock setup.
Posted By: Heinz

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 31/12/18 03:05 PM

IvorMog, that sounds like a very reasonable pro for a try of SSL, not me right now, but everyone who is about to make a decision.
Posted By: sospan

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 31/12/18 05:06 PM

Interesting comments. For the front, the SSL seems to have good points re set up and post bedding in readjustment. I have read through the fitting and setup instructions and fairly straight forward. Also had a chat with Peter Ballard at Williams open day. I am becoming swayed towards it.
Posted By: Redfate

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 31/12/18 05:12 PM

Hi IvorMog, that was just the sort of reply I was hoping for, someone who had done it themselves and was happy with the result, Thank you :-)
I love to do things myself when ever possible and hearing from someone who has already suceeded always helps :-)
I've just read Daves thread about fitting his own pannard rod and that sounds worthwhile too.
Posted By: Gambalunga

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 31/12/18 07:17 PM

Just be aware that a panhard rod will stiffen up the rear suspension a little. It depends very much on your driving style as to whether or not you will notice a benefit. If you tend to corner fairly hard, particularly if you start to feed in throttle as you hit the apex, you will notice an improvement. If you have a more relaxed driving style you probably won't notice any difference.

Just as a little aside a panhard rod, a Watt's linkage, or some other form of lateral control must be used if coil spring suspension, such as the 5 link suspension, is fitted. Leaf springs have an inherent resistance to to lateral movement.
Posted By: series1

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 05/01/19 05:46 PM

Hi not long purchased a 2014 plus 4 with 2500 on the clock after a run to Yorkshire decided to renew all the suspension after looking around and trying a plus 4 with just the front fitted I decided on SSL front and rear, boy what a difference,the car is now very usable,fitted rear myself easier than i thought ,leaf springs came out easy,on front fitted chrome kingpins,steering now lighter, so very pleased with set up.If any body wants to try mine they are welcome,duncan
Posted By: OZ 4/4

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 05/01/19 08:31 PM

Originally Posted By series1
Hi not long purchased a 2014 plus 4 with 2500 on the clock after a run to Yorkshire decided to renew all the suspension after looking around and trying a plus 4 with just the front fitted I decided on SSL front and rear, boy what a difference,the car is now very usable,fitted rear myself easier than i thought ,leaf springs came out easy,on front fitted chrome kingpins,steering now lighter, so very pleased with set up.If any body wants to try mine they are welcome,duncan


Sounds like a very worthwhile exercise series1, Enjoy
ps, nice offer of a drive...
Posted By: CBY

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 07/01/19 10:48 AM

Fully agree with Ivormog who well summurizes the SSL advantages.

The best improvement made on my 2005 PLUS 4. A suspension which works on the right way.

On mechanical aspect, less stress on the chassis and the radiator. Installed by myself without difficulties, but if you have to change the kingpins and the bushes you must have some mechanical know-how and a reamer.
Posted By: Button

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 07/01/19 03:58 PM

The "Coil Over" shock rear suspension I have driven are trailing arm designed units. The rods go from the rear perch forward to the axle. Seems to Me this is much simpler than the SSL unit and I wonder why SSL did not use it.
Posted By: Peter J

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 07/01/19 04:59 PM

Originally Posted By Button
The "Coil Over" shock rear suspension I have driven are trailing arm designed units. The rods go from the rear perch forward to the axle. Seems to Me this is much simpler than the SSL unit and I wonder why SSL did not use it.


Talking to Peter Ballard it seems that the SSL design was arranged as it is to give a useful amount of anti roll and anti squat, hence the angled upper links mounted forward of the axle line...
Posted By: Redfate

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 07/01/19 06:20 PM

Hi all,
I had my car MOT'd on Saturday by a Morgan dealer, he advised that there was some play in my front suspension but nothing much to worry about yet. It would probably be ok for another year or two yet!
So now I'm thinking of just changing to the basic SSL front kit of springs and shocks and leaving the king pins etc alone for a while longer.
It sounds as though The Rutherford set up would require new king pins and bushes at the same time which I think would be unecessary for now.
I don't push the car hard and the handling for my driving style is pretty good, I just need something that will handle todays poor roads better.
I think, listening to you guys, I'll go with a DIY fit of SSL fronts and maybe some new shocks for the rear while I'm at it :-)
Posted By: Gambalunga

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 07/01/19 10:30 PM

A set of hardchrome king pins will not cost much. I would do the job while you are at it as the suspension will work much better with new kingpins and bushes.

There might be someone around who has a reamer and can help you fit them.
Posted By: Deejay

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 07/01/19 10:42 PM

Originally Posted By Gambalunga
A set of hardchrome king pins will not cost much. I would do the job while you are at it as the suspension will work much better with new kingpins and bushes.

There might be someone around who has a reamer and can help you fit them.

Sage advice indeed. If a job is worth doing...
and of course, the fewer times things are taken apart the better!
Posted By: Button

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 08/01/19 06:28 PM

Originally Posted By Peter J
Originally Posted By Button
The "Coil Over" shock rear suspension I have driven are trailing arm designed units. The rods go from the rear perch forward to the axle. Seems to Me this is much simpler than the SSL unit and I wonder why SSL did not use it.


Talking to Peter Ballard it seems that the SSL design was arranged as it is to give a useful amount of anti roll and anti squat, hence the angled upper links mounted forward of the axle line...


Don't understand how the angled upper links accomplish this. I would think the adjustments of the damper as well as the Spring Rate would control roll and either forward or rear mounted links squat. But remember I am a retired Accountant not Suspension Engineer.
Posted By: Hamwich

Re: SSL verses Rutherford? - 08/01/19 07:06 PM

Originally Posted By Deejay
Originally Posted By Gambalunga
A set of hardchrome king pins will not cost much. I would do the job while you are at it as the suspension will work much better with new kingpins and bushes.

There might be someone around who has a reamer and can help you fit them.

Sage advice indeed. If a job is worth doing...
and of course, the fewer times things are taken apart the better!


Absolutely. Once the hardchrome kingpins are in it should be good for well over 50,000 miles. Do the job once and you won't have to touch it again.
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