If you have noticed a degree of rear end steering on your classic it could be that the leaf spring pads have come to the end of their useful life.
Compression and wear on the pads leads to movement in the rear axle which kicks and moves over bumps – in this situation it’s time to replace those worn out pads.
To make the task as easy as possible it is advisable to raise the car as high as possible off the ground and to remove the rear wheels.
Spray the lower shock absorber mounting plate securing bolts (below) with a penetrating oil to help loosen them.
Removing the nuts will need a long socket as the pads will have been compressed over time and the chances are that the nuts will have become locked in place so you may need to use a clamp or hammer to tension the leaf springs while you undo the nuts.
When they have been removed – be careful as the axle will drop free at some point, normally coming to rest on the exhaust – lever the plate and the U bolt away from the spring releasing the sandwich plate so that you can remove the old rubber pads. Then lever the top of the spring upwards to allow you to remove the top pad.
You can replace these with rubber pads or these days polyurethane alternatives (above) are recommended as they have a longer life and are not much more expensive – pads costs £8 each and you will need two for each side.
Before inserting the new pads – which have locating holes in them – smear them with a lubricant to help seat them properly and to reduce corrosion.
This is also a good time to check the condition of the U bolts and the bump stops at the top of the U bolts as well as the bump stop pedestal on the chassis – they should both be flat and line-up correctly.
To re-attach the shock absorber mounting plate to the axle and secure it all in place will need the use of a jack to compress the springs back into place and allow the U bolts to locate through the holes in the plate.
Rather than use the old U bolt nuts it is advisable to replace them with new nylock nuts and washers for a secure fit and use a small amount of cooper crease on the U bolt threads.
When tightening the nuts ensure that the tension is even on each of them and that the plate sits level.
Finally you should check the tightness of the nuts after 50 to 100 miles of use as they may need a few more turns.