Hi-Lo fitting guide
Posted 16 July 2005 - 12:03 AM
(All pics are of the passenger side)
Loosen the wheel nuts on the side you’re going to be working on.
Jack and support the mini in a safe way on level ground, using axle stands where needed.
Remove the wheel. Now you will see the shock absorber, radius arm, subframe and the suspension cone and rubber doughnut.
Working in the boot of the car, undo the bolt on the lower end of the fuel tank strap and move the strap out of the way. Remove the fuel cap off the tank and carefully move the tank into the middle of the boot, re-fitting the cap so no fuel is spilt.
From inside the boot, undo the shock absorber nut on the top of the rear wheel arch, supporting the hub and radius arm with your other hand. Once you have removed the nut, lower the hub down as far as it will go and rotate the shock absorber towards the back of the car to get it out of your way.
Posted 16 July 2005 - 12:04 AM
Now the pressure is released from the cone and rubber doughnut you should be able to take it out. Sometimes it takes some persuading and wiggling.
Once out, this is what it should look like. On the left end is the knuckle joint, the middle section is the cone and at the right hand end is the rubber doughnut. Where possible it is advisable to use new knuckle joints, but I have re-used the existing ones as they were in good condition.
Next you need to break these parts down. Again, it may take some persuading, but plenty of WD40 and a strong screwdriver should see you right.
This is one rear Hi-Lo. It replaces the cone part of the original suspension set-up. The black part is screwed into the silver part with the lock nut being used to stop it slipping once set to the right high. I always smear the threads in copper grease to try and stop them from seizing over time.
Fit the knuckle joint into the end of the Hi-Lo with a smear of copper grease and also fit the rubber doughnut to the other end. At this stage it is wise to wind the Hi-Lo in so it reduces the overall length, making it easier to fit back into the subframe.
Before re-fitting the new set-up into place, pack the knuckle joint cup with grease if using the old one. If your going to use a new one, make sure the old cup has been removed. They can be pulled out, but most of the time they break up and you end up taking them out in bits with your pliers.
Insert the new set-up into the subframe knuckle first, making sure the knuckle locates into the cup, then unwind the Hi-Lo to increase the length until the doughnut sits into its location in the subframe. Make sure the knuckle joint dust cover is fitted back in its place too over the cup.
Posted 16 July 2005 - 12:05 AM
Now re-fit the shock absorber back into its location and bolt it up. Also re-fit the fuel tank back into its location, making sure the tank strap is sat properly and is tight. Re-fit the wheel and lower back onto the ground.
The same steps apply to both sides at the rear, the only difference being on one side (unless you have twin tanks) you can get at the shock absorber without having to move the tank.
Please be aware though that it will take a few days of trial and error before you get the ride height how you want it and level all the way round. Setting each Hi-Lo by how many threads you can see doesn’t work, and neither does using a tape measure straight after you fit them. You need to let them bed in for a few miles, then adjust each one a little at a time until it is how you want it.
To do this you will need a cone compression tool.
Loosen the wheel nuts on the side you’re going to be working on.
From under the bonnet, undo and remove the subframe tower bolt from the bulkhead cross member (34mm socket)
For those who haven’t seen or know what a cone compression tool is, here you go…
As you can see, there are 5 parts to it. There are two bars that look the same with threads at each end and a nut on one end. There is a different thread on these on the oppostite end to the nut, on one it is coarse and the other is fine (can’t remember the thread size). The coarse threaded one is for the earlier canes and the fine threaded one is for the later cones (post 84?).
Screw the bar with thread all the way down to the other bar that fits your cone thread and insert it through the subframe tower bolt hole and screw it into the cone as far as it will go.
Next take the ‘T’ shaped part and slide it over the top of the threaded bar and make sure the base is sat flush on the cross member.
Then screw the handle part onto the threaded bar. Tighten this down by h and as tight as possible, then I use a short bar around 8” long to tighten it a couple more turns. If you do this while the car is still sat on the ground, it uses the weight of the car to compress the cone so you don’t have to strain trying to compress it so far yourself.
Now that the cone is compressed, jack and support the car in a safe way on level ground, using axle stands where needed.
Remove the wheel and you’ll see a shorter version of the cone that you removed from the rear suspension tucked away in the subframe.
Posted 16 July 2005 - 12:06 AM
You may find it easier to remove the shock absorber and lower bump-stop from under the top suspension arm. This will give you a little more room to get the cone out, but the screw that holds the bump-stop in place can be a pain to get out, so unless you really need to, I wouldn’t bother.
Lift (or lever if tight) the cone upwards. Because the rubber doughnut is compressed you’ll have room above the cone to lift it and the knuckle out of its cup and free of the suspension arm.
As I said at the start, you’re bound to draw blood at some point!
Once the cone is out, it will look like this with a knuckle joint in one end.
If using the existing knuckle joints you need to remove it from the end of the cone, if you fitting new ones then leave it were it is.
The front Hi-Lo is slightly different from the rear – it doesn’t have the long bar part of it, but instead has a bolt with a hole drilled in the end for the knuckle joint to sit in. It still works in the same way as the rear, but is just a shorter version.
Put all the parts together, not forgetting to add some copper grease to the threads and wind the bolt part in as far as it goes (only hand tight though) to make the whole assembly as short as possible to make it easier to fit.
Pack the knuckle joint cup with grease if using the existing joint, or make sure the cup has been removed if using a new joint. Then insert the assembly into the subframe large end first and wind the bolt part back out until the Hi-Lo is sat in the rubber doughnut at the top and the knuckle cup at the bottom and re-fit the rubber dust cover.
Re-fit the shock absorber and rubber bumpstop if removed and re-fit the wheel. Lower the car back onto the ground and loosen then remove the cone compression tool.
Re-fit the subframe tower bolt and tighten to the torque setting in your workshop manual.
Again, the same steps apply to both sides at the front. It will also take a few days of trial and error before you get the ride height how you want it and level all the way round. Setting each Hi-Lo by how many threads you can see doesn’t work, and neither does using a tape measure straight after you fit them. You need to let them bed in for a few miles, then adjust each one a little at a time until it is how you want it.
Posted 18 July 2005 - 10:51 PM
If you are realy clever you can work out how much to shorten the trumpets to achive the ride hight you want, before they are fitted. The ratio of action of lever on the front is 3:1, therefore to achive a ride hight adjustment on the front of 1 inch, 0.333 ( 1 third) inch has to be removed from the trumpet length and for the rear , ratio of action of lever is 5:1, so ride hight adjustment on the rear of 1 inch requires 0.2 ( 1 fifth) inch revoved fronm the trumpet length. Dont over do it too much as this ratio changes as the car gets lower, also as said, it always ends up looking highr than it is, it will settle over a week or so.
To give a little more space when removing the front trumpets, before jacking the car up, remove the rubber buffer which sits on the subframe directly under the upper arm, it's held in place with a single philips screw. You can just see this in the photos above.
where posible, ensure the rubber dust boot is correctly fitted over the cup seat to prevent ingress of dirt, rapid wear will result in lowering of hight at an accelerated rate as a result of said wear.
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