old car

Andre Hartford Dampers

they are DAMPERS -  NOT shock absorbers!

Hartford was the American inventor and patentee of the friction-disc shock absorber.  Andre was a licensee, who made them in Europe.  There were other licensees.  The definition of suspension damper is a generic term that covers all such devices.  I suppose we must allow the inventor of a particular form of damper to choose the name for it, even if it is obviously a marketing ploy rather than an accurate description of its function.

These are more complex than they look and care needs to be taken in refurbishing them.  All spare parts are easily obtainable from vintage car parts suppliers

November 2003:

This drawing shows the assembly details of the damper

At least one of the Andre Hartford spring dampers is beginning to lose its discs; although I have some spare wood discs I discovered that modern fibre discs give a better ride.

May 2004:

After removing the board underneath the rear seat it was an easy job to remove and refurbish the rear dampers.

The rubber on the original silentbloc bushes had been bonded directly to the arms; the new ones have inner and outer steel bushes so there is less thickness of rubber to allow for the rotation.  I wonder how long they will last?

I oiled the springs using ATF and a paint brush as I had some spare.  And yes, I have used nyloc nuts - no point using the special domed originals with the new bushes.

The spare units that I refurbished were earlier ones and a little different to those on the car, but dimensions are the same and the two are interchangeable.

The rear dampers were dismantled and cleaned (both had been greased - they shouldn't have been!) and new bushes pressed in.

A touch of grease on the central pivot bolt is all that is needed.

June 2004:

New scales and Ferodo type friction discs have been fitted all round.  The Ferodo discs come from  Available Austins ; other parts from  Vintage Supplies 

It is surprising how many parts make up these dampers; many are being remanufactured and are of excellent quality.

The centre bolts and wooden bushes were worn badly on the front offside damper

- - - parts from the old rear units fitted.

For some reason the front nearside damper was totally worn out and almost everything had to be replaced except for the arms.

Even the brass discs were worn through.

August 2004:

The rims of the central stiffener and the outer brass disc sit proud of the friction material until .  .  .  .  .  . 

New parts need careful drilling and turning down to fit.

.  .  .  .  .  .  mounting on a faceplate and turning down the centre steel washers and the brass discs on the lathe, the friction material can now do its job!

I used 4BA steel nuts & bolts instead of rivets  .  .  .  .  . though rivets are now available from  Vintage Supplies 

.  .  .  .  .  .  and the assembly was araldited together for added strength.

when assembled it looked like this

.  .  .  .  .  .  with a smart new scale!

May 2011:

After an initial adjustment back in 2004 as they settled down, (socket through wheel spokes!) no further maintenance has been needed and 8,000 miles further on they continue to damp the springs well.