The future of Hydrolastic suspension

General Chat with an emphasis on BMC Minis & Other iconic cars of the 1960's. Includes information on MK1 Action days.
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smithyrc30
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Re: The future of Hydrolastic suspension

Post by smithyrc30 »

Supersonic wrote:
mk1 wrote:I can't help but think that Hipwell is right.

I just don't see how the figures on this can add up at all.

I know that a certain Mini Spares supplier looked very seriously into doing Mini Hydro units, but the project hit the buffers because they struggled to find the full spec & drawings.

I thought the same regards car numbers still around in context with the British Isles. Then think about the Southern Hemisphere, there are still large numbers of Minis and 1100 / 1300 cars that have survived in these dry warm countries.

And again, this project is about ten years down the road which has not helped, given many Minis have now been converted to dry suspension. :)

Alan
Although there are a relatively larger number of Mini survivors in Oz, they are slowly being converted to dry as the supply of good hydro units decreases. From the ones I have the weakest points are the rubber hoses as they rot and perish and being stored dry which causes no end of issues internally.

The final nail in the coffin as it were is the very small number of places you can go to get it re-inflated.

This makes it a devoted enthusiast option and therefore the numbers would be very small.
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Peter Laidler
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Re: The future of Hydrolastic suspension

Post by Peter Laidler »

I feel in my limited experience that it is the thought of depressing and re-pressurising that puts many/most hydrolastic owners off the system or even working on the system. Re-hosing doesn't seem to be a problem here - quite simple in fact! Neither should draining and refilling and subsequent repressurising. All that takes is a readily available hand pump (off EBay for £60) and follow the simple instructions. In fact, I'd say avoid one of the communal hydro pumps like the plague!

But remanufacturing new units....... wowee....., not for the feint hearted I say!
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Spider
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Re: The future of Hydrolastic suspension

Post by Spider »

I made my first Hydro Pump from a Clutch Master Cylinder. I later added a Vacuum to it by drawing off the Inlet Manifold via an old Gas Bottle.
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iain1967s
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Re: The future of Hydrolastic suspension

Post by iain1967s »

Not Hydrolastic, but at least a step in the right direction.

Hydragas and Hydrolastic Service Ltd (Ian and Dawn Kennedy) announced successful first test of newly manufactured internal diaphragms for Hydragas units.

So if you have old Metro etc units that were leaking fluid - perhaps because you re-pressurised the fluid without also refilling the nitrogen - they may now be repairable.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Hydrosu ... 8399381783
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mab01uk
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Re: The future of Hydrolastic suspension

Post by mab01uk »

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mab01uk
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Re: The future of Hydrolastic suspension

Post by mab01uk »

Interesting extract below from an article on Keith Dodd of Minispares attempts at getting the Competition and Standard Hydrolastic units remade back in the early 1980's:-
http://www.minispares.com/article/Minis ... Suspension

"Between 1978 and 1981 Dunlop USA spent $102 million on modernising its European tyre business. The British workforce was cut from 13,000 to 7,000 with departments being closed down, hence the probable loss of the hydrolastic tooling . It was after a disastrous merger with Pirelli in 1971 until 1981 that indirectly lead to the whole Dunlop group of companies being sold to BTR in 1985. BTR who also made the many rubber body seals for the mini gradually split them up and sold them off, with the Systems and Components division transferring to Trelleborg AB at the end of the 1990's, but a management buyout in 2007 allowed the company to modernise, culminating in the current building which was completed in 2014.

I had always been trying to get Alex Moulton to help in getting the competition hydrolastic units remade early 1980's and standard units again especially after Rover made them obsolete when stocks run out in 1989 but he had no interest at all saying they were too difficult to manufacture and that he would not part with any drawings or any help in the manufacturing process at any cost. Alex Moulton also reflected on the cost and scrap rate encountered, but my contacts in Rover etc were unaware of any major production problems. Unbeknown to me Dunlop had discontinued making displacers in 1978 and must have suffered any losses themselves as I never had any warning the huge testing equipment and tooling would be scrapped and as sales were quite low the "all time buy" by Rover allowed them to carry on selling them at £27 to Mini Spares and other main dealers for over 10 years without any increase. Rover all time buys were usually 10 years worth of stock holding where they are obliged to keep replacement parts and the tooling was often scrapped (a bad policy for classic car owners but saved companies large amounts of money on storage of machinery or tooling and their replenishment costs which made good business sense at the time). In 1994 I bought my last 200 displacers sourced by Tony Fitchet who was Rovers scrap and clearance contractor at £52 each. I paid a lot more for odd new units that I could subsequently find afterwards.

Having spoken to Alex on quite a few occasions about hydrolastic units I also enquired about the Innocenti suspension cones I had discovered wondering if with his contacts he could get them made. (Plus the standard type of course as the only source available were Rovers made by Dunlop which were expensive.)

Big mistake! As he hated anything being uprated or stiffened but I debated the fact that many car manufactures were now fitting anti roll bars and stiffer suspensions for better handling. (BMW). Later interviews and articles regarding Alex Moulton also showed or indicated his complete dislike for the New Mini with its firm suspension."

Innocenti 120 Rubber Cones:-
"During a trip in 1984/5 to Ivra the Mini and Innocenti parts manufacturer and stockist in Milan I noticed some strange shaped rubber suspension cones that transpired to have been used on the heavier Innocenti 120 mini, produced from 1978 that was fitted with the 1275cc British Leyland power plant producing 74BHP. The Mini 90/120 cars production had finished by 1982 and having never seen this shape cone before I was intrigued enough to buy 100 for trial and found positive results and great feedback from rally drivers and performance mini owners, so I purchased the remaining stock of about 800 in January 1986 which lasted until 1993. It transpired Dunlop developed this shape to stop body roll on this taller heavier hatchback model to help change the ride over the cobbled or undulating Italian streets.
I contacted Dunlop about these special rubber cones with patent number 620734 but they were very reluctant to offer any help as they held the patents with BL/Rover, but having had 5000 of the Cooper S Wheels 21A1286 remade in 1980 by Dunlop I managed to find out from my contacts the bad news that the tooling had been scrapped and they had no interest in resurrecting the product (the same old sad story would unfold similar to the hydrolastic units)."
Last edited by mab01uk on Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
LuisM
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Re: The future of Hydrolastic suspension

Post by LuisM »

Interesting article,

does anyone knows how to identify these Innocenti cones ? Are ones that are marked "Made in Italy" under license of Dunlop ( something like that ) ?
I have 3 NOS units and was curious about the "Made in Italy" thing....

Cheers
Luis
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mk1
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Re: The future of Hydrolastic suspension

Post by mk1 »

That's a great article by KD.

It echos a lot of what I have gleaned over the years & although it would be fantastic to get these babies back in production, it has done nothing but re-enforce my view that it won't happen.

I'd love to be proven wrong though.
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mab01uk
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Re: The future of Hydrolastic suspension

Post by mab01uk »

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mab01uk
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Re: The future of Hydrolastic suspension

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