Dutton Kit Cars and their owners

Hi chaps,

I've just bought a pair of compression struts for the front of my Escort-based S3 Phaeton.

For those of you who have done this conversion, do you just bin the ARB altogether, or have you modified it with drop links and retained it for use as a pure anti-roll device now that it doesn't control axle location?



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I think we'd need to ask Mr Dutton what the bike shocks came from, as nobody seems to know! 

Watch this video as a good example. And, before you suggest it, no, I cannot afford a Cosworth-powered Westfield. See how the guy uses the brakes to nip the nose just before he tweaks the handbrake. Outside front tyre is loaded and sticking nicely, and the back comes around really quickly. 


Could be wrong, but I'd reckon he's running a soft spring but with a firm-ish damper, and some rebound damping to keep a bit of weight over the nose while he's getting it spinning. But I'm far from an expert. What do we reckon?

I think that is a very impressive bit of driving! It also led onto lots of other clips of stunning skills.

There is a fair amount of nose dive under breaking so I guess he is running fairly soft rates at the front. He didn't get a lot of body roll but there is definitely some there when he is swerving, as opposed to sliding.

I've already offered to trade my left nut for 10% of that guy's talent, but he's not interested.

Good luck with that. I don't think he knew at the time let alone 30 years later.

Sounds like a job for me, a ruler and a big press...

It is not rocket science to measure your spring rates, then you'll know where to start from.

I'm not just 100% sure that the bike dampers can even be dismantled to take the spring off. I think they're a sealed unit. But, then again, would you even need to remove the spring to measure it, or just apply the same principles to the damper as a whole?

If anyone has an S3 Phaeton with these shock sitting closeby and possesses a vernier caliper, would you mind terribly nipping out to the garage and measuring the diameter of the body of these shock absorbers? I'm trying to see if there's an off-the-shelf option to fit a coilover conversion kit. I'm on an oil rig in the middle of the "Bumfuck, Nowhere" shipping region, so would appreciate the help!

Cheers in advance!

The Duttons I have encountered with mobike monoshox on (phaeton3 and melos) were fitted with 1.7"ID springs and had an open/closed range 8" to 11". They were replaced with AVO 080110 and 1.9"ID Suplex springs

For the open/closed range we could only find mobike monoshox or 'race' type adjustables both of which seemed to be not dissimilar in price which at todays prices are gonna be £100+ per corner. All the car dampers we looked at (BMC mini are quite short) are all too big on the damper body for the 1.7" springs. I suspect by the time you have bought suitable 'off the shelf' dampers, a coil spring conversion kit and new springs and whatever else you'd be back to the same sort of price as a Gaz set up. Sorry if thats not what you wanted to hear.

Hi Vern, I'm certainly not getting upset about it, just seeing if there's a cheaper way to get softer springs and height adjustment onto the shocks that I already have. If there's an option, brilliant. If there's not, it can stay as it is.

I hear what you're saying - could well just be incurring a load of extra hassle to end up in the same cost ballpark as shelling out the money to Protech or Dampertech for something "proper".

Good into on the shocks, though, so thanks for coming back. I think the acid test will be to see if removing the ARB makes any difference to the suspension travel on the standard shocks. Then we'll take it from there.

Removing the arb causes more front roll just the thing you need to keep to a minimum for autotest. So you would need to go way up on front spring rate to compensate, the youtube you posted show the car very flat but plenty of dive when on the brakes. Keeping the front arb and going to softer springs as Dave A suggests should fix that. I would start with keeping the rear leaves std escort saloon and a lateral link as the axle moves sideways a lot when autotesting. When the front end understeers then correct it with the right foot as in the vid. This should give you a 'flat' car that will spin, flick and j turn. This is somewhat different to what I have used for the road. (stiffer front, and soft rear). AS for caster and camber I would try for low caster angle to make it easier to steer then use a high ratio rack and minimum camber since you would have little roll then there would be little value in high camber angles and you don't go round corners fast any except sideway ;)


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