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Rear Road Springs

According to Riley Sales & Service Bulletin Vol.2 No.1, the early RMA rear road springs had 13 leaves with leaves 1 to 5 being 3/16 in. thick and the others being 5/32 in. thick. The Workshop Manual however says that RMA had 10 leaves all 3/16 in. thick.

According to Riley Sales & Service Bulletin Vol.2 No.4, the early RMB rear road springs had 13 leaves with leaves 1 to 5 being 3/16 in. thick and the others being 5/32 in. thick. The Workshop Manual however says that RMB had 11 leaves all 3/16 in. thick. This is confirmed in The Illustrated Parts List of 1951. The same Parts List also confirms that 2½ Drophead (RMD) had 11 leaves (same as the Saloon) while the Roadster (RMC) had just 9 leaves.

The RME had 11 leaves (one more than the RMA and the same as RMB), presumably the extra leave being a reflection of the extra work being done by the rear springs with the deletion of the torque tube plus a small increase in weight. Similarly the RMF had 12 leaves (one more than the RMB).

All springs are 45½ in.long and 2 in. wide. The bolt holding the leaves together is 23.25 in. from the front shackle and 22.25 in, from the rear shackle and the front section of the spring has two spring clips while the rear section has only one spring clip.

All springs have a free camber of 4 in. although the working camber varies,

RMA - 1.875 in. negative camber
RME - 1.750 in. negative camber
RMB - 1.875 in. negative camber
RMF - 1.750 in. negative camber

In practice the above figures are not much use to the owner. A more useful check is, with the spring removed, place it upside down on a piece of flat ground at measure the gap from the ground to the main leaf (now the bottom leaf) at its greatest point. This should be 6½ in.

Even this check does not reveal very much as a spring which is clearly sagging through loosing the temper may still achieve this measurement.

Cars with tired rear springs are a common sight but it is quite simple to rejunvinate the old springs. I bought my first RM in 1966, a 1953 RMF. It was just 13 years old but already the springs were sagging badly. I took them to a forge near London (Wimbledon) and had them reset and retempered but within 3 years they were again sagging badly so the process was repeated. Again they lasted about 3 years. In 1973 I moved to south Hampshire and decided to get the springs reset yet again although this time with a slight modification. I had the leaf below the main one (second leaf down) remade a little thicker (1/4 in.). The idea was to compensate for wear in the other leaves. I still have the RMF and the springs still show no signs of sagging. Since then I have carried out the modification on 3 more RMs and 2 prewar Rileys (one of the RMs was done in 1977) and none have needed to have their springs reset again. I know of many others who had their springs reset with the same modification and I have not heard of any subsequent problems.

A car which has the tail down syndrome does not necessarily have tired springs, the rear body mounting may be in need of repair (see here). Also a car which clearly sags more on one side than the other at the rear may have the front torsion bars wrongly set (see here).