Merlin TF Rear Suspension Problem
by Ray Stone
I am the proud owner of a Merlin TF circa 1982 which I purchased in 1991. The car was, alas, in a sorry state and required a strip down and rebuild. This has been carried out over the last 4 years, at some expense, and has been very time consuming. Much to my amazement and great relief the car passed the MOT with flying colours, after being off the road for the best part of 6 years.
One fine day at the end of June my son said if I took him for a ride in the Merlin he would like to treat me to a pub lunch, after he had picked me up off the floor I agreed, knowing full well that this was going to cost me money. The six mile drive to the pub and the lunch were very enjoyable but the trip home was very unpleasant.
Cruising down country lanes is one of my greatest pleasures but the pleasure can be spoilt when the rear end of the car appears to have a mind of its own, as if somebody is trying to steer the car from behind, against your will.
"Radius arm bushes," I hear you shout.
"No," I reply with gusto.
After a slow and bumpy ride home, I jacked up the car to carry out an inspection of the rear suspension, to my horror I found that the near side upper radius arm was wedged firmly between the chassis and bodywork under the shelf behind the passenger seat. This was not caused by the failure of the rubber bush but the shearing off of the welded chassis bracket. The weld itself was still OK, with no sign of rust, but the bracket had just snapped.
I can see no further indications of damage and have now had a much heavier duty bracket welded to the chassis for both the upper trailing arms.
I do hope other TF owners don't have the same experience, maybe they should test the brackets in question for fatigue, somehow. Below is a sketch of the bracket location to avoid any confusion from my description.
PS My friendly, experienced welder says he is not surprised at the failure of the bracket, in his opinion it was never man enough for the job in the first place.