Wet to Dry conversion

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Wet to Dry conversion

Post  Johnnypoopoopants on Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:56 pm

I may get shot for this but here goes...

I have a great fully working hydro system on the car with no known faults, However I still wish to change to a dry suspension setup.

Am I mad?

What kind of value can put on a full wet set up?

Can I retain the rear subframe and fit the dry components or will this have to be changed? I have found a note on here that retaining the top arm from a wet susp setup with dry components gives you increased neg camber?

What exactly will have to be changed, where? and what can be left? and then is there much demand for the remaining componenets?

Thanks Very Happy

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Re: Wet to Dry conversion

Post  asahartz on Mon Apr 19, 2010 7:37 pm

Personally I'd say you're mad, yes, the hydro gives the car a superb ride, far better than you can get from dry. Dry does admittedly handle a little better, but that's only important if you plan to throw the car round corners a lot - hydro is quite adequate as it is, and I am an enthusiastic driver myself!

I don't know about the value of the components, but as the displacers are no longer available I'm sure there would be a ready market for them.

As far as I know you can retain the hydro subframes; the only difference is that it has holes for the pipework to go through. I have one of each in my shed right now!

I couldn't tell you what the difference is between the top arms, only that there is a difference.

You'd need obviously four cones, front and rear trumpets and knuckles, front and rear shock absorbers. At the front you'll need the shock absorber top brackets, and the bumpstops are different so they would need changing. At the back you don't need the bump stop so you'd remove it, but the stub axle is different as the dry one is longer to bolt the shock absorber to.

A lot of work at significant expense. I'd think twice.
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Re: Wet to Dry conversion

Post  Elf Service on Mon Apr 19, 2010 8:47 pm

I have converted my sporty Elf to dry and the with 165 x 10" Yoko tyres on 4.5" alloy rims, the ride is very acceptable. I admit it isn't as smooth as the Hydrolastic set-up but with 80 bhp at the wheels and even with front shocks, I thought it best to move to dry. I opted for a twin bolt dry front sub frame and new dry top arms. The Hyrolastic arms are different and although you can use them, the suspension and steering geometry will be out. The rear is just simple dry set-up off a later Mini. Try to find a donor scrap car and simply swap things over. You will need to change the handbrake cables as these are different lengths. The rest is just graft but if you have the kit and will power, it can be done in a weekend. Having just purchased another Elf, I may be interested in your Hydrolastic set-up, depending on price and the general condition of the components.

Andrew
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Re: Wet to Dry conversion

Post  Johnnypoopoopants on Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:51 pm

Elf Service wrote:I have converted my sporty Elf to dry and the with 165 x 10" Yoko tyres on 4.5" alloy rims, the ride is very acceptable. I admit it isn't as smooth as the Hydrolastic set-up but with 80 bhp at the wheels and even with front shocks, I thought it best to move to dry. I opted for a twin bolt dry front sub frame and new dry top arms. The Hyrolastic arms are different and although you can use them, the suspension and steering geometry will be out. The rear is just simple dry set-up off a later Mini. Try to find a donor scrap car and simply swap things over. You will need to change the handbrake cables as these are different lengths. The rest is just graft but if you have the kit and will power, it can be done in a weekend. Having just purchased another Elf, I may be interested in your Hydrolastic set-up, depending on price and the general condition of the components.

Andrew

Hi Andrew

Condition is good and its all level and holding well etc.

The car was used evry day up uintill the day I bought it.

As for price I am not sure, This is one of the reasons for posting.

I would always be willing to trade some dry parts in on the deal to keep the cost down.

Thanks

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Re: Wet to Dry conversion

Post  superworm on Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:16 am

I'm with Asahartz on this one...

many moons ago I used to ride shotgun in a Splastic Cooper "S" which was fitted with "competition" (ie. Special Tuning) Rear Bump stops......It never stopped us from 'earholin' around the bends!. In fact, I'm sure it handled better than my 1960 Dry Mini that had a tuned 1100 engine in it at the time.

maybe : http://www.minispares.com/Product.aspx?ty=pb&pid=34221&title=

Stay with the Splastic imho!!

Cheers
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Re: Wet to Dry conversion

Post  Elf Service on Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:03 am

I agree with all the positive comments about Hydrolastic v Dry. Having said that, the wet system even on the newest cars is 40 years old and the rubber piping is way past its best buy date. I had 2 of the flexible hoses burst on my red Elf prior to moving over to dry. This was not only an inconvenience but quite scary, as there was no warning and with a total loss of suspension on the nearside in just a second, made for interesting corrective driving. The other burst during the annual top-up prior to the MOT.
I don't know if you can get these re hosed today but at the time (late 90's), it was just the case of finding a good secondhand displacer and scrapping the old unit.

There are arguments for each system but for maintenance free use and piece of mind, dry is the way to go.
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Hydro

Post  DyNoRod on Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:11 am

Hi

The displacers seem to go for about £35-£60 each depending on the condition, paint them up and ensure the condition and you should get good money. I am not sure how much the arms are worth, however I would guess that you would get anything up to around £200 for the whole set-up.

I have stuck with Hydro for my car but added the shock absorber ST conversion at the front and a fixed anti-roll bar at the rear. I believe this set-up was used on some competition cars back in the day and I also took some advise from Jim Jupp (Karen Drury's husband) as he has this set-up on his Elf (StELF) and he claimed it made a fantastic difference to the cornering. Conversion would be about £200 to buy the bits for the upgrade.

Ad
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Re: Wet to Dry conversion

Post  robinkritz1 on Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:43 am

Hi there, I was in the same dilema about wether to change from wet to dry. From reading about it here, I can say that its mostly a matter preference on ride quality. The hydro seems to be the luxury type smooth ride with not as good handling, and dry has a somewhat sportier feel. Personaly, I'm swayed towards the dry system setup because of some of the horror stories I've read of when wet suspension goes wrong, and also maintenance issues. Mine is o.k so far but underneath the car looks a bit old and unkempt so I'd rather change the system because I can't be sure of the true condition of the system, also one of the pipes has had a strange bodge up which I'm sure is recipe for disaster sooner rather than later. So I've decided to go Dry. When I have removed all the parts I'll list them on the for sale wanted section and any interested can PM me.
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Re: Wet to Dry conversion

Post  Johnnypoopoopants on Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:52 pm

I have seen a set up go for £300 although I did think that was a touch pricey lol

I would sell/swap mine:

Complete rear subby (subby ok and useable but not mint)
Hand brake and cables
All units
Front top arms etc
All pipes etc

Would be happy to swap for a complete ready to fit dry set up and a hand to remove and fit it all (I'm in norfolk)
Oh and some food will be supplied to the workers Very Happy

I'm capable of doing it myself but I feel its always easier with two of you and it could then be done in a day easily.

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Re: Wet to Dry conversion

Post  asahartz on Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:02 pm

Elf Service wrote:
I don't know if you can get these re hosed today but at the time (late 90's), it was just the case of finding a good secondhand displacer and scrapping the old unit.

There is apparently a technique for rehosing them described on the Austin America site : about half-way down this page
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Re: Wet to Dry conversion

Post  robinkritz1 on Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:38 pm

Hey there, you are not too far from me here in Cambridgeshire, there is a Mini dealer in Peterborough who might have second hand complete suspension systems as he brakes Minis quite often, I will be going there to see how much he will do a seconhand dry set up with the subby, I know he sells his subs for £60. I will buy and start preparing it slowly and when its ready Ill just remove existing and replace with new one leaving the small jobs like pipes and cables.
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Re: Wet to Dry conversion

Post  Johnnypoopoopants on Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:08 pm

Thanks for the offer.

I think I may have secured a complete dry set up from a breaker here in Norfolk and I have a chap coming to look at the car tomorrow to assess the condition of whats on there.

Fingers crossed its looking to be a smooth change over Very Happy

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Re: Wet to Dry conversion

Post  robinkritz1 on Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:27 pm

looks like you might get this done before I do, any chance you can document the process so as to show us how its done? If Imay ask, how much did you pay for it, is it the sub frame including the suspension?
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Re: Wet to Dry conversion

Post  Johnnypoopoopants on Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:42 am

robinkritz1 wrote:looks like you might get this done before I do, any chance you can document the process so as to show us how its done? If Imay ask, how much did you pay for it, is it the sub frame including the suspension?

Hi, I would be happy to document this procedure and post this on the boards.

The price for the dry set up is yet to be negotiated but looks to be just under what the wet set up should sell for.

Will keep you updated

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Re: Wet to Dry conversion

Post  TOYBOY on Fri May 20, 2011 10:17 pm

Hi guys, i just thought i'd blow the dust off this thread instead of starting a new one Laughing

I too am going to be changing wet to dry on my project.. My question is, im guessing i have to drain the system before removing the subframes, what is the best way to do this ? Sorry Embarassed

Thanks
Lee

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Re: Wet to Dry conversion

Post  discoman41 on Sat May 21, 2011 3:01 am

I know it's all about personal choice and preference etc etc....

But my Elf is on Hydro, same displacers and pipes since 1968 - never been changed. I have had the car 6 years and (touch wood) have never had to pump it up once! I have even added slightly racier (wider) wolfrace wheels, and anyone who has been in the car with me will tell you, I'm not afraid to throw it into corners, and it's been to Paris and back.

Compared to the dry set up on my hornet, there is no comparison, the hydro wins everytime, and I think anyone with a perfectly good working hydro setup has got to be nuts to change it... affraid However, as I said it's all about choice, and as long as the car is still on the road.....

Consider this thought though, the cars that had hydro, were designed that way. BMC were never known for throwing money at research and innovation, so for them to spend time and money coming up with the Hydro design.... well, there must have been a reason for it.

All that said, if anyone does convert a perfectly good working hydro set up, can I have first shout on the displacers and subframes please?

Jase
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Re: Wet to Dry conversion

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