Let’s talk about rear lever shocks on Spridgets. They are really important, yet about 75% of the Sprites that come to our shop need them.
On this car pictured above, for example, the shocks were mounted upside down and were doing nothing at all. There was no damping when we removed the arm from the link to remove the shock, the arm was flopping limp. I could tell from a test drive that the banging, harsh ride (in the rear) was due to non-working dampers. If you have nothing to compare it to, you might think a rough ride is normal for a Sprite, after all, these are short and hard-riding cars. The quarter elliptical spring compounds the problem, because it offers less cushioning than the longer half elliptical springs used in later Spridgets.
We’ve all become used to bouncing the front end of the car to check the front shocks. If proper damping is happening, the car doesn’t bounce much. When you try this on the back of your early Sprite, it is very hard to discern damper quality because the leaf spring is stiff enough to sometimes fool you into thinking that the shock is just fine.
Your best bet is to remove ether shock arm (under the car) and cycle the damper while it is bolted to your car. If the arm has a dead spot or flops around in transition from up to down, you need new shocks. If they are leaking, you need new rear shocks (you can fill them up, but they will leak again).
I strongly recommend inspecting your shocks this way. Make sure to check and see if your dog bone bushings (above) are cracked, while you are at it. Those probably need replacement too. You can find new shocks by clicking here, and new dog bones by clicking here.
Once you’ve driven the “before and after,” you come to see the magical difference a properly damped rear end makes. New shocks and dog bones will make your ride quite supple.