Hangar works #26 – The Öhlins

Since we wrote down the worksheet for M3W Services, Chas and Steve were teasing me about the shock absorbers. Chas, Steve and Mario have the Öhlins installed back and front on their 3-Wheelers. They have tried the standard Spax, the adjustable Spax and of course the Öhlins. They say there’s a huge difference. That the car handles incredibly better. That the Öhlins are truly the best if you want to improve dynamically the 3-Wheeler.

Changing our standard Spax shock absorbers for a complete set of Öhlins is something lurking at the back of my head that bothers me. But the cost of these beautiful shock absorbers is high. Really high. We’re talking about thousands of Euros! And we’re already doing a massive investment on our 3-Wheeler with the Bleazey drive train upgrade, the fuel pump change, the rear disc brake conversion, LED headlamps, and some more little things here and there. We have to resist all the jokes and funny WhatsApp messages going in and out, silly pictures, puns, etc.

I can imagine Chas and Steve’s laugh while teasing me with the Öhlins!

I start to wake up at night sweating thinking about adding them to the worksheet!

“Should I?” “Do I add them to the worksheet?”

But do we drive the Morgan enough through the year to justify such a big extra investment? OMG we do! We’re already doing the Bleazey drive train upgrade because we really do long trips with the Morgan. And we plan to do more!

And Chas, Steve and Mario keep teasing us… “and you’re two in the car! That’s a lot more weight and you’ll feel even more the difference with the Öhlins”, “and you know we drive like lunatics on twisted roads” and “keep your Spax if you plan driving Miss Daisy”, bla bla bla…

Bla bla bla…

Let’s be realistic: we’re not adding them because they’re very expensive, but if they’re so good as our colleagues say, we’ll really feel the difference and enjoy the upgrade, won’t we?

It’s July the 16th, our wedding anniversary. Ana Maria and I are having a nice breakfast in a terrace in Madrid center, chatting about different things, when we’re revising the last WhatsApp’s messages of the squadron group. They sent another teasing image again: M3W Services has a complete set of Öhlins with black springs that would look simply perfect on our 3-Wheeler.

Come on! Really? And with black springs…

We discuss again about the benefits versus the cost, make some numbers, and take one of the best decisions we’ve ever made regarding our Morgan: let’s change the shock absorbers for a complete set of Öhlins!

Ana María sends the message, making this official: “Me, the boss, approve the Öhlins!!!”. Followed by a couple of clear pictures.

As our 3-Wheeler is already at M3W Services facilities in Southern France, the following days Steve sends some pictures of the works in progress, and obviously some beautiful ones of our Öhlins being mounted.

These are the fron standard Spax. Ready to dissapear!
What a nice looking shock absorber! Front Öhlins mounted!
And the back ones too!

I’m driving the Land Rover Defender from Madrid to Montignac-de-Lauzun on Wednesday the 24th of August. When I join our friends, all works on our 3-Wheeler are done! I’ll have few days to test drive the car before Ana Maria joins us on Saturday.

On Thursday I start-up the little rocket after all the modifications done by Steve: Bleazey drive train upgrade, new reinforced clutch plate, new Walbro fuel pump, the rear disc brake conversion, and some little details here and there that I’ll mention in a later post. And of course, the complete set of Öhlins! In fact, this is the major dynamic change – with the rear disc brake – done to the car.

I love the black springs! Black looks better than the classic Öhlins yellow on our car.
The Öhlins are adjusted for the Morgan 3-Wheeler from factory. But you can readjust them in many ways if you want to.

Let’s see if they work as good as they look! The little secondary roads around Montignac-de-Lauzun are perfect for a test drive. No traffic at all, very good tarmac, roads wide for two cars, with nice visibility, plenty of curves… And as background an amazing landscape… The perfect scenario! I fire the engine and go! Just some kilometers warming up the engine and getting familiar with the new clutch (the pedal doesn’t disengage the clutch as it used to). I already feel a much smoother ride. But is it just my feeling or does the car really handle better?

It’s time to see! second gear, revs up to 4000 and right pedal to the floor. The little rocket is launched furiously towards the incoming curves while the engine goes over the 5000 rpm. And right, left, again left, hard braking, accelerating like crazy again… OMG!

I put this in a separate line and in capital letters, to send a clear message:


The way the car absorbs the tarmac irregularities and the grip in tight bumpy curves is light years away from what I was used to. Amazing! The handling now, combined with a harder brake pedal with the rear disc brake, is so much better!

But is this just my feeling? Am I cheating myself? On Saturday evening Ana Maria joins us at Montignac-de-Lauzun. As soon as she jumps into the Morgan and we drive around the village, she tells me she feels the car different. “How different?” I ask. “Like more stable. More secure. I feel much more comfortable and safe at high speeds”. So, it’s not just me! The Öhlins “Magic” is a fact!

Is this a mandatory upgrade for your Morgan 3-Wheeler? It depends on how you use the car. But for us, tourers and fast drivers, it’s probably the best dynamic improvement you can do on your little rocket!

Hangar works #25 – The rear disc brake conversion

What’s next? While our 3-Wheeler is in M3W Services in Southern France, Ana María and I discuss about other improvements that can be done to the vehicle. We still have many tasks on the list for Steve! Now we’re focusing on dynamic improvements!

And one of the best dynamic improvements offered by M3W Services – and exclusively – is the rear disc brake conversion.

Geneva Motor Show 2011 – The new generation of the Morgan 3-Wheeler is unveiled!

During its presentation in the Geneva Motor Show in 2011, the new generation of the Morgan 3-Wheeler – known as the 5-Speeder – was equipped with a rear disc brake.

The units presented in Geneva were equipped with rear disc brakes!

However, when the car came into production, Morgan Motor Company changed this rear disc brake for a drum brake. Why? It’s a fact that those first units shown in the 2011 Geneva Motor Show were prototypes and many modifications were done to the model when it came into production, but no one really knows the reason why they changed the rear disc brake for a drum…

But finally the production cars get a rear drum brake…

Was this a wise decision? In my honest opinion, it was not. Don’t get me wrong: our 3-Wheeler rear drum brake always performed correctly, and the time we’re changing it, it’s still looking pretty good.

Our rear disc brake being removed.

But that’s not a surprise, because our car is just two years and a half old, still has few kilometres, and in Madrid the weather is extremely dry reducing the risk of rust to the minimum.

Why have we decided to change the drum for this beautiful disc brake? First of all, because a disc brake has clear dynamic advantages compared to a drum one. Despite the modern drums perform pretty well, the disc is still a better option for many reasons, such as the lightness, faster cooling, no mushy feeling on the brake pedal when the pads get worn, not affected by water ingress and rust, etc.

1,1 kg lighter! Everything counts!

In fact, the 3-Wheeler rear wheel drum’s cylinders are known to seize due to corrosion, causing the rear brake shoes to stick on.

They work OK, but the drum’s cylinder can seize due to rust blocking the rear tyre!

For all these reasons, we decide to make this improvement on our Morgan. The M3W Services disc brake kit looks fantastic!

The M3W Services disc brake kit.

The kit was specifically designed for the Morgan 3-Wheeler, so it works perfectly balanced with the front disc brakes. When it comes to design a disc brake, you need to make the proper calculations and dimensional designs to get powerful and efficiently balanced front-and-rear braking system. It looks like M3W Services have done this perfect!

High-quality kit!

The quality of the materials looks fantastic, and despite every 3-Wheeler is hand-built and M3W Services found constructive and dimensional differences between cars, they managed to produce a high-quality kit that can be installed on any of our 5-Speeders.

The calliper is a real piece of art!

The first test kits were mounted on Craig’s and Steve’s rockets last 2021 summer and tested under the hardest possible conditions. It is a fact that Steve was testing this kit in his black and orange high performance 3-Wheeler when we went to Grindelwald last September.

Steve driving through the Alps, testing the first rear disc brake kit.

The trip was back and forth from Southern France to Switzerland, and I can tell you we were not driving precisely slowly in the French twisted roads and the mythical Swiss mountain passes! The rear disc brake performed amazing during the thousands of kilometres we made!

The calliper mounted.

Have a look at the M3W Services webpage!

Home (m3wservices.com)

And this article written by Phil Gardner for the MTWC Bulletin highlights the benefits of this fantastic rear disc brake kit!

Microsoft Word – M3WServices Disc Brake Upgrade v0.2.docx (website-editor.net)

This disc brake kit fits perfect on our 3-Wheeler. It also includes the hand brake system, via a classic cable acting on a separate braking pad in the calliper. Neat and easy solution.

A kit completely assembled.

Once installed, the disc brake looks neat, in harmony with the wheel and the rear arm. The route of the brake fluid’s line and hand brake cable are so similar to the original drum brake ones, that everything is installed in a very clean way, without interferences with any other element of the car.

The routing of the lines and cables is neat.
The rear disc brake looks fantastic on our 3-Wheeler!

From the outside, it’s really hard to see that the car has a rear disc brake instead of the original drum. But from the dynamic point of view, we can feel a difference. The sensation while braking is more balanced, and with a harder feeling on the pedal. The braking power remains the same, but we really feel it’s easier to modulate and stop the car in a smoother way. Both Ana Maria and I feel more confident with the braking system now.

We think it’s worth to make this change, not only for the better reliability, but for the performance too! Another satisfying upgrade of our beloved little Morgan!