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Old 05-23-2008, 09:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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leaf springs go bad?

i finally put my car back on the ground. used to have 3 flat tires, and had up on jackstands for a few years.
one tire still slow leaking around rim.
but the car was sitting amazingly low. about 4" from rear side frame to the garage floor.
i took everythign out of the trunk and lifted the car by hand to see if it would raise up.
spring mounts do not seem busted or rusted out, and i DO hear the shock squeaking when i raise the car or push it down.
i am not used to leaf spring cars:
does the shock do that much for the car? shouldnt the spring be what holds the weight of the vehicle and the shock just softens the jolt from a bump?
front snub was about 1/2" at most away from the leaf spring.
is the spring worn out or do i need shocks to level it out?
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Old 05-23-2008, 09:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: leaf springs go bad?

leafs go bad. We ran them alot in the past and changed them at mid season. They loose height and forward bite. Worst thing for them is to let weight sit still on them for a long time.
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Old 05-23-2008, 10:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: leaf springs go bad?

First, yes leaf srpings (actually "any" spring, leaf, coil, torsion bars, etc.) will lose stability over time ... let alone use and abuse.

The next thing you might want to look into is what the stock ride height was from the factory. There are a number of web sites that have old commercials from "back in the day" - when the cars were new. Its not that hard to find one that will give you something to compare your car to.

You didn't mention what year your car is, I did see in your signature a mention for a '59 Galaxie. If that is the car you are talking about, they were built lower to the ground than most new cars. The 57, 58, 59 model years were real close as far as design. The frame on those cars was channeled over the frame...thats why so many of them have rusted out floor pans.

It couldn't hurt to buy new springs, after 40+ years, those old springs are way overdur for retirement.
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Old 05-24-2008, 06:36 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: leaf springs go bad?

I replace the leaf springs/coil springs on everything I build and you not believe the difference a new set makes so yes, they can go bad.
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Old 05-24-2008, 07:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: leaf springs go bad?

yes the 59.
1. where the heck do you get new leaf springs?
2. i was afraid of getting new ones and it sitting like a truck. i love how low it sits............on one side.
3. thanks for the help so far guys.
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Old 05-24-2008, 10:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: leaf springs go bad?

I checked where i got mine and they don't go back that far. Checked Rock Auto, macs, dearborn, dennis carpenter and greg donahue and nothing.
Not sure if Jegs or Summit etc have them or not. Might give Napa call just in case it's in their book.
The only other option is a spring shop and have them re-arched or maybe they can fab some for you. Maybe someone else here might have an idea of where to look also though.

Deb
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Old 05-25-2008, 04:55 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: leaf springs go bad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kennycoulter View Post
yes the 59.
1. where the heck do you get new leaf springs?
2. i was afraid of getting new ones and it sitting like a truck. i love how low it sits............on one side.
3. thanks for the help so far guys.
Hey Mr. KC,
I've read this thread from end to end, and one REALLY good alternative is missing. This is another one of them having been-there, and done-that kind of things.

Ms. American 3.14159 had the same problem with the rear end sagging just slightly.

She was taken to a place in Houston called "Heitman's", and they "re-arched" the leaf springs.

They had a guy who was about the size of "Batista", the pro wrestler, and he put the car on a lift, dropped the rear axle off of the spring, removed the springs from the shackles, took the springs apart, and placed each leaf of each spring on an anvil, and whacked it with a wedge faced sledge hammer.

On the table on which this is being done is a group of lines that is the stock "bend" for any given spring. He would match the curve by whacking the spring just right. He was GOOD at what he did. When he had finished whacking on all the springs, he reassembled them with new stuff between the leaves, and reinstalled them, and the 3.4 sits stock in the front, and about a half inch higher than stock in the back.

And I'm sure that I didn't pay what a new set of springs would cost for re-arching the springs. And they are still holding the rear end up almost 20 trouble free years later.

It would take some searching to find a place that does this probably.

Anyway, hope you are well.

PUFE

JC
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Old 05-25-2008, 08:25 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: leaf springs go bad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kennycoulter View Post
i finally put my car back on the ground. used to have 3 flat tires, and had up on jackstands for a few years.
one tire still slow leaking around rim.
but the car was sitting amazingly low. about 4" from rear side frame to the garage floor.
i took everythign out of the trunk and lifted the car by hand to see if it would raise up.
spring mounts do not seem busted or rusted out, and i DO hear the shock squeaking when i raise the car or push it down.
i am not used to leaf spring cars:
does the shock do that much for the car? shouldnt the spring be what holds the weight of the vehicle and the shock just softens the jolt from a bump?
front snub was about 1/2" at most away from the leaf spring.
is the spring worn out or do i need shocks to level it out?
Try giving Eaton (detriot) springs, Eaton Detroit Spring a call, they boast of having springs or specifications to build springs for any Ford from 1909 forward. Many guys over at FGCofA (Ford Galaxie Club of America) have had a lot of success with them. You can even get the Station Wagon springs (6 leaf instead of the passenger car 5 leaf) if you want a little more lift.

I see you mention that one side of the car is lower than the other? Just to be safe, if I were you I'd jack the car up and check the frame. I am not trying to alarm you, just advising you of taking a reasonable precaution so you have an idea of what may be necessary to bring this car back from the brink. It is possible to re-frame the car, if required - so even a bad frame is not always a death sentence, if the rest of the car is worth saving. It's good to have all the information, good and bad, as soon as possible. That way you are not surpized months or years later, after you have invested time, money into project that you thought would be basically paint, polish and upholstery.
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Old 05-25-2008, 09:45 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: leaf springs go bad?

Better read again JC, Re-arched was mentioned. But maybe your eyes weren't fully awake yet.

Quote:
The only other option is a spring shop and have them re-arched or maybe they can fab some for you.
I had to debate on which to do myself but then found a place to get some fairly cheap. Leaf springs and coil springs But they don't have them for a '59.

Deb
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Old 05-28-2008, 05:09 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: leaf springs go bad?

JC and all -

I took my '64 Merc to a local frame shop and the owner talked me out of re-arching : told me it doesn't last and they'll be sagging again in no time. what is your experience regarding "endurance"?
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Old 05-28-2008, 01:03 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: leaf springs go bad?

I've heard the same thing myself, that it won't last a long time but a temp fix. There has to be place out there somewhere that can make them or has them for the '59. Just a matter of finding them.

Maybe re-arch and add an extra leaf for extra support might do the trick though.
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Old 05-29-2008, 06:38 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: leaf springs go bad?

i ended up looking at airbags
it will still be a long time before i can do anything, but if the cost is the same to have new springs made as an airbag setup, i think i'd rather have the airbags.....then i started talking to my friend that i had done a conversion from bags to springs on a mark 8 and talkign to see if we can make his old stuff work.
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Old 05-29-2008, 08:12 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: leaf springs go bad?

Well the way I look at it is there sagging because there un godly old. So why re arch old springs? You get your ride height back for a while but still have the same ol worn out springs and bushings
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Old 05-29-2008, 09:07 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: leaf springs go bad?

Regarding re-arching leaf springs:

Many years ago, I had a local spring shop make me an additional leaf to go in my truck's spring pack to raise the rear a bit for more ground clearance. They took a FLAT piece of spring steel, heated it to red hot, then bent the arch into it around a form. The now arched piece of spring steel was dunked in a tank of water cooling it pretty quickly. It now had a nice arch to it and the new leaf was installed in the old spring pack.

The moral of the story is, unless the spring shop re-heats the old spring to red hot, re-arches it, then cools it, banging on the spring with a big hammer does nothing for the long term. The spring may have a new arch to it, but it will quickly return to its old shape. Spring steel has a memory. That's why when it is flexed, it returns to its original form when relaxed. Without heat to set the memory (the final arch) you are just beating on cold metal.

A properly re-arched spring will last a long time. An improperly arched spring will not.
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