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Technical 56 Ford Springs

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by mark latham, Jan 29, 2019.

  1. mark latham
    Joined: Oct 24, 2018
    Posts: 49

    mark latham
    Member

    I am planning on putting new ball joints, tie rod ends, and bushings in my car and have been thinking about replacing the springs at the same time. The PO installed 2 inch blocks in the rear and I'm not sure if he cut the front springs or torched them but the ride is awful and the front tires rub the inner fenders at full lock. I would like it to sit about an inch higher than it is but it wouldn't hurt my feelings to sit at the factory height either. I keep reading about people using Aerostar coil springs. Aside from the cost and the fact that they look to be a progressive spring, are there other reasons? According to MOOGs website they are 605 lb, 11.65 inches, 4.07 inches ID, 3/4 inch bar stock. I don't know what the original spring rate and dimensions are. I'm not looking to go drag racing, I just like to use it as a mostly daily driver. 2.jpg
     
  2. egads
    Joined: Aug 23, 2011
    Posts: 498

    egads
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    You could call Eaton Detroit Spring, good people that can tell you what you need. ( probably have them on the shelf )
     
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  3. AldeanFan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2014
    Posts: 431

    AldeanFan

    I have the Aerostar coils in my ‘54 Country Squire and they are great.
    Ride good, great stance, cheap,
    What more could you ask for


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  4. If the ball joints and tie rod ends aren't loose, clean 'em up and put 'em back. You can buy replacement rubber boots for them. The ball joints were horribly expensive last time I looked.

    A old Ford front end guy told me years ago that Ford lost thousands on replacement '55-56 front end parts because they didn't wear out. To satisfy my curiosity, I split a ball joint off a 200K miles car and it hadn't even worn all the machine marks off either the ball or the socket...
     
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  5. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,677

    s55mercury66
    Member
    from SW Wyoming

    Moog can tell you what the original spring specs are, it's all in their catalog, and you can read it online.
     
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  6. mark latham
    Joined: Oct 24, 2018
    Posts: 49

    mark latham
    Member

    The lower right ball joint is bad and the right outer tie rod end is also bad. I'm going to replace just the lower ball joints and outer tie rod ends along with the upper and lower bushings.
     
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  7. bdynpnt
    Joined: Feb 9, 2009
    Posts: 354

    bdynpnt
    Member

    Aero star springs will sit about the same ride height you have now but ride much better, this wagon has Aerostar springs and Granada spindles rear springs are stock other than having polyethylene liners between leaves 20181116_145438.jpeg

    Sent from my SM-G965U using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
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  8. mark latham
    Joined: Oct 24, 2018
    Posts: 49

    mark latham
    Member

    I installed the Aerostar springs along with the lower ball joints outer tie rod ends and bushings. I also fixed the brake shoes the PO installed backwards on one side and changed from 215-75-15 tires to 205-75-15 tires on the front. I am shocked at the improvement in the ride. It's like going from a bi-plane to a 737. Now if only there was a Granada left in a junk yard.
    IMG_1843.JPG IMG_1856.JPG IMG_1864.JPG IMG_1871.JPG IMG_1872.JPG
     
  9. JeffB2
    Joined: Dec 18, 2006
    Posts: 7,621

    JeffB2
    Member
    from Phoenix,AZ

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  10. mark latham
    Joined: Oct 24, 2018
    Posts: 49

    mark latham
    Member

    That energy suspension link is pretty cool, it looks like I am where I need to be. It's funny how when you are looking for things you sometimes miss them when they are right in front of you. I read a lot of threads on here about the aerostar springs but never the one you linked. In my original post I asked about the specs on the stock springs and it turns out that information is in the 56 ford service manual that's sitting in my bathroom. I think the thing that gets lost the most here is how difficult it is sometimes to get a sense of how big an improvement something is with a change like this. Its easy with engine or transmission or gear changes to say "I picked up 3/10ths in the quarter mile", but saying "The car rides better" is so subjective it's not relative. That being said, for me and for this car, changing the springs was the equivalent of picking up a second in the quarter mile.
     
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  11. JeffB2
    Joined: Dec 18, 2006
    Posts: 7,621

    JeffB2
    Member
    from Phoenix,AZ

    The Chinese rubber boots that come in the front end kits are junk do yourself a favor and get the Energy Suspension boots. If you look up the Energy Suspension part numbers and go to your local Pep Boys or Autozone they can usually get the parts overnight and won't charge you shipping.
     
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  12. mark latham
    Joined: Oct 24, 2018
    Posts: 49

    mark latham
    Member

    Agreed, I used the Energy Suspension boots (they only had red, (Amazon Prime), but I didn't buy the front end kit as I only needed lower ball joints, bushings, and outer tie rod ends. I did order extra boots as I was planning on separating the upper control arms from the spindles to clean them up and paint. I also ordered the Energy Suspension bump stops because they were shorter than the original but I did not realize they bolted through the ball joint. If I had to do it again I would either get the original part or at least measure the bolt. I ended up cutting the stud off the bump stop, drilling it out, and through bolting it. By the way, when buying outer tie rod ends for a 56 Ford, the are both left hand threads (just in case anybody was wondering).
     
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  13. bdynpnt
    Joined: Feb 9, 2009
    Posts: 354

    bdynpnt
    Member

    Granada , maverick, comet etc.are all the same69 up mustang and torino too

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  14. But there's two styles of brake caliper across those years. The early cars use (for lack of a better term) a 'spring' type caliper that wasn't the best design as they tend to 'cock' on the spindle and wear the pads unevenly. More expensive to rebuild too. The '74-up versions used the 'sliding' caliper design that won't cock and wear the pads unevenly, fewer parts and cheaper to buy.

    There's actually a better choice in terms of steering geometry. The Granada-type spindle is smaller in every dimension compared to the stock '55-56 unit; not as tall, shorter steering arms, and changed Ackermann. Full-size Ford '68-78 spindles are almost identical dimensionally, will get you bigger brakes, and after '72 also use the sliding caliper design (although I've seen the later caliper design on cars as early as '71) except it's a larger unit. If you swap the removable caliper mount from the '73-78 spindles onto the earlier ones, you can still use the sliding calipers. The one fly in the ointment is the lower ball joint hole is too large, a tapered bushing will correct that.

    Personally, I'd go with an aftermarket disc kit that retains the OEM spindles over a Granada swap.
     
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  15. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 4,651

    jimmy six
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Agreed Steve, I'm looking to discs in the front of my '56 on stock spindles as soon as the rear is squared away.

    Mark, since I have a '56 and am upgrading on a slow pace The first thing I'm doing is the rear. My car is in the air right now installing a Ford 8.8 with 11" 2-1/4" wide drum rear brakes.

    I've decided on a 4 piston fronts on the stock spindles from Prestige T-Birds in Santa Fe Springs Ca. I'm going to try without a booster since they are ugly and with the wider rear and 4 piston of the front it should be over kill. Prestige has perfected this conversion with many on the road and I've been to their shop to look at unit. I've also talked to owners at a show who really like the conversion.

    I'm 74 doing my own work so it goes slow but so far ok. Good Luck
     
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  16. I'm curious, are they using the '65-67 OEM-style calipers, or more modern versions like a Wilwood or Baer? The reason I ask is the first-gen Ford discs, while a good design, was ahead of the available technology and they could be troublesome. The problem was rotor runout, as they wouldn't tolerate any. The wheel bearings of the day weren't always precise enough to maintain that with rigid-mount calipers, which is one reason they quickly disappeared, being replaced with 'floating' calipers in '68 that could tolerate much more runout with no ill effects. Even Ford stopped servicing them pretty early and by the late '70s repair/replacement parts became unobtainium from any source until SSB revived the design to sell to the Mustang guys. There's more on the road today than when they were new. They could also be sensitive to unevenly or overtightening the wheel lugs which could warp the rotors. They're still not an 'on the shelf' part, and the parts are still expensive.

    Don't get me wrong, when these are 'right' they're very good brakes; I owned a couple of cars equipped with them. But they could also be a PITA. Ford originally recommended a 36K miles interval for servicing the wheel bearings; that proved to be too long, you really should do them every 12K to reduce issues. I do think you'll need a power booster, as these had fairly high effort even when boosted from what I remember.

    Four piston calipers have reappeared on OEM Detroit cars, but the new sealed wheel bearings they use eliminates that aspect of the runout issue. The Wilwood and Baer calipers seem to be more tolerate of runout, possibly because the aluminum calipers can flex more.
     
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  17. AldeanFan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2014
    Posts: 431

    AldeanFan

    I’d like to hear more about these brakes.

    FYI, I’m very happy with the scarebird kit I used on my ‘54.
    Keeps the stock spindles and uses all off the shelf parts.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  18. Introduced in '64, the smaller four-piston discs that would fit inside 14" wheels were initially offered only on the Mustang and a larger 15" wheel version was available on the T-Birds and Lincolns. Initially offered in both power and manual versions on the Mustang, the manual version quickly disappeared. In '67 ford expanded their offerings, the new Cougar had them available as an option, as well as the Fairlane. They weren't all that popular as they were a rather expensive option; they were very rare on the Fairlane. In '68 Ford replaced them with single-piston floating calipers which were both cheaper to produce/sell and didn't have the rotor runout issues. The single-piston discs were offered across almost all model lines. The larger T-Bird/Lincoln four-piston discs soldiered on for a few more years before being replaced with single piston discs.

    By the late '70s, you couldn't find parts for the smaller discs. The last car I owned with them I sold because it needed rotors and I couldn't find any.

    In the '80s Stainless Steel Brakes started reproducing the smaller four-piston disc set-up primarily for the Mustang market. Now, the four-piston discs had one advantage over the later versions; they didn't use a dedicated spindle. They used an 'adaptor' and installed on ordinary drum brake spindles. SSB capitalized on this and started offering 'kits' to install them on other drum-brake-equipped Fords as an easy bolt-on swap, no spindle change required. But the runout issue remained, and at the time they were the sole source of parts ($$$). I believe there's more vendors available now, but parts prices are still considerably higher than the single-piston parts.

    Again, it was a very good design in it's day, but it's over 50 years old now and still has a very limited parts well.

    As a side note, when Ford was promoting the Boss 302 Mustang for amateur racing in 1970, they offered a special adaptor bracket to install the larger T-Bird/Lincoln four-piston discs on the Mustang (again using a drum-brake spindle) as a brake upgrade for racing. Lots of luck tracking down those parts today....
     
  19. bdynpnt
    Joined: Feb 9, 2009
    Posts: 354

    bdynpnt
    Member

    Those won't fit I've tried and as for dimensions the Granada style are nearly identical to the 56 other than reaming the lower ball joint hole out to fit the 56 ball joints the midsize torinos etc will widen the track and are bigger and change the camber about 20 degrees positive

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  20. There's set on them on my '56 wagon project, been there since '75....
     

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