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Ford Shoebox - Definitive Guide for using Aerostar Coils

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by olosipu, Apr 1, 2010.

  1. olosipu
    Joined: Apr 2, 2009
    Posts: 25


    (For results & a "how to", see my posts on May 26th, 2011)

    Hey everyone, this is in reference to earlier posts about using Aerostar front coils to achieve a 2.5" to 3.0" drop while retaining a good ride on shoebox fords (as found here, and several posts on Going for a lowered flat stance, not a tail dragger look.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2011
  2. I used Ford Granada front springs with 2 rounds cut off on my 51'. It figures out to about 1" per round. Dont go to much your lower A-arms will hit the bottom of the frame. The Granada springs are also smaller in diameter and softer than the original springs. They fit perfect in the upper and lower pockets. If I had to do it all over again I would install drop spindles. The rear I used Jamco 4" de-arched springs and reversed eyes with a shackle hanger upgrade (which lowers it even more) and 3" lowering blocks with a swaybar. I relocated the shocks so they mount over the top of the rearend. The thing still rides like a new car!

    Attached Files:

  3. yblock292
    Joined: Oct 10, 2006
    Posts: 2,937


    did astro van front springs guessing 2-2 1/2 inches, 3 1/2 blocks in back sits nose high and i like it.Will try and post pix this weekend
  4. Russco
    Joined: Nov 27, 2005
    Posts: 4,187

    from Central IL

    I just put the Aerostar springs in my 51 replacing stock springs that were sagged with a torch (note the height difference) If you just do the spring swap just add 2 1/2 inches to how my front is sitting in this pic I also stepped the lower control arms to get an additional 2 1/2 inches. The tires are G78 15's and are about 26" tall the back has 4' block and new springs but I dont know if they are stock height springs

    Attached Files:

  5. Royalshifter
    Joined: May 29, 2005
    Posts: 15,544

    from California


  6. hitman912
    Joined: Apr 28, 2010
    Posts: 196


    yea i'd like to see this because i have the aerostar springs up front and was wondering what 3inch blocks on the back would look like
  7. dante81_98
    Joined: Sep 26, 2005
    Posts: 504

    1. A-D Truckers

    How low can you take a 2 door sedan with a static drop before you have to cut the floor for the driveline tunnel? I want to work on getting the car static dropped as it may be a while before I get the funds to bag it right but don't want to go so low that I have to cut the floor just yet.

    I am planning on doing the ball joint conversion from Jamco and aerostar coils. The Jamco stuff gets about 1.5" drop according to their tech guy and the aerostar coils another 2.5-3". Thats 4-4.5" for the front. If I did a 4" block in the rear, would I be hitting the floor with the drive line?

    The car has a 302 with a AOD trans. I haven't got under the car yet with a tape measure. Just figured I would post up here and see what others have run into.

  8. Chevydeuce
    Joined: Apr 20, 2006
    Posts: 136


    Yeah sure i´d like to know too how far you can go before you have to notch the frame and cut the driveshaft tunnel for clearance.
  9. I used the Aerostar coils in my shoebox and 3" blocks in the rear with the stock springs. The car was a little too high in the front so I cut 1/2 a coil off the front springs. This lowered it another 1 1/4" now the car sits about 1" higher higher in the front compared to the rear. As far as the rear I think the 3" block are as far as you want to go, because if it were 1/16" lower I could not get the wheels off or on. But the car rides nice and does not bottom out on bumps.
  10. Some photos of my shoebox.

    Attached Files:

    spiffy1937 likes this.
  11. dante81_98
    Joined: Sep 26, 2005
    Posts: 504

    1. A-D Truckers

    What size tires are you running?
  12. My tires are BFG silvertown 6.00-16
  13. rodknocker
    Joined: Jan 31, 2006
    Posts: 2,267

    I like the way my car sits, I have "c" notched it, and I'm replacing the floors,and raising the tunnel.Its has a sbc350/t350 in it,my avatar is how it sits with combo in it,it does have 4 doors though so that may be a different weight than a 2dr.Hope this helps you some.
  14. thesupersized
    Joined: Aug 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,357


    currently im running 1 coil cut on the original coils and the jamco 4" dropped leaf springs with 3 inch blocks in the back...eventually ill splurge for dropped spindles in the front....and yeah, to get my rear tires off i have to jack the car up, then put a bottle jack between the rear and frame, then the tires will come out, when these tires (coker g78) go bald ill go with the firestone 6.70s a little skinnier tire, should come out easier.

    my brother's shoebox has aerostar springs in the front and 3 inch blocks in the rear with the original springs, his front may sit a tad lower than mine, my rear is about an inch lower than his saggy rear springs.

    personally, i wouldnt go the aerostar route, seems like a waste of money when you can just cut the original coils, ride quality is not very different either way...

    below is a picture of mine...

    Attached Files:

  15. rafael
    Joined: Jun 28, 2007
    Posts: 194

    from Moody AFB

    what shocks are you all running with the aerostar coils in the shoe boxes?
  16. happy hoppy
    Joined: Apr 23, 2001
    Posts: 2,328

    happy hoppy

    I installed Aerostar front spring in mine along with Monroe shocks part number 5821. this lowered the front 2 1/2 inches.
    my rear leaf springs are de-arced 4 inches, no lowering blocks, no leafs removed. stock length rear spring shackles, Monroe shocks part number 31000
    bump stops cut front and rear.
    710-15 Firestones, (yea they're big.)

    it rides nice but drive shaft rubs the tunnel when I hit a big bump.

    1951 rear spring shackles are 1 1/2 inches shorter then 49-50 shackles and will provide that much more drop but when I installed them in combination with de-arced leaf springs the rear spring eye rubbed the bottom of my frame.

    I found my aerostar springs on amazon for $40.00-free shipping.

  17. chillywilly
    Joined: Jul 28, 2009
    Posts: 274


    I have a 50 coupe that I am fingering everything out with. First shoebox not first project. I have Aerostar fronts with the Monroe shocks coming this week. Gotta be a better option than stock springs just for new steel aspect. springs with 2 shocks $116 to the door. Talked to Chris at Shoeboxfords about it too -said the swap is a no brainer. running a 2x2 8BA with a t-10 behind it and am contemplating rear end... Maveric Granada etc... Ranger??? what year? In my past builds I have found that having a spring shop dearch your stock leafs will give you the best ride.
  18. Mr.Dickies
    Joined: Jan 23, 2007
    Posts: 664


    Chilly go with the maverick rear I have one in my 50 coupe and it drives at 65-70 almost at idle. It's pretty much a bolt in swap. It's easier to do if you add lowering block to line up the holes in the axle/springs. There is a guy that sells shoebox parts on craigslist time to time he sells them for $300-350. Mine is the 2.79 and will still leave rubber with tall skinnies but is ultra highway friendly. Hope this helps!
  19. olosipu
    Joined: Apr 2, 2009
    Posts: 25


    1) Highly recommend the aerostar springs on every shoebox, sits nicer and handles way better!
    2) Ride is much improved and it does not bottom out on bumps.
    3) Dropped 1.5 inches in front, old coils were sagging a bit, see photo
    4) Use old coil springs as garden decorations, looks great and you can have "spring flowers" all summer long.

    1) Remove anti-sway bar, if nuts/bolts give you trouble in any step, use combo of liquid wrench and a torch.
    2) Remove the top nut from the shock, (the shock will turn so you need to use a crescent on the top screw to keep from turning).
    3) Put a jackstand under the body and use the floor jack to raise the lower a-arm just outside of the shock till a-arm is level, (this allows the plate under the shock to be level).
    4) If you can get the lower nut to come off the shock without turning the shock then great, otherwise do steps 5,6 then use a vice grip on the shock when removed from vehicle.
    5) Use a little hydraulic jack (from your vehicle) to put pressure on the bottom of the shock screw, (this reduces the pressure against the shock plate).
    6) Remove the bolts from the shock plate then let the little jack down and the shock comes out, (loosen both nuts together, not one completely then the other)
    7) Remove the floor jack from the under the coil spring part of the a-arm and place it under the center of the inner a-arm shaft and put pressure tight to the frame.
    8) Loosen the four bolts together (which hold the shaft to the frame), don't fully remove one then the other, they're under pressure so rotate between bolts.
    9) Let the jack down and work the shaft out, might take some work, but don't ruin the bolt thread in the process.
    10) Let the jack down slowly to the floor and the spring will come out without being under much pressure, no need for a spring compressor.
    11) Clean all parts.
    12) Jack up the inner a-arm shaft slightly to put the new spring in place, (it will fall back out without pressure), remember to place jack so that it wont hit the frame before the inner jack is in place.
    13) Put the bottom of the spring in the depression of the a-arm plate with the same orientation as the original spring.
    14) With the spring in place put a little more pressure on the a-arm and make sure the spring seats properly on top side, if not, re-seat it and make sure the new rubber piece stays in place.
    15) Jack the spring up more and use a hammer/crowbar to align the a-arm and the rotation of the inner shaft.
    16) Make sure the bolts slide in easy and not force it too much.
    17) Screw the shaft bolts in place at 50 ft/lbs torque.
    18) Put the new shock in and screw the top lightly to keep in place (the bushing alone will do).
    19) Reverse steps 2-5, and when the green bible refers to inch/lbs of torque for the shocks, simply divide by twelve to get foot pounds (48in = 4ft) - in reality, just hand tighten without too much force).
    20) When done with both sides put the ant-sway bar back on and enjoy.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 26, 2011
  20. olosipu
    Joined: Apr 2, 2009
    Posts: 25


    1) I recommend every shoebox do the front/rear drop with the aerostar, it looks better and rides less like a marshmellow chariot (roads were bad back then and they needed to ride high and soft).
    2) My 2" drop leafs from JAMCO make the rear slightly lower than front, could have done 1" drop and be okay for that "level look", but some say front aerostar will settle another .5 inch, so we will see.
    3) The rear came UP slightly from my worn out springs, but the ride is WAY better.
    4) Since I was still riding on 60 year old springs and the bolts hadn't been touched since factory, it took me way too long to do this conversion. Had I not spent most of my time fighting with bolts, then the rear easily could be done in an afternoon or full day if you are slow. The front springs also took the same amount of time as the rear.
    5) I personally wouldn't take my old springs to be re-arched, while half the price, it is half the quality (bending an old rusty paperclip) and twice the hassle.
    6) You can buy rear leaf springs from JAMCO in Cali or Posies in Penn. Little cheaper and faster out of Posies, but JAMCO is nice if you can reach them. More people seem to have used JAMCO so that is what I did, but Posies seemed good too, but only offer stock or 3" drop.
    7) Remember that you can do the 1951 shackle swap for $20 from <A href="" target=_blank> - gives you another 1".
    8) If you are on a budget and your rear leafs are already sagging a bit, then do the front aerostar first and see how it looks.

    1) Remove lower shock from the bolt, then remove the upper from its bolt. If you cant get the shock to come off (or go back on) for some reason (like bad angle with aftermarket exhaust) then you can do it when the spring plate comes off.
    2) Remember the outside bolts from the shocks do not need to come off, only have to remove inside nuts.
    3) Jack the car high enough so the rear suspension is being "pulled" down by rear axle.
    4) You can now remove the nuts from the U bolts without stress.
    5) Put a jackstand under the rear axle, then lower the car so the spring comes loose (so the axle is resting on the jackstand).
    6) Remove the rear shackle bolts and swing the leaf springs to the ground by hand (they only weigh 28 lbs).
    7) Remove front bolt and take the springs out.
    8) You might have to pull on the axle and hit the rear shackle to get the center stud of the spring to fit in the axle mounting hole.
    9) Repeat in reverse to put back together.

    Attached Files:

    • rear.JPG
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      207.4 KB
  21. dogman1
    Joined: Apr 4, 2012
    Posts: 5


    Got a 50 Ford Coupe. What yr aerostar
    van for Springs???
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  22. JeffB2
    Joined: Dec 18, 2006
    Posts: 8,897

    from Phoenix,AZ

    Autozone part # FCS 850V or O'Reillys # CC850
  23. DadsBlueFord
    Joined: Oct 2, 2011
    Posts: 472

    from Hayden, ID

    Garagekulture13 likes this.
  24. dogman1
    Joined: Apr 4, 2012
    Posts: 5


    OK ,got my aero springs for front. Can I use the regular blocks from Oreillys on rear? What size blocks do you suggest? The car is a 50 Ford Business Coupe with only 38,000 original miles, so everything is still tight and nothing sagging. ??? Any ideas or suggestions are welcomed. Thanks!!
  25. jugadro
    Joined: Jul 23, 2007
    Posts: 9


    Did you have to modify those front 5821 shocks at all? The mounting looks different in my '51.
  26. motorvisions
    Joined: Apr 8, 2012
    Posts: 12


    aerostar springs in my 52, brought it down just shy of 2-1/2". used 4" blocks in the back. no rubbing of the drive shaft, ive noticed. looked like plenty of clearance when i was under it. though changing tires is going to mean a trip back into the garage and on jackstands

    Attached Files:

  27. happy hoppy
    Joined: Apr 23, 2001
    Posts: 2,328

    happy hoppy

    yes I had to modify the brackets.
  28. greedyown
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 12


    to replace front springs... in step 14... if spring don't seat .. re-seat it in to the new rubber ... WHAT NEW RUBBER??
  29. greedyown
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 12


    in step 14 ... what new rubber are you talking about?
  30. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,734


    They're call "spring isolators". They are a rubber ring the top of the spring fits into. I got mine from Dennis Carpenter Ford Parts when I did my Aerostar coils. If you don't have them, get them!

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