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Technical Front coil springs won't fit--what am I missing?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jjaeger240, Oct 16, 2016.

  1. Bought a set of factory front coil springs for my 62 Impala. Compressed the spring, fit it inside the perches, jack the lower control arm, remove the spring compressor once everything is seated. Everything is good to this point.

    When I continue to jack the control arm to push the upper control arm ball joint back in to the spindle, the spring then begins to bend, and eventually won't compress any further inside the spring pockets. I also can't push the upper ball joint close enough to even attempt pushing it into the spindle. Why is the spring bending inside of the pocket?

    Spring is seated in the upper and lower perches, and the end of the spring are aligned properly with the notches in the pockets.

    Any thoughts on what I'm doing wrong or how I can correct this? Thanks

    (Additional info: putting in stock springs because original springs had cut coils too low, replaced with lowering springs however with disc brakes and chrome reverse wheels the tires don't clear without scrubbing the fenders, thus stock springs to raise the front for tire clearance--also why I'm afraid of cutting these springs)
    hrm2k likes this.
  2. Ralphies54
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 750


    Don't remove the compresser till the spindle is reconnected. Compress spring more if needed. Are you using the right compresser?
  3. What he said ^^^^^^ plus ..... are you certain you have the CORRECT new springs ?
  4. When I'm installing the spring and compressing the LCA with a jack the spring is aligned on the LCA perch but not the upper. As it compresses the spring then "pops" into the upper perch in the top hat, however when that happens the compressor jumps off the coils because the spring has to bend to seat on both perches. Should I then be attempting to install the compressor again and tighten once seated? It seems like I can't/won't be able to get the compressor to align properly to have the spring BOTH seated and evenly installed on the compressor due to the bend in the spring.

    Using a coil spring compressor with two claws and a bottom ring that goes through the center of the spring. This guy:

    This is the only thing I'm questioning. Just read and verified with the ad that it at least states that it's for the right car. They are made by the same company and purchased from the same supplier as the lowering springs I had installed that fit just fine. They also measure the same height as my original springs (with the added cut coils), same diameter, and same thickness. So everything appears to be the same, but I've never had a problem like this.

  5. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,737


    And for Pete's sake (and yours) put a chain through those springs until you get it buttoned up. Those things are like bombs with just a small amount of compression. They store a LOT of energy you don't want coming at your face.
  6. choptop40
    Joined: Dec 23, 2009
    Posts: 3,963


    Seems like the coils are defective ...return them ....
  7. I've done a bunch of "X" frame front coils. First you have to compress it about 3 inches to get it seated, leave the spring compressor in place. Position a floor jack under the outer part of the lower A-frame. Take a length of chain put it under the jack and up over the top of the frame , then take the slack out and bolt the chain together. This keeps the frame from lifting when you compress the spring enough to get the spindle on. Usually you have to guide the top threaded part of the compressor through the top shock mount hole to get the spring compressed and high enough. The trick is getting the compressor out afterwords. All the "X" frame stock height springs I've installed end up with a curve in them to the point where they almost rub the shock.
    wedjim likes this.
  8. Also you would be better off with a spring compressor that has the claws on the top and the bottom.
    henryj1951 likes this.
  9. graveyardsledder
    Joined: Oct 30, 2006
    Posts: 294


    The "I" type spring compressor is what I use on the short arm/ long are suspension. When those springs bite, they bite hard. Put a chain through it until it's all connected.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  10. B.A.KING
    Joined: Apr 6, 2005
    Posts: 3,777


    As said above put a chain thru something so if it slips it won't take part o your head off. I also put some grease up around where the top seats.also the bottom.They will have a lot of curve in them.
    On a side note.Wonder how they did those in the factory?????????
  11. wedjim
    Joined: Jan 1, 2014
    Posts: 420

    from Kissimmee

    It's important to jack the lower arm as far out from the inner bushings(pivot point) as possible for leverage. Consider how far the tire is out from the spring. Many try to compress the arm from under the spring requiring much more force.
    I can usually get them together without leaving the spring compressor in by using a floor jack at the lower ball joint and a long prybar on the upper arm with the shaft bushing bolts cracked loose.

    Just did a 64 front end a month ago for a customer.

    The spring curve is normal. Almost touches the shock with the car up on the lift. It actually straightens a little with the arm loaded on it.

    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  12. The curve is normal, but you must compress the spring a lot, jockey it around in the pocket and DON'T release the compressor until you have the ball joint back into the spindle with the nut on. If you release the compressor and try to compress the spring with the jack you'll just jack up the car and not compress the spring (not to mention it's very dangerous).

    Again eyeball the pocket, put the compressor on the spring on the ground, then try to get the ball joint into the spindle. You'll have to put it in and pull it out several times before it goes in (to get the curve and height right). If your not cutting any coils it's going to be tough as the cars weigh a ton so the coils are thick and long.

    You need to use this type of compressor:
    It goes where the shock is and you need to put it high on the top (at least a couple coils from the top) and low on the bottom (a couple of coils from the bottom) to get it to compress enough to get the ball joint into the spindle.

    You might get one of these to work, but it will be harder:
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
    milwscruffy likes this.
  13. Doing my '63 this winter - marked for future reference.
  14. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,960

    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    Cut some coils out and it will fit and be the proper lowness!!!!!!
    The spring is tall and strong, and whatever weight you have is not enough to compress it, if the spring compressor is not used.
    I find it easier on most car, when using a tall spring, to leave off the upper spring compressor hooks. put the threaded part in from the top, through the shock absorber hole, put the spring up into the upper seat, and install the lower hooks ( of course, one or 2 coils up from the bottom, so you can get it out later). Then compress the spring, put the A arm in position, and install the spindle on the ball joints. Then remove the compressor.
    And yes, a chain is a great safety to install.
  15. Ralphies54
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 750


    The compressor 1 oldtimer shows with claws on each end is the right one
  16. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,472


    What are you missing?

    A safety chain. Without one, you might be missing part of your body.

    Seriously, compressed springs have been known to maim and kill.
  17. Thanks for all of the suggestions, including those to not murder myself with the spring.

    Tried again tonight putting the spring under as much tension as possible. Compressed it over 3" before trying to install and attempted the left side. Little bit of finagling and grunt work but I was able to get it in. After putting a wheel on and dropping it on the ground I realized the spring I was sent is definitely not a "factory" spring for this car as advertised.


    This would also explain why it was nearly impossible to get this spring to fit in the first place.

    The new problem I have is getting the claw/hook portion of the compressor to drop out the bottom of the LCA. It doesn't fit with both hooks pointed up so I need to remove it linearly with the hooks facing opposing directions to slide out. The problem is with the spring under full compression, there's not enough space inside the spring to maneuver the hook piece to be linear. When the spring was seated but the spindle wasn't connected I could use the space between the coils to manipulate it, now I don't have that space. Any ideas?

    This is the type of compressor I'm using

    Attached Files:

    low budget likes this.
  18. There is not a lot of room between the spring and upper pocket on those cars. The hooks may be contacting the sides of the pocket. I like to grab them a few coils off the top. Also look for spring- end registration, top and bottom. Some have to fit a notch at the top. I really compress the spring if I have to. The compressor should easily drop out the shock hole. Did you measure the new springs against the old ones? New OEM style springs will raise the front end at least 2" over the old springs.
  19. The term "factory spring" or "OEM type spring" should never be compared to a N.O.S. spring.
    I see cars with "factory type" springs, but the stance, as an end result, is always HIGHER than the factory product.
    The closest thing to original standing height, that I have seen, is from Eaton Spring, in Michigan.
  20. Terrible80
    Joined: Oct 1, 2010
    Posts: 783


    Big Block Spring?
  21. Eaton Spring knows their stuff. I ordered a pair of Moog springs for a '65 Belair years back, the nose was high in the air, fixed that with a little spring shortening and all was well. Most factory cars did sit a tad proud when they rolled off the assembly line. This is what's good about the online Moog chart, you can check the length, diameter, tail ends and wire size before buying anything.
  22. I agree. Get well, 1 day at a time !
  23. low budget
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 5,564

    low budget
    from Central Ky

    Slick 62, I like!
  24. hrm2k
    Joined: Oct 2, 2007
    Posts: 3,698


    Jesse has gotten really good with the spring compressor and disassembling the suspension. I was there for a couple of hours tonight..........he worked with more safety in mind than he used to. We started cutting coils a little at a time. finally got it close to where he wanted we need to do the right side....................but with a lot more understanding . ..
    Thanks for all the la HAMB !!!!!!!!!!
    pat59 likes this.
  25. I did springs quite a bit when I worked in a front end shop... cringed when they ran specials with quotas but we always banged them out. Never saw anyone hurt in that shop, but one place I worked I saw 2 guys take an ambulance ride doing things the wrong way.

    The shorter the spring gets, the safer and easier they are to work with, so does having done a few 100 sets. I did the ones in my Ford in the driveway in April, 40 minutes total, but the car was apart and together before that, everything was clean and painted.
  26. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,472


    That's for sure. My Falcon is so low that no compressor is required to put the springs in, or take them out.:cool:
  27. This is how the stock cars were. Pull 'em out, sneak in a spacer and back in, 10 minutes.
  28. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 3,116


    Be sure to post a picture of the end result, that's a nice '62!
  29. Russco
    Joined: Nov 27, 2005
    Posts: 4,194

    from Central IL

    That is the problem with older suspension technology, they all used spring rates that were WAY too soft which required the spring to be much taller than needed. If you can get your hands on an old Moog spring catalog you can find a spring that will work much better than the factory spring ( may require some cutting) and will also install much easier too.
    hrm2k likes this.

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