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Hot Rods Generic Suspension Question

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by moparjack44, Jun 20, 2022.

  1. moparjack44
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 605

    moparjack44
    Member

    Looking for comfort on my driver Hot Rod.
    My thinking is to remove 2 leaves from rear springs. It has 5 leaves, my idea is to remove 2. I was thing next to bottom leaf and the leaf above that? Should that soften the ride? How much? About how much should it lower the rear? Need to lower, but not use lowering blocks. I have nothing against lowering blocks, but they seem to stiffen the ride.

    Jack
     
  2. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 51,243

    squirrel
    Member

    More info about the car would help.....

    In general, you want to sneak up on it. Try removing one leaf, first.

    Lowering blocks don't stiffen the ride, as they don't change spring rate at all. They might let it bottom out sooner though, which you might perceive to be a stiffer ride. When there's less travel available, you actually need a stiffer spring to prevent bottoming. And bottoming out is usually what makes it feel like a "stiff ride".
     
  3. moparjack44
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 605

    moparjack44
    Member

    Not much to tell about my car. Its a 48 DeSoto DeLux 4 door, apperance basically stock, 392 1st Gen Hemi, Nova front clip, 727TF tranny, B Body Mopar 8 3/4 open rear end. 15" inch wheels, radial tires.
    I built it to be a regular driver, not a show car, not a race car.
     
    Boneyard51 likes this.
  4. Also check your shock travel. If they too are bottomed, or bottoming out, it will affect ride "stiffness.

    As Squirrel said ...sneak up on it one leaf at a time. I usually start with the smaller leaves first.
     

  5. That's a big car, Are you using a single leaf setup or dual springs?

    If it were me I would use lowering blocks, as far as them making the suspension stiffer I can't see that happening unless the shocks are not traveling as much as they should. HRP
     
  6. Joe H
    Joined: Feb 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,190

    Joe H
    Member

    My local spring shop said I could remove every other leaf on my Chevy truck springs starting with the smallest ones. What you don't want is a single leave with out much backing. Mine had 9 to start, I was down to 5 with a noticeable ride difference. I also added teflon type spring liner stripes so the leaves would slide. If the spring leaves have steps worn into them, you need to replace or round out the edges so there is a place for movement.
     
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  7. moparjack44
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 605

    moparjack44
    Member

    Think I will double check shock travel. Just recently installed new rear shocks. Not sure exactly how to check the travel??? Have coil overs on the front, thinking about coil overs on the rear, but have verrry shallow pockets. Trying to live on Social Security and raise a Hot Rod often don't go good together.
     
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  8. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 20,272

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    If you have shocks with an exposed shaft, put a zip-tie around the hard chrome part, cut off the excess, and slide it down to the shock body.

    Shock compression will push the zip-tie up the shaft. That will show you how much travel you are using.

    If it's all the way up, you are bottoming out the shock. If it goes missing, maybe don't drive the car until you get the correct shocks.
     
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  9. Joe H
    Joined: Feb 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,190

    Joe H
    Member

    I was told 1/3 of travel for extension, 2/3 for compression. At ride height, you should still have 1/3 of total travel past the mounting bolt location when you unhook the shock and have it at full extension.
     
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  10. moparjack44
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 605

    moparjack44
    Member

    When I checked, the shocks are so stiff, I could only compress the shock using a bottle jack. I could not compress or extend by hand. I replaced shocks with some old used shocks I had. It helped. They are about total 3 inches longer center to center of mounting holes.
    Still think gonna remove 1 spring leaf. When I bought the car 20 years ago (stalled project), it had mono rear spring set up. Car rode great, but add much weight, would easily bottom out.
    Jack
     
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  11. So, you have unknown mystery shocks and still want to start taking springs apart? Why? Do it right, see what the measurements on your shocks are. Odds are they are nowhere close. Shocks are cheap to replace.
     
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  12. Russco
    Joined: Nov 27, 2005
    Posts: 4,252

    Russco
    Member
    from Central IL

    You can also de arch the springs and or flip the eye to lower it as well without removing springs if you don’t want to soften the rate too much.
     
  13. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 51,243

    squirrel
    Member

    sounds like it might have mystery rear springs, too.

    What did you replace the monoleaf springs with?
     
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  14. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 8,767

    Budget36
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Maybe using gas shocks?
     
  15. moparjack44
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 605

    moparjack44
    Member

    I had complete set built by a shop in Richmond VA. that does nothing but Springs. Thurston Springs, very well know here in the southwest.
     
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  16. moparjack44
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 605

    moparjack44
    Member

    Not complete mystery, but they were on the car when I bought it. Antiques now I reckon, but I am a cheap, old school kinda guy. Born and raised poor all your life, sometimes change is difficult...LOL.
     
  17. moparjack44
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 605

    moparjack44
    Member

    I certainly appreciate eveyones input, and plan to persue getting correct shocks.
     
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  18. nrgwizard
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,648

    nrgwizard
    Member
    from Minn. uSA

    If you're going to start yanking leaves, I'd leave the main & the next one. Then start pulling every other one, *one at a time*.
    The 1st thing I'd do, however, is to clean the leaf-pack, round & bevel the tips, & either use a good grease w/a spring-wrap or a plastic strip 'twixt each leaf. That alone will soften-up the leaf-packs to the point you may be happy. & get some decent shocks.
    Marcus...
     
  19. Kerrynzl
    Joined: Jun 20, 2010
    Posts: 2,330

    Kerrynzl
    Member

    Lowering blocks don't stiffen the ride at all.....You could have springs binding

    If comfort is the priority then removing leaves would work. [with caution! because brake torque will cause spring wrap]

    If you're satisfied with the ride quality but want the ride height lower, then reset the spring load [height] which is really simple to do with a homemade "Jig" and a bottle jack.

    Paint the leaves with "Dacromet" paint [a controlled friction paint used on trailer springs]

    re-arching is shown here
    upload_2022-6-21_15-28-26.png

    upload_2022-6-21_15-29-27.png

    On old race cars we add /remove the 2nd leaf.
    But we also cut it in half and re-install [and clamp] it above the main leaf.
    This front half leaf controls torque but doesn't add stiffness to the spring
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2022
  20. moparjack44
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 605

    moparjack44
    Member

    That is the new plan. Leave top 2 then remove #3, which in my case would be the middle leaf (spring has 5).
    I bought gasket material to put between leaves, could not find rubber, had to get cork. Probably will not last as long as it takes me to install.
    The used shocks feel good, work smooth, and are KYB, but going to do more figuring and try to get the "perfect new shocks".
    I like the zip tie idea, but my shocks have metal dust sleeves, and can not get to the chrome shaft. The sleep on top, laps over the bottom tube? The left shock is mounted in front of the axle, the right is mounted behind the axle.
    Jack
     
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  21. moparjack44
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 605

    moparjack44
    Member

    The bottom leaf is pretty short..What if I just move it to the top, without cutting it. With my tool inventory, and my advanced age, I don't know if I would live long enough to cut a spring...lol
    Jack


     
  22. Joe H
    Joined: Feb 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,190

    Joe H
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  23. moparjack44
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 605

    moparjack44
    Member

  24. Rynothealbino
    Joined: Mar 23, 2009
    Posts: 261

    Rynothealbino
    Member

    Lots of good comments here. Sounds like pulling the old shocks is a good first step so you can see what is spring vs. shock stiffness. As others have said lowering blocks have no effect of spring rate. They are simply a spacer.

    Be very careful pulling leaves, especially if the pack was custom build for the application and weight. Pulling a couple leaves out of a 5 leaf pack will alter your spring rate dramatically. Also uneven spacing and leaving out that short center spring (most of the leverage is in the center) is a good way to have a spring pack get permanently destroyed.

    Assuming the spring rate is close to right your best bet is having the existing springs de arched (or finding lower arch springs in a junkyard to replace all but the main), or pulling in lowering blocks to get your height.

    Any of these methods will find you measuring for and purchasing new shocks more than likely.
     
  25. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 4,910

    indyjps
    Member

    There's a lot of leaf spring tuning that can be done. Not only removing leafs, but also turning them 180 - consider if the leaf is equal distant from the center pin or not - the long end can be run forward or backward.
    Also clamping position of the leafs

    I tuned leaf springs over time in a street strip car to get it launching hard and straight.

    Take a look at a set of mopar super stock springs. Clamp location and leaf length made all the difference to get those cars to launch.

    Safest approach is remove a leaf at a time, after verifying all the rest of the suspension attachments, bushing, bolts, shocks aren't causing the issue.
    It's an exercise in time versus money, being able to assess what changed, very effective if you commit the time to it.

    Be sure to verify your pinion angle as you change vehicle height.
     
  26. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 2,653

    ekimneirbo
    Member
    from Brooks Ky

    If the mono-leaf spring rode good and you still have it, try reinstalling it and getting some shocks that have adjustable coil springs on them. You might be able to set them so the springs don't do much until you have a lot of travel already. If you have to haul something heavy, adjust them up and reset them when done.
     
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  27. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 4,069

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    You can buy leaf spring liner from speedway motors for $15 , w/o the lip is cheaper & if you search you may be able to find it elsewhere cheaper
     
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  28. moparjack44
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 605

    moparjack44
    Member

    I completely removed the shocks, and the car was way to bouncy/soft. Drive able, but not comfortable or safe. What does that tell me about the springs? I'm thinking springs not an issue, but shocks?
    Jack
     
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  29. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 20,272

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Yes. Shocks come with different valving for compression and rebound. High-end models have the ability to adjust both via knobs.

    [​IMG]
    Note the "C" and "R" knobs.

    Finding shocks that simply "fit" is not enough. With a custom built car, it can sometimes be a challenge getting valving rates that are correct for a good ride from an off-the-shelf fixed valving shock.

    That said, many have, and you probably will also be able to.
     
  30. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 20,272

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    With this car I would first go back to a replacement for the OEM shocks.

    I am not a DeSoto expert, but there should be a direct replacement for what was there originally.

    I have seen builders that went to a shock catalog and picked out a pair of shocks that fit the mounting type, space constraints and travel. It had appeared that they never bothered to look up that part number to see what the intended application was.

    I have removed and replaced more than a few pairs of what were intended to be rear shocks from the front of vehicles, and even more front shocks from the rear of vehicles.

    Since the bulk of the weight of most front-engine, rear wheel drive vehicles is in the front, the valving rates for the front and rear shocks are rather dramatically different.

    A gas pressurized shock absorber will almost always be stiffer; however, a plain hydraulic front shock will almost always be stiffer than a rear.

    I suspect that what is on he rear your car is a pair of front shock absorbers.
     

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