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Technical How do I restore my leaf springs?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by flypa38, Jul 14, 2014.

  1. flypa38
    Joined: May 3, 2005
    Posts: 530

    flypa38
    Member

    My 56 Pontiac is in real need of some rear suspension work. The leaf springs need new bushings, needs new shocks and I wanted to put spring liners between the leaves.
    My only experience with leaf springs till now was replacing the really worn out springs with slightly less worn out springs.
    I was hoping you guys could tell me how to disassemble my springs so I can clean them up and install the liners. The clamps that go around the leaves appear to be riveted on. Also I've seen mention on spring builder's websites about a center bolt but mine appears to have a pin on the a in leaf for axle alignment and I don't think it has a center bolt.
    Finally, the parts manual for my car shows grease fittings on my shackle pins and cork washers between the shackles and springs. The years in the parts manual are before mine was built though. Should there be some sort of washers and grease fittings? None of these are currently there.
    Thanks for any info you guys can provide!
    Johnny
     
  2. If you plan on taking any spring apart get you some big "C" clamps and tighten them before you start taking the center bolt/ locator pin out,,it's probably greasy or caked with dirt but there will a nut on it.
    you should be able to find new shackles to fit your spring.

    They still make spring liner material so that shouldn't be a problem. HRP 91033036_L.jpg
     
  3. flypa38
    Joined: May 3, 2005
    Posts: 530

    flypa38
    Member

    Just had another quick look and she's resting on the bump stops! That explains the poor ride quality!
    So what are my options here? She's on 2 inch lowering blocks. That definitely shouldn't be enough to set her on the stops. Can I get the springs re-arched? If not, can I get just a new master leaf or am I limited to buying a new set of springs?
     
  4. James Curl
    Joined: Mar 28, 2006
    Posts: 370

    James Curl
    Member

    Any good spring shop can re arch the springs back to factory specs. Almost all front end shops that work on large trucks have the capability to re-arch your springs and probably install slider pads. Since you live in a large city it should not be any problem to find a good spring shop.
     

  5. flypa38
    Joined: May 3, 2005
    Posts: 530

    flypa38
    Member

    That's what I was hoping to hear. I guess now would be the time to get the eyes reversed too.
    That brings me to a few more questions. Can a broken leaf be welded and re heat treated by a spring shop or would they make a new one?
    Secondly, what affect do reversed eyes have on shock length?
     
  6. You might look to Eaton for replacements. They have the specs for GM and have a hot rod line that is lowered 2" or so. They are not too expensive and I heard that they have recently become a vendor here. You will proly get your alliance membership fee back with the discount.
     
  7. Question - how do you like your ride height right now before you do anything?

    All this spring work is pretty straight forward but any of it will raise it off the stops and raise your ride height considerably. So that will get some spring back into your step but you may be looking at frame c notches to get it back down.

    Riding on the stops isn't good, but if you like the ride height there you have some real work ahead of you , of which springs will be the least of.
     
    rottenleonard likes this.
  8. flypa38
    Joined: May 3, 2005
    Posts: 530

    flypa38
    Member

    I like where it is but a little higher won't bother me. Before I realized it was on the stops I was thinking of taking the blocks out and putting in 1 inch blocks anyhow.

    So how do I get these things apart? Can I bend the riveted on clamps to the sides or do I need to remove and replace the rivets?
     
  9. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 7,231

    19Fordy
    Member

    Your springs are just plain worn out. Follow the advice of Slick50
    Call Eaton Spring Co. and have them make the springs for you to factory specs or custom. http://www.eatondetroitspring.com/
     
  10. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,582

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Take it to a spring shop and have them rearched or replaced. Should cost about $200, money well spent. Springs are one of the most brutal things to work on.
     
  11. Da Tinman
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,226

    Da Tinman
    Member

    by the time you re-arch, reverse the eyes and install the liners you could pay for a new set of springs made to your specifications.

    I use St. Louis Spring exclusively better prices than Eaton same quality and usually have them ready to ship in a couple days.

    http://www.saintlouisspring.com/
     
    cool57 likes this.
  12. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,582

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    There should be a spring shop near you that can do the work, and save the shipping. They don't do many cars anymore but still fix trucks.
     
  13. Ditto what Da Tinman said.
     
  14. flypa38
    Joined: May 3, 2005
    Posts: 530

    flypa38
    Member

    There is a local shop that will do the work for cheap. I'm going to try them. Thanks for the replies!
    One more question. The springs on the car have 5 leaves and my spare set with a broken leaf has 8. How many should a 56 Pontiac Star Chief have?
     
  15. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,582

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    They used different springs on different models depending on weight. The spring shop should be able to figure it out based on the weight of the car. They will probably add a leaf to stiffen the springs. This will help prevent bottoming out due to the lowering blocks.
     
  16. flypa38
    Joined: May 3, 2005
    Posts: 530

    flypa38
    Member

    I'm gonna have them reverse the eyes I think instead of blocks. Will that change shock length and number of leaves?
     
  17. Saxon
    Joined: Aug 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,157

    Saxon
    Member
    from MN

  18. 55chieftain
    Joined: May 29, 2007
    Posts: 2,188

    55chieftain
    Member

    I replaced all the bushings on the leaf springs and also the ones on the frame brackets on mine. Without the special tool even if you could find one i'd say it's impossible to replace the bushings on the frame bracket with it installed on the frame. Cut the rivets that hold the bracket to the frame and have them pressed in/out. Than reinstall with grade 8 bolts. I have a press at work so did all that myself. California Pontiac restoration has the bushings. Otherwise replace the springs and just replace the bushing on the frame brackets. Just make sure the new springs have the tapered pin that fits into the shackles. The center carriage bolt is what holds the shackles together to the pins already in the bushings.
    Your springs have a center bolt to hold them together, it's just round at the top to align the rear to the spring. I added in a few extra springs on mine and got a new longer bolt. Mentioned already but put a couple large c clamps on both sides of the center bolt , remove bolt than slowly loosen clamps slowly and they will come apart pretty easy.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2014
  19. flypa38
    Joined: May 3, 2005
    Posts: 530

    flypa38
    Member

    Where did you find the frame bushing?

    Saxon, how many leaves and how does shock length change?
     
  20. 55chieftain
    Joined: May 29, 2007
    Posts: 2,188

    55chieftain
    Member

    The frame bushing is the same as the rear one in the leaf spring, California Pontiac restoration has both styles. The front one is different because it has a bolt going thru it. The replacement shocks that Monroe lists 31000 I think was an inch shorter extended length from the original shocks I took it off and I couldn't use it, doesn't help not being able to lower the rear down either to get the tires on and off. I have the number somewhere for a longer shock if needed. I actually ended up doubling up the 3 inner springs, mine originally had 5 leaves. Bill
     
  21. Bird man
    Joined: Dec 28, 2009
    Posts: 669

    Bird man
    Member
    from Milwaukee

    Any updates? is it possible to get a deal on Eatons?
     

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