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Projects Leaf spring clips

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by fins2nv, Nov 21, 2014.

  1. fins2nv
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 47

    fins2nv
    Member
    from Fargo, ND

    Bear with me. I have never taken a front leaf spring out of a Model A before and I am thinking about removing the spring in my '30 coupe. I have the Les Andrews Model A book that tells how to remove the leaf spring. My plan is to remove several leaves. I have read here to make sure to reuse the top and of course the bottom spring. After I remove a few leaves and attempt to put the unit back together, will my original spring clamps work or will there be a gap? If there is a gap, how do I remedy that? Also, do I have to replace the bushings in the spring eyes or replace the shackles?
     
  2. fins2nv
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 47

    fins2nv
    Member
    from Fargo, ND

    No responses? Okay, here's the plan in my newbie mind. Please tell me if this won't work. First take out the original 10-leaf spring pack. The bottom five springs are held together with spring clips. I will leave those five clipped together. I will then remove springs two, three, four and five counting down from the top of the pack. I will then reinstall the spring. I will have a total of six springs left in the pack. I am not reversing the eyes. Will this work? Any idea how much it will drop the car and will I have any trouble with tire clearance on the fenders?
     
  3. Make sure to use a spring spreader,lots of force in that pack.Maybe drop 1 inch.Search will yield lots of info&help.
     
    turboroadster likes this.
  4. fins2nv
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 47

    fins2nv
    Member
    from Fargo, ND

    Thanks Texas Webb. I have read numerous threads on this, but none address the spring clip issue. Member jkeesey said that he removed half the leaves in his front spring pack. He said it took about an hour and added that it dropped the car about three inches and rode much better. He is running a fenderless roadster pickup. I have a coupe with fenders, a stock front axle and original mechanical brakes.
     

  5. To answer your question, if you remove any leaf below the clamp you obviously reduce the thickness. If the clamp is riveted on it won't matter, except for the unsightly gap between the main leaf and the clamp bolt. If I was removing more than one longer leaf, I would shorten and redrill the clamp or make a new shorter clamp. You say you are removing leaves above the bottom five so it won't matter. The purpose of the clamp is to keep the leaves stacked vertically on top of each other, and not fan apart.
     
  6. fins2nv
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 47

    fins2nv
    Member
    from Fargo, ND

    Thanks hotrodA.
     
  7. eicke
    Joined: Jul 30, 2012
    Posts: 63

    eicke
    Member

    Don't remember any spring clamps on my A but then again I can't remember what I did yesterday. At least the were never re-installed.
    On the bushings, I used a press for the old ones. New bushings were poly and two piece. Pushed in by hand.

    -Ron
     
  8. TagMan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2002
    Posts: 6,041

    TagMan
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Not sure if I would remove 4 leaves all together. I'd rather remove every other leaf, to distribute the load a little more evenly on the remaining leaves.

    Maybe I'm incorrect and it doesn't matter - what say all ??
     
    turboroadster likes this.
  9. fins2nv
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 47

    fins2nv
    Member
    from Fargo, ND

    My thought was that if I took four leaves out of the top half, I wouldn't have to disrupt the spring clips on the bottom five. I don't know if that's a good idea or not.
     
  10. fins2nv
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 47

    fins2nv
    Member
    from Fargo, ND

    Another question. This quote is from another thread: "Remove the odd numbered leaves, 3,5,7,9. When you get the stance and ride where you want them cut the removed leaves into a block which you can use under the spring so you'll still get good tight mounting with the lower plate up front."

    What does this mean? Did he cut up the leftover leaves and place them under the remaining leaf pack? Are these to act as a spacer? Does this mean you can't just take out a 10-leaf spring, remove four of the upper leaves, stick the new six-leaf pack back up into the crossmember and then put the bottom plate on and bolt it up?
     
  11. As you thin the spring pack by removing leaves you get to a point where you run out of threads on the u-bolts, and/or the bottom clamp hits the crossmember. The shortened leaf spacer prevents this.
     
  12. fins2nv
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 47

    fins2nv
    Member
    from Fargo, ND

    Thanks hotrodA. That's what I was thinking, but I wasn't sure.
     
  13. missysdad1
    Joined: Dec 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,942

    missysdad1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    When you put it all back together, don't over-tighten the bolts on the U-shaped spring clamps. Doing this will put a bind on the leaves and stiffen the spring action. Tighten the bolts just enough to keep the U-shaped spring clamps in position. Use a nyloc or self-locking nut so the nut will not back off even though it isn't tight.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014
  14. joel
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 1,698

    joel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    m_frontspring.jpg m_frontspring2.jpg The short leaves make the spring stiff; removing every other leaf is a good place to start . Moving up from the main leaf, the clamps get longer; you may be able to reuse some of the clamps as leaves are removed. You can make new clamps; I used 1/8 X 1" flat stock to make mine. Left pic shows cut leaves for spacers; right pic shows the underside of the clamp.
     
  15. fins2nv
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 47

    fins2nv
    Member
    from Fargo, ND

    Thanks for the suggestions missysdad and joel. And joel, the photos are very helpful.
     
  16. I never used, or even needed, a spring compressor on the FRONT spring. I removed the old stock spring by undoing the shackles - nothing shot across the garage. I installed the stock replacement spring in the reverse order, without any special tools.

    The REAR spring? - that sucker is under lots of stress. It can be dangerous.

    Just my observations while working on my 1930 Tudor.
     
  17. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 6,899

    19Fordy
    Member

    IMG_3957b.jpg Here's a helpful U-bolt torque chart. I tightened the U-bolts on my 40 Ford to 80 foot pounds. The U-bolts are mild steel and not plated. Cotter keys are on the stock set up, but you could also use blue Locktite, Nylock nuts or double nut it if you have the space. use a cris-cross pattern when tightening.
    http://www.rnhspring.com/Ubolts.html
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014
  18. fins2nv
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 47

    fins2nv
    Member
    from Fargo, ND

    Thanks 19Fordy, I appreciate the chart and info.
     
  19. telecustom
    Joined: Feb 17, 2009
    Posts: 336

    telecustom
    Member
    from Langey, BC

    ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1416779527.090996.jpg
    The dust line is two missing leafs from the bottom. Two leafs from the top are now under the main leaf witch I left un-cutt. The top of your drag link may hit the brake bar heading to the backing plate. File the bar or drop a couple leafs off the rear. That will keep the axle at the correct angle. If you take to much off the front and nothing off the rear you may run into bump steer.


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  20. telecustom
    Joined: Feb 17, 2009
    Posts: 336

    telecustom
    Member
    from Langey, BC

    Also two large C clamps are needed to remove and install the pack. With all leafs removed you can remove the main leaf. Cut an old model A brake rod to run in the hole of the leafs when installing the pack to keep it aligned.


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  21. fins2nv
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 47

    fins2nv
    Member
    from Fargo, ND

    Thanks telecustom!
     
  22. metaldave
    Joined: Aug 27, 2011
    Posts: 81

    metaldave
    Member
    from michigan

    Dont forget to radius the ends of the leaves. Put a radius on the bottom of the leaves so they dont dig into the leaf below.
     
  23. stimpy
    Joined: Apr 16, 2006
    Posts: 3,547

    stimpy

    your going to have to use a grinding stone to do it as its harder than file steel and be carefull around the edges as I have found some where they sheared the leaf and hardened it turn it to a knifes edge litterally .. and try to keep the heat down when doing the grinding as not to take the temper out of the steel , I often place a wet rag on it to keep it cool while grinding
     
  24. fins2nv
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 47

    fins2nv
    Member
    from Fargo, ND

    Thanks to both metaldave and stimpy. I see in my Les Andrews manual where he says to grind a beveled edge on the leading bottom edge of each leaf.
     
  25. TagMan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2002
    Posts: 6,041

    TagMan
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I took each leaf and put a radius on the ends with my belt sander / 80 grit belt. You don't need a huge radius.
     
  26. fins2nv
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 47

    fins2nv
    Member
    from Fargo, ND

    Thanks TagMan.
     
  27. jkeesey
    Joined: Oct 12, 2011
    Posts: 652

    jkeesey
    Member

    Make sure you clean up the leafs nicely and grease them before putting them back together. It makes a world of difference in your ride. I took every other from mine which is fenderless. I took 3, if i remember right, from my buddies coupe and that put his front tires tight into the wheel wells. If taking a hard corner his will kiss the fender a bit. I have never worried about the spring clamps. 90% of the original cars on the road have either lost their clamps or are so loose they are ineffective. If your frontend is setup straight you will not have to worry much about the spring disaligning.
     
  28. Grease between the leafs is fine if you have a stack of spring leafs that are thinner and higher count than on a Ford transverse spring. Chrysler and some fancy cars used grease and wrapped in leather on a parallel leaf front or rear suspension, not transverse.
    On a Ford transverse application, the grease will cause lack of friction between the leafs and cause it to lose tension and collapse. On a different application, i.e. semi trucks and related, this one of the major causes of spring failures. Big trucks suffer sometimes from motor oil or power steering fluid leaks onto the springs.
    12 years of selling automotive and heavy duty truck springs and suspension repairs, another 14 years being directly beside the folks performing the repairs while building driveshafts.
     
  29. jkeesey
    Joined: Oct 12, 2011
    Posts: 652

    jkeesey
    Member

    Then why do they make these? http://www.snydersantiqueauto.com/860
    Lincolns had them factory.
     
  30. I like to use dry graphite for spring lubrication.

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