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Technical reversing the eye on a spring

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by v8caddy, Jan 18, 2016.

  1. v8caddy
    Joined: Nov 25, 2015
    Posts: 33


    hi everyone , I have a dumb question , I would like to reverse the eye on the rear spring on my 30 modela its a tudor sedan and I would like to lower it , so is it possible can I do it myself , I have a press so how can I go about this without ruining it
  2. mopacltd
    Joined: Nov 11, 2008
    Posts: 935


    Don't reverse the eye. Re-arch the spring in the opposite direction. Much easier on the metal.
    cad-lasalle and v8caddy like this.

  3. I did not check the links to the threads cactusl posted but I tried to reverse my tudor's rear leaf and it broke, It workrd out fine on the front spring.
    v8caddy likes this.
  4. Ok so I just checked the links and the one thing I can say is I must have worked too fast, so go slow or the spring may break!
    v8caddy likes this.
  5. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 7,251


    Maybe it was cracked or just about to break anyway?
    v8caddy and pecker head like this.
  6. could have been, I thought I heard that you can't reverse the high arch rear springs but Cactus' links prove otherwise. live and learn.
    v8caddy likes this.
  7. BobF
    Joined: Dec 30, 2004
    Posts: 230

    from Poway, CA

    The Model A rear springs, like the T's have a significant rise in the center to clear the rear end directly under it .Trying to reverse the eyes puts a lot of stress on the spring possibly causing failure. I got a spring from another A owner who had bent the spring up on both sides, about 8" back from the eye, effectively lowering the rear. It has been in the car since 1978, two trips to St.Paul nats from CA and many miles around AZ, CA, NV with no problems.
    Still in the car working fine.
    v8caddy and Chris Casny like this.
  8. Bader2
    Joined: May 19, 2014
    Posts: 1,143


    Seems like ALOT of work to drop an inch to inch and a quarter? Play with the spring pack combo would be lots easier,no? Rear spring for sure.
    v8caddy likes this.
  9. Having spent enough time fucking with reversing a model A rear spring and getting it back to the same shape. I would just drop the 100 bucks on a new one and be done with it. Time is money and I don't got time to fuck with that things for 4 hours to get it just right.
  10. Moselli
    Joined: Feb 16, 2009
    Posts: 104


    Interesting methods and great safety comments. I'm curious to know if the cold re-arching process - press or hammer forming - of the spring puts any stress in the metal and if this poses a danger of the spring failing without some form of heat treating?

    This may be a difficult question to answer as there are numerous compositions of what we refer to as 'Spring Steel,' but I wonder if someone with a deeper metallurgical background than mine could comment on potential defects that could occur?

    Thanks, Moselli

    jazz1 and v8caddy like this.
  11. Gene Boul
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 805

    Gene Boul

    Very possible but way too much work to save 100.00. Besides you can always go back to the original if need be.
  12. 47ragtop
    Joined: Feb 8, 2007
    Posts: 664


    Point well taken on keeping the spring original. However I have taken springs to a real old timey spring shop where they heat, straighten each end and then roll a new eye reversed from the original. This also may work on parallel leaf rear springs instead of using lowering blocks. The last one cost about $20 for both ends.
  13. mopacltd
    Joined: Nov 11, 2008
    Posts: 935


    BobF, my brother lives in Poway and has been playing with hot rods since '72 ther. I'm sure you have seen his orange '30 2 door sedan or maybe his bronze '34 5 window.
  14. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,609

    Rusty O'Toole

    Those springs are 80 years old and there is such a thing as metal fatigue. Maybe they got away with it in the forties but today there is a higher risk of breaking?
  15. 39 Ford
    Joined: Jan 22, 2006
    Posts: 1,558

    39 Ford

    Metal fatigue is caused by constant flex as in using daily for 80 years. Most of our cars have low use over the majority of their lives so I consider them less likely to have fatigue problems.
  16. Tell that to the pile of broken original model A and T spring I've got. Those old roads were harsh.
  17. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 8,912

    dirty old man
    Member Emeritus

    I like this method best , that is if you can still find a shop equipped to do it properly. An advantage to this method not mentioned yet is that when you go thru the process of unrolling and then reverse rerolling they usually shorten the spring just slightly and you wind up with a slight reduction in length, eye to eye.
    While this does make it a necessity to make or otherwise obtain a spring stretcher to push the eyes further apart by pulling some of the arch out, it also flattens the angle of the shackles, which helps to control sidesway on a transverse spring suspension.
  18. BobF
    Joined: Dec 30, 2004
    Posts: 230

    from Poway, CA

    Yes, I've known your bro Steve since back when he stored the 34 in Doug C's picture frame shop. You also know me from when I parked you and Steve at GG Del Mar next to each other . Small world ehhh:)
  19. Harold's Speed
    Joined: Jan 6, 2016
    Posts: 49

    Harold's Speed

    I agree, I have a hard enough time finding enough time to work on my cars. Beautiful horse, looks like mine
  20. "Spring steel" is just heat treated, which raises the yield considerably. So to make permanent deformation, you have to overcome the high yield. Yes this does also do some work hardening, which raises the yield even more. The whole point is for a spring you want it to operate in the elastic range, and to change the shape of a spring you need to get past elastic and into plastic range.

    Fatigue is *not* the spring getting weaker. fatigue is a below yield strength crack initiation and growth process, where eventually you get final stage failure of the remaining good uncracked metal portion when the crack length has reduced the remaining portion so it experiences catastrophic overload fracture. A spring that has sagged over the years is not fatigued. But one that has a crack in it would be fatigued.

    If you ever heat a spring, such as a spring shop to modify the ends, it needs to be re-heat treated so it has the high yield strength back.
    indyjps likes this.
  21. mopacltd
    Joined: Nov 11, 2008
    Posts: 935


    BobF, hope to get to see you again this year. Just might bring my '55 this time.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2016
  22. verde742
    Joined: Aug 11, 2010
    Posts: 5,737

    1. a veteran died today

    I really doubt they will un-roll and re-roll the spring and heat treat it for $20 now days.
    get a new spring made with the eyes opposite the one you take in, Or have a Model T spring with you, and say I want it with reversed eyes and 2 1/4 wide instead of 2". This would be FOR REAR ONE..
  23. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 8,912

    dirty old man
    Member Emeritus

    I'm sure you won't get the job done for $20 nowadays, but if you find a shop that has the equipment to unroll the ye after bringing to cherry red heat and while still cherry red reroll the other way after a slight nip off the end to retaper in opposite direction, then reheat treat,you'll have a better and more durable job than reversing cold.
  24. Mr. Breeze
    Joined: Aug 25, 2015
    Posts: 6

    Mr. Breeze

    I just had this done on my Model A rear spring and a friends compound curve rear spring out of a '33. The ends were heated unrolled, reverse rolled and re-tempered. On my front spring the blacksmith re-arched the main spring to reverse the eyes. Palmer Spring Company in Portland Maine is where I had this done.
  25. fatkoop
    Joined: Nov 17, 2009
    Posts: 712


    I'm just the opposite, since I have way more time than money, and I enjoy "projects", I have reversed several springs with just a press and some chalk marks on the floor or bench. Thousands of miles later, I've had no problems.
  26. Honestly I don't have deep pockets. I've broken 2 out of 3 model a rear springs while reversing them as well. It's just not something I want to mess with anymore. To much time wasted. Besides when you reverse a model a rear spring and get the curve right. The eye to eye measurement is wider and the shackle angles are all screwed. Not to mention good luck getting the curve in the center right. Seems like a lot of work to get a incorrect rear spring setup in the end. I've already spent many hours chamfering and polishing the leaves, and planning the final assembly with dry graphite between the leaves and only painting the entire assembly once finished. I might as well spend the relativity little amount for a correct main leaf, so my car handles like it's designed to. Instead of cheaping out on the important stuff. Besides if you can't afford a 100 dollar part pretty important part, you probably are involved in the wrong hobby in the first place.
    Moselli likes this.
  27. safari-wagon
    Joined: Jan 12, 2008
    Posts: 1,457


    The problem that occurs when you reroll the spring eye is that the end trim can wind-up in an angled position to the body of the spring, where it acts like a chisel. The sharp edge will make a weak spot in the spring that leads to failure.
    This was documented in a few of the "little books" years back. They always rearched springs to avoid the problems.
  28. Neighborwood
    Joined: Nov 7, 2010
    Posts: 37


    The actual car spring temper leaves it soft. Easily drilled.
    Take it from one who has made Black powder locks from scratch. All parts even the screws made from nails. Carbon case hardening. Charcoal color case hardening etc. The draw on a spring, after hardening at 1500f is about 350 f. If you want the color of 1500f heat a 16 penny nail with a propane torch. A red orange. The torch burns at 1500.
    The draw temp will vary with the carbon content. You can get a read of the carbon content by using a known carbon content piece of steel. Grind it and watch the intensity of the spark shower. Then run the piece you are going to use as a comparison.
    The draw temp is done by the oxidation color.
    I had to draw one piece at ~900f. it was a .09 carbon vs the lower carbon content temper draws of 350F. 350f is a dark straw and 900f is a black just before the red. And should be done in a shadow.
    I have reached many car springs using a good ~14" round of fire wood and a 3# hammer. Wear a glove, a wrong hit can bruise your palm. Drawn lines you want on the floor as mentioned by another blogger. Takes about 20 - 30 min per leaf.
    In a pinch 55+ years ago while making a cross life spring for a water pumper dune buggie I even cut and rewelded with coat hanger a car spring at the center hole. It was clamped hard to minimize flex in use, never broke.
    Good luck Dick Neises
    410merc and 270dodge like this.

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