Rebuilding Leaf Springs ? - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old Sep 20th, 09, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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Rebuilding Leaf Springs ?

I think I will use the existing leaf springs (5 leaf) for now, as I can't find 250# (per David P) stock height leaf springs for a descent price.
Classic sells a kit for "rebuilding" the leaf springs. Have any of you done this- basically take the leaves apart, clean and paint, then reassemble with provided clamps and rubber "silencers"? They also sell full length rubber "liners". Have any of you used those?

Thanks in advance,
John

69 SS350 Coupe, 4 speed- under construction- "resto-mod"
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old Sep 20th, 09, 09:33 PM
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Re: Rebuilding Leaf Springs ?

I took my car to local spring rebuilder and had them upgraged from
mono leaf to multi-leaf (4) springs with urathane bushing and they were
about $300.00. installed That was several years ago. would use P-S-T
bushings next time. jay
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old Sep 20th, 09, 10:07 PM
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Re: Rebuilding Leaf Springs ?

Its a pretty simple process, but haven't heard of or seen the full-length liners.

There are two types of clamps, the kind with the rivets and those with the fold-over tabs. Either work fine, just depends on if you want more "correct" (riveted type).

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 09, 06:49 AM
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Re: Rebuilding Leaf Springs ?

John

There's more to it than taking them apart and bolting them back together with new clamps and paint. That doesn't accomplish anything if you have sagging springs or one side lower/weaker than the other.

I used to work in a spring shop way back when as a youngster. We would disassemble the springs and re-arc each leaf by hand. You want to start out with the two main leaves having the exact same arc and then arc each successive leaf so there is a small gap between it and the leaf below it at the center. This way it pulls all the leaves together without gaps and gives the spring it's strength. It's very important that each leaf in each spring is the same or you'll end up with one spring 'taller' than the other.

If you want to keep the original springs I would take it to a shop that rebuilds truck and heavy equipment springs and let them re-arc the springs correctly.

Mark

68 327 4-speed 3.42 posi and a sunroof
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best so far... 13.25 at 106mph

78 Firebird 350/T350 3.23 posi
65 Mustang convert. 6 cyl. 3-speed
66 Mustang coupe 6 cyl. auto
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 09, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Rebuilding Leaf Springs ?

Mark,

I basically feel the car was OK when I disassembled it- in both stance and ride. Since I can't find any springs I'm looking for (without spending $500), I'm planning on using the original ones for now. Maybe I'll add some kind of coil overs if I want more rate or a higher stance later. And if I know what I need after driving it for a while, then I'll "spring" for high $ leafs.
So that's why I just want to "freshen" them up. Mine seem to have clamps and rivets. Are they hard to take apart and reassemble?
Thanks,
John

69 SS350 Coupe, 4 speed- under construction- "resto-mod"
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old Sep 22nd, 09, 07:16 AM
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Re: Rebuilding Leaf Springs ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rookobird View Post
Mark,

I basically feel the car was OK when I disassembled it- in both stance and ride. Since I can't find any springs I'm looking for (without spending $500), I'm planning on using the original ones for now. Maybe I'll add some kind of coil overs if I want more rate or a higher stance later. And if I know what I need after driving it for a while, then I'll "spring" for high $ leafs.
So that's why I just want to "freshen" them up. Mine seem to have clamps and rivets. Are they hard to take apart and reassemble?
Thanks,
John
John

The springs themselves aren't hard to take apart. Just take the nut off the centerbolt, or cut the nut off with a chisel if the end of the threads are mushroomed over or rusted. Heat the clamps up and bend them straight. All the leaves will come apart. Mark each leaf so you know which is front and rear so it goes back together the same way.

The rivets are no big deal if you have a good torch, big hammers and an anvil or good vise with a flat anvil part. Grind the head off the old rivets. Pry the clamp off. Knock the remaining part of the rivets out of the leaves. Install new clamp and rivet. Tighten down with a c-clamp or big visegrips. Heat the rivet shaft till glowing orange. Flatten with a hammer. If the clamps aren't tight enough you can set the ball peen side of the hammer on the part you just flattened and give it a few good whacks with a sledge hammer. Hammers face to face. This will mushroom the rivet shaft more and tighten the clamp on the leaf. Wear safety goggles or something because the hammer face may chip.

Run new centerbolt through all the leaves and tighten down. Heat the clamps till glowing and bend them over with a hammer.

If you don't have a good torch and good sized hammers I'd go with the bendable type clamps. They work fine. Just tighten them down good with a c-clamp before bending the ears of the clamp over.

Mark

68 327 4-speed 3.42 posi and a sunroof
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best so far... 13.25 at 106mph

78 Firebird 350/T350 3.23 posi
65 Mustang convert. 6 cyl. 3-speed
66 Mustang coupe 6 cyl. auto
80 Chevy C10 406 4-speed

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old Sep 22nd, 09, 12:37 PM
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Re: Rebuilding Leaf Springs ?

I got mine rebuilt back in '86..
Took them to a spring maker/forger
They dismantled, put them in furnaces re tensoned /shaped..
Brillant job....The guy has since died...forging is a dieing trade.
Somewhere here there are specs on shape tensions etc for the springs...about 18 months ago???

My Spelling is not incorrect...it is creative

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old Sep 22nd, 09, 01:13 PM
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Re: Rebuilding Leaf Springs ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steptoe View Post
I got mine rebuilt back in '86..
Took them to a spring maker/forger
They dismantled, put them in furnaces re tensoned /shaped..
Brillant job....The guy has since died...forging is a dieing trade.
Somewhere here there are specs on shape tensions etc for the springs...about 18 months ago???
Steps

I used to run the furnace in that shop when I was a youngster, forming and tempering the leaves. Wasn't too bad in the wintertime but in the summer I'd weigh about 8 pounds less when I got home.

We got a fancy new hydraulic press to arc the leaves with, instead of a one-handed 8 pound sledge and an anvil like we had been doing. I decided to re-arc the monoleafs that were on the Camaro with it and busted one. Got a free pair of Dodge Dart multileaf springs and reworked them, added a leaf to them and slapped them on. Been there ever since. Nice pair of 'custom' springs for free.

After they got the new press and made it easy to re-arc springs I moved to the driveline shop.

Brings back memories.

Mark

68 327 4-speed 3.42 posi and a sunroof
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best so far... 13.25 at 106mph

78 Firebird 350/T350 3.23 posi
65 Mustang convert. 6 cyl. 3-speed
66 Mustang coupe 6 cyl. auto
80 Chevy C10 406 4-speed

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old Sep 22nd, 09, 01:31 PM
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Re: Rebuilding Leaf Springs ?

I was forunate enough for them to allow me to watch ...man it was an art...the guy was describing colours of the steel ...what red/orange to get to...timing the quench.
And back then he didnt have any specs other than weight of the car etc.
These old craftsmen are amazing to watch, be it a forger or a breater...
Got a m8 who has a Rod shop...watch him beat out a F100 front fender...he doesnt use any filler, stuff all hi build and the panel is perfect...one of the rare young guys (40) who can still do this stuff.
What I have found with these craftsmen is everyone recons they are grumpy...they are not...they always are willing to pass info on...but try telling them how to suck eggs and they shutup right way...hell they know they are top of their feild, and some snotty nosed person try to tell them something...dont blame them.

My Spelling is not incorrect...it is creative

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old Sep 22nd, 09, 01:49 PM
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Re: Rebuilding Leaf Springs ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steptoe View Post
I was forunate enough for them to allow me to watch ...man it was an art...the guy was describing colours of the steel ...what red/orange to get to...timing the quench.
And back then he didnt have any specs other than weight of the car etc.
These old craftsmen are amazing to watch, be it a forger or a breater...
Got a m8 who has a Rod shop...watch him beat out a F100 front fender...he doesnt use any filler, stuff all hi build and the panel is perfect...one of the rare young guys (40) who can still do this stuff.
What I have found with these craftsmen is everyone recons they are grumpy...they are not...they always are willing to pass info on...but try telling them how to suck eggs and they shutup right way...hell they know they are top of their feild, and some snotty nosed person try to tell them something...dont blame them.
Yep, you heat the leaves till orange and then take them out and form them to the right arc, then in the oil bath they go. After they cool it's back in the furnace and let the oil burn off. Then you watch closely till they turn a nice grey color with just a hair of a red tint. Then you pull them back out and let them air cool. It you leave them in the furnace tempering too long they turn a blueish color after they cool and are basically scrap steel because they're too brittle. You're right it takes experience and a good eye to get it right. I turned my share of pieces blue in the learning process.

Had an old autobody shop teacher that had us beat up an old 50's pickup truck fender with a hammer and then he would proceed to straighten it back out with a body hammer and dollies as a demonstration. It was pretty amazing.

Mark

68 327 4-speed 3.42 posi and a sunroof
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best so far... 13.25 at 106mph

78 Firebird 350/T350 3.23 posi
65 Mustang convert. 6 cyl. 3-speed
66 Mustang coupe 6 cyl. auto
80 Chevy C10 406 4-speed

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