How do I go about "bulking up" the front and rear springs on a 1920 Model T Depot Hack I've recently completed?
PROBLEM: Now that the new Dave Currier body is on the chassis, I don't think there's enough clearance to load the thing with 6 adults and then put it on a rough road.
HISTORY: When I got this car several years ago, both the front and rear spring assemblies had (only?) FOUR leafs. I've not fiddled with the suspension during my recent restoration work.
QUESTION: I think it now needs (front & rear) either (a) more leafs or (b) a replacement set of four "firmer" leafs. Do you agree?? If you do, any ideas where I can find what I need?
ASIDE: I'd appreciate some insight on this "leaf count" story. How many spring leafs were on this vehicle when it was built? Is the number of leafs "a factory option" [I doubt it...]? Why would a prior owner remove one or two of the original leafs?
Also and FWIW, a complete restoration photo album is at http://www.willowpondfarmstead.com/photo-albums/model-t-s/depot-hack-restoration /
1918-21 the springs supplied from Ford were: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/S-T.htm#spring
"FRONT:7-leaf non-tapered. Main leaf drilled for oilers.
REAR: 8-leaf, non-tapered, with main leaf drilled for oilers."
From 1922 on the sedans had a 9 leaf spring in the rear.
Due to the shape of the rear spring, you cannot just add and subtract leaves. As the leaves progress upward, the arc enlarges. Probably easier to find a replacement spring with eight, or better yet 9 leaves.
Even one leaf missing can make a difference if weighted down. Find a better one, used or new.
Your front spring should be ok as is, if it has all it's leafs. I have Hasslers on the rear of my Huckster, with 5 adults and 2 kids in mine it didn't seem to ride too bad.
Years ago it was very common to remove leaves from the springs of stripdowns (like what you started with) and speedsters, to compensate for the reduced weight. Now that you've installed a body on it again, it needs to go back to the full set of springs.
My hack body was so heavy that the brake rods would hit on the running board brackets on a bumpy road with a full load. Eventually I had to weld them up again before they broke. That was with a full stack of Ford standard taper leaf springs.
Rick -- You'll need to replace your 4-leaf springs with original-type ones, as everyone else has said. The front will have 7 leaves, and I'd recommend the 9-leaf for the rear. Most of the cars came with an 8-leaf rear spring, but Sedans and bare Chassis (which were expected to get a Hack or Truck-type body) came with 9.
Travis M. Cook has a business called T Springs, and he advertises in the VF magazine and is listed on the list of Parts Suppliers on the MTFCA home page.
P.O. Box 330322
West Hartford, CT 06133-0322
Or you could place an ad for some used ones in the "Classifieds" section here.
Used springs, especially front ones, should be easy to find. They're rather plentiful.
I had same problem with my delivery. When loaded with six passengers, the rear tires would bottom out when going over a bump. I solved the problem by adding a second number two leaf at the bottom of the stack for a total of nine.
Roger, Dale, Erich, Mark Gregush, Mike Black, Val, Mike Walker, Steve, and Mark Chaffin:
Many, many thanks to you and this bountiful MTFCA Forum for once again giving me ALL the information I need to proceed.
I have a rear spring from the above mentioned "T-Springs" company and it is first rate.
Even my 26 touring would bottom out when I first got it as I soon learned it was missing one of the larger leaves in the back spring. The new spring solved that and never have hit bottom since.
Springs look to be quite simple, but like most things they can be rather more complicated.
On my extended frame shooting brake I installed the correct tapered leaf spring used in 1917. It was a 9 leaf unit so should have been up to the job. Not so. It would bottom out with two passengers in the back, so it had to go. I consulted a spring maker and was given a free 2 hour talk on how springs work and what was needed in my case.
Bottom line was the tapered leaf spring was unlikely to handle the load of 6 passengers and the extended chassis overhang, even if re-set.
I have just fitted a notched end 9 leaf spring which certainly has more arch in it than the tapered leaf spring I removed. The car now sits higher, has a slight down hill lean to the front when not loaded, and with 3 passengers aboard, I cannot make it bottom out. I think I have my problem solved.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.