I am going to build and install a rear spring in my Canopy express. There are 8 leaves and I wish to add one more leaf to the spring to carry the heavier wood body. If anyone sits in rear seat the tires scrape on the homemade wooden fenders. I must disassemble the spring to add the extra leaf ( a second #2 shortened) and reassemble. Please include lots of pictures
John, In addition to adding one leaf to your rear spring, you need to check the un-installed total height of the rear spring for wear and arch. Standing the spring on its main leaf ends, measure the distance from the surface it is standing on to the top of the top leaf. I'm not sure what that measurement should be, but if the spring has lost its arch, you will need to get your spring re-arched at a spring shop and because fewer vehicles use leaf springs, those shops are getting fewer and fewer. The reason that I bring this up, is that I once had a depot hack built on a 23 touring car chassis. Touring cars and roadsters have lighter duty springs than pickups or fordor sedans, yet I could haul 12 to 13 adults (petite women) in it and not bottom out the springs. Also, your stock frame to springs clamps may or may not be long enough to mount the spring with an extra leaf added. Pickups and fordor sedans with a nine leaf spring used an extra long clamp supplied by Ford to have enough threads to catch the castellated nuts securely. Just my two cents.
I use two C clamps that I tighten over the spring pack then I remove the center bolt and slowly loosen up the C clamps. I then add the extra spring and using a longer center bolt I tighten the bolt to compress the springs and then reapply the C clamps to hold the spring pack in place while I replace the longer center bolt with one that is the proper length. If you don't have C clamps you can use stout wire twisted tight around the springs to hold them in place or large screw type hose clamps.
John, Terry has the right idea. The spring needs to be re-set to the correct height before going further. Because of the three bends in the rear spring leaves, an extra one cannot just be inserted and the rest just bolted up. It will upset the spring pack and the leaves either side of that introduced will not nestle closely. The additional leaf needs to be shaped to fit and this can be done at the time you have the spring re-set.
Val's method of dis-assembly will work well, provided your G clamps are large enough to allow the spring pack to completely relax. I re-assemble using the clamps and a piece of 3/8" rod through the centre bolt hole. This keeps the leaves in line while closing the clamps, so you can get the centre bolt in once the clamps are tight.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.
I have used a length of all thread to draw up the spring and then use two C clamps to hold the spring while the all thread is changed out for the spring bolt. Much easier that way.
As far as the sag, it might be easier to just change out the spring for a better one or better yet a 9 leaf. There are lots around. I have 4 or 5 out behind the shed.
Thanks Terry, Val, Allan and Dale All helpful. I do have knowledge of a local spring shop if necessary. All helpful! Thanks, John
You are not going to be able to add a leaf with any degree of success, because what ever you add will not conform to the rest of the leafs. My suggestion is to obtain a sedan 9 leaf spring. Perhaps Mark Freimiller might have one. When I put together my '25 pickup, I didn't have too much trouble finding one.
You have received good advice in regard to springs. Please do be careful as you disassemble and later reassemble your spring.
As I look more closely at your Canopy Express, it almost looks as if you do not have enough space between your rear fender and the tire even with the vehicle empty. Perhaps if is the camera angle.
A few pictures showing clearance between fender and tire:
Thanks Larry. Bill this photo may show what you say is true
What is being said about the springs not laying in correctly if you just add a leaf is true but if you have access to a press and a little patience you can get it right. I lay the spring above the one I am adding on the floor and using a marker pen I trace the contour of the underside of the spring. I then rework the spring being added on the press until the top surface of the spring matches the contour of the mark on the floor. Of course if you have a spring guy who will take on the job so much the better but in a pinch what I am suggesting will work just fine.
By all means, heed Bill Harper's advice! The pent up energy in a compressed leaf spring is more than just dangerous. It is lethal! And nowadays, "All-Thread" may be made in China, Korea or who-knows-where! Not sure I would trust All-Thread. Best and safest course would be the local spring shop that you mentioned John.
Seems like it might be pretty awkward to say the least, but if you must do this yourself, it might be worth wrapping the spring leaf assembly with heavy chain while compressing like the guys in the truck tire shops used to do in the old days. A compressed heavy steel spring leaf exploding up under your jaw could be,.....well,.....'nuff said,.....be careful,.......whatever,.......harold
Thanks everyone for all your help! Regards, John
John, your last photo tells it all. I understand how a builder will set the rear mudguards at that height,so they look correct. However, you need much more clearance than shown. Before you play with the spring, it may be a good idea to make up new brackets to raise the guards a heap. That may be all you need.
A depot hack body makes this even more pressing due to the amount of weight you can load behind the rear axle.
Allan from down under.
Thanks Allan. Its on the list for tomorrow. Regards, John
Two more options are available. Rear Hasslers or rear overload springs.
T rear springs can be handled and reworked by one man with basic care - they're not as full of danger as some other spring packs. Just have it clamped in the vice when releasing the center bolt and open it gradually, then it won't fly anywhere.
Individual leafs can be bent to get the original height back - or to lower the car a couple of inches for speedsters. They should be bent gradually at several points over the length of the leaf but never bent over the center hole - it'll break.
Easiest is bending the leafs in a press, but I've done it in my sturdy vice with a long pipe over the leaf as a lever for strength. Had to stand on the work bench bending rear spring leafs, so it was hard work - front spring leafs are much easier to adjust.
While you have the spring apart don't forget to clean it down to bare metal and then paint it w/a couple of coats of graphite paint before you re-assemble it.
Thanks Roger. I have gone through my spares and I found a rear spring all made up with 10 leaves. I will clean, paint and re-bush. I will try this and I hope it does not make the express ride too high or too hard.
If it hasn't already been suggested, I think you should also explore re-mounting your rear fenders a bit higher. I think that's part of your trouble.
Hi Jerry, I did move the fenders up some and the new spring lifted the truck a bit, I think it looks good. We are in the midst of a large rain storm today. I will try to take a photo of the new and improved tomorrow. I think it looks great and it rides and handles so much better . I will have to source out longer u-bolts so I can get the cotter pins in. We'ii be ready for spring.