Were there any of the NRS models that had fully elliptic springs? I seem to remember seeing some pictures of some equipped as such. If so, were they built that way, or did they have an aftermarket kit installed? Or, am I just dreaming? If there were some that were equipped with them, is there any way to tell them from any other springs? Maybe by measurements, stampings, design,etc.? The reason I ask is, I have a small T based trailer that has three fully elliptic springs on it, one at each wheel, and one in the front on the tongue. I think the one in the front is a bit smaller, but I'll have to check to make sure. For all I know, they may be buggy springs or something. Whatever they are, I would like to find a good home for them. Dave
The rear springs.
John Page, Australia
I am not the N/R/S/SR expert. But I like them and look at lots of photos of them. I think that the rear springs on all the N series cars came from the factory with full elliptic rear springs, and a front spring similar to what the model T got. The front perches were part of the axle forging, not separate pieces like the model T are.
However, yes, there were also after-market full and/or half elliptic spring conversion kits offered for the N series cars. I have seen a few original photos of them. I believe that a couple of cars exist with that setup on them.
Let me add, anyone interested in the pre-model T Fords, should also check out the Early Ford Registry site
They have a lot of information about all the Ford pre-model Ts available on their website, with even more available to their EFR members.
I do, however, also like to see these postings here.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
As Wayne mentions, there were different full elliptical after market spring kits offered for NRS. Suppliers began making aftermarket parts for Ford cars specifically as early as a front hood kit for the 1903-04 Model A. There was even an aftermarket body advertised for the Model B (only 500 B were produced).
And as Wayne points out, there are a few surviving NRS with these front spring kits. One example, made with vanadium steel:
Interesting fact: The front spring used on the regular production N, R, S, & SR cars is the same taper leaf spring used on the Model T Fords 1909-into 1916 production.
The very earliest Model N's produced in 1906 may have had a slightly different curve/flat spot at the top of the springs. The illustration in the early price list of parts shows that but the later catalogs do not. The part number did not change.
I looked but I didn't find a photo of a current car with that option -- but I know I've seen some photos.
Hap l9l5 cut off
My S Roadster came with the Shumard's Front Spring kit. Here is a photo of the upper bracket. It interfered with the fit of the front fenders, so I went back to the original front spring.
Jim Finney's 1906 Model N:
Thanks guys! I thought I had seen some somewhere. Does anyone have the dimensions of these springs?
Royce, in that picture of Jim Finney's Model N, do you know if the rear springs are smaller than the fronts, or is that just the way it looks in the picture? The springs I have look very much like those. Dave
The springs were the same front and back on my "S"
They are bigger - makes the car look odd if you ask me.
The transverse front spring Hap is talking about may be the same part number, but the front spring evolved over time and so it is not the same spring being used in, for example, 1912 that was used in 1908 on the Model S. The front springs used in early 1909 are quite different from 1910.
It could very well be the spindly, finely tapered front spring used in the first 2500 Model T's is the same as Model S used in 1908. I bet a look at the blue prints would tell record of changes.
Two of the weak points on NRS cars are the front and rear cross members. The front cross member is much weaker in design than the Model T, and it supports both the front engine mount as well as a forged steel bracket that the front spring mounts to.
The twisting action that comes from driving an NRS across rough roads strains, and eventually fatigues and cracks the front cross member. The major cracking of the front cross member is right around the area where the front spring attaching bracket is riveted to the cross member. Eventually, the attaching bracket can break off of the front cross member.
I suspect that many NRS cars were converted from front transverse to 2 front elliptical springs because the attachment bracket for the front spring had broken away from the front cross member.
Thanks again guys. The two larger springs I have may very well be from Sumards kit, they sure look much the same. The smaller one may be an original NRS rear spring. If someone could find out what the measurements are, I might be able to nail it down one way or another. Dave
I measured the rear spring on our N following the arch, 36 inches from bolt center to bolt center. In other words, if it was pushed flat, 36 inches center hole to center hole. Hope this helps.
David. The spare set from my S were 32" bolt to bolt following the arch. 31" straight across in the picture. I don't remember if this set were on the front or rear.
Center to center!! Bud.
We were 110 miles north of Whitehorse on our way to Dawson City and a friend broke both springs on the lead axle of their 5'th wheel camper.We jacked it up and blocked it up and limped to a RV park.We got on the phone and found a trailer place in Whitehorse that had what we needed so with a print in hand that showed a 26 1/2" center to center distance on the springs we sent them on their way to Whitehorse! When they got back from the 220 plus mile trip they brought springs that were about 4" short.When we asked why they did not bring springs 26 1/2" long acording to the print they said a kid at the trailer place said you don't measure springs that way,you go around the arch!! The next day our friends made the trip again and the kid was not there.Whoever waited on them then took back the short springs,read the print and sold them the right ones with the hardware we also had on the print.The next day we installed the right springs and headed for Dawson City.Been there,done that and that's why i say center to center!! Bud.
Our N "center to center" are "35. I probably would have given you the wrong springs.......
Thanks again guys. What about the widths and number of leaves? Dave
I believe our's has four on top and bottom. I'll double check tomorrow and get a width measurement.
Just went out and got some measurements. The larger springs are 38 1/2" long C to C, and 1 5/8" wide with 5 leaves. The smaller one is 35" long C to C and 1 1/2" wide with 4 leaves. It looks to be nearly a dead ringer for the one that Rob posted. Many thanks guys, we may get this figured out yet! Dave
You just might have some buggy springs there or something custom made, way back when.
First off, I must tell you, I was in the manufacturing end, of leaf springs for thirteen years, so I have an pretty good idea about them. I just want to give you basic good honest advise about leaf springs.
To measure a leaf spring : you measure one side of the main leaf of the spring, the one with the eyes in it, Center of the eye, to the CENTER, of the Center bolt Center, FOLLOWING the arch of the main leaf, next to do it again on the other side of the main leaf. The measurements are USUALLY, two different measurements, i.e. 17 1/2" BY 20 3/4". Also measure the I.D. of the eye of the main leaf. Is there a bushing in it, or not? Many tiny small trailers don't always have bushings. also not all, main leaves, have eyes, at BOTH ends.
Next,is the WIDTH of the main leaf.
Then the Total number of leaves in the whole stack.
Then for a more precise measurement, in a case of rebuilding a broken leaf in the stack, the THICKNESS of EACH leaf, ALWAYS starting at the main leaf, and working DOWN the stack from there.
Our catalogs way back when, only went back to the Model T, and only the front springs measurements and dimensions, so I can't give you anything on the N,R,S Autos, only Ford would have to come up with those, Benson Library?
I hope this helps you more than confuses you and others.
I had no idea the top or bottom may be different lengths. It did, and after your note, continues to make sense to me to measure the arch. It seemed to me a weak, sagging spring stack will have a longer direct line measurement than a fresh stack, even though the length of the spring (arch measurement) is the same.
I had our N rear springs re-arched several years ago because the car was sagging in the rear (hate it when that happens ). I think they are beginning to sag again, and maybe the only long term answer is new spring leaves.
Keith I guess it sounds like whether one can read a print or not! We sent a well drawn print showing the distance center to center! With the time and distance involved it mattered! Bud.
You are absolutely correct on all points. All springs will lose their tempering after many years of service, depending how much of a load they experience during their use. Springs will never gain their full factory temper, and "re-arching", will only be a temporary fix, for a few years, depending on how they are done. A true spring shop, will have the furnace and quenching oil, and should know how to do it correctly. If you do have new ones made, make sure they you take them the sample spring, it avoids any errors as being made wrong. The price won't be cheap either. Another quick point is, about the frame being straight, as talked about on the forum here many times. It seems the T has had it's problems in that area too, but for being a 90 to 100 years old car, that can be expected. We had many KenWorth, Peterbuilt, frames that were, out of "alignment" too. "Offshore" ( China ) leaf spring steel, will NOT hold up as long either, just like the many other products, we use from them.
Bud, you are right too, some people can't read, that's why we asked that they bring their "sample spring" in, even for the big trucks, because, they had to take the spring off anyways, and seeing their sample, cut out any doubt of all factors of size, width Etc. There are so many small trailer springs on the market, and we, never knew if the product, was ever modified, adding leaves and so on, so it was a no brainer, just to bring it in, and 90% of the time, we had what they needed in inventory.
Keith,When we got parked we were about 75 feet from the Yukon River and not in the shop.We were very lucky that i had taken along a 1/2" drive set with a breaker bar and espc lucky i had a 41/2" grinder!! Being a retired millwright i knew how to draw a good print and the kid at the dealer still missed the center to center distance by about 4" Like i posted before there was 440-450 miles involved with the second trip and the springs we got the second day fit the print and fit the trailer!! I'm done now! Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
You did a great job being out in the field, and good thing that you came prepared for anything. Being a Millwright was a big benefit for your friend.
Too bad that kid in Whitehorse, didn't read your print correctly. I bet you were all pretty upset, that first night, Heck, I would be! Then having to drive back again. I wouldn't have been very friendly, if they Hadn't exchanged that spring. Mileage, money and time, damn shame, people aren't trained, or take there jobs seriously.