Bending front axle main spring

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2016: Bending front axle main spring
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tom Stephens on Friday, February 19, 2016 - 04:06 pm:

I sent my main leaf spring out to get the eyes reversed. The spring was bent backwards to accomplish the task.

I traced the spring before I sent it out. The spring guy also traced it on the floor, so it would match when he bent it backwards.

When it was shipped back I compared it against the tracing I kept. It was not at all the same:

Front Springs1
Front Springs2

The spring guy said I could just bolt it up to my other 6 springs and it would conform to the shape of the rest of the springs. Is this the proper procedure, or should I increase the main leaf bend so it matches the tracing?

(Yes, I will be removing the rust and properly restoring the springs)

Tom


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ted Dumas on Friday, February 19, 2016 - 04:37 pm:

Less arch than original means that the spring will pull down on the other six leaves and won't take a load until it is deflected past it's free position. It needs to be re-arched correctly.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Rose on Friday, February 19, 2016 - 06:26 pm:

Do not eat your liver over this, take it back to your spring man and have him bend it to your specs.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Treace, North FL on Friday, February 19, 2016 - 07:17 pm:

I think your just bent main is OK. The line drawing shows the same arc. Move the spring up to the line drawing and see.

What happens is the main is now 'shorter' from the eye being on top instead of down, so you have to make the next leaf a tad shorter too or that leaf will impinge on the now 'upset' eye.


Note the same on my new bent main, with upset eye, have cut and ground the next spring just a bit shorter.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tom Stephens on Friday, February 19, 2016 - 07:28 pm:

Thanks Ted & Jim.

Here's an additional photo, showing the arch is flatter:

Front Springs3

Dan, do you still think it's OK? Yes, I know I need to trim the next spring. How much was going to be another question, but it looks good in your photo.

Tom


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Treace, North FL on Friday, February 19, 2016 - 07:57 pm:

Should be. Put it together with a couple of big C-lamps and see how the stack does.

Did the eye to eye center distance change?

Once had a rear stack 'de-arched' keeping the eye to eye, but making the stack 8" high from the stock 12". Lowered the speedster great, but was a heck of a buck board ride :-(


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard E Moore Jr. Pickwick lake Tenn. on Friday, February 19, 2016 - 08:02 pm:

Never bend the mains. They will break when you start using them. I've rearched hundreds of them on my wreckers and jeeps. A friend of mine who arches thousands of leaves a year taught me how to bo it and I've never had a problem.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Carlton on Friday, February 19, 2016 - 08:13 pm:

Teach us Richard. I want to do my own...what's the procedure?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Gregush Portland Oregon on Friday, February 19, 2016 - 08:41 pm:

Every thing I have been told is, if the leaf is re-arched it also need to be re-tempered or it just goes flat again. Does he have a furnace to do that or by torch and color?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Patrick on Friday, February 19, 2016 - 10:28 pm:

In 2006, I disassembled my old tired front spring and re-arched each leaf, one at a time by placing the ends of each leaf on blocks and applying pressure with my weight (I weigh 240 lbs.) until I got a sufficient arch on each leaf. The leafs bent without heating, so there was no need to re-temper them.

The shorter length leafs should have more arch than the longer length ones, so that when the leafs sit atop one another, the leaf ends (not the center) sit on the leaf below it, so that there is a gap between each leaf that closes as the leafs are tightened together with the tempered spring bolt. Before I learned that modern slip paint can be purchased at "Tractor Supply, Co (TSC)", I made my own graphite slip paint using Ford's original formula and the spring still has the same arch I put into it in 2006.

My technique may be primitive and unscientific, but it worked like a charm. Jim Patrick

PS. The Ford Graphite slip paint formula I used was recently revived in a thread originally posted on January 24, 2016, by Eric Sole, entitled "Graphite Paint for Springs"


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Roger Karlsson, southern Sweden on Saturday, February 20, 2016 - 02:10 am:

When you turn the main leaf in the front, you have to shorten the second leaf in the ends, since otherwise it'll collide with the rolled ends of the main leaf, now on the top side. Just cut each end half an inch to an inch with the angle grinder (can't remember how much was needed) and dress the ends - then it's just to pull it together after painting with a threaded rod, clamp it securely in a vice and replace the threaded rod with a proper spring bolt. The difference in curvature between your leafs will even out in the total shape and it'll work just fine.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Barrett in Auburn Ca. on Saturday, February 20, 2016 - 03:03 am:

Tom, shorten the 2nd leaf, put the spring together and go. It's been done countless times and it works very well.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tom Stephens on Saturday, February 20, 2016 - 10:47 am:

I will remove all the rust, trim up the 2nd leaf and bolt them together (with slip paint) and see what happens. I have to remember not only am I building up a car, but it's a fun learning experience. I will do another tracing of the stack, then see how what happens to it when I bolt together.

I appreciate every single one of you responding... what IS it about this place :-)

Tom

(The spring guy did it cold.)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Garnet on Saturday, February 20, 2016 - 11:15 am:

Tom, did you ever watch the movie Galaxy Quest with Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver and Alan Rickman?

The little aliens were so cute and cuddly - until they turned on you ... then the fangs came out !!

Garnet


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tom Stephens on Saturday, February 20, 2016 - 11:44 am:

Ha!!! Haven't seen the movie... but sounds like the little dinosaur creatures in the Jurassic Park movie that got Wayne Knight (Newman in Seinfeld) in his Jeep. Same sort of thing, I imagine.

Tom


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Patrick on Saturday, February 20, 2016 - 01:43 pm:

I've owned my 1926 Model T coupe since 1970 and have been on the forum since 2000 and have never heard of reversing the eyes. Is this something new? What is the purpose of this? Ford designed the spring with the eyes turned down so the T would sit level. With the eyes up the front will sit several inches lower and the next longest leaf will have to be shortened so as not to hit the upturned eye. Jim Patrick


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Roger Karlsson, southern Sweden on Saturday, February 20, 2016 - 05:20 pm:

It's an old speedster trick to lower the car somewhat, Jim. It's been discussed before on the forum, like here, for example: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/335903.html?1358513389


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Gregush Portland Oregon on Saturday, February 20, 2016 - 05:56 pm:

https://www.modeltford.com/item/3800RV.aspx


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George Mills_Cherry Hill NJ on Saturday, February 20, 2016 - 06:39 pm:

Cold forming a spring will work almost all the time. The so-called memory is somewhat like the old hydrogen embrittlement story...done 'this' way a certain % will not give the desired results...you want to move that 99% to 99.99%? then do 'THIS' (heat treat and draw, heat treat and anneal..yes twice!)...

What I see in the photo is a spring set that will behave mostly like a huge spacer and make a rough rider(sorry).

It is not simply drawing them all together now with a long piece of all-thread...

Here is what I see in the photo...

7&6 will act like a single spring but 4x stiffer...

5 is being used as a washer and contributes nothing...

4&3 will act like a stiff I-beam again 4x stiffer than intended...

2 needs to be shortened which all agree...

1 is probably close enough, and I agree with Mr. T...

To do it right, listen to what Jim P. said...

The 'stack' actually needs to be made up with each successive shorter leaf actually only touching the leaf below on the ends with about a 5/8" or so center gap to the one below it.

Then all-thread it up and clamp and change to the bolt...

Do it my way, and bend them Jims way and you will have a spring that behaves as it was originally intended.

Like this...



Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Eubanks, Powell, TN on Saturday, February 20, 2016 - 07:23 pm:

To re arch, find a anvil first then a 8lb short handled sledge hammer then place the spring across the anvil step and whack it starting with the end and move across in 2inch segments to the other end. Continue doing this until the leaf matches the outline drawn. The arch will stay with you as long as an original arch. This was taught me years ago by a spring shop that did not want to worry with small springs anymore.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tom Stephens on Saturday, February 20, 2016 - 07:43 pm:

Jim,

I am building a '24 gowjob, which is just like a roadster but without fenders, top, hood, lowered windshield and lowered 5". I am not taking a stock T out of the population, but building up from stock parts. So reversing the eyes, along with a 3" drop axle and '26-'27 spindles gives me @ 5" in front.

Thanks for the idea Jim and George.

Tom


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Patrick on Sunday, February 21, 2016 - 01:51 am:

Re: Memory.

George, Does that mean that if you reverse the main leaf and arch it in the opposite direction, that the leaf will attempt to seek its' original arch and eventually un-arch itself?? Jim Patrick


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George Mills_Cherry Hill NJ on Sunday, February 21, 2016 - 08:37 am:

Not at all Jim,

There is a core group out there for all makes and models that believes if you re-arch a spring cold...and then do not heat treat it and secondary anneal it, then this 'memory' thing will make it return to the original shape or at least go flat again if not restrained...

I'm saying that cold bending works, and stays put, you just have to kind of sneak up on it and not tear your way through it. Can't use a 20 ton press, 4" deflection, in 1/2 second...but rather, as you put it, a couple of blocks, a 240 # guy, a gentle bounce here and there until the arch you desire is achieved...THAT'S the way to go in a nice sort of shade-tree way and it WILL work.

The real trick in a reassemble spring set is to have that air gap between each leaf and arch them accordingly.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Donald Conklin on Sunday, February 21, 2016 - 09:41 am:

I've used a piece of 3" channel and a heavy hammer, it's easy to control.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By James A Bartsch on Sunday, February 21, 2016 - 09:43 am:

My limited experience bending (and straightening) parts cold is to slightly over bend (and over straighten)the part and then reverse bend to the desired shape. I recall this is mentioned in the Ford service handbook. Unfortunately, this procedure is more difficult if you don't a press, but could be attempted. respectfully, jb


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard E Moore Jr. Pickwick lake Tenn. on Monday, February 22, 2016 - 07:32 am:

If you heat the leafs you'll ruin them. Cold bend them. I pull the leafs and mark each one on the floor with chalk. I then put them one at a time in the press without any blocks so the press frame rails on my press are about 8 inches apart. I bring the press down until it touches the spring and count the number of times I have to push the handle down on my handle until I see what appears to be a slight smoke coming from the spring which is actually rust or the surface of the steel flaking off. You have to be carefull not to go to far or you'll kink the spring. Let up the press and you should see a slight discoleration of the leaf. Move the spring in until the spot you just bent is just beyond the rail and repeat. Do not let the center bolt hole go at or beyond the rail or you'll break the spring at the hole. When you get one side of the leaf done take it to the mark on the floor and check. It won't take much. Then do the other side of the same leaf. When you hold the leaf in the press keep your hand under the spring so if you break the spring the flying end won't take your hand with it. I have never broken one out of the hundreds if re arched. I have heard of guys breaking them at the center bolt hole because the bent them to close to the hole. The first spring you bend is the most important one and afterwards all are done the same. When done with the first spring place it up against the main and you should see a gap at the center bolt of about 1-1/2 inches. Repeat with the rest. Don't get the tip of the spring to close to the press rail. Stay over the edge of the rail about 4". Wear safety glasses and gloves. Any questions pm me and I'll try to help. I'm not trying to be some kind of know it all just trying to help. With 20 wreckers and 4x4s running for 20 years day and night you can just imagine how many springs I've bent. I can say that I've never had to rebend them again. I not going to get into laden weight curb height for you big boys on this post but that can be compensated for. Don't overdo it and don't bend the shortest leaf.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Gall on Monday, February 22, 2016 - 07:56 am:

What George Mills said about having a gap between each leaf is critical for a properly functioning spring. However I am wondering about something; in the first picture by Tom, is the center bolt under any tension (meaning tightened), pulling the top springs together?

Check for a gap with all the spring leaves unrestrained. When I did mine, I laid them on the side like in Tom's photo, lined them up with wooden dowel rod, then checked the gaps.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard E Moore Jr. Pickwick lake Tenn. on Monday, February 22, 2016 - 06:43 pm:

I tighten the center bolt tight but not overly tight. All rod or threaded rod won't work because it's not hard enough and the center bolt should be grade 5 at least. I use center bolts made for the job and if I can't find them I use fine threaded Allen head bolts from lowes or a hardware store. The head on a Allen head is taller and fits in the axle pad hole. If the bolt breaks or comes Out of the hole the axle will move slightly and your out of alignment or worse. I always recheck the u bolts after driving 50 miles or so and I've always been shocked how much they will tighten. There I go shooting my mouth off again.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Carlton on Monday, February 22, 2016 - 06:57 pm:

Awesome Richard. Just what I was after. I have access to a great press, nice write up. Thanks!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard E Moore Jr. Pickwick lake Tenn. on Monday, February 22, 2016 - 07:39 pm:

Your welcome.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tom Stephens on Monday, February 22, 2016 - 07:57 pm:

Bill,

Good point. OK, I took the bolt out. Here's how they line up:

Front Springs4

The part circled in red is where the top spring has worn a now rusted away channel in the 6th spring.

Tom


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard E Moore Jr. Pickwick lake Tenn. on Monday, February 22, 2016 - 08:24 pm:

That's why you shouldn't bend the shortest spring. There's not enough length in that spring to give you any lift and if arched the shortest spring will groove the next one. I mentioned getting the end of the spring at least 4 inches past the press rail to stop that problem. A lot of jeep and 1 ton trucks have springs that curl down at the end slightly to stop that. I just did a 1972 commando and those springs turned down at the ends.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard E Moore Jr. Pickwick lake Tenn. on Monday, February 22, 2016 - 08:27 pm:

That's why you shouldn't bend the shortest spring. There's not enough length in that spring to give you any lift and if arched the shortest spring will groove the next one. I mentioned getting the end of the spring at least 4 inches past the press rail to stop that problem. A lot of jeep and 1 ton trucks have springs that curl down at the end slightly to stop that. I just did a 1972 commando and those springs turned down at the ends.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard E Moore Jr. Pickwick lake Tenn. on Monday, February 22, 2016 - 08:28 pm:

Whoops!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Clayton Swanson on Sunday, February 28, 2016 - 07:16 pm:

and if you havnt had enough, heres more http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/re-tech-reversing-a-main-leaf-spring- eyes.225377/


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