I'm rebuilding the front end on my 1923 touring car. I'm in the reassembly process with "new" components picked up at swap meets over the years and refurbished.
But I've hit a snag: I've got the front spring (7-leaf) centered in the frame with the rubber pad in place. But I cannot tighten the nuts on the spring clamp far enough to get the cotter keys in. I'm about 5/8 off. It almost seems like I've got one too many leaves in this spring, but all the books and a search of this forum say 7 leaves.
The width of the my spring with the center bolt holding the leaves together is 1 - 7/8" measured from the top surface of the top leaf and the bottom surface of the bottom leaf. Here's a photo somebody else's front spring with my measurements superimposed just to show you what I'm measuring. (My spring is restored and painted). Is 1 - 7/8" about right for the assembled width of this part. I'm wondering if my "new" front spring is aftermarket with thicker leaves.
The spring clamp is the standard '21-25 type.
The old front spring on my 1923 car was an incorrect pre-1918 type, as was the clamp.
Thanks for any insight you can provide.
When you say rubber pad in place, is it thin at the centre bolt, thick at the ends?
The rubber pad is thin throughout. A fraction of an inch. I think it's correct because it's from my trusted vendor.
Make sure the head of the bolt goes into the hole in the frame. The flats of the head should be parallel to the sides of the spring.
Measure the depth of your front cross member and compare to your 1-7/8" spring height. Then add the thickness of your rubber pad and see if it all makes sense and explains your trouble.
How thick is the rubber? You say a fraction of an inch. That just means it's less than an inch. Probably shouldn't be thicker than maybe 1/8" - 3/16"
Did you put any lock washers under the front mount nuts? If so, remove them.
The pad may be from a "trusted vendor" but even they sell parts that aren't made as original. The original front spring pad is thicker at the ends to help keep the frame straight. Correct front spring bolts are now available too, with a tall head. Bob B. sells them (and makes them); I think most of the "usual suspects" have them too, but you have to look for them, as they also sell the "knock-offs."
Rick, FWIW Just measured a 7 leaf spring I have and it measures 1 -7/8” as well. This was removed from a 1926 Runabout which I replaced with the proper 8 leaf spring. The spring clamp bolts were too long with the seven leaf and are now just right with the 8 leaf spring. Spring pad was just like the one pictured.
Maybe you should measure the length of your spring clamp studs and report back here. Maybe they got shortened?
Thanks for all your help.
Well, this was a tricky one, but mystery solved:
It seems that the front of the frame of my car cracked at some point "in antiquity" and some ingenious mechanic welded a short flat steel plate up in the top of the frame channel right in the front. He did a nice neat job too. I only figured this out by measuring the depth of the channel of another T frame I had lying around here, and then the channel on my car. Yup!, they were quite different.
So now what? Well, since I've been driving this car all over the place for nearly 20 years with a really crappy 1916 6-leaf front spring, I just took the top leaf off of my new spring and everything fits. I'll do a little very careful testing, but this might be the only solution other than disassembling the whole car and rebuilding on another frame.
So that's the report. Thanks again for all of your help!