I'm restoring some Hartford-type friction using oak discs on the friction part. Should the new discs be lubricated in some way before installation?
I did a set of 4 last year and brushed on the silver "never seize" compound on each side of the friction plates. Copper coat would also be OK but not grease or WD-40 as those would either get hard or just go away.
Yes they are a friction shock but if they get stuck the arms can break. Most Hartford shocks I have seen have been broken and welded back together. They need a little lube to move and then you can adjust...if just stuck with hard wood something will break in the thin sides.
Thanks, Tim. The old wood discs were certainly oily.
The central bolt bushing (where the discs hinge) was also of wood. I was told to make one of Oilite metal; the same with the rubber bushing at the top arm.
Years ago, there was a gentleman selling reproduction Hartford Friction Shocks at the Bakersfield Meet.
My friend had acquired a partial set of originals that he intended to use on a replica Essex factory race car, but decided to buy a complete set from the man because they were perfect copies of the originals and the cost was less for the set of four than it would have been to restore the originals.
When my friend was in the negotiation talks, I asked the man what type of wood he used for the friction discs, I was surprised at his answer. He told me that he used the same species of wood that was used originally. He used pear wood. He said pear wood had the best friction properties of any wood and wouldn't disintegrate when oiled-soaked under the constant rubbing of the plates of the shock.
Hope this information helps.
Speedway motors sells a 3"dia. friction disc replacement that I am planning to use.
I would think Apple wood would be good too, as it's self-lubricating.
I got some new wood discs from Graham Brown of Vintage & Classic Shock Absorbers. They appear to be of beech. He's the one who told me to make oilite bushings.
Am I doing something wrong? I've been running Hartfords with the original wood in them for 49 years and have them adjusted so they do they're job and have never lubricated them as I was told by the "old timers" that they shouldn't be lubricated. They are "friction" shocks.
Ed aka #4
I notice the spring plates on your shocks are set like an 8-petal flower, as they were on my car. I think the originals were aligned, as in the photo below (from Chris Bamford). I wonder if it makes any difference.
Ed is correct they are friction shocks so why would you lube them. I guess so they would slip easier LOL
I've not yet seen any factory literature on the friction-type shocks. Hartford apparently started making them in 1903. Here is a web page which speaks of lubrication:
The bottom line here is yes, they should be lubricated.
Got this reply from Graham Brown, the friction shock guy in the U.K. I was only recently introduced to the word "stiction".
Also to answer your question, the wood discs should be oiled ( helps to stop them splitting) and the steel friction faces should be lightly greased. This reduces the "stiction" and makes it less jerky.
Regards, Graham Brown, VCSA.
Good post Jamison; Hartford shocks can be run loose with no concern but if too tight the discs will grab then let go and move without any lubrication that lets things slide and not bind then break loose...or something will bend or break. That is a delicate setting if they do anything or grab and break because they can't slide.
I have passed on many friction shocks over 30 years that were broken and welded, bent and just junk. I have a pail full of reproduction friction shocks that have rubber instead of wood and some are broken and some are new. These are the shocks that have holes in the arms like a punch out socket in an electrical box.
The set of 4 that I did last year I chased around for years, first an owner who would not sell then he died and the collection went to the 4 winds. I later found them separated in a corn crib hanging on nails. They are done now and have been assembled with brush on never seize. They are more jewelry than function but I don't think they will grab and bend or break.
Take your chances...run them tight and something else will happen, run them loose and they don't do anything, let them slide and adjust appropriate and everything is fine. I do know that if too tight with no slip something bad will happen and if too loose they aren't doing anything...but they look good.
The late Jay Schaffer who was an expert on this type of shock from Oregon, manufactured 100s of excellent reproduction Hartford shocks over the years in various sizes.
With each set he sold and shipped all were lubricated w/white grease. Even after 25 years a set I bought from him still work perfect and the white grease has not hardened up.
Yes David. Jay Schaffer was the gentleman I was referring to in my posting above.
It's been awhile and his name escaped me. Thank you for posting his name. He did beautiful work.