And I was wondering if anyone in the Califon New Jersey area had a leafspring spreader that I could rent for a day or so instead of buying one? I'm going to put a new rear spring on my 26 coupe. I just posted this on the 2017 forum and thought maybe I should have posted it here.
I made one from a piece of 3/4 pipe, a piece of threaded rod, and a nut.
Another low cost options but takes a little longer to install method, is as follows:
1. The engine and transmission need to be installed in the frame.
2. The rear axle assembly radius rods, torque tube, rear axle halves etc. needs to be bolted to the transmission so it cannot move forward or backwards.
3. The rear spring needs to be bolted in place in the rear cross member.
4. All that chassis needs to be blocked well so it does not move but still give you access to the rear axle area.
5. Install one side of spring using a spring shackle to the rear axle.
6. Build a support so you are not applying pressure to the rear axle's center section (pumpkin). You can use a 4 x 4 or a couple of 2 x 6's nailed together etc. Have some cut outs so it fits the axle housings and doesn't want to roll out.
7. Place a 2 x 4 or even 2 x 6 on the other side of the axle and rest the end of the spring on it. Your probably have about 4 to 6 inches you need to move the spring over so you can insert the spring shackle on the other side. And from memory - I think we also put one under the side that already had the spring shackle. That pushes that side over some already.
8. Put a large chain (or large strap) over the rear cross member.
9. Put a scissor jack under the support you built in line 6 above.
10. Put the large chain (or large strap) under the scissor jack.
If I described it correctly when you jack up the jack the straps will pull the frame downwards. That will compress the spring and since the only part of it that can really move is the side that is not in the spring shackle, the spring will start to slide on the wood. (you may or may not need to repaint it a little after you are finished.)
Keep an eye on the scissor jack. If it starts to move side ways -- you normally need to start over or it will slip out.
Keep fingers etc. well clear of anything that can cut them off or injure them. When you have the spring close enough so you can install the second spring shackle -- slide it in. (Sometime a block of wood and a small hammer helps.)
Install the spring shackle nuts etc.
Remove the scissor jack. Remove the big chain over the frame. Jack up the frame on one side and remove the block of wood from the top of the axle housing and the bottom of the spring. (That should be easy as the weight of the axle will normally pull the spring shackle up and the wood can be slipped out. You may need to slip it towards the center of the car first -- but it should be easy to do. Repeat for the other side (or if you have 2 jacks that can lift the frame you can do both sides together.)
Disclaimer -- I was much younger the last time I did this. It looked safe then. As I get older -- I tend to be a little more conservative. If you start down the road and it doesn't look safe -- take a photo and let us know and then find a spring spreader. But I think it will work for you. For a shop -- the spreader is the way to go.
Hap l9l5 cut off
Here is how I do it. First thing is to chock the front wheels in both directions then loosen the nuts from the u bolts at the center of the spring but don't remove yet. Using a jack at the end of the axle near the wheel I jack up the car high enough so that two tall Jack stands can be placed under the frame just in front of the radius rods. You can use two jacks or jack up one side and place a jack stand and then jack up the other end. Do this on both sides of the car. Next lower the rear axle so that it hangs from the spring and remove the shackle from one end. Then remove the shackle from the other end. They should come right out Then lower the axle to the floor. Remove the spring from the frame and place the new spring in the frame. Jack up one end of the axle to the point that you can install a spring shackle in one end. Then place a short 2"x4" block between the end of the spring and the axle housing. Place a short 2"x4" block on the other end and then lower the frame. The weight of the body should be enough to spread the spring. If not, place weight such as spare flywheels engine blocks bricks etc in the back of the car until there is enough weight to spread. Then put in the other shackle. Be sure to install all cotter pins on the U bolts at the center and at the shackles.
I've done it different ways. I think this is the simplest.
With the car on jack stands and the spring installed in the frame, remove the rear wheels. Remove the cotter pins and loosen the perch nuts. Loosen the nuts almost all the way but don't remove them. Install the shackles. Retighten the perch nuts and reinstall cotter pins. Reinstall the wheels. Done.
Do you have the spring pad and the tie bolt with the proper tall head?
Steve's way is appropriately smart and it sounds unlikely that you'll murder yourself doing it like that.
Having said that, when I reinstalled my rear axle I did it sort of like the book excerpt above. The difference is I had the frame on jack stands and jacked a wheel-less axle up into place with some spacer blocks as pictured, letting the weight of the car do most of the work. That system wasn't perfect and I found I needed a large C-clamp to help pull everything into place. There were a couple tense moments and some day I'll no doubt look back and shudder, but I operated carefully and it worked.
I loosen the perches, use the wood blocks and jack from the center.
I didn't know there was such a thing as a leaf spring spreader. I did it with cargo straps and a piece of wood kinda like the manual pictures above.
I used two 2x4 blocks between the axle housing and the spring eyes. The spring spread the correct amount to get the shackles in when I jacked up the axle housing.
Steve, I don't know what a spring pad or tie bolt is.. This is my first time doing this. Basically I was going to take it apart and see what I encountered as I disassemble it. Whatever parts I needed after disassembly I planned on ordering from Snyder . All I have in my possession now is the spring itself. Do you guys recommend using All New hardware? According to the Ford service manual it is a one hour and 14 minutes job. That sounds great but I know it's gonna take me longer. Anyway, after reading your responses it's obvious I do not need a spring speader. Snyders sells one for $105. I already everything in my garage to do the job. Thanks everyone
The spring pad, made of leather or rubber depending on the year of the car, fits between the spring and the frame. It's often missing and you have to buy it or make it. Being Mister Thrifty I make my own.
Here are the leather pads:
Here's how I make a rubber pad:
The tie bolt holds the spring leaves together. The ones sold by some of the parts dealers are not only incorrect. They're inadequate. The correct bolt has a tall head that sticks up above the pad and fits into the square hole in the frame. You can buy it from Bob Bergstadt. Recently I needed one and didn't want to wait for it (and pay shipping), so I built up the head on an ordinary square head bolt.
The square head will fit in the hole in the center of the frame and keeps the spring centered. So it is important. the spring pad will take up for imperfections in the shape of the spring and the frame and prevent cracking the frame when things are tightened and when you go over bumps.
Both are important for a successful installation.
It occurs to me that you may be removing your spring for painting. If that's the case, here are a couple of suggestions.
The end of a spring leaf will wear into the longer leaf below it. I grind the sharp bottoms of the ends a little to reduce their tendency to cut into the lower leaf.
There are a couple of methods I've tried for lubricating springs.
UHMW tape works, but it also works loose and sticks out from between the leaves.
Based on many forum recommendations, I recently sprayed slip plate on the bottoms of these spring leaves. I'll see how well that works.
(Message edited by steve_jelf_parkerfield_ks on January 02, 2018)
(Message edited by steve_jelf_parkerfield_ks on January 02, 2018)
That spring pad looks much, much thicker than the originals? jb
Not much, much, but somewhat. On the one I did recently I was more careful with the measurements.
Actually I am replacing the original spring. My car leans to the left and I have determined that the culprit is a fatigued rear spring. When I stand on the driver side and push against the top of the drivers door to level the car I get a decent amount of movement out of the rear spring and hardly anything out of the front. So I'm hoping a new rear spring will level the car. I think I already have 3/16 rubber on hand so I will go with that. Thanks for the photos Steve.
I don't use it often, but this is my ARPCO rear spring jack, made in New Holstein, Wisconsin.
It was made for Model T's and Model A's. It is adjustable so it can also be used on the narrowed down rear axles on some of the Model T Snow Flyers and Snow Birds that were also made in New Holstein.