Ok guys, who knows the absolute best way (mixture of graphite etc.) to apply between the leafs that will stay between them before I paint them. Doug
I tore my spring apart, painted each leaf so rust wouldn't bleed thru and as I reassembled them I coated them with a grease/graphite mixture. You can purchase commercial products for between the springs if you so desire.
I'm trying this. I'll see how long it lasts.
I filed the rough wear spots out of the leafs. Wire brushed rust off. Treated with black star rust converter. Painted with rustoleum. I placed teflon tape between each leaf before I reassembled. I lube them with oily rag when on the car.
Charles, how do you hold the teflon tape in place
Maybe Charles is referring to UHMW tape. That's what I used on my runabout.
Some of it has slipped out. That's why I used the spray on those springs I did recently.
Denny I think your idea will work the best, the grease will prevent rusting and when the assembled spring is painted the slight ooze of grease can be wiped across the spring, that will be the same as Charles wiping them with an oily rag
Slip-Plate graphite works for me
I prefer having my spring leaves powder coated. There is considerable polyester in powder coating material and they will self lubricate and not rust. It's a win win situation.
So why add something between the leafs? I'm sure they left the factory with only a bit of paint.
Keep wear and heat to a minimum, lessen the chance of breakage.
Modern vehicles are plagued with broken spring leaves... I can't see something 90-110 years old being any different.
That brings up a curious point - what do they use between modern leaf springs?
I doubt they left the factory with any paint between the leaves, maybe some foundry scale, but I think the springs were assembled, then painted. just because the factory did it that way doesn't mean it was/is the best way! We are much more careful when restoring our cars than the factory was when assembling them originally.
I did my 1912 Buick springs by complete disassembly followed by bead blasting all surfaces. There were rust pits between the leaves that got a good cleaning. I warmed the leaves to cup of coffee hot, then gave them a brush on coat of Slip Plate. It is a liquid that sets up to a waxy consistency. The heat seems to make it flow into the surface better. I think by filling the rust pits with SP, they act like reservoirs to hold additional lubricant. Then I reassembled the spring, cleaned the area to be painted, and sprayed them with Rustoleum.
A couple of notes. Slip Plate is wonderful stuff in the right places. Spring leaves for sure, plus I used it on the front motor mount of the T. It is a SOB to get off for finish painting, so mask your surfaces to be painted. The Rustoleum has held up beautifully for 4 to 5 years now. It is "soft" and flexes with the spring rather than fatigue and crack like a "hard" paint will. Bottom line is the car feels entirely different with lubed springs. Rather than jounce, it more freely glides over the rough stuff. A remarkable difference, and well worth the effort. BTW, make sure the other suspension bits are clean, greased, and oiled as well.
I am not saying this is how you should do it, but it sure worked for me! Cheers, Bill
I layed 1/2 teflon pipe tape on a small amount of grease on the center line of leaf. Extended the tape to about 2 inch from end of leaf. I applied tape as I stacked leafs on bolt. To be fair I've only got 60 miles on springs now,so will it work out between the leafs unsure at this time. If and when I do this again I would try this tape.
3Mô PTFE Film Tape 5490 This has light silicone adhesive on it and is for flat on flat friction reduction.
As an old Farmer ,I do it the cheap way .
Ran 2 strips of Teflon tape on the bottom of each leaf when the paint got just tacky. Seemed to work out OK.
The below thread contains Ford's original Model T era slip paint formula that I posted in 2006, if you want the challenge of doing it the old fashioned way. I did it (graphite flakes can be found at Mcmaster Carr, www.mcmaster.com) and while the Ford formula works great and stays put for years (since it contains actual gloss black paint in the formula), it is messy. There are easier ways to do it such as ready mixed slip paint found at Tractor Supply, but I'm not sure if it is as durable and long lasting as Ford's formula. All methods are all pretty messy as you can't avoid handling each spring leaf when you assemble it after lubrication. Just have some mineral spirits and rags handy for cleanup. To avoid the wrath of your wife, you may want to get a big piece of cardboard to do this on to avoid permanent damage to the garage floor. Jim Patrick
Steve Jelf posted a picture of Slip Plate above. It comes in both a spray can and quarts/gallons to brush on.
For what it is worth I have tried both products, the spray paint I have been pretty impressed with, my one doodlebug is chain drive using agricultural chain. I sprayed the chain and it stuck well, The wear points shined up and the paint seems to keep slowly wearing and working. I was less impressed with the brush on stuff, the graphite is fairly course and is a pain to mix on clean steel it was as if the "paint" didn't want to stick to the base metal -this was on my snowmobile skis. This was the first season out and I am not sure if there is any left on the bottom of the skis I suspect paint would still be there and acting as a wear surface. Every time I touched the skis my hands would get covered in graphite rubbing away. I would be curious if using Slip Plate mixed with something like an oil based black paint would form a good covering similar to Fords? But then again why not just mix graphite with black paint as suggested before.
I'll respectfully disagree with Susanne. Modern cars (in my experience) are not "plagued with broken spring leaves". In 42 years working in various capacities in the auto industry, a broken leaf spring was one of the rarest failures. I doubt that I have replaced a dozen sets of leaf springs in all of those years. You would see them in trucks that had been overloaded, but rarely in an automobile.
Charles Bocchi, I have a few rolls of that tape, in various widths. I was thinking about using it in my T that I am rebuilding the rear axle. I just have not decided if anything is really needed.
If I do apply it, I was thinking I would apply it to both sides of the springs, so the PTFE slips on PFTE verse metal.
It is very impressive tape.
I bet Ford just oiled the the springs and sent them out the door?
Jason, I think that's a great idea. I don't think tape thickness would be an issue. I'm curious about spring wear at the tip of leaf and supporting leaf. I found and filed most of damage where leaf tips rub on supporting spring.
http://www.autorestomod.com/ also has an great youtube channel and they brought in an expert, manufacturer of reproduction springs for old cars. You can watch it with your favorite beverage and a slice of humble pie. In the car spring episodes he says to not paint the leaf springs until after assembly because the paint will wear, leaving gaps, and contribute to early bolt failure. It's a safety risk. he also said that the only exception might be a Model T. With that info, we wire brushed, rust treated, assembled and then painted the outside of both front and rear springs. I'm not trying to arrogant and say, "This is the way it has to be done." But I was willing to lay down everything that I have heard in the past (which they mention) and be a good little boy.
Graphite paint from TSC will do the trick
I have always used beeswax. After blasting and painting the spring leaves I brush the melted beeswax on the leaves. No squeezed out greasy mess.
Here's a link to the video Vern mentions about leaf springs. Go to about 23:00 on the video to hear Mike Eaton speak about leaf springs. Good information.
I like to lightly disc sand the leafs down to get the wear marks off them. I've been using Fords method for years, but use Slip Plate now. I'm also careful to put the shackles in correctly.
Good job P Jamison! My brother and I rebuilt his 34 Ford springs last month but we saw this video first and followed Mikes advice. He knows his stuff!
Here's a good tip I learned from my father - other folks have also mentioned it in the past.
For non-tapered spring leaves, take a file and chamfer the underside of the left and right leading edges so it doesn't dig into the leaf immediately below.