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Leaf Spring Lube ?

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  • Leaf Spring Lube ?

    I've read that some of the leaf springs are now made with new types steel that are not compatible with oil and grease. Older manuals say to lube , etc. Wonder if spray graphite falls in to this category which we currently use on a lot of classics. Going to install a new rear A spring and curious if others have heard this.

  • #2
    Here is a recent discussion. I would check with whoever you purchased the spring from
    3 ~ Tudor's
    Henry Ford said
    "It's all nuts and bolts"

    Mitch's Auto Service ctr


    • #3
      Since all my learning is from the old school of the '50s, when I removed and cleaned up my front spring, I not only used molly grease between the leaves when reassembling, I also cut copper plates for the ends to aid in the sliding.

      This is not the first leaf spring I have done this way and I have always had good success with this method. If you think about the friction between steel and steel leafs, even a graphite or molly combination grease is going to allow them to stick somewhat. The introduction of the different material, be it copper or brass, gives the leaves the ability to slide on something other than steel and with less resistance.

      It has worked for me for years, and your mileage may vary, but it is something to think about.
      You wana look waaay far up da road and plan yer route because the brakes are far more of a suggestion than a command!


      • #4
        I have had good results with "slip plate" which is sold by John Deere dealers. It is a graphite paint.
        Eastern Connecticut


        • #5
          I have also used Slip Plate. You can also get it at NAPA
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          Alaskan A's
          Antique Auto Mushers of Alaska
          Model A Ford Club of America
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          Mullins Owners Club


          • #6
            SpringGrease2.jpg Mystik JT-6 and graphite powder make a good lubricant, then use spring covers to keep the lube in and dirt out.



            • #7
              I used open gear grease and as much graphite as it would accept. Open gear grease is the goop they use on those huge cog gears like drawbridges and industrial weld positioners. Black waterproof and extremely tacky so wont rub off.


              • #8
                Speaking of grease, about 7 years ago I was watching the fireman grease the steam engine before leaving for the Duluth trip. The grease is thicker than road tar in the winter. The grease gun is powered by the boiler steam pressure. When the stick of grease gets near the end, he sticks in a new one and gave me the stub. I'm sure I don't still have it though. It's kind of like operating the hot glue guns.


                • #9
                  Our local spring guy suggested spray teflon, no grease or graphite or paint between leaves. Also, some confusion as to location of a pad on top of the rear spring ? Some say between the spring top and cross member. The spring bolt head would seem to want to seat snugly in the cross member hole with no impediment even with torquing the ubolt nuts.Would a thin piece of leather glued to the top leaf be ok if a pad is used ? Our tn sedan has a removable metal cover in the floor rather than a fabric one and no pads between body floor pan and cross member.
                  Last edited by plyfor; 08-07-2018, 05:46 PM.


                  • #10
                    So was a pad between spring and cross member stock from factory? Perhaps a thin piece of lubed canvas?
                    Also, one post said to re torque the center bolt. What is that torque value and the hanger nuts torque?
                    Attached is a torque chart for reference. I just read on the net that the u bolts (9/16 x 18) can be 100 '#. but I'm not sure what the vendors' bolts grades are used .
                    Attached Files
                    Last edited by plyfor; 08-17-2018, 11:00 AM.


                    • #11
                      Ya know, sometimes I am frustrated by all this "torque" talk and questions. It is plain to see from watching the assembly videos that none of the guys on the assembly line had a torque wrench in their hand. Most had a speed wrench, which is seriously elbow reliant on nut/bolt tightness.

                      ALL of the torque specs printed today are based on the metals of today and not of yesteryear. I doubt you can lay a specific torque spec on the bolts of yesteryear since they have probably been removed at least once and reinstalled by some 250# gorilla in the last 90 years that stretched the bolt past it's intended torque. What will you do when some "chart" says that the torque should be 45ft# and the bolt breaks off at 30ft#? I hope you would have "felt" the breaking point of that old bolt and made elbow note of the let go "feel". Don't just muscle it and shrug when it breaks, learn from it!

                      My rule of thumb is, and always will be, tighten til you feel the thread stretch +¼ turn. Most folk who have ever pulled the threads out of a nut, or ripped the threads off a bolt, or broken one off, should have developed a "feel" for the tightness of a particular size fastener.

                      If you are one of the very few that have never broken a bolt, buy a few different sized grade 3 or 5 nuts and bolts, chuck them up in a vice and giv'er hell til ya break each one to get that "feel" for the maximum arm torque before they let loose. Do this before starting to tighten the fasteners on your Model A as I hope it will give you the "feel" to tighten the car's fasteners without breaking them.

                      Back to the original question...those bolts and nuts have been subjected to such undesirable things as ice, salt and whatever crap they put your roads to make it "safe" for you to do your morning commute at your normal break-neck speed, and if you have ever watched a documentary in the properties of ice and how it splits huge boulders with only a few drips freezing up, just put yourself in the place of that bolt and tighten gingerly because it will break! Remember the dirt roads of old were nothing but stones and mud, and we all know how mud can creep into places and when it freezes, well, you know.

                      *steps down off the box*
                      You wana look waaay far up da road and plan yer route because the brakes are far more of a suggestion than a command!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by plyfor View Post
                        What is that torque value and the hanger nuts torque?

                        When you see the plates start to bend that is enough, and you might have went to much
                        3 ~ Tudor's
                        Henry Ford said
                        "It's all nuts and bolts"

                        Mitch's Auto Service ctr


                        • #13

                          I don't know if there ever was any factory padding between the top spring leaf and the cross member. I suspect it was an invention by those who didn't re-tighten the hanger bolts after installation and the spring began to squeak from being loose. Being loose will cause cracks to begin in the cross member at the center bolt hole.

                          When there were spring shops that could re-build yours (re-arching), replace broken leaves or install new springs, stamped on your bill were instructions to re-tighten the spring bolts after two hundred miles. New springs, lubed or not, slide against each other smoothing the inner surfaces and become 'loose'. This seating process is normal and as well as the required re-tightening.

                          'Tight' is a concept you'll have to learn owning a Model A, no different than learning how to shift straight cut gears quietly.
                          On those spring hanger nuts, use a 1/2" socket & breaker bar, tighten each nut slowly alternating side to side. When you are putting some 'beef' into it, start looking for the cotter pin hole. No cheating, no backing up. Even if you aren't new to this exercise, wear leather gloves to protect knuckles.

                          Those little 1/2" bolts & nuts used through out the Model A, use only a 1/4" drive and you won't break them.

                          Best reward about owning a Model A is the constant learning experience.

                          Hope this helps, JB


                          • #14
                            I found that when adding an insulator / frame welting above the spring, I couldn't get the nuts on far enough to install the cotters. I go bare now with just some grease up in there
                            3 ~ Tudor's
                            Henry Ford said
                            "It's all nuts and bolts"

                            Mitch's Auto Service ctr


                            • BNCHIEF
                              BNCHIEF commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Mitch a thin piece of that teflon stuff you put between springs works quite well for a pad up there.

                          • #15
                            Thanks Mitch and others. Some videos show body webbing being used as well as torquing the spring ubolts to 100'#, both we have never done.
                            Also, the torque question was in relation to the vendors' replacement parts that came with our new rear spring and assume they are grade 5 or greater. We do the alternating tightening as JB-OB states being careful not to stress the ubolts lower brackets.The new repro 3/8" longer spring center bolt perhaps is grade 5, and a torque check at 35 '# didn't stretch it.


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