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How do you know when to replace Leaf Springs

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  • How do you know when to replace Leaf Springs

    How can you tell when or if you need to replace the leaf springs in the front and back of a Model A Coupe?

  • #2
    I had this same question about 20 years ago for the Model A front spring where I called Mr. Walt Bratton to ask him what spring dimensions should I expect to have, if I had a new Model A spring in 1930.

    He answered, "WOW, what a good question, I do not know and I get asked this question quite often; but i have a friend who can tell me where, and I can call you back in a few days."

    He immediately called to answer this question and later was kind enough to indicate these varying different Model A front spring dimensions on a diagram which are still listed above his catalog's part No. 7240. What a wonderful Model A knowledgeable gentleman always trying to assist others.
    Last edited by H. L. Chauvin; 09-19-2018, 08:20 PM.


    • #3
      A good indication for the front spring is, if the drag link is rubbing the tie rod you have spring sag.
      3 ~ Tudor's
      Henry Ford said
      "It's all nuts and bolts"

      Mitch's Auto Service ctr


      • copgib
        copgib commented
        Editing a comment
        Mitch what about the back spring? Anything to look for? Thanks

    • #4
      We just did our rear spring, quite a bit of sag on driver's side. When pushing down on left runningboard, car wouldn't return to level position, etc.
      The center line of the front bumper bars space to ground on a '30/'31 with body/ engine on chassis etc.should be about 18 1/2" at center and equal on rt/ left sides. The '28, '29 is I believe a 1/8" less but can't remember exactly.. Also, check spring shackle positions, should be at an angle (approx 40-45 deg??)
      Last edited by plyfor; 09-19-2018, 09:51 PM.


      • copgib
        copgib commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you for that information. I have a 1930 and do not notice any sag on drivers side. But I don't believe I have a 18 1/2" clearing at center of front bumper. I believe mine is closer to 17". Hugh

      • Bikerider58
        Bikerider58 commented
        Editing a comment
        Center (left / right) and center (top / bottom) of bumper. So 17 if clearance to ground is about right. Lube them so they are not sticking makes a big change.

    • #5
      As I was restoring the chassis of my '30 coupe, I read where you can rebend the spring to original shape by taking the spring apart and rebending each leaf, bringing it back to original arch. Is this not recommended? It is quite a process which I completed, but is it going to fail too quickly?


      • plyfor
        plyfor commented
        Editing a comment
        Talked to our auto. spring co. locally ; they cold bend to re-arch and noted it was not a permanent fix; hence buying a new spring was our choice for our heavy town sedan with side mounts, trunk, heavier tranny , etc.

      • H. L. Chauvin
        H. L. Chauvin commented
        Editing a comment
        Just ModelA Decisions:

        For years, 1930's through WWII, and even today, decisions to re-arch springs or buy new springs was .... and still is debatable.

        Think: Can anyone imagine a 2018 new Spring Company having a Board of Directors who would hire a Spring Salesman who would at times recommend re-arching old springs in lieu of buying new springs?

        Once heard:

        "The 1930's and 1940's deep, sharp-edge highway pot-holes no longer exist; and deep mud ruts, high rails on RR tracks, washboard roads at stop signs which over taxed early Model A springs no longer exist.

        Many Model A shocks were often discarded early-on years ago to where Model A springs took a terrific beating.

        One can comparatively imagine that any springs on a restored Model A today .... with good shocks ..... traveling on today's highways will never undergo this yesteryear spring beating.

        Gentleman added that he had several local hobby knife makers always coming by and looking for Ford's vintage high quality Pre-WWII spring steel to make knives."

        The above advice was given to me by a 70+ year old guy, about 20 years ago, when I brought my Model A coupe front spring to an old truck shop to see what was recommended for Model A springs.

        Maybe always think who is giving advice like: "What's in your Wallet?" ..... "Takes a licking and keeps on ticking." ..... "Special Ford Spring Steel --Re-arching? how about My Pillow?" ..... next, how often and on what highway will one be driving a restored Model A.

        Had mine precisely re-arched in his truck shop for $5.00.

      • Hank B
        Hank B commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for the advice . . .I think! I'll continue on my adventure with my re-arched springs and add measuring their position relative to the ground to my Spring Tune up list.

      • Mitch
        Mitch commented
        Editing a comment
        I think it's a waste of time to rearch a spring. JMO

    • #6
      Thanks Mitch! I probably wouldn't do it again, but in the meantime,I have what I have and will watch them both closely for sag.


      • #7
        Can you drive over 25 MPH without shocks connected?

        If yes then you need to consider what is wrong with your front spring. The rear spring has a different effect on your car (quite frankly I am not sure exactly how to diagnose them as above).
        It could be that they are in sore need of a tear down, cleaning and relube.
        One thing to consider is the relative position of the shackles. When the springs are worn they will push out a lot and the shackles will be pushed out. If there is a more neutral position then may be a tear down and rebuild is in order.

        Keep in mind the A with good springs will be a very difficult car to drive without proper functioning shocks. Much above 20 and you get these parasitic bounces and the car feels like it is going off the road. Once you put shocks on the car it is a whole new car to drive that handles much better.

        A general statement: The front spring is very likely to be bad. The rear springs tend to not have the issues and would be ok. This is a generic statement and has a lot of what if's. I am trying to keep this a very simple post.


        • #8
          The first two years that I drove my Tudor with out shocks it didn't bounce! It would go up and then down on only bump. That was in 1970-1972, cleaned and repaired the springs and shocks it rides fine.


          • #9
            Hmmmmmm ...... How do you know when to replace Leaf Springs?

            As I mentioned before, very honest vintage reports of Success, and very honest vintage reports of Failure in re-arching steel leaf springs have been written and discussed for years.

            Just in case any Model A owners want to become most serious ..... and/or any Model A owners have an intense desire to read a "NON-MANURE" spring re-arch report, Mobil Oil has offered this non-bias delicate article below on: "How To Restore Leaf Spring Suspension".


            In my humble opinion, "NON-MANURE" articles on any subject, in any media, are becoming more difficult to find these days.

            Just hope this can instill a bit of confidence for any future spring re-arching Model A owner, and/or for Mr. Hank B after reading his former Reply #5, and #6, and his comment #5.3.
            Last edited by H. L. Chauvin; 09-25-2018, 01:29 AM.


            • #10
              In the years past, people who have re-arched their springs have reported it usually did not last.
              I have no experience so I can not comment further. I can just state that a lot of people have commented how spring re-arched have not stayed that way.
              I personally bought what is likely a 40's ford replacement front spring with very little wear. It stood way up compared to the used ones I had. I believe there are some quality repro options currently available.
              Just bare in mind that good springs will also require good shocks. It can be a pricey fix, but well worth it.


              • copgib
                copgib commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks Kevin, I do plan to put shocks on the car when I replace everything underneath the car that needs replacing.

            • #11
              I always judge it by looking at the front end., if i can see the axle clearly under the front splash apron the springs are good to me...


              • #12
                Like anything heard today, listening to pros and cons may be educational for some of us.

                However, when accompanied with our 2018 mentality that we witness in everyday News, or even considering the mentality of only our last twenty (20), 21st Century sub-human beings escorted by police off of our airlines in America ...... maybe just think:

                Here is Jack: His newly acquired Model A is 88 years old, owned by several previous very poor rural families in the 1930's with lost jobs, all of whom constantly moved from town to town in his Model A, loaded with furniture and household goods stacked 20 feet high to where his Model A running boards were always almost touching the ground on rural back roads not fit for a two mule team. His Model A shocks were discarded in 1935 and never replaced. Jack is now wondering why his totally over-stressed and beat up 88 year old re-arched springs are sagging after 6 months .

                Here is Joe: His newly acquired Model A is also 88 years old; however, owned by previous intelligent rural and/or city folks who drove in town on paved streets and/or on maintained rural roads, and never overloaded their Model A. Their shocks were maintained and never discarded and their springs were oiled. Joe figures it took 88 years for his springs to slightly loose their original dimensions ..... Joe figures his springs are not at all flattened like Jack's springs ..... so he has his springs re-arched, and because this is a hobby car not used every day, he notices no sag on far better modern smooth highways after 20 years.

                Joe says nothing about his re-arched Model A springs...... but Jack bitches constantly for the rest of his life on every Model A Forum .......... and many believe him ........... Hmmmmmm!

                Hope this helps.


                • #13
                  Originally posted by Kevin in NJ View Post
                  In the years past, people who have re-arched their springs have reported it usually did not last.
                  That has been my experience, and would never take that route.

                  Not all steel is created equal
                  3 ~ Tudor's
                  Henry Ford said
                  "It's all nuts and bolts"

                  Mitch's Auto Service ctr


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