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Old 01-19-2013, 08:50 PM
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Axle over spring suggestions

I'm working on a 32 Buick. It has parallel leaf springs up front. I'd like any suggestions on an axle over spring swap I'm doing to drop the front about 4". I attached a diagram to explain what I'm doing.

Figure 1 shows a cross section of the axle as it was mounted originally

Figure 2 shows a plate welded to the bottom of the axle (red) and gussets (orange). When I move the spring on top of the axle I will need to notch the frame a bit for clearance. The problem with figure 2 is the nuts and bolts protruding above the axle reducing clearance.

Figure 3 would save me around 1" of clearance above the axle. It shows plate (red) welded to the axle, grade 8 coupling nuts (purple) threaded onto shorter u-bolts and grade 8 button head bolts (yellow) threaded into the coupling nuts to tie the plates together. The problem with figure 3 is grade 8 1/2-20 coupling nuts that I've found online so far are crazy expensive and I would need 8 of them.

Any suggestions?
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:24 PM
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It would definitely lower the front end, however as you mentioned, you would have some serious clearance issues from the frame. Not familiar with the 32 front end? are we talking straight axle front end? If so, the other issue is clearance from the straight axle and oil pan or even steering linkage, tie rods, etc. It's possible to move everything above the axle, but I would think clearance issues would be a problem and as you mentioned, the frame would definitely have to be C notched. There may also be steering issues with the position of the draglink and steering box as well. I would think it would be easier to either find a dropped axle which is usually 3" of drop and install that. There are plenty of places that will bend yours as well. Much easier install and won't effect clearance issues.
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:37 PM
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Are we talking about the stock axle or an aftermarket? It looks like the stock I beam, it's pretty hard to put it on top without loosing a bunch of clearance do to how wide it is.

I have tried that and the problem is unless you notch the axle so the bracket can go up in the axle a little you are really adding a bunch of height to the axle and there is no room for it between the axle and the frame. And notching it is REALLY asking for trouble if you aren't a very accomplished welder the heat can warp on you.

Running a tube axle would let you weld the bracket on the bottom and give you much more room between the axle and frame.

If you are using the stock axle have you thought about a dropped tube that way you could mount it under the axle so you have a lot of travel.

This is my brothers 1922 Buick Roadster. The brackets on the axle were even ground to get it down a quarter inch or so more, getting every bit we could. The springs are almost flat and it gets it down nice.





What motor do you plan on running?

Brian
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:06 AM
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Unfortunately I don't have any picture of the axle handy. One problem is that with the parallel leafs the factory axle has about a 6 inch drop already. As far as steering goes I'm going to change it over to cross steer. The axle is far enough forward to no cause oil pan issues.

Here are the only 2 picture I have on this computer although they don't show the front suspension.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:20 AM
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I know, I tried, and gave up putting the stock I beam on top of the springs, there just wasn't enough room. You could go to a tube axle and put it on top. But with out seriously notching the frame there just isn't room for the I beam with the big flange on top so I opted out. The only way you could get a little more room like your "C" would be to run a flange under the spring and use oval headed bolts going down thru the axle past the spring thru the flange under it to nuts. Not very clean and now you have stuff hanging under the car getting low, but you could do that. Being you are coming all the way thru that factory axle flange on top you could also instead of welding the bracket all the way across the bottom side of the axle, simply put one on each side, that would give you another half inch clearance at the top.

But honestly, before you cut into that frame, look at your options, with the stock axle, what brakes are you running? There is nothing that bolts on there as far as I know. So there is more fabrication if you don't want to run the stock brakes. So a dropped axle with new spindles that provide you a wide range of brakes that bolt right on.

If you are just after saving money, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet. If there is a desire to just do it damn it instead of buying you car out of a catalog, I respect that too, but there are times you have to go there, this may be one of them.

Brian
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:40 AM
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I'm gonna run a 396 that I have sitting around for a while anyway. I'm pretty certain I can notch the frame to make room for the axle. My main concern at the moment is sourcing Grade 8 1/2-20 coupling nuts that don't cost $30 each. That would save me a great deal of clearance. As far as brakes go, I had the stock Buick spindles machined down to match a Ford and I'm using a bearing kit to put GM rotors on it. I can use Ford steering arms as well. I just need to fab up some caliper brackets.

Last edited by HRMC1978; 01-20-2013 at 08:46 AM.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:43 AM
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How about running the plate under the spring with nuts?

Brian
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:53 AM
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Well like you said then I will have stuff hanging down. That is an option though and I may end up going that route with the cost of those coupling nuts.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:55 AM
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And welding the flange to the side of the axle would help a lot too.

Brian
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:56 AM
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Be sure you do good planning with the springs you are running and engine weight and what not. My brothers roadster had three sets of springs in it before it even moved under it's own power. Three sets of front tires too! When you are working with fractions of an inch of leeway, you have to play a lot.

Brian
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:41 AM
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I was going to recommend going with a reverse eye main leaf spring and perhaps removing a few leafs from the spring or even having the springs re-arched. They can often get a 2-3" drop just by rearching the springs. The reverse eye will give you an additional 1 inch of drop with your stock or modified suspension. Of course, if your concerned about spending $30 for the coupling nuts, buying new leaf springs may not be an option. Just another suggestion.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:50 AM
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It's like I said, I tried, I tried and tried on my truck to get the front end down, including welding a pad to the axle like in this thread, it was a LOOSER in my opinion, and no one is cheaper than me. I removed leaves and dropped it down until there was about an inch and a half clearance to the frame, even cutting the stock rubbers in half. It wasn't that low, but that is what I did instead of putting the axle on top.



Brian
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:53 AM
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You know what, I have an axle I was going to use in my truck PM me if you are interested, I think it's too wide though, it was for a 55-59 Chevy.




Brian
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kleen56 View Post
I was going to recommend going with a reverse eye main leaf spring and perhaps removing a few leafs from the spring or even having the springs re-arched. They can often get a 2-3" drop just by rearching the springs. The reverse eye will give you an additional 1 inch of drop with your stock or modified suspension. Of course, if your concerned about spending $30 for the coupling nuts, buying new leaf springs may not be an option. Just another suggestion.
Yeah the coupling nuts I've found so far have been $30-$40 EACH. I would need 8 of them.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:22 PM
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How about opening up the holes in the axle so the inside edge of the hole is right up next to the main part of the beam of the axle. Then, get some custom flat top u-bolts made up to fit tightly around the axle. Install them from the top down through a 4-hole plate under the spring and put the nuts on the bottom. If you got the u-bolt length right and used chromed dome nuts it would look pretty clean.

You could then eliminate the plate between the axle and the top of the spring to gain more clearance, and you wouldn't have the nuts on top either. I know you don't want stuff hanging down, but this would be a pretty low profile solution.

Regards,

Andy

One more thought, you could also incorporate your lower shock mounts into that lower plate if you needed to...

Last edited by aosborn; 01-20-2013 at 08:32 PM. Reason: More ideas...
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