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Old 01-03-2003, 10:04 PM
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Post Cut Coil Springs ?

I just installed a IFS on my 53 5 Window Chevy P/U and the write up I got the info from on the net recomends cutting the springs a coil and a half to get it back to ride hight. I am now sitting about 4 in. too high just as the article said I would(which looks like a mile). Do I have to buy new springs and if so how do I get the propper weight springs since this truck now has a 350 instead of the super heavy old straight six? Thanks for any info I really apreciate it. Zach

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Old 01-04-2003, 01:01 AM
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Try only cutting 1 1/4 coil, the vehicle suspension will settle. It takes a couple weeks. I have noticed that suspension settling can be as much as one inch. Also never use a cutting torch to cut the spring. Always remove the spring and use a abrasive chop saw or hacksaw. The heat generated by a cutting torch will ruin the tension properties of the spring. <img src="graemlins/nono.gif" border="0" alt="[nono]" />
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Old 01-04-2003, 11:33 AM
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If you know the diameter and height of the springs, you may be able to work with a spring manufacturer and get a spring that will handle better without cutting. If you cut the springs they will have a faster rebound rate and will ride rougher than the original spring did. Additionally, if the spring was offered stock on a particular application, you may be able to find a spring for a similar car that had a lighter motor. For instance in a GM front end the car may have been available with a 6, a 305, a 350 or a 396 all within similar range of years. The spring for the six would be a lot lighter than the 396. As you know, you can also modify ride height by changing tire aspect ratio and rim diameter and some spindle configurations are available in dropped spindle.
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Old 01-04-2003, 06:50 PM
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I have cut as much as two coils off springs on several cars and the ride was fine. Try it. If you don't like the ride, get new springs. If you do like the ride it didn't cost anything!
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Old 01-04-2003, 07:20 PM
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Willys- Did you have any problems with shocks/snubbers bottoming out when you cut the springs?

[ January 04, 2003: Message edited by: BstMech ]</p>
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Old 01-05-2003, 06:18 PM
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Thanks for all the input. I think I will try cutting first since it is free (minus my install and removall time) but I am glad I asked I was going to go use my buddy Plasma Cutter. I assume I can use my angle grinder with a cut off wheel as aposed to a hack saw with out causing the spring to loose shape. I will stop and dip it in water once or twice to be sure. Just to clarify one coil is 360deg. from the starting point of one end correct?
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Old 01-05-2003, 08:36 PM
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BstMech; no that has never been a problem for the amount of spring I have cut. The springs on the '36 Pontiac Sedan (click in my Avatar to go to my picture album where I show a few chassis and driving shots of that car) are cut 1 1/2 turns on stock V-8 MII springs and it rides sweet.

Yes, one turn is 360deg right below the current free end. Actually, a plasma cutter would work fine. I have always flame cut my springs 'cause the heat is right the cut end, within 1/4", and that is fully supported by the cradle in the lower A-arm. The active part of the spring isn't even close to the heat affected zone. Don't even think of using a hack saw. The spring material is harder than hacksaws. You want to cut the free end of the spring, the part at the bottom that sits in the lower A-arm cradle, not the formed top that fits in the x-member socket. You may need to even heat the last 1/4 turn of the cut end of the spring red hot and bend it slightly to conform to the cradle. Just match the stock spring shape. If you do need to heat and reshape, let it cool very slowly in still air and it will be fine. DON'T quench it with water or blowing on it. Again, that part is not active spring material so won't be overstressed in service.

[ January 05, 2003: Message edited by: willys36@aol.com ]

[ January 05, 2003: Message edited by: willys36@aol.com ]</p>
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Old 01-06-2003, 05:56 AM
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Zack, Willys is right. I've flame cut springs with great results too, just never let the heat migrate. Plan your cut, get in get the job done and get the torch out of there. For best handling and ride, the lower control arms, or A-arms, should lay straight in a line with the crossmember, centering ride height with upper and lower travel limits.

I had to take one full coil out of my 53 hardtop's IFS setup to get it there. (check photos in my album) Since then, the springs have settled in a bit.

I'd take a coil and drive it a while. If it looks a funny, just tell people, it's that temporary "Gasser" look.
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Old 01-06-2003, 06:35 AM
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YEP YEP YEP, unless u are experienced with a torch DONT CUT THEM with a torch. your cut off wheel will work great.

I work in a spring factory for a living. so yeah, just remember, dont cut to much. cut to little so that u can make more minor adjustments. do u know your springs wire diameter? the o.d. of the spring? and the height of it? just curious. our factory handles wire up to .625 (5/8)"
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Old 01-06-2003, 06:40 AM
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I suggest you cut one coil from one end, it'll drop your car about 1 1/2" to 2". If you want it lower, cut one coil from the other end. Use your cut off wheel. DO NOT use a torch. Cutting the springs as I discribed will give you a little bounce but not much.
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Old 01-06-2003, 11:32 AM
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For 48 Ply...I replaced the springs on my car with ones that have the correct spring rate but, the cars sit too high. The ends of the springs are formed so that the the spring sits flat. I need to come down 3" so I need the spring to be 1 1/2" lower (about 1 coil). I can cut the spring but, if I want the last coil to be flat I have to heat about 5" of the spring end & press it on the floor to make the last coil flat. Will this be getting heat into the working part of the spring? I asume it will & I'll need new spring made. Do you have a recommendation on a resonably price place to have them made? Don
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Old 01-06-2003, 11:44 AM
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Don; That is what I was refering to in the above recomendation abuot needing to reshape the end of the spring after shortening. MII springs need a little tweak to fit the cradle in the lower A-arm properly. As long as you are careful to isolate the red-hot zone to just the part of the spring that needs reshaping, it shouldn't make any difference. The active part of the coil will still have it's temper, while the reshaped end will rest in the cradle and never be stressed. I have done many MII this way with zero problems. Again, my advice is just try it. If it works, you save $$$$, if it doesn't you haven't lost anything. The main problem with heating springs red-hot is that they loose their temper, thus the old 'torching' the ends of leaf springs in the old days to lower a car. As long as you don't quench the hot spring making the metal brittle, all that will happen is that the spirng temper is removed and the spring collapses. Isolate your heating to the bottom coil to achieve the shape you want and no harm will come. Just DON'T QUENCH!!

Incidentally, springs usually have a flattened end like you describe and a 'free' end where the coils have the same spacung to the end. All you need to do there is cut the free end and not fool with the shaped end. Does your spring have two shaped ends and no free end?

[ January 06, 2003: Message edited by: willys36@aol.com ]</p>
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Old 01-06-2003, 11:53 AM
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Can you also cut the coils on a strut suspension like a camaro or mustang?
Do you have to cut 1 or 1/2 a coil or can you cut at any point on the 360*?
Thanks,
Scott
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Old 01-06-2003, 12:08 PM
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Now that is a good question. I would guess not since strut suspension is a whole different animal with the spring being a much more important part of the system compared to A-arms. Someone who knows more about struts will need to chime in here.

Answere to the second question is that you can cut the spring anywhere you want. Just turns out that 1 coil seems to give the 1"- 2" drop most people need.
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Old 01-06-2003, 12:31 PM
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Just to be clear, I'm talking about a modified Mcpherson strut suspenion, not coil overs.
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