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Old 03-30-2006, 09:53 AM
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Cutting springs?

So, if I want to cut the front coil springs, do I use a hack saw and have at it? Does that change the spring rate (not sure what that means), or whatever? If I ordered lowering springs aren't they just simply shorter?

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Old 03-30-2006, 10:11 AM
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Lowering springs are shorter but they keep the rate the same. Rate is defined as how much weight it takes to compress the spring 1". A 125 pound spring takes 125 pounds to compress 1" or 250 pounds to compress 2" as as 1300 pound spring will need 1300 pounds and 2600. When you cut coils off you are heating the metal and changing the rate as well as lessening the coils which changes rate. If you must by some reason, place the spring in a bucket of ice water before torching it or use a cut off wheel. But you still will be changing rates. Progressive springs change rate as they are compressed. The first inch might be 500 pounds but every inch after that is increased exponentially until the coils bind.
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Old 03-30-2006, 10:17 AM
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Hacksaw ????? you must have a LOT of time (and hacksaw blades) on your hands. Take the coils, place them in a 5 gallon bucket of water, you want most of the spring submerged. Now get your air powered cutoff tool & have at it. Ear, eye, and hand protection are a must. Start off cutting very little(maybe 1/8 coil ) at a time.
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Old 03-30-2006, 10:26 AM
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Hacksaw, sorry a little naive, cutting wheel it is. Here's the reason for cutting. I took out the old 'heated' springs and they are the same height as my new 'lowered' springs. I want to drop the car and don't want to put the new springs in and have it at the same height. Shouldn't the new springs be shorter if you are lowering the car?
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Old 03-30-2006, 11:40 AM
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This is only my opinion, so take it for what it is worth.
I personally would not cut the springs-yet. From the pics you posted on here a few weeks back regarding this same vehicle, I believe you have some other issues to address first.
The pictures of your front suspension show almost no travel left with the heated springs that were/are on the car, it was virtually on the bump stops already.
I would look for a spindle swap that may allow you to use drop spindles to get the rest of the drop that you are after, if I remember correctly this is on a Pontiac and I thought it was mentioned that a swap with another GM vehicle may be difficult.
Do you or anyone else know why another GM spindle would not fit.?
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Old 03-30-2006, 12:00 PM
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I wasn't clear before that I bought new springs, and I am taking the old ones out. The new springs don't seem like they would lower the car enough, so I spoke to the guy who made the new springs and he said they would not. I asked him about cutting them and did all kinds of calcualtions and said I need to cut them 13/16' to get the height I wanted (the new springs are 14 1/4"). The guy also did all kinds of wierd 'helix' calculations and said the spring rate and weight on the springs is within correct tollerances and shouldn't be a problem.

I've entered the car in Kool April Nights next week, so I'm going to cut away for now - and replace later (he'll replace fo free).
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Old 03-30-2006, 12:20 PM
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cutting springs increases spring rate. the shorter the stiffer and rougher ride. if your going to cut them find some springs from a lighter car.
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Old 03-30-2006, 02:27 PM
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I'm going to end up bagging the thing, but needed something in the mean time. The car is a 69 Pontiac catalina wagon at 4,400 llbs and right now there's nothing stiff abou the ride.
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Old 03-30-2006, 02:55 PM
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How do I know if th spring is back up in the right place?

Do you just jam it up there, twist a little and make sure it's straight up an down?
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Old 03-30-2006, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Longboard
Do you just jam it up there, twist a little and make sure it's straight up an down?
The lower control arm will have a recessed pocket for the tail of the spring to sit in, the top should have a rubber isolator transfer it to the new spring.
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Old 03-30-2006, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ownerT
The lower control arm will have a recessed pocket for the tail of the spring to sit in, the top should have a rubber isolator transfer it to the new spring.
The lower doesn't have that pocket, nor was there a rubber isolator in the top. Do all cars have these?
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Old 03-30-2006, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Longboard
The lower doesn't have that pocket, nor was there a rubber isolator in the top. Do all cars have these?
Were the old springs that you removed flat ground or pig tailed on the ends.?
All of the ones I have had apart (not alot, but several) were pig tailed on the bottom and flat ground on the top and had the isolator on top.
Usually the lower control arm has the recessed area if it is a pigtailed spring to locate the spring in the pocket.
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Old 03-30-2006, 05:11 PM
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I figured it out. The pig tail end goes down. No rubber isolator though
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Old 03-30-2006, 05:26 PM
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The isolator helps to prevent noise, if you haven't had any problems before I would think you would be ok.
If you wanted to install them, the restoration suppliers should have them.
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Old 03-31-2006, 12:41 AM
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I just have to moan/groan about something here for a minute.... Cutting coil springs is NOT rocket science. You pull the coil out, cut the top where it sits in the frame pocket. Start with a 1/4 coil...if it isn't low enough, cut another 1/4 coil off, repeat until satisfied. Install the spring the same way that it was removed and take it for a cruise. It will creak and groan for a few blocks until the spring reseats in the frame. I have cut coils on several cars in the past...no bucket of ice water, no helix calculations, just a simple chop with a chop saw or cut off wheel. Yes the ride will stiffen up a little, but what 4400lb hunk of steel could use the help to take the 'boat' ride out of it a little.
BTW...if the coils have ever been pulled before chances are the rubber isolators(or donuts) have been either pitched or are still stuck to the frame pocket. If you don't have them, it won't make a big racket like you would think...remember you have a 4400lb car compressing the springs, they won't rattle around.
Now when you get ready to bag it...give me a yell...thats where some of the science will come into play.
Later,
WEIMER
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