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Old 12-20-2009, 04:55 AM
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gasser front spring question

hi i am setting my 56 Bel air frame up like a 60's gasser. i cut the front of the frame off and welded in 2x4 1/8'' wall square tube. i have two Chevy truck axles i can use a 51 and a 59, i decided to go with the 59 truck axle because i like over all width of the axle and the extra width on the spring pads, also the fact the the springs are square to the frame and the 51 axle is not. my question is where do you guys that are running the truck axles under your cars find front springs? what is the eye to eye measurement on the springs you run. what is the hight of the springs? also do you use real low spring hangers, or are they just low enough to function properly? if anyone could point me in the right direction to were i can find springs for my project it would be helpful. just for reference the front of my car might weight 1000-1100 lbs. im guessing with a sbc and all steel front sheet metal. tell me if estimate weight is way off. thank you

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Old 12-20-2009, 07:43 AM
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First you will need to determine how much weight the front suspension will be carrying. It will be carrying more than the engine and front sheetmetal. The entire weight of the car is distributed on the front and rear suspension based proportionally on where the center of gravity is located.

Easy example. Let's say you have a car that weighs 3000 lbs., has a 100 inch wheelbase, and you determine the center of gravity is located 40 inches back from the front axle centerline. This means you have a 60/40 weight distribution. (probably pretty close to what your 56 is going to have unless you do a lot of weight redistribution). So, 1800 lbs will be on the front axle and 1200 lbs. will be on the back axle.

Now that you know the static load on the axle, you can measure from the front most location you can mount the spring to the centerline of the axle. Most of the time, the axle will end up in the center of the leaf spring, so if you double the measurement, that will be the approximate eye to eye at rest (compressed by the weight you determined previously. So now you can determine the approximate location of the rear eye. You may have to re-evaluate the front location if you have clearance problems. After you are sure that location is OK, draw an imaginary line between the eye locations (don't forget a shackle at one end of the spring) and measure from that imaginary line to the mounting location on the axle. That is your spring arch at rest.

Now, with the static weight, the eye to eye length at rest, and the arch at rest, a spring company can either find an off the shelf set which will work or make you a custom set.

Please also note that different spring companies might want different information. It might save you time to contact them first. Here is one place to start.
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Old 12-20-2009, 08:12 AM
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Keep us apprised of your progress.

I have wagered a tiddy sum with Frankie that the weight of the suspension you put onto the car with this axle arrangement is more than the weight of the components you removed.

By the way, Frankie is one of my Border Collies. The other one wouldn't take the bet. She's thinks she's soooooo smart..... humph.
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Old 12-20-2009, 11:20 AM
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well im trying to stay away from a custom spring. so i was wondering if anyone has a similar car, with a similar setup, and if they bought a spring out of catelog or from a common parts supplier. that will be close enough to work. you know cheep and easy!

i bet front of my car will weight closer to 1100 lbs that 1800 lbs

Last edited by new_rat_rodder; 12-20-2009 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 12-20-2009, 04:39 PM
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Unless you use some fiberglass on the front or are leaving the bumper, front apron, and grill off the car the front will be 1600+lbs - give or take. Your '57 was 3500 lbs stock, just the straigth axle conversion doesn't drop all that much from the front, maybe 100 lbs. Some have used 1500 lb rated small trailer springs 30-36" long(utility type trailer) or similar.
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