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Old 07-25-2011, 08:30 PM
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Home Made Leaf Spring Compressor

So, this is not my idea, but rather I got the idea from a thread on the H.A.M.B. and decided to build one myself. So, thought I'd share! This is the thread where I found the info --> http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/s...32#post6743432

It's a leaf spring spreader to make installing leaf springs WAY easier.
I decided to do the threaded rod method, and it worked wonders. About $13 for the tube, allthread, nut, and washer. not bad for a tool that is so incredibly helpful with a difficult task.
I did just as described in this thread. I bought a piece of 5/8" all thread, and a piece of square steel tubing just slightly larger than the all thread. 3/4" I believe. Used a couple whacks of a hammer and steel chisel on two opposing sides of one end of the square tubing. basically making one end of the tube look slightly like an hour glass. The point of this was for the two side walls to fold inward instead of outward when I flattened the end. Then I beat the end relatively equal on the other two sides the create somewhat of a chisel tip on one end of the steel tube. Then I used a grinder on one end of the all thread to accomplish the same thing. Thread the nut onto the all thread, stick the washer on it, and slight it inside the tube. Now you have yourself a handy dandy leaf spring stretcher that will save you lots of time when trying to remove or install leaf springs. Just put either end of the stretcher in the crevice near the eye of each side of the leaf spring, tighten the nut, and voila!

Now here come the pictures.
The first few pictures show both ends of the spring spreader so you can see how they were made.








The next two pictures show how both ends are positioned on the leaf spring itself.




And the last two pictures are a before and after, if you will, of the spreader in action.
The first is before the nut has been tightened. The spreader has been extended just long enough to hold it on the leaf spring. In the second picture, the spreader has been extended enough to spread the leaf spring out at least a couple of inches. I didn't measure but you can tell just by looking that the difference is clear. The nut wasn't even getting difficult to turn at this point. This is definitely a great tool to make and keep around.



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Old 07-26-2011, 08:52 AM
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Nice, I guess... I've installed many a leaf spring and never needed anything like this though. Can't imaging a circumstance where one would need it...

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Old 07-26-2011, 09:37 AM
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That's a good spreader for a cross chassis spring like a pre '49 Ford. Any others that are along the frame rails I've installed, the shackles move enough to mount the spring.
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:17 AM
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Exactly, early Ford transverse springs need to be stretched out to install.

Funny story on this one. Back around 1979 I was working in a full blown restoration shop. I was putting a spring on a 36 Ford Roadster. First off, I was a moron, just a kid with little experience. I was using a 2 ton porta-power as this tool to spread the spring. During the process I broke the porta-power, snapped one of the end fittings right off! So, I grabbed the 4 ton and started at it again. The problem was the spring was too short! Here I was jacking that spring out flat and I mean FLAT. I was hanging out over the top of the spring looking to see it it was lining up with the shackles. Luckly I wasn't over the top of it when the thru bolt gave way and the leafs went flying everywhere! We are talking they flew up to the roof of the shop about 20 feet up! Dented the wood up there! One spring hit me in the knee pretty hard. I was doing this behind a beautiful 40 Ford Convertible that we had just painted. The springs rained down on the trunk of the 40 and then slide down the tops of the rear fenders onto the floor.

That same say I had a recoat problem with the wheels on the 40 and they wrinkled up and we had to have them sand blasted again.

On the way home that day my boss said "You learned a couple good lessons today". I replyed with "Nick, I will be in this trade my whole life and I will tell you someday I will make that painting mistake again, the spring, I will NEVER make that one again!". From then on I rapped a chain around the spring when I installed them just in case.

Give those springs a LOT Of respect. The day this happened an old timer in the shop told of a kid he knew when he was a young man who died with a leaf hitting him in the neck.

Brian
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:32 AM
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I used it to install the springs in my '52 Chevy car. The springs fall about an inch or so short of the shackles with any sort of compression. I didn't think I was going to need anything like it, but when I started to put the leafs on and realized they didn't quite reach I started looking for some tricks online to help out. I found this idea, made the tool, and I'm REALLY glad I did! I was swapping a rear end, so this helped me for FOUR different things. getting the rear ends out of both cars, and getting them back in both cars. It helps to get it out by taking the tension off the shackles when it's partially compressed, so the shackles slide off way easy. I guess it just depends on what car you're working on, but for my '52 it was a life saver! When I first installed new springs in my '52 I didn't have this, and I had to put a wood block in between the frame and the spring, then jack up the axle to compress the spring a little to get things to fit. That was a huge pain in the ***.
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Old 07-28-2011, 09:30 AM
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Thanks for this tool Klutchmaster. I could have REALLY used it about three weeks ago when I was trying out a new spring combo on the sedan/deliver...but I'll be putting one together for "next time".

I would also recommend that you go over to this thread and include this tool on that collection of useful hand-built tools. You could either copy the pics and text from here over to that thread or put a link in that thread to this thread along with a brief explanation of the tool. I think a lot of folks would find it helpful.
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Old 07-28-2011, 07:59 PM
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Yea it really saved my *** getting those springs into my '52! Thanks for the feedback, and I hope it comes in handy for you often! I'll definitely post it in the homemade tools thread so maybe it will help others as well. On a side note, I love "The Scratch Built Hot Rod" by the way. Some amazing tips, especially for someone relatively new to the hobby like myself!
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Old 07-28-2011, 08:35 PM
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I could have used it on my 1950 Chevy coupe.... Great idea...
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