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Old 02-10-2011, 01:02 PM
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Leaf Springs

In 1984 I replaced the original leaf springs on my windowed Sedan Delivery. For one reason, the fact the vehicle sat in a field for x number of years and no idea how long the original springs may last? But of course, I kept them.

I'm thinking of cleaning, painting, and using these same leaf springs under one of my other '57s. With all new bushings.

Setting the springs side by side, I notice one is about one inch taller then the other. It got me to thinking...... would my pass car set like this if I used these springs under it?

Being the pack rat that I am, I dug out more seperate leafs and commenced to making my own 5 leaf packs. Well, one of them is about one inch taller then the tallest spring from my windowed Delivery. The other spring I built is at least 2 inches taller then tallest Delivery leaf spring pack. Now I'm REALLY confused?


This got me to thinking. (dangerous right?)

Is it the long, main leaf of the pack that supports the body the most? Or the subsequent leafs that do most of the load carrying? Like the 2, 3, 4, or even 5th (and shortest) leafs.

If it is the other leafs that do most of the supporting and the main leaf is more for how the leaf pack attaches to the frame. Then once weight was applied these original leaf springs from my windowed Delivery may work just fine under a passenger car?
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Old 02-10-2011, 01:19 PM
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I have a 55 with 7 stacked.An old hotrod trick from days gone by.They came out of a 57 station wagon.Your line of questioning is a bit confusing but if you want to know if putting a set of springs ( left and right sides ) with one side with more arched than the other will work then yes they will go in but your car wont sit level.
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:30 AM
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I too own a '57 BelAir Hardtop with 7 leaf, leaf springs under it. It raced under the name "Mr. 57"

I already know unleven leaf springs will cause the car to set uneven. But will one inch of unsprung height be that noticable? Or will adding weight to equation amplify the difference in height of the springs?

Some members of Chevy Talk suggested I have the leaf springs re-arched. I'm not sure there's a company in or near Dayton, OH that can do this work? If I drive further away, say Cincinnati then I'm getting in to the area of buying new springs being the same cost as re-aching would be.
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Old 02-14-2011, 05:25 PM
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Cant really tell you if 1" of unsprung height will make 1" of difference under load. That would depend on the temper left in the spring itself. the thickness of the leaf on each spring [2 springs the same height but with different thickness steel will hold different weights] there is a lot of different things that can play into arch & ride height. Age is a bad thing for leaf springs and my personal feelings are that old springs are not worth reworking unless you have no access to replacement ones. You can re-arch springs [we do it at our shop all the time] BUT they will readily loose the added arch. Our tollerence when assembling new leaf springs is +1/4" -1/8" of the designated arch. [except special orders] anything over that is out of tollerance and has to be reworked or scrapped. Rust is also a bad thing for springs and weakenes them, cleaning and painting dont help their strength. the center bolt area and the eye areas are usually where you have failures, though if you have defects in the steel you can have failure anywhere in the leaf, along with if there are any quench cracks or quench blisters from the origional heating and bending process these would be failure places. OK so yes I am long winded sometimes, LOL Anyway, For the price of a set of new replacement leaf springs, as compared to rebuilding your old ones-paying to have them re-arched and risking haveing a failure & possible an accident dammaging your car and maybe yourself or others I would pay for new springs and have peace of mind.
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