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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 12-05-2007, 11:51 AM
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Now it's TOO LOW

Hey there,

My '36 Fordillac, seen in 'Flynbrians' journal, is coming along nicely. I have the car up on wheels, engine trans in, got the body 95% done. The car is on '35 Dodge or Plymouth parallel front springs/axle on a homebuilt frame made of 2x3 rect. tubing. I have the front axle flipped on the springs, or, hanging now from the topside of the springs. Therein is the problem...

When I first set the car up, there was about 1 1/2" of clearance between the axle and the crossmember. Now, after a month, it's settled untill there is only about 3/4 inch. It surprised me, that the springs, being old and "seasoned" would settle so much. The engine (472 Caddy/turbo 400) is set WAY back. I have the springs moved inboard, so they mount on the inside of the frame rail, and have 3 inch shackles on the rear.

Obviously, it doesn't have enough suspension travel. I could notch the frame an inch, and cut the (also 2x3) crossmember out and rotate it 90 degrees, so it would be the same thickness as the notched frame rails. This makes me a little leery tho, as it'd give only a 2" side height at the notch. Then I wondered if it'd make any difference, as I have tapered the rails to 1 1/2 at the front of the frame where the spring hanger is anyway. The crossmember would strengthen the frame too, correct?

I could simply use longer shackles at the rear. I could cut the spring mounts off and move the springs back out directly under the rails, which would raise the front about 1".

Or, I can use the small airbags a buddy gave me, mount an onboard compresser, pressure gauge, and not cut anything. There'll be rubber snubbers, and I wouldn't elimnate all the leaves, so if a bag or line blew, it'd still be driveable. The drawback to these are they don't look quite right. on the front end, given the old timey look I want. Can they be mounted behind the axle, on the shackle end of the spring? There is (just barely) room to mount 'em behind, and they'd be almost totally hidden. These are short bags, they're about 4" tall and probably 5" dia. I have all the brackets, hardware, and the pressure gauge.

Any thoughts on any of these options?

Brian

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Old 12-05-2007, 12:02 PM
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You can delete the compressor if you wish..I have had airbags on my truck for 10 years with no onboard compresor and they are still just fine...if you mount the airbags just behind the axle that should work to raise it up just a bit to get your ride height..Welcome to the world of getting things to work..

Sam
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Old 12-05-2007, 01:27 PM
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Everything depends on whether or not you like the current sagged out ride height....if you can stand it higher in front, (apparently how you initially set it up,) then the rear shackles are probably the way to go. Angling the spring to make it lower in back will make the ride a little more harsh, (but that may not be any kind of issue anyway).

Notching the frame rail down to 2" that far back from the front spring perch would have me leery also. and you will still only gain 1" more travel.
Can you make a curve in the frame so it retains it's thickness and will clear the axle by 2 1/2 or 3 inches?

Cool hoopty btw.

Later, mikey
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Old 12-05-2007, 02:33 PM
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can you add another leaf or take out a leaf and replace it with a stiffer one? thats a good way to increase ride height. and you wont have an air bag or a big ole shackle hanging out, and you wont have to cut any thing. probably going to be a stiffer ride though.
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Old 12-05-2007, 03:43 PM
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Re arch the springs

Check with some spring shops around as leaf springs can be rearched to gain some height...Might be cheaper and easier in the long run..Might not be as low as it is now but that is not all bad...I forgot that option

Sam
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Old 12-05-2007, 04:09 PM
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Well, yeah, I set it up intentionally to be low! LOL, I just didn't want it THAT low! I'm 5'4", the top of the grill is just over knee high...I don't think an extra inch will be to bad, it will still look pretty radical.

I thought about having the springs re-arched. They are after all, 70 years old. The frame notching, the more I think about it, is not gonna happen. I really don want to move the springs back out under the rails, 'cause they look pretty cool hanging inside, almost underslung.

I think I'll get the springs rebuilt, add longer shackles and see what that does. It's only gotta come up a little to be OK. If those two things don't work, I'll tuck the bags behind the axle. I think I'd still like a compresser, one of those little 12v jobs with a small tank, I thought an old brass fire extinguisher, would be pretty cool.

Thanks for the input.

Brian
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