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Old 03-09-2007, 04:27 PM
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Rough Ride Typical to Old Rods?

First off, let me point out that I do, indeed, understand that the ride in my '27 Model T Sedan is going to be very rough. I can live with that, however - I'm trying to determine if there is anything else I can do alleviate some of the bone-jarring reactions I'm getting when I hit dips in the road (not potholes, mind you - minor dips and ruts in the road are giving the car serious jarring)

The picture below is the only current shot I have - the suspension is pretty typical: '40 front end on a suicide perch - - and I bought the car with this suspension on it. The frame has been notched, but the ride height is realistic and I can clear things easily without bottoming out. I've got some standard 150lb coil overs in the back.

What I found surprising is that the tops of the shocks are mounted to the headlight mounts. The headlight mounts are quite beefy and look to be engineered to handle the stress - is this unusual?

I've seen some sweet Ts running suicide perches with no shocks in the front - and there's no way those cars ride like mine does.

And again, I'm not looking for a cadillac ride - but I can barely drive 25 mph down the street without causing myself some measure of liver damage.

This car is what it is, what's on now is going to stay - It will never be a beauty queen, but I really want to enjoy cruising without worrying that every bump is hurting the car. I'm not looking for the be-all, end-all solution - just some thoughts, ideas and opinions from those with more knowledge than I.

Thanks in advance to all the hotrodders here who are always helping out.
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Old 03-09-2007, 06:23 PM's Avatar
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Your shock placement is fairly common for this style of car.

First try removing a couple of leaves from the front spring. My first T (in 1966) rode just as you described. I removed the leaf next to the main, then kept removing about every other one, till the short ones and only kept the top one. Ride height only lowered the amount of the removed spring leaves plus about 5/8's inch. I then put the main leaf into a press and re-arched it the opposite way. This dropped the car another inch (reverse spring eyes). The remaining leaves (four) never gave me any problems and were going strong when sold.

Then I replaced the old steel shackle bushings with hard rubber. Mounted the spring/chassis/centerbolt perch mount in rubber (old tire casing). Replaced the tie rod ends in the split bones to chassis with rubber bushings (cut down A frame bushings).

This made a much better ride. No more of the teeth jarring stuf. BUT, these things weigh so little and most tend to be way oversprung, that they will never ride smooth.. 15 lbs max tire pressure.

My present 23 bucket has a three leaf spring front and coilovers rear with about the second from lightest springs in the manufacturers catalog. All rubber bushed frame/suspension mounts.

The no shocks on front makes for other problems. Shimmy, bounce, death wobble, etc. So I use at least friction shocks.. Bob
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Old 03-19-2007, 06:40 PM
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Going down to 15 PSI made a HUGE difference. It's riding more like it should, definitely. I'm going to wheel it around a bit and if it's still rough for my tastes, I'm going to addresses the leafs. Thanks a TON for your help, very much appreciated!
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Old 03-19-2007, 06:53 PM
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I agree, aring down the tires make a big difference. What kind of seat do you have? Does it have springs? Spring in the seat will make a huge difference too.
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Old 03-20-2007, 10:48 PM
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Put your foot down on your front spring perch and push quickly down then let off. If your car doesn't bounce once or twice and stop you may have a suspension problem. Make sure the spring shackles are not tightened so tight that the side bars are against the spring eye. If they are loosen them a bit.
Count the number of leaves in your front spring. If you have 8-10-12 that's too many! Keep number one or your car will fall down, keep number two and remove 3-5-7-9-11. Unless you're running a really heavy engine you should get by on 5-7 leaves. Again, don't tighten the shackles bars against the eyes. The spring should float between the bars freely.
Stand up on the front perch and push down hard on the suspension while watching to see how everythiing moves. Does everything look free and unhindered? Good.
Now do the same in the rear or have someone do the pushing while you check things out underneath. Of course you can't remove leaves from coilovers, can you?? But, how does everything move? One or two bounces and stop? Springs flex when compressed, or do they compress at all??
Now, what are you sitting on? Best seats are spring seats, not foam blocks, not gel bags, not lawn chairs, not old catcher's mitts, or inner tubes, or springs! Find an old school bus in a junkyard and get a seat cushion and back or two of each, they should be cheap or free!! Plop 'em in there propped up some how and see what a difference it makes. Now, if you like 'em, make up some seats that are your style and use 'em.
These cars won't ever ride like a Caddy but they can be made comfortable enough that you can make a 500 mile a day trip without wishing you were dead by lunchtime!! Another thing to look at is whether you are in a comfortable driving position, no odd arm/leg positions, no leaning too far nback or sitting straight up(which makes you feel like you're falling forward and makes for a hellish backache). All controls and pedals in a comfortable easily reachable place?? How about a seat belt or belts? A lap belt is necessary to keep you behind the wheel in control in case you have to drive out of a problem.
There is no reason to uncomfortable, I think you know you are a man and don't have that foolish kid notion about hot rods being roughriding stuff for "tough" guys. There aren't any tough guys, there are just guys who can't make a suspension work or put together a decent seat.
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Old 03-20-2007, 10:54 PM
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I don't know that this would help with yours, but my truck...rides like a truck!!!!

I am installing poly liners between each leaf (cheap), a sway bar front and rear (free), and a lot better shocks (when I get some cash).

The liners allow the leaves to move easier. I am removing everything for inspection (has new bushings all around) and greasing everything as well.

Hopefully, it helps some.

On a side note: What kind of tires are you running? I had bias plys and it had the "death wobble". It was hard to hold in the road at 30. Now with radials, I can run 60 with no problem at all.
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Old 03-21-2007, 07:49 PM
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It's really hard to tell from the picture but it could be that the front shocks are bottomed out. remove them and see if the ride improves. If it does first remove enough leaves in the front spring to get a decent ride and remount the shock at half travel at ride height. And like others have already said, check that the shackles move freely.
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