View Full Version : Front spring installation

10-05-2015, 04:17 PM
First, some history.

I first started working on this car in 1986. I replaced the suspension and rebuilt the brakes so I could drive the car from house I rented to winter storage, etc. When I replaced the front springs I destroyed a two-piece compressor, and finally made my own out of a 3/4" all thread rod, two heavy steel plates and lots of young man bravery.

I bought the springs locally (Syracuse, NY) and opted for the "heavy duty" versions. When I installed them they "topped out"; basically the front end was up so high the shocks were at the top of their travel.

So I removed them, cut one coil off and reinstalled. The front end was still too high.

So I cut a second coil and the front was a bit low but drivable, and had a nice rake to it.

After 29 years, the car sits very low, the oil pan is only 4" off the pavement, and the ride is terrible. So I bought new springs from Mac's, this time my options were AC or non AC car. They looked really tall, so I cut one coil off and hired a local hot-rod shop to put them in.

After several tries they ruined three compressor tools and gave up, and put my old springs in.

Any tips for these guys to install my new ones?

10-05-2015, 04:29 PM
I suggest you call Eaton Detroit Spring (https://www.eatondetroitspring.com/) and speak with one of their tech guys. They make original springs according to the OEM spec's, with the correct height and ride. There is no need to cut them or modify in any way. - Dave

10-05-2015, 09:47 PM
I have an A/C car.

This is one of the most scary jobs I have done on my car. It is not fun, but after doing the first side it is actually not that hard. Still scary since they are huge springs. I used a one piece spring compressor heavy duty. I saw the original ford spring compressor, but the guy wanted $550 for it.

The secret is to get a small bend in the spring not so big the spring slips on the tool.

I measured the spring as I was compressing it to the space that it has to fit in. When I had the correct measurements:

I removed the upper control arm. This gives you enough room to get the spring in.

Then I installed the upper control arm and torqued it to specs. Then I slowly released the spring.

tip: when compressing the spring the make sure you think about how you going get to the bolts so you can release the tool once the spring is in the car.

I will see if I have a picture.

10-06-2015, 01:08 AM
I suggest you follow your Shop Manual to the letter. These manuals are famous for coming up with new and strange tools that you will never use again, BUT...

There is no mention about using a spring compressor. I've done our '55 Ford, '59 Galaxie and now I'm looking at the '65 Shop Manual. They are very very similar. On my Fords, there simply isn't enough room for a spring compressor. Yes, some have tried by putting one (or more) inside, just to find they couldn't remove it. Others have made specialty tools with marginal success. The fact remains, these cars need no spring compressor because the lower arm is so long.

If you properly set your car on stands (per the manual) and use a separate jack (I use a scissors but they show a floor jack) under the lower ball joint this job goes exactly as shown in the book. Scary? It can be if you don't follow the correct procedure. Do not unscrew the ball joint nut(s) all the way until the right time comes. Then, slowly lower the lower 'A' arm and the spring will fall into your lap under NO compression. - Dave

10-06-2015, 11:17 AM

I'm not sure what your manual says but the spring is between the upper arm and the shock tower, not the lower arm. The manual clearly shows a tool for compressing it.


10-06-2015, 04:55 PM
Since it was 28 or 29 years Ago I completely forgot if I took the upper arm off. It makes sense that I would have now. The shop guys did not do that explains why they couldn't do it.

It sounds like I need to remove the arm.and compress the spring

10-06-2015, 05:46 PM

Just ordered one. Many 5 star reviews on Amazon.

10-06-2015, 06:21 PM
...I'm not sure what your manual says but the spring is between the upper arm and the shock tower, not the lower arm. The manual clearly shows a tool for compressing it...Good thing you mentioned it, John. Now I realize I'm looking at a 1965 T-bird..

10-06-2015, 07:33 PM
Good thing you mentioned it, John. Now I realize I'm looking at a 1965 T-bird..

My spring is between the upper A arm and the top of the spring tower. When the car is on jack stands, the A arm is down all the way and the spring is still compressed.

10-18-2015, 12:24 PM
I used a Mercedes Benz spring compressor, MB cars are like the Thunderbird you slide the tool down the shock tower once you have removed the shock, the MB tool worked without problem, I borrowed the tool from a MB dealer, as far as springs go I installed lowering springs from Jameco installed without issue.