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  • #16
    Originally posted by davidmij View Post
    ...I decided to keep the old springs because I have dropped about 110 pounds off my engine with the aluminum intake and heads. My local shop guy said he still had a heck of a time putting them in because they wouldn't compress with the weight of the car. He had to tie the car down some how...
    Think of a coil spring just like a Chrysler torsion bar that's curled into a helix. Diameter and length have a lot to do with load capacity.

    Even the best springs get stiff and sag with age. This is apparent when building heads. New springs respond much faster. New suspension springs offer a much nicer ride.

    If you can't get the lower ball joint back in the spindle, sit a couple people on your fender. Your spring will compress. - Dave
    My latest project:
    CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

    "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
    --Lee Iacocca

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    • #17
      Nice post Ray. Now I understand why John's book showed 14 1/8" vs the service manual that shows 15 1/2"
      Nyles

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      • #18
        Front spring size

        Thanks, Nyles, I just looked in my '59 Shop Manual to see if it made any mention of coil spring length in the section that talks about replacing them. I did not see anything mentioned. If anyone else can find anything in the '59 Shop Manual about front coil spring length, please post it. That might give us a better idea when they went from 14 1/8" to 15 1/2".

        Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
        '59 Tbird "The Yellow Rose Of Texas" aka "Tweety Bird"
        "It's Hip To Be Square"
        Thunderbird Registry #33025 VTCI #11178

        Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or (Cell) 210-875-1411 (Home) 210-674-5781

        http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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        • #19
          Ray,

          I checked my '59 manual and in section 6-5 Specifications it says 15 1/2 and 15 3/4. It doesn't say which one is for a 430. Not sure why the MPC still had 14 1/8 listed in 1960.

          John
          John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

          Thunderbird Registry #36223
          jopizz@verizon.net 856-779-9695

          http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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          • #20
            Front spring size

            Hi John, I see you were doing what I was doing! Going through my shop manual looking for the coil spring height figures! Like you, I found them in that section you referenced. It says Front Coil Spring Free Height "Aluminum Marking" 15 1/2" and "Yellow Marking" 15 3/4". As for the 430CI engine, according to the tech I talked with at Coil Spring Specialties, he said the 430CI coil springs were the same length as those for the 352CI engine. The difference was in the thickness of the coil springs and the weight load specs, as I remember. The difference being because I gather the 430CI engine is heavier. It would be interesting to see what the 1958 Shop Manual has to say about front coil spring free height. Anyone who has a '58 Shop Manual should find those figures in the Part 6-5 Specifications section if that manual is set up like the '59 manual is. Let's see if they happen to be 14 1/8" in '58... We now know that in '59 they were not, as the manual show 15 1/2" at the aluminum mark & 15 3/4" at the yellow mark.

            Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
            '59 Tbird "The Yellow Rose Of Texas" aka "Tweety Bird"
            "It's Hip To Be Square"
            Thunderbird Registry #33025 VTCI #11178

            Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or (Cell) 210-875-1411 (Home) 210-674-5781

            http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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            • #21
              Front springs

              Good morning Yellow Bird:
              I went to the garage last evening and took some pictures and new measurements. The free length is 16" not 17". The width is 5 1/2 with 10 1/2 coils counting the bottom. With the lower control arm, at its lowest position, there is about 14 inches for the spring as measured from the top of the spring cavity to the inner lip on the arm pocket. From the discussion it appears that after 1958 the length was increased to 15 1/2".
              It appears that if I cut one coil directly ahead of the end of the spring bottom the length would be reduced to 14 1/2". This length would most likely fit. In the past, I have installed new springs in a 49 ford and had no trouble - just insert the spring and use a car jack to raise the arm to compress the spring.

              So, at this point I think I will try cutting as a solution. I will cut only what is necessary to allow the spring to set in the upper lip of the control arm pocket. It appears that the actual length can be longer on the outside of the spring as long as the inner spring coil is locked in the pocket when jacking. I will start at 15 1/2 and go down in size until I have a fit. Thanks for all your help. I'll submit a new post with results.

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              • #22
                Front spring size

                I just spoke with Dennis ~ Buckaroo, knowing that he owns a '58 Squarebird. He looked in his '58 Shop Manual Specifications and read me what it says. It lists the front coil springs as 15.3" at the aluminum mark, with no indication what it might be at a yellow mark. Since the '58 also had coil springs on the rear, that year only, he gave me the figure for those. He told me that it lists the REAR coil springs for the '58 at 17.48"... Sooo, they might have shipped you rear coil springs instead of fronts. Or, as the tech at Coil Springs Specialty said, they might have shipped you '62 springs.

                So now we know that, according to the '58 Shop Manual Specifications section, even back then, these front coil springs were listed as 15.3" length and NOT 14 1/8"...

                Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
                '59 Tbird "The Yellow Rose Of Texas" aka "Tweety Bird"
                "It's Hip To Be Square"
                Thunderbird Registry #33025 VTCI #11178

                Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or (Cell) 210-875-1411 (Home) 210-674-5781

                http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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                • #23
                  There seems to be a lot of different numbers floating around on this. The attached is the chart from the Master Parts Catalogue. B7A-5310-Q is for a 352 engine and B7A-5310-L is for a 430 engine. However, the chart shows the "Q" springs have gray markings while the text says they have purple markings for all the applications listed. I have always thought that the 430 springs had purple markings. It is interesting to note that the 430 springs have a shorter "free height" than the 352 springs and are of heavier stock but the "load heights" are the same, 9.60". Also note that the "load pounds" is larger (2325 vs. 2225) for the 352 springs than the 430 springs, whatever this means - load to compress a given amount?
                  Attached Files
                  sigpic "Old Betsy" - my '59 convertible J9YJ116209 Thunderbird Registry #33341

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                  • #24
                    Howard thanks for the chart as I am sure that it will certainly identify what is needed.
                    Dano Calgary,Alberta Canada
                    Thunderbird Registry
                    58HT #33317
                    60 HT (Sold )

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                    • #25
                      Hi,
                      I had heaps of trouble trying to get my new front springs in from macs. Even with my foot pushing the lower arm as far as it would go, the uncompressed spring was too big to fit. Eventually I had to use spring compressors to reduce the height and eventually I got it in.
                      When the car was of the jacks it sat not too bad. Just a little high, but these are new springs and have now settled a little.

                      Davd
                      sigpicHello from Australia

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                      • #26
                        I knew you could do it. Your tenacity paid off and now it's good for the next fifty years.

                        Two specifications mean the most to me, load height and load capacity. How they get there with the number of turns, wire diameter, etc., really means very little.

                        You're going to love the ride. All old springs get stiff and they sag. New big springs in a heavy car make the ride feel like you're on a cloud. Watch your speed because it will creep up on you.

                        BTW, look at Howard Prout's chart. Three springs have the identical 2225-lb rating. Why did Ford need three of the same springs? Beats me, but it tells volumes about the springs that our vendors sell. They can be off by a lot and still work just fine.
                        Let's look at 'Load Height' @ 2225 Lbs:
                        L = 9.6
                        P = 9.6
                        C = 9.72 (one tenth of an inch taller, sure ain't much)

                        Glad you're back in business. - Dave
                        My latest project:
                        CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

                        "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
                        --Lee Iacocca

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Old post I know, but I thought I'd chime in with my experience. When I did my front end a few years ago, my springs had yellow markings and were 15 3/4" long. My car is a '60 Convertible with a 352. That measurement matched what the '60 service manual indicated it should be.

                          Here's a pic from my suspension rebuild gallery:

                          DGS (aka salguod)
                          1960 Convertible - Raven Black, Red leather
                          www.salguod.net

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by simplyconnected View Post
                            I knew you could do it. Your tenacity paid off and now it's good for the next fifty years.

                            Two specifications mean the most to me, load height and load capacity. How they get there with the number of turns, wire diameter, etc., really means very little.

                            You're going to love the ride. All old springs get stiff and they sag. New big springs in a heavy car make the ride feel like you're on a cloud. Watch your speed because it will creep up on you.

                            BTW, look at Howard Prout's chart. Three springs have the identical 2225-lb rating. Why did Ford need three of the same springs? Beats me, but it tells volumes about the springs that our vendors sell. They can be off by a lot and still work just fine.
                            Let's look at 'Load Height' @ 2225 Lbs:
                            L = 9.6
                            P = 9.6
                            C = 9.72 (one tenth of an inch taller, sure ain't much)

                            Glad you're back in business. - Dave
                            I might be for the same reason as most if not all car manufacturers do it even today: In order to get the cars stance even, they need to select them after the + - difference in the manufacturing process. Some have 3 levels, some have 5 or more. It all comes down to how much they are willing to spend for quality. At Volvo, one car can be 3/4 of an inch higher or lower than another car depending on what springs you get.
                            sigpic..."Lil darling Ruth"
                            http://www.tbirdregistry.com/#33158

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                            • #29
                              That may be, Anders. But how much do your cars weigh? Squarebirds had different options, but not enough to change spring sizes. The margin of error in a heavy car is a small percentage compared to the margin of error in a light car.

                              Here we are talking about sixty year old springs that should be changed long ago. If you ever get new springs, not only will you notice a difference in stance but in ride. Old springs sag, they get brittle and sometimes they break.

                              I can tell a big difference in engine performance when I change valve springs. New ones are far more flexible and they only cost about thirty cents each.

                              As a teen age kid, I used to play around the rail road tracks. Every so often I could find a piece of coil spring from one of the cars. These were heavy duty, but they still got brittle and broke. - Dave
                              My latest project:
                              CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

                              "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
                              --Lee Iacocca

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                A properly designed coil spring will have theoretical infinite life, if operated within its design parameters. This can be calculated, but without knowing more about the specific type of steel and the exact load specs, it'd be hard to do for our springs.

                                Of course, other factors come into play. I've owned two 1990s Escorts and both had rear spring failures. They were due to poor corrosion protection, I believe, and they rusted excessively and broke into several pieces. This is a very common problem with those Escorts. Individual springs may also fail for a number of reasons as well, even though most of that application don't.

                                The coils I took out of my car were still the specified 15 3/4" free length, so I did not replace them. They still bore their original markings so I assume that they were the original springs with 150K+ miles on them. If you take your springs out and they are the right length (and the car's ride height was OK), I wouldn't replace them simply due to age.
                                DGS (aka salguod)
                                1960 Convertible - Raven Black, Red leather
                                www.salguod.net

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