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  • Front spring size

    I purchased a new set of front springs from Mac's and they appear to be too long for my 1960 convertible with a 352 engine. They measure 17 inches uncompressed. The manual says that the spring should be inserted in the lower control arm and then jacked into position. However, the spring I purchased will not set in the pocket as it is too long. I have tried to use a spring compressor but it gets in the way.
    It looks like the spring should be about 14 inches uncompressed in order to set in the upper lip of the lower control arm. I hate to cut these new springs but it appears the only solution. If I cut them with a torch does anyone know if that would affect the rigidity of the spring? Please help anyone.

  • #2
    According to the Ford parts book the free length should be 14 1/8; 8 1/2 coils.

    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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    • #3
      John:
      My 60 Service Manual shows Front Coil Spring Free Height at Purple=15 1/2 and Yellow at 15 3/4". Is the slightly longer spring for the 460 Lincoln motor? Also, did they have different springs for the convertible? The manual doesn't specify.
      Nyles

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      • #4
        don't use a torch to cut the spring; the heat will take the temper out of the steel
        http://www.tbirdregistry.com/viewdat...ryNumber=33517

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        • #5
          Originally posted by jopizz View Post
          According to the Ford parts book the free length should be 14 1/8; 8 1/2 coils.

          John
          John:
          Thank you for the information. When I measured it seems to be 14 " so 14 1/8 seems right. I was going to cut them with a torch, but have been advised that it will ruin the spring. I assume they can be cut with a cutting wheel. By the way, I called Macs about this problem and got no help. Their tec support is a joke- talked to a young girl who knew nothing other than what was in the catalog.

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          • #6
            Does it say on the springs what the load capacity is. I'd hate to see you cut them and find out they're too soft once they're installed. I would recommend returning them and getting the correct springs from another vendor. Mac's customer service has really gone downhill in the last few years in my opinion.

            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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            • #7
              Front spring size

              I have been doing some research for you on 1960 front coil spring lengths. According to what I have found out talking with a couple of our Tbird parts vendors is this. 14 1/8" 8 1/2 coils uncompressed, or free length is correct for the Squarebird according to the manuals put out back then. If your coil springs from MAC's are 17" they sent you the wrong springs. What does the part # say on the box the springs came in? It should say this.

              Ford Thunderbird Front Coil Springs, 352 V8, 1958-60 Part # 66-31099-1

              or if you have AC (though the Bird Nest told me it does not matter if you have AC or not. The Squarebird uses the same coils. They said that the coil makers are used to specifying that they are non-AC coils or AC coils. It was explained to me that it does make a difference in coil construction for some cars, if a car has AC, but not for our old Squarebirds).

              Ford Thunderbird Front Coil Springs, 352 V8, With Air Conditioning, 1958-60 Part # 66-31100-1

              If they sent you front coil springs for a 430CI car, they are still the same length, just thicker, heavier duty springs.

              I called MAC's, and talked with one of their reps. They cannot tell me what the length of those two springs are because they do not have any in stock. Same for the Bird House and Bird Nest. Apparently, like the Bird House, and the Bird Nest, and perhaps others, they do not stock them. When they get orders for coil springs, they order them in and then ship them. MAC's told me that the company who makes the coil springs is Coil Spring Specialty and I just talked with them. They said their coil springs for the Squarebirds, are constructed to OEM specs at 15 1/2" 8 1/2 coils. They also said that originally, Ford was putting 14 1/8" springs on the Squarebird, but then changed to the 15 1/2" length later in the Squarebird production runs. He also said that the information in the Ford parts book might have been correct at the time that book was published. He said many of the early Squarebirds had 14 1/8" front springs installed in them, but the front coil springs they supply to Squarebird parts houses are the later Squarebird production run uncompressed 15 1/2" springs.

              He said that the '62 Bulletbird has 17" front coil springs so it is possible they sent you the wrong springs.. If the box they shipped those springs in says this...

              Ford Thunderbird Front Coil Springs, Without Air Conditioning, 1961-62 Part # 66-33740-1 or 66-33741-1, then they shipped you '62 springs..

              Then you will know that they shipped the wrong springs to you, or someone put the wrong set of springs in a '60's spring box. You can get the correct front coil springs from the Bird House or the Bird Nest. I hope this helps.
              Last edited by YellowRose; November 11th, 2014, 03:48 PM.

              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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              • #8
                The cars with AC, at least 58's, have a horseshoe shaped spacer that adds about 3/4". I did not reinstall the spacers in mine upon reassembly.
                sigpic

                CLICK HERE for Jim's web site

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                • #9
                  Thanks Yellow rose -
                  I checked the part number and it appears that someone shipped the wrong springs as the number checks out for 1960 bird. However, Mac's has a no return policy for parts ordered more than 1 year ago. I bought these well ahead of my project and cannot return them. So, would you suggest I cut them or take the hit and order a new set from Birds nest?

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                  • #10
                    Front spring size

                    Robert, I see the part # on the box said they were Squarebird coil springs. But, apparently, someone stuffed the wrong springs in the box. As for cutting them, let some of the pro's here suggest what you might consider doing. One I see said not to cut them with a torch.. Cutting them with cutting wheel might be the way to go, but lets see what others have to say about this. I guess the next question is if you cut them, to what length? 14 1/8" or 15 1/2"? How many coils are on these 17" springs?

                    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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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by shoebox View Post
                      Thanks Yellow rose -
                      I checked the part number and it appears that someone shipped the wrong springs as the number checks out for 1960 bird. However, Mac's has a no return policy for parts ordered more than 1 year ago. I bought these well ahead of my project and cannot return them. So, would you suggest I cut them or take the hit and order a new set from Birds nest?
                      Did they tell you that they wouldn't take them back. If they haven't been used and it was their mistake I don't see any reason why they wouldn't let you return them. I certainly wouldn't take no for an answer without causing a fuss. You can try telling them that the bad publicity they will receive on this site will cost them more in the long run.

                      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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                      • #12
                        Front spring size

                        I agree with John... I am already receiving some bad comments regarding the decrease in quality of service that MAC's is providing since their company was taken over recently. I would try again, and remind them that it is they who made a mistake and shipped you the wrong coils. Perhaps they will take them back and replace them.

                        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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                        • #13
                          If you can't send them back, I would cut them with an abrasive cut off wheel and see how they work. You can always buy another set if they don't work out.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by shoebox View Post
                            ...The manual says that the spring should be inserted in the lower control arm and then jacked into position. However, the spring I purchased will not set in the pocket as it is too long. I have tried to use a spring compressor but it gets in the way...
                            I'm a little confused. I have changed many springs on these old Fords. If you lift the car high enough and set it on tall jack stands, the lower "A" arm will drop nearly vertical.

                            There is not enough room for a spring compressor, but you really don't need one because the lower "A" arm is very long.

                            I assume you're using a rubber (spacer or isolator) at the top of your spring although you didn't mention it. The original is an inch tall and it should work. I usually tape mine to the spring just to keep it there long enough to raise the lower arm. Do not try to install the spring upside down.

                            With the body on tall stands, I use a scissors jack under the lower arm. I get full control and plenty of space to attach the lower ball joint nut. Remember, there is no pressure on the upper arm. Simply rotate the spring until the end of your coil spring fits in the pocket of the lower arm.

                            BTW, whenever I do springs I also do urethane bushings. So my bushings are loose and free-floating. If you're trying to do this with the bushings tight, you stand a chance of hyper-extending the arms and ruining the urethane. In accordance with the Shop Manual, only tighten the bushings when the car is sitting level on it's wheels.

                            I usually buy my springs from local Detroit places. For coil springs, I use Eaton Detroit Springs. For leaf springs I use Michigan Truck Spring in Saginaw. They have a nice set of 6-leaf rear springs for $230.00. - 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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                            • #15
                              I agree with John and Dave, let Mac's know that they need to make an exception to their one year rule - it was their fault up front. Be sure and send them this link and our correspondence.

                              I always thought that the thickness of the spring is what's important. If they are the same thickness then cutting them might work or at least be worth a try if Mac's won't make things right.

                              I had my front end bushings all replaced a few weeks ago. 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. Sounded kind of weird to me, but hey.

                              Dave J

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