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59 front coil spring questions

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  • 59 front coil spring questions

    Hi,

    So I'm hoping for some insight and possible suggestions for my current problem. My 59 has a slight lean to the left so I
    changed the rear leaf springs and that helped but didn't solve the problem. I then ordered some new front coil springs from a
    company listed on this site. The springs came in and looked great so it was time to take the old ones out, no real problems
    there but then once the old springs were out I saw the difference in height and I became concerned after trying to put one
    new spring in and realizing the length was too much. Since this was a Saturday I needed to wait until Monday to call the
    company to double check that I ordered and got the right springs. The guy I talked to at 8:30 am said they sell tons of these
    springs and never had a complaint. He was going to check with someone else and get back to me by late afternoon, He didn't.
    So I called again late afternoon today, spoke with the same guy and he didn't have any answers, So I could send them back
    and pay a restock then I could order shorter springs or at my suggestion, cut them. I'm really not happy with the response from
    the guy/company so I figured I would check with everyone here for some help, advice and/or suggestions before deciding how to
    proceed.

    So my original springs came out and are as follows:
    15-1/2" free length with metal spacers and insulators
    9-1/4 coils
    Aluminum/silver paint on springs
    part number AJ 5310 stamped on outside lower coil
    So according to some research from this site, the length, coils, paint are right but the part number would be wrong for this spring.

    Now the new springs:
    16-1/2" free length without metal spacers or new insulators (17" with them all)
    9 coils
    obviously no paint or part numbers

    There is no way that these will fit even without the spacers and insulators using the shop manual method and of course I've read
    that we can't use spring compressors with the deep pockets and control arms interfering. I suppose I could send them back and lose
    shipping and restocking fees and then order a new set from another supplier and call them first to confirm free lengths and such.
    Another option would be to cut the new springs to the proper free length and just move on.

    Car is a 59 hard top 352 with a/c, Any ideas, suggestions or help appreciated.

    Thanks in advance


    Last edited by Pat in Ma; October 9th, 2019, 10:38 AM.
    Pat M.
    Monson, MA
    1959 HT Hickory Tan, Thunderbird registry #77617

  • #2
    so i had the same issue and did alot of the same things you did. I ended up just buying one of those turn in spring levelers on the side that was low and now its good no issues.
    https://www.summitracing.com/parts/m...8aAncFEALw_wcB
    1959 Thunderbird 397ci
    Cruise-O-Matic
    Flamingo Pink.
    Thunderbird Registry #8442
    Daily driver

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Ryan,

      Thanks, I remember reading your threads and do remember you saying that you used a twist in leveler. I may end
      up doing that if I put the original springs back in. Right now I'm leaning toward cutting the new ones to make them
      fit so that I have new springs all the way around. Thanks for reminding of your solution.
      Pat M.
      Monson, MA
      1959 HT Hickory Tan, Thunderbird registry #77617

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Pat in Ma View Post
        Hi Ryan,

        Right now I'm leaning toward cutting the new ones to make them fit so that I have new springs all the way around. Thanks for reminding of your solution.
        I'd just cut them, there's alot of spring on these cars. After I rebuilt my front end it was headed to the moon, so I cut a bunch off mine. I was hoping it'd stiffen the front end as well, but it didn't change the ride at all. Cut them the same, you may find one front spring was sagging more than the other.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi Bryan,

          Thanks, I'll probably just cut them down and install this weekend. I'm just a little confused and disappointed in current
          customer service and how something that is suppose to be made to factory specs is off so much. Thanks again for your advice.
          Pat M.
          Monson, MA
          1959 HT Hickory Tan, Thunderbird registry #77617

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Pat in Ma View Post
            Hi Bryan,

            Thanks, I'll probably just cut them down and install this weekend. I'm just a little confused and disappointed in current
            customer service and how something that is suppose to be made to factory specs is off so much. Thanks again for your advice.
            Customer Service has become a "lost art" and people seem unwilling to get the knowledge to help the customer? Or the people that should help the guy aren't and he's not able to help you....

            Comment


            • #7
              Did both side old springs are same height?
              I removed and re installed springs on mine and from what I can remember with lower arm completely off the way it wouldn't matter an inch difference in height. I would not cut them before somebody can confirm factory height for new springs.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Eric S View Post
                Did both side old springs are same height?
                I removed and re installed springs on mine and from what I can remember with lower arm completely off the way it wouldn't matter an inch difference in height. I would not cut them before somebody can confirm factory height for new springs.
                Hi Eric,

                Yes, both old springs are the same length and measure out at 15-1/4". I did not remove my lower control arm as the bushings and ball joint still seem to be in
                good shape. So according to the shop manual, with the lower arm mounted to the car, you need to catch the spring on the lower arm spring seat and then use
                a jack to raise the arm and compress the spring until you can attach the lower ball joint. With the spring being a inch plus too long it seems to be physically
                impossible to get the lower spring onto the lower arms spring seat.
                So since I'm not going to remove the lower arm and I know that the factory free length is suppose to be 15-1/2" from the shop manual and other posts on this site,
                it only makes sense to cut them to proper length. I'll wait to see if anyone else has any more info on this before cutting.

                Thank you for pointing out how you mounted your springs and lower control arms.
                Pat M.
                Monson, MA
                1959 HT Hickory Tan, Thunderbird registry #77617

                Comment


                • #9
                  If both springs are same length you'll have to search for something else regarding your stance problem, once you have the springs installed. I guess, but you probably knows it.
                  You have to disconnect the lower ball joint and then bring the lower arm almost vertically to insert the spring. Now, I did not had any concern as I was reinstalling the same springs and I did not tried for a longer spring. I remember the spring had to be pushed in place but it was so easy, I "feel" that a longer spring might goes in.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Isn't there a spring compressor that you could use to make it a bit shorter?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would NOT jump to the idea of cutting new springs. It's easy enough to do with an angle grinder but I would not. I am not in favor of using those 'twist-in levelers' either. The springs should be slightly taller than a saggy old coil spring and it will produce a nicer, not as stiff, ride. (I always advocate for new valve springs as well.)

                      Ford produced a Thunderbird with different height springs when the engine was a 430 MEL with A/C. More accurately, they left the insulator out of one side.

                      I would try installing the new springs first. There are a few ways to skin this cat. In any event, it's important you place the spring's end into the lower control arm pocket correctly. The metal is stamped so that you can easily see the contour for the spring.

                      The body of the car needs to be high enough on jack stands under the frame members, for the lower control arms to swing down nearly all the way. I would tape the rubber insulator to the top of the spring so it doesn't move around during assembly. Then 'catch' the end of the spring on the lower arm pocket, and start lifting the control arm with a jack. I have used scissors jacks and floor jacks. The important part is, the jack must have a rather low profile when collapsed.

                      I've done this with the engine in or out of the body without using a spring compressor. It's much easier with the engine in the car because the weight helps collapse the spring when raising the lower arm. With the engine removed, I wrap a well-clamped steel cable loop around the top control arm, all the way to the floor WITH the jack sitting on the cable. Even so, caution and balance are essential because hundreds of pounds are being exerted. The cable makes lower ball joint insertion into the spindle much easier.

                      So, try inserting the spring with the rubber insulator. If you absolutely cannot get the spring in, leave the insulator out or get a shorter one. Longer coil springs (or leaf springs or torsion bars) make a much better ride. Shock absorbers control the rate of bounce. - 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

                      From: Royal Oak, Michigan

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi Ratboy,

                        In my reading on this forum it was stated that you can't fit spring compressors in the area and since I only have the
                        outer style of compressor it will surely hit the upper spring pocket during installation. Plus I'm a fairly firm believer that
                        the parts should fit right the way the factory intended and these obviously don't even without spacers and insulators.
                        I'm going to possibly head out to the garage again later to double/triple check everything again and maybe make a couple
                        different attempts at installing at the overly long length.

                        Hi Dave,

                        My car is up on jack stands with the lower controls arms hanging straight down without touching my garage floor and I have
                        tried to install the springs both with and without spacers/insulators. I should have taken a picture of how far down these springs
                        hang onto the lower arm to show that there is no way they are fitting without some type of compressor. If I did get them in then
                        of course the front of the car would be sky high as well which would be another problem. I'm not the best backyard mechanic, Heck
                        probably not even deserving a good rating, but I can get the normal stuff done provided the parts are correct for the job.

                        So now if anyone really has the answer, Is the correct free length of the springs uninstalled suppose to be 15.52" per a chart on this site?
                        I copied this from a post by Tbird1044 in this thread https://www.squarebirds.org/vbulleti...-1hour-driving response #14
                        My springs seem to be the top ones in the right hand column, If that is the correct measurement then my new springs are obviously
                        wrong and made to some other "factory" spec or for another vehicle.


                        Thanks to everyone for all the advice and suggestions so far, It is really appreciated and sorry if I seem to come across as angry at all, just frustrated with
                        what is really a minor issue and will get resolved one way or another.
                        Pat M.
                        Monson, MA
                        1959 HT Hickory Tan, Thunderbird registry #77617

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Pat in Ma View Post
                          ...It is really appreciated and sorry if I seem to come across as angry at all, just frustrated with
                          what is really a minor issue and will get resolved one way or another.
                          Pat, we are here to help. Sometimes we are slow with answers. I have information for you:
                          58/59 s 8 352 Aluminum .... 2 B7A 5310-Q
                          This says, 1958 thru 1959, S (Thunderbird code), with a V8 352 have (aluminum coded), two, B7A 5310-Q front springs.
                          Per the Master Parts Catalog, they have a free height of 15-1/2 inches. This is a BARE spring with nothing attached. These are the springs installed at Wixom Assembly Plant with proper insulators afixed.

                          If you prefer, go ahead and cut your new springs to 15-1/2". - 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

                          From: Royal Oak, Michigan

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I feel your pain in dealing with these springs. I went through the same steps as you since the car was not sitting level. After jacking around with the car trying to determine if it was the rear or front springs causing it to lean, I thought I had it figured out that it was the rear springs being the cause. I replaced the rear springs with new and still had the lean. Being a bit frustrated, I used some of the leveling spacers, on the front left spring, and got the car close, but eventually just decided to replace the front springs and be done with it. Bought new front springs, and like yours they were definitely longer than the springs I removed. Unfortunately, I didn't document the exact dimensions. I do remember I cut the new springs and removed about 1/2 to 3/4 of a coil. I didn't want to install the new springs and have the front of the car riding high and then need to remove them again. I got lucky and was happy with the ride height of the car with a slight lower rake to the front end. There are pics of my car, on the site,with the new springs in it. I did install the metal spacers and insulators. As Dave already said, it is best to tape these parts to the top of the spring prior to installing them.
                            Now like you, I also had a difficult time getting the new spring in place and be able to raise the lower control arm using a floor jack. I even had a problem getting the lower control to drop low enough to get the spring installed. What I had to do was loosen the lower control arm bushing bolts so the arm would swing freely and then I could get enough room to install the spring. You said your control arms are hanging straight down, so you may not need to do this. Once the spring was in place, I had someone else help holding it in place and then used a small lever chain hoist (Harbor Freight) to raise the lower control arm enough where I could safely get the floor jack under the arm and raise it up.
                            After doing all this, the car still wasn't sitting level so I ended up removing the right front spring and cutting a little more off. I now have the car sitting within a 1/4" of being level.

                            Capture.PNGCapture1.PNG

                            Just out of curiosity, which side of your car is sitting high?
                            Also, keep us informed of how you make out with this job.
                            Nyles

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi Dave,

                              Thank you for the confirmation and codes, That is exactly the spring that came out of my car and they appear to be the originals.
                              I'm quite happy with the forum responses and time frames and really appreciate everyone's input on this subject. So again,
                              Thank you all very much for making this such a great place to get answers and help.

                              Hi Nyles,

                              Thank you for suppling that chart with part numbers and color codes. I hope I didn't over step by reusing it in this thread without
                              asking you first. I am, per Dave's advice, taping the spacers and insulators to the tops of the springs to be sure they don't shift
                              or drop out. I've got plenty of room for my jack to roll under my hanging control arms so once they are in proper position they will
                              swing right up. My car is high on the right and low on the left front. the left front spring seems a bit softer than the one from the
                              right. I was actually hoping to find a broken left front spring to explain the droop but they were both intact. They both also had
                              spacers and of course insulators. I'm hoping that once these are done that the car is pretty close to level and the nose isn't too
                              high. Your car is beautiful by the way!

                              Again, Thank you to everyone reading and responding to this thread. I hope that some of this will help someone else in the future
                              in case they end up with springs that are longer than the factory specs.
                              Pat M.
                              Monson, MA
                              1959 HT Hickory Tan, Thunderbird registry #77617

                              Comment

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