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1948 - 1956 F1, F100 & Larger F-Series Trucks Discuss the Fat Fendered and Classic Ford Trucks

Broken Rear Leaf Springs! Temp Fix?

 
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Old 07-20-2011, 11:46 AM
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Broken Rear Leaf Springs! Temp Fix?

Hello, I did a search of previous threads and did not find anyone who has asked this question. I have known that the 3-4 smaller leafs on both rear springs were broken above the axle but were held in place. Yesterday, I heard an odd sound that was similar to spring steel hitting the asphalt. I stopped looked under the truck and the rear half of the last 2 leafs on the right were gone with the axle being held to the spring pack only by the front half of the lower tow leafs. I am looking for a temp fix to drive it to a spring shop. Can I limp over there and hope for the best? Or, can I knock the other half of the lower springs out and tighten the U-bolts down to the rest of the spring pack? I am not sure if there are enough threads but I could buy a set of new u-bolts for the temp fix.

Should I just do both sides and remove all of the broken spring leafs, install new U-bolts and just see how she rides? There would likely be only the larger 6-7 leafs on both sides.

This would allow me the time to save up or at least hide enough cash from my wife to get all of the springs repaired and re-arched.

I really do not want to let her sit and then have to trailer her to the spring shop. She is really too much fun to drive.

Thanks!
 
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Old 07-20-2011, 12:09 PM
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I drove my 50 around like that for a few months last summer. Its not the end of the world. Just make sure there's not a loose piece hanging that can shred your tire. If you still have the full thickness of the spring over the axle and the u bolts are still tight, you'll be okay to take it at your convenience and get it fixed. No need to trailer it.
 
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Old 07-20-2011, 12:15 PM
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The U-bolts for these trucks can't be found at the local auto parts store, even NAPA doesn't carry them. I looked when I was in the process of getting my rear springs redone. You can get them only from the repro parts warehouses. Since you're in Davis, you can take a ride over to Sac Vintage and get them there, but they're expensive.

If I were you, I wouldn't bother with doing the temporary fix. You're just putting a band-aid on a fracture. Why are you taking the whole truck to the spring shop? You'd save a lot of money by removing the springs yourself and just taking them to the shop to fix. You're doing half the work already by removing the U-bolts if you decide to do the temp fix like you mentioned. Just in the last week there was a thread on how to remove the leaf springs. It's not that hard. Just dirty and can take the whole day.

I'd also recommend that you buy a rear leaf spring shackle kit that will include all of the pins, bolts and zerk fittings that you'll need.
 
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Old 07-20-2011, 03:40 PM
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I don't know, having a lift and heavy duty air tools would make the job a lot easier than doing it in your home garage. It can be a nasty job getting the front pins out, too. Depends how much they'd charge, that is one job I'd consider farming out.

Most spring shops bend their own U-bolts from stock, and cheaply.

If the leaves cracked at the center bolt, there's not a lot to hold the axle in place when you hit the brakes hard. There's a risk driving it like that, but it may be worth trying.
 
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Old 07-20-2011, 04:14 PM
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That front shackle takes some work to remove. When I say I drove mine like that, I need to clarify where mine were broken. The springs were intact to the end of the metal plate on the axle. That seems to be a usual breaking point. I still had a small remnant of the center section beyond the center bolt. As a result, my u bolts stayed tight. But if yours are literally broken at the center bolt, just go ahead and fix them before the whole spring assembly loosens up.

I tend to jump into projects like this myself as opposed to letting somebody else do it mainly out of stubborness. I hate being at the mercy of somebody else who says things like "we should be able to get to that sometime next week if we get caught up"
 
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Old 07-20-2011, 04:17 PM
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Ross, you may be right, but I'd rather remove the springs than pull an engine out for a rebuild.

I still wouldn't drive the truck over to the shop.
 
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Old 07-20-2011, 09:48 PM
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If your springs are brittle enough to have multiple broken leaves, I would replace the entire packs, and not mess with re-arching them. And I suppose it depends on how far you have to drive and over what roads, but driving the truck with broken and/or missing leaves seems like a recipe for disaster. Imho, your best options would be to buy new springs and swap them out at home, or call a flatbed and have it delivered to the spring shop for them to so the same job.

That's my 2c.
 
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Old 07-21-2011, 06:56 AM
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For a temporary fix, enough to go 20 miles or so, I have done this in the past -

Measure the total thickness of the broken leaves, and make a spacer that same thickness, as wide as the spring is wide, and about 6 to 10 inches long. It can be steel, aluminum, or a hard wood (I used oak or hard maple), Loosen the u-bolts, remove all of the remaining pieces of the broken leaves, put the spacer in (you will have to drill a hole in the spacer to clear the center bolt), and tighten the nuts on the u-bolts.

Then drive slow, smooth, and easy to the spring shop. Handling might be squirlly, as the spring rate on one side will be quite a bit different than the other side. I recommend new springs whenever I see more than 1 or 2 broken leaves, but years back, a friend drove an old Dodge a whole winter on wooden spring spacers. (we also replaced the rusted out sections of the rear frame at the spring shackles with hemlock 4 x 4s). Oh to be young and stupid.
 
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Old 07-22-2011, 12:18 AM
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I spoke with the folks at Sacramento Spring and they also mentioned the spacer idea. My only concern is that the cold set the springs when they rearch them. They do not retemper the steel. I read conflicting reports, but it does not make sense to me. Cold working makes the steel harder and more brittle, right? I am thinking about buying new spring packs as Wayne suggested and install them myself. Any benefit in keeping the old springs and cold working them without retempering the steel? Thanks. I really want to be well informed before dropping $1K on springs.

Also, if I do buy new, is LMC the best/cheapest place to go?

Steve
 
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Old 07-22-2011, 07:15 AM
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I do not know of any spring shops that actually retemper springs, as that is something that a heat treat shop would have to do. Re arching is a mechanical process that deforms (or really re-forms) the main leaf or leaves to the original configuration. About all they could do after that is a shot peen stress relief. Most steels used in leaf springs need more than a simple re arching to really cold work the material. But, if you want me to get technical, 50+ years of flexing in normal use might have your springs near the end of their fatigue life. Broken leaves is a sure sign of this. I am usually hesitant to recommend that springs be re arched if they have cracked or broken leaves unless the springs are less than 10 years old and the cracks/breaks are from one or two serious overloads. Just my opinion.
 
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Old 07-22-2011, 09:42 AM
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Thank you. That makes sense to me! Steve
 
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Old 07-22-2011, 10:57 AM
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As I've mentioned earlier, I've had the rear springs redone in my 52. A few leafs were made/replaced and the spring assemblies re-arched. So far, no problems. I don't plan to haul heavy loads or go very fast. If they last me a few years withou sagging again, then I'll be happy. IMO, it was worth the $330 spent on getting both sets redone.
 
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Old 07-22-2011, 11:47 AM
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Curious, so looked up springs for your truck on LMC. Don't know which ones you have but a little over $300 a set, seems like a no brainer. LMC Truck Parts - Page 83
 
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Old 07-22-2011, 01:09 PM
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I tend to agree. I am not sure if I want to spend money for a 2 year fix with the old springs or just spend about the same for new springs.

MAC's has front springs for $128.95 ea and rear spring packs at $224.95 ea. Does anyone have experience using the springs from either LMC or MAC's?

I would then do the labor to remove the old ones and install the new ones. The only bushing that I would need to replace would be at the top of the rear hanger. Are there tricks?

Thanks, Steve
 
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Old 07-22-2011, 01:29 PM
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This is the thread that Ilya reccommended several days ago in this thread. You'll see the one hang up with the rear spring removal and how to get around it.

https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1...r-springs.html
 

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