Go Back   The Ford Barn > General Discussion > Model A (1928-31)

Sponsored Links (Register now to hide all advertisements)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-17-2013, 03:46 PM   #1
Pat Martone
Senior Member
 
Pat Martone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 495
Default How many "leaves" should be in the rear spring?

I have a 1931 Slant Fordor, and counted only 6 leaves in my rear spring, but from looking at suppliers' catalogs, the sedans should have 10 leaves.
(My front spring has 9 leaves.)
My rear end does not appear to be low, and my running boards are level and parallel to the ground.
Should the rear end of the car be a little higher than the front, with the running boards slightly at an angle - should I install a 10 leave rear spring?
(I have noticed that some Model A's have a higher rear end than the front - is that the way it is supposed to be?)
If I do change to a 10 leave spring, I don't think my 2 frame mounting "U" bolts are long enough; they are just barely long enough for my 6 leave spring.
Thanks in advance for your opinions.
Pat Martone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2013, 04:02 PM   #2
ctlikon0712
Senior Member
 
ctlikon0712's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Cocoa, Florida
Posts: 1,609
Default Re: How many "leaves" should be in the rear spring?

Here, this should clear it up.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg spring chart.jpg (40.4 KB, 225 views)
__________________
Wanted: Simmons Super Power Head
Craig Likon 1931 150B
ctlikon0712 is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links (Register now to hide all advertisements)
Old 05-17-2013, 04:22 PM   #3
Pat Martone
Senior Member
 
Pat Martone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 495
Default Re: How many "leaves" should be in the rear spring?

To ctlikon0712,

Thank you for the chart, but unfortunately I cannot read it because it is blurry and too small. Is there any chance that you have a better scan that you can provide?

Thanks.
Pat Martone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2013, 04:29 PM   #4
Mitch//pa
BANNED
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Bucks County, PA
Posts: 11,454
Default Re: How many "leaves" should be in the rear spring?

Mitch//pa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2013, 05:29 PM   #5
Skibb
Senior Member
 
Skibb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Jupiter, FL
Posts: 536
Default Re: How many "leaves" should be in the rear spring?

My A when purchased last summer had six leaves in the rear spring also. I was told that the previous owner has put in a "coupe's" springs to save money. If you think of the eighty years of different owners with various perspectives on how to keep their Model A running, anything is possible. "Patrick" now has a ten leaf spring back there.
Skibb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2013, 05:30 PM   #6
d.j. moordigian
Senior Member
 
d.j. moordigian's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Fresno, Ca.
Posts: 3,537
Default Re: How many "leaves" should be in the rear spring?

Try this.....it has the chart..........Marco's Spring Chart.........
d.j. moordigian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2013, 06:11 PM   #7
lindy williams
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 333
Default Re: How many "leaves" should be in the rear spring?

Tudors, Fordors and pickups ans station wagons had 10 leaf rear springs. Coupes and phaetons had 8 leaves and roadsters had 7 leaves. I don't know about Vickys and A400's.
lindy williams is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2013, 07:39 PM   #8
ctlikon0712
Senior Member
 
ctlikon0712's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Cocoa, Florida
Posts: 1,609
Default Re: How many "leaves" should be in the rear spring?

Sorry about that, I converted it to a PDF but I lost the color chart feature.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Rear spring chart.pdf (165.7 KB, 80 views)
__________________
Wanted: Simmons Super Power Head
Craig Likon 1931 150B
ctlikon0712 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2013, 07:52 PM   #9
QGolden
Senior Member
 
QGolden's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Alton, NH
Posts: 1,216
Default Re: How many "leaves" should be in the rear spring?

Do you have them out to count them? The top two can be hard to see up inside the crossmember. If your "U" Bolts appear to be fully used, you might want to double check.
__________________
It's not what people think they know that will hurt them, it is what they think they know that aint so! -Mark Twain.

It is the very things that we think we know, that keep us from learning what we should know.- Unknown
QGolden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2013, 08:02 PM   #10
Pat Martone
Senior Member
 
Pat Martone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 495
Default Re: How many "leaves" should be in the rear spring?

QGolden,
Thanks for your comment.
The spring is installed, but I was able to count each leaf by feeling with my fingers, reaching inside of the cross member, and I counted 6 leaves, including the top one which appears to be only about 18 inches long.
Pat Martone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2013, 08:40 PM   #11
Pat Martone
Senior Member
 
Pat Martone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 495
Default Re: How many "leaves" should be in the rear spring?

UPDATE: I am sorry, but I made a mistake - I found a photo of my rear spring out of the car, and it does, in fact have 10 leaves (not 6 leaves as I previously mentioned).
Now I am wondering why my car is sitting a bit lower (maybe 1"-2") than other Model A's I have seen, including the same model as mine (160B).
Could it be that it is a low quality spring or a "tired" spring?
I understand that some people can tell by looking at the shackles if the spring is not at full strength, so I am including a photo here for comment.
Does the shackle photo indicate the my spring is "OK"?
Thanks again for your thoughts.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg rear shackle photo.jpg (69.4 KB, 76 views)
Pat Martone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2013, 09:12 PM   #12
Joe K
Senior Member
 
Joe K's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Cow Hampshire
Posts: 2,979
Default Re: How many "leaves" should be in the rear spring?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat Martone View Post
UPDATE:
Could it be that it is a low quality spring or a "tired" spring?
I understand that some people can tell by looking at the shackles if the spring is not at full strength, so I am including a photo here for comment.
Does the shackle photo indicate the my spring is "OK"?
Thanks again for your thoughts.
Yes and yes to either of the spring questions. We're talking upwards of 80 years on an original spring. And the repops that have been sold forever by Sears Roebuck, JC Whitney, Western Auto are NOT the quality that the original Model A springs were, either in engineering or materials.

Still, your shackle position appears "normal" to me. The wheel is on the ground and the car is not loaded? The shackle is on the "up" side of perpendicular to the spring leaf meaning it has some travel to perpendicular and beyond as the car is loaded.

Still, the eye to eye distance may not be the same as an original Ford spring - that quality issue again.

It is possible to "re-arch" springs and do it on your home workbench/vise. I've not done it though and I've heard the effect is less than permanent - sort of like the original spring set.

Joe K
__________________
Shudda kept the horse.
Joe K is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2013, 09:13 PM   #13
QGolden
Senior Member
 
QGolden's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Alton, NH
Posts: 1,216
Default Re: How many "leaves" should be in the rear spring?

Hmm, my shackles are pretty much horizontal. BUT, my project is a new build and the frame is still supported on jackstands. I am sure someone who actually knows what they are talking about will chime in.
__________________
It's not what people think they know that will hurt them, it is what they think they know that aint so! -Mark Twain.

It is the very things that we think we know, that keep us from learning what we should know.- Unknown
QGolden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2013, 04:50 AM   #14
Pat Martone
Senior Member
 
Pat Martone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 495
Default Re: How many "leaves" should be in the rear spring?

QGolden and Joe K,
Thanks for the info.
A bit more background. My car came to me with no history due to a deceased owner, and it appears to be a car that was fully restored, perhaps 20 years ago. The spring appears to be new, and under the spring covers, it looks new with perfect paint and is relatively clean, except for the penophite oil that I have sprayed in between the leaves to reduce squeaking. I don't know if the spring is high-quality, like the show quality type I have seen on "a-springs.com". I do have a rear-mounted trunk which may add 30-40 lbs to the rear end, but I don't think that should reduce my rear end height by 1-2 inches. Again, because the rear end appears to be 1-2 inches lower than several other cars, I was wondering if replacing the spring with a known, high-quality spring, might raise the rear end height a bit.
Thanks again for the inputs.
Pat Martone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2013, 11:17 AM   #15
Joe K
Senior Member
 
Joe K's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Cow Hampshire
Posts: 2,979
Default Re: How many "leaves" should be in the rear spring?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat Martone View Post
I was wondering if replacing the spring with a known, high-quality spring, might raise the rear end height a bit.
Thanks again for the inputs.
Unless you can come across an NOS or VERY good spring I might leave it as it is with what you have.

Most repop springs are made using ALL the same thickness of leaf material - and the thicknesses WON'T be as per the chart above. And this may be your clue to yours being an aftermarket spring. It has been my experience with a repop front spring that the replacement spring is a little "stiffer" than the original - but they do this for reason of eventual 'creep' of the spring downward with continued loading. Also marketing - every buyer wants to see a difference - SOME difference when they replace a part. And for springs it's very hard to engineer in a difference except in spring rate.

Another thing you might check is your shocks. One or both bound up on the rear can have the same effect. And binding up may be only "partial" (i.e. limiting travel.) This can happen as shock action by design is 60-40 (stronger one way than the other) but can be 50-50 depending on the shock rebuilder. As you drive the car with design action shocks, the shocks tend to pull the car "down" to the road (and improve handling.) But by definition this puts the shock active zone at one end of the travel: there may be a developed hang up at the other end of action.

Try disconnecting the shock links and see first if the arm action seems correct. (and check out that 60-40 action) Also measure if there is any difference in body height when disconnected.

I might conclude that if you're not rubbing your tires on the underside of the fender supports or hitting undercarriage parts against the frame or body, it's probably pretty close to design even with a repop spring. And there is some variability in spring action even with new original springs - they're just a hard thing to make and do it so they're consistent - you may have a weak one.

If you see a deal on a 10 leaf spring that you know to be an original you might give swapping it a try. Springs can be seen here at the classified for as little as $75. You'll spend more for the spring spreader to do the change safely.

Anyway, good luck and be safe. Exploring the differences and the reasons for them is all part of the fun of owning a Model A.

And every Model A is an "individual." I have not driven two Model As and had the SAME driving experience with each. Each has their own handle and feel.

Joe K
__________________
Shudda kept the horse.
Joe K is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2013, 12:36 PM   #16
Pat Martone
Senior Member
 
Pat Martone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 495
Default Re: How many "leaves" should be in the rear spring?

Joe K,
Thanks for the detailed and informative reply.
I am wondering if the springs, made from "USA" SAE 5160 steel, for sale at "a-springs.com" are of a higher quality than some others. I am confused by an inconsistency between "a-springs.com" and Snyder's catalog which seem to have the same "Show Quality" USA-made spring with 5160 steel. I noticed on the a-springs.com website that they specify A-5560-D 10-leaf spring for the 160B model, which is inconsistent with Snyder's catalog which specifies the A-5560-A is for sedans, and Snyder's indicates the A-5560-D is for sedan deliveries and panel deliveries. (A-springs.com goes on to say that the A-5560-E is for the deliveries (where Snyder's says the A-5560-D is for deliveries)).
Perhaps the A-5560-D is more appropriate for the Slant Window (106B), and the Snyder's catalog is incorrect? I think I am suffering from analysis paralysis! (A typical problem with engineers.)
Pat Martone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2013, 01:00 PM   #17
Rock Hornbuckle
Senior Member
 
Rock Hornbuckle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Bonney Lake, Washington
Posts: 533
Default Re: How many "leaves" should be in the rear spring?

Pat, do you like the feel of the ride? Is it too soft? Do you plan to have it heavily loaded? My '31 Fordor rear spring set arch is 1.2 inches low, but I like the stance and the ride, so I left it alone.
__________________
'29 Standard coupe 45-A / whitewalls
'31 Fordor Deluxe 2W Briggs 170-B / blackwalls
'41 Fordor Deluxe / 2-duece flattie
'55 Ford F-100 / 302
'66 1/2 Dodge Charger
'12 SRT8 Challenger Yellow Jacket Limited Edition.

Semper Fidelis
Rock Hornbuckle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2013, 02:03 PM   #18
Pat Martone
Senior Member
 
Pat Martone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 495
Default Re: How many "leaves" should be in the rear spring?

Rock,
The ride is fine, but I have nothing to compare it to.
Yes, I have about 40 lbs of weight in the accessory trunk.
My Model A seems to sit 1-2 inches lower than several other cars I've seen.
My stance is about level but I would like my rear end a bit higher.
Pat Martone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2013, 03:40 PM   #19
1931 flamingo
Senior Member
 
1931 flamingo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: new britain,ct 06052
Posts: 7,879
Default Re: How many "leaves" should be in the rear spring?

Pat: Are tires the same size on all the cars?? Personally I wouldn't worry about an inch. What happens if you've got a couple of people in the back seat?? Does it noticeably drop more?? Are you "bottoming" out over a bump or pot-hole??
Paul in CT
Tell the other guy his car sits too high and he has to make his like yours...........
1931 flamingo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2013, 03:58 PM   #20
Rock Hornbuckle
Senior Member
 
Rock Hornbuckle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Bonney Lake, Washington
Posts: 533
Default Re: How many "leaves" should be in the rear spring?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1931 flamingo View Post
Pat: Are tires the same size on all the cars?? Personally I wouldn't worry about an inch. What happens if you've got a couple of people in the back seat?? Does it noticeably drop more?? Are you "bottoming" out over a bump or pot-hole??
Paul in CT
Tell the other guy his car sits too high and he has to make his like yours...........


Good advice! It is the lowest price option!
__________________
'29 Standard coupe 45-A / whitewalls
'31 Fordor Deluxe 2W Briggs 170-B / blackwalls
'41 Fordor Deluxe / 2-duece flattie
'55 Ford F-100 / 302
'66 1/2 Dodge Charger
'12 SRT8 Challenger Yellow Jacket Limited Edition.

Semper Fidelis
Rock Hornbuckle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2013, 04:03 PM   #21
Pat Martone
Senior Member
 
Pat Martone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 495
Default Re: How many "leaves" should be in the rear spring?

1931 Flamingo,

Thanks for your good points.
I have never felt my car bottom-out, and I have only had passengers for very short rides. My car does seems to ride good.
Perhaps my tires might not be as "tall" as those cars running normal bias ply tires.
I am using Coker's Excelsior 19" radials (500R19) on my stock (but new) wheels. (The radials handle great compared to bias ply tires.) The radials "squat" a bit, with a larger contact patch on the ground (better for braking); several people have come up to me and said my tires are low on air, but I explain that they are radials and that's why they don't look fully-inflated like the bias ply tires.
Pat Martone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2013, 04:50 PM   #22
1931 flamingo
Senior Member
 
1931 flamingo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: new britain,ct 06052
Posts: 7,879
Default Re: How many "leaves" should be in the rear spring?

The radials just might be your "problem". I'd look for something else to worry about.
Paul in CT
1931 flamingo is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links (Register now to hide all advertisements)
Old 05-18-2013, 08:51 PM   #23
Tom Wesenberg
Senior Member
 
Tom Wesenberg's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Mpls, MN
Posts: 27,263
Default Re: How many "leaves" should be in the rear spring?

Yep, the radials will lower it.
Have you dropped the spring out of the frame to check for broken leaves?
Tom Wesenberg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2013, 11:01 PM   #24
Rock Hornbuckle
Senior Member
 
Rock Hornbuckle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Bonney Lake, Washington
Posts: 533
Default Re: How many "leaves" should be in the rear spring?

[QUOTE=Tom Wesenberg;654116]Yep, the radials will lower it.
Have you dropped the spring out of the frame to check for broken leaves?QUOTE]


Good point Tom, I found three cracked leaves on my front set, that would have broken any time soon.
__________________
'29 Standard coupe 45-A / whitewalls
'31 Fordor Deluxe 2W Briggs 170-B / blackwalls
'41 Fordor Deluxe / 2-duece flattie
'55 Ford F-100 / 302
'66 1/2 Dodge Charger
'12 SRT8 Challenger Yellow Jacket Limited Edition.

Semper Fidelis
Rock Hornbuckle is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Sponsored Links (Register now to hide all advertisements)


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:09 AM.