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C2 Front Spring Install Help Please

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Old 12-17-2005, 02:58 PM
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Ox
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Default C2 Front Spring Install Help Please

I thought I knew how to go about installing new front springs on my '67 but I'm stuck. I've tried to follow the shop manual but I'm confused.

Do I have to completely separate the lower ball joint from the lower A-arm and then (carefully) lower the lower A-arm using a jack? Will the spring pull out of the frame at that point? Will I need a spring compressor? One manual says to use a compressor, the other doesn't mention it. I guess I have to go purchase a ball joint separation tool, correct?

Thanks much. Bob Ochsman in beautiful Lovettsville, VA.
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Old 12-17-2005, 03:13 PM
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You will have to completely separate the ball joint to get the spring out and the new one in, but I wouldn't do it until the joint has popped off.

Just back off the castle nut about 1/4", use your pickle fork the separate the joint, then when it pops use an internal spring compressor. Load the spring, then revome the nut and lower the a-arm.

Reverse to install new spring!

R/ Mike S.
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Old 12-17-2005, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by mgsouthard
You will have to completely separate the ball joint to get the spring out and the new one in, but I wouldn't do it until the joint has popped off.

Just back off the castle nut about 1/4", use your pickle fork the separate the joint, then when it pops use an internal spring compressor. Load the spring, then revome the nut and lower the a-arm.

Reverse to install new spring!

R/ Mike S.
Correct.

Also use a chain to secure the spring to the frame while you lower the lower a-arm. Those springs have a lot of potential energy stored in them until you get the spring compressor removed.
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Old 12-17-2005, 06:43 PM
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You can pick up a pickle fork for just a couple of dollars. Like Kel, said - run a chain through the upper a-arm, down through the spring and through the lower a-arm. Then, run a long high quality bolt and nut through the links in the bottom of the chain. Leave some slack in it, but this will keep the spring attached to the car, just in case it was to pop out and go flying !

I put mine in without a compressor, using a floor jack to lift the lower a-arm. Old school and probably not the safest way to do it. Autozone or Advance and some other parts stores loan out compressors for free or they use to...haven't checked in a while.
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Old 12-17-2005, 06:51 PM
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Lee H
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Small block cars do not need a spring compressor, only big block cars. Chain around the spring is not a bad idea in case the jack should shift and let the control arm down come slamming down.
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Old 12-17-2005, 08:04 PM
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I've used spring compressers and jacks and I prefer the jack. Dang spring compressor is a bioch to get back out of the spring! I can now remove a spring in about 10 minutes. Plus, I'm good at ducking when that sucker flys out at my head! (kidding - always use the chain!)

If your car is a SB and the body is off - (maybe if it's on too..) you may need to support the opposite rear end of the frame to get the spring back in - mine kept lifing up until I stuck a 4X4 under the opposite rear corner....

Also, really important - don't remove the nut on the lower arm all the way. If that thing lets loose it can really injure you or bend the control arm. Don't ask me how I know...
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Old 12-17-2005, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Lee H
Chain around the spring is not a bad idea in case the jack should shift and let the control arm down come slamming down.

. . . . with all the info given in the previous posts. But the chain thru the spring is more than a good idea, it's an absolute necessity for safety's sake. That spring can do more than cause severe injuries, it has the potential to kill you should it come loose in your direction, especially toward your head!! Use it both for removal and installation.

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Old 12-17-2005, 09:34 PM
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Here's a trick that works great for removing and seating the spring safely. It's also cheap. Go to the hardware store and buy a piece of 1/2" threaded rod. Generally their 3 to 4 feet in length. Buy (4) 1/2' nuts and a few extras and get a half dozen washers.

Remove the shock and pass the threaded rod completely through the shock mounting hole then through the spring and lower A-arm. You'll need to make up a metal plate at the lower A-arm to serve as a washer at the shock bracket mounting hole. Add a few washers on the top side and then double nut locking them down together. At the bottom add the metal plate and a couple washers then just add one nut "your adjusting nut". Now adjust it so all the slack is removed but leave enough play to let ball joint pop when you whack it with pickle fork. You may have to play around with it a bit at the top and bottom to make sure you you have enough thread travel to let the A-arm down enough to get the spring out. Even though the rod is passed through the spring I still use a piece chain as a extra measure of safety.

If you don't have a spring compressor this method offers a smooth slow and easy way to get your springs in and out perfectly everytime. To be honest it works much better then my spring compressor and cost about $10.00 to make. ...Good Luck...
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Old 12-30-2005, 02:52 PM
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Default Almost there

Thanks for all the help and good tips guys. I'm almost there but I've got a problem. Got the new spring in and the front end bolted together but then I realized that the spring is not properly positioned in the top pocket. It seems to be about a 3/4" out of position. I'm thinking of compressing the spring from the bottom through the lower A arm and then sticking a pinch bar through the spring and then trying to levering it into the pocket so it's positioned properly.

..... or will I have to pop off the lower ball joint again, lower the lower A arm and just try again from the get-go?

Thanks. Ox in beautiful Lovettsville, VA
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Old 12-30-2005, 05:41 PM
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If you compress that spring a little you should be able to rotate it to the correct position with out breaking the BJ again.
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Old 12-30-2005, 05:48 PM
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I used the method iniguy mentions. The only difference was that I used 3/8's inch all thread rod instead of 1/2 inch. The 3/8's rod allowed for some flexibility and ease of removal as the bottom A-arm was lowered. The angle gets pretty severe at the end of spring travel. A 5 inch piece of angle iron with a 3/8 hole drilled in the center was used as a bottom plate for the A-arm. Washers and nuts completed the assembly.

When it came time to reinstall the coil springs I used a spring compressor, at first. Long story short, this was an exercise in frustration! .. At least, for me it was. With the engine not installed in the car there was no weight to counteract the force of the hydraulic jack pushing up against the lower A-arm, in order to compress it. With the front end coming up at the same rate as the hydraulic jack, this was not going to work . .. Time to use the 3/8's rod setup, again! .. It was a bit of a chore to get spring and all thread rod installed because of the severe A-arm angle. A small hydraulic jack was used to set the lower A-arm at height and keep it firm in place while fishing the all thread rod through the works. This is where the rod flexibility came in handy.

With some oil on the threads and one of those rachet style open end wrenches the assembly snugged up with ease from the top side shock tower mount. The top portion of the spring did have centered back into position. A long lug nut wrench and BFS did this chore.

Unless I'm missing something those internal type spring compressors seem awkward to use. Loosening the assembly once the coil spring is installed and then fishing out the parts through the bottom shock mount hole looks like a job for SMALL fingers! ..

Last edited by mrg; 12-30-2005 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 12-30-2005, 06:13 PM
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mrg,
Without the weight of the car on the frame I found it impossible to use the jack under the a-arm method. But while the internal spring compressor is a PITA, it did work. I did modify the use of it though.

Instead of using the lower jaws to clamp the spring, I hooked the lower jaws under the lower a-arm through a steel plate. So I was essentially pulling the spring down, then lifted the a-arm/spring assy. up to check pocket alignment and kept compressing until the BJ would go into the knuckle.
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Old 12-30-2005, 07:59 PM
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Chuck Gongloff
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Originally Posted by iniguy
Here's a trick that works great for removing and seating the spring safely. It's also cheap. Go to the hardware store and buy a piece of 1/2" threaded rod. Generally their 3 to 4 feet in length. Buy (4) 1/2' nuts and a few extras and get a half dozen washers.

Remove the shock and pass the threaded rod completely through the shock mounting hole then through the spring and lower A-arm. You'll need to make up a metal plate at the lower A-arm to serve as a washer at the shock bracket mounting hole. Add a few washers on the top side and then double nut locking them down together. At the bottom add the metal plate and a couple washers then just add one nut "your adjusting nut". Now adjust it so all the slack is removed but leave enough play to let ball joint pop when you whack it with pickle fork. You may have to play around with it a bit at the top and bottom to make sure you you have enough thread travel to let the A-arm down enough to get the spring out. Even though the rod is passed through the spring I still use a piece chain as a extra measure of safety.

If you don't have a spring compressor this method offers a smooth slow and easy way to get your springs in and out perfectly everytime. To be honest it works much better then my spring compressor and cost about $10.00 to make. ...Good Luck...
Here's what you want.





Chuck
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Old 12-30-2005, 08:23 PM
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wow, chuck,,,,i had the same setup was gonna send....only mine was 1/4 2in strap!!!! however,,,has anyone ever done a vette, and had enough spring pressure left to really NEED a compressor?? (big blocks not included,,havent done one)
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Old 12-31-2005, 04:06 AM
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Chuck Gongloff
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Originally Posted by acowboy
wow, chuck,,,,i had the same setup was gonna send....only mine was 1/4 2in strap!!!! however,,,has anyone ever done a vette, and had enough spring pressure left to really NEED a compressor?? (big blocks not included,,havent done one)
That's our local Bel Air Corvette Club/Mason Dixon Chapter NCRS spring compressor. It's been around for decades. It gets passed around among the various club members. I don't have it in my possession now, but I'm sure I could locate it with a few phone calls. Chuck
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Old 12-31-2005, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by mgsouthard
mrg,
Without the weight of the car on the frame I found it impossible to use the jack under the a-arm method. But while the internal spring compressor is a PITA, it did work. I did modify the use of it though.

Instead of using the lower jaws to clamp the spring, I hooked the lower jaws under the lower a-arm through a steel plate. So I was essentially pulling the spring down, then lifted the a-arm/spring assy. up to check pocket alignment and kept compressing until the BJ would go into the knuckle.

mg ..
The method you used sounds like it made the whole installation process much smoother. In my case I was having a heck of a time tyring to get the coil spring, spring compressor, floor jack, and the internal threaded spring compressor rod aligned just so. Without the engine in the car and not having its weight for use to help get that final bit of spring compression to make the BJ connection the operation became nixed. I finally gave up wrassling with the works and broke out the threaded rod assembly to reinstall the coil spring

I had thought the internal spring compressor was the way to go to reinstall the coil spring. The threaded rod assembly was actually much easier to use. The upper part of the coil spring did have to be repositioned to center it up in its upper spring pocket as the coil spring compression sequence was moving along. This was easy enough to do.

Needless to say, using the threaded rod assembly to remove the coil spring was the only safe way to do it without engine weight to counteract the spring force against a floor jack. Sure wouldn't want to find out the hard way just how much potential energy those coil springs hold - by way of a reconfigured head! ..

John
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Old 12-31-2005, 02:10 PM
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mrg,
Yes it did go smooth once I realized that the spring compressor itself just doesn't work well at all.

My way actually turns out the same as Chuck's way except he uses the rod all the way through the top hole (I presume by the picture), and I used the compressor hooks near the top of the spring. We did the same thing on the bottom though.

Fact is, if I had to do it again...I would do it Chucks way!
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Old 11-28-2017, 07:15 PM
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Reviving an old thread here but in need of some help....

Iím trying to install my front springs back on the front of my frame. Body is off...

Iím trying to compress the front springs with the all thread method but I can seem to get the all thread down through the lower a arm (the angle is too much).

Anyone have an idea as to how to attempt this with this method? These are big block springs. Is the all thread method possible with the big block springs or do I need to go and rent a spring compressor?

Thx
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