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Vintage Jeep CJ Leaf Spring Info


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41 replies to this topic

#1 JohnF

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 05:05 PM

Looking for information on how many leafs were in my front and rear springs. I dont have the original ones anymore. Also are the lengths the same for 55-71 ? Someone gave me decent used ones but the rear are 10 leafs, fronts are 8. I kind of remember my originals were 10 front and 9 rear but not sure

 

1967 CJ5 with V6 dauntless engine



#2 Moses Ludel

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 06:48 PM

If aftermarket springs are a guideline, 1955-71 springs should be the same.  I would check with a traditional automotive spring shop for eye-to-eye center lengths, leaf count and individual leaf thickness. 

 

There were military stacks and civilian stacks.  Also, the M38A1 military frames had the anchor at the front of the front springs, shackle to the rear of the front springs.  My '55 CJ-5 was also this design—stock.  These must have been M38A1 frames on the earliest CJ-5 assemblies.

 

Spring rate can differ per spring set, and leaf count is often nebulous.  A spring shop uses leaf count, leaf length and the individual spring leaf rates as a guide.  Leaf thickness, length and the spring leaf material will create different load rates.

 

I have always installed either freshened or new springs on these early Jeep models.  The OE springs tend to torque sag to the left side of the vehicle over time.  If you do install used springs, you will likely see a sag to the driver's side unless the springs have been swapped side-to-side.  Springs are "perishable", and they lose tensile over time.  At the least, you might consider having the springs "rebuilt", which consists of disassembly, cleaning, shaping and re-heat treatment.

 

Moses



#3 JohnF

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 02:38 PM


Found an old picture showing my old stock springs. Looks like 10 up front and 9 in back. Must of had heavy duty package ?

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URL=http://s1071.photobu...cs_1.jpeg.html]Spring%20specs_1.jpeg[/URL]

#4 Moses Ludel

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 05:30 PM

Possibly V-6 application...There would be even more torque on the rear springs.  Could be to counter sag at the LR spring...Again, the leaf plate thickness, length of each leaf and such make the spring rate, not just the number of leaves.  Could have been for better ride quality with softer rebound per leaf and "overload" capacity when loaded.  Or, this could be the anticipation of trailer toting with the V-6.

 

Moses



#5 JohnF

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 05:41 PM

Possibly V-6 application...There would be even more torque on the rear springs.  Could be to counter sag at the LR spring...Again, the leaf plate thickness, length of each leaf and such make the spring rate, not just the number of leaves.  Could have been for better ride quality with softer rebound per leaf and "overload" capacity when loaded.  Or, this could be the anticipation of trailer toting with the V-6.
 
Moses


I've done a lot of searching, just cant find what my year with the V6 should have as far as spring rate.

#6 Moses Ludel

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 08:07 AM

JohnF...My shop manuals for the Jeep Universal during the V-6 era show an illustration of a "late" CJ-5 and CJ-6 rear spring with 9 leafs.  The front spring illustrations are ambiguous, one showing a deep stack (like the 10 you see) of thin leafs, the other with a modern 5-leaf (thicker per leaf) stack design.  If Kaiser/Jeep was that confused, no wonder you're having trouble finding information!

 

I have always turned to traditional spring reconditioning shops for proper rates and stack builds.  They have more data and experience, usually choosing a spring rate that suits the customers' driving styles and vehicle intent.  I would not lose energy here other than to get a spring and load rate that provide decent highway (non-buckboard) ride and adequate load capacity for your plans.

 

National Spring in the San Diego Area built springs for me in the 'eighties for a number of magazine project vehicles.  They would be an excellent resource for information, too.  You may have "old" spring shops in your area that have rebuilt their share of vintage Jeep CJ springs, another avenue for information and insight.

 

Moses



#7 JohnF

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 04:24 PM

Mose's

I got a price on getting the 4 springs someone gave me refurbished by a spring co. ( standard spring, paterson nj ) it is half the price of new ones. $240.00 vs $478.00.

I've read horror stories about re arching springs and I read great things. Also a concern is the 8 leafs vs the 10 leafs on the original front springs. What are your thoughts ?

 

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#8 Moses Ludel

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 07:46 PM

I like the eights, by appearance, anyway.  They are not the thin, fragile leaf plates found in the 10-leaf stacks.  Springs evolved, and eventually, we had nice "reverse arch", wide and long, two-leaf front springs like GM introduced on later beam axle K-trucks. 

 

Personally, I'm more concerned about ride quality, rebound, load capacity and resilience over time.  The early thin-leaf springs would fatigue and crack, rode stiffly, and they were not as responsive to "progressive" load resistance as the later designs.  Your shock absorbers will be much more function, and important, with the 8-leaf springs, and the ride quality and axle articulation should be better—providing you use the correct shocks.

 

Moses



#9 Moses Ludel

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 02:45 PM

As for the results from re-arching springs, I've had very good results from quality spring shops.  Granted, this is a metallurgical art form, and the heat treatment process must be right on.  The shop you describe sounds like "old school", and that works for me!

 

The trick is a specialist who knows spring material and is willing to be thorough.  As for comparison with "new springs", I'd take my chances on a quality spring rebuild over aftermarket off-shore, non-descript sourced new springs these days...Canadian and U.S. steel is the best in North America, and your OE springs are plenty old enough to be from one of these sources.

 

Moses



#10 JohnF

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 04:33 PM

Thanks Moses,

I decided to refurbish the springs. I will post when I get them back.



#11 Moses Ludel

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 08:23 PM

If you ask "the right questions" and get knowledgeable responses from the shop, you'll be more confident about the process...

 

Are you doing the 8-leaf or 10? 

 

Moses



#12 JohnF

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 03:16 AM

The spring shop assured me I will get the same load rating with the 8. I hope they are right.

#13 Moses Ludel

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 05:56 AM

From the thickness of the leaf plates, it looks like they are right.  The 8-stack is a more modern approach and better overall.  Your weight at the front is more constant, if you pull a small trailer or stow goods in the back for a trip, the rear springs will pick up the bulk of that additional weight. 

 

Less should be more here.  It's about the material, leaf thickness and curvature of the spring leafs.  Clips and pins will be important for maintaining lateral spring alignment.  Fresh spring eye bushings will make a world of difference in steering control, noise and stability.  Be sure your upper shackle bushings are in good condition.

 

Moses



#14 JohnF

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 04:52 PM

Got the leaf springs back from spring shop. all new bushings put in. Painted them today ,Finally  going to start the chassis assembly this weekend.

 

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New bumper and cross member in and painted

 

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Decided to thread the rivets for factory look since cross member will be welded to frame anyway.

 

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#15 Moses Ludel

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 07:06 AM

Smart move with the "decorative" rivets!  That should work.  Welding the cross member into place makes sense when done properly...Hot riveting is difficult to do in this day and age, the equipment is long gone.  I wonder whether you could do a hot rivet with a carbon arc welder.

 

Thanks for sharing and keeping us posted, the reworked springs look great!

 

Moses



#16 JohnF

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 03:58 PM

Had some time to kill this afternoon so decided to mount a spring to the rear axle. First issue was since these are not the original springs they were a bit wider than the u bolt holes in the shock plate so I had to drill out the holes a little to get the u bolt in, then had to squeeze the u bolts together before tightening. What a pain by myself. But the question is, The bolt on top of spring that locks the spring into the axle does not stick up enough to stick above the shim. Is this an issue or normal ? Whats going to keep the spring from shifting around ?

 

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#17 Moses Ludel

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 07:44 PM

JohnF, the spring centering bolt heads must reach through the wedge spacer and catch the axle spring perch hole.  This is how the rear axle stays in alignment.  It also helps hold the wedge in position. 

 

Especially with the wedges, any movement or shifting of the axle housing/perches will allow the U-bolt nuts to loosen.  The wedge(s) will be loose, and the axle can shift out of alignment.  Dangerous looseness of the spring U-bolts and hardware will result.

 

You can find spring centering bolts with deep heads, the length you need.  To save time, you can also very carefully double clamp (large clamps!) the spring leafs together near the center bolt before changing out the spring center bolt.  An option would be a large vise as a holding fixture, perhaps with a set of C-clamps as a safety backup. 

 

Do not let the leafs loosen, this could misalign the center bolt hole.  You would struggle to get leafs back in alignment.  The shop that rebuilt the springs has access to center bolts like I describe.  These are essentially the same bolts you have now only with taller heads of the correct diameter and height for the wedge and perch holes.

 

Moses



#18 JohnF

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 03:23 PM

I couldn't find longer spring bolts locally, so I just used grade 8 bolts and used lock washers to make up the thickness of the shim. The bolt head fits in axle perfectly.

 

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#19 JohnF

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 03:46 PM

Moses,

 

Why would the factory put these shims on ? Thought they were used for lift kits



#20 Moses Ludel

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 05:59 PM

You know the history of the Jeep, JohnF, so presumably these are OEM origin.  The reason these are used is to rotate the axle and adjust the pinion shaft/U-joint yoke for proper U-joint angles at the rear driveline.  On your vintage V-6 Jeep CJ-5, the wheelbase is only 81".  The rear driveshaft is short and susceptible to vibration and damage if U-joint angles are not "spot on" and cancelling each other at the rear driveline.

 

I had a lengthy discussion with Megatron about U-joint angles, and you'll find it helpful for understanding the use of these wedges.  Jeep was trying to match the angles at each end of the rear driveshaft, which is correct for a shaft with a single-Cardan (cross) joint at each end of the driveshaft:

 

http://forums.4wdmec...rs-on-take-off/

 

My response at the later posts provides details...For the rear driveshaft, you're striving for matching U-joint angles with the vehicle at ground/curb static height and normally loaded.  The single Cardan joint angles should cancel each other in that mode.  The wedges are used for changing the U-joint angle at the rear axle to match the transfer case joint angle.

 

Moses



#21 JohnF

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 06:08 PM


As a point of interest, these spacers are also between crossmember and frame ?

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#22 Moses Ludel

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 07:11 PM

I'm trying to imagine an engineering need here.  The available transmissions did not require this drop.  Did the bellhousing require a drop to clear the firewall?  Does the V-6 225 engine set lower than the centerline of an F-head four-cylinder?  How is this related to the Buick V-6 option?  Exhaust clearance for the V-6?  Something that requires lowering the back of the engine?  The distributor is conveniently at the front.

 

Dropping the rear (engine/transmission) cross member may explain the rear axle wedges, too, although dropping the transfer case should decrease the U-joint angle at the front of the rear driveline.  That would require tilting the rear axle pinion upward to achieve a complementary (cancelling) U-joint angle to match the rear driveshaft's front U-joint.  Which way did the wedges originally face?

 

Moses



#23 JohnF

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 03:16 AM

The thick side of the wedge faced forward, tilting the pinion yoke up. I am planning on assembling this weekend. I dont want to take this thing apart again if something is not right :(

Original photo of wedges in place

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#24 JohnF

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 03:43 AM

Original photo of factory bracket on transfer case mount

 

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#25 JohnF

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 03:08 PM

Got the rear axle mounted today, rear cross member and front bumper.

 

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Threaded rivets I made worked well

 

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#26 JohnF

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 03:13 PM

2 problems !

 

I got the wrong transmission mount so I may just sand blast old one and reuse it

 

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 after getting the front springs reworked at a spring shop, painting to look like new and putting bushing in the darn things are 3" too short !

 

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Since I didn't have originals to match to the donors, It appears these are off a CJ2a or 3A which uses a 36 1/4" long spring. The CJ5 uses a 39 1/4" spring. These will be going up for sale. Just biting the bullet and buying new ones.

 

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#27 JohnF

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 03:15 PM

Starting to look like something

 

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#28 JohnF

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 04:54 PM

So I am bringing the springs back to spring shop tomorrow to see if they can put a longer top spring on



#29 Moses Ludel

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 05:39 PM

The 2A and 3A have an 80-inch wheelbase, the M38A1 and CJ-5 introduced the 81-inch wheelbase.  This is a clue.  

 

Were your original springs broken?  Why were they not the ones you had rebuilt?

 

Trust you will find a buyer for these flat-fender era springs.  Advertise them and include the main leaf length (typically eye center to center) to be sure the springs will fit before shipping them to the buyer...The price is right, you had the springs rebuilt by a reputable shop.  Add freight to your cost for the 2A/3A springs plus rebuilding charges, and you'll have your investment back, JohnF!

 

Moses



#30 JohnF

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 05:47 PM

The 2A and 3A have an 80-inch wheelbase, the M38A1 and CJ-5 introduced the 81-inch wheelbase.  This is a clue.  
 
Were your original springs broken?  Why were they not the ones you had rebuilt?
 
Trust you will find a buyer for these flat-fender era springs.  Advertise them and include the main leaf length (typically eye center to center) to be sure the springs will fit before shipping them to the buyer...The price is right, you had the springs rebuilt by a reputable shop.  Add freight to your cost for the 2A/3A springs plus rebuilding charges, and you'll have your investment back, JohnF!

the originals were shot and tossed years ago when I tooke the jeep apart. I since learned to keep everything to match to the new parts
 
Moses



#31 JohnF

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 02:00 PM

Spring shop said no to longer length top spring. So it looks like new springs. I saw Omix-Ada springs for a good price. Any thoughts on that brand ?  Spring shop wants a good buck for a set.



#32 Moses Ludel

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 05:09 PM

Are your original springs beyond rebuilding? They are 39-5/8" length, right? Could the shop rebuild it for the same cost as the CJ-2A/3A springs?

Moses

#33 JohnF

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 05:11 PM

I no longer have the originals. Scrapped years ago

#34 JohnF

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 10:24 AM

Moses

 

Found these front springs on Craigslist real cheap. Claims they are stock out of a 1970 CJ5 but I've never seen stock jeep springs turn down like this on the edges. Do these look stock to you ?

 

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#35 Moses Ludel

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 03:39 PM

JohnF...Could very much be stock springs for 1970.  The "turn down" is to eliminate spring leaf friction.  More modern springs use nylon inserts at the ends to accomplish this.  The aim is to prevent premature damage to the leafs from rusty, dirty spring ends digging into the adjacent leaf.

 

You've seen that pattern in worn old springs.  As you discovered with the loosening of the plates for spring bolt replacement, the natural curvature of the spring leaf creates abrasive angles at each leaf end.  This presses into the adjacent leaf when the springs stretch out and the leaf ends curve inward.

 

As many of us have discovered, Jeep was poor at illustrating parts in both the factory parts manuals and the service manuals.  Jeep was also inconsistent about parts sourcing and model year changes for parts.  Parts often got carried over from previous models and actually do not "match" the year of the vehicle.  Clear changes take place between major model shifts, like the 2A/3A/3B (MB/M38) to CJ-5 (M38A1), or the Kaiser era changeover to distinct AMC/Jeep models in 1972.

 

If these springs have the correct length and width, are not broken leafs or beyond rebuilding, and if the price is right, there is nothing "wrong" with leaf springs that will not chafe between the plates.  The curved ends, in themselves, do not present a problem if these springs are the correct length, width and spring rate.

 

Moses



#36 JohnF

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 03:53 PM

Thanks Moses

 

A fellow Jeeper sold them to me for $ 10.00 yes thats ten dollars. I will take them to the spring shop to have them go over them.



#37 Moses Ludel

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 04:59 PM

Glad you worked this out, JohnF.  If you can find a home for the 2A/3A springs, freshly rebuilt, that would be great. 

 

Do we need a classified section at these forums for moving members' equipment and parts like these springs?

 

Moses



#38 JohnF

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 05:01 PM

Glad you worked this out, JohnF.  If you can find a home for the 2A/3A springs, freshly rebuilt, that would be great. 

 

Do we need a classified section at these forums for moving members' equipment and parts like these springs?

 

Moses

I would love to see that. I have a bunch of parts to sell



#39 JohnF

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 05:03 PM

Got the draw bar on today and new u joints in rear shaft

 

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#40 Moses Ludel

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 01:30 PM

Nice work, JohnF...Your project is a major restoration.  Many of your photos reveal "before and after", and the work to date has been substantial.  You're making very good headway.  The result will be a whole new life for a classic, prized Jeep CJ-5! 

 

Moses



#41 JohnF

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 05:21 PM

I got the transmission and transfer case mounted, I was told I should mount it to the engine when its done before installing on the chassis to line everything up ? oh well, only a few bolts. Good to see it on though :)

 

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Painted the winch housing too.

 

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#42 Moses Ludel

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 03:17 PM

Nice work, JohnF, as you move the process along.  You're really making progress here!

 

Moses




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