Monday, February 20, 2012

Look, Finally Finished Front Leafs

Since I had some time to kill while waiting on the replacement parts for the front axle, I figured I would go ahead and try to finish up one of the projects that I have been avoiding, but would HAVE to be completed before I could install the axle to the frame:  the front leaf spring packs. 

Taking them apart and cleaning them up was fun...and easy.  I enjoy that kind of dirty job.  The part I wasn't looking forward to was having to make the eight clips that wrap and support the spring packs.  Granted, the clips aren't too overly complicated to build, its just a lot of the same thing over and over and over and over (and multiplied by two at this point) again.  However, I did try to buy replacement clips, but the roadblock I continued to encounter was "sold out."  OK, fine.  I did manage to get one original NOS (New Old Stock) clip and it was the larger of the two sizes.  I decided to use that one as my template and design the others off of it.  When I did the rear springs, I only had to make maybe two of the clips and I used the pre-existing, already mounted clips as my template. 

I needed some steel so I went to Lowes.  Compared to the original clip, it looked like the correct thickness is something between 16 gauge and 1/4".  And whatever the correct thickness may be, Lowes does not stock it.  I opted on the side of stronger, so I went with the 1/4" thickness.  Besides, they sold it in lengths of 36" (which gave me approximately 6"-8" of overstock per leaf pack) AND it was in the absolute correct width (1.25"), so I would only have to measure lengths and then cut!  Easier Peasier.

I'll make this easier peasier for you, too...below are a few pictures of the springs upon disassembly and through the cleaning process.  I know it would be asking a lot of you to scroll back to the prevous blog to refresh your memory.  

Front, passenger side disassembled and junking up my work bench.

Same spring as above but AFTER having a "what for" with my wire brush on the hand grinder. 
Then, for flavor, sprayed down with a chemical to help with the war on rust.

Primed with some dull gray.

Driver's side after the "what for" wire brushing and chemicals applied.
I managed to save the bolt on the passenger side spring pack, but the driver's side looked a bit suspicious, so I replaced it.  With the center bolt installed, I now needed to get the clips in place.  I upgraded my technique that I used on the rear spring pack clips.  Each clip needs to be positioned in a specific location on a specific leaf.  There is a hole at the tips of the necessary leaf.  These holes coincide with a rounded bump on the inside of the clips. Despite the fact that the clips are hammered into place, the rounded bump fits snugly into the hole, thus helping to maintain the clips proper position.

On the rear spring clips that I made, I welded the bump into the underside of the clip.  This time, I drilled a small hole through the clip and then installed a self tapping screw with a head that would fit securely into the hole on the leaf.   Once screwed in, I just cut off the excess threads of the screw and then grinded it down to be level with the backside of the clip.  All would work well...assuming my measurements are correct.

Here is a view of the screw head and the hole it will live.  The spring back is braced in a vice and is waiting for the BFH.
Driver's side completed.

Driver's side.

Driver's side.  Evidently, I must have liked the driver's side.  I took enough pictures of it.

Both spring packs newly clipped and will soon be mounted to the frame.
Overall, I am pleased how the spring packs and clips came out.  I do wish that I could have been more consistant with the overall uniformity of the clips made.  However, since I am on the level of being an apprentice to the apprentice that shines the shoes of the apprentice to the blacksmith, I can live with the clips.   If I had been thinking before I whacked those suckers into place, I would have turned them around so one would have to be under the jeep to see the fasteners on them and then less than 1% of the population would be able to notice them!  Instead, I will let the next dumbass restorer deal with them in 65 years.

Next up...the parts for the front axle have arrived.  Hopefully throughout this week I can replace the worn out parts and get that guy back together.   Wow, serious flashbacks of the rear axle just ran through my head.  Better give me two weeks before I can roll it across the garage and mate it up with the leaf packs!

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