1964 Thunderbird front spring installation

This area is for posting questions/information concerning 1964-66 year Thunderbirds NO FOR SALE POSTINGS

Moderator: redstangbob

1964 Thunderbird front spring installation

Postby Thunderbird Registry » Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:33 am

The "Rebuilding the Front End of a Flair Bird" article in the Sep/Oct 2012 Scoop by Al Wassilak (reprinted from 2007) was helpful to me. However my mechanic and I did not have so much trouble removing the springs as we did installing them on my 1964 Thunderbird.

It's really necessary to have the lower plate of Ford Service Tool T63P-5310A, and I reference it here to help Google searchers find this post. This plate is a disk which conforms to the spring curvature and angle and makes it unnecessary to compress the entire spring, in order for it to go into place on the control arm. We tried over and over again with the internal compressor shaft I bought on eBay, but without that disk, to no avail. The compressor shaft did what it was supposed to do but the spring would not compress enough or in the right direction.

My mechanic and friend came up with the idea to make a "disk" from an old control arm which would hold the spring safely and in the correct position. We used a plasma cutter to cut down the arm. Here it is... it looks like a piece of junk and maybe it is, but it worked... safely and without exaggeration it took less than 10 minutes each to get the springs seated.

It's important to note that this tool would have made the spring removal safer and quicker. One of the springs was broken about 2 coils from the top and it was no less a dangerous difficult process. As far as the compressor itself don't bother with the junk in the chain stores, go to eBay and find the guy in Texas who has made hundreds of these compressors. His directions are for a Mustang, but don't let that deter you... the tool works you just need this disk. With the disk you don't need to use a 2x4 or the weight of the car or another trick to get the spring to seat. It works.

Here is a picture of the disk alongside the tool I bought from the eBay seller
Thunderbird Registry
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:19 pm

Postby tbird » Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:27 pm

The Ford tool for compressing Thunderbird springs is much heavier than what is used on the lighter Mustang or other model springs, the center bolt is a 1" Acme thread. The general spring compressor available today is certainly questionable if it is safe to use on a Thunderbird spring.
Jim Mills
VTCI # 8071
VTCI 1964-66 Technical Editor
2002 Thunderbird
1965 Convertible
1962 Convertible (in progress)
1959 Ford Retractable HT
Many parts cars
Posts: 1684
Joined: Sat May 10, 2008 11:07 pm
Location: Tyndall MB. Canada

Postby redstangbob » Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:56 pm

I didn't like the looks of the wooden blocks used because the pressure screw was too short. I made a lower plate as well, and used a hardened bolt and thrust bearing from another puller that I have. In the end I'll just say if you don't have the right tools and zero experience with coil springs, job it out! this is not for beginners. JMO Bob C
It's gonna be cool when it's done
And now it's really cool !!

VTCI North Central Regional Director
Moderator 64-66 Forum
Tech Adviser Water Wonderland Thunderbird Club
65 hardtop
User avatar
Posts: 2730
Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 4:06 pm
Location: 40 miles east of Wixom

Postby Thunderbird Registry » Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:33 am

That compressor rod worked great, is of proper strength and fit [length] for the Thunderbird. And yes we did use the thrust bearing too, it was easy and fast. Of course the real disk tool would have been the right way to go but the old control arm served the same purpose ...it may have been more helpful with the "ears" to remove it. No wooden blocks or 2x4s necessary to get the spring into position.
Thunderbird Registry
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:19 pm

Ford Service Tool T63P-5310A

Postby matthewfields » Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:11 am

Ford Service Tool is of-course very useful to us. As i read the article. It's really having good info & After read the article i was started to think about ford service Tool on Google. I came across broken bolt removal So is anyone please Provide me some more link about Ford service Tool?
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:33 am

Postby Alan H. Tast » Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:21 pm

I've receive a few comments raising concern about the article reprinted in the September-October 2012 Thunderbird Scoop (originally printed in the July-August 2007 issue) on front suspension replacement, primarily related to use of a front spring compressor not originally designed for the higher-rate spring used on T-birds (Mustangs used a lighter-rate spring that requires less force to compress). Regretfully I did not get a chance to review the article before it was printed/reprinted.

The Ford tool in essence uses a long Ajax-threaded rod/washer that bears against a cap with a thrust bearing that is bolted to the top of the shock tower, similar to what was shown in the article photos; the rod threads into a heavy metal casting that captures the bottom of a coil winding, much like what is intended by the modified upper suspension arm pictured in the original posting to this thread. Lacking access to the original tool (I've only seen/used one once, and that was nearly 24 years ago!), using a cut-up upper control arm from a '63-'66 and welding an Ajax-threaded nut in the center of the arm, in conjunction with using a thick steel plate with a thrust bearing and a larger-diameter Ajax-threaded bolt that's properly supported, along with precautionary measures like use of heavy chains to restrain the compressed spring, would seem to be a better solution. Mind you, I'm not a registered mechanical engineer, so before fabricating or using such a tool I would recommend getting in touch with one to check out what's needed for sizing of the plate, thrust bearing, rod, etc.

In light of this, I discovered the following tip, posted today on The Lincoln Forum/Lincoln Continental Owners Club, that may help those who are replacing their springs and installing new ones:

"If you are replacing the front coil springs with new ones, I'll give you a tip that I used to remove the old ones. If you heat them with a cutting torch they will shrink permanently and will be easy remove without any tension on them.
"I have done this job before on a GMC van and for the install of the coil springs I had them compressed and bound at a local spring shop (emphasis added). That way they are not under tension during the install. Once installed all I had to do was cut the metal bands and they popped into place. It was a lot easier that trying to fiddle with a spring compressor."

Obviously, great care must be taken when cutting the bands, and the spring must be seated in the suspension arm beforehand. If you have ANY doubt about R&R of the front springs or the front suspension, bite the bullet and spend the money to have a professional assume the risk and do the job.
Alan H. Tast, AIA
Technical Director/Past President,
Vintage Thunderbird Club Int'l.
Author, "Thunderbird 1955-1966" & "Thunderbird 50 Years"
1963 Hardtop
User avatar
Alan H. Tast
Posts: 2131
Joined: Wed Aug 20, 2003 10:52 pm
Location: Omaha, NE

Postby Ozzy351 » Sun Sep 16, 2012 7:01 am

I picked up this HD spring compressor at the local tool shop a couple of years ago when I rebuilt the front end of my '61. Paid $120.00 and it's worth it's weight in gold and has saved me money along the way as the quotes I got from the local shops were a lot more than $120.00!! I have also used it on friends cars and have been paid in beer (no, not Fosters :tongue5:) in exchange so the initial outlay was well worth it.

Not sure where it was made as there are no 'Made In ____' markings anywhere, which is unusual, but a friend told me T&E might be from Chicago? Wherever the tool is from, It's very good quality, easy to use and works great. The silver ring in the top left of the box is an enclosed bearing and makes winding the compressor very, very easy. It even comes in a metal, not plastic, carry case.

IMO, If you are going to tackle spring replacements yourself, especially T'bird springs, the proper tool is a must! Those cheap Chinese, external compressors with hooks might be ok for lightweight 4 cyl. cars etc but for real cars, use real tools ::wink:


1961 T-bird H/T Silver-Gray Metallic / Raven Black roof.
1971 Ford Falcon 351 XYGT-Nugget Gold.
VTCI #11702
Adelaide, South Australia.
User avatar
Posts: 459
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:11 am
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Postby 60fore » Sun Sep 16, 2012 12:36 pm

Ozzy - a quick Google search revealed that T&E Tools is located in Pendle Hill NSW. When I saw "suits Ford Facon" (sic) on the case I was afraid it was produced offshore as they say but no:

1962 Thunderbird hardtop "The Survivor" Corinthian White/red vinyl 12,045 original miles Registry #38067 FOR SALE

2013 Harley Road King Classic Ember Red/Merlot

2014 Ram 1500 Sport 4X4

VTCI #11058
User avatar
Posts: 1882
Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2007 7:17 pm
Location: Edmonton, Alberta

Postby David Langhorne » Sun Sep 16, 2012 1:40 pm

If you google some more it says T and E imports from various places including Chicago USA and buys job lots, Some say their products are good and some say they are rubbish and come from Taiwan and China. They certainly don't manufacture anything.
Dave Langhorne 65SL
David Langhorne
Posts: 280
Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2011 6:40 am
Location: England

Postby Ozzy351 » Sun Sep 16, 2012 7:56 pm

60fore wrote:Ozzy - a quick Google search revealed that T&E Tools is located in Pendle Hill NSW. When I saw "suits Ford Facon" (sic) on the case I was afraid it was produced offshore as they say but no:


I saw the spelling mistake also and immediately thought "China". But then, anyone can make a typoo ;-)

Ozzy :smile:
1961 T-bird H/T Silver-Gray Metallic / Raven Black roof.
1971 Ford Falcon 351 XYGT-Nugget Gold.
VTCI #11702
Adelaide, South Australia.
User avatar
Posts: 459
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:11 am
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Postby sleeper bird » Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:50 am

about three years ago i would have paid double of that for that tool,i used two inside the spring and three outside to compress them.This is something that i would not do again without something different for sure.i tried to download the catalogue but had no luck.No matter where it was made it is safer than what i did.
sleeper bird
Posts: 496
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2007 10:27 pm
Location: gonzales Louisiana

Return to 1964-1966 Thunderbirds

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: kzguns and 2 guests