1956 Spring change

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Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 6:56 pm

1956 Spring change

Post by mmbuffny »

I am in the process of restoring my 1956 Thunderbird and have started with the frame. After the rear differential was removed, I removed the spring shackles and though I was cruising until I tried to remove the forward leaf spring bolts.. These things were frozen in place and would not budge. To start the process, I cut the bolt with a 4.5 inch grinder in between the leaf spring and where it it flush with the frame. It is a tight fit but it does fit in that small space. I then used a MAP pro gas that I got from Home Depot and super heated the nut. I then was easy to remove. With the outside nut out, the leaf spring fell to the ground. However, I was only half way free. The remaining bolt on the inner side of the frame was still frozen in place for the last 60 years. i then applied PB Blaster to the bolt, came back 1 hour, cleaned it off and then applied my MAP gas until the bolt was red hot and then it still would not come out. The bolt sits in a metal sleeve which runs through the frame. It is rusted and frozen in place, I then repeated the same process over and over again until it started to move. It is wise to rock the bolts back and forth, not just loosen it. Apply generous amounts of heat and lubricants . Once the bolt was loosened, it came out .5 inches and wouldn't come out any further. I then got a 5 inch long bolt and inserted into the opposite end (the end where I grinned the bolt flush to the frame) and used a hammer to drive the bolt out. It finally came out. For some reason, the other side was only half the work.
If you want to change your leaf springs, It is a big job, but at least you know how to do the hardest part.
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Location: Southeast Kentucky

Re: 1956 Spring change

Post by Haz567 »

Hey MM:
I had the very same issue on a 56 I did. Ended up getting a friend of mine who is a master at this kind of thing to drill completely thru the 4 or 5 inches of the bolt before it would come out. Had tried everything, glowing red heat, PB blaster for days, man it was frozen. My buddy drilled all the way thru while it was on the rack, as I remember with a 3/8" drill, and didn't put a nick on any surrounding parts. Even after that it took some effort to get the remains out.

Same as you, the other side was fairly easy. Before I ever do this again everything is going to have to be in really bad shape!

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