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Avanti Front Springs

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  • Avanti Front Springs

    Anyone have a pair of heavy duty front springs for a 78 Avanti II ?
    Plan to lower the front about 1 1/5 in. My body shop says they can successfuul heat the springs to bring down that much without degrading the spring strength. Better than cutting coils.


  • #2
    Your body shop is full of crap. Just because they may have gotten away with it once or twice doesn't make it correct. When they heat the springs it will probably be with a torch. This anneals the spring reducing the Rockwell and tensile strength. They will probably do this just enough to shorten to the desired length. This can leave residual stresses and cause fatigue. I have seen front coil springs break and deform from non professionals modifying them. If you have your heart set on shorter springs, buy new ones. You can have them made and then be sure they are safe. If you have any questions PM me.

    Venice, Florida
    1950 Champion
    9G F1


    • #3
      I'd rather cut them than heat them to lower the car. I know Dick Steinkamp has cut coils many times with no issues.

      I have a set of new HD ones for a Stude, still in the box. I'm guessing they're the same as an Avanti II, but I don't know for sure.

      Price would less than the Stude vendors.

      Matthew Burnette
      Hazlehurst, GA


      • #4
        Remember, when you cut coils out of a spring, you increase the rate of the spring. That means that for each inch of deflection you will gain more resistance. This can affect the ride drastically. If you want a stiffer ride, your ok. Be sure to cut it with a slitting wheel and not a torch.

        Venice, Florida
        1950 Champion
        9G F1


        • #5
          Cutting is better then heating to sag any day of the week. Heating
          is the worst way, for the reasons listed above.

          Why not buy springs that are designed as lowering springs?

          Also, take a moment to look for aluminum blocks under the spring or
          on top, some Avanti IIs came with them, our '69 Avanti had them. We
          had a coil removed & removed the block for a Studebaker Avanti rake.

          Also keep in mind the tire will be closer to the fender, on turns in
          a dip the tire can contact the fender having terrible results. Make
          sure to check clearances depending on your size tire.


          '63 Avanti, zinc plated drilled & slotted 03 Mustang Cobra 13" front disc/98 GT rear brakes, 03 Cobra 17" wheels, GM alt, 97 Z28 leather seats, soon: TKO 5-spd, Ported heads w/SST full flow valves, 'R3' 276 cam, Edelbrock AFB Carb, GM HEI distributor, 8.8mm plug wires
          '63 Avanti R1, '03 Mustang Cobra 13" front disc/98 GT rear brakes, 03 Cobra 17" wheels, GM alt, 97 Z28 leather seats, TKO 5-spd, Ported heads w/SST full flow valves.
          Check out my disc brake adapters to install 1994-2004 Mustang disc brakes on your Studebaker!!
          I have also written many TECH how to articles, do a search for my Forum name to find them


          • #6
            This is me with the "bad" Rake, in my opinion.


            • #7
              You go four wheelin with that avanti? But seriously, when I put a set of 90 Z28 coils in my GT, I cut a coil off and heated and bent the last half coil, put it together and it was still looking like yours. Somebody said , oh, no, what are you going to do now? I was like hunh, and proceeded to take it all apart again. He expected me to heat the coils with the torch that was standing nearby, but I wanted a Z28 ride.


              • #8
                That Avanti II looks like it may be missing the upper wheelwell filler panels that all post-Studebaker Avantis have! If it had Studebaker replacement fenders installed it is possible. [:0]

                Is the Air conditioning or Battery removed from the front end or what?
                They all sit quite high because the body is shimmed up in front to clear the taller GM engine, but it does look a little extreme.

                I've GOT IT! Just take out the shims and put a Stude. 289 in there!

                Second Generation Stude Driver,
                Proud '54 Starliner Owner
                SDC Member Since 1967


                • #9

                  The front end of your Avanti does look unusually high. Here's a picture of my '78 which has the original suspension set-up at 28K miles. My tires are 215/70R15. It appears that yours may be a smaller diameter, which would make things look worse.

                  There should be an aluminum spacer under your springs. Removing it will drop the front end height about 1-1/2 to 2 inches. That may be your simple solution if you will still have adequate clearance between the tire and the fender opening during turns.

                  Jim Bradley
                  Lewistown PA
                  '78 Avanti II
                  Jim Bradley
                  Lake Monticello, VA
                  '78 Avanti II


                  • #10
                    OK, I'm convinced, NO Heating the Springs or cutting the coils.
                    Will checkout the spacers.

                    What is the recommended way to remove the spacers from the bottom of the springs ?

                    Thanks all.


                    • #11
                      Same proess as removing the springs. You will get a few opinions on the best way but no matter what you need to be very careful 'cause you could get hurt.

                      I use an internal type spring compressor, unbolt the 'a' frame from the crossmember while it's supported with a jack then I use a couple of threaded rods and nuts to align the 'a' frame as I jack it back into place, tightening the nuts as I go. Then, when the holes are lined up and the inner control arm is close enough to the crossmember to start the bolts I secure the inner control arm and remove the threaded rod and finish with the nuts and bolts in the holes where the rod was.


                      R2 R5388 @ Macungie 2006________________ 1988 "Beater" Avanti


                      • #12
                        quote:Originally posted by geojerry

                        This is me with the "bad" Rake, in my opinion.

                        The following is just my opinion, but here is what I think is happening with the overall "stance".

                        It looks like the body is shifted rearward on the chassis about 2" or so. I know this is not possible, but neither the front nor the rear wheels are centered in the wheel wells. The appearance of this can probably be minimized by the following, but it will always look a little odd (at least to me).

                        The current wheels appear to be too wide and/or don't have enough back spacing. It looks like both front and rear will hit the body if you lower the car (especially on bumps or turns). I wonder if a previous owner RAISED the car to fit these wheels/tires under it?

                        There is way too much "air" around the tires. They don't fill up the wheel wells properly. The car needs to come down all the way around to help with this (maybe 2" back and 3" front), but some of it is the current wheel/tire combination.

                        The wheels almost look like 14" but I would guess instead that the tires are very low profile. With the 60's looking Avanti body, it's tough to get away with 90's look tires. On 15" wheels, they really need 205 75 15's or 215 75 15's to help fill up the wheel wells with rubber.

                        Once some taller tires are on wheels with the proper width and offset, the car can be lowered. I would lower it until the top edge of the wheel well is about at the top edge of the tire. If the rear was raised with longer shackles, just replacing these with stock might do the trick. If not, lowering blocks between the springs and axle will do it. In the front, remove the spacer. If that isn't enough, I would start cutting the coils. You can really "dial in" your ride height that way. Cut a little at a time and reassemble and drive it some until you get the height you like and that works on bumps and corners. New, shorter springs are fine, but I've never figured out how to order them to get exactly the look I am after.

                        Once done with everything, get the car re-aligned.

                        Dick Steinkamp
                        Bellingham, WA

                        Dick Steinkamp
                        Bellingham, WA


                        • #13
                          Dick may be on to something.

                          For reference, Here is my 83 Stock suspension for comparison.

                          P215/60R15 front, P245/60R15 rear with 112,000 miles.

                          By the way, you may want to consider a better looking wheel




                          • #14
                            Ha, people talk about getting the right springs, but good luck with that. You order them and install them and when they're still not right, you can either be happy with them or remove, reship, reorder, wait, reinstall, etc. And then hope the next pair will give you what you want. If somebody has a car exactly like yours and they can give you a part number for springs that will give you the ride height you want, then go for it. Otherwise, it's all a pipe dream until you drop the floor jack and see for yourself. Some cars are easy because they have a spring pocket that fits a cut coil, but half the time you have to reshape the last 3/4 coil so the spring sits level.


                            • #15
                              Dick Steinkamp wrote "You can really "dial in" your ride height that way. Cut a little at a time and reassemble and drive it some until you get the height you like and that works on bumps and corners. New, shorter springs are fine, but I've never figured out how to order them to get exactly the look I am after"

                              Dick, If you try your trim and try method and find exactly what you want, send the spring to me. I can do an inspection report on it and tell you where to purchase springs with exactly the same properties. I have been designing coil springs for 35 years and have several sources for purchasing them. For 99.9% of the drivers this wouldn't be worth it, but if you have a go fast car or do severe driving, it can be a life saver.