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Heavy Duty Springs for a 64 Cruiser?

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  • Frame / Springs: Heavy Duty Springs for a 64 Cruiser?

    I have a 64 Cruiser that the rear springs are weak on. When I have one adult sit in the back seat, the car bottoms out on a bump. Several years ago, I purchased what I was told was a re-built (Bear-key) set of rear springs for a 63-66 Wagonaire. But was also told they should work on my 64 Cruiser.

    I went to install the heavy-duty 5 leaf springs on my car, only to find out that the center pin on the new springs are truly in the center, not off-centered like 63-66 cars. Putting this on my car would move the rear axle back about 3-4 inches, not in the rear wheel well. So I did not put them on.

    My question is, can I re-drill the springs to have the correct mounting spot, or should I sell these and purchase correct ones? Can these even be re-drilled. As far as the heavy duty springs are concerned, there is no numbers on the springs anywhere. The eye to eye dimension is 48.5 in, the center pin is 24.5, and the springs is roughly 3.5 inches wide.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks in advance.

    Mark

  • #2
    I hate when that happens Mark, someone either lied to you or guessed.
    I believe these may be from or for a '54 to '56 wagon or something before the switch to offset Axle mounting.

    Someone must need these. I would put a wanted ad out or search for some '63 to '66 Wagonaire Springs as they do work well on Sedans.

    Click image for larger version

Name:	Bells Cruiser.jpg
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ID:	1683244 My Son Mike installed a pair of used '63 Wagonaire Standard Duty springs in the Bell's Cruiser after we re-installed the original R1 Engine after rebuild.
    I always thought the fact that they were used but good, helped get the stance only slightly higher and a good ride, while also able to handle at least two over 200 Lb. rear passengers.

    Of course all Wagonaire springs are heavier Duty, with 5 leaves but did have an even heavier option which would probably be too much for the weight of a Sedan.

    I don't think the length will work because they moved the front spring perches forward when they offset the axle. So I would not try to modify them.
    Last edited by StudeRich; 08-14-2013, 11:04 PM.
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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    • #3
      Thanks Rich, I will try to go back to the vendor first and then if that does not work, try selling them. They are very nice, just not the right application.

      Mark

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      • #4
        Mark,

        Another option might be "helper springs." The type that slip over the shock and are held on by what look like muffler clamps. The nice thing about them is that you can adjust the stiffness you desire by where you place the clamps. There are also air shocks, that again, are adjustable - by air pressure. Both might be a more simplified and adjustable solution. If you just replace the springs "they will be what they will be" without an option for adjustment.

        Tom
        '64 Lark Type, powered by '85 Corvette L-98 (carburetor), 700R4, - CASO to the Max.

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        • #5
          Mark:

          Last week a main leaf broke in my '64 Daytona 4 door. Three days ago I ordered a pair of new spring sets from Dave Thibeault. I'm guessing that after I allow 7 to 10 days for shipping from back east and another week to get myself motivated to do the install, I should be able to evaluate the fit and ride. This particular car uses the same rear springs as a '64 Cruiser. Standard duty springs from the factory were four leaf. Dave says his are more heavy duty, contain 6 leaves, and actually improve the ride quality. Less lean on cornering, etc. Also the load carrying capability should be improved. If you would like, you can call me at 775-425-4868 in about two and a half to three weeks and I'll give you a full report if you are interested. Dave also said that his springs are arched differently than the stock ones. His are flatter, which results in no increase in the height of the car in the rear.

          I have put the "helper" leaf kit on two of my '64 Studes, and have had no complaints. I too noticed the bottoming out when too many "bottoms" were in the back seat, and the helper spring cured that. On the other hand, however, they did not seem to help flatten the car out on cornering. Also, one of the cars I put the helpers on was my '64 Daytona 4 door, which just broke the main leaf. Coincidence, or relationship??? I think coincidence, but others may have other opinions.

          Larry

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          • #6
            Originally posted by wittsend View Post
            Mark,

            Another option might be "helper springs." The type that slip over the shock and are held on by what look like muffler clamps. The nice thing about them is that you can adjust the stiffness you desire by where you place the clamps. There are also air shocks, that again, are adjustable - by air pressure. Both might be a more simplified and adjustable solution. If you just replace the springs "they will be what they will be" without an option for adjustment.

            Tom
            Putting helper springs on a healthy set of springs, to "help" them carry a little more weight works good. However, putting them on worn out springs can be dangerous. The helper transfers most of the load directly to the main leaf, which is usually worn out too, and will begin to arch backward. If a main leaf were to snap it could have catastrophic results.
            The air shocks, or coil-over shocks, place the load where it was not designed to be placed. Some folks report good results, but I wonder about long term.

            Since most Stude drivers actually drive their Studes very little, either of the above, though equivalent to putting a band-aid on a sucking chest wound, may be OK.

            Best fix is a new or NOS set of springs, and usually HD works best on today's roads.
            Last edited by JoeHall; 08-16-2013, 03:38 AM.

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            • #7
              I drive my car every day and average about 10000 miles a year on the car. So it does get a work out. I was planning on putting new springs and eventually the rear anti-sway bars on from Dave T. Just gotta get through one thing at a time. The soft rear springs and the squeeks in the back are getting to me.... I know it is the rubber bushings, probably in the frame as well. That will be a big job.

              Thanks for the ideas. I do like new springs rather than the helpers tho.

              Mark

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              • #8
                Wow, at 10,000 per year you must be trying to catch up with your fellow Californian, Pat D.

                I agree, Dave T's heavy duty repros will probably fit the bill nicely for you. You may then find the rear anti-swaybar is not really needed. I installed one on a 56J once, and it was OK, especially in sweepers, but new HD springs made a much bigger improvement overall.

                If you are thinking about new front springs, the MOOGs are the cheapest, and an improvement over OEM Stude springs, which makes them a real bang for the buck.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bullet View Post
                  Thanks Rich, I will try to go back to the vendor first and then if that does not work, try selling them. They are very nice, just not the right application.

                  Mark
                  Yes, I don't believe that You'll have any problem selling those HD '53-'57 Studebaker passenger car rear leaf springs!

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for all the input. One additional question, what should the ride height be for the back? Should I measure from the opening of the fender opening (top) to the center of the rear axle? How much should it be for stock, I think my car looks like the tail is dragging. To me this is further tested by the fact that the most I have ever been able to pump into an empty gas tank is 13 gallons. When this is an 18 gal tank. Otherwise I have no problem with the gas tank or trunk, just the rear ride height.

                    Larry, I am very interested in what your experience is. I will definitely call you in 3-4 weeks.

                    Joe, when I rebuilt the front end last year, I did put the MOOG's in. Sure like that whole lot better!

                    Thanks for all the suggestions....

                    Mark

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                    • #11
                      I just built a set of 66 cruiser springs for my 63 Lark using a Dodge Dakota Main leaf cut down as the #2 leaf right below the original main. Had to cut the ends off and drill holes for modern style end of the leaf isolators, but they went together great. I would find a local spring shop. All of mine list Studebaker from their vendors and can build anything you need. I had mine bend me new U bolts and sell me all the misc hardware to assemble the bundles (Except Bushings) for under $80 for both sides, including the U bolts. I did use used leafs my shop provided, new would have pushed the cost to about $115.

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