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A Rear Spring in a T Bucket


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If you're building a traditional T bucket, there is nothing more correct than a Model A rear spring. They were often used to give clearance for a quick change equiped rear end. With or without the quick change they will give you the look of a "40's or '50's hot rod.

There were two versions of the A rear spring. One had 8 leaves to it and the other had 10 leaves. Most Model A's had the 10 leaf version. That's the one we will deal with here. One word of caution, when you are shopping for your spring, check the eyes for the shackles. They should be round. If they are oval in shape, check to see that the shackle didn't wear into the leaf. If it did, look for another spring.


Stock Model A rear spring.

The modifications are simple and can be done with basic hand tools. In a couple of hours, you can have one ready to bolt into your frame.

First the spring needs to be disassembled. Be very careful here. There is a lot of tension here that will be releasted when you remove the center bolt in the spring. Clamp the leaves with two large C-clamp before attempting to remove the bolt. Please don't skip this step. Replace the center bolt with a piece of 1/4" running thread about 12" long. Now release the clamp slowly. Sometimes the leaves need a little tap with a hammer to free them from each other. Once the tension is off the leaves, you can remove the running thread.

If you are using an open perch, like your front one, you will only need to use the main leaf and the four on top of it. If you are using an original A crossmember, you will need to modify all ten leaves, starting with the main leaf and working your way to the top leaf.

The follwing measurements are from the center bolt holes out toward each end of the leaf;

Main leaf...full length
2nd leaf...24"
3rd leaf...19-1/2"
4th leaf...13"
5th leaf...7"
6th leaf...6-1/2"
7th leaf...6"
8th leaf...5-1/2"
9th leaf...5"
10th leaf...4-1/2"

In this next step, we will be working with the 2nd, 3rd and 4th leaves. Use one of the ends you cut off to make a template to round off the sides of each leaf. See picture below. These leaves need to slide on the leaf under them. Grind a radius on the bottom edge at the end of each leaf.


The top 5 leaves can be ground to clean up any sharp edges. They will not be flexing and only serve as spacers in the crossmember.


There is a sleeve in the eyes of the main leaf. This will not be needed with your new shackles so it can be removed. You can clean up the leaves with a wire brush or by sand blasting. To assemble the spring simply reverse the disassembly process. Replace the center bolt with a new one.


There is no way to make this set up ride like a Cadilac, but there will be a big difference over a stock spring.
Awesome tech tip!
G'Day Ron,
That's good info mate. When you say it won't ride like a Caddy that's quite true, but if anyone doing this job takes the time to brush some heavy grease on the leaves before they reassemble the spring (after they're painted that is) they might get a nice surprise as to just how smooth a leaf spring can be. The shocks will be even more important for bounce control after you do that. Just a thought.
G'day Mike, You are so right paint, grease and shocks all help make this set up viable. With this set up, the car rode pretty good with 400 to 500 pounds of passengers.

I used a Model A spring only once, and was not real Happy with the look, So I switched to a T rear spring, They are narrower also, only 2" wide, instead of 21/2" OPPS 21/4. my new fronts springs are 2 1/2, brain fade... Sorry... reworking the spring to get just the right amount of lift, or height sometimes takes a couple of tries, and spacer blocks if needed to be a bit higher... But You can get them to ride almost as good as a Cad, with the right shock placement, ahead of the rear end and the top leaned forward, you can play with this, but the car needs to be completely finished as far as weight goes... pre guessing hardly ever works, as everybody builds their cars different...
Note, That spring end that tapered end, that you may be thinking of cutting off (if you are lucky enough to have tapered ends) those were called easy ride springs, not every spring was made that way, but when you see one grab it, it just needs fewer leaves for lighter cars... The T springs were Wilder looking, tighter arch and more curve... Sweet... PS; almost forgot,, You probably do not really want , well we all do want, but that soft ride can hurt you, if you have a short driveshaft. You will want to use a soft rubber snubber at the third menber area, to stop too much movement, and you can use a seat belt type of strap, to limit the down (up movement of body and frame) movement, as too much will cause your U-joint to come apart.. and always at the WRONG time... just something to think about... I've done that!
all very good points ted, thanks.

One comment with CCR rear springs they are ONLY 1-3/4" wide not 2" or 2-1/4". Kinda messed me up when I got it.
Man, that's great information. Just exactly what I am doing. One question though, and that has to do with mounting the spring to the axel. What is the proper spacing from spring shackles to axel mounts. I've heard on the Model A & T the rear spring has to be stretched to install it and they make a tool for that. How much stretch is necessary for the spring to work correctly? I have one installed with the brackets tack welded to the axel, but with weight on the care the shackles are nearly straight down, and I know the should be at about a 45 degree angle under load. How about the plastic spring liners, do they work?
Youngster, I'm curious how does a set-up like this work with a frame made from your plans. About what ride hight would you end up with. Does the rear section need changed any? I'm swapping parts with my uncle and he mentioned having a high arch spring out in his barn.
the axle mounts for your A spring should be 46 1/2" apart. i use that same measurement for a T spring. don't wast your money on a spring spreader. i use a 8"piece of all thread, a couple wing nuts and two clamps to dis-assemble and assemble the spring after the main leaf is installed with the shackles. the plastic works but needs to be trimmed every once in a while. if you grind the radius on the bottom of each leaf and assemble with a dab of bearing grease, the springs will slide on each other.

Spring hanger width mounts.. For a one time deal (in the beginning) if the car is all together and has all the weight you are going to add, bolt the T or A spring to the frame mount, now using two bricks or anything strong enough to hold the rear weight of your car, up at around/or just below (where ever you want it to ride) the center of the rear housing?, with a 2x6 board all the way across the width of the rear end.. Let the car (spring) down onto that board, the spring will slide out, (spread) by itself to the correct riding width, as pre guessing will never be totally right, as each setup is different, weight, amount of leaves, etc. now add the weight of a passenger to the car, watch and measure how far the spring spreads with the added weight, that should give you a very close messurement as to riding and working spring mounting width. This can also tell you where and how to build the mounting plate for the rear end housing, to set at your desired ride height... Also, an adjustable shackle mount is nice but not totally necessary if you use this mode to make your brackets, as they should be correct now, but run as long a rear radius rod as you can to lessen the amount of rear end (pinion) angle change ( a 4 bar helps with this) when the suspension moves during dips, etc. I also use shackles that are 1/4" wider than the spring, to eliminate spring BIND in travel.. Any questions, PM me or e-me or you can even call me, as I really do love the look of a T rear spring for that great early T Bucket look, very hard to beat!! :) (661) 203-0165 or ** no stars hehe

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