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Thread: OT? dunno - have you tried to re-arch a leaf spring at home?

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default OT? dunno - have you tried to re-arch a leaf spring at home?

    I am building a trailer, trying to do it on the cheap. I bought a Dodge Caravan rear axle for $40 and a mobile home axle for $40. All I wanted from the MH axle was the leaf springs. Yesterday I disassembled the leaf springs to clean between and when the leaves were all separated I noticed that the 3 leaves from one side appeared to have a smooth arc, but the leaves from the other side didn't. Poor heat treating or overloading or something.

    Obviously, I either have to buy new springs or re-arch the leaves from my bad one. Looking on YT, it appears re-arching is just bending with some kind of hydraulic press by trial and error until the spring is the right shape. Seems straightforward enough. Here's a link I watched (skip the first 40 seconds or so, sigh):

    https://youtu.be/CYWfYyYQ2kA

    I noticed that after he re-arched the spring, he didn't say squat about heat treating it to prevent it from returning to it's wrong shape. Some guys swear you have to heat treat a leaf spring after re-arching, but apparently some people don't.

    I am curious about your experience. Please don't flood me with comments like "just buy new" or "but springs are so cheap". I have a lot more time than money these days, and since I figure I have nothing to lose, I'd like to at least try.

    Here's a pic of a good leaf next to a bad one:



    metalmagpie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Somebody's gonna get hurt :-(

  3. #3
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    Could be done, but I wouldn't tell the insurance company about it. The hard part is to make them all consistent. We had a re-occurring job at work making these large (8") c-clips out of spring steel, probably 1090. The technique we came up with, was to heat cherry red and bend it around a heavy pipe, then cool in still air. They held their shape and have plenty of spring. On a heavy section like you have, I don't think you would even have to see any color, but warming it up would probably help. They keep their shape after they cool. I don't trust hi-carbon steels after bending them "cold", I think its better done warm.

  4. #4
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    NW Illinois USA
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    Look to me like different design springs to fit in the same application. Notice the overall height is the same? Use them as is.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
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    Do you know anyone with a press? My press probably isn't large enough but if it was I wouldn't be afraid of trying to put the curve back into the bent one. Support it where the bend starts at each end and press down in the middle. I think you would be surprised at how well it will work. I wouldn't be concerned with heat treating and would bend it cold. Just as with a smaller spring, they can be bent cold and still retain spring properties.

    Might be a good excuse to go to Harbor Freight and buy a press.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by A.K. Boomer View Post
    Somebody's gonna get hurt :-(
    +1 on that. I almost got my head taken off when a single leaf spring decided to leave the press.
    “I know lots of people who are educated far beyond their intelligence”

    Lewis Grizzard

  7. #7
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    Two things i won't do is re-arc a leaf or weld on a fuel tank --- there's guys in every town called "stubby" or "dead eye" for those kinds of jobs to take your stuff too...

  8. #8
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    Aug 2017
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    Hotrodders do it all the time. Some evan reverse arch their springs. Do a Google search and you should find plenty of info.

  9. #9
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    Jun 2014
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    Hurley WI
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    Quote Originally Posted by strokersix View Post
    Look to me like different design springs to fit in the same application. Notice the overall height is the same? Use them as is.
    Probably. Mobile home stuff gets mixed and matched and mis-matched all the time. We probably have 70 mobile home axles in the pile at work.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    That style of leaf spring usually has a straight spring about 1/2 the length underneath the main spring. Did yours have them?
    As already noted, the springs have similar heights, a collapsed one would be lower.
    Last edited by old mart; 05-27-2019 at 02:52 PM.

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