56 Buick

56 Buick - Why do springs sag driver's side

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Hi all, I have been looking at buying a 56 Buick and have come across quite a few cars now where the driver's side of the car sags 1-2" lower than the passenger side and I am curious as to why. 

 

The answer may just be due to the continual driver weight as opposed to infrequent passenger use but that still seems a strange consequence.  Can anyone offer advice and whether the only fix is new springs?

 

Thanks

 

Drew

 

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Large driver, riding alone most or all the time. 

 

  I have seen folks swap front springs side to side, or shim under the weak one. In years past the shims, molded of Aluminum, were available at parts stores.

 

  Ben

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5 hours ago, 56 Buick said:

Hi all, I have been looking at buying a 56 Buick and have come across quite a few cars now where the driver's side of the car sags 1-2" lower than the passenger side and I am curious as to why. 

 

The answer may just be due to the continual driver weight as opposed to infrequent passenger use but that still seems a strange consequence.  Can anyone offer advice and whether the only fix is new springs?

 

Thanks

 

Drew

 

 

 

Drew, 

 

It is quite possible the rear spring(s) are allowing the driver side to sag.     I always replace rear springs first and check the ride height at all 4 corners.     Yes, there are spring helpers but over the long haul it only prolongs the inevitable of spring replacement.        

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This may sound silly, but consider the environment where you see the car. My driveway has ruts where I normally park the cars.  It looks level but the Wagon always looked like it leaned to the outside of the driveway depending on if I pulled in front first or backed it in.  It also looked uneven at the store I frequented most often where I seemed to park in the same general area.  Meanwhile a good friend, who is a mechanic,  said he did not see it leaning while I was driving it down the road. 

 

I know you said multiple cars so this is unlikely, but it is a possibility.

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My 56 Buick had saggy springs in the rear and one side was always higher than the other. Consider the radius rod is attached stock at a pre-defined height before spring sag. As the springs wear out, the radius rod is going to favor one side over the other and tweak the body a bit as the suspension geometry changes. That, and what was posted above. Just my 2 cents.

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New springs would be a good investment. 

 

Does the car have power steering?  That would throw some weight to the left front, along with the driver's weight.  

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If you change the springs, don't throw the old ones away!  They are extremely valuable!  There are more than a few misguided individuals ;)out there that want their car slammed to the ground and those sagging spring will fit the bill!  I have some on a 55 Special with 365,000 miles that I am holding out for big bucks!

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Looking at the folks that frequent the local diners and Walmart I can venture a politically incorrect guess....................Bob

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"Repetitive Stress Syndrome", whether driver-only, two people, full trunk, rough roads in the mix, happens with all springs.  Before the Detroit Eaton Springs became available, we tended to have gotten used to seeing many coil spring cars with sagged springs being "normal".  When they got the allegedly correct Eaton springs, they ALL looked to be too far off the ground!  But when looking at photo (not "art") magazine advertisements from "back then", the cars were really closer to factory-spec ride height with the new springs.

 

I concur that you can use "helpers" to get the ride height elevated a little, using a sagged spring to start with, but that's a big Band-Aid fix at best.  When cars were new and GM could supply new springs, the GM-supplied springs could be replaced singularly and the car would sit at the appropriate ride height.  At this point in time, though, best to replace either "axle pairs" or the full set, no singles.

 

I don't know that the sagged rear springs would necessarily put enough force on its frame mount to mildly deform the frame itself.  I could see elevated bushing deterioration and the appropriate lateral displacement of the torque tube/axle assembly,  but as spring sag made all of these things happened as time progressed, the car could "dog track" from the rear axle's lateral displacement, needing a mild steering wheel correction to drive straight.

 

PERHAPS  . . . it's the lateral displacement and the change of intersection angle of the torque tube to the torque ball . . . lateral movement in addition to vertical movement at the torque ball, that hastens the famous "Buick drip"???

 

NTX5467

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