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1939 LZ Sedan Suspension Problems


Guest friscozephyr

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Guest friscozephyr

My 1939 sedan seems to be rolling side to side quite a bit when it is standing still. In fact when I get into the driver's seat the car "pitches" to one side quite a bit for a while then eventually levels out. Out on the road the car will roll quite a bit when I hit a pothole or a rough road especially when traveling a higher speeds.

I noticed that the shock links have a lot of wobble to them. Also could it be the shock absorbers need fluid or do they need to be completely replaced. Or could there be other parts of the suspension system that are causing this problem.

The entire suspension system is a mystery to me but I am trying to get a better understanding of it.

Any one have any ideas of what the problems might be or what further troubleshooting I should do.

Thanks

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Dear Frisco,I am not sure what you mean when you describe rolling when sitting still??The leaning when cornering is the nature of the beast with transverse mounted leaf springs.You will have to disconnect the shock arms to see if they offer any resistance in either direction,they can be rebuilt.NO mysterys here,same as a Model A,springs,shocks and shock links and that is it,HOPE this info helps you out.diz

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Guest friscozephyr

Diz,

I should have been more clear. When the car is at rest and if I place some weight on one side of the car by either pushing, or by entering the car, the car "rolls" way to one side. In other words it seams that the suspension/shock absorber does not give much resistance to a downward load when it is on the far side of the car.

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Guest friscozephyr

Diz,

One more thing. When I push down on the car I am also hearing metal to metal contact noises. I am going to try to isolate the source of the sound but my lack of knowledge to this archaic suspension system is making it difficult.

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The spring center bolt may be sheared off or the U-bolts that attach the spring may be loose allowing the spring to move in it's perch or both. The center bolt along with the U-bolt clamps are the only thing that keep the spring in place. You will always have some side to side movement due to the shackles.

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Guest imported_V12Bill

I am not that familiar with the 1939 models, but on the 42 to 48 models and maybe the 40 and 41 models there is a rubber mount between the welded in crossmember and the bolt in crossmember that the spring is bolted to with the U bolts. If the rubber is deteriated, the bolted in crossmember will slide back and forth from side to side. These rubber mounts were available as rebuilts at one time. This could be a serious problem at speed on a long curve.

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Guest friscozephyr

Thanks for all the great advise everyone. Here is what I discovered.

1) The center bolt nut for the rear spring was so lose that I could use my fingers to turn the nut. Apparently when the car was last greased and lubricated the mechanic did not bother to tighten the nut after greasing. I tightened the bolt with no problem.

2) The u bolts for the rear spring were very lose and had a lot of play in them. I tightened all the u bolts again with no problems.

3) I think the center bolt for the front spring must have been sheared because I could not see a nut at the end of the bolt. The bolt seems to end about 3/4" below the surface of the bottom most spring leaf. I could use any advise on how to fix this.

4) The u-bolts for the front spring seem to be nice and tight. In fact the entire front of the car seems very tight and there is almost no "rolling".

5) Checked the rubber mounts for the spring cross members and they look good so I suspect no problems there.

6) Tried to disconnect the shock absorber arm from the link but had no luck. I was able to get the nut off but I can not separate the arm from the link. So I cannot test the resistance of the shock absorbers. I suspect some rust (since there was some on threads and nut) I'll try some W40 or penetrating oil and see what happens.

The bottom line is that by tightening the rear springs nuts the suspension is 300% better. I think if I rebuilt the shock absorbers I can get even more improvement from the suspension. I am a little worried about the front center bolt.

On an other note. Spending so much time under the car has made me much more knowledgeable about the suspension and how much "heavy metal" is down there. This car is built like a tank unlike the plastic and foam cars that are being produced today.

Best regards to all of you that have helped. I greatly appreciate it.

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To disconnect the shock link it is sometimes useful to give the eye loop mount a sharp rap with a hammer after a dose of good penetrating oil. The stud on the link has a taper and a sharp rap on the mount will usually deform it just enough for the link to pop loose. May take a few raps along with some careful tapping on the end of the link studs. You may even have to heat the mount with a torch.

If the center bolt on the front spring is sheared the leafs may or may not start to move from side to side. The front axle is held in place by a track bar so there shouldn't be any side movement of the body in relation to the axle. If the spring U-bolts are tight chances are the leafs are still in place. You can jack it up and have a look see.

Removing that spring with out the proper tools could be dangerous and might be better left to a shop that does spring work. The spring perch cross member on these cars also had a habit of cracking in the area where the spring rests so that should be checked. As long as the U-bolts are tight there seems to be enough strength in the vertical section of the cross member to support the car.

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Guest friscozephyr

Peecher,

Thanks for the great advise. I will try your shock link disconnect procedure and report back.

I agree the front spring is too dangerous for me to work on. I'll bring it to a shop and see if they repair the center bolt.

I'll also look for cracks at the spring perch cross members.

Thanks again.

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