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Choosing Coil Springs


kdml
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I am trying to select springs for my '65. I was hoping to lower the car slightly with a little stiffer spring to improve handling. Understanding that the optional suspension for '65 allowed for a slightly lower/stiffer spring I figured I would purchase a set of springs with the same specs.

I contacted Eaton springs, but they did no have specs for the optional suspension. They indicated the standard suspension had spring rates of 420lbs (front) and 200lbs (rear). They did offer a front spring that would be approx 1 to 1.5 inches lower, which had a spring rate of 600lbs. This sounded too stiff to me. There only option for rear springs was something .75 to 1 inch lower with a spring rate of 230 lbs

I also contact coilsprings.com and they offered a spring which dropped the car 1 inch and was 25% stiffer then stock.

Anyone have specs on the optional suspension for '65? Anyone have any other thoughts; I am not looking to drop the car too low or stiffen the suspension to the point of being uncomfortable.

Thanks

Doug

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Here is another option I know some folks have used. I'm surprised Eaton didn't have the 65 GS spring specs. I had heard in the past they did.

This is a tough topic because most feedback from people who install "factory replacement springs" is based on that individuals perception of what is right and/or what makes them happy and not physical trim height measurements vs whats in the shop manual.

Do as much homework as you can before buying springs and try to get as much feedback as possible. My experiences have been all bad in the area of factory replacement springs for the 67 GS.

Coil Spring Specialties

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Thanks for the advice Jason

That's what I am trying to do with this post - gather as much information as possible. I will probably post similar threads on other sites as well, before making a final decision

Anyone else who has some experience with purchasing springs please chime in

Thanks again

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I used Coil Spring Specialties and purchased the GS coils which lowers the car just slightly, it will take a few months for the front end to settle in to the correct height and I am very happy with height, I can give you the final meaurements if you would like.

Eric.

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I just called Coil Spring Specialties. The sales lady asked their engineer, and they do have the specs for the 65 GS springs. I just ordered a set of fronts and rears.

I plan to restore my rolling chassis first, so hopefully these springs are correct. Currently the front end of my car sits really high. I imagine at some point in time they must of been changed. Here is a pic of the car as it sat in 1978, and here is a current pic. in both pics, you can see the front is way too high.

65_Riviera_sitting_in_yard_at_308_West_Pine_St_in_Wake_Forest.jpg

87GNand65Riv040.jpg

Here is a couple of different restored 65 GS's. This is how I think a nice stock GS should sit.

65RivGS3.jpg

1965buickrivieragsdws.jpg

Edited by Rob J (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Finally got an education from Kevin at Coil Spring Specialties as to the differences between the standard '65 Riviera springs and the optional springs. I will be ordering a set of optional springs.

Spring rates and load rates for optional springs differ from the standard springs. Rates are as follows:

Front Spring Rates:

380#/in standard with ac

400#/in standard w/o ac

500#/in optional

Rear Spring Rates:

170#/in standard

220#/in optional

Front Load Rates:

2410 standard

2310 optional

Rear Load Rates:

1270 standard

1170 optional

The optional springs have a higher spring rate, but a lower load rate.

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Hi Rob,

Please post the wire diameter, the number of coils and the standing free height. I`m curious whether coil spring specialties is selling Electra rear springs as heavy duty replacements as was done in the aftermarket for many years. They make the car sit too high in the rear and make the ride too stiff and abrupt.

Tom Mooney

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Hi Rob,

Please post the wire diameter, the number of coils and the standing free height. I`m curious whether coil spring specialties is selling Electra rear springs as heavy duty replacements as was done in the aftermarket for many years. They make the car sit too high in the rear and make the ride too stiff and abrupt.

Tom Mooney

Tom, when I get home this evening, I'll take some pics and measurements of the springs. According to the folks at CSS, they are supposed to be correct. I hope they are.

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Wow. I would think the spring rate would be higher for an A/C equiped car. I wonder what the logic is behind that?

You are correct. Think thats just a typo.

kdml,

Interesting info. It appears there is a difference in specs from the standard spring between what Eaton told you and Coilspring Specialities. Someone has to be wrong which doesn't improve my opinion on aftermarkets ability to provide exact factory rated springs. I would tend to lean towards the info from Coil Spring Specialties though. At least they differentiate between an A/C and non A/C spring.

Note spring rate is determined by the amount of weight it takes to compress the spring 1". Thus a 500# spring compresses 1" if a 500lb weight is placed on it.

Did Kevin say what the defintion of load rate is? I think it has something to do with how much weight the spring carries at a certain amount of deflection but I'm just not sure. I don't quite understand how the load rate decreases on a spring with a higher spring rate. Might have something to do with deflection.

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My bad - that is a typo.

The ac spring rate should be 400#/in and the w/o ac rate should be 380#/in

Your definition of spring rate is correct.

Kevin did not mention the definition of load , but based on my limited understanding it is the amount of weight the spring is designed to carry at a certain height. The optional springs have a lower load; thus, they are not designed to support the same weight as the standard springs. Assuming the spring height and vehicle weight are equal the optional springs will cause the a car have a lower ride height, as it cannot support the same weight; although when hitting a bump the optional spring will be harder to compress, due to its higher spring rate.

Thanks

Doug

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Rob,

Do you have a set of calipers/micrometer that you could check the exact wire diameter of the coils? A few tousandths difference (not distinguishable to the naked eye) in wire diameter has a considerable impact on spring rate.

Its a good idea to take measurements in 3-5 locations and average it.

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I paid $419.36 with the mafia rate shipping fee's.

Jason, I do not have a mic. Been meaning to buy one for a while now, so I guess now is the time.

Will check the dims and post when I get a mic.

After seeing this price I checked Jamco's price and discovered they are on sale. The price in for the front springs I don't know if the rear springs are the same. But this looks like a steal! Jamco Suspension - <b>Front Suspension & Steering</b> Buick 63-70 BUICK RIVIERA FRONT COIL SPRINGS Jamco Suspension, Your #1 Source for Hot Rod Brakes and Suspension!If my memory is correct. I gave under $330 for mine shipped. I had a 10% discount. But this is alot better deal. You can get stock, 1",2",or 3" drop.

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Hi all.

I have a 65 Riv and have just been through this exercise. Shocks are at least as critical as springs.

In order to keep the standard ride height and not stress the tall 235x75 radials I have on the car, we specced up custom Bilstein shocks all round and had new springs made that are 84% stiffer than standard.

The car now points and corners well. I think the ride is just right and appropriate for the character of the car, its not soft but neither is it over stiff. If you go too stiff on separate chassis cars my experience is that they shake around a lot on poor roads, this is exacerbated by lowering - they sit low anyway. Another problem I have encountered is that when I went to the 235x75x15 radials there isn't much space in the front wheel houses on full lock.

The only problem I now have to deal with is the godawful over assisted steering. Any suggestions?

regards

John

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Quote: "The only problem I now have to deal with is the godawful over assisted steering. Any suggestions?"

Russ Martin, a nailhead guru from CA, posted this on the Yahoo Nailhead group website a couple of years ago. It sounds like what you're dealing with now that you're driving on radials rather than the OE bias ply tires. Here's Russ's thoughts on front end alignment for 1st generation Rivieras.

Front end specs for Rivieras

Having negative caster will cause the front end to

plow like what your 56 is doing, There is a 2 degree

difference between your 55 and your 56, this is a huge

amount so these cars can not be compared unless they

are aligned the same.

I did a lot of testing with adding positive caster to old cars and found that 2 to

3 degrees positive works wonders with tracking straight and cornering. The original spec's for alignment on these old cars was based on the crappy tires of the day and the under steer kept people from driving too fast and spinning out. I just took a 65 Riv with negative .5 and changed it to positive 2 degrees, the car was wandering on the freeway and plowing like mad in a corner. The customer called me back and told me I worked miracles with his car, he thought his tires were bad! in addition it gives you more road feel so it does not steer TOO easy. Try it, you will be amazed, but you have to tell your shop what you want or they will use the old spec's which are out of date. ------ Russ

Let us know if you try this and how it works for you.

Ed

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Yellowriv,

I too am trying to get more of a feel in my steering. I don't know that the alignment adjustment mentioned by Rivnut will change the one finger steering that these cars came with factory. It may help but in my case I am getting my box rebuilt anyway due to wear and tear and am going to have the ratio and assist changed. Most reputable box rebuilders can do this.

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I too am trying to get more of a feel in my steering. I don't know that the alignment adjustment mentioned by Rivnut will change the one finger steering that these cars came with factory. It may help but in my case I am getting my box rebuilt anyway due to wear and tear and am going to have the ratio and assist changed. Most reputable box rebuilders can do this.

I'm also not real comfortable with the "1-finger steering" on my '64. I'd prefer more resistance and a different ratio. If you guys do make a change to the stiffness and /or ratio, please be sure to come back and explain what you had done, what it cost, how satisfied you are with it, etc. It's on my list of things to have done, but it has a lower priority right now than other things.

Thanks!

-BEPNewt

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Another option is to have it rebuilt with different guts. However this isn't cheap. I had my '64's box rebuilt by Lee Manufacturing and it was something like $450 due to the percentage of superceded parts inside the "early" Saginaw box. However it's freaking majik to drive now compared to the stocker. I'm down to 2.5 turns lock to lock with a variable ratio and a much more confidence building feel and effort. What I worry about with the bolt in boxes off of other applications is the change in where the stops are in the box itself. While there are spindle stops on the lower control arms, I'm not sure that's what I want to be trusting if the box wants to turn quite a few more degrees.

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Another option is to have it rebuilt with different guts. However this isn't cheap. I had my '64's box rebuilt by Lee Manufacturing and it was something like $450 due to the percentage of superceded parts inside the "early" Saginaw box....

fyi -btw years ago I put a 74 chevy doner Saginaw box (crosses over to our years riv) Nice, like new now. Btw,springs, I picked up a set of fronts from ESPO's springs out of PA for under a 150. (yet to be put on) I don't but drive my 65 round the corner these days.

Andy , ROA 1980

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OK, I just checked the Jamco link and the rears are on sale too.

Jamco Suspension - <b>Rear Suspension</b> <b>Coil Springs</b> Buick 65-70 BUICK REAR COIL SPRINGS Jamco Suspension, Your #1 Source for Hot Rod Brakes and Suspension!

129.95 for fronts and 134.95 for rears. Sounds like a good deal. I don't want to bag my car, but I want it low. Has anyone done the 3" kit w/stock size tires.

On my first Riv it was lowered the '70's way - someone torched the springs! It was low, but the springs were scary.

Mike

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fyi -btw years ago I put a 74 chevy doner Saginaw box (crosses over to our years riv) Nice, like new now. Btw,springs, I picked up a set of fronts from ESPO's springs out of PA for under a 150. (yet to be put on) I don't but drive my 65 round the corner these days.

Andy , ROA 1980

Tom T told me a while ago that I think big car variable boxes up to 76ish will interchange. I think they were around 16:1 ratio. I'll have to double check the info when I find it.

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  • 4 months later...
bb1970 - that's the look I'm going for. Just ordered the springs so we'll see when they get here. The clock has started... :D

Not that I'm is a rush. Just got all the floorpans and need to rebuild the carb, and...

Mike

OK, so I got the carb rebuilt a long time ago -gave it a tune up and it runs great, haven't installed the floors yet... they are a puzzle - still haven't got the springs from J&M Ent... calling them tomorrow.

They should be able to make them in 5, almost 6 months don't you think?

Mike

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I just purchased a set of 4 coil springs from Eaton Detroit Spring in Michigan. When deciding how I wanted the car to sit I knew I didnt like most of the Rivieras I saw...even the GM photo release cars. I like my car sitting UP and with 235 75 15s the car needs room in the wheel wells.

Before I purchased my springs from Eaton I lifted the frame of the car by 3". 1" to compensate for old age sag and 2" extra the Eaton springs would give. I liked the way it looked. More street racer than low rider. The springs are +2" over stock and seem to have beefier spring rod diameter.

If the springs are too tall or tight I'll probably buy another set depending on how much I want to drop it.

I took a before and after shot of the way the car sits now and how it looks with +3" lift as described above

here is before and sagging

HPIM2989-1.jpg

Here the body is lifted a total of 3"

HPIM2980-1.jpg

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