sunnybaba

DOES ANYBODY KNOW about Full Elliptic Springs...??

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Good Morning... I am wanting to know if there are any other cars besides the Franklins that used Full Elliptic leaf springs...??       If you know of any, please give me the make and years that had them... The reason I am asking is.... I have owned and driven many model A Fords and some pre-war Chryslers , and Dodges.... and they don't even come close to the smooth exceptional ride that the Franklins have.... especially on rough dirt roads or poorly paved two lane, country roads.  I am thinking of building a model A, with parallel, full elliptic springs, front and back.... instead of those stiff transverse springs that were originally on the early Fords.

So... any information about other  1920's or 30's cars or trucks that had the full Elliptic Springs .... would be greatly appreciated...... tapping in the collective knowledge here...🙄       Sunny

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Posted (edited)

Buy a shea replica A, and save yourself money and aggravation, as well as the model A.

 

Ok I have been chastised and I apologize to you. How about an antique body on a more modern easy riding chassis? I think full elliptic springing would need a lot of engineering to give a ride you are expecting. Part of the Franklin good ride was a wooden chassis on the earlier year cars.

Edited by JFranklin (see edit history)

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This is not about destroying a use-able, restore-able model A.... I want to use full elliptic springs on a 1930's vehicle..... to improve the handling and the ride......I will be using pieces of incomplete cars and trucks... 

 some of it might be Model A.. but I prefer a wider cab... and I may fabricate the bed... and it may have a solid front axle, and be  four while drive... all built out of pieces that are not ruining a good vehicle..... but creating a vehicle out of scrap... a motor out of wrecked low mileage vehicle......  running gear out of another,......... body and fenders out of another... what is wrong with recycling and bringing back to life a bunch of dead pieces of incomplete cars... if it is done tastefully...... not a Rat Rod or a Hot Rod ... but a hand made, resurrected, nice looking, well proportioned, useful, with an excellent suspension,     4x4  vintage looking truck..??                     Using one's imagination and Being Creative............ while recycling dead vehicles ........😋

 Could we PLEASE bring this thread back to FULL Elliptic Springs....?                     ps. I have owned and driven a Shay ..... before I knew better.....  

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Posted (edited)

Early on ; teens and older there were several, my Staver Chicago { rear only } among them. By the 1920's roads had improved enough that most makes had found them an unnecessary complication and expense. Damping was one of the problems, hydraulic dampers were still in their infancy . Friction dampers had enough shortcomings that they couldn't make up for the disadvantages of full elliptic springs. 

More important from a vehicle ride point of view than spring design is spring rate.  A spring of any basic design can give a ride anywhere from extremely soft to extremely hard depending on the spring rate designed into it. Long travel springs like most full elliptic designs are only needed on very rough road surfaces or off road situations.

Why not start with a rough / parts car status Franklin chassis ? Either replace the wood or fabricate a steel replica.  Not common, but with some looking I expect one can be found.

 

Greg

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)

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Thanks Greg for the info..... I plan on using modern Shock to dampen the bounce... and I may use a Franklin chassis If I can find one in decent shape.... I am just exploring the possible source of Full Elliptic leaf springs right now.............

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Posted (edited)

Stanley Steamer used full elliptic springs and possibly some other early makes. The reason they ride so nice, is that the extra spring gives longer vertical travel and also allows some rearward compliance. In other words when you hit a bump the wheel can go up but it can also go backward a bit. Modern cars get the same effect using coil springs and rubber bushings in the suspension. Some  modern cars use leaf springs with very large rubber bushings at the end for the same reason. By that I mean, rear springs on some expensive 80s and 70s cars like Chrysler and Cadillac. They also have rubber between the axle and spring.

 

You could get the same effect without the full elliptic springs  by using conventional parallel leaf springs with rubber mounts. Or by having a shackle at both ends of the spring and controlling the axle with a rubber mounted strut rod. Some of the heavier luxury cars of the early 30s had a decent ride with solid axles and leaf springs. Another secret was using soft, flexible long travel springs in front and controlling roll with an anti roll bar. Before the anti roll bar, they had to use stiff springs at the front to control roll. If you paid attention to getting the leaf springs smooth and clean with sliders in between, rubber mounts, good shock absorbers and an anti roll bar you could get a very nice ride at least on smooth roads.

 

Pre 49 Ford products with transverse leaf springs are kind of hopeless. In effect each wheel has only 1/4 elliptic spring and this does not allow much vertical travel. So the springing needs to be on the stiff side. And the design allows no rearward compliance at all.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)

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The early Maxwell 2 cylinder cars have full elliptic springs back and front, my 1912 has them and the ride is a bit harsh but its only a light car as is your A model Ford.  The heavier Franklin will ride better

Try greasing between the leaves, that might help.  

Fitting full elliptical springs in place of the transverse springs would be a huge job with no guarantee of an improvement and the resulting car would be close to worthless.  

 

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I don’t believe full elliptical springs are the only way to get the ride you are after. Yes, franklins with full ellipticals ride nice, but so do many other cars that ran 3/4 or 1/2 rear and 1/2 front.  
 

If you flip through the pages of the standard catalog, you will see full elliptical springs to have been very common on cars not good enough to be produced more than a year or two. Challenges to making that setup work well are likely more numerous than you expect. 

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Wow... Thank you for all......  For your advice and sharing your knowledge and opinions...... All of it is well received and will be seriously considered.....  Thank you....

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Posted (edited)

Sunny,

On the Stanley's they also used Perch poles to help locate the front and rear axles. (one of the buggaboos of using full eliptical springs) Also, Franklin was well known for using

laminated wood chassis rails. which allow for some flex and certainly vibration and shock dampening and of course as you know Franklin took great pride in thier

cars being relativly light for thier size and quality - all of which helps the ride.

Edited by Terry Harper (see edit history)

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Posted (edited)

My Staver uses very substantial locating rods to prevent the longitudinal movement of the axle housing .  They show up prominently in photo's of Staver race cars.

Traction bars are nothing new or unique to the 1960's and 70's.

Greg

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images56.jpg

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)

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If you mean what I think you mean, probably the best way to get what you want - a prewar car with a nice ride - would be to buy a car with independent front suspension, preferrably  a large car like Packard, Chrysler Cadillac or Buick and rebuild the suspension to stock specs, then add radial tires and modern shock absorbers.

 

Without actually road testing them, and going by what I know of the suspension design, my choice would be a Packard 120.

 

Having said that, I doubt you could get the ride of a modern luxury car although you should be able to match or beat the ride of the typical low priced car. If you really want to give your fanny a treat, buy a 1955 or 1956 Packard with torsion bar suspension.

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yes, it seams like radius rods would be necessary.... to keep the axle from moving back and forth...... and yes , independent suspension  is much smoother.. but I was thinking  of mounting a solid front 4x4 front & rear axle.... on a 1930's frame and chassis.... making a 4x4 vehicle for farm/homesteading use here where I live and work........  I would do it with this Franklin I have for sale... but it would require too many changes to the car..... only keeping part of the body, interior and chassis original.... I don't want to ruin an excellent car... but would love to find a decent Franklin body & chassis, that had no engine or running gear.... and create a four wheel drive,    vintage looking  truck, but I am not willing to chop up and destroy a useable/ restorable vehicle.....  to get my all wheel drive work truck........ I will use parts from here and there... thanks for all the feedback... I learn so many things from these discussions...

 

photos show one of my earlier attempts using a model A sedan and the model A Transverse springs with coil over shocks....... it was real stiff and the axles didn't have enough movement...It rode way to rough on my long bumpy dirt roads...... ride was very good on smooth paved roads...(where it ended up living)   ....  So, now having driven my Franklin on these same dirt roads... I began thinking.. what if I could use the Franklin type suspension (and maybe body ,for a wider cab).... that might make a smooth riding 4x4 truck.. that looked pretty nice..... Oh well, just Dreaming of my ideal vintage type work truck that rides real good (like the Franklin), on these rough roads..... The Franklin weighs a little over 2 tons (over 4,000lbs)...... maybe that weight is needed for the smooth ride on these full elliptic springs.... learning as I go 🙄

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Rusty... I don't want or need a more modern 4x4 vehicle ... I already have one...  but I want to build a vintage looking 4x4 vehicle.......  because I love the body lines, the sweeping fenders.. the bug eye headlights... the windshield that opens out.... the running boards... I love the old time look....      everything about them..... except I like the all wheel drive... better brakes and better suspension.... best of both worlds.......... If nobody buys my Franklin... I will simply continue to use it... and wear it out on these rough roads...

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Ah well in that case go ahead and hack up the Franklin. It's not like it's worth anything. There are lots more where it came from. (sarkylert)

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No way would I hack up this Franklin.. I just wish someone would come along who wanted a good driving Franklin ........ so I don't beat it up on my dirt roads.... 

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An early Franklin,

such as my former 1917 Model 9A Touring,

in addition to the full elliptic springs,

achieved part of that silky ride as as result of a very compliant chassis,

which was constructed of laminated second growth ash.

Another factor was the extensive use of their

aluminum body (not the fenders)

and aluminum crankcase. 

Franklin was a lightweight car for the overall size.

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