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Front end on 1969 Riviera still too high


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Installed new springs on the 1969 Riviera I recently purchased even though the springs in the car were new during the restoration of the car.  It sat too high in front and back.  The back had 2.5 spacers 'made in china' that we removed and the back came down to 28" which is 5/8" high according to the Buick Chassis chart but it might settle a bit and looks good.  BUT the front is still a problem.  We put the correct new front springs in and it still sits at 30"  which is 2" high according to the Chassis manual.  The springs we took out were Eaton and I have a receipt for them when purchased during the restoration.  The car sat 2" high in front with the Eaton springs and now still 2" high with Spring Specialties springs.  No improvement to lower the car in front.  Eaton makes a series of springs that will lower the car  1-2" in front and I am wondering if that is my best bet to get it level and back to stock.  I guess if I really wanted to spend a lot more money and did not care about the originality of the car I could have an air suspension installed and adjust it as I see fit.  I can't stand lowered cars but I know that is the culture among a lot of Riviera folks. I am a 'Senior' and want to keep the car stock. Not sure the Eaton springs that lower the car would still give me the stock ride I want.

 

So, any thoughts about why the car is sitting 2" high in front with two different sets of new springs from two different Brands? I thought I would call Spring Specialties and see what they have to say.

 

Chuck

 

 

RivieraHeight.jpg

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Perhaps all of the fittings were tightened with the car on a lift supported by the chassis. All of those fitting should be tightened with the weight of the car sitting on the tires and wheels.  If the font A-arms and front springs were at full extension when everthing was tightened, they will not return to normal with a load on them.

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ANY rubber bushing in the suspension, which will move as the car body moves up and down, front and rear, should be "loose" tightened before the car is put on the ground.  THEN, bounce the car several times so that the bushings are now in the middle of their travel, THEN do the final torque on the bolts.  That way, the bushings are not pre-loaded one way or the other, but in a "neutral" position so that they will flex evenly without any pre-load.  They'll also last longer that way, too.

 

I suspect that after about 3-5000 miles, the springs should be "settled" so that the final alignment and such can be done then.

 

It is NOT unusual for cars with new "correct" springs under it to appear to sit too high.  Reason?  We got used to seeing them when the springs were sagged.  Seek to have the rocker panel parallel to the ground, at any ride height (unloaded, unoccupied).

 

Just some thoughts,k

NTX5467

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Posted (edited)

Let's continue this mystery.  Below you will see the 'made in China' spacers that were under the Eaton rear springs we took off the car and replaced them with the Coil Spring Specialties rear and front springs.  With these spacers off the car the rear  came down to 28"  where it is supposed to be (+5/8") from the chart.  But, since the front is at 30:" once we get the front to 28" the back may come down another 1/2" to 5/8" and level out.  Here's what we are going to try next.  The week after next we are going to put the car back on the two post lift, loosen all the bolts, on the front suspension, let the car down and put the full weight on the front and rear.  We will see if the front end comes down with loosened bolts.  If so, we will tighten everything while the car is on the ground.  If it does not come down we are going to lift it up and take out one front spring and look up into the spring pocket at the top and see if there is a spacer sitting there we did not see when replacing the springs.  With the rear spacer shown below we are wondering if a previous owner wanted the car to sit higher or was sagging  and put the rear spacers in.  If so then did they put front spacers in and we did not look for them when putting in the new springs,   Whats interesting is I now have two complete springs sets that are essentially brand new, one from Eaton and one from Coil Spring Specialties.  May have spent $450 for the Coil Spring Specialities front and rear springs I did not need especially if we find a spacer in the front or the car settles after loosening bolts.  

 

Stay tuned..............................

 

The photos below show the spring spacers that we took off the rear axle and you can see there is a 1.5" and 2.5" setting.  These were made in China.  No telling how long they have been on the car.

 

Chuck

 

 

IMG_6683.JPG

IMG_6689.JPG

Edited by chuckfmtexas (see edit history)
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What the Heck? Those look like plumbing parts. 
I would personally just order 2” lowered springs. I have 1.5” on my 55 wagon and it doesn’t drive any differently than my stock 55.  I’m not a senior , but I’m closing in.

Does AARP count?

Edited by buick5563 (see edit history)
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I think the 2017 Buick Encore we had was built in Korea, assembled in Mexico. Haven't checked the sticker on the 2020 Encore GX

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No need to look at a sticker, just first digit/letter of VIN. If K, then Korea. Our 2015 Encores are Korea assembled. Current Encore GX is same, Korea assembly plant.

 

Assembled in Mexico, but built in Korea? CKD maybe? GM produces all the parts for a model at various plants (and third party suppliers [aka first, second, third tier suppliers]) then ships the parts to an assembly plant that then sends them to a final assembly plant as a CKD, completely knocked down, to another assembly plant for final assembly. 

 

GM of Korea does this for the Chevrolet Trax, Buick Encore's sister vehicle. But not the Encore.

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2 hours ago, buick5563 said:

An American assembled that spring spaced rigging. Just saying. 

 

My guess would be that it took two Americans for that job.

mechanics.jpg.65030a150903f917e988f8c9c98414a4.jpg

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1 hour ago, 60FlatTop said:

 

My guess would be that it took two Americans for that job.

mechanics.jpg.65030a150903f917e988f8c9c98414a4.jpg

At least those ol' boys know how to orient concrete blocks.;)

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22 hours ago, buick5563 said:

What the Heck? Those look like plumbing parts. 
I would personally just order 2” lowered springs. I have 1.5” on my 55 wagon and it doesn’t drive any differently than my stock 55.  I’m not a senior , but I’m closing in.

Does AARP count?

You may be right, these may be plumbing caps that someone got creative and welded together to raise the springs.  The inside of the bottom 2 1/2" one has threads inside so it could have been made to screw onto a 2 1/2" pipe. Gotta give someone credit if they are plumbing caps and they figured out how to use them without replacing the springs that may have been sagging or they wanted the car to ride higher.  I have a feeling the were there and the restorer I bought the car from for some reason left them there when he replaced the springs.  Hopefully we find some sort of spacers at the top of the front spring pocket and we remove them or, like you recommend I am going to buy 2" lowered springs.

 

Chuck

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3 hours ago, buick5563 said:

An American assembled that spring spaced rigging. Just saying. 

You are right, see my earlier post on whether they are plumbing pipe caps

 

Chuck

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, we raised the car on a two post lift, loosened all the front suspension bolts, put the car on the ground, then drove it around the block, came back and  measured the height front and back. The result was very little change.  The front is still 1.5 inches high and back is slightly high but could come down when front comes down. Spoke with Central Springs Specialities, St. Mary's, KS where I bought the new springs and they are going to make a front set to lower the front 1.5 inches.  Hopefully sooner than later I will get this Riviera back to stock height and enjoy the ride.  Stay tuned............................🤕

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Some people used to pay money to get that look, back in the earlier '60s.  That "accelerating at the drag strip" look.  Better on Fords and Chevys than Buicks, though.  Hope the new set does the trick.

 

NTX5467

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This is my worry when I finally replace the front springs on Goldie...  I was going to get the CSS 'stock' spec springs, but now I'm thinking about getting 1" lowered or non-A/C spec springs.

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Back when GM started going to the "Computer-Selected Springs", there were charts in the parts book on how to figure the needed springs by adding up the various weights of options and such, front and rear, for the car.  With that weight figured, then you went to another chart of which springs for the particular part number spring that would fit within that weight range.  Possibly doing this might result in better outcomes as it would generate a GM part number that the supplier might deal with?  But also put more liability on the purchaser than the supplier should it not come out right?  FWIW

 

Having a GM/Buick factory service manual for the ride height references is good, too.  Plus some pictures of the result with the new springs, should something not be what it should be.

 

In the aftermarket, it was usually "std suspension" or "HD suspension", with or without a/c.  Sometimes, the addition of factory a/c resulted in the same front springs, but with a thin spacer on the coil spring mounting, in prior times.  

 

End result, the rocker panel/lower chrome trim should be parallel to the ground when all is done, unloaded.  You can look at actual pictures in the ads of side-views of the cars to see where the "lines" from the lower rocker panel/lower trim intersect the wheels/wheel covers, too.

 

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

Edited by NTX5467 (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

Today I got a call back from Coil Spring Specialties and they are making a front set to lower the car 1.5 inches.  I should have them in 7-10 days and then we see what it looks like.  They are taking the 'stock' front springs back and giving me credit.

 

Stay tuned....................

 

Chuck

Edited by chuckfmtexas (see edit history)
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