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My 58 Roadmaster now has new, correct tires, likewise springs and shocks. Ride height is good but the driver's side slumps about one inch at the front, as measured at the top of the front wheel wells. The car is missing some body cushions which I plan to replace this spring. Is that the likely cause of this slump? From the back, the car looks level.

 

Bill in Luray

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I'll do that tomorrow - I have the "frame height chart" handy from the body manual. What are the possible causes/remedies for (1) frame height left and right is the same and (2) frame height left and right is different?

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The frame height is uneven. Measured at the front where the frame is level with the floor, the drivers side is 1” lower which accounts exactly for what I see. Likely cause? Remedies?

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48 minutes ago, highcking said:

The frame height is uneven. Measured at the front where the frame is level with the floor, the drivers side is 1” lower which accounts exactly for what I see. Likely cause? Remedies?

Springs not equal or bent/twisted frame.  Swap springs or stack spacers on the low spring.

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Old-tank, 

No, the left front sagged from the start. I assumed it was a very weak or broken spring. The removed springs were all intact but probably dated to 1959.

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If adding shims on the left side does not help, you may have to take it to a frame shop.  I replaced the springs on the rear of my 76 Olds royale with no change in the unevenness.  Turned out that the frame was twisted (found out later that the car fell off the train or truck and they 'fixed it' and sold it to me anyway)

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When replacing springs, and even just shocks, you need to be careful about the travel you put the suspension components through. Most of the rubber bushings have a serrated inner sleeve that grips the arm when the through bolt is tightened.

When I service the suspension I loosen all the pivot point bolts. I have a brass bar to drive them a short distance to be sure they are free and not binding, Then I use a large chisel to spread the component to loosen that serrated edge grip. That is on all points that may be rotated. Once the installation is complete I rest the car on its wheels and jounce it at ride height. Then tighten. When these precautions aren't taken bushings can tear or twist.

Be sure to check the shop manual for instructions. Some Buicks give instruction on the direction the spring ends should point or recommend 2X4 blocks during the install.

 

These are things I learned from professionals at spring shops who just unbolted whatever it took to pull things down enough to pry a spring in. When you pick the car up to find it sitting all goofy they say "It's a coil spring, You can't adjust them." All you can do is bring it home and do it all over the right way. Two cars cured me of that.

 

Oh, that reminds me of the guy who told me the brake hose was too old to support the brake drum, backing plate, and spindle when it turned out to be my emergency job to find a finned aluminum brake drum.

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4 minutes ago, 60FlatTop said:

 

 

 

 

Oh, that reminds me of the guy who told me the brake hose was too old to support the brake drum, backing plate, and spindle when it turned out to be my emergency job to find a finned aluminum brake drum.

Please rephrase Bernie, my mind doesn't work like yours, I don't understand.

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16 minutes ago, 60FlatTop said:

Be sure to check the shop manual for instructions. Some Buicks give instruction on the direction the spring ends should point or recommend 2X4 blocks during the install.

This is a good point, also make sure spring is in the pocket squared up to the end. i have had them rotate out of square and cause a height difference.

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Most coil springs have a "top" and "bottom" and in many cases, the "bottom" as to correctly engage with the lower control arm/mount area.  Probably moreso on the front than the rear?

 

As mentioned above, do NOT tighten any rubber bushing without the car sitting on the ground and at ride height.  You can put them in an pretty much snug them enough to keep them in place, but NO final torque with the car suspended and the wheels dangling.  When the bushing get its final tightening, you want the bushing to be in the center of its pivot/travel, which it should be when the car is on the ground and at ride height.  Otherwise, the rubber will be constantly twisted and will not last as long as it should.  It should not usually have enough force to cause a difference in ride height, though.

 

Do NOT use the body sheet metal to measure clearances wtih.  Use the chassis components instead.  To check the springs, look at the distance between the lower control arm bumper and what it contacts on the frame (when that wheel might bottom out).  I believe that will give you a much better idea of if the springs are the same, side to side.  Rocker panel should be level with the flat surface the car resides on.  For an idea of if the car's ride height is correct, find some of the PHOTOGRAPHIC print ads of the time to see where an imaginary line from the rocker panel (or chorme trim thereof) might intersect the center of the wheel cover.  Same place on the front and rear wheel covers.

 

The reason I specified "photograhic" print ads is that many were "drawn"/artistic which were not always in true proportions.  Ride height a bit toooo low, car length a bit toooooo long, etc.

 

Enjoy!

NTX5467

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My comment on the brake drum getting broken:

 I was sharing some of my experience of shops, or myself, don't inadvertent damage for taking too much for granted when work is done. The guys who disconnect shocks and pull down tight suspension joints were first. That reminded me of a shop where I took my '66 Electra to have them install a front end bushing kit. They separated the ball joints, top and bottom, the let the whole brake assembly hang by the brake hose. The hose broke' to the floor. That broke a chunk out of the aluminum drum.

They said the hose was old and too rotted to hold the weight. And told me I needed to find a drum. That was not in my plans and was unnecessary to have happen.

But that is how these mysterious situations happen.

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Um, please show me the shop manual that says it's OK to hang the backing plate/brake assembly or caliper by the hose...  :unsure:

 

I have an assortment of leftover wire (e.g., #12 or 14 solid core copper) that are a foot or so in length that I use for situations like this.

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2 hours ago, EmTee said:

Um, please show me the shop manual that says it's OK to hang the backing plate/brake assembly or caliper by the hose... 

 

Restraint is my least recognized attribute. That's my quote when I want to get a laugh out of my wife.

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10 hours ago, EmTee said:

Um, please show me the shop manual that says it's OK to hang the backing plate/brake assembly or caliper by the hose...  :unsure:

 

I have an assortment of leftover wire (e.g., #12 or 14 solid core copper) that are a foot or so in length that I use for situations like this.

That's an excellent tip!!! Thanks. I'll have to remember that

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I am going to just suggest the importance of level flat ground over the entirety of the car. If unsure how this may be affecting the heights, you could use the same floor but turn the car around and see if the height issue remains. Just a thought.  Always a difficult task when the issue is not apparent. Good luck.

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On 1/27/2021 at 10:56 PM, highcking said:

I will try that! My shop floor seems to be level but your test is a good one.

 

Also pay attention to how much gas is in the tank and what's in the trunk.  Typically the shop manual specifies the chassis height with 1/2 tank of gas.

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