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akrussell

Leaf spring prep

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What is the recommended method for cleaning and prepping leaf springs for paint? I have had a few people that I don't want to sand/bead blast the leaves as it might affect the spring properties of the metal. My plan was to dismantle, bead blast each leaf, epoxy prime, paint and reassemble. Thoughts?

Thanks

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<img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> I could be wrong, but doubt if bead blasting inside a closed cabinet using a siphon blast system(not pressure blast which is more aggessive) could possibly generate enough heat to change the properties of the metal. To me your plan sounds like the only way to get the rust and paint off the original spring leaves. You can also wire brush each leaf using a some type of power tool, but the glass beading will be more thorough and result in better adhesion of the paint.

Another thing that contributes to heat or damage to metal surfaces is the type of abrasive used and the operating pressures. Glass Bead is very mild and will leave a nice satin finish which will accept the paint nicely. Other abrasives are available that will do the job faster, but leave a coarser finish. Sometimes you can mix abrasives for a custom finish. Normally I would blast at the 60-80 PSI range, but if you are worried about it, try around 40 PSI. The results will be slower at the lower pressure. Also whenever you blast, always keep the nozzle moving back and forth and do not stay in one place, to minimize any buildup of heat. You can obtain more info by calling TP Tools Tech Line at 1-800-321-9260 and asking for Carmen (after 5/28 - Carmen is on vacation until then).

Fred

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I agree that bead blasting a low pressure should not adversly effect your springs. However, it will work harden the surface a bit. I use Slip-Plate Graphite dry film lubricant paint on my leaf springs. It is available at John Deere dealers for about $5 in a spray can & eliminates the need to lube springs.

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Is it generally proper to paint between the leaves? Won't the paint just be rubbed off as the spring flexes? Has anyone powder coated springs? I'm about to tackle the same job, and I'm also stumped with how to proceed.

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Guest imported_pete324rock

my 2 cents worth...leaf springs are nice and flat and easy to clean with a disc on a grinder-maybe use a flapwheel.On steel, 80 or 100 grit leaves a pretty good surface to apply a good primer-then paint.My springs had a waxy cardboard originally between leaves-after much thought about cutting up some chicken boxes-decided to leave that out.Bet my springs were finished much better than they can from the factory anyways.Replaced a leaf on each side for strength.Glass bead might be ok in hard to get at places for rust but a sanded finish is better overall-my opinion.Spring steel is plenty tough-be not afraid.pete

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I sent mine to Vehicle Spring Service, a leaf spring specialist. They can repair or build new ones from scratch. They took mine apart, cleaned them, dropped them in the furnace and heated them to cherry red and re-arched them to brand new specs. Mine weren't broken, but had a leaf been cracked or broken, they would have made a new leaf. They also do any kind of custom spring work, such as adding leaves, subtracting leaves, making leaves stiffer or softer, anything you might imagine.

When I got them back they were virtually brand new springs. They looked new, and preform like new. Cleaning and painting the old springs leaves you with pretty, worn our springs.

These type of business' are located throughout the country, since trucks still use leaf springs. Check with your local heavy truck suspension shop.

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I''ll offer how I refinished my leaf springs. In my case, the two rear springs need to be re-arched which the local spring shop did. Next, they were disassembled and each leaf was cleaned using wire wheel and flapper wheel. Each leaf was primed using Glasurit epoxy primer and painted <span style="font-weight: bold">one</span> coat of black enamel on special saw horses. Your choice of paint, either Dupont Centari or PPG's single stage (Concept line) works well. They were reassembled with a very light coating of grease between mating surfaces of the leaves. When assembled, another light final wet coat of paint was applied. They were then installed onto the chassis. Pics and details at:

http://www.monmouth.com/user_pages/friar...estoration.html

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I understand the mechanical restoration aspect of leaf springs, and I have every intention of making them function as new. However, the last time I was at the local spring shop to have a leaf replaced, the spring worked great, but cosmetics are not on the shop's list of priorities. As we all know, at AACA judged shows, it's the pretty things that count.

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