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How to remove leaf springs on a 55 Thunderbird

Discussion in '1955 - 1966 Classic Ford Thunderbird' started by JDJ, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. Hi all, I’m stripping my entire chassis of my 1955 thunderbird and need help. I’ve got everything off the chassis and need to know how to take off the rear springs. I’m buying everything new for the rear springs but need to know which comes off fire, the front shackles,the rear shackles, or the axle u bolts? Do I need to lift the wheels off the ground? Anyone that can describe this procedure would be a GREAT HELP.

  2. Rear spring removal as written in the 55 shop manual.
    "Raise the rear of the car and place supports under the frame and rear axle. Disconnect the shock absorber at the rear spring clip plate. Remove the spring clip nuts and spring clips, then remove the spring clip plate, spring insulators, and insulator retainers (if used). Remove the stud and washer assembly from the front hanger. Remove the nuts from the shackle bar studs and remove the outer shackle bar. Pull the rear spring off the lower shackle stud, then remove the spring from the car. "
    biddle likes this.
  3. fordrodsteven

    fordrodsteven Well-Known Member Gold Donor

    Are you taking the rear end out also? Either way you need to start out as Tater salad said and get it all up in the air and supported properly. I would also start right away with spraying penetrant on the bolts (especially at the front). The bolt at the front go through a sleeve in the frame and I have always found them pretty well rusted in place. I would unbolt the items at the axle first (shocks. U bolts and anything else that be attaching the springs to the axle). Then I woud go to the back and undo the shackles. Last I would remove the front bolts. Remember to be sure to soak the bolts with penetrant!
    You may not be successful getting the front bolts out at first. Continue with penetrant and when you tire from working on it you should let it sit and soak overnight. Then go it again the next day. I saw one guy had to work at it for almost a week before he got the front bolts out. Patience is very important on this one.

    Last time I put mine back together I applied a little anti seize on the bolts going through the frame sleeves.
  4. Kroil is the best penetrant I've ever used. It's expensive, but well worth the extra cost in my experience
  5. Hi Tater, Thanks for the information
  7. Just fyi. The "spring clip plate" is what the lower side of the shock is bolted to . (And I assume the other spring clips are in the same place). You probably already know this. Thought I would elaborate because the terminology was a little foreign to me. Im also unclear if the birds use the spring insulators. Please add your findings as you progress through this endeavor. Im thinking of replacing mine in the next month or two as well.
  8. biddle

    biddle Forum Moderator Staff Member

    Blaster Spray is amazing! - https://amzn.to/2LlSRdf
  9. Hi Steve and Tater,
    I was successful in getting the leaf springs and all mounting hardware off. I hoisted the body off the chassis a week ago
    the body shop that’s getting all the historic secrets of my beautiful bird taken care of and painting my 55. Thanks to fordrodsteven for sharing photos and detailed dimensions of his cockpit brace. I was able to easily lift the body off the chassis. My car has lived in Southern California until 1995 when my wife and I and my sons bought it to Southern Maine. All together it’s been in dry storage for 45 years! I now realized what my Uncle Ike meant when he said someday I’d be glad to own a California car
    The right front leaf spring bolt that goes through the frame was the only bolt on the entire car that needed a little “thumping” to free up.
    I had put the front of the frame up on stands about 6’ back from the front of the frame and totally removed all the front suspension, steering assemblies,and wheels. I trigged the rear wheels and backed my 20’ flatbed trailer under the
    front 6’ of the frame and brought my hydraulic jack up on the trailer and tilted the trailer up as high as I could ( trailer was on a ball mount on my John Deere tractor and attached to rear three point hitch). I pulled the frame foward on the trailer using the hydraulic jack (which is on wheel) until the tires on rear axle bumped against the trailer frame. I trigged the wheels, secured the frame to the front trailer frame (just in case) I lowered the frame front with the jack onto the trailer deck. I took off the u bolts ( which I had already loosened) and then the shackle bolts. I went to the tractor and lowered the three point hitch and up came the rear of the frame. All loaded and headed to the media blaster tomorrow before Tuesday Snow
    Having the support of Thunderbird Forum and the many members of the Baby Bird fraternity has helped me make this lifelong dream of restoring this family treasure so much easier and fun.

    Thanks today Tater and especially Steve ( fordrodsteven) for always answering my numerous questions!!


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