How to separate a Transverse or Buggy Spring

If it’s one thing I learned as kid from my dad was that you need to fear and respect the suspension, specifically the springs on a vehicle. They can have a lot of built up tension in them when still mounted together that can be very dangerous if released uncontrollably. There’s a lot of different ways out there take apart a “buggy” spring found on older cars. Henry Ford used these through the 40’s and they are common place when building a hot rod or restoring an antique car or truck.

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After building our DIY chassis table I’ve been gathering parts to put together a custom chassis for my 30 Model A Coupe project. I want this car to “sit right” so I HAD to hit up the spring gurus over at Posies Rod and Customs for a set of front and rear reverse-eye drop springs for the front and rear. Since this car is going to be built in a “traditional” manner keeping with an old school theme, I opted for the front spring that has their patented “Super Slide” cups hidden underneath with rolled and tapered ends to keep that “old school” look. Those cool little moly-nylon button helps reduce friction between the springs making for a smoother ride.

I needed to take these apart for two reasons, the first being that since I asked for the reverse-eye drop springs a traditional leaf spreader won’t work any longer, the other reason is that these come in bare metal and I wanted to hit them with a coat of paint to avoid rust from forming while putting the chassis together. I decided to document the process to hopefully help some of the beginners that may have never messed with this type of suspension before.

The first and most important thing you need to remember when taking apart a transverse or buggy spring is that you can NEVER be too careful. Getting lazy, cutting corners or dropping your guard at anytime can be VERY dangerous. Below we have my front spring pack from Posies that I need to disassemble. I like to set the pack up in a vice first with it clamped down on the center of the spring pack.

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I first take two medium to large sized C-Clamps and tighten them down pretty tightly on the spring on either side of the vice jaws. I then take the spring clamps on either end off and carefully remove the center bolt from the spring pack.

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Once the bolt is out I take a piece of threaded rod that is the same diameter as the center bolt and put two nuts with washers on either side and snug them up against the top and bottom of the spring. The second jam nut on either side is for safety in case the threads on the first nut fail (never had it happen but safety is key here!).

I then take this entire contraption out of the vice and set it on the shop floor. I then start slowly alternating between loosening the threaded rod and the C-Clamps. I always try and make sure I leave a tiny bit of tension on the c-clamps so the threaded rod isn’ taking the full force of the spring all at once.

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As you can see below after a few rounds of loosening the spring slowly starts to separate until the it gets to the point where you can loosen the threaded rod by hand and the clamps can be removed.

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With the springs apart I can now prep and paint them with Eastwood Chassis Black Primer and Satin Chassis Black Paint. The result is a subdued, but finished looking spring I know won’t rust the first time it gets humid in my shop.

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Keep an eye out for another post showing assembling the spring on the axle and the process. Thanks for reading along!

-Matt/EW

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