1976 Buick Estate Wagon front springs

Discussion in 'General Automotive Tech' started by EZRider, May 5, 2017.

  1. EZRider

    EZRider Engineer

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    Hello everyone, it's been a while!

    I am hoping someone can help me with this:
    I needed new front springs on my Buick because one of them was broken. I couldn't find front springs for a '76 Estate Wagon per se, so I bought a heavy duty (to reduce body roll on the tiny, curvy roads over here) set for the Electra.
    The heavy duty springs sure reduced body roll! And, still being in one piece, made my Buick pass inspection, also important.
    But, they raised the front end quite a bit, two inches or something, which is not pretty.
    Now, the AC punp has been removed, but one pump doesn't explain this much height difference.
    So I'm guessing I need another set. I currently have the Raybestos 585-1000 set mounted.
    Does anyone know which heavy duty set of front springs I need?

    Many thanks in advance for any help!
     
  2. Fat Tedy

    Fat Tedy Island Red Neck

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    By far my spring knowledge is limited but over the years I've had new springs (coil and leaf) installed on various cars. I've never done it myself, always had a spring shop do them. Each time on a factory replacement (no custom work as in ride height) front or rear always was higher than before = old springs sag compress in time, the new....well they are new = they have less "spring" to them as the old worn out. My advise would be to take it to a spring/suspention shop and ask them to drop it a couple inches, could(?) be as easy as cutting one coil out.
     
  3. EZRider

    EZRider Engineer

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    Thanks for the input Tedy! Yeah that might be necessary, but I'd rather not, as that would stiffen the springs even more, they're already heavy duty so comfort has already been sacrificed for handling enough to my taste.

    I forgot to mention that I measured the ride height according to the workshop manual, and it was actually as it should be with the old springs (I agree they usually sag a lot over the years, guess this set was already replaced once?), with the line along the top of the lower door trim passing exactly through the centers of the wheels. That line now passes over the center of the front wheels by about two inches...

    Argh, it's driving me nuts I can't find springs for a '76 Estate Wagon in any catalog...
     
  4. Holzwagen

    Holzwagen Member

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    I would give it some time for the springs to settle. If the tail-end dragging stance is driving you crazy throw a set of air shocks in the back to raise help out the tired leaf springs in the back. All my clamshell wagons have needed the rear leafs re-arched.
     
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  5. EZRider

    EZRider Engineer

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    I had to remove the LPG tanks (they were located in the third bench compartment) because of a change in the road tax law for 'oldtimers' here, so the car is sitting flat (but high up, I think you can roll a basketball under it) right now because of the reduced weight on the rear axle. My Buick now complies to our 'oldtimer' laws again (it's over 40 years old) so now I can replace the LPG installation without severe road tax penalties. So the rear will lower again to the stock height once the new tanks are placed. I'd like to have the front to stock height as well before that.
    I do need new leaf springs for the rear axle at some point, as they're pretty much flat with the LPG tanks mounted and thus gving a pretty harsh ride, but that's a future issue...
     
  6. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Nothing is foolproof as fools are ingenious."

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    Whether a front end 'looks' too high or low, what determines whether the car is or is not, is the ride height. If you can get a hold of a Fisher body manual, it will say what the wagon's correct ride height is.
     
  7. WagonKiller

    WagonKiller Well-Known Member

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    I would definitely give it some "settling" time. I may take a few weeks/months but they always come down over time. Even a set of apparently "worn out" springs OUT of the vehicle for a few years sitting relaxed will give a "high" effect until they settle once reinstalled. Electra springs should be pretty much exactly the same as a wagon weight wise. Wagons are made for hauling.
     
  8. EZRider

    EZRider Engineer

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    Ok, I remeasured today according to the manual, and now it sits about one inch higher than factory, so they already settled an inch over the last year or so (they were mounted last year, but I haven't driven it a lot in that period). So I guess that's not a really big deal... and it does give the car a bit of a off-road 'go anywhere' look, which is a nice contrast to the modern day asphalt huggers...
    But: once the LPG tanks go back in, the rear will drop that inch again back to factory... Reading your replies, for which many thanks by the way, I'm now inclined to shift the problem to the rear leafs.
    That does make things a lot more complicated though, I've never even heard of anyone re-arching leaf springs in this country. Guess I'll have to do some googling and what not...
     
  9. WagonKiller

    WagonKiller Well-Known Member

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    Actually I always do mine myself (rear springs). As long as your main leaf is good you can do it or have someone with at least SOME skills do it
     
  10. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Nothing is foolproof as fools are ingenious."

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    Re-arching a spring is no problem, it's just reheated, reworked to the proper arch and cooled in that arch.
     

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