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Old 01-11-2021, 07:27 PM   #1
69Tom
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installing springs in truck w/o motor

OK, so I've run a bunch of searches on this subject.

As my truck (70 C10) is blocking my garage and I need to get things in and out of it, I really need to make it roll more easily, so I want to install the front wheels which require me somehow getting the springs installed. I don't have the engine in.

It seems spring compressors are pretty dangerous/don't work all that well depending on what you get. And, based on my studying the front end, it also seems like an internal compressor may be somewhat difficult to get out depending on design.

With that said, my next plan of action was trying to load up the front end. I'd install the engine, but it's completely apart. Would putting the block and the heads down on the front end give enough weight or still not enough? How about block, heads, a person standing on it? haha. It's a 402.

In any event, open to suggestions.
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Old 01-11-2021, 08:05 PM   #2
71CHEVYSHORTBED402
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Re: installing springs in truck w/o motor

I recently did a 402, factory height coil springs with a 2.5" drop spindles made it that more difficult. All I can say is with the drivetrain on and a 200+ lb. son sitting on the block we still managed to witness the RH frame rail lift off the rear jack stand (yikes). I agree, I tried compressors and wasn't comfortable using them at all, plus they'll scratch up the coils.

I know, not so encouraging. Perhaps you can do this with sand bags? The more the merrier. They're free 5 minutes from me, may be they're local where you are.

However you do best secure the coils to the A-arm or something during install.
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Last edited by 71CHEVYSHORTBED402; 01-11-2021 at 08:11 PM.
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Old 01-11-2021, 09:23 PM   #3
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Re: installing springs in truck w/o motor

Instead of putting in the springs if you are not ready for them,just make some jack bolts out of threaded rod,or grab some heavy steal stock and bolt them to the shock bolts after you jack it up,that way you can move it around
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Old 01-11-2021, 11:34 PM   #4
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Re: installing springs in truck w/o motor

As said above get a length of 5/8" threaded rod. Long enough to run from the lower a-arm to the top mount running inside the spring. Piece of plate steel on either end. Add a piece of chain around the frame to hold the spring in place if it tries to get away from you. Tighten the threaded rod until you can bolt in the ball joints. I typically weld nut to one end of the treaded rod.
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Old 01-11-2021, 11:47 PM   #5
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Re: installing springs in truck w/o motor

You're not driving it with no engine. So...You have firewood? Slide a stick in there across the lower control arm or stack some 2x4s in there and bolt up the spindle. It'll be good enough to roll around on. The big weight is the engine and tranny. I've even seen rigs someone has shoved a chunk of wood in there with a broken spring and just drove it like that forever.
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Old 01-12-2021, 12:03 PM   #6
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Re: installing springs in truck w/o motor

I went through the same thing so I feel your pain. No engine/trans for weight so compressing the springs to get them in was scare. If I were to do it again I'd probably go the wood block route until the engine/Trans was in.
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Old 01-12-2021, 12:32 PM   #7
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Re: installing springs in truck w/o motor

Thanks guys. Some good ideas here.
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Old 01-12-2021, 02:01 PM   #8
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Re: installing springs in truck w/o motor

I just detailed my frame. Use the wood block idea.
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Old 01-12-2021, 02:10 PM   #9
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Re: installing springs in truck w/o motor

2) pieces of 2"x10"x1/4" plate.
3)1/2 threaded rod 2)10" long (cut from one piece) 1)6" long
6)thick washers
6)nuts.
1) rag if you are worried about scratching the spring.

step 1
drill holes in the plate for the threaded rod to go through, just outside the spring coil( both sides of spring)

step 2, drill holes in the plate so the 3rd rod is in the spring center , this is so if the tool slips on the coil it can't go anywhere.

step 2a
glue rag on plate that will contact the spring if scratching spring is an issue
Step 3
on threaded rod nut, washer, plate, plate ,washer, nut on the rods for the outer holes in plate.

step 4, Put on spring and put 3rd rod in the center hole with washers and nuts, like the outer 2 inside the center of the spring.

step5. screw the nuts down the threaded rod evenly on either side, and the center.

step 6
put spring in frame and a arm, connect ball joints, back off nuts on threaded rod.

simple, reusable , cheap, and it works .

note 3rd rod is for safety, nothing more.
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Last edited by ChevyRacefan; 01-13-2021 at 06:20 AM.
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Old 01-12-2021, 09:41 PM   #10
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Re: installing springs in truck w/o motor

I put my short block in and that was enough weight to install the springs. I had the rear wheels on the ground and the front on jack stands under the front crossmember. I put a jack under the lower control arm and put the spring into the pocket and jacked it up until I coulld out the nuts on the ball joints and torqued them down. 402 here also

DISCLAIMER: My truck came from the factory with a six, so my springs are the original six cylinder springs. I don't know if that makes a difference or not, but factory big block springs may be heavier. I will say, the front end did not drop much, if at all, with the big block.
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Old 01-13-2021, 09:15 AM   #11
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Re: installing springs in truck w/o motor

I put a floor jack under the lower arm (with a block of wood), slide the spring into the pocket, put a large ratchet strap (chain might work) over the upper control arm and around the jack, then pumped up the jack to compress the spring. Worked like a charm.
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Old 01-13-2021, 01:07 PM   #12
71CHEVYSHORTBED402
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Re: installing springs in truck w/o motor

Quote:
Originally Posted by my67c20 View Post
I put a floor jack under the lower arm (with a block of wood), slide the spring into the pocket, put a large ratchet strap (chain might work) over the upper control arm and around the jack, then pumped up the jack to compress the spring. Worked like a charm.
That's a great idea. I can't speak for some trucks, but unless I'm missing something you can't use the threaded rod trick on my trucks because the top of the coil spring fits underneath the engine support & there are no holes on top.
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72 Cheyenne Super, C20, 402/400TH, A/C. Donor, hauler, naturally vented. Dependencies like gauges, heat, wipers, & headlights don't work-just how I like it.

How is it frame-off when the frame is the last thing left.......................Tony
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Old 01-13-2021, 01:15 PM   #13
ChevyRacefan
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Re: installing springs in truck w/o motor

Quote:
Originally Posted by 71CHEVYSHORTBED402 View Post
That's a great idea. I can't speak for some trucks, but unless I'm missing something you can't use the threaded rod trick on my trucks because the top of the coil spring fits underneath the engine support & there are no holes on top.
Doesn't need one, the center rod is 8" long and the nut you turn is at the bottom, the top nut and washer just there to hold it together.
Like running a nut up a bolts thread.
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Old 01-13-2021, 04:16 PM   #14
69Tom
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Re: installing springs in truck w/o motor

Quote:
Originally Posted by my67c20 View Post
I put a floor jack under the lower arm (with a block of wood), slide the spring into the pocket, put a large ratchet strap (chain might work) over the upper control arm and around the jack, then pumped up the jack to compress the spring. Worked like a charm.
That definitely might be worth a shot.
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Old 01-14-2021, 06:11 PM   #15
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Re: installing springs in truck w/o motor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boog View Post
You're not driving it with no engine. So...You have firewood? Slide a stick in there across the lower control arm or stack some 2x4s in there and bolt up the spindle. It'll be good enough to roll around on. The big weight is the engine and tranny. I've even seen rigs someone has shoved a chunk of wood in there with a broken spring and just drove it like that forever.
This. A 4x4 block of wood works just fine. Used them on my 67/68 in storage for years.
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Old 01-15-2021, 01:19 AM   #16
71CHEVYSHORTBED402
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Re: installing springs in truck w/o motor

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChevyRacefan View Post
Doesn't need one, the center rod is 8" long and the nut you turn is at the bottom, the top nut and washer just there to hold it together.
Like running a nut up a bolts thread.
I think I understand now, thank you.
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72 Cheyenne Super, C20, 402/400TH, A/C. Donor, hauler, naturally vented. Dependencies like gauges, heat, wipers, & headlights don't work-just how I like it.

How is it frame-off when the frame is the last thing left.......................Tony
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