Used wagon leaf springs

General information about the first-generation Nissan Maxima in the US. What was the Datsun 810 became the luxury leader Maxima in the US in 1981.

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rlaggren
Posts: 541
Joined: 13 years ago
Location: San Francisco

Used wagon leaf springs

#1

Post by rlaggren » 11 years ago

I got a set of leaf springs from Ben when he parted out a wagon. They looked OK and even seemed to measure close to OEM spec from the FSM. Unfortunately, on pulling them apart they are seriously worn and I'll probably have to try to do a mix/match using the existing springs from my wagon. Also, one of the short leaves was broken, but that's not the real problem.

This is no reflection on Ben - they appeared in decent shape and they _are_ used. But for anybody else figuring to do something w/used wagon leaf springs, I'd advise getting them off a car you know came from the hot western states where there is less rust problems. However, rust isn't the only problem; there is another issue which is purely a matter of wear. At the moment it looks like the best use of a used set may be to act as a template for a spring shop to make new ones; but the fat lady hasn't sung yet. The leave springs are NLA and I haven't got ten custom quotes because the structural rust on the rails of this car doesn't warrant much investment. For a WAG I'd say around $600 for a set.

I do hope to re-assemble a set with the best leaves from both existing set and the "new" ones; new slip pads and smooth painted surfaces should make the ride a lot better and I may try to add a leaf to get some height.

But back to the gory details. One big problem is rust under the slip pads. In the pic below that crater, atter removing its serving of rust was at least 1/8, maybe 3/16 deep. The leaf is only about 1/4". This is the worst one, but there one a couple others like it.

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Even where there is no significant rust, the OEM slip pads have worn depressions into the leaves, many 1/32" or so.

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This is the locating hole for one of the wear pads. The pads are hard grey plastic with a raised square boss that fits into the square depression and an expanding nub with clips into the hole.

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The other serious wear point is where one of the clips that hold the leaves straight was clamped tight; this happend on both springs. I may have a better focused pic, but you can see the problem. I don't know if this happens on all wagons or whether possibly these springs were rebuilt and the clip installed too tight.

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Not the end of the world, but definitely something to ponder when approaching the rear end of a wagon. <g>

Rufus
82 Maxima wagon

rlaggren
Posts: 541
Joined: 13 years ago
Location: San Francisco

#2

Post by rlaggren » 11 years ago

Below are some measurements and possible options for SW springs. I listed various fixes but I'll probably button it back up as cheaply as possible to keep things in line with the condition of the car structure while (hopefully) getting some ride height to eliminate the constant bottoming.

Max 82 SW Rear Springs

Weight measured at RR wheel with 1:2 fulcrum 325#,329#
==> actual weight at wheel = 650#,658#
note: may be slightly low because of tilt - car RR was elevated slightly on scale. And lots of other errors - I used a bathroom scale. <g>
note: fuel tank was at less than ¼ (full tank is 18gal); rear cargo area contained about 40#
note: this approximates the 750# spec'd in the FSM for a laden
camber of 0” (FSM spec'd +.04”); means I can use the OEM figure as a starting point for height and spring rate and such

Based on OEM figures, stock spring rate (at normal static loading) is136#/in.

Sighting along main leaf (on the car), existing camber appeared slightly negative – approx 3/4”; FSM spec' s leaf as straight at 750# (static laden camber = +.04)

Measured bump travel (clearance above axle to rubber bumper) = 1-3/4”
==> stock bump travel = existing + correction to stock camber = 1-3/4 + 3/4 = 2-1/2”

FSM spec'd free camber as 5-1/2” - IIRC

Jacked up body, and viewed from side; it appears that +1” to 1-1/2” more clearance than existing (which is down about -3/4” from OEM stock height) should look OK w/the larger tires. 1” more would give 3-1/2” of bump travel.

With these large tires and the light loading in back and the sagging springs, ground to top of the fender cut-out measured 26-1/2”.

Desired spring specs:

Bump travel 3-1/2+”

Hence static laden camber of +1” to +1-1/4”. (stock is 0” @ 750#, w/approx 2-1/2” clearance)

Spring rate from neutral position to 1” compression about 125#/in or less - I like soft rides at the moment.

Spring rate at 2-1/2” compression (1” clearance left) 200#/in (guessing here – need to ask a shop what kind of progressive rate works best. These are not long springs so it may not be possible to get both a good progressive rate and moderate travel.

Possible scenarios:
1) Custom springs, 4-5 leaves. Cost probably starts at $700 – TBD.
2) Re-arc existing (or other used); probably wouldn't last more than a couple years and might break because of existing wear. Cost probably starts at $300
3) Add used or new leaf to raise static camber; clean and reassemble. $50 Would ride hard and only last a couple years.
4) Re-arc the main leaf (to get some camber and keep the eyes) and use with one custom fiberglass leaf. Cost depends on who makes the GRP leaf. If I did it it'd take a long time and I doubt I could make it properly progressive easily; material might run $50. Don't know the cost from a shop – WAG it at $500/pair. Probably the best ride because only two leave reduces the interleaf friction, and GRP leaves are said to last forever.

Springs are just so romantic...<g>

Rufus
82 Maxima wagon

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