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Author Topic: 78 wagon broken rear spring  (Read 4158 times)

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Offline ToniJ1960

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78 wagon broken rear spring
« on: September 14, 2015, 02:13:22 PM »
 The spring is sheared straight across right near the front edge wherever it attaches in the front might still be attached but the spring is hanging down.

 Are they hard to change or hard to find? Could it be welded back together?

Offline ToniJ1960

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2015, 04:16:54 PM »
 Wonder if it just came apart its too perfectly straight

Offline 76hotrodpinto

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2015, 08:07:24 PM »
You will need to replace both springs. Not a good place for a welded fix. I don't have problems finding springs for the pintos and m2's in my area, maybe $100 for a set of good used ones.

Edited to say,
It's not a technically difficult job, but you will be dealing with some possibly stuck and crusty fasteners. And the bushing are likely to need replacement too.
1976 half hatch 2.3 turbo w/t5.

Offline ToniJ1960

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2015, 08:30:25 PM »
 Why both? And it looks too perfectly straight to have been broke I think, maybe something is gone that held it up?

Offline 76hotrodpinto

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2015, 08:35:33 PM »
Why both? And it looks too perfectly straight to have been broke I think, maybe something is gone that held it up?

There is supposed to be a loop there that holds a bushing and a bolt thru the center. It's definitely broken. You want to do both because you won't find another single spring to match the 40 years of wear you have on the one you have left, ie. it will be lopsided. Either a pair of new or used, but a matched pair.
1976 half hatch 2.3 turbo w/t5.

Offline ToniJ1960

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2015, 08:51:11 PM »
 Can I do this myself?

Offline 76hotrodpinto

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2015, 09:03:13 PM »
Can I do this myself?

Maybe? I don't know what your skill level is, or what tools you have. It's not going to be a 1 hour job, but with basic tools and rudimentary knowledge, yeah, I think you can do it.

You'll need to either support the axle and car separately, or remove the axle altogether. I would leave it in place, it's less work. You remove the u-joints and the other 3 eye bolts at the spring perches. Everything is heavy, make sure the axle is supported before you undo the springs. Hopefully you have an impact wrench.
1976 half hatch 2.3 turbo w/t5.

Offline ToniJ1960

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2015, 09:13:46 PM »
 No impact tools :( jack jackstands and hand tools. Brake rotors and wheel bearings is about as far I did before.

Offline 76hotrodpinto

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2015, 09:47:09 PM »
No impact tools :( jack jackstands and hand tools. Brake rotors and wheel bearings is about as far I did before.

With some wd40 or similar, you should be ok. Harbor freight sells a 1/2" electric impact for about $50, and a set of impact sockets for $20. If you can afford those, I recommend you do. They will serve you well for a weekend warrior. Remember you need to put stands under the car, and under the axle.
1976 half hatch 2.3 turbo w/t5.

Offline pinto_one

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2015, 09:47:37 PM »
I brought a new pair of leaf springs for my 79' got them from JC Whitney, mine were sagging, not hard to do but change one at a time , use some liquid wrench penetrating oil on all the nuts and bolts, soaking them for a day or two before to try to remove them , it will make it so much easier and save the skin on your knuckles , useing just hand tools it took me about four hours , took my time and cleaned everything along the way , later Blaine
76 Pinto sedan V6 , 79 pinto cruiser wagon V6 soon to be diesel or 4.0

Offline ToniJ1960

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2015, 10:17:39 PM »
 Did you have to get new bolts too? I think Im seeing two different types of bushings one piece and two piece.

 Autozone has bushings but not the bolts?

 And I think I need to look at it close maybe a leaf pulled out and Im seeing two ends? Its so straight and rusted across the ends. I have to look and see whats still attached at the front of that spring. If the band came off that holds the leaves can it be replaced?

Offline 76hotrodpinto

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2015, 10:33:01 PM »
Did you have to get new bolts too? I think Im seeing two different types of bushings one piece and two piece.

 Autozone has bushings but not the bolts?

 And I think I need to look at it close maybe a leaf pulled out and Im seeing two ends? Its so straight and rusted across the ends. I have to look and see whats still attached at the front of that spring. If the band came off that holds the leaves can it be replaced?

The eye is formed on the top leaf, and the sequentially shorter leafs are the springy part. It's possible what you see is the second leaf, look on top of the leafs for signs that top one broke off. Not likely, as it would leave the remainder still bolted to the spring/body mount.
1976 half hatch 2.3 turbo w/t5.

Offline ToniJ1960

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2015, 11:32:09 PM »
 Someone here on the forum is helping me with a spring, thankfully.

 So now, do I raise both sides of the rear to put the new one in?

 Usually when I raise the rear I put the jack under the differential to raise both sides, and put jackstands under the spring perches.

 That probably wont work for this job.I do have 2 sets of stands, so maybe raise both sides put stands under the bumper brackets and under each axle? Then have the jack free to raise and lower the axle or the spring?

Offline Reeves1

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2015, 06:37:49 AM »
As mentioned, replace both springs.
Looks like the eye broke off the front of the spring.

Spring shops can (good ones) make you new ones, with the new bushings.
Also, you should never re-use the U-bolts. Get new ones, cut the old ones off. Saves time / work.

How do all the other rubber parts look ? ie: shocks & spring pads ? Likely best to replace them as well.

Offline ToniJ1960

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2015, 06:40:21 PM »
 Well the new spring is in, the pads I got with it were better than the ones I had so they went in too, with a new shackle.


 Now that side is higher by a lot. I measured from the bottom oedge of the rim to the bottom of the body,both sides the same.


 In front though the drivers side is an inch or more higher than the front passenger side.

 Im thinking the rear drivers side spring being broke maybe it was lower there and lifted the front enough I didnt notice something wrong in the front, or jacking up the drivers side so far put more weight on the passenger side.

 Between the top of the tire and bottom of the fender on the passenger side I can barely get my hand in without angling it. On the drivers side much more room.

 Front springs look ok as far as I can tell by looking with my eyes.

 Whats the deal? What should I look for?

Offline 76hotrodpinto

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2015, 07:05:15 PM »
Assuming you have both front wheels in matching size(and no catastrophic damage to front suspension), I would say your springs are toasted. Not matched in resistance at any rate.
1976 half hatch 2.3 turbo w/t5.

Offline ToniJ1960

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2015, 08:09:18 PM »
 The front ones? I would be kind of surprised if theyre different, both are original to the car Im sure. I had it since 1986.

 What should I check in the front suspension?

Offline ToniJ1960

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2015, 08:26:02 PM »
 I measured from the ground to to upper control arms same on both sides.

Offline oldkayaker

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2015, 06:43:05 AM »
I am a little confused as usual.  Did you just replace the left rear spring without installing a matching right rear spring?  If so, the newer left rear spring is probably taller than the old right spring.  A taller left rear spring would raise the left rear a lot, lower the right front quite a bit, and raise both the left front & right rear a little.  The amount of change depends on body flex and the sway bar(s) installed.  If you installed a matched set of rear springs, I have no idea of what is going on.

For measuring body height changes, I found measuring from the ground to the bottom of the outer fender wheel well lip top center the easiest.  Measuring from ground to the bottom of the rocker panel is more accurate, but I have to lay on the ground to see the tape measure.  Also make sure the tire inflation is where it is supposed to be and equal side to side.
Jerry J - Jupiter, Florida

Offline ToniJ1960

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2015, 01:24:16 PM »
 Yes I got a leaf spring from someone here and used it, just hoping it would be close enough for now. Im planning to move soon and just need to be able to get my car where Im going.

 The weird thing is the difference l to r in front is drastic, but I cant measure or see any l to r on the rear. I measured in the rear from the lower edge of the rim to the bottom of the wheel well, both sides 17 inches maybe a quarter inch difference.

 In front the difference is 1.5 to 2.0 inches side to side. I kind of wonder if raising the drivers side so far put too much weight on the passenger side, or maybe the spring in front on the drivers side isnt sitting where it should be on the lower ca?

 Maybe the rear spring being broken let the right rear drop some and raised the l front and I didnt notice it was there?

Offline 76hotrodpinto

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2015, 04:19:59 PM »
That's why you do them in matching pairs. Yes if the diagonally opposed front wheel is lower, the new spring is sitting higher then the other rear spring. Don't even worry about the front till the back has matching leaf springs, and level side to side.
1976 half hatch 2.3 turbo w/t5.

Offline oldkayaker

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2015, 05:04:04 PM »
If I am reading this correctly, you are saying the rear is sitting level side to side now and just the front end is not level?  The front not being level side to side by 1" to 1.5" seems excessive.  If the car was driven a lot with the broken LR spring, maybe the body got twisted/distorted some.  Do the doors close okay and are the gaps even?  If this is the cause, maybe just driving on a rough/uneven road some would straighten the body a little and bring the front back closer to even.  I am guessing here.
Jerry J - Jupiter, Florida

Offline ToniJ1960

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2015, 06:41:34 PM »
 Yes thats what makes it seem so weird left and right rear seem to pretty even, at least nowhere near as far off as the front left to right.

 I cant say for certain theres any difference in the rear height  L and R, at the most its slight 1/4 maybe.

 Looking at the broken ends of the spring theyre rusted over so it must have been broke for a good amount of time. I dont drive it as much since I got my Corvette 2 years ago, but I would bet its been broke longer than that.

 I do remember driving it once a while back and heard a loud clunk or pop from the front, looked around under it and couldnt see anything (Im sure it was the front, cant remember if it was which side).

 Maybe confusing things even more the front drivers side seems to be tipped in a little at the top. I read adding spring spacers would alter the camber, so it makes me wonder if the drivers side front might actually be up too high, and changed the camber?

Offline oldkayaker

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2015, 10:33:12 PM »
Hearing a loud clunk or pop from the front suspension is troubling.  Suggest taking it to a alignment shop for inspection before driving a lot.  There are a number of things that could be at fault in the front, i.e. failed ball joint, seizing shock absorber, bad A-arm bushings, cracked A-arm, something loose like A-arm attachment bolts, failing steering shaft rubber flex joint, etc.   

If everything was adjusted and working properly up front, the lower right front side wheel should have more negative camber (tire top tipped in) than the higher left front side.  The Pinto's unequal length A-arm suspension should gain negative camber (more top tipping in) as it is compressed and lose negative camber (less top tipping in) as the front end is raised.

Just curious, do the doors close okay and are the gaps even?
Jerry J - Jupiter, Florida

Offline ToniJ1960

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #24 on: October 21, 2015, 10:57:07 PM »
 The passenger door opens and closes ok since I put new(er) hinges on it a year ago. The drivers door sags and still needs hinges on it. So its hard to tell about the gaps on it.

 It was hit pretty hard from behind in 1991 knocked into the car in front of me at a red light. I had to pull the core support out to get a radiator in it, new fenders and hood.

Offline oldkayaker

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #25 on: October 22, 2015, 06:28:40 AM »
Thanks, that sounds like normal door operation.  So my concern of the body being slightly warped is likely unfounded.

Looking at the date of the accident indicates that you had over 10 years of assumed normal operation before the rear spring broke.  So the 1991 accident is probably not the cause of the new front suspension noises.

Just for safety sake, I suggest taking it to a alignment shop for a inspection before you go on the trip or other high speed operation.  Front suspensions should not make loud clunk or pop noises.  If it were mine, I would inspect and disassemble the front suspension until the noise source is found or that all the life threatening items are proven to be good (but I am a paranoid person).
Jerry J - Jupiter, Florida

Offline ToniJ1960

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #26 on: October 22, 2015, 01:55:45 PM »
 I cant really be sure about how long that rear spring was broke. Whenever I had to jack it up I raised it with the jack under the differential,so it probably held it up. I only noticed it when I was having a new clutch put in a couple weeks ago.

 Its been broke for a while since the ends are completely rusted over with thick rust. I couldnt believe it when I saw it how long was I driving like that I keep wondering.

 The ase mechanic who put the clutch in is supposed to be coming over to look at the front suspension, and rear, and help me figure this out, today.

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Re: 78 wagon broken rear spring
« Reply #27 on: December 30, 2015, 07:56:17 PM »
Just a quick note - The Suspension King in Pennsylvania has brand new five leaf springs for wagons for anyone else considering a change. They come new, prepainted but I painted them a second coat with POR-15 Chassis Black. They also have bushings.

Shackles and new main bolt, bought them both from Rock Auto; shackles had bushings included. Painted these as well. I'm installing an 8" rear end to replace the factory 6.75"; everything has been sandblasted, primed, filled, sanded, primed again and painted with POR-15 chassis black. The rear end is gonna look excellent up against my restored gas tank.
Restoring a 1976 MPG wagon - purchased 6/08