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Author Topic: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice  (Read 11995 times)

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Offline JohnW

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So from what I could find searching on here, stock leaf spring rates in a Pinto hatch would be about 80lb?

Speedway's got the AFCO 104 and 138lb as well as Landrums in 100, 125, and 150. I read the Landrums are a 3" drop and I don't want to lower my car that much, and the weight ratings are really low (only like 2100lb for the 150lb springs?!). The AFCOs are stock height, right? I'm leaning towards the 104 as they should be bit stiffer than stock. Anyone have experience running either the 104s or 138s on the street? I'm thinking the 138lb ones might be too harsh. I want it to do well in the windy mountain roads throughout the state, but I don't want it to be horribly uncomfortable since my Pinto is what I drive for 90% of the spring, summer, and fall.

There's also the Calvert mono-leafs, but those are 200 or 225lb springs and I'm guessing that would be way too high, plus they're a little more expensive.

I also believe the front coils are around 200lb? I'm going to be switching to coilovers once I buy new front control arms.

My car is an '80 4cyl hatchback that I'm turbo swapping.
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Offline dick1172762

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2014, 11:00:35 PM »
I've tried them all over the last 40 years. The 3" is not the drop but the free arch. When you lay the spring on its side, if you draw a line from the center of the front eye to the center of the rear eye, and then measure from that line to the spring, that is the arch. Stock will be 4" to 5". What you want is 3", which will lower the rear end 1" to 2". You can have your springs de arched much cheaper than new Speedway ones. And if you want stiffer, just add a leaf. At the front, just use cut down stock or wagon coils. Doesn't take much more than 1/4 to 1/2 coils to be removed. This will put you down as low as you will want to go on the street. If you need more use blocks at the rear and trim on the coils some more. Remember to go easy on the front or you'll be buyings more coils. When you get this done, get your self some KYB gas shocks along with a 1" front bar. Alinement for the street if your smart enough to get some 7" wide wheels, s/b 1deg caster / 0deg camber / 1/8" tow in. You can go up to 2 deg neg camber but tire wear will be greater. Now you should be set to kick butt with those ricers any day. This is the set up I used in SCCA to win races over 40 years. Try it cause your going to like it. I used this set up on the track and the street with no strange handling ever. Hope this helps. If you need more, PM me as we have a group of corner carvers that trade ideas all the time.
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Offline Jerry merrill

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2014, 11:30:39 PM »
Is that 1 deg positive castor

Offline JohnW

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2014, 06:35:03 AM »
My leafs look pretty rusty and thin in the middle where the isolator is, that's the main reason I wanted to order new ones. I've snapped them in 2 trucks, really don't feel like breaking springs in my car. Thanks for the info.
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Offline 74 PintoWagon

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2014, 07:01:12 AM »
Is that 1 deg positive castor
I was wondering the same, I would think it is???..
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Offline dick1172762

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2014, 07:50:16 AM »
Is that 1 deg positive castor
   YES. Sorry about that.
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Offline dick1172762

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2014, 08:17:53 AM »
I'm from the old school of Herb Adams. Stock springs / big bars / good shocks. At least this set up will drive ok on the street. Stiff springs are great on a table top and that all. Do a you-tube for automotive hill climbs and you will see what race car springs look like on the street. Pretty bad. On three wheels, on two wheels, off the ground with all four wheels. You get the idea. If you want a corner carver and drive it to work too, you've got to use a little race car and use a little street car, mix the two together and what will come out is a nice car that even the wife will ride in  / or drive her self. After you get it up and running you can tweak it all you want to. All poly bushings up front helps a lot. It'll make the front end like new. My way is the cheap way. If you have lots of money, take it to Herb Adams and enjoy. He really knows his stuff. BTW a spring is a spring is a spring. Coil overs are no better than what you have now. They came about because of tube frames. Much easyer to build that than the old way. NASCAR is still using the same set up that Ford made in 1960 on their big cars. Your front in is as good as you will ever need. BTW I've got a 80 Pinto corner carver that is a low rider boy racer. No turbo, just old school to the max. My two cents worth.
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Offline slowride

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2014, 10:17:18 AM »
I understand using leaf springs is easier, but if I were to put out that much effort to tune a suspension, I would probably go individual coilovers with a 4 link rear. The inherent bind in coil spring suspensions throughout articulation bothers me for all but normal street driving. You would likely have to sub the rear, but you would then have maximum adjustability.

Offline JohnW

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2014, 02:34:54 PM »
Leaf springs have a certain amount of side-to-side flex and binding. I want to go to a Watts link/torque arm setup in the future with 2 lower control arms and coilovers. For now I'm going to just leave the leafs and add a Watts link when I can.

My leafs are in kinda rough shape and I agree with not wanting to go too stiff, so I'm really leaning towards the 104lb ones. If they were in better shape I'd just leave them. Can anyone confirm that the stocks are around 80lb?

slowride: Are you aware that 4 link setups have inherent bind as well? 3 link or a torque arm setup would eliminate that, but with stiff bushings in a triangulated 4 link there will still be bind.
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Offline slowride

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2014, 01:19:08 PM »
Well aware of binding in 4 link setups with bushings but I use heims. My point about leaf binding was in pivoting (compression) on one side rather than equal compression on each side. Think about the shear created on leaf spring bolts and bushings during articulation and it's a wonder they handle as well as they do. That's not even addressing the instability of an leaf spring axle with a side load (as opposed to a watts link or panhard).

Offline slowride

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2014, 01:23:09 PM »
Oh, and there are times when you just have to compromise (my '31 build)


Offline JohnW

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2014, 12:23:12 AM »
Well aware of binding in 4 link setups with bushings but I use heims. My point about leaf binding was in pivoting (compression) on one side rather than equal compression on each side. Think about the shear created on leaf spring bolts and bushings during articulation and it's a wonder they handle as well as they do. That's not even addressing the instability of an leaf spring axle with a side load (as opposed to a watts link or panhard).
Isn't there still a little bind due to the geometry? Do the helms reduce it or do they eliminate it?

The Watts link should fix the instability problem and make it handle decent enough until I can afford and find time to custom build the rear suspension. I have enough on my plate with the turbo swap.

Just got the isolators off of the leafs and the 2nd leaf is split in the middle on one side. That explains why the car was leaning a slight bit. I need to talk to the local spring place on Monday and decide if I'm going to rebuild using the main leafs or just go with new ones.
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Offline Srt

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2014, 03:10:56 AM »
i used some high rate coils in mine, probably around 350# or so and some koni's set soft with a 1" bar.


at the rear i had a guy i knew who raced an alfa, and also ran a very big leaf spring shop, make me up some mono-leaf rears.


they were very supple. ride was so improved over stock leafs with blocks and rear axle control especially under hard braking was very much improved.


car was very 'tossable' if you know what i mean and not too unreasonably stiff on the street.


now that i'm older i would most certainly go softer on the front and use bars & alignment to control the suspension.


if it's a dual purpose car just experiment , you will find what works and what doesn't.


the solid axle / rear leaf system is tried and true and is very adaptable at a HUGE cost savings over other 'specialized' set-ups.
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Offline 82expghost

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2014, 08:56:28 AM »
i run the 150 landrums and love it, they are on the stiff side, so for a daily and street, the 100 would be fine, also think about what will be in the car, if you put a sound system in the back or your mother in law, you might want the 125, or stick with the 100 and put goooooood shocks on it, i personally like the pro stock shocks (gold ones) but you need boots to keep the dirt off the pistons, they are tough shock and will stiffen it with out the springs, another thing is one day you might want to get a newer style limited slip, that makes a huge difference also on handling, you know when your hammering into a turn and the rear starts to give and next it slides the opposite ? limited slip will let you push and when it gives, it stays side ways till you get traction and go straight, probably go pan hard, not a lot of room for a watts if you go 8 or 8.8 rear. landrum makes new springs for the front too any length you want and rate about 55 a piece
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Offline dick1172762

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2014, 09:56:16 AM »
i used some high rate coils in mine, probably around 350# or so and some koni's set soft with a 1" bar.


at the rear i had a guy i knew who raced an alfa, and also ran a very big leaf spring shop, make me up some mono-leaf rears.


they were very supple. ride was so improved over stock leafs with blocks and rear axle control especially under hard braking was very much improved.


car was very 'tossable' if you know what i mean and not too unreasonably stiff on the street.


now that i'm older i would most certainly go softer on the front and use bars & alignment to control the suspension.


if it's a dual purpose car just experiment , you will find what works and what doesn't.


the solid axle / rear leaf system is tried and true and is very adaptable at a HUGE cost savings over other 'specialized' set-ups.
I agree 100%. The tried and true set up under the Pinto's is very tuneable with just a little work and money. Most of the stuff needs to be replaced anyway. KYB shocks are no more than any other good shock. 1" front bar can be found on some V8 Mustang II in junk yards. Rear lowering blocks can be made at home or bought from Racer Walsh. With just those few mod you will have a car that handle's better than 99.9% of the drivers that own Pintos. Wheels and tires are the biggest and best change you can make to any car you want to go fast in. Watts linkage???? Why? First of all, you have a uni-body car with no real frame. Second of all they hang so low when made right, you'll rip the thing off the first time you go off road, and you will go off road if you try to be a "boy racer" in any car. I've been in this game for 60 years. My new Suburban  handles better than a 69/70 Mustang did when new. All you really need to do is copy what has been done to the new breed of cars to go fast. A Pinto will NEVER be as good as a new anycar. But you can get close if you try.
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Offline JohnW

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2014, 10:08:04 AM »
i run the 150 landrums and love it, they are on the stiff side, so for a daily and street, the 100 would be fine, also think about what will be in the car, if you put a sound system in the back or your mother in law, you might want the 125, or stick with the 100 and put goooooood shocks on it, i personally like the pro stock shocks (gold ones) but you need boots to keep the dirt off the pistons, they are tough shock and will stiffen it with out the springs, another thing is one day you might want to get a newer style limited slip, that makes a huge difference also on handling, you know when your hammering into a turn and the rear starts to give and next it slides the opposite ? limited slip will let you push and when it gives, it stays side ways till you get traction and go straight, probably go pan hard, not a lot of room for a watts if you go 8 or 8.8 rear. landrum makes new springs for the front too any length you want and rate about 55 a piece

Everything I'm doing with the leaf springs I'm doing is because I ripped it all out to put a 3.73 LS Explorer 8.8 under it. The Landrums claim they're for lighter weight cars than a stock Pinto going by the specs, you have no issues with them on the street?

I agree 100%. The tried and true set up under the Pinto's is very tuneable with just a little work and money. Most of the stuff needs to be replaced anyway. KYB shocks are no more than any other good shock. 1" front bar can be found on some V8 Mustang II in junk yards. Rear lowering blocks can be made at home or bought from Racer Walsh. With just those few mod you will have a car that handle's better than 99.9% of the drivers that own Pintos. Wheels and tires are the biggest and best change you can make to any car you want to go fast in. Watts linkage???? Why? First of all, you have a uni-body car with no real frame. Second of all they hang so low when made right, you'll rip the thing off the first time you go off road, and you will go off road if you try to be a "boy racer" in any car. I've been in this game for 60 years. My new Suburban  handles better than a 69/70 Mustang did when new. All you really need to do is copy what has been done to the new breed of cars to go fast. A Pinto will NEVER be as good as a new anycar. But you can get close if you try.

I'm building a frame into the car. Going to start with subframe connectors that extend the front frame rails back, then later building a simple box tubing frame just inboard the stock rear rails. That way I have way more solid mounts for suspension components and a fuel cell, can get rid of the stock rails that have surface rust in places that are hard to reach, and the whole shell will be extremely stiff.

I was already leaning towards KYB shocks and going to grab a 79 wagon swaybar from my buddy's junkyard. The wagon ones are 1" like the MII right?

I have a pair of 17x8 Mustang GT wheels and I'm trying to find 2 other wheels to go with them. I already have Toyo Proxes in a few different sizes I snagged from work when customers replaced decent tires.
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Offline slowride

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2014, 12:13:16 PM »
Isn't there still a little bind due to the geometry? Do the helms reduce it or do they eliminate it?

The Watts link should fix the instability problem and make it handle decent enough until I can afford and find time to custom build the rear suspension. I have enough on my plate with the turbo swap.

Just got the isolators off of the leafs and the 2nd leaf is split in the middle on one side. That explains why the car was leaning a slight bit. I need to talk to the local spring place on Monday and decide if I'm going to rebuild using the main leafs or just go with new ones.
Because Heims are spherical, they move in multiple axis. Think about all the different movements suspension go through in a simple act like one wheel compressing. The wheel moves up, but because you have a shackle behind the wheel, it creates an inherent bind in the axle housing itself. The angle of the spring perches change relative to each other as each wheel now arcs independently on the front spring mounts. The pinion angle also changes, as well as the relative axle center shifting (which will also happen with a Watts or panhard).
What I like about 4 links is you can use the spring rates and shocks to tune your suspension, not just compensate for binding. No system is perfect, but if you can eliminate inherent defects rather than fight them, you're closer to optimal. 

Offline JohnW

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2014, 09:57:04 PM »
I wasn't sure if there might have also been a little bit of bind due to the angle of the arms. As an example, putting tension on one of the arms when a wheel hits a bump. I never studied 4 links enough to find out if that was an actual problem.

Either way, I don't have time or money now to ditch the leaf springs. I want to eventually, but I'll have to make due for now.
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Offline Srt

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2014, 03:26:40 AM »
dick; what rear end did you/do you use under your car?


how many guys here have exploded  a 6.75 differential.


if you did, what were you doing?



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Offline dick1172762

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2014, 08:54:07 AM »
I used an 8" under all of my race Pintos. All started out with a 6 3/4" as a racer. My 72 was built in 75 at which time you could still buy a Mustang II locker for a 6 3/4" rear end. About 1985 I sold the car and built an 80 Pinto which was my daily driver. By this time the locker were no longer for sale at Ford. So in went an 8" with a Detroit locker. I raced the 80 Pinto with both 6 3/4" and 8" and I was quick to see that road racing cars had to have some kind of locker to go fast. Just the locker was worth about 2 seconds a lap on a 1' 30" track. In 88 I bought the 72 back without a rear end so in went an 8" with a Detroit locker. The 6 3/4" is plenty strong but with out a locker it use is limited to the street as the only locker you can get now is an arc welder. The Detroit locker and the welded rear end drive the same on the track but on the street the welded rear end is a real pain in the butt. I have never seen a 6 3/4" blow up because it will only spin one tire. Lock it and it will be the weak link in your car.
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Offline pintosopher

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2014, 11:58:30 AM »
I'll have to plead ignorance on the Leaf spring rates on my 72. Upon questioning the guy who built it, (Lucky 4 me) I was told the leafs were Chrysler  :o ( Blasphemy!) and that the Front coils were Mustang II V8 coils cut down. I was also told I had a MII Competition Front bar and v8 Rear bar.
 It was hopeless to street drive with any marginal comfort, and the Open 6-3/4 rear made me eat bananas at the local autocross. But then, I just bit the bullet and bought a 8" rear and then later I had my Trac lok Delivered to a Local 3 day Autocross. I'll post a few images of insanity .... The last frame says it all, And my work group is coming up in 45 minutes!

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Offline JohnW

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #21 on: January 20, 2014, 01:24:17 PM »
82expghost: How much did the Landrum springs lower your car from stock? Someone in another thread said they dropped it 3"
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Offline Srt

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2014, 10:36:34 PM »
I used an 8" under all of my race Pintos. All started out with a 6 3/4" as a racer. My 72 was built in 75 at which time you could still buy a Mustang II locker for a 6 3/4" rear end. About 1985 I sold the car and built an 80 Pinto which was my daily driver. By this time the locker were no longer for sale at Ford. So in went an 8" with a Detroit locker. I raced the 80 Pinto with both 6 3/4" and 8" and I was quick to see that road racing cars had to have some kind of locker to go fast. Just the locker was worth about 2 seconds a lap on a 1' 30" track. In 88 I bought the 72 back without a rear end so in went an 8" with a Detroit locker. The 6 3/4" is plenty strong but with out a locker it use is limited to the street as the only locker you can get now is an arc welder. The Detroit locker and the welded rear end drive the same on the track but on the street the welded rear end is a real pain in the butt. I have never seen a 6 3/4" blow up because it will only spin one tire. Lock it and it will be the weak link in your car.
Just wondering. I had a limited slip in my 6.75 (not a locker) and never had any problems however; with the turbo and my choice of tires/wheels (185/70-13 continentals or, later, dunlops stretched over 7" steel wheels didn't lend much resistance to a lot of torque being suddenly applied. I have to say that other than the lack of ratios available the little axle treated me well despite my blatant abuse!  All I remember is that over several years of street, canyon, more than a few weekend trips to riverside calclub events and countless trips to irwindale & OCIR the car really never let me down (except once!!!!!)
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Offline dick1172762

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2014, 11:21:35 PM »
I call all limited slip rear ends lockers for Ford and posie(???) for GM. Sorry for that. Like Srt said, I never had one bit of trouble with the 6 3/4 rear end. But now days there no go fast parts for them. Put an 8" under the car and forget about it. It'll out last the car by a long ways. Like I said before, a Pinto with very few mod be faster that most, if not all, of the owners.
Its better to be a has-been, than a never was.

Offline JohnW

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2014, 05:55:34 PM »
Ordering springs soon, still can't decide on spring rate. Leaning towards the 100lb Landrums, anyone run 100s or 125s on a street driven car? I'm thinking the 125s are going to be too stiff.
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Offline 65ShelbyClone

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #25 on: March 01, 2015, 10:45:18 AM »
I'm bringing this old thread back because I have the same kind of question now.

My car originally had a 2.0 with no A/C that was supplanted with a much heavier 2.3T. The stock coil springs are totally inadequate now.

Looking at Moog coils for a later Pinto, I'm not sure what rate to get. The 2.3 w/AC springs (353lb/in) cost half as much as the 2.8 w/AC (364lb/in) version. That doesn't seem like a very big difference in rate.

I'd like a firm ride, good handling, and I'm not looking to lower car much. My concern is that I'll have to trim the spring to get the right height I want and trimming them will cause the spring rate to increase further.
'72 Runabout - 2.3T, T5, MegaSquirt-II, 8", 5-lugs, big brakes.
'68 Mustang - Built roller 302, Toploader, 9", etc.

Offline 76hotrodpinto

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #26 on: March 01, 2015, 12:33:35 PM »
Great thread! Thanks for bringing it back out. On this subject I have a couple questions myself.

Is the weight difference between a n/a motor and turbo motor enough to merit any suspension adjustments?

My 76 came with an 8" mustang rear end in it, and the rear shackle to body mount is stacked under of the bumper mount bracket. I see a few holes just forward of them, that make me wonder, if they may have been the original position of the shackle mounts. Am I right? If so, is the longer spring from the mustang as well?
1976 half hatch 2.3 turbo w/t5.

Offline Wittsend

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #27 on: March 01, 2015, 10:02:20 PM »
With the turbo motor the front of the car ('73) lifts considerably on acceleration. Beyond a N/A vs Turbo motor is the fact that the 2.0 weighs considerably less than the 2.3. I'd assume that any 2.3 spring would be an upgrade on that fact alone. How much better a standard 2.3 vs V-6 and A/C, big bumpers, power steering etc, etc. would factor is anyone's guess. If they are already to stiff for the ride height needed then cutting them will only make it worse (as noted).

This is something I have considered for my car too.  But, my feeling is anyone who raced an early Pinto probably ran a 2.0 and what worked for them might not work for the added 2.3 AND turbo weight.  Hopefully someone will have a good answer.

Offline dick1172762

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #28 on: March 02, 2015, 08:25:11 AM »
I ran both 2.0 and 2.3 engines in my race cars. Stiffer springs will only help on a smooth track. There is a fine line between spring rate and road/track condition. Too much rate and your worse off than stock. Big bars / good shocks / lowered / 7" or 8" wide wheels / GOOD TIRES will give you MORE car than you can drive unless your already a racer or named Dale Jr. All those other mods are just fine tuning and are only necessary AFTER all the other mods are done. Tires will make the biggest improvement of all the things you can do to a Pinto bar none. Stock springs will work just fine for now!!!! And watts linkage? Just ask anyone who has raced a 79/85 Mazda Rx 7 about them. The watts linkage is removed and replaced by a panhard rod as the first mod to a Rx 7 racer. Quite reading all that west coast BS in the so called car magazines. They just want you to do their dirty work and then tell them if those mods really work. And all the mods in the world will not make your Pinto handled like the new breed of cars and still be streetable.
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Offline Srt

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Re: Spring rates for corner carver/daily driver & new leaf spring advice
« Reply #29 on: March 03, 2015, 03:41:23 AM »
this is a great thread.  don't be afraid to experiment but don't let magazine articles convince you that they are the truth. experience counts.
the only substitute for cubic inches is BOOST!!!