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A few rear suspension Q's [springs & bushings]


Jedi Warrior
I tore the whole rear end out of the car. The driver's side was sitting 1" lower than the passenger. I also had some issues with the rear brakes, and I figure while it's apart I am going to put in the rear bearing kit as well. I have a few questions about what should be done to put everything back together.

1) Leaf Springs - as far as I can see, removed from the car they seem to have the same height and whatnot. Does this mean they are OK, or can one still be bad? I'd imagine one could still be more fatigued than the other? Is it worth my while to have these re-tempered/rebuilt? Any idea of what I should pay (to ensure I don't get taken to the cleaners)?

2) Shocks - could a bad lever shock cause this? I compress the arm while it's on the car, and it does return to the extended position, but nothing like what a tube shock would do. It seems to take a lot of time, and quite honestly, it could just be gravity working. I am thinking maybe these are in need of service, and could that be the reason for the sag? I plan on DIY tube shocks either way, I am just wondering if I should consider the springs as good.

3) The rubber/poly spacer debate. Reading through threads, it seemed the poly was considered king by most, but then Peter C mentioned the possibility of cracked front A-arms. I plan on rebuilding the front as soon as the wallet recovers from the rear, so I should decide to go all poly or all rubber now. I also noticed that some mentioned that the rubber bushings currently available may not really be that great in quality. Any further experiences/comments as time has gone on? I'm leaning towards poly, but the rubber are cheaper and could be had from the same vendor when I order the rest of the parts.

4) Anything else I am missing that should be done? The plan is new bushings, new brake hose, new pads/rotors, new hubs, all new hardware, and DIY tube shock conversion.


Jedi Knight
1) I have no idea.

2) The shocks aren't under pressure (as with pressurized tube shocks). They dampen motion, by pushing oil through a small orifice. So no, they don't return to position. If you pull them through their range of motion, you should feel continuous resistance in both directions.

3) I'd suggest that cracked A-arms are probably caused more often by excess motion due to crushed rubber bushings, rather than the stiffness of poly bushings. YMMV.

4) Unless you plan on repacking the old ones, don't forget to add new bearings, and a rear axle seal kit (paper gasket, rubber o-ring) to your parts list. As far as bearings go, you can either replace w. conventional, or order tapered roller bearings from the usual sources.

(Note: your local bearing shop will *not* have the correct tapered bearings in stock. They are not a standard size, but an 'X-order' or special order item: a standard bearing, milled down slightly to have the correct width. This has been my experience... again, your mileage may vary.)


Jedi Warrior
Whoops - I basically meant the entire bearing kit from Moss - P/N 125-830. Comes with new bearings, seals, etc.

What's the advantage to the tapered bearings vs the Moss kit?


Country flag
Was the driver's side the lower? It usually wears down first.

tis probably the springs cause the shocks only effect the rebound, not the ride height.

If replacing springs both at the same time or if it is the drivers side you can swap them, since it seems like the car is driven alot more without a passenger. This would save you some $ and when you sit on the side with the higher spring it will go down about 1/2 an inch and eventually wear evenly.



Jedi Knight
Atrus said:
Whoops - I basically meant the entire bearing kit from Moss - P/N 125-830. Comes with new bearings, seals, etc. What's the advantage to the tapered bearings vs the Moss kit?

Well, people will debate whether there *is* a measurable advantage. But here goes nothing...

The stock system uses the following principle. There is an aluminium spacer beween the the inner races of the inner and outer bearings. This assembly is clamped together very tightly by the retaining nut, and forms a static 'axle' around which the bearings (and hub and wheel) rotate. The fit of the ball bearings themselves, in the races, is what limits lateral motion of the outer race, hub, and wheel.

With tapered roller bearings, the spacer serves no purpose. (Most remove it entirely, others leave it in.) It is the shape and alignment of the tapered rollers themselves that positively locate the hub. Because of that, and because the inner races are not clamped together, they require little more than finger-tightening. Claimed benefits: less play (and therefore more precise alignment). I would assume longer bearing life as well, but that's a totally baseless assumption on my part. :p Less rolling resistance as well, perhaps?

As I was researching mine, I found a very useful site that explained the benefits of tapered rollers over conventional 'ball-in-race' bearings... I'll see if I can track it down again.



Jedi Warrior
Thanks for the explanation Duncan. Makes sense. I think i'll go with the Moss set though, unless anyone has a reason why they are horrible or something.

Pat - Yes, driver's side was lower. I could swap it over I suppose, however, I'd really rather just have them correct out of the bag. I'll have to get a line on a couple of shops in the area and see what they say. Both my uncle and my uncle-in-law are car guys in the area, so they may have someone good to refer me to. I've heard the new springs may not be that great (as many of these repo pieces seem to be), and I'd have to replace both sides for a good $200+. If I can get both of these OE springs rebuilt for less, I'd feel much better.


Jedi Knight
Country flag
i have heard ATTEMPTS for fix this over the years. i've heard of people who have swapped the rear springs side to side, only to find that it still sags on the SAME side as before. NEW springs don't usually work either, BUT...
Is it sagging in the rear and LIFTED on the passenger side front? here's a FIX that works...

put spacers under the spring pan in the front passenger side! to find out if this will work, try lifting the low corner with your hands.. just stand there and lift. if it sinks at the opposite corner THEN..
1) get some longer bolts for the front.
2) remove TWO bolts, opposite corners of the spring pan
3) install the longer bolts, but tighten them all the way.
4) ease the nuts off the original bolts then go ahead and take
'em out. put spacers on 'em. i used regular flat washers
and tighten 'em up.
5) re release the other two and add spacers to them
6) tighten it all back up
7) Admire your car that now sits flat. !

unorthodox, but it works.. AND from what i've heard is even good for the front suspension as it evens out the steering angles!


Jedi Knight
Don't buy the springs yet. Replace the bushings front and back first. You will probably find that correct any large ride height difference between right and left. The other thing that will help is to swap the springs right for left. This will put the "worn" driver's side spring on the other side. I wouldn't spend money on new springs unless you really want to. And by the way, rebuiding the front suspension did more for leveling out my car than repairing the back. Both were miserably worn though. I went with rubber bushings but either would probably be ok. Poly will ride a bit rougher but should last much longer. Take the springs and have them tested. They can be "resprung" and then rebuilt by a good shop for about the same money as the cheap aftermarket ones you can buy now. I'd be willing to bet it isn't the springs though. Search the forum. There are quite a few threads regarding leaning midgets...


Jedi Hopeful
Take them to John R Spring on Maple between Stephenson Hwy and John R. I've dealt with them a few times and they know their stuff. It wouldn't hurt to have them looked at before springing (hah!) for new ones.


Jedi Knight
Maybe your car was used to film Norbit.... No I think that was a B.

I recently ahd a leaning situation similar to this with new everything.. Turns out the rear U bolts were torked in a way that "sprung" the right side. Dont forget a bad front spring or damaged front suspension can cause the car to lean as well. I usually mesure to see if the front or rear leans worse befor I attack such.


Jedi Warrior
Well, darn - I have it all gutted apart now, so no way it can go back together to test these methods.

I guess I'll call up John R spring tomorrow and see what they can tell me. I'd hope they can give me a price range or something. I'd prefer to have everything set instead of me re-assembling it, and then having to pull it back apart due to a bad spring.

If it is the front, I am not concerned. I'll gladly get new, used, or fix (if you can fix coils?) the front when I get to that project. I am 27 years old, I plan on having this car for quite a while. I'd like to to be "right" instead of just swapping the bad spring to the passenger side.
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