Imperial Homepage -> Repair -> Frame, Spring and Shocks -> Interchange
Question from Leo (1956):
I'm looking for rear leaf springs for my '56 sedan. The main leaf on the drivers side broke. :-( Are there springs from other vehicles that will fit?
55-56 Imperial. Chrysler and DeSoto are the only ones that interchange according to Hollanders.
Bring your car to a good spring shop in your area & they can replace the leaf. If need be, they can make complete new springs. If you don't have a shop in your area, many have recommended Eaton Detroit Spring as a good source for springs & all the related hardware.
Follow-up from Leo:
I'm out in the sticks with no resources. It looks like the main leaf from a '68 Ford Pickup might work. 2.5" wide, 54" eye to eye and center pin 24" from front eye.
I had leaf springs made up for my 62 Le Baron back in 6/2/99, for $358.50 including shipping from Ohio, but for the life of me I can't find the outfits name in my records. I thought I got a bargain. They have the specs for all the Imperials, they told me. Been on the car and working well ever since.
Question from John (1961):
I found out you can't buy new leaf spring, they have to be copied and made new. Is this true? Are there anything I should be watching out for?
Don't know where you received your information regarding buying leaf springs. Granted you can't walk into NAPA and buy a pair off the shelf but you can buy new ones. I speak for my '65. But I would think you could buy them for your '61 as well. Check out this website: http://www.espo.com/ I'll bet they can help you! Also try The Tire Rack for KYB shocks. If they don't have what you need, go to the KYB website.
Try Eaton Detroit Spring. They advertise in Hemmings & have springs & all hardware available. If you are near a big city, there may be a spring shop that can make the springs for you. I had that done on 2 63's. They actually had the correct grooved spring material at that time.
I had leaf springs made for my '55 last May and it really wasn't a big deal. They had a book, and they were able to look up everything that they needed to know in order to put the springs together. I had them done at a local truck place since they make springs for stuff all the time, but I paid a premium for the installation, which you actually can do yourself.
If you have to replace front coils, that is a little bit more difficult, but your '61 has torsion bars so that will never be an issue for you.
You never stated why you wanted to replace your leaf springs. If it is because the original ones are sagging, that is not a problem. You can have them reworked at a truck spring place. I have a '66 Town & Country that was used for towing a trailer that had a 1000 lb tongue weight. What I did myself, was disassemble the leaves and individually recurved them with a hydraulic press. This was done in small steps every two to three inches along the length of the individual leaves. When reassembled, I actually had to go back and redo them again because I over calculated and the car gained more height then I wanted. That was 20 years ago and the old wagon still sits at a good height now.
I've usually had some luck in working with springs after jacking up the rear of the car put jack stand or other suitable support under the frame and then putting a floor jack under the axle. This way you can raise and lower the axle independently from the rest oft he vehicle. I would probably also try in contradiction to the FSM connecting the rear shackle before the u-bolts as to not have to fight the whole thing into place. With the axle raised above the the spring
Question from Dan (1966):
I have a question for those of you who have gone thru the project of replacing/exchanging the rear leaf springs on your Imperial. I have a '66 Convertible that has neded new rear springs for some time. I am finally going to get around to taking the ones from my old daily driver 4-dr imperial (parts Car) which had the springs re-arch'd years ago, and putting them on the '66 convertible. I am assuming the leaf springs are the same for the 4-dr and convertible (?) and was wondering of I needed any special tools like a acet. torch to remove the old spring shackles or just a VERY BIG breaker bar and strong socket!??? Also, I would assume (maybe a mistake in doing so) that it is better to use NEW replacement shackled, if that is an option, and wondered where any of you may have gotten them from? is this a NAPA store item or someplace special like "Spring and Things"?Any info would be greatly appreciated before I start brusing the knuckles and using colorful language.
I would just buy the new leaf springs from "Springs and Things". I thought that they were very reasonable. I usually torch off the "u-bolts" and front eye bolt, sometimes the shackles come apart easily. Sometimes I use a cutting wheel instead of the torch. "Springs and Things" had all the hardware to complete this job, and I had them send it to me. (I believe that they also sell new rear suspension "lateral links" for the Imperial, with new bushings installed) I don't remember for sure, but I thought that I paid around $300 for new springs, u-bolts, eye-bolts, shackles, and shipping. I was quoted about $500 locally for wholesale on springs alone!
The job is actually fairly pleasant to do, if you are using new parts to put it back together.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but your sedan leaf springs will not work on a convertible, at least not correctly. A common misconception is that convertibles are lighter because they have no steel roof. The opposite is true as the roofless cars need sturdier frames and body components to restore structural integrity therefore resulting in a heavier car. In fact convertibles are usually the heaviest model in their line-up with the exception of the station wagon and in the case of the Imperials, the limousine. I'm afraid you'll have to procure some convertible springs or have yours redone.
I picked up a set of springs (and shackles) from Espo Springs'n'Things a couple years back, and was real happy with them. Reasonably priced, and fit fine. If you have to buy a new set, I'd recommend them. They are at Carlisle, I ordered mine ahead and picked them up at the meet, saving the shipping costs.
It s not an easy job physically. You need some pry bars or good size two by fours or four by fours and a couple of hydraulic jacks certainly help. It is all about jacking it into position and fiddling to line it all up. A helper certainly comes in handy. I did the springs on my '72 by myself this year in my driveway and it was not that hard. Just patience. As far as U bolts go I never unscrew them if they are not new. Just take a good hacksaw and make a cut right at the top where they loop around the axle.Man for the money that a spring shop charges to bend up 4 new U bolts there is no way I am going to subject myself to the torture of uindoing U bolts if I do not have to. And I have done it a few times before.
Question from Ken (1966):
I was wondering if a set of leaf springs from a '73 Imperial would work under my '66 Imperial. I do not need them all just the ones in the middle. If they will not work what cars and years will work. There is no place near me to buy new leaf springs so I am pulling them out of parts cars.
Reply from John
Eaton Detroit Spring is a good source. They have all the related bushings & hardware as well as the springs. They advertise in Hemmings.
Question from Bill (1968):
What year rear springs will work on a '68 (besides '67)? I have a friend of a friend that can get me a set from a '66 that has one years use on them. Will they fit?
Reply from Kenyon:
Measure the distance between mounting points and you should have your answer. Many other parts did not change, and there's no good sense in reinventing things if not needed. The steering box on my 1960 and 73 are almost identical. 73 has an Allen key adjustment bolt instead of a flat plane that you grab with a crescent wrench.
The weights of the cars were not terribly different. A Hollanders interchange manual will tell you for certain.
This page last updated May 13, 2004. Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club