“These cars are way oversprung.” There, I’ve said it. I don’t think I’m the only one, but now that I’ve changed the front spring, I’m even more confident.
Originally, the car was built with a mono leaf spring over an aluminum I beam axle. The mono leaf has only one leaf (“mono”, not the kissing disease), and it’s kind of like a graduated spring rate… it’s thicker at the middle and thins out towards the eyes. It’s probably quite softer than a seven leaf spring, but it’s definitely not softer than the Posies super low spring I installed two years ago (2016).
Combined with a new set of Ridetech aluminum front shocks designed specifically for light, solid axle cars, the ride is much, much better. The shocks are a dramatic (I don’t often use italics) improvement over the standard chrome shocks I had installed originally… they’re designed with almost no compression damping because – you guessed it – these cars are way oversprung already. Almost all the damping is in the rebound, where the shock needs to control the heavy spring throwing the light front end back up after a bump in the road.
I think I began to question front leaf spring rates when I was trying to find a squeak in the front end. You may have done the same thing – stand on the frame horns, bounce the car, try to reproduce the noise. While I was doing that, I noticed that most of the “bounce” was in the sidewall of the tires, not in the actual spring. I’m sure the sidewalls serve an important role in absorbing road imperfections, but they’re certainly not up to the task of handling much more. Ask your kidneys after a ride in a 90’s era mini truck.