Need tips! Rear Leaf Spring Installation Video

We are doing a video today and I am pretty comfortable doing the install but I am sure there is wisdom from the community that I do not have. One thing I am uncertain of is torque specs on the U-Bolts (Ford calls them spring clips). I know the torque sequence and I just always tighten them until I see the rectangular isolator pads bulge the proper amount and then re-tighten a month or two down the road. I can find lots of generic listing suggesting you torque them between 45-65 pounds. Anyone able to find definitive FoMoCo specs? Here is another one… The front eye bolt will often fuse with the inner sleeve on the bushing due to corrosion. Before you start cranking on the front eye bolt, what measure should you take? Any other good tips? I have watched several videos already and there are some good ones! I like Jeff Ford’s the best since he had Eaton Springs come over to do a video. Some pretty bad ones too!

If you are talking about the nuts for the U-bolts that attach the rear spring to the axle, on the '69 model year, Ford recommends 35-50lbs
Don’t know about other years.

On the front bolt. In cold climates people thaw water pipes with a welder, I wonder if that would work on heating just the bolt and maybe expand it enough to break the bond of the sleeve, a torch just stresses all the surrounding metals ,it would have to be tried.

Did you get that from the shop manual? I looked in the 67 and 70 shop manual and could not find much pertaining to leaf sprins.

Yes the front eye bolt removal can be VERY difficult and a PIA. On my son’s 81 Trans Am (yea I know) we had to saw-z-all both the bolt head and nut side of the leaf spring. It is a hardened bolt and very poor access making it very tedious. Lots of smoke from the burning rubber isolation bushing adds to the fun.

That information came from the 1969 Ford Specifications Booklet.
Here is that page.
cougar rear susp specs.pdf (45.4 KB)

I use a cut off wheel on the front eyes.
1-Cut the leaf off of the eye so it can be turned
2-Cut the eye from side, then turn the eye 180 degrees and make another cut. You should be able to get the eye off of the bushing,
3-Use an air-chisel to remove the rubber bushing and split the steel collar away from the bolt
4-use the cut off wheel again to cut the bolt in half

This method seams to work really well. So think twice before grabbing a torch and climbing under your Cougar!!

I found a gererous application of PB Blaster for several days before trying to remove the ibolt usually makes this job significantly easier.


Just finished the install. It went from sitting too low in back and an inch lower on the DS than PS to sitting too high in the back and sitting 3/4" lower on the DS than PS. Disappointing to see after all that hard work but experience has taught me to drive it hard for awhile and check it again in 1000 miles. I was kind of hoping that after 50 plus years and 320k miles that front eyelet bolt would fight me so I could show how to win the battle but both sides came out with two fingers… Makes for a somewhat lack-luster how to video but I am sure Andrew will somehow make it interesting to watch with his editing skills. Makes me wonder, since it is almost always the DS that sags lower than the PS I wonder if it is the constant flexing of the uni-body that causes the sag? From my experience the DS shock tower will usually crack before the PS and the DS motor mount will almost always fail before the PS.

Lots of bad memories sawzalling/grinding/hammering those front eye bolts out a few years back.

Don, all the relevant torque specs are in every shop manual at the end of each section. In the suspension section there is a description of the procedure to remove and replace the rear leaf springs. My experience in doing this to Heather’s 69 XR-7 convertible and my 68 XR-7 in July and August this year, is to follow the procedure in the shop manual, except the order it states to fully remove and replace. In the manual it states that the U-bolts should be undone, then the eye bolt, then the shackle (same for re-install). I think the order should be U-bolts, shackle, then eye bolt. It is much easier to get the spring out of the eye bolt as the final piece, rather than the shackle. Also if you loose your grip and all that is holding the spring is the shackle then you have a pretty good chance at doing damage to the valance.
Liberally lubricating everything before starting to disassemble worked pretty well in my case. Sometimes it is also helpful to tighten a bit, then go back to trying to loosen when something is not budging.
If you have to lubricate any of the bushings, do not use a lubricant that is oil based. It will damage them.
Another thing is to leave things slightly loose, load the springs, then tighten to specs. Both of our cats are sitting very nice and work well driving.

When you install the front bolts coat them in wheel bearing grease first. That way they won’t be rusted in place next time.

My 68 Shop Manual has under rear suspension-spring to axle u-bolt nut 30-45 ft-lbs.

Yep… Same for 67. I overlooked it in my 67 manual. I have to admit I have succumbed to googling everything which is not always the best approach. I am in big trouble if ever I have to revert back to using the Dewey Decimal system on a regular basis.

he he. My dad told me the same thing, but I reminded him that the first set of springs lasted 45 years and I don’t plan on changing springs when I’m 90. (but I greased the bolts anyway).

  1. 22 - 629.28 is the general call number range for Automotive maintenance. Thanks Don for making me look it up.

After installing the new springs it gave me the desired raise in height (actually about 3/4" too high but I expect them to settle over the next year). I was disappointed to see it is still about 1" too low on the DS. My theory is that with 320k miles, a rusted PS front floor pan and no PS torque box is that the uni-body is twisted. I think if I chained it to the floor, used hydraulic jacks, twisted it the opposite direction, left it for a time and then added a rear seat divider, export brace, PS torque box and floor pan I could see it corrected. What say you?

If it’s bent/twisted one way, it can be bent/twisted the other. The only thing I’d check first is where are you measuring the ride height? The wheel openings may not be the same side to side- especially if quarters were replaced or patched years ago.

Don: Leave the wacky tobacie alone. It’s rotting your brain… lol I know the Dewey decimal system well. Perhaps if we went back to making people read they would know something besides what they are spoon-fed in the halls of indoctrination.
I own a 67 and 8 service manual. Sometimes, where specs are makes little sense.