The inherent danger of Non-OEM designed mono-leaf springs
Yes, the risk-your-life sort of danger
Springs aren’t just for smooth rides and setting ride height, they’re also one of the most important safety considerations built into any car. And it’s pretty easy to see why.
Springs hold your vehicle up and together, away from the pavement, and in tip-top operating shape. They’re the key to the suspension, keeping your butt off the cold, hard, unforgiving pavement.
Essentially, springs are the unsung linchpins of a well-put together vehicle.
So what makes a non-OEM designed mono-leaf spring so dangerous?
It’s right there in the name. Mono-leaf springs, the aftermarket sort, are dangerous because they only have one leaf. They were not designed and tested to perform on the vehicle they are being used for.
One leaf means no support. One leaf means no backups. One leaf means CRACK and you’re screwed.
Multi-leaf springs, on the other hand, are built in a sophisticated manner that puts safety right there in the front lines with everything else you love about a good street rod.
Each leaf in a multi-leaf spring is engineered to provide support, stability, and safety to a vehicle by distributing the load and stress across each spring, precisely and proportionally. This means longer life for your springs.
And, when one of the leaves eventually breaks (every spring will break eventually), having the extra leaves holding strong will help keep your vehicle on the straight and narrow until you replace them.
So, why is that dangerous?
When the main plate (that is, the one that connects the axle to the vehicle) breaks, the axle is directly affected.
Multi-leaf springs help prevent you from an accident by providing extra support (in the form of extra leaves) when your main leaf breaks.
Mono-leaf springs don’t have that luxury.
When a mono-leaf spring breaks, the entire spring breaks, and it shifts the axle. If it breaks in front of the axle, the axle sifts rearward. If it breaks behind the axle the entire body of your car drops down onto your tires. Tires don’t perform as well with a ton or so of steel weighing down on them.
And that’s not all folks…
When an axle shifts rearward, this causes a major change in control of the vehicle. This can range from a scary jarring of the steering wheel to a complete loss of control. And no, we don’t use the phrase ‘complete loss of control’ lightly.
Multi-leaf springs don’t have this problem. In fact, it’s extremely rare for the axle to move at all when a multi-leaf spring breaks. Most people don’t even notice it.
Mono-Leaf Springs Fail Sooner…Or Fail Harder
Aftermarket mono-leaf springs are either designed with an even taper, which doesn’t distribute stress and load evenly, or are overbuilt which causes the spring to be way too strong for the application. It will ride harder (and it will break faster, funny enough.)
Exceptions to the rule
Why do mono-leaf springs exist if they’re so dangerous? Heck, GM used mono-leaf springs! So did Ford and Chrysler.
That’s true, they did. But they spent tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours perfecting and testing their designs.
Why buy ours? Are we hypocrites? No, we’re not. We’re knowledgeable.
We use the Original GM Blueprints to make our Mono-Leaf springs for the Chevy II, Camaro, Firebird and Nova cars. (But no, we do not make them for the Ranger or Mini-Vans)
Does our Mono-Leaf spring break? Like we said earlier, all springs will eventually break, and a well-designed spring will break were it is designed to. And every one of our springs that have broke has done so right at the axle, were it is held in place by specially designed rubber isolator pads for that exact reason. (Who would have thought GM engineers would have been so thorough?)
But Multi-Leaf Springs Suck!
I know the feeling, especially if you had your heart set on mono-leaf springs for an exceptional ride. The good news is, if you feel this way, you’re absolutely wrong.
We have been building multi-leaf springs for over 78 years. If you want her low and smooth, give us a call, and we’ll have you riding away in style (and safety.)