Q – Mike:
I really enjoyed the opportunity to talk with you during the Silver Springs car show this past weekend. I have also looked at several of your articles on your web site and found them to be very interesting and informative.
I also appreciate the T-shirt offer regarding the a discussion we had around a recent TV show I watched. The premise dealt with the host of the show, who was refurbishing an old Corvette, who proceeded to pack regular grease around the leaf
springs and rapped them in duct tape for a couple of weeks. You mentioned that this was not a wise practice because of the type of steel used in later model production cars and would cause a chemical interaction between the two. The question in point was “when did the manufacturers change the type of steel used in the manufacturing of leaf springs?”.
I thought this was very interesting and your answer intrigued me since I was getting ready to do exactly what he had recommended. Thanks to you and your very informative web site, I am much more knowledgeable on the subject and now have this tremendous resource at my disposal to refer to.
Thank you again for your time and the information you so willingly shared with me at Silver Springs. I greatly appreciate it. And thank you for the T-shirt, I will wear it with pride! – Jerry
A – Jerry, it was our pleasure to be at the Silver Spring’s Show. January in Florida sure beats the heck out of Detroit’s weather. Rick said they had 1,002 cars on Saturday and nearly 600 on Sunday. So car guys and gals plan on making Silver Springs in Ocala Florida the second weekend in January your 1st car show of the year.
Most of the host’s on auto TV shows do one heck of a fine job. I have been involved in the production of a few TV shows and let me tell you these guys bust their butts to do things right. But like anything else, every now and then a boo-boo gets by.
Prior to the mid fifties grease was put between the spring leaves, in fact springs of many pre-50 cars were wrapped in metal liners to hold the grease in. Some cars had hollow center bolts with a grease fitting so the springs could be lubed on the car.
The idea behind lubing between the leaves was to reduce inter-leaf friction.
Then in the early 50’s the type of steel used to manufacture springs was changed to SAE5160 and the practice of lubricating between the leaves stopped.
Grease has an adverse effect on 5160 steel. The chemicals in the grease react with the steel and causes the steel to breakdown.
Take a look at the front springs on the next large truck you see leaning. There’s a good chance the power steering unit will be leaking onto the low side spring.
Now lets see if some one asks me about what is done about inter-leaf friction if grease can no longer be used. – Mike