Tips for removing aging rear leaf springs

July 1, 2011 | By Richard Prince


I have been a subscriber for several years but I’ve never had the occasion to write before.

I own a 1938 Packard 6. It has a 122” wheelbase and I believe my rear leaf springs are original with the car.

They should probably be replaced and to that end I’ve contacted a company that makes replacements. They’re not inexpensive, but almost nothing on a 73-year-old car is cheap.

Anyway, besides having someone else do the job, what is the safest way to remove and replace the old leaf springs?


You don’t explain why you came to the conclusion that your rear leaf springs “should probably be replaced.”

Age alone will not hurt the springs. Are they corroded? Are they fatigued? Do you see cracks starting to form? If the springs look good and are working well I would not replace them.

If, however, you do decide to replace them the biggest potential danger probably stems from the possibility of something heavy falling on you. The springs are heavy, the rear axle that the springs support is even heavier, and, of course, the entire car is heaviest of all.

Take extra care to properly support the car’s chassis with at least three jack stands on either side. Position a floor jack near each end of the rear axle and snug them up to the axle housing.

Remove the shackles that hold the axle housing and springs together and then raise the axle up high enough using the jacks to get it off the springs. Support the axle with jack stands.

Unbolt the spring shackles and remove the springs, taking care not to drop them on your feet.

If the springs have been in the car for 73 years or anywhere near that you may have some trouble removing the shackle bolts. If you heat the nuts with a torch they will come off with less effort.