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Replacing rear leaf springs on a 1969 Mustang.
By: Mike Campbell

   I took the opportunity this summer to drive my ’69 Mach 1 to the 30th Mid-American Ford/Shelby Performance Meet in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The drive was 175 miles one way and was the longest distance I’d driven the car. The Mach did perform flawlessly with one exception, body lean at speed. I was fortunate that most of the trip was on the interstate but the car rolled excessively in the rear on the off ramps and cloverleafs. I promised myself I would not take the car on another trip like this until I replaced the rear springs.

After researching my options and discussing it with my local Mustang parts dealer I decided on the five-leaf performance spring. Here are the steps I took to replace them. This should be the same process for any ’64 – ‘73 Mustangs. It was a simple straightforward project for me and took less than half a day.

Parts and Tools

New leaf springs (you can have your old ones rearched) 4 U-Bolts and nuts (optional) 2 sets of rear bushings or Shackle kits (optional) 2 front mounting bolts (optional) 4 Jack stands or blocks 11/16” socket/wrench for U-Bolts ½” wrench for shocks 9/16” wrench for shackles 2 ea. ¾” socket wrenches for front mounting bolt (may need breaker bar, torch, saw or divine intervention as noted below) Water pump pliers (may need, see procedure) Penetrating oil

Lift car with jack on the frame rail behind the leaf’s front mount. Remove wheel and place a block or jack stand under the end of the frame rail. My blocks look a little precarious but each board was nailed to the one below it and they were very steady. If you have any doubts use jack stands. Your life is at risk.

Place a block or jack stand under the differential. You need to match the height of the frame block/stand. Then do #1 and #2 for the other side of the car.

Start with either side and take the bottom mounting hardware off of the shock and push it up out of the way. Remove the U-bolts and the lower shock mounting plate, which hold the differential to the spring.

Remove the mounting nuts from the rear shackle and remove the shackle. This is a tight area and has to be done with a hand wrench. This job would have been much easier with a ratcheting hand wrench. The rear of the spring will drop to the ground when you remove the shackle. I used some penetrating oil on the rubber bushings and twisted them with water pump pliers to get them out of the frame rail.

Remove the front mounting bolt. I put penetrating oil on a day or two ahead of time and mine was easy to remove. You must put a second socket wrench on the bolt inside the frame. NOTE THAT THIS BOLT CAN BE DIFFICULT TO REMOVE. On some cars this bolt rusts solid to the frame and may have to be cut using a torch, “Sawzall”(reciprocating saw), or right angle grinder. Once you get this bolt out the spring will be free.

Reverse this procedure to install your new springs starting with installing the front mounting bolt. The new springs will include a new front bushing. You may reuse your U-Bolts if they are in good shape but they are not very expensive to replace. You may also want to replace the bushings in the shackles or buy new shackle kits. Once again, not very expensive and you’re probably not going to want to do this again for a while.

The arch of the old and new springs look very similar but the handling is very different. The height of the car was not changed. The rear of the car hugs the road now and my body roll issue is resolved.

My Mach has another improvement and it only took a few hours. The new springs will cost $150 - $200 with new shackles, bushings and hardware. The cost varies depending on whether you go with stock or performance versions. A lot of suppliers offer kits. Mine were around $200 but I have seen stock springs alone for under $100.

Article by: Mike Campbell
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