Author Topic: Locally Made Suspension Springs  (Read 327 times)  Share 

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Offline Calvin_Bradley

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Locally Made Suspension Springs
« on: February 28, 2019, 02:18:58 pm »
Howzit Members!

I recently noticed my left front spring coil sagging a bit, with two coils actually touching on the inner circumference. I had someone look at it and they told me “no worries!” But I worry, so I’m thinking about getting them replaced or retensioned. (Check it out in Attachment_A)

Easy enough to replace them, just order the OEM springs from Russia and weeks later you’re sorted for a stiff price. However, I thought there must be an alternative that costs less in both Rands and carbon emissions – after shipping the part across the world.
So let’s get some made up locally! I jumped on the internet to try and find specs for the front and rear springs. It was a tough search – nobody seemed to want to divulge the info only sell you some – but I did come across this text about the front and rear:

The standard LADA NIVA FRONT SPRING has the characteristics as shown in the picture (Attachment_B). When the spring is unloaded it should have a length of 278 mm. When the spring is loaded with a force of 6278 Newton (equal to a load of 640 kg), the length should be 192 mm.

The standard LADA NIVA REAR SPRING has the characteristics as shown in the picture (Attachment_C). When the spring is unloaded it should have a length of 434 mm. When the spring is loaded with a force of 3432 Newton (equal to a load of 350 kg), the length should be 278 mm.

So armed with these details I’ll approach Springrite to see if they can make a set. They are a company based in Pinetown, KZN, who’ve been in the business for over 40 years. Like the Niva they’ve stood the test of time. Let’s see what they say…

Offline Calvin_Bradley

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Re: Locally Made Suspension Springs
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2019, 05:47:14 am »
A little update – Springrite responded to my email enquiry, in which I sent them photos of the OEM springs and the info I sourced, with the following response:

“Best route to go would be for you to bring the sample (it’s alright if they have lost tension) so we can take measurements of all the sizes. We will most likely make it 1mm thicker and with a slight raise if you would like? Price would be approximately R800.00 per pair.”

They were talking about the rear spring, as I’d already sent them a message before I dug up the info on the front.

I pondered over their response and started asking myself questions like; why would they make them 1mm thicker, why suggest a ‘slight raise’ when I never mentioned I wanted one just a straight copy, etc. The 1mm extra thickness worried me, because I know a lot of the Niva components are very close tolerance, so what seems like a minor alteration can have major consequences. I was worried about the spring being able to seat properly. So I WhatsApped a mechanic friend, who owns a Niva of his own and also ponders every aspect of his endlessly.

“As long as the springs have the same compression ratio and damping then 1mm will not make too much a difference. I do however doubt that the new springs will be of OE spec hence the raise in ride height.” He replied regarding the potential seating problem I was concerned about due to extra 1mm thickness.

I asked why they would suggest making them 1mm thicker, to which he responded, “The thickness of the spring rod available commercially is thicker than that used in Russia. One thing to bear in mind is that the Russians do things their way or no way and that's why they have their own sizes and specs for everything. My suggestion is to leave the springs as is except change the one that's touching for a second hand one. The springs are made Russian and means old school – built to last. The amount of off road driving we do here in SA cannot compare to Siberian roads, so we good to go for a long while yet. The reason behind the one spring collapsing beats me but could just be a dud part. Had one of those parts myself so anything is possible.”

I trust my friend’s judgement, and I’m not building an off-road focussed Niva with a lift (yet), so I’ll be sourcing another rusty old front spring instead of getting a new pair made.

I do believe that Springrite would’ve made me an excellent spring, and I will be in contact with them when I do decide to give the Niva a lift. If you’re planning a lift of your own maybe you can speak to Springrite for your coil requirements. The price they quoted is more than reasonable. They have an excellent reputation locally for making customized springs for raising or lowering many varieties of vehicles.

So maybe it is harder to replicate a spring than I imagined. There is definitely some major science behind it all, it's not simply winding a length of spring steel into the correct number of coils to achieve the prescribed height. There are a lot more aspects to consider.

Offline Calvin_Bradley

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Re: Locally Made Suspension Springs
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2019, 08:05:41 pm »
I was given the correct specs for the Niva springs via another LOCSA member this morning. For anyone interested in getting a set of coils sprung locally they need to be:

Front... Bar diameter 16mm free height 280 mm no of turns 7.25 spring rate 72 N/mm

Rear....bar diameter 14mm free height 435mm no of turns 9.3 spring rate 27N/mm

Cheers 🍻

Offline Spikes

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Re: Locally Made Suspension Springs
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2019, 06:26:06 am »
The reason for the left front spring being lower than the right is most likely due toba previous owner swapping them around. Ladas tend to be driven alone in many cases here in south Africa. Result is sagging righthand side. Swap around fixed that.

Or a very fat wife in the passenger seat for a very long time 😜😜😜

Offline Calvin_Bradley

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Re: Locally Made Suspension Springs
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2019, 06:37:14 am »
Thanks for the info Spikes, but I did eventually find the reason for the sag. Check the attached picture. Instead of focusing on the touching coils, I should have looked the opposite side and noticed the dent/bend in the spring. Obviously the part has begun to fail, but is still operational. I’ll be replacing it with another I have sourced from a kind LOCSA member. I am really impressed with the quality of people in this club. Many Legends 🕺🏻👌🏼

Online Ari bezuidenhout

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Re: Locally Made Suspension Springs
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2019, 10:23:47 am »
Just out of interest, a new pair would cost a LOCSA member R670 excl shipping.....

Regards


My Lada runs on grace from God, and breaks due to my failings.