Leaf Spring Silicone

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Marty Bufalini
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Leaf Spring Silicone

Post by Marty Bufalini » Thu Sep 03, 2020 1:53 pm

Have you ever put that silicone sheet stuff between your spring leaves?

If so, how do you like it?
I'm thinking of putting some between my leaves while they are apart. I don't want that messy graphite leaking all over.

Thanks in advance.

Marty

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Re: Leaf Spring Silicone

Post by GrandpaFord » Thu Sep 03, 2020 2:25 pm

Not a bad idea but silicone sheet is probably not the right stuff. I have used polyethylene plastic sheets from McMaster Carr in other applications where a slippery, wear resistant material is needed. It is available in different thicknesses and with different properties. If you try it, let the members know how it worked out. Google McMaster Carr and then search for polyethylene plastic sheets.

High end cars will wrap their springs in leather to keep the grease in place. I have also heard that friction in the leaf spring is not necessarily a bad thing as it adds a certain amount of dampening.


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Re: Leaf Spring Silicone

Post by Nunsio1 » Thu Sep 03, 2020 2:41 pm

When I assembled my springs, I painted them with POR -15, will last for years and NO SQUEAKING.

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Re: Leaf Spring Silicone

Post by RustyFords » Thu Sep 03, 2020 3:15 pm

I painted mine with graphite slip paint and haven't had any of it leaking at all.
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Re: Leaf Spring Silicone

Post by jiminbartow » Thu Sep 03, 2020 3:24 pm

“Slip paint” is what is traditionally used between spring leafs. It can be purchased at TSC, “Tractor Supply Company” as “EZ-Slide” Graphite Based paint, available in brush-on liquid paint or spray-on aerosol coating. Jim Patrick


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Re: Leaf Spring Silicone

Post by Stephen_heatherly » Thu Sep 03, 2020 6:38 pm

I put some teflon stick on strips between the leaves of my rear leaf spring and shortly thereafter it started coming out the sides. I just occasionally spread a little grease between the leaves and the cars rides nice and smooth.

Stephen

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Re: Leaf Spring Silicone

Post by Mark Gregush » Thu Sep 03, 2020 6:56 pm

The only mess I have seen with the graphite/paint, is maybe putting it on. Once it is on the carrier, in this case paint, dries. It does not work out the sides. Don't over look the fact that adding the sheets or strips can increase the over all thickness of the spring pack and your U bolts may not work as intended. The graphite mixture is only put one one side of the leaf and the spring pack is painted assembled sealing it in more or less. While it might be ok to prime all side first, I don't. I apply the graphite mixture to the bare clean metal. Painting all side of the spring before assembly can prevent the leafs from working as intended. The graphite mixture is not the same as painted with just enamel paint, it still allows the leafs to slide. Paint between the leafs gums up the works.
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Re: Leaf Spring Silicone

Post by jiminbartow » Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:24 pm

I would avoid using lubricating strips between each leaf as they do not protect the steel from rust and, being slippery will work their way out from between the leaves. Painting all mating surfaces of the individual leaves with slip paint, lubricates and seals the interior surfaces of the leaves, preventing rust that can appear as unsightly stains that run down the outside of the spring. That is why the individual leaves must be sealed with a protective coating. You should paint the spring with your finish paint after it has been assembled. Once the leaves have been assembled and together, the exposed exterior parts should be cleaned of slip paint with lacquer thinner, then primed with red oxide rust inhibiting primer and painted with gloss black enamel, epoxy or lacquer. When cleaning off the slip paint from the assembled spring, use the thinner sparingly. Do not use so much as to drench the spring leaves and penetrate to the interior of the leaves. Clean only the exterior portions of the assembled spring. Jim Patrick

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Re: Leaf Spring Silicone

Post by Roffe » Fri Sep 04, 2020 5:42 am

When I restored the springs 6 years ago I used 3M Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene UHMW Tape. Its a very durable thick and low friction tape whit a strong glue on one side. I was a bit pricey but I don't regret using it. The UHMW Tape had the exact width to fit the leafs and is almost invisible. I has stayed in place and holds up very well and the car rides with smooth and soft spring action. No more mess with grease or rust. :P


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Re: Leaf Spring Silicone

Post by modernbeat » Fri Sep 04, 2020 2:53 pm

I've used slip sheets between spring leafs twice. Both were on Model A springs on hot rods.
Once I used a material with a "H" shaped cross section. Despite the lips it still crept out of the spring fairly quickly.
The other used a flat material with a bump that went into a hole in the end of the leaf. It was quickly destroyed and rubbed to pieces.

If you want to reduce the friction between leafs and build a high performance spring, you polish the faces so they are very smooth, taper and round the ends of the leafs, coat the leafs with a friction reducing coating like graphite, Teflon, grease, or oil.
That's it.
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Re: Leaf Spring Silicone

Post by jiminbartow » Fri Sep 04, 2020 3:24 pm

Jason is correct. The area of most wear is at the bottom ends of each leaf where the sharp edge of the leaf ends come into contact with and digs into the top surface of the leaf below it. To alleviate this, you can file or grind off the sharp bottom edge to a rounded taper and smooth the steel of the taper so that it does not dig into the top of the leaf below it, but instead, glides across it. There is no need to file or taper the top edges on the ends of each leaf, since they make no contact with any portion of the other leafs. They look better if the top end edges are left sharp and square. Jim Patrick


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Re: Leaf Spring Silicone

Post by bobt » Sat Sep 05, 2020 6:31 am

I use chain saw bar oil. I drive both of my T's a lot. A greasy T is a happy T. bobt


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Re: Leaf Spring Silicone

Post by jiminbartow » Sat Sep 05, 2020 12:31 pm

Bottom line. To prevent rust and rust damage, the steel surfaces of the individual leafs must be protected by a permanent coating such as slip paint. I do not agree with the earlier claim that painting the individual leafs will result in a gummed up mess. Grease, oil and other lubricants, alone, eventually breaks down, hardens, gets embedded with sand and dirt, or gets washed out overtime and silicone sheets, which provide no protection, will shift, get torn up, or work their way out from between the leafs. With both of these scenarios rust will form between the unprotected leafs and run down the front and back of the leafs.

The Ford Motor Company of a century ago was obsessed with the time it took to manufacture a Model T and anything that would shorten that time, so they could build more cars, they would incorporate on the line and while simply applying a coat of grease to the leafs would have saved time, they did not do this, for, even though they were all for saving time, they never took detrimental shortcuts, but instead, did things right in order to provide a superior product, therefore Ford originally used a slip paint made of enamel paint impregnated with graphite flakes, that was painted on, where it would remain. In the old days, owners had to mix their own spring leaf slip paint using a formula provided by Ford. Twelve years ago, I found this formula and posted it on the old forum and It was accessible before a major screw up destroyed the old forum and all of the 20 years worth of Irreplaceable information that used to be available to us with a simple keyword search. To me, that is the worst tragedy that has befallen us with the changeover to the new forum format in 2019. Anyway, with store bought graphite slip paint, you don’t need to mix your own unless you are a purist and enjoy doing things the way they did it back in the old days. Jim Patrick

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Re: Leaf Spring Silicone

Post by Mark Gregush » Sat Sep 05, 2020 4:49 pm

Re: that painting the individual leafs will result in a gummed up mess.
Your choice Jim not to agree and do as you want, but that is not how springs are assemble/painted. Go back and read what I wrote again, I made it clear what I was talking about. The slip mix was not painted on the whole spring, just the area between the leafs. The springs were then painted after assembled. Maybe you should try learning to do google searches, I found the one you are talking about in about 2 seconds. http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/19078.html
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :shock:

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Re: Leaf Spring Silicone

Post by jiminbartow » Sat Sep 05, 2020 11:19 pm

Thank you, Mark. I apologize if I misquoted you or took what you said out of context. It was not my intention to offend. In one of my earlier posts on this thread I said exactly what you said regarding painting after assembly, so we are pretty much in agreement. As for Google searches, it is great to know the old forum is still accessible to those who know how to go about accessing it. I guess I need to practice more and figure out how to find old threads through means other than the keyword search on the pre 2019 MTFCA Forum. I have tried doing a search on the “Bing” search engine but it comes back as a MTFCA server error. I will have to try doing my searches on Google. Can you give me any tips on how to word it so it will come up? Thanks again. Jim Patrick

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Re: Leaf Spring Silicone

Post by Mark Gregush » Sun Sep 06, 2020 12:13 am

While there are several ways to word or do a Google search I just type mtfca in front of what I am looking for. Sample "mtfca slip plate", can do the same for other web pages such as Fordbarn. It will not find every thing but gets a lot. Oh! This does not work for classifieds that I have seen, just the forum pages.
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :shock:

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Re: Leaf Spring Silicone

Post by jiminbartow » Sun Sep 06, 2020 12:21 am

Thank you, Mark. I’m sure your tutorial has helped a lot of us computer semi-illiterate members. I look forward to giving it a try and hopefully, reacquaint myself with the old forum. It is such a great resource of Model T knowledge from many experts that are no longer with us. Take care. Jim Patrick


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Re: Leaf Spring Silicone

Post by JRSpada4 » Sun Sep 06, 2020 8:14 am

Jim,

Google allows special formatting to narrow search results. If you type site:mtfca.com first, it will only bring back hits from within the site. You can then just type keywords to search for. For this thread as an example, you’d type site:mtfca.com slip paint to search related discussions.

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Re: Leaf Spring Silicone

Post by RustyFords » Sun Sep 06, 2020 9:08 am

I only used a fraction of the gallon of graphite slip paint that I bought.

Anyone in the Houston area who’d like to get get some for free, please message me.
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Re: Leaf Spring Silicone

Post by jiminbartow » Sun Sep 06, 2020 11:33 am

Thank you, Jim S. You and Mark have been very helpful. You have no idea how much I have missed the old forum information resource and how glad I am to know it was not all deleted or destroyed in the 2019 Forum changeover. Thanks again. Jim Patrick


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Re: Leaf Spring Silicone

Post by Harry Lillo » Sun Sep 06, 2020 1:56 pm

I would like to know other's experience in simply powder coating the leaves before assembling the springs?
Having two slippery coated surfaces provides nice spring action.
I did so in 1995 on my white speedster (white springs) and it has lasted very well for me. Since that time I
have done other T's as well.
Harry


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Re: Leaf Spring Silicone

Post by Nunsio1 » Sun Sep 06, 2020 4:03 pm

Like I posted , using POR -15 on my spring leaves before assembly the smooth surface is working very well with no squeaking . It’s the closest product you can get,short of power coat & it brushes on. They offer chassis, engine, heat resistance coatings in many colors. Can’t say enough about this product. But remember to put plastic between can & lid and seal with “C” clamp or you will not get can lid off again.
John
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