A popular upgrade for the 49-51 Fords is to pull out the old factory front springs and throw some Ford Aerostar van springs under the front.I thought I'd do a write up on the Aerostar coil swap, PN Moog CC850, under the front end of my Ford.
This is something that has been covered at length on a number of forums online, but I didn't see a step-by-step with pics, so I figured I'd throw my hat in the ring.
At some point in the past a former owner lowered my car by heating the front coil springs. This left them way lower than stock but also really soft and without much travel. Not to mention it's not exactly a scientific approach. It isn't easy to do exactly the same thing to both sides. Which was the case on my car. There was a definite lean to the passenger side.
First thing you have to do is get that old anti-sway bar out of the way. To do this you'll need to jack up the front end of your car and support it with jackstands. I like to chock the rear wheels when I jack up the front and make sure the car is in gear.
Take your time to do this right and SAFELY. Being crushed to death is not worth it and is probably really painful.
If the nuts and bolts give you trouble in any step use a combo of your favorite penetrant and a torch. Be careful because of course mixing fire and lubricant can cause a serious problem if you're not watchful. I keep a fire extinguisher handy in the car at all times.
You can do one side at a time if you like, I did them both at the same time because I knew I had a lot of cleaning to do and I was waiting for some parts to arrive in the mail before I would be ready to install the new springs.
This picture shows both lower control arms unbolted and the old springs removed.Now is a good time to pause and clean up. Not just your car but the work space. If your car is like mine it caked with the crud of some farmer's field and if you work like I do your wrenches, torch, crowbar, WD-40, etc. is strewn all over the place. It's a good idea to tidy up as a sort of reset before putting things back together.
It's a good idea to replace those old suspension bumps stops while you've got everything torn apart. One of mine was missing, more than likely beaten to bits by the awful spring allowing the suspension to collapse again and again on that side. The other one, pictured here, was all dry rotted and damaged.
I found these at Autozone on the shelf for under 14$. Made in America too! They're just about the same size as the originals but witha funny Devo hat design.
Installation of the bump stops is pretty straight forward. Pull out the old and drop in the new. They come with lock nuts and the stud fits the factory holes nicely.
When I first got the car off the jacks I couldn't really tell much difference in the stance. I think It's just about the same as it was without the lean. It does seem more level, but it looks like my front bumper is a little out of whack. Overall I'm very pleased.
After driving the car all weekend the biggest difference I noticed is the ride. The front end is so much firmer now. Not in a hard sports car way, but a yielding "in control" sort of way. The cornering is much flatter and it the wheel now will self spin back to neutral where it wouldn't before.
The front end negotiates bumps better but isn't marshmallow soft like it used to be. Driving the car after the install made me notice how bad it was before.
Before the install it would bump-steer and require constant attention and correction, now I'm able to let go of the wheel without worrying about being launched into the other lane.
I would say that for the effort on this project the juice was certainly worth the squeeze. There were some moments during the install I was spitting and cussing, but honestly it's not hardest thing I've done. I did it over the course of about 3 evenings after work. If you had all the parts you needed on hand and started early one morning you could feasibly get this project done by early evening.
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