hotchkis springs

Discussion in 'Drag'n Wagons' started by 69 wag, Feb 11, 2010.

  1. 69 wag

    69 wag 69 wag

    Has anyone out there put the hotchkis springs under their wagon. I'd like a few opinions before I commit. Thanks Pete
  2. Golden Oldie 65

    Golden Oldie 65 Well-Known Member

    Don't know if this will help but I've got Hotchkis springs in my `65. The application was for 1" drop in the front and 1-2" drop in the rear. I liked they way the car sat before I changed them and didn't want to get stock replacements because from my experience they always sit higher. I gambled that my original springs had settled through the years so I went with Hotchkis and am happy that it sits within 1/4" all the way around from where it did with the original worn out springs. The car handles much better and rides just as well as it did before the swap.
  3. bostonbuick

    bostonbuick Well-Known Member

    I have 1 year old Hotchkis springs/lowering kit in my skylark that I'm looking to get rid of because it sits too low for my current wheel setup, but I guess they're good for the wagon. maybe we can make a deal for you to take the Hotchkis if you want as I get new springs myself.
  4. lostGS

    lostGS Well-Known Member

    I am looking at other springs for my wagon. Are you wanting to lower your wagon or??

    I have looked into the Hotchkis springs but their catalog says to use air bags in the springs when used on a wagon/El cameno.

  5. 67GSFun

    67GSFun Johnny

    You can order all the Hotchkis springs & control arms etc from Lighting Performance in TX for an awsome deep discounted price! better than Summit and Jeggs by a whole lot! and if you email them and ask for free shipping on a large order they may give it... I spoke to Hotchkis directly about them and they said there a small operation that keeps cost low and they sell a ton of Hotchkis stuff for the last 10 yrs..
  6. 67Vista

    67Vista Member

    I spent a ton of time messing with the springs on my 67 Vista Cruiser. If I had to do it over again, I would use the Hotchkis 1901 front springs but try something else in the rear before adding the air bags and lift donuts. Rear springs are relatively cheap and not that hard to change.

    Start with Moog #5399 and you may hit it on the first shot.
    This is the Moog replacement spring for the lighter short wheelbase and flat roof wagons of the same vintage and may provide about the right lift to match the Hotchkis in the front.

    As an alternative, the CC507 Cargo Coils show up as a recommended stock wagon replacement spring that theoretically get you close to or above stock height depending on your specific wagon and the amount of weight hanging over your rear wheels. They should be an inch or so higher in the rear than the 5399 springs.

    That's the short version, if you care to find out more about what I learned, read on....

    The prior owner had put the Hotchkis 1901 springs front and rear along with the Hotchkis front and rear sway bars. The Hotchkis A-Body springs will lower a sedan about an inch or so front and rear versus height with new stock springs. I have heard some say the Hotchis 1901s actually raise the sedans when they are used to replace tired 40 year old springs that had sagged well below stock ride height.

    In my 67 Vista Cruiser the ride height and spring rate in the front feels about right with the Hotchkis springs. This isn't surprising since the front end is more or less identical to a sedan of the same year.

    In the rear of a Vista or Sportwagon, the Hotchkis springs are nowhere close to the correct height. Without air bags, the heavy rear end will squish those already too short springs right through the soft part of the spring travel, and leave you driving up hill. The stock springs in the A-Body Buick and Olds wagons were nearly 2" taller uncompressed and about 1" taller installed height than the sedan springs and had much higher spring rates. This held up the extended wheel base, fully boxed frame and the heavier rear tail and gave the wagons more suspension travel for loading up that big cargo area behind the rear wheels. The wagons have slightly different rear shocks and axle shock mounts to accommodate all this.

    Even fully pumped up to the max 35 psi, the air bags did not get the tail of my wagon high enough with the Hotchkis rear springs. The car still looked like it was going up hill. I had to add nearly a two inch steel donut on the spring perch to finally get it to the right height so I could drop the air bags down to 15 psi or so. My 67 has the lighter tailgate and is only a two seater. So if you have a late 60's double swing heavy tailgate, or a three seat wagon with all that extra heavy hardware, you will need even more lift from a spring perch donut to make the Hotchkis rear spings work right.

    Once I got all this stuff dialed in, the soft, progressive Hotchkis rear spring, the load compensating effects of the air bags, and the heavy rear sway bar work together pretty well. I found some references that said that one school though on getting these A-bodies to handle right involves soft rear springs with big fat rear sway bars. This is what I currently have and it does feel pretty good.
  7. 69 wag

    69 wag 69 wag

    Thanks all for replys. 67 vista I know what you mean. It's been frustrating. Nice to here from someone thats been through it. I've bought 2 sets of rears from the gsca club and neither sit as good as my 40 year olds. trouble is I have to pump my air shocks to the max for a level ride. want to get rid of the air shocks as I get bad wheel hop. I have a set of kybs waiting to go in once I figure this all out. Front springs were replaced by previous owner and according to the service manual the car sits within 1/4 inch from stock. At high speeds though it floats a little to much for my liking. I have boxed arms in back and huge front sway bar and 1 inch rear sway bar. Yes my wagon is both the 3 seater and dual tailgate making it about as heavy as possible. I'm leaning towards the front springs you recommend. Are they ok for a big block no a/c. For the rear I have been given moog numbers of 5417, 5419, 5399, 505 cargo and 507 cargo but at least i'm narrowing it down.. Funny thing, moog emailed me saying they do not manufacture there own springs. I will go to moogs site as they give free hight, load height, spring presure, etc. Thanks Vista, for the information. Peter
  8. 1100kaw

    1100kaw Well-Known Member

    I may be interested in your used springs and stuff. Let me know exactly what you have, and what you need to get out of the parts.$$$ wise.
    I have a 68 coupe that is wore out. needs freshen up.
    Thanks Darrell
  9. 1970bl20

    1970bl20 1970bl20

  10. afracer

    afracer Well-Known Member

    I ran Hotchkis springs on my 69 Sport Wagon, they were just too low and the springs bottomed out with any additional weight while going over bumps. This made it really hard to control trying to tow anything. I liked it being low, but that was just too much. The front sat way higher than the rear, I ran the small block Hotchkis front springs too. I switched to actual A body station wagon heavy duty springs in the back (I think they were from PST or Canter or something) and left the front lowered. I actually prefer it this way now, I can tow anything now without dropping the rear end too low or bottoming out the springs. Also, the car handles so much better because the shocks actually can work now instead of also being so compressed. It'd be different with an air suspension, but it's just too low for my taste after changing to HD stockers. I also now run the air bags just in case heavy towing is in order.
  11. lostGS

    lostGS Well-Known Member

    I got some spring information from a guy with a pro-touring Lemans wagon. I will be contacting the company in the next couple days. I will post what I find out. The rear springs may suprise some. Stay tuned.

  12. 69 wag

    69 wag 69 wag

    Well I bought a set of moog cc 507 cargo coils and put them in. According to the manual rear height to fender lip should be 22 5/8. Im still a damn inch below that and thats with no fuel or tank in the car. Now what? :Do No: cc 505 is same free height but 990 load instead of 849 and 181 lb/in instead of 158. two other choices are 1517 and 1519 both with 1200 load. i'll let you know how i make out. any advise is welcomed.

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