Aerostar springs...AGAIN
Print Topic | Close Window

By stlroken - 8 Years Ago
I hesitate to bring this up....again....but just added a set of 2wd aerostar front coils to my '56 Victoria. WHAT A DIFFERENCE. The old coils were 56 years old and had been cut with a tourch sometime in the past (to lower it) the new coils set the car a 1/2 inch higher but I think they will settle about the same as the old but the handling and "bumps" are unbleavable. So if anyone is thinking of doing it. I got the coils from O'rilleys for $67 for the set. Just thougt I'd pass this on if anyone is thinking of lowering their car about a 2" to 2 1/2" in the front. Part # Moog PH CC850 and made in the USA.
By bird55 - 8 Years Ago
yep, want to do this too
By The Master Cylinder - 8 Years Ago
Thinking of doing this myself. With the aerostar springs how close is the rubber stop on the lower A arm to the frame when sitting at ride height?

Best price I've found is on, $55.88, free shipping.
By miker - 8 Years Ago
If you search "Aerostar" my post on the bird comes up with my before and after measurements, including the old springs free height. After several months and 800 miles or so, they settled 1/4 inch. Best $70 I've ever spent. Bottoming has not been a problem due to the progressive rate.

Master Cylinder- if you're looking for a bird measurement, I'll go measure for you. Just post back.
By The Master Cylinder - 8 Years Ago
Miker, my bad. Should have mentioned I was curious about a car measurement. When i replaced my FOM with a C-4 the car actually raised ~1 1/2". Didn't think the FOM weighed that much. I want to get it back down.

I have Granada spindles and 1" spring cup spacers so I don't to lower it too far. But than I guess I can remove the spacers if need be.
By The Master Cylinder - 8 Years Ago
Just ordered them from, be at my door on Wednesday.
By The Master Cylinder - 8 Years Ago
WOW! Came home today and my MOOG springs were on the front porch. Gotta hand it to Free shipping and beat their estimated delivery time by TWO days.
By The Master Cylinder - 8 Years Ago
Hey all. Put my MOOG CC850 (Aerostar) springs on my Ranchwagon this morning. All went well but thought I would pass on a few observations.

Since I had replaced the ball joints in the last year it came apart relatively easy. I just undid the lower ball joint and sway bar. I left upper ball joint and tie rod connected. I had to undo one bolt on my caliper and rotate it out of the way so I could use my home made ‘ball joint presser outer’.

Removed shocks and old springs. Noticed that Aerostar springs where quite a bit shorter. Per instructions, tight wound coils up.

Bolted everything back up. Then the fun started.

Attempted to reinstalled the shocks (KYB Gas-A-Just), but couldn’t compress them. Appears with the original spring fully extended, the upper rubber bumper compresses enough to install the shock bolts. Since the Aerostar springs are shorter they don’t exert any pressure on the rubber bumper. In fact I could move the spring with the suspension fully extended. I had to used my bottle jack to compress shocks so I could install the bolts.

Buttoned everything up, installed wheels, removed car stands, dropped the jack and… couldn’t get my floor jack out from underneath. I had put a 4x6 on my jack in order to get the car high enough to get the old springs out.

Jacked car back up, reinstalled car stands, removed 4x6, etc.

Looks great, may be a little too low with the Granada spindles, 1” spring cup lowering blocks and Aerostar sprigs. The trimmed lower A-arm bumper has ~1” clearance. From the center of the front fender cutout (passing through the center of the spindle) to the ground is 23”. We’ll see.

Thanks for listening to my rant, maybe help someone else when doing this.
By miker - 8 Years Ago
MC, don't feel alone, the shock and jack problem happen to all of us. Even though I don't own a full size car, it would be interesting to know the free length of the springs that came out. Might help the next guy. No one ever told me if the springs I removed from my 'bird were stock height or not. That the Aerostar springs raised my bird, then settled to where it was leads me to believe mine might have been cut.
By The Master Cylinder - 8 Years Ago
Miker, I just mentioned the shock/jack situations so others will be aware.

I will measure the free length tomorrow, I already put them up in the attic (of the garage). Don't know if it makes any difference but they are from my Ranchwagon. I know the rear springs are heavier than a sedan (more leaves).

Your comment about your car settling. I hope mine doesn't settle too much. Don't think I want it any lower.

By Doug T - 8 Years Ago
The '56 shop manual has a complete listing of the original spring specifications. If I remember correctly the free height is about 14.5" and the compressed height is about 9.5" for all springs. The table of springs does not list what cars the various springs go into but the lowest spring rate is about 250#/" and that spring goes in T birds.
By bird55 - 8 Years Ago
Seems like this thread is all over the place, so here goes some more.

I just wanted to say I just installed a Hotchkiss suspension kit on my Bird and it really made a gigantic difference in cornering and overall feel of the road. Bilstein shocks all around. I still plan to lower it more however It still has the the stock spec front 55 springs. I plan to replace them with the Aerostar soon and may use a drop cup for that and 1" blocks in back. I also USED to have a heavier front Station Wagon sway bar that I ran for 40 sumethin years. I had an extra leaf in the back that I removed and havent missed that at all! Much better! overall car height is the same as before but like I said needs to come down at least an inch. I'll get some pics up sometime soon.
By The Master Cylinder - 8 Years Ago
Alan, Yeah. I think I may have hijacked it a little. Rolleyes

Ok, The springs that I took out of my RanchWagon are 15.5" long extended.

Here's a picture of how the tire sits in the well now.

By texasmark1 - 8 Years Ago
Anyone done the Aerostar springs in their 57 Fairlane and willing to post info/pics?

I want to do this to mine too!


By junkyardjeff - 8 Years Ago
Will they settle too much with a Y block since its much heavier then the V6 that came in the van,in a couple years I will be putting a Y block back in my 55 and want to figure out what springs to use. Right now I have Fatmans dropped spindles but thinking about finding a disc brake kit that uses the original spindles.
By MarkMontereyBay - 8 Years Ago
Alan, could you post some info on the Hotchkis stuff. Is there a specific kit and part number? What parts did you install? I should be starting the Granada disc brake change soon, got the reamer from Speedway, so it might be good to get the Hotchkis stuff also if that fits my plan.


By bird55 - 8 Years Ago
I tried to reply earlier today Mark but the message vanished into cyber space. Here goes again.

The Hotchkiss kit is available from Larrys TBirds in CA. pt #T18124A, T18125A.

I don't have the install directions handy (at the Shop) but it's pretty straight forward.

You can look at some similar setups online at the Hotchkiss site but I think you have to buy them from Larrys as I think they had them designed and made up as exclusive. 470 bucks not including shocks. Bilsteins are almost 100 per! but I like them.

I did for some reason have to add extenders on the rears as they were too short. even after visiting with Larry's? No explanation? They work now.
By MarkMontereyBay - 8 Years Ago
Thanks Alan. Seems like Larry's Tbird needs some customer service tuning. As far as shocks fitting the early Birds, RockAuto is a good source to check on applications. For what it's worth:

KYB's fit rear:

Guide: KYB 343219 Shock Absorber

BRICKLIN   SV-1   (1975 - 1976)

DAIHATSU   ROCKY   (1990 - 1992)



EDSEL   PACER   1958


FORD   CUSTOM   1957

FORD   FAIRLANE   (1962 - 1970)

FORD   FALCON   (1960 - 1970)


FORD   MUSTANG   (1964 - 1973)

FORD   RANCHERO   (1960 - 1965)

FORD   THUNDERBIRD   (1955 - 1957)

FORD   TORINO   (1968 - 1971)

JAGUAR   MARK X   (1962 - 1966)

MERCURY   COLONY PARK   (1957 - 1960)

MERCURY   COMET   (1960 - 1970)

MERCURY   COUGAR   (1967 - 1973)

MERCURY   CYCLONE   (1968 - 1971)

MERCURY   MONTCLAIR   (1959 - 1960)

MERCURY   MONTEGO   (1968 - 1971)

MERCURY   MONTEREY   (1959 - 1960)

SAAB   99   (1969 - 1978)

VOLVO   122   (1961 - 1968)

VOLVO   1800   (1961 - 1973)

and fronts fit

KYB Part # 343137 GR-2 / Excel-G


FORD   PINTO   (1971 - 1980)

FORD   THUNDERBIRD   (1955 - 1957)

MERCURY   BOBCAT   (1975 - 1980)

VOLVO   122   (1961 - 1968)

VOLVO   1800   (1961 - 1973)

Please refer to catalog for application details.
By Marc - 8 Years Ago
I used early 90's blazer springs on my 57. Not quite as much of a drop as aerostar springs. Worked great, no problems with the stock shocks, sits and rides nice.
By skygazer - 8 Years Ago
Here's a shot of my '55 bird with aerostar springs, and 1.5" drop Granada spindles from Drop-n-stop. Rear springs are stock.

Very satisfied with the ride & control. Front & rear 7/8" sway bars, KYB Gasadjust shocks.

By bird55 - 8 Years Ago
For those of you that would want to see the Hothckiss sway bar kit instructions for the 55-57 Bird, I did find the missing pdf file and I can email it to you. I tried to upload to this site but it won't allow that size.

You could also just get it from Hothckiss at this point.
By DryLakesRacer - 8 Years Ago
Master Cylinder. Can you take another picture showing the side of your car and just not the front wheel? Have you lowered/rasied the rear or is it stock and has it settled any...Thanks
By The Master Cylinder - 8 Years Ago
Dry lakes, The rear has 2" lowering blocks. Unfortunately I can't get a side shot of the car right now. I have some other projects going on right now, I'm installing power windows and power remote door locks. The front seat is out to give me some room to work under the dash and cut holes in the door jams to run wiring.

See what I can do for a picture.
By MarkMontereyBay - 8 Years Ago
Thanks Alan, I have been looking at the Hotchkis website. Got the info there. I am going to try a set of Aerostar front springs along with the Granada front disc brake conversion on my 57 Bird. I like the stance on Skygazer's. I had cut one coil out of the stock front springs long ago but after installing aluminum heads, intake and Sanderson headers the front end came up significantly from the weight reduction. Don't know if I can get away with this setup with the 225-60 series Michelins and 15x7 Torque Thrusts. May have to be more careful on turning bumps and front fender clearance.
By miker - 8 Years Ago
Based on my car, with the Aerostar springs, 225 60 15, 3.5" backspace, I think you'll be ok even with the Granada spindles. I've got power everything, and a/c, so the wieght is probably above average in front.
By MarkMontereyBay - 8 Years Ago
Thanks for that Miker. I keep saying I am going to start the Granada disc thing, have all the parts ready but been waiting for the weather to turn truly winter. It rained for a couple days last week then back to 90 degrees, it's kind of crazy weather here. Don't want to miss out on some excellent beach cruising if it is still warm and clear. Supposed to turn wet again next week so after a full load of Tday dinner maybe my Black Friday will be to pull the brakes apart.
By bird55 - 8 Years Ago
I finally got around to installing the AeroStar springs yesterday. The front end dropped 2 inches. With stock spindles, ride is good Hotchkiss front sway bar and Bilstein shocks. Still road testing to make sure it's where I want it.

The back end is another story-I have to loosen the body mounts and skoot the body over to equalize tire clearance in back. fronts are 17x7 with 215/50R17 backs 17x8 with 255/50R17. Rearend is a new narrowed 9" with 3.50 trac lok and a Hotchkis four link. All the wheels are 0 backspace, and the backs just barely fit but moving the body over it will be just right. And then lower 1-2"s in back. Made one of those handy tools to pop open the ball joint from the spindle and it made the job a lot easier. Smile Have to get better pics soon.

By MarkMontereyBay - 8 Years Ago

That looks great. I think when you lower the back the front will come up a little. I started the Granada change but got waylaid replacing the water pump on the 65 Galaxie (352 with factory A/C). I ordered Aerostar springs form Rockauto on Thursday morning and were delivered Friday morning to my door. 53 bucks including shipping. I have thought about a narrowing the 57 9 inch rear end but too costly for now plus I am supposed to be getting the T-5 conversion going next.
By miker - 8 Years Ago
Alan, the body shifts pretty easy, after you remember to loosen the two bolts behind the seat, as well as the rest of them. Don't ask how I know. The two inches you dropped also seems to confirm my old springs had been cut.
By bird55 - 8 Years Ago
miker (12/11/2012)
Alan, the body shifts pretty easy, after you remember to loosen the two bolts behind the seat, as well as the rest of them. Don't ask how I know. The two inches you dropped also seems to confirm my old springs had been cut.

yes, I am aware of those I count nine per side off the spec drawing I have. So, the seat has to come out but I figure I can just pull back the carpet on the remaining ones. Seems like a daunting task overall but everyone I've talked to said it is easy. Sounds like "Famous last words…" to me Tongue Also a lot of effort just to move the body over about 1/4 -to 3/16ths! But hey, I've dumber stuff. w00t
By miker - 8 Years Ago
I didn't have to pull the seat, I was able to get everything loose with it just raised and shifted fore and aft. I was lucky to have a 4 post lift, and with the weight on the wheels, and a lot of wood dunnage, I lifted the body mid door, and center trunk, and moved it sideways with a bottle jack and more 2x4's. There's more rust than I really want to know about, so I was real careful (and worried), but it moved real easy. 4 big friends would have been my first choice, but I only had one buddy available.
By dbird - 8 Years Ago
Seems like this thread has officially been hijacked, so I'm adding to it. Like Alan, I need to move my 55 Thunderbird body about 1/4 inch at the rear bumper. I've been planning on using several jacks, lifting the body just enough to clear the mounts, using a port-a-power to push the frame hoping the sidewalls (205-70) will flex that much, dropping and tightening. Is there anything besides the the body to frame bolts that needs to be loosened? I'm thinking this might be a good time to replace the rubber bushings, but that might bring a host of other problems. Any advice from those who have done it would help.


By bird55 - 8 Years Ago
dbird from what little I've learned from the one guy I know has done this (Tom McCartney, a local tbird guy), A port-a-power doesn't seem necessary. Seems to me like miker has said it too, if the frame and axles are jacked up and stationary then loosen the body and move it. Tom said he did not remove the body bolts, just removed the nuts and slid it over.

I also thought about replacing the body insulators but haven't decided on that.

I am going to do this on my own so that makes it a pretty slow process. I've used up most of my friends when it comes to projects like this this and they can't be found. Tongue

I was thinking of using wooden shims to break the body tension from the frame and then maybe some lube in between things to relieve more tension. Then hopefully just shoving on the back fender will do it. (fingers crossed) but probably have to use some kind of leverage from underneath, or bottle jacks, don't know just have to try it.

I am also well aware of weak or rusted areas that may be lurking under there so I am keeping that in mind.
By miker - 8 Years Ago
Well, I'll take some of the blame for hijacking it, too. The plates the body bolts go into are made to "slip" a bit in the mount, and all I did was loosen the bolts, not remove them. One bolt in the trunk was an exception, that plate was stuck. I pulled the bolt, and with a punch and hammer, I broke it loose, end of problem. The right rear quarter on my car has been replaced (its got a 56 door jamb), and is not lined up quite right. I had enough room to move that the fuel and brake lines were not a problem for the 3/16" I needed. Once I remembered to loosen those two bolts, which I had marked and forgotten, it was a non event. Using the bottle jack sideways between the frame and 2x4 under the door was more a matter of going easy, slow and watching than necessity. If I was younger and had a good back, I could probably done it by just pushing or using a small lever. But after 50+ years, many of these cars are modified or poorly repaired, rusted, who knows. In the late 80's, mine went from a drug dealer to his attorney as a retainer, so you can imagine some of the repair work I've found.
By bird55 - 8 Years Ago
that make sense to me now how you used the bottle jack, easier on my back too! thanks.

I've wondered about the steering column and shift linkage but I guess those are non issues. Time to stop thinking about it and get it done.

By Vic Correnti - 8 Years Ago
I would keep a close eye on the fit at the doors while forcing things around birds do not have the support of a roof to keep things where they belong.
By bird55 - 7 Years Ago
Over the Christmas and new year break I was able to accomplish moving the body over and lowering it. Smile

I went ahead and removed the seat to have easy access to all the body bolts. I have a spec diagram if anyone wants it although it's pretty obvious where they are located.

I opted to completely remove all the bolts from the firewall back. I loosed the ones in front of the firewall.

I made some coat hanger gismos to stick in the holes so to not knock out the washers or body shims.

I used 2 large floor jacks with 4 x 4's between the rockers and frame rails. Then I lifted everything carefully to make sure it was loose and had broken the tension, then found it best to set it back down.

I also discovered I had to remove the rear bumper. The exhaust I have is 2 1/4 diam. , so there was not any give in that area. I also had to remove one ex. bracket near the axle.

I was able to move the body over by bouncing it over but it seemed like it wanted to spring back. That's when I took it off the Jacks. We also had begun to move the whole car over! so had the jimmy a rig to keep it from sliding. Just another contraption between the concrete block wall and the brake drum. It worked. I did have to ream out the bolt holes farthest back to get the bolts back in them.

A lot of stuff to do but it lined up finally. Then I was able to use some 1" aluminum lowering blocks I made to drop the rear. I could probably drop another 1" with room but I would need to get longer U bolts. I'll see how this works out.

Sorry for the long post but I hope it helps out someone else. I'll try to get some pictures up soon.

Almost forgot, I did use a bottle jack between the driver side rocker/dogleg and frame also. Be careful doing this I did it more to keep it from sliding back than trying to move. It just kept pressure on it.

BTW the doors and seams fit just as crummy as they always did so no worse. w00t
By dbird - 7 Years Ago
Alan, thanks for the update, gets me a little more motivated. Let me see if I get it right, cut 4x4s to the length of the rockers, unbolt obviously, jack up until the mounts separate then lower again, then bump over? Did you lubricate between the cushions an whatever they separated from, I guessing some stuck to the body and some to the frame? I don't think I have to worry about the bumper, my exhaust looks pretty weak, but I really like to se what 2.25 exhaust looks like coming through the bumper.

Thanks again,

By bird55 - 7 Years Ago
Yep, you have it right. Be patient with all of it. go slow. 4x4 might be overkill but I already had them. I have one area in the drivers side floor that is "soft". It's in the actual floor brace to body mount area. Not too worried about it I've been keeping an eye on it for about 40 years.w00thasn't seemed to get much worse and this is no show car.

The 2.25 exhaust requires modding the ex. fittings within the bumperettes, no big deal but very tight.

Yes, I did use lube on all the body bolts and cage nuts underneath, can't hurt.
By bird55 - 7 Years Ago
I rechecked the exhaust and was wrong about the size. They are 2". tailpipe. original was 1 7/8" i think. still very tight.
By glrbird - 7 Years Ago
Thanks Alan, just one question, how much did you need to move yours?
By bird55 - 7 Years Ago
i think it went a quarter inch
By dbird - 7 Years Ago
Only took me ten months.Brought this old thread back to life as I finally got around to the hijacked topic. Taking my time I spent two days on less than a days worth of work, but managed to move the body 5/16 to 3/8 inch at the back bumper. Really, easier than expected. Thanks to all that contributed for the input.

I'm really looking forward to not having to use the air shocks to keep the tires from rubbing.


Oh, and in the meantime I did put Aerostar springs on and like the way it sits with stock spindles.