Apr 302013

The building of the two 5 leaf spring packs for the boot hinges leaf by leaf was difficult enough, so I wasn’t looking forward to prospect of trying to open up the full five leaves to extend from the mounting point over the receiving pillar on the boot lid arm.

My first attempt was to clamp the hinge unit in a vice, mount the spring pack on the hinge and use pliers to try to open the springs. It was a huge difference between extending a single leaf and the full spring pack! The problem I found was to get sufficient clamping needed to secure the hinge in the vice to withstand the forces needed to open up the springs. Often the hinge would move in the vice in preference to spring opening and, once the paint finish started to show signs of distress, I gave up.

After a few further searches I found an alternative method where the hinge pivot bolt is removed. The spring is mounted to the bracket half of the hinge and the receiving pillar on the hinge arm positioned in the centre of the spring pack. The idea being that the latter could be used to extend the spring pack to a point where the pivot bolt could be replaced. Again all this achieved was to further damage the paint.

Like most problematic issues encountered, I put it off to have a ponder how best to tackle it. Recently someone posted a video on the internet of a rather wacky, counterintuitive way of tackling the problem. I’d not had much joy with the accepted methods so I thought I’d give it a whirl. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

The hinge was securely screwed to an old 4×2 wooden frame I’d lying around as I still haven’t got round to mounting my vice on a workbench. Essentially the building of the spring pack, covered previously, has simply arranged the leaves in order on the mounting bolt so the spring pack can be fitted onto the hinge bracket.

Inserting the bolt was very fiddly

The individual leaves are then pulled out from the spring pack with pliers, working out from the inner most leaf. The leaf being pulled clear pivots on the mounting bolt and is then extended and placed over the receiving pillar. The process is then repeated for the remaining leaves.

The securing nut on the spring pack bolt only needs to be put on a couple of turns to allow the leaves to pivot. Pulling out the individual leaves with pliers was quite difficult but obviously gets sequentially easier.

I had to use a screw driver to lift each spring to be able to get some strong pliers sufficiently on to the leaf to pull it out. Once a leaf has been partially pulled out, it was occasionally necessary to tease it out further using a screwdriver. The leaf can then be extended using some thick protective gloves and pliers.

1st leaf on! Next leaf pulled out Extending the leaf

I would thoroughly recommend this approach over trying to extend the full 5 leaf spring pack.

 Posted by at 7:03 pm
Jun 142012

It’s fairly common for the bootlid springs to wear and eventually fail. Mine were certainly no exception and the bootlid had never sprung open of its own accord. Each spring should consist of a pack of five leaves but the majority had worn so thin that they’d sheared in two. Hence the lid’s unwillingness to open.

I’d read Eric Capron’s very useful article on replacing the bootlid springs and so it was a job I really wasn’t looking forward to! I’d been meaning to ask Hutsons to do this before they returned the painted bodyshell but, in the excitement of finally having the car returned, I forgot to mention it.

As well as a variety of implements to prise open and hold the leaves apart, it’s a jolly good idea to use some heavy duty protective gloves. Once several leaves have been added the spring force is quite strong and the leaf edges sharp enough to do serious mischief to any fingers left in the way.

The first task in constructing the spring packs is to get the 3/16″ bolt on to the first leaf. I deviated from Eric’s guide as I found it wasn’t that easy to open the leaf sufficiently to insert the bolt with the leaf clamped in the vice. This was partly due to the fact that the vice really needed to be clamped securely to a bench rather than free standing, which made the whole process far more difficult.

To start each leaf, the outer end was pushed until there was just a sufficient gap to insert a flat-bladed screwdriver. The screwdriver could then be turned through 90 degrees, lifting the leaf end away further. This allowed it to be slid over the vice’s swivel lever and the screwdriver removed, see the photos below. A solid bar passed through the centre of the leaf could then be pivoted on the vice body to prise it open. The other end of the swivel lever was hard against the vice body so that it couldn’t rotate.

First leaf : this only needs to be opened sufficiently to insert the washer and bolt. This was quite fiddly and would have benefit from a second pair of hands.

A screw driver was used to prise away the leaf end Inserting the bolt was very fiddly With the bolt in place, the remaining springs can be added to complete the spring pack

Remaining 4 Leaf Springs
The spring pack is completed by adding the remaining leaf springs in a similar manner, one by one. A new leaf was opened as before and placed on the vice swivel lever so that it could be prised open using the bar. This time the leaf needs to be prised open much further so the whole of the first leaf can be inserted and the bolt end passed through the hole in the new leaf … it’s much more fiddly than it sounds!

Once inserted, ease the pressure on the bar allowing until it can be removed. It’s a very good idea to loosely fit a retaining nut at this point otherwise the new leaf is likely to slip off the bolt. Now put the bar through the first leaf and prise open. In doing so, the new leaf will also open and finally pop into place. The process is then repeated until all five springs have been added.

If was a surprisingly fiddly job but I suspect the hardest part will be fitting them to the boot hinges. I’ll put that off as long as i can!