Automotive springs and white vinegar
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    Default Automotive springs and white vinegar

    Alright - thought I may ask here before I junk these springs. I got some automotive springs with some surface rust from my mechanic. I pulled off some manually, but then dunked them in white vinegar for a day, day and a half to get the heavier stuff off. Some pitting was left behind, but by and large they were mainly just cleaned up.

    Now Iím concerned about hydrogen embrittlement. Is this something to be worried about, or no? I did wash them with some water and baking soda, but they are now painted and ready for installation. They were not baked after the vinegar bath.

    Just need to know if theyíre hosed or what. Thanks!


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    Quote Originally Posted by majdomo View Post
    Now I’m concerned about hydrogen embrittlement. Is this something to be worried about, or no? I did wash them with some water and baking soda, but they are now painted and ready for installation. They were not baked after the vinegar bath.

    Just need to know if they’re hosed or what. Thanks!
    "400-Day" clock mainspring fair-certain, drillpress quill retract spring, possibly, but multi-leaf truck/automotive leaf springs? Doubt it is any more concern than the dice-roll used springs have already as risk.

    Single-leaf, I'd use new just on principle. Mess-with labour either way vs reduced risk, new parts.

    Might want to soda - or other media - blast them next time?

    2CW

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    Thanks much. They are coil springs if it matters.

    Itís a roll of the dice, given, just donít want to, uh, die because of some physical reaction with the vinegar.


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    Quote Originally Posted by majdomo View Post
    Thanks much. They are coil springs if it matters.

    It’s a roll of the dice, given, just don’t want to, uh, die because of some physical reaction with the vinegar.


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    Sorrry... coils ARE more susceptible to failure! Not just from acid - surface imperfections in general - those pits?

    Worse - they are more often applied in a geometry where it matters more when they fail.

    Much wiser to install NEW.

    NB: Search your specific vehicle & MY for a history as to failures:

    CarComplaints.com | Car Problems, Car Complaints, & Repair/Recall Information

    Some makes and models have lots of reserve, failure is borderline UNHEARD of, even after decades of neglect.

    Others are not so lucky.

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    Or the Houston spring shop that put kinks in them for a REARCH job - for a '30 Packard no less

    Doubt it is any more concern than the dice-roll used springs have already as risk.

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    Iím no expert on this stuff, just working on my modern classic car. These are springs from the same model, different trim level of car which lowers the ride height slightly and should be stiffer when taking a corner. Geometry would change slightly but not out of range for what the chassis is already engineered for.

    Itís a balance to match the stock height dampeners, which these should do. I do know the history of these, and at 80k miles they should be fine from that perspective, but they had some surface rust with other areas of pitting. A shame too since they are OEM.

    However Iíll likely junk these and shop for new aftermarket that will match the rebound rate and height reduction that these would have provided. Or get new springs and shorter dampeners that match, itís more money but cheaper than a failure!

    Shame about the Packard re-arch. Even pros get it wrong I suppose.


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    If you can bake them, any embrittlement is reversible. If they are mission critical, replace them.

    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by majdomo View Post
    Shame about the Packard re-arch. Even pros get it wrong I suppose.
    There is (or was) a proper spring shop just around the corner, here. They'd casually pull raw leaf stock off a rack and make NEW leaves in a New York Minute, had the needful heat-treat facility as well.

    Coils? Those, too are custom-wound every day. Somewhere. Variable-spacing and variable diameter all part of a day's work.

    The only "hard ones" to match that I am aware of are those wound with tapered round rod stock.

    Be glad your "classic" is a motorcar. The REALLY hard springs in several flavours of strange were found on armoured-vehicle suspensions "longer ago the weirder".

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    Quote Originally Posted by TDegenhart View Post
    If you can bake them, any embrittlement is reversible. If they are mission critical, replace them.

    Tom
    Unfortunately Iíve already painted them, primer plus epoxy paint. I can bake them (wife wonít like it but not the weirdest thing to bake oneís car parts, right?) but not sure if the paint has sealed them up to the point where the hydrogen canít escape?


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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    There is (or was) a proper spring shop just around the corner, here. They'd casually pull raw leaf stock off a rack and make NEW leaves in a New York Minute, had the needful heat-treat facility as well.

    Coils? Those, too are custom-wound every day. Somewhere. Variable-spacing and variable diameter all part of a day's work.

    The only "hard ones" to match that I am aware of are those wound with tapered round rod stock.

    Be glad your "classic" is a motorcar. The REALLY hard springs in several flavours of strange were found on armoured-vehicle suspensions "longer ago the weirder".
    Yeah, the rears have tapered ends. Fronts are just cut, same diameter as the rest. I can only imagine the oddities on an armored vehicle, though sometimes I feel like we need one here in LA!


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    Quote Originally Posted by majdomo View Post
    Yeah, the rears have tapered ends. Fronts are just cut, same diameter as the rest. I can only imagine the oddities on an armored vehicle, though sometimes I feel like we need one here in LA!
    "One", Hell!

    Pretty long border to cover between the Kalifornicyahstan Soviet Socialist Republik and real America, Mexico included, to prep for containing the rising Zombie Apocalypse since y'all "weaponized" cancers of various classes - political included...

    Where is Jefferson Davis & Co. when you really NEED a secessionist? Or George Goethels when the San Andreas, properly excavated, could be far more useful than the Panama Canal?

    Meanwhile.. the Empire of Mexico is gradually taking California BACK. And will be far the worse for it..

    We may just have to keep doing this over until we get it right?


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    Quote Originally Posted by majdomo View Post
    not sure if the paint has sealed them up to the point where the hydrogen can’t escape?
    Hydrogen is the smallest, lightest, and fastest-moving gas molecule. It's very very hard to keep it confined, even if you want to. So no, the paint (even good quality epoxy) won't stop them from escaping the metal surface.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ballen View Post
    Hydrogen is the smallest, lightest, and fastest-moving gas molecule. It's very very hard to keep it confined, even if you want to. So no, the paint (even good quality epoxy) won't stop them from escaping the metal surface.
    W/R any acid treatment, it is the Hydronium Ion (H3O+) as carries the killer - available release of nascent hydrogen atoms that vigorously seek new mates.

    One wants to get those OUT of the metal, (as with heat..) not trap them IN it.

    Paint - a bunch of polymers of long-chain hydrocarbons (the "vehicle") & their passengers (pigments, but not-only..) - would just eat-em up into minor alterations in its own chemistry.

    If I NEED chemicals to de-rust an alloy of Iron? My preference is for caustics rather than acids. That said, both have downsides.

    Media blasting, OTOH, there is at the least less "hidden from view".

    2 molal worth.


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    Thanks all for your input. I did end up installing the springs, just to see what they looked like, but will be swapping them out for some out of the box new springs over the next week.

    If nothing else, the spring rate on the ones I refurbished isnít stiff enough for my liking. That and I just donít trust them. But Iíve learned a ton, which is worth something!


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    Quote Originally Posted by majdomo View Post
    Thanks all for your input. I did end up installing the springs, just to see what they looked like, but will be swapping them out for some out of the box new springs over the next week.

    If nothing else, the spring rate on the ones I refurbished isnít stiff enough for my liking. That and I just donít trust them. But Iíve learned a ton, which is worth something!


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    Probably best. Springs are among the most stressed parts in a car.

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    Quote Originally Posted by n2zon View Post
    Probably best. Springs are among the most stressed parts in a car.
    Could was.. but they don't outright FAIL of it nearly as often as the nut that holds the steering wheel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    Could was.. but they don't outright FAIL of it nearly as often as the nut that holds the steering wheel.
    Too many nuts behind the wheel, agreed!


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