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Indian Leaf Springs

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  • Indian Leaf Springs

    When I tore down the Chief years ago, I did not pay attention to the leaf spring that was on it and did not realize it was a '38 and earlier 10 leaf spring. I took all the parts for both bikes to blasting and when I was comparing the two springs (the other 11 leaf is the Four), I noticed it. I was planning on breaking down both springs to clean up the inside surfaces. There is also a difference in the band at the front. I also noticed the 11 leaf's are not in the same thickness order as Greer's lists them. Not that his parts are the bible, but I have nothing else to go by. So here I am trying to figure out my options. From what I have come up with, here they are..
    • Use what I have (don't really want to do this for the possible ride impact)
    • Wait for ebay or a swap meet to come along and hope I find one
    • Swap it with someone that needs a 10 leaf and that has an 11 leaf (hint hint)
    • Buy the missing upper leaf from Greer's (they sell them individually)
    The problem I see with the last option is that if you notice in the pictures below, the early 10 leaf were all the same thickness and were roughly 1-7/8" in total thickness. The 11 leaf was also 1-7/8" in thickness, but had 5 leaf's that were thinner than other 6, of which were the same thickness as the leaf's in the early spring. Adding a leaf would make the overall thickness greater and I am thinking I might have to possibly increase the length of the mounting bolts.

    Any thoughts or experience with this? Anything to the difference in the bands? Any chance I am looking at early repops (don't think I am, but do not know)? I can't find any solid info about the right thickness overall or even what the individual leaf thickness should be outside of Greer's.

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  • #2
    Rick, I bookmarked this page by Andy Donald a while ago, not sure it will get you your answers but some good details in here:
    Pisten Bulley is Harry Roberts in Vermont.


    • #3
      I appreciate you providing the link. I already have that one in my library, but as you mentioned, it does not provide the details I am looking for. Still good info nonetheless. As always, thought I would post here to see what others say.

      I have also gotten into the habit of printing links like this to PDF and saving them in a folder. I had a lot of questions posted on CAIMAG forum over the years that I thought would always be there for reference, until the day it went away. Since I did not print the threads, I find myself having to go back and ask some of them again. Won’t let that happen again.


      • #4
        A year later, I am back to the springs! I ended up taking apart the 3 separate spring packs I have in order to clean them up, grease them and repaint. I found a thread from 2014 on this topic, and many other members mentioning that they have done this, so decided to do it myself. It will likely be worthwhile as the Four and Chief springs had a lot of thick rust between each leaf, along with gobs of old paint. The third pack I have is a new 11 leaf from Greer's that I picked up over the last year. With my initial plan of replacing some of the leaf's in my 10 leaf to build it to an 11 leaf and keep the original thickness, I found that I was better off buying a complete spring to take apart and use what leaf's I needed. In addition, the new spring was showing light through a couple of leaf's at the pinned end, which led me to believe it was not fully compressed when pinned.

        Can anyone tell me what the proper directions are for each spring in an 11 leaf spring? Meaning...does the leaf curve up or curve down?

        What is the best way to pin the leafs for reassembly? A press only? A press and a rivet tool or hammer? Should the pin be heated before mashing it?

        Here is why I am asking about this and following the plan above. When I found out I had a 10 leaf spring on my 42 Chief, I thought I had a '38 and earlier leaf spring. What I found is that it is almost exactly the same dimensions as the 41 Four Spring in individual leaf lengths and overall total height. The differences were that the first leaf on the 10 leaf was a tad bit longer than the first on the 11 leaf, and it was missing what would be the second leaf in an 11 leaf pack. In addition, each of the leafs of the 10 leaf pack are the same thickness, but the 11 leaf spring has two different leaf thicknesses, but both packs are the same overall total thickness. Thinking that I had a '38 10 leaf spring, when I looked at Greer's 10 leaf springs, the leaf lengths and build is completely different than my 10 leaf, so I am not convinced that this is a '38 and earlier spring.

        So More questions...
        Could my 10 leaf had been an 11 leaf at one point in it's life? If so, it would seem odd that the second leaf from the top would get removed as it is a short leaf in comparison to the others, but I also do not know what the ideal leaf would be to remove when removing one. I read in an old thread that this was done in the past, but not recommended.

        Could my leaf be an original 10 leaf right from the factory in '42? I have an early '42, so not sure when exactly they started making changes for the war effort. I have found my horns on both models could be either rubber mounts or spring mounts based on the changes they were making for the war effort, so why not remove a leaf spring? Or maybe just an early re-pop?

        Is there a maximum total spring thickness?

        As far as my first question above, I have posted a pic below of the spreadsheet I threw together to compare each leaf in each pack. My measurements of my originals were so close to Greer's, I just used the Greer's length for each one, except for one. I also added a section with the specs from Greer's for each individual leaf if purchasing individually. While their catalog shows both the leaf with the loop and the bracket upside down, each of the other individual leaf's seem to be presented in the correct orientation. I opted to use the original 11 leaf pack as a reference against the Chief, the new Greer pack and the individual leaf's in the catalog.

        The yellow cells show leaf's that were flat and only found on the older springs. Not sure if these were curved originally or have worn flat? The orange cells show the leaf's that differed when compared to the 11 pack. Between the 11 pack and the 10 pack, the second leaf in the 10 pack was curved up, compared to being curved down in the 11 pack. The individual leaf's in the catalog show to be the same, except for the 6 and 8 leaf's, which show to curve up in the original 11 pack, and curve down in the catalog. The new complete assembly shows one difference to the original 11 pack, showing the number 6 leaf to be curved down as compared to curved up in the original.

        If anyone can help in providing the correct orientation for these leaf's, it would be greatly appreciated! I have a discrepancy in all 3 packs.

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