Golden Lion Grrrages

Hood Spring Installation

I had to change hood springs on the 1964 Chrysler. I bought replacements from our pal Murray Park. The challenge: how to safely remove the old springs and install the new springs. As you can see, these springs are powerful and potentially dangerous.


When the hood is fully raised, the spring is at its shortest installed length. As you lower the hood (see next picture), the spring extends. Let's make this work to our advantage.


In this picture the hood is about half way closed and the spring has extended. With the hood in this position, the spring measures 7" long. We will use this measurement when it comes time to extend the replacement spring. Prop the hood so it will stay in this position. Insert spacers into the coils.


These are the spacers I use although they could be half as long and work as well. The material is 1/32" thick black polypropylene. You could also use a deck of old playing cards or large metal washers. Whatever spacer you choose, the total thickness of the spacers will need to be about 2.5" since that is how far you are extending the spring. You should fully insert the spacers into the coils otherwise the spring will camber when released.


This photo shows the spacers installed in the spring. Lift the hood just a little bit and the spring falls off. It helps to have a second person but it can be done solo. Prop the hood -- don't let the remaining hinge and spring take the weight of the hood or you can have hinge damage.


To install spacers in the replacement spring or to remove the spacers from the old spring, anchor a come-a-long to a solid fixture (you could use a tree) and the secure the other end of the spring to another solid fixture (or another tree).


As an alternate to the come-a-long, you could rig up your engine hoist to spread the spring.


Ratcheting the come-a-long easily and safely spreads the spring for installation or removal of the spacers. Crank the come-a-long to extend the spring to about 7" (the measurement we made with the hood about half closed).


Insert spacers between the spring coils until the spring is solid. Release the come-a-long and the spring is ready for installation.


To install, place the spacer-loaded spring on the hinge anchors. Lower the hood until the hinge anchors catch the ends of the spring. With the spring properly positioned, lower the hood just a bit more. This extends the spring, releasing the pinch on the spacers. Pull out the spacers and you are done -- the spring has been safely installed. The usual disclaimers apply: use this information at your own risk. Work safe and work smart.