I need to replace a broken bolster on an MTH 70 ton freight truck. Are there any tips or tricks for re-installing the tiny coil springs?
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Run a piece of thread through the spring. Then when it flys off into the void it will be easier to find. Once the spring is in place the thread is easy to remove.
I use very pointy tweezers with a bent end. I find its best to get one end in, then just use the points of the tweezers to compress the spring and work the other end in. Put a finger over it as you're doing this to minimize the risk of sending it flying. Just grab 1 coil. Trying to compress the spring in something and then insert it is a recipe for launching it into the great unknown.
Work on a large uncluttered surface. If it goes flying, it usually doesnt go too far when its not compressed.
Unless you are very skilled and also lucky, the spring will indeed go flying at some point. I cut about a 9 inch long piece of thread, pass it through some coils of the spring and tie it into a loop. I then put that loop over a finger in the hand I'm using to hold the truck. The spring can't get away. Once both springs are in place, I cut the two thread loops and gently pull the thread out.
I use the same basic procedure as boilermaker does except I do compress the spring after dipping the spring in grease. Place the tweezer points into the spring and not over the spring. Angle the spring and place it into the cutout and then push into place over the tiny post to secure.
Thanks to all for your suggestions! I used the thread tip on the first spring while I experimented with different methods. I found that I could pop the spring in pretty easily by first lining up one end of the coil on the "bump" and then compressing it between my finger tip and the bolster until it slid into the recess. Fairly simple once you get the hang of it. Thanks again everyone!