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How do you drill through leaf packs?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by K5er4Life, Feb 22, 2003.

  1. K5er4Life

    K5er4Life 1/2 ton status

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    I have spent many hours trying to drill through my leaf springs. I made some zero rates (I didnt want to wait until monday to get them, I wanted to lift my truck now!) and when I took my front leaf springs apart (4 inch pro comps springs) the center pin was too small for my 3/8's bolt. So I decided to ream to hole out, the hole is only slightly smaller than what I need but I keep breaking bits, I have broken about 5 bits plus I broke a titanium plated bit in four pieces!!! /forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif /forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif I have been using cutting oil, with my springs on a drill press at a low speed, and still I cannot seem to punch through them. /forums/images/graemlins/mad.gif Any suggestions on how you drill through these hard freakin springs? thanks
     
  2. TX Mudder

    TX Mudder 1/2 ton status

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    When I read your post, I was going to suggest a drill press but you're already using one.
    I drilled through a spring pack before and I remember I had to push hard on thr drill bit. Yeah, you're not supposed to, but otherwise it wasn't doing anything.
    If you have broken the drill bits, then you know at leats the bits are biting, right? If this that is the case maybe all you need to do is slow down.
    So you know, I drilled out the hole before I had the drill press, so I did it with a nice hand drill, lying under the truck. It worked, but I think it would have worked better on the drill press. I didn't use any cutting oil.
    -- Mike
     
  3. cybrfire

    cybrfire 1 ton status Vendor GMOTM Winner

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    Go get a couple new bits and some cutting oil. It will help. Once the bit passes through two or three leaves I would suggest swithcing bits. Let the first cool completely. Heat on the bit is your enemy. Get it hot and it will dull instantly and you are done. Switch em out and take your time. Remove the bit from the hole often to clear the debris.
     
  4. bigjbear

    bigjbear 1 ton status Staff Member Moderator

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    lots of pressure, little speed, keep it cool
     
  5. m j

    m j 1/2 ton status

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    I broke an Ironworker punch trying to punch leaves.
    when I went to the drill press I had no troubles.
    Are you drilling each leaf individuaally or the whole pack?
     
  6. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    If you're trying to drill the hole one size bigger (from 3/8" to 7/16") you'll have to be very careful with how much pressure you apply to the bit. Because it's only cutting a small edge it's easy for the bit to dig in and jam up...and if it's tightly chucked in a drill press it'll break bits.

    I had to do the same to my 57" leafs and I used a hand drill, and very light pressure. The best tool for the job is a ream actually but it can be done with a regular bit.

    The alternative would be to buy some 3/8" center bolts... /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

    Rene
     
  7. bigjbear

    bigjbear 1 ton status Staff Member Moderator

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    Good catch, I've got Sat morning brain. Too much pressure will catch the bit if you are not using a core drill (stepped bit). I'm getting spoiled in my old age. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
     
  8. K5er4Life

    K5er4Life 1/2 ton status

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    Im drilling the whole pack, Im afraid I may have to pull the pack apart to get these bits through. It is only one size bigger, and I am using a low speed as well this morning I went down and bought a new titanium set, along with it I bought a few cobalt bits too. Im not braking them anymore now its taking like 3 hours just to get an inch through the pack. I constantly keep lube on it but still nothing, I would have never thought it was this hard to drill through some leaaves. Geez!
     
  9. BowtieRed

    BowtieRed 1/2 ton status Author

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    ya'll are gonna look at me like i'm stupid, but i say go about twice the recommended speed for mild steel. mine drill press says that's about 650 for a 7/16 bit, so i say about 1300. then go real slow and at first don't fully tension your belts- this will save your bit- when it grabs pull the bit back and look inside see if anything is visible that is interfering with the drilling process. now if you see something scrape it out and then, even if you don't see anything, pour some lighter fluid in the packs and wait about 10 minutes, now repeat and light the fluid, adding fluid to the fire to fully singe everything inside, scrape out the inside again. now tension the belts fully and slowly hit the spot slow enough to wear it away if it's still there, backing out periodically. then you have two more options, which can be combined- drill each leaf individually, have a friend heat the pack with a propane torch while to drill, with should soften it up while you drill, but not to the point of damaging the metal. i used to break bits all the time, but i figured these tips out from my knowledge of physics and chemistry. They work for me.


    ahh yes- i made my own spring center pin, and it fits into my blocks better than what i had- i used a carraige bolt with the head ot the top of the spring pack, then put two nuts at the bottom, i then cut them to length (i ended up with one and a half nuts) and grinded them to fit.
     
  10. BILLY RAY

    BILLY RAY 1/2 ton status

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    I know you are going to think i'am full of crap but use a masonary bit to do the springs it takes a little while but you can do it all with one bit. My buddy drills springs alot and he said that is all he uses????????????????????
     
  11. imiceman44

    imiceman44 1 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    I know you are going to think i'am full of crap but use a masonary bit to do the springs it takes a little while but you can do it all with one bit. My buddy drills springs alot and he said that is all he uses????????????????????

    [/ QUOTE ]

    The masonry bit is harder but I am not sure if it will cut, it doesn't have the sharp edges to bite.
    Might work....
     

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