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Jamie_grieve

Thoughts and musings on the new defender

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On 10/18/2018 at 5:30 AM, Jamie_grieve said:

To have a spring stiffness soft enough in roll to allow enough wheel travel to maintain wheel contact with the ground would result in a very low frequency of response from an independent suspension which would not result in good behaviour at higher speeds on rough roads. With a live axle this can be mitigated by using stiffer springs mounted closer together that will still be soft in roll to allow the wheels to move but stiff enough to avoid damage and maintain ground contact when the wheels hit the ground hard or preventing  dive too much under braking which can also be enhanced by antidive suspension geometry.

I don't know your experience/qualification in this area of vehicle dynamics and do not wish to offend you, but from my experience (off road motorsport engineer) I would wholeheartedly disagree with this statement. 

Vehicle dynamics is an extremely complex subject, Roll stiffness V.S. ride frequency are not directly linked to suspension type. Geometry, yes, but this does not mean that generalising independent suspension to be worse than live axle in this instance.

Our bulldogs have very similar wheel travel to a standard defender. similar articulation, but better on and off road handling by miles. Roll stiffness and articulation are, in effect the same thing. whether this is tuned through suspension geometry, roll axis height V.S. CoG, or the addition and sizing of anti roll bars, is almost irrelevant. You could make a beam axled car with a super low ride frequency and super high roll stiffness if you wanted to, Inversely you could also design a fully independent car with super high ride frequency and super low roll stiffness. 

It just depends on what the criteria for the design is. 

 

On 10/18/2018 at 5:30 AM, Jamie_grieve said:

Unfortunately, I'm not sure the current crop of land rover engineers do either. If you damaged a range rover wheel on a kerb I'm sure you could forgive it so to speak, not so a defender, I've seen the test videos of the disco 3 on the tiny kerb strike and ditch crossing but we expect a damned sight more from a defender. I added a picture of a typical defender steel wheel with cracks to give you some idea of how defender wheels weren't up to the job before. I'm disappointed they will be replaced with components subjected to higher stresses which arise by making them smaller. I would expect to see cracks not only on the rims but on the wheel discs and more broken studs and wheel nuts working loose. I haven't seen a steel wheel on the smaller pcd yet but it'll be interesting to see how thick they are.

The smaller PCD stands up absolutely fine in extremely harsh competition environments, It's not the wheel studs that take the loads (or at least shouldn't be by design), its the centre spigot. We go through hundreds of wheels on races, every failure is rim deformation. barring one, which was of a defender wheel where the centre ripped out. up to press smaller PCD wheels have stood up to that. 

That was purely spoke design and the cause of impact being 50+MPH into a tree with said wheel though.. the entire chassis was shunted on the left hand side by 25mm. 

 

 

On 10/18/2018 at 5:30 AM, Jamie_grieve said:

I'd also suggest that the live axles will give a better cross country mobility and that the end user could easily optimise the suspension and tyres further than will be possible with the new Defender to suit their requirements for enhanced cross country mobility  or towing or whatever.

please let me know your thoughts for this. Healthy discussion of course. And what makes this trickier on independent setups. 

 

 

On 10/18/2018 at 5:30 AM, Jamie_grieve said:

I reckon any of the Jap pickups will be as capable towing a trailer, putting a pallet of bricks in the back and venturing as far off road as the new defender, I'd also say they'll do it whilst staying away from the dealers for major repairs.

The discovery 3/4 reigned as tow car of the year for how many years running? 
I would also argue that our 17 plate ford ranger is noticably less stable, and less grunty than our predecessing D4. For a pickup however, It is lovely and I really like it!

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18 hours ago, HampshireHog said:

Was it a donkey in some sort of camouflage  horse blanket 

I hadn't thought of that....

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23 minutes ago, discomikey said:

The smaller PCD stands up absolutely fine in extremely harsh competition environments, It's not the wheel studs that take the loads (or at least shouldn't be by design), its the centre spigot.

Doesn't this depend on if the rim is hubcentric or nutcentric?

A Defender steel rim centres and sits on the studs. In fact some aftermarket rims the centre bore is large enough to not even touch the hub.

Alloys rims are different, they sit and locate on the centre of the hub and the studs/nuts simply hold it in place.

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I have no defender on steel wheels to actually check here right now, but from memory, at least with a D1 steel, the centrebore is actually still used. The last few mm on the hub is slightly larger dia than the drive flanges. Aftermarket rims don't use this feature and do rely on being nutcentric, which is less than ideal but does cope. My argument still stands that the PCD at least in most (and the application discussed) is used for torque reaction, not shear resistance from wheel impact loads.

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On 10/24/2018 at 2:43 PM, discomikey said:

I don't know your experience/qualification in this area of vehicle dynamics and do not wish to offend you, but from my experience (off road motorsport engineer) I would wholeheartedly disagree with this statement.  No offence taken!! If I'm wrong I'm wrong, I relish technical discussion and am happy to learn from someone with more experience than me. My relevant experience is fleet and workshop management for organisations in remote and difficult to operate areas since 2006, I have an honours degree in mechanical engineering. I have been subjected to 15,000 hours of full body vibration operating articulated and rigid vehicles and  plant in mines, construction and quarries around the world and have had the xrays and surgery that goes with it.. I used to work as a plant fitter then I spent some time designing and building washplants and equipment in abrasive environments. In short, I've spent my entire life watching mechanical things get beat to death.

Vehicle dynamics is an extremely complex subject, Roll stiffness V.S. ride frequency are not directly linked to suspension type. Geometry, yes, but this does not mean that generalising independent suspension to be worse than live axle in this instance. Fair comment and as I said previously I'm no expert but I made the generalisation based on current norms in vehicle construction and a criteria that put off road capability and maintenance ahead of driver comfort and road holding, I should have been more clear.

Our bulldogs have very similar wheel travel to a standard defender. similar articulation, but better on and off road handling by miles. Roll stiffness and articulation are, in effect the same thing. whether this is tuned through suspension geometry, roll axis height V.S. CoG, or the addition and sizing of anti roll bars, is almost irrelevant. 
There is a difference with independent compared to live axles which would need clarified for further discussion in that do you mean vertical wheel travel or articulation? A defender axle moves 9 or 10 inches vertically but perhaps with 16 inches of articulation. Consider a centre pivot tractor front axle, does it have wheel travel or not, it obviously has articulation. Maybe we need to make sure we're not discussing apples and oranges. That said, I would love to be arguing from the standpoint of a defender live axle and suspension with 30 years of continuous development and not just a 50 year old copy and paste from the classic range rover.
 

You could make a beam axled car with a super low ride frequency and super high roll stiffness if you wanted to, Inversely you could also design a fully independent car with super high ride frequency and super low roll stiffness. Now I have to admit to not having the required knowledge and experience, this is what I obviously don't understand and am happy to admit I might be quite wrong on.

 How do you achieve this with typical sprung or unsprung masses and typical sizes of mass produced components? Using the tractor axle above as an example, could you design an independent suspension to mimic that?  Obviously it's at one end of the spectrum, but a live axle isn't far behind. The difference in vertical spring rate vs roll stiffness in a live axle in conjunction with or without an antiroll bar is what I believe makes the live axle more suitable for a utility vehicle. If we assume the load on the rear wheels of a utility vehicle to double under loaded conditions but we also want to minimise the loss of ground clearance and maintain load sharing as far as possible on uneven ground I simply cannot see how this could be done as well with independent suspension. If we say that the wheels have a total of 12" of articulation on a bit of rough road which would be each wheel displaced 3" up or down from the road surface, how much would translate into a variation on load on the wheels with live axles compared to an independent suspension in loaded and unloaded condition? On a tractor it would be near zero for example.

I also contend that the increased variation in load on the independently sprung vehicle translates into increased fatigue in the monocoque, an uncomfortable ride on really bad roads as in my picture and a dangerous one when the surface is bad enough to rock the whole vehicle side to side as in the freelander video previously posted. Additionally, with an independent suspension, how do you have a system which if it has a low enough spring stiffness to give the same articulation as a defender then what happens when the design criteria also requires to maintain ground clearance  when both wheels at the front or back encounter a bump in a rut? Compromises have to be made with independent that don't exist with a live axle. Obviously much of this could be done using variations with spring rates with air springs but these don't last the test of time in an arduous environment so are outwith the scope of discussion on a durable utility vehicle.

It just depends on what the criteria for the design is. 
Exactly!! That's what I've been saying. I realise I'm coming across very anti independent but this isn't the case at all. My argument is that the design criteria selected on the vehicle in the images has compromised the concept that I hoped we would see. Had the lower arm been coincident with the centre of the wheel with portal gearing to increase ground clearance I would have placed an order!! My comments on the live axle are based predominantly on durability and simplicity rather than on superior all round performance. I fully accept that if someone says the wheels need to move 16" then an independent suspension could be packaged to suit and behave better than the same on a live axle under many circumstances.

 

The smaller PCD stands up absolutely fine in extremely harsh competition environments, It's not the wheel studs that take the loads (or at least shouldn't be by design), its the centre spigot. We go through hundreds of wheels on races, every failure is rim deformation. barring one, which was of a defender wheel where the centre ripped out. up to press smaller PCD wheels have stood up to that. 
I don't agree that competition is a useful metric or benchmark for defining a harsh environment, there just isn't any competition that lasts long enough to really show up what decades of in service life will. You simply will not see the fatigue cracks in areas that genuine service life will reveal. The cracked wheel I used as an example simply can't happen in the time frame of any competition yet was a fairly regular occurrence. Likewise chassis cracks due to fatigue, spline wear, any driveline wear at all etc. Competition vehicles also generally aren't neglected, overloaded and towing trailers at the same time. How much redundancy is left were the vehicle to be armoured and the weight increased by three tons? Sounds ridiculous but this regularly happens to Land Cruisers and G wagons on standard parts and is what I would consider to be a harsh environment.  Remember we're talking about improvements here, not whether a land rover engineer could argue the cause for a debating team the design might just be adequate at best.


I also disagree that the wheel studs don't take loads, I believe (and could be wrong) that the hub spigot on the land rovers is only to maintain concentricity of the wheel during mounting and under extreme duress. You can easily tell if a wheel is hubcentric by the use of flat washers or flanges on the wheel fasteners with a hubcentric design the hub spigot is load bearing but only in conjunction with the studs keeping it there. The wheel also has to be thick and heavy. If the fasteners are conical then the wheel is centred by the studs. If the aluminium wheel on the steel hub were load bearing the necessary movements due to stress and strain would lead to fretting of the aluminium at the spigot contact surface. The different elasticities would be very difficult to accommodate in such a small space. Even if the hub was hubcentric, the smaller diameter is surely not an improvement?

Imagine the scenario of a vehicle in a V shaped gulley, how would you describe the tensile or compressive forces at the studs on the top and bottom of the wheel and then the spigot? The point I was making about the pcd is that it was not an improvement in any way and that all of the relevant components are now subjected to higher stresses. How will the smaller pcd perform when two studs are broken for example compared to the old? How much will a piece of debris or rust on the wheel mounting flange affect balance and bearing life? How physically large can the bearings and half shaft be when they have to share the smaller space in smaller components as found in current land rover products. 

That was purely spoke design and the cause of impact being 50+MPH into a tree with said wheel though.. the entire chassis was shunted on the left hand side by 25mm. After a 50mph tree strike I think occupant survivability is about the only important thing, let the wheels fall off!! I'm sure improved safety of the new vehicle will be at least one aspect we don't disagree on. I've picked up the pieces from a number of defender rollovers and other crashes that weren't pretty.

 

 

please let me know your thoughts for this. Healthy discussion of course. And what makes this trickier on independent setups. 
Hopefully my above comments satisfy this but I'd also reiterate  another topic for discussion if I may, that Independent setups by their natures have more moving parts and are subject to more wear and reduced lifespan due to parts moving through greater angles and distances. For example, if you look at the movement of an independent CV joint compared to that in a live axle.CV joints don't last as long, the bushes or bearings they run in flog out quickly, they are easily damaged and suffer from water and dust ingress. Experience has shown that very small amounts of wear or damage in an independent suspension component will likely result in camber and tracking problems resulting in increased tyre wear and long term running costs compared to live axles. I look at tyre usage on Toyota hilux and ford ranger IFS and compare to those vehicles with live front axles and see an enormous difference. If I look at recommended parts stock levels, workshop hours allocated to the same there are twice the times and jobs on IFS as the live axles. I can only assume IRS would be the same as a few armoured shoguns are all that I've seen with IRS. I understand this is a different scenario to that of a racecar getting fully inspected after every section, a utility vehicle might be lucky to see a hose down once a year. I've purposely left Hummvees out of the discussion as the defender replacement will be too far removed from it to be relevant although lessons learned from it may be relevant.

 

 

The discovery 3/4 reigned as tow car of the year for how many years running? That's a very good car from many aspects and I came very close to getting one myself but they most certainly aren't a utility vehicle capable of thousands of hours on corrugations and rough use nor maintenance without special tools by people without specialist knowledge. How often do you have to change the suspension arms and brake pads just in the UK, now translate that to somewhere with very poor infrastructure. There are many simple operations that require the removal of the body such as the timing belt which is quite frankly ridiculous.
I would also argue that our 17 plate ford ranger is noticably less stable, and less grunty than our predecessing D4. For a pickup however, It is lovely and I really like it!
I agree with your choice of vehicle at that price point and caused a storm in one organisation years ago when we got 22 ambulances based on the ranger platform instead of hilux on my advice. Maintenance costs have been lower and cold weather performance has been superior. Have a look at the 'light tactical vehicle' configuration if you buy another one. They are remarkably cost effective and capable. There's a reason they have overtaken Hilux in Australia as the no 1 where Toyota is practically a religion. Comparing a Ranger to a Disco four is surely like comparing apple sauce to an orange tree?

 

Edited by Jamie_grieve

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17 hours ago, Jamie_grieve said:

There is a difference with independent compared to live axles which would need clarified for further discussion in that do you mean vertical wheel travel or articulation? A defender axle moves 9 or 10 inches vertically but perhaps with 16 inches of articulation. Consider a centre pivot tractor front axle, does it have wheel travel or not, it obviously has articulation. Maybe we need to make sure we're not discussing apples and oranges. That said, I would love to be arguing from the standpoint of a defender live axle and suspension with 30 years of continuous development and not just a 50 year old copy and paste from the classic range rover.

Lets take our car and a standard defender as an example. We'll stay clear of mathmatical equations for now. 

Assuming that, for arguments sake, our 2 cars have been fitted with springs calculated to give exactly the same wheel and damping rates as each other. forgive me for teaching granny to suck eggs, for everyones benefit, Wheel rate being the effective rate of the spring at the wheel itself. Obviously the independent setup requires a stiffer spring due to the motion ratio of the particular linkage that transmits the spring force. (leverage) But, in short both cars could be made to ride equally in pure bump. Lets say 1.2Hz for example 

A bulldog (or likewise any other D7U platformed vehicle) is capable of tucking the wheel up into the (defender based) wheelarch as far as a defender in articulation, I recognise a defender in pure bump has less wheel travel than it has in articulation. This limitation in pure bump is not present with an independent vehicle, as regardless of being in either pure bump or articulation, the wheel takes the same travel path. As you know, this is not the case from a beam axle point of view. I would argue that this then makes the available wheel travel more useable more often. 

you could calculate the ground pressure applied to the front corner of a vehicle in full articulation, if you wanted to. The effective wheel rate, and amount of compression of that, will be equal for either suspension type. the calculation is the same.

 

18 hours ago, Jamie_grieve said:

Now I have to admit to not having the required knowledge and experience, this is what I obviously don't understand and am happy to admit I might be quite wrong on.

 How do you achieve this with typical sprung or unsprung masses and typical sizes of mass produced components? Using the tractor axle above as an example, could you design an independent suspension to mimic that?

you would use available wheel travel, play with spring (and anti roll bar) rates, and suspension geometry (including roll centres, axis and CoG height in addition to basic arm lengths, motion ratio's etc) in design to achieve the desired performance. 

If you use an extremely stiff spring the initial compression of said spring at ride is small, at zero compression, there is zero force applied through the spring and pushing down onto the ground. Effectively, droop travel becomes useless in the application of ground pressure. 

on the opposite end of the scale, and extremely soft spring, would, deflect a lot, through little pressure. If you used a soft enough spring, you could achieve a large wheel deflection with a very small alteration in ground pressure. It's the principal rock crawler type vehicles use to maximise their grip.

we could go out and fit an extremely stiff set of springs to a rock crawling beam axled buggy and it would almost definitely lift wheels left right and centre. As you stated yourself, these uneven forces would then transmit to the body.

18 hours ago, Jamie_grieve said:

My comments on the live axle are based predominantly on durability and simplicity rather than on superior all round performance.

Fair comment. I would, however like to put forward that the failures seen to date on our current models have been much easier to "get home" on than failures of earlier designs. Take halfshafts and diffs for example. Todays components are much more robust, reliable and durable. Sure, a couple of linkages have failed in the past, but these can generally be fixed out in the middle of the desert with no support, only using a ratchet strap, enough to get back to service, 200km away.

I have also seen failures on beam axled suspension linkages, for example trailing arms bending under a compressive force (i.e. when in reverse). 

It's all still just nuts and bolts.
 

18 hours ago, Jamie_grieve said:

I don't agree that competition is a useful metric or benchmark for defining a harsh environment, there just isn't any competition that lasts long enough to really show up what decades of in service life will. You simply will not see the fatigue cracks in areas that genuine service life will reveal. The cracked wheel I used as an example simply can't happen in the time frame of any competition yet was a fairly regular occurrence. Likewise chassis cracks due to fatigue, spline wear, any driveline wear at all etc.

You may be suprised to find that fatigue is a much more prominent failure mode in rally raid type events than poeple expect. You seem extremely switched on, therefore you will know that fatigue life is a combination of cyclic loading and the sizes of said loads. The S-N curve of a given material shows this quite well. The size of loads and deflections are vastly increased in a rally raid type event, Dakar events regularly near 10,000km. easily enough, if not over a single race, then over 2 or 3 to expose fatigue issues. 
 

18 hours ago, Jamie_grieve said:

Imagine the scenario of a vehicle in a V shaped gulley, how would you describe the tensile or compressive forces at the studs on the top and bottom of the wheel and then the spigot? The point I was making about the pcd is that it was not an improvement in any way and that all of the relevant components are now subjected to higher stresses. How will the smaller pcd perform when two studs are broken for example compared to the old? How much will a piece of debris or rust on the wheel mounting flange affect balance and bearing life? How physically large can the bearings and half shaft be when they have to share the smaller space in smaller components as found in current land rover products.

Fair comment, I wasn't thinking regarding lateral loads. The forces will be higher. I guess that time will only tell with this argument. 

In terms of wheel bearing sizes, and life. I would put forward that this is more related to the chosen design of hub rather than PCD size or suspension type. Good point, I still prefer the hub unit design over open bearing and race. from a service and maintenance point of view, I can change 4x discovery II hubs in the time it takes me to replace 1x defender wheel bearing set. Time, being money (and as a fleet manager you will know this) I believe it's more cost effective to maintain this type of unit than the defender type. Unfortunately Current Full size JLR stuff is bearing pressed into upright.

Bearings pressed into uprights, when not 20 years old, I would say are much nicer to change also, but when they've been in a while, not so much!


Bearing life from unbalancing due to debris can only be speculated unfortunately?

 

19 hours ago, Jamie_grieve said:

Hopefully my above comments satisfy this but I'd also reiterate  another topic for discussion if I may, that Independent setups by their natures have more moving parts and are subject to more wear and reduced lifespan due to parts moving through greater angles and distances.

Fair comment. I won't deny this. or the tyre wear issue. 

 

19 hours ago, Jamie_grieve said:

How often do you have to change the suspension arms and brake pads just in the UK, now translate that to somewhere with very poor infrastructure. There are many simple operations that require the removal of the body such as the timing belt which is quite frankly ridiculous.

In all fairness, I spend much more time repairing poorly handling defenders even sub 30,000 miles (yes.. I know they handle poorly anyway)
Removal of the body is not necessary, even for the rear belt. It's a pain to do yes, but at least unlike a 200TDi defender you don't have to fight soft timing case bolts, and drop the coolant. You could pick fault with any vehicle.
 

19 hours ago, Jamie_grieve said:

Comparing a Ranger to a Disco four is surely like comparing apple sauce to an orange tree?

I fully agree. They aren't comparable in nearly all areas, however It's the next best thing on the market for a farming business that needs a do-everything vehicle. 
We didn't stay with the JLR brand purely because the D5 was too expensive, and bulky. (although since the girlfriends father has got one, I've driven it. as usual for the JLR vehicles it's very nice to drive. It's sprung differently to how I would expect but maybe that's because its a commercial?)

We'd have another Ranger, but certainly won't be discounting the new defender when it's released (price permitting)
 

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@ Discomikey, Have you got pictures or video of the car (Bulldog?) You refer to please? I'm not at all familiar with it. I tried a search on here and it also seems to be a brand of off road accessory providers. Is this who you engineer for? Interesting job if it is. A google search was giving me fire trucks.
Some video showing the suspension working would be interesting and possibly fuel for further discussion.

I'm keen to use the tractor front axle analogy to continue the discussion. I feel I didn't articulate what I was saying very well.

The point I don't understand is that in my mind the effective spring rate in roll of a live axle vehicle configuration  is significantly softer in roll  than it is on bump. We could measure this with corner scales and wheel deflection. Were we to put a defender wheel 6" up on a block and measure the load on it under articulation, then with wheels on level ground push the front down 6" (as for arguments sake, I know it won't move that far on bump) we would see a significantly higher load on the same wheel under the same deflection.  I understand how the roll stiffness of a live axle can be brought up to that of an independent suspension with the use of antiroll bars. I fail to see how the independent suspension can be made to be softer in roll than bump? This is the point I'm hung up on as I believe the stability and safety to be gained in the scenarios such as the freelander video or the H1 on the rti ramp is what will be lost by the move to independent. I have no arguments about the 95th percentile user who will use the defender replacement on flat grass fields and gravel tracks but that's not why people who can't swim buy 100m waterproof watches.

We surely expect the Defender replacement to be able to cross terrain other vehicles can't and I fail to see how the use of the independent suspension shown in the spy shots with the short arms will achieve this in a durable fashion. 

On the bearings, although I used the scenario of a v shaped gully, actually the opposite was normally the case of many of our hub and suspension ailments. Certain types of laterite and mud roads get ruts in them from trucks passing then the ruts get baked in the sun and the light 4x4's end up straddling them for hours. Alternatively just the motion of constantly driving in and out of ruts would take it's toll on the bearings, wheels and tyres. This scenario would also put additional wear on independent suspension joints that a live axle configuration wouldn't see.
We get the same thing in soft sand where trucks leave ruts the 4x4's have to fight and vice versa. We often have separate roads if we can or I ban the light vehicles if it's really bad. This is more to do with getting stuck than a maintenance issue...I digress, sorry.
I have to disagree about the bearing choice however. Shipping overseas is very costly and labour costs are generally very cheap in the type of country that has the poor infrastructure the defender replacement ought to be suited for. I would guess I could land 20 defender bearings for the price of a unit hub with the bearing already in it. You can also change a defender bearing with very simple tools in the field that would be impossible with the type in the upright you refer to. I also think the larger spacing of the old type of bearing was better than the new unit design which has the bearings very close together. Although the radial loading capacity would be the same or better, the axial loading I believe (without evidence as I haven't used them in a fleet role) to be inferior. It's not the current design thats the issue to my mind, it's the design criteria at fault and that they're built for mass production. There's nothing wrong with unit bearings and hubs if sized appropriately but those on the platforms I've seen are physically no larger than the parts found on any modern luxury saloon, same too of the driveshafts and CV's. 
Perhaps what I feel is lacking with current designs is that there is almost no additional redundancy in any of the drivetrain components compared to various luxury cars. Surely everything should be twice the size, more voids in larger bushes, more travel, more of everything and it isn't the case. 

Has the thinking that led to the gearbox choice of the L322 changed at JLR? Why would they put a gearbox in a car that wasn't even rated for the power produced let alone the fact it was going in a particularly heavy car? The weakness didn't show up in the testing and trials, I'm sure the selection process ticked all the right boxes yet there must have been close to a 100% failure rate by the time they had 150,000 miles on them. I'm concerned the same will be the case with the defender replacement.

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Bearing in mind how good the last few generations of Range Rover/Discovery have been off-road and on road, there can't be much doubt the new Defender is going to be more than adequate,  and from the series 1 onwards the design brief was for a light utility vehicle which they have made progressively slightly more comfortable through the years .  For heavy stuff they made the forward controls, 101, Wolf etc. 

Any extension of the envelope into a challenge truck, motorsport, heavy industry or having a cherry picker bolted to the back was always stretching things into compromise.   I wouldn't think they would go any further with the new one, probably just more efficient, comfortable, modern looking with some light utility capability.  

The number of fatigue failures I've seen on 4x4's in Africa while I've been out in the wilds crossing deserts, long long corrugated dirt roads, smashing through bush etc, is tiny - certainly never seen wheels sheered off at the studs, apart from an old arab guys 'cruiser once, but he only had two wheel studs anyway.   I did crack my chassis once but that was a 40 year old Range Rover on the worst road in Africa (Moyale Road back in the day before the Chinese fixed it) with 3/4 of a ton in the back.   Sure, broken springs, exhausts, bits falling off - I was on a road so bad once that both my track rod ball joints snapped off, but given all those things, in an old cruiser, defender, patrol, hi-lux, you're getting home eventually, with wire, cable ties and a stick.

Articulation - yes can be useful but not a game changer.  My wifes old Fiat panda 4x4 has very little but will run rings round a Defender off road.

What I do see though, long before anything has had chance to fatigue its way off, get broken or got stuck or otherwise due to poor wheel travel, is Discovery 3/4, Range Rovers, Modern Toyota 4x4s, ford rangers, Mitsubishi tritons etc  going past me the other way on the back of a truck or abandoned in the middle of nowhere because a sensor malfunctioned, an ECU fried, a plastic manifold cracked or water got in to the electrics.   Wheel bearing gone - no problem, just swap it at the side of the road - oh no, can't do that, need to swap the entire hub. 

No way i'm getting one of these new fangled things - in fact I've just bought a new Landy for travelling round Africa in - a 1970 S2a with a nice big pig iron 2.6 straight six 😛🤘

 

 

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Apologies for the long post with lots of pictures but hopefully most will find them interesting.

 

2 hours ago, Eightpot said:

The number of fatigue failures I've seen on 4x4's in Africa while I've been out in the wilds crossing deserts, long long corrugated dirt roads, smashing through bush etc, is tiny

Just a few of many photos of fatigue failures to show you what you've been missing.  This is what you have to deal with in a global market and is what so very few people from the UK ever get to see so I find the perspective very skewed towards crossing a muddy field now and then as to what a utility 4x4 needs to be able to do.  Again I would cite the 100m waterproof watch as my argument for having a highly capable product that 95% will never use to capacity. If the people building the car don't get it then what chance has the car got? I've purposely not used the same car twice in any of the pictures. Land Cruisers fair much better in these conditions and is why I generally recommend them but I would love to be able to recommend a British product. The Projekt Grenadier is another I'm following with interest.  I also think that by putting forward the illusion of a utility vehicle it will cheapen the Land Rover brand although in the short term it will be much easier and more profitable to build for the masses but I see the problem with the land rover brand that it could quite rightly be accused of talking the talk not walking the walk.

Unfortunately I lost a great picture of a horn bracket that had cracked off allowing the horn to hang on the wire and rub a hole in the radiator which left a team stranded overnight in a place they would rather not have been.

 

2 hours ago, Eightpot said:

Articulation - yes can be useful but not a game changer.  My wifes old Fiat panda 4x4 has very little but will run rings round a Defender off road.

Ah, c'mon, now you're just being silly. Lets keep it technical please. Define the individual circumstance in which that happens to have a discussion. Fiat pandas are great wee cars but I don't recall seeing any with any utility companies? The point about the articulation I was making is how it enables a load carrying vehicle to maintain usability and safety in loaded and unloaded conditions not winning some pointless RTI score.

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😀 we're on a different grading spectrum I think.   I'd call those rattles rather than failures 🙂

I worked on a bunch of ex-mine 110's that came over from Sierra leone - would be fair to say they were not lavished with mechanical sympathy , after all nothing handles like a company car!

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7 hours ago, Jamie_grieve said:

Apologies for the long post with lots of pictures but hopefully most will find them interesting.

 

Just a few of many photos of fatigue failures to show you what you've been missing.  This is what you have to deal with in a global market and is what so very few people from the UK ever get to see so I find the perspective very skewed towards crossing a muddy field now and then as to what a utility 4x4 needs to be able to do.  Again I would cite the 100m waterproof watch as my argument for having a highly capable product that 95% will never use to capacity. If the people building the car don't get it then what chance has the car got? I've purposely not used the same car twice in any of the pictures. Land Cruisers fair much better in these conditions and is why I generally recommend them but I would love to be able to recommend a British product. The Projekt Grenadier is another I'm following with interest.  I also think that by putting forward the illusion of a utility vehicle it will cheapen the Land Rover brand although in the short term it will be much easier and more profitable to build for the masses but I see the problem with the land rover brand that it could quite rightly be accused of talking the talk not walking the walk.

 

Many of those are exactly the sort of things we see here in the Falklands but Land Cruisers are also far from impervious to fatigue (or any other) failures :)

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Those pictures made me smirk!

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On 10/27/2018 at 2:01 PM, Eightpot said:

😀 we're on a different grading spectrum I think.   I'd call those rattles rather than failures 🙂

I worked on a bunch of ex-mine 110's that came over from Sierra leone - would be fair to say they were not lavished with mechanical sympathy , after all nothing handles like a company car!

The Dawnus ones? They were a state. Littering ebay for most of 2015-16. I managed to get a full set of doors off one that are mostly straight and undamaged, unbelieveably. Complete with red mud, wasps nest and spiders.

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On 10/27/2018 at 10:47 AM, Eightpot said:

Articulation - yes can be useful but not a game changer.  My wifes old Fiat panda 4x4 has very little but will run rings round a Defender off road.

 

 

 

I don't think you are actually referencing off road here.... A Panda would be useless in proper technical off road situations.

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Yep, a customer bought a few and bought them in to get sorted to go on his forecourt. The red dust had got ingrained into absolutely everything - even inside the sealed instrument pack and dials.  Think that's the most wheel bearings changed in one sitting..

 

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I first encountered Defenders in a similar environment to what @Jamie_grieve describes, and fell in love with them because of the "British" understatedness of the engineering that made them more capable than the Barbie 4x4s in tough conditions. Defenders can handle the abuse they get for a few years, before they degrade as the photos show.

If you have an organisation that needs to get people and/or stuff over bad terrain to remote areas, on a regular basis, with an ever-changing pool of drivers, you want something that can be driven with normal driving licenses and cost effective pricing - the Defender fitted the mould. In 2002 you could buy a new export Hard top for £13k. Many overseas organisations with a British background would use Defenders instead of Toyotas because of the iconic status that gave them a credibility lift. Other 4x4s can have the logistical capability and off road ability that is able to get through the rough stuff, but they will start to break within a couple of journeys if pushed hard. The youngest Defenders I used were 5 years old and were ragged. Raleigh International at it's peak Defender fleet would probably have 15 around the world, and would look to replace them every 4 years. Each vehicle would have about 10 different drivers every year, doing 15-20k miles, and one would get rolled or heavily crashed every 2-3 years. At least one of the two Defenders I managed would be incapacitated every other month due to some failure. Both of them were rolled in a 3 month period (not by me!). The small organisations didn''t have the budget for preventative maintenance nor buying new vehicles, so the toll of their environment and lifestyle caught up with them. Some of my abuse photos (mostly different vehicles).

This vehicle was 6 months old:

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Rolled

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Other abuse

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Having owned a Defender in the UK, I don't see the full meaning of one is ever possible to experience. Overseas, it meant I could take 14 people and all their equipment and 6 weeks' of food, 100km into the jungle, at get out again. They literally enable you to do things in remote places that others can't get to. Defenders in the UK are a lifestyle vehicle and so the relationship with them is different. I believe Defenders are made for the tropics - no problems of galvanic corrosion/rust, drafts don't matter, neither do carp heaters and poor cold starting isn't a thing. Leaks don't matter as everything dries out pretty quickly. For example, a 15 year old chassis in Southern Africa:

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But you do get the wear and tear (particularly fatigue as shown previously), that is not typical in the UK environment. The British Army in Belize rolled 19 Defenders during a 6 week training deployment - I was told that there was nothing in the UK that could prepare squaddies for the 300Tdi on those roads. I went in their vehicle graveyard compound once and there must have been 50 Defenders in there. I once watched a REME guy fill up the clutch fluid from half a metre away... Despite the abuse, Defenders can limp on or be fixed. This is the same vehicle with the front end crash from above. Most of the wing is filler...

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I worked with one organisation that had had enough of failing Defenders, and moved to Land Cruisers. They could not afford newer ones so most were between 15-25 years old, yet 3 of the 6 needed new gearboxes when I saw them, 2 needed new propshafts, exhausts hanging off, etc. However, I think the Toyota philosophy is better at the end of the day. So many of the bolts are 12mm head - just go round with 1 spanner. The 1HZ is a beautiful engine and access to service it is very easy. Much of the suspension is beefier. And i've heard that the 70-series is built to be somewhat uncomfortable, so that drivers don't drive too fast. I was asked by someone once, "why does the back end of the Defender slide out when I corner". I said "you're driving too fast". If I had a penny for every time someone said to me that the Defender is "a tank" or "indestructible"..... you can see where the abuse comes from when drivers have the "Defender" image in their heads. No production 4x4 vehicle can handle that long term, without buying the specialist vehicles that the army are replacing Wolfs with.

The remote parts of the world are shrinking. Africa is very asphalted now. I think these days most organisations can get by with some sort of copycat Doublecab pickup. I don't think the new Defender will tempt them in any way. What i'm interested in seeing is how long organisations will hold onto their 300Tdi Defenders, whilst all the local mechanics are scared or oblivious to electronic vehicles.

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1 minute ago, Chicken Drumstick said:

I don't think you are actually referencing off road here.... A Panda would be useless in proper technical off road situations.

You'd be very surprised - the first generation pandas are very good off road.  Rear beam axle, front independent suspension, separate stayr-pusch transfer box, very light, very narrow and a good torquey little engine.   Still used very widely in the Alps and all over Italy as they are superb on steep narrow snow covered inclines.  I've decisively beaten a disco 1 up a slippery incline, even on road tyres. 

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OT again but Steyr-Puch designed the AWD systems of the Panda 4x4, Pinzgauer, G-Wagen and Freelander. Discuss! ;)

And I'll say it's horses for courses - just as an SJ410 will sometimes get where a Defender can't (or vice-versa) a Panda or 2CV or anything else is not to be dismissed.

Oh and we were up at Seven Sisters (where JLR do a lot of testing) this weekend - the bloke in the pub is adamant they will be chasing the military contracts with the new Defender, a bloke on site who knows a guy at JLR was adamant the Defender replacement will start at 70k, and some of the testing tracks we were shown that supposedly have been used by JLR you'd think twice about driving in a challenge truck so pick whatever you like out of that lot! :lol:

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1 hour ago, FridgeFreezer said:

OT again but Steyr-Puch designed the AWD systems of the Panda 4x4, Pinzgauer, G-Wagen and Freelander. Discuss! ;)

And I'll say it's horses for courses - just as an SJ410 will sometimes get where a Defender can't (or vice-versa) a Panda or 2CV or anything else is not to be dismissed.

Oh and we were up at Seven Sisters (where JLR do a lot of testing) this weekend - the bloke in the pub is adamant they will be chasing the military contracts with the new Defender, a bloke on site who knows a guy at JLR was adamant the Defender replacement will start at 70k, and some of the testing tracks we were shown that supposedly have been used by JLR you'd think twice about driving in a challenge truck so pick whatever you like out of that lot! :lol:

Everyone on the internet knows the man in the pub knows all! 

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3 hours ago, Eightpot said:

You'd be very surprised - the first generation pandas are very good off road.  Rear beam axle, front independent suspension, separate stayr-pusch transfer box, very light, very narrow and a good torquey little engine.   Still used very widely in the Alps and all over Italy as they are superb on steep narrow snow covered inclines.  I've decisively beaten a disco 1 up a slippery incline, even on road tyres. 

So what you are saying is they are very good at ON roading then. You claimed axle articulation is not needed and the Panda is better off road. Driving an unpaved road is not off roading ;)

 

How would the Panda fair in locations like this:

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I don't see any reason a panda wouldn't go anywhere a standard disco 1 can go, and a few places it couldn't.   In terms of clambering over boulders, I've seen a disco hung up on them while a 2cv neatly clambered past  - Land Rovers aren't the only tool in the box. 

Plenty of Panda 4x4 stuff on YouTube, they have a huge following in Italy & France still and heavily outnumber Land Rovers in the mountains. 

https://youtu.be/_ErK8RsMI6k

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5 hours ago, Chicken Drumstick said:

I don't think you are actually referencing off road here.... A Panda would be useless in proper technical off road situations.

He meant they're much better for driving under the fruit trees on the back lawn!  Honestly, you'd think people here would know better.  Sigh.

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