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RGK

Suspension...Heavy load or standard??

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Hi,

I've had some conflicting advise from two land rover parts suppliers/ specialists, i'm not going to mention them as not to undermine their businesses.

Scenario:

I own a defender 90 1986 (300tdi), and was thinking of upgrading the suspension without increase the height of the vehicle. Therefore my thoughts are to fit:
+2 Big Bore Expedition Shocks
Std height heavy load springs
Dislocation cones allround

Assuming over 5,000 miles per annum the 90 is used for 20% green laning, 30% traveling (tarmac & unsurfaced roads) & 50% normal road use.

The vehicle will be full ladened for traveling, and lightened in normal use, however still carrying (3/4) roof rack & rear tub storage box, second spare, aux battery and second fuel tank. I'm concerned the suspension system indicated above may be too ridged/ hard for normal use or standard setup wont be able to hand the mean or gross weight increase??

Advice Source 1: recommend heavy load springs, uprated shocks, basically as described above.

Advice Source 2: recommend using standard springs and shocks. on the basis that heavy load should be used when the vehicle is 'heavy' on tarmac roads. A lighter vehicle/ unladened off road wouldn't compress the springs thus loosing traction and on road would be too hard of a ride.

 

Could anyone advise before i purchase the wrong setup.

Thanks

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Your trying to do two things with one spring. Your choice is go for the light one and drive carefully when loaded or go for the heavy one and have a hard ride and less flex when empty.

How do you find the springs now? Ok or too soft? If they're ok now no point putting heavier ones on. 

If they're ok when loaded but too bouncy maybe double shocks or adjustable shocks might help? 

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If the two load conditions are so radically different then it sounds like a job for air-assist on the standard suspension??

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HD springs will be too stiff for unloaded road and off roading use, regular springs may struggle with the weight on trips.  Likewise dampers.  I'd recommend standard springs and helper air springs like those Matt Savage sells for heavy loads, and either adjustable dampers or a twin damper setup with standard dampers and a second pair that can be disconnected when not required.

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I had a chap waxing very lyrical about those inflatable spring helpers the other day, had them on his 130 which sometimes tows a 5th wheel trailer and other times runs around empty, he reckoned they were the dogs danglies... but he was also a 4x4 specialist who happened to supply & fit them, so you know... it doesn't sound like the worst idea ever though for your scenario.

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Standard height springs and shocks with anti roll bars- when you add you weight its going to be high up so extra rolly pollyness will need to be cancelled out. 

After the antiroll bars I would perhaps go for a higher end shock OME or Koni and save on the springs, standard landrover springs are only £15 each and can be swapped in minutes on the rear once your new shocks are on with plenty of coppaslip on the ends. Its a cheap way to find out what suits.

 

Will.

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You can't load the vehicle beyond it's max weight which the stock springs should be designed to take so I would've thought if anything the problem would be bouncy & rolly but should still be safe if driven within respect. Adjustable shocks should help get rid of the bouncy rollyness. Won't help with the back end down much I guess. I guess it depends how old and worn out it is too. 

A lot of people with pickups and 5th wheel caravans have those air assist springs with a little electric compressor which they often need for the trailer brakes anyway, I know of a farrier that runs them too due to the weight of his tools. He just pumped them up at home and ignored them in a typically agricultural way. Never run them myself but I'm a big fan of air suspension having driven lorries etc... so let us know how you get on. :lol:

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A friend has the air helper bags on his 110 and really rates them. They stop the slightly saggy arse when it's fully loaded.

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I would suggest a progressive rate springs. And forget what people say about hd, heavy load etc. if there are no numbers to back it up.

To start of with you need to know what your car weighs, how much you are planning to load it up by, and what springs you have currently.

Only then you can make a judgement about what rating will work with what you have, using the Redrover spring list:

http://www.bilashakaflowers.com/LandroverSprings.htm

As mentioned, progressive springs are good, so NTC8572 could be a good one or NRC9462/3.

The progressive Old Man Emu springs listed are OME 762, 759 and 757.

I personally would recommend OME for the springs, and shock absorbers as well.

I have no experience with the airbags, but in the interest of keeping it simple, I would spend my money on OME.

As said Anything that is explained in words with springs is hot air, you need numbers.

Daan

 

 

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3 hours ago, Daan said:

And forget what people say about hd, heavy load etc. if there are no numbers to back it up.
...
As said Anything that is explained in words with springs is hot air, you need numbers.

Those two phrases put it perfectly! 

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BIG thank you to everyone.

i could have spent a fortune and made a completely undriveable vehicle.

I'm now confident that standard springs & shocks are the way forward. and in the event the rear gets a 'saggy arse' i'll install helper springs/ air bags. 

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20 hours ago, RGK said:

BIG thank you to everyone.

i could have spent a fortune and made a completely undriveable vehicle.

I'm now confident that standard springs & shocks are the way forward. and in the event the rear gets a 'saggy arse' i'll install helper springs/ air bags. 

Nail and head.  The magazines and Billing tat stands convince everyone that Heavy Duty means better or an upgrade, but usually that's the worst thing you can do - standard is generally best, and the Defender has decades of development and evolution in many roles to perfect the standard spec.  HD is only an improvement if you're usually heavy, rather than just occasionally.

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On 5/31/2019 at 3:13 PM, RGK said:

Hi,

I've had some conflicting advise from two land rover parts suppliers/ specialists, i'm not going to mention them as not to undermine their businesses.

Scenario:

I own a defender 90 1986 (300tdi), and was thinking of upgrading the suspension without increase the height of the vehicle. Therefore my thoughts are to fit:
+2 Big Bore Expedition Shocks
Std height heavy load springs
Dislocation cones allround

Assuming over 5,000 miles per annum the 90 is used for 20% green laning, 30% traveling (tarmac & unsurfaced roads) & 50% normal road use.

The vehicle will be full ladened for traveling, and lightened in normal use, however still carrying (3/4) roof rack & rear tub storage box, second spare, aux battery and second fuel tank. I'm concerned the suspension system indicated above may be too ridged/ hard for normal use or standard setup wont be able to hand the mean or gross weight increase??

Advice Source 1: recommend heavy load springs, uprated shocks, basically as described above.

Advice Source 2: recommend using standard springs and shocks. on the basis that heavy load should be used when the vehicle is 'heavy' on tarmac roads. A lighter vehicle/ unladened off road wouldn't compress the springs thus loosing traction and on road would be too hard of a ride.

 

Could anyone advise before i purchase the wrong setup.

Thanks

neither are wrong.. 

There is no single perfect spring rate for a vehicle. It is largely down to driver preference. 

The ideal in this situation is to specify a dual or even triple rate spring. Easily doable, but it has to be calculated for YOUR car, and YOUR preference to get it right. 

Dampers are very much the same. 

you have stated you want an upgrade, and your general usage.
When you say upgrade, what do you actually want to improve on? Body roll? Harshness? Wallowing? Axle shimmy? Articulation?

As i'm sure you are already aware, dislocation cones won't directly affect the ride characteristics of a car on-road. It does however suggest you are searching for a lower roll stiffness to increase available articulation travel? This will increase body roll. 

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Mikey’s last paragraph is especially relevant.  For lanes and tracks, dislocation cones should not be necessary.  With a light vehicle and heavy springs, you won,t get the articulation for them to dislocate, and since you’re carrying kit on the roof for big trips, you’ll likely need an anti-roll bar, which will further negate their need.  Lanes and tracks seldom have surfaces that com anywhere near needing them; there for extreme like rock crawling and playing in old quarries, not for travelling anywhere.

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16 hours ago, discomikey said:

There is no single perfect spring rate for a vehicle. It is largely down to driver preference

You need air suspension... like the new defender will have :ph34r: :rofl:

  • Haha 2

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I needed some versatile set up for my 110 Hard Top which carries quite a bit of stuff (extra fuel, water, gear, converted roof etc) and went for standard Original Parts LR springs all round, and basic Armstrong shocks, with AirLift bags in the rear. It works very well - I can run 'unladen' with the bags soft and its very pliable. Sticking the pressure up a bit makes it 'firmer' and reduces roll on corners, and if fully loaded - which includes bicycles hanging off the spare wheel on the back -  I can pump up even more and it copes very well with the extra load without wallowing too much. Apart from the 'popping out' of the top plugs that retain the bags ( known defect and easily solved) the set up has worked really well for a relatively modest outlay.

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That's the problem with these new fangled, untested coil springs. Nobody has any idea. It's all finger-in-the-wind and maybe it'll work. Plus all the extra bits that nobody really understands. "Control arms" and the like...

You don't want any of that gubbins. Leaf springs and a calloused arse are all you need! 😂 And possibly some dental work when your teeth rattle loose now and again...

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Don't knock them, my daily drives have been leaf sprung for the last 15 years and they ride fine loaded or empty... once your used to it... :rofl:

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4 hours ago, RPR said:

You don't want any of that gubbins. Leaf springs and a calloused arse are all you need! 😂 And possibly some dental work when your teeth rattle loose now and again...

Preach, brother!

Have to say, since fitting paras & decent shocks the 109 is not uncivilised in the suspension department - just uncivilised in numerous other ways :lol:

Also, long time no see, welcome back @RPR!

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The bonus to leaf springs, is they allow you to carry extra paving slabs in all occasions, just on the off chance they might come in handy.. it's not to make it ride better.. honest 😂

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On 6/18/2019 at 9:37 AM, RPR said:

That's the problem with these new fangled, untested coil springs. Nobody has any idea. It's all finger-in-the-wind and maybe it'll work. Plus all the extra bits that nobody really understands. "Control arms" and the like...

You don't want any of that gubbins. Leaf springs and a calloused arse are all you need! 😂 And possibly some dental work when your teeth rattle loose now and again...

Joking aside, the parabolics on my 109 are more comfortable when empty than the factory suspension on my wife's late 90XS, despite being HD three leaf front and four leaf rear, and seem to deal very well with heavy loads too (as you'd expect), though I did add a Marshall ambulance rear anti-roll bar to help with decent loads on the roof rack.  Leaf springs are severely under-rated, but a lot of Japanese an US 4wd stuff still uses them.

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