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Fitting Parabolics


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Hi there I have a 1984 landrover series 3(R6) lLWB station wagon which has now got a (small !) 2ct Toyota diesel instead of the 2.6 litre LR petrol engine.

I have 11 leaf (standard)rear leaf springs which are in good condition.

On the front I have 6 leaf (standard) leaf springs which were re tensioned about 6 months ago here in Cape Town.Well unfortunatly I think it was a mistake to have had the fronts retensioned(or may be was done poorly?)as The top leaf on the passenger side has snapped.

I am now considering going for parabolics on the front only and keeping the standard leaf springs on the rear( untill they eventually will need replacing -with paras)

Would this be possible or advisable and would there be any problems with the installation.would I have to replace the shocks?

I drive the vehicle everyday and it is generally lightly loaded with occasional heavy loads but no towing.

I drive all road surfaces including the dreaded dirt roads with there corragations.

I drive off road may be 2 or 3 times a month for general fun but nothing too serious .

I realise the vehicle is never going to be that comfortable and knew that when I aquired the vehicle and accept this BUT if I can make it ride better while still be durable(how long should paras last compared to standard springs?)and (within a reasonable percentage of my budget compared to standard leafs then I will go down that route.

How involved is it too fit leaf spring of either variety ,I have good mechanical skills generally on marine enviroment but not so much on auto so any good advice would be appreciated.

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Fitting advice first:

Get the manuals, I believe there are manuals for your SA varient online - the estonian landrover club have them.

Decide on your springs - more advice later.

Buy new chassis bushes, either metastatic (original) or polybushes, depending on your take of the various comments on here. Consider new shocks and brake pipes.

New ubolts, shackle brackets and shackle pins are also recommended, as they are as cheap as can be. New parabolics should come with u-bolts.

Perform a safety assessment and take appropriate precautions, your life, your limbs, your risk. Hint: heavy landrover, springs under tension etc. Axle stands and stable level surfaces are phrases that come to mind.

The traditional approach would be undo every nut following the manual, however it is an option to use the angle grinder to cut through the u-bolts, springs and shackles to speed up the process, especially as you are going to be binning the parts anyway. Grinders do not discriminate, if using this route use heavy gloves, ear protection and eye protection at the very least.

Bolt everything together loosely, except the ubolts. These you tighten.

Lower the landrover to the ground, bounce it about and then tighten the shacklepins, the idea being to avoid tightening the pins with the sprins in the wrong position, putting them under tension and causing premature wear. Some go for a short drive to ensure there is no preload, others load the back with cement to simulate normal loads.

Nothing too scary there - heavy lifting and brute force only.

Other issues that may get you - propshaft maycause problems, chassis bushes may be worn and are a challenge to change, you may have corrosion in the chassis, and 101 other things to go wrong.


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As to standard or parabolic springs?

Genuine springs are nearly the price of parabolics, I'm told.

Expensive parabolics are very good, apparently cheap ones are of variable quality.

A well set up new genuine spring, well greased and with the matching shocks, is a good system, however the grease does attract dust, wchich promotes wear.

One option is to wrap the springs with a special tape that keeps the dust away, this is the traditional way of caring for springs on older cars and is proven to work, try frosts car restoration website for information.

Rusty ungreased springs are godawful, and parabolics are a huge improvement.

As for having 1/2 and 1/2? well, if the rears were well lubed, sure, why not?

Change the shocks, though, the oil filled std shocks may overheat.

And watch that the brake pipes are not too short - parabolics usually have the vehicle higher than standard.


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It completely depends on the quality of the spring - normal or parabolic. If you have rough & corrugated roads where you are I would not be considering anything other than genuine standard springs, or good quality parabolics (EG not the cheap types sold over here). I don't know if OME do a spring that will fit but they'd be well worth a look too.

Very rough guide but my TIC parabolics (generally considered to be a decent sort) have been on the truck for upwards of 6 years now and are still fine, but of course that's mostly UK use with occasional off-roading & rough tracks rather than daily hammering.

The biggest problem with fitting will be undoing all the old fasteners and dealing with bushes that have been in place for 20+ years, the operation itself is really not technical.

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once again thanks for advice one more thing on top odf what has been said ,I have the chance of some second hand parabolics made by BritishSprings been told there about 2 years old and in good condition...Is there any test i can do to test them for quality and life left in them...or is it better to steer clear of them.Must keep in mind that I am in South Africa so not as popular to get hold of over here.What sort of life span for paras or standard leafs?

Cheers for all the help

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