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Ride Quality


wood-gee
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I've got a SWB series 3 truck cab with paddock parabolics and currently stock shock absorbers. I'd currently describe the ride as stiffer than I might like and underdamped (although this part was expected by not changing the shocks).

I was curious of other's experiences, thoughts and advice on what they've done to improve their ride?

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I've been running Paddocks' parabolics (GME) for just over a year now along with Procomp ES3000's and can't fault the ride quality at all.

I actually think it rides better than a coiler; not too hard, not too soft and doesn't wallow on the corners.

Some of the spring manufacturers recommend staying with standard dampers but it's worth upgrading to a set of gas dampers in my opinion.

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Most parabolic spring swaps come with the recommendation to fit +2" shocks. I think it has something to do with increased range of travel it will see during use, plus they will lift the truck a little.

What condition are your spring shackles in? They could be seized or partially seized.

What're your tyre pressures?

Truck cabs are quite light in the rear end, maybe throwing a bit of weight in might help? Bags of sand or something.

Springs, how many leaves?

Hope this helps!

Josh

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There are several things here.

1. The SWB. An 88" will never ride silky smooth, a 109 will always be better. I also don't know what you are comparing too. A leaf sprung Land Rover for instance will never ride as well as say a crappy Peugeot 106.

2. Live axles. I love live axles, but the reality is, they will never ride as well as independent suspension.

3. Shocks. Parabolics should allow a lot more movement. You really should not be running stock shocks as the frequency of the movement in theory can over heat them (unlikely for normal UK road use). You need a shock designed to work harder.

4. Nearly ALL the parabolic and especially the cheap ones are massively over rated in spring rate. Meaning they are normally far too hard. A shame as almost all the benefits are then lost. I too have Paddock sourced parabolics (fitted by prior owner), but of unknown source, as Paddock hasn't always sold the same ones.

They make it handle quite well, it doesn't wollow, but the ride is harsh. With some weight in the back it rides 10x better (two passengers for example).

If ride quality is of importance you are probably better off saving up and getting some high quality parabolic springs. Such as:

http://www.heystee-automotive.com/parts/springs/parabool.htm

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Thanks guys, this is exactly the kind of thing I was after hearing - what people have found works for them etc (minus the silly comments inferring superiority of 109's, and that's not because I'm jealous you can sleep in them at all!).

As far as my expectations go, I know it's never going to be silky smooth, but I'd heard people talking about their parabolic equipped series coming close to coilers, or even exceed them as Pollywog has said (I do recognise that this is a very subjective measure of suspension performance) and I'd say mine's still quite far from that (coilers I have in mind as reference where my parents old 2.5NA 110 and disco 1)

On the shocks, it sounds like I could definitely benefit from a change in that case, is there a specific one that's best to go for? There's been Bilsteins and pro comps mentioned, are either better/worse than each other/are there any others to look out for.

Tyre pressure wise I've been running about 28psi i think all round, I had begun with 35 or so as I thought it might save me fuel, but then tried letting them down one day and it was a revelation w.r.t ride quality. Is 28psi a sensible pressure to run at?

I tend to drive with my spare wheel in the back, for a bit of weight, plus allows a little more view out the windscreen, but I do think it suffers a little by being a light configuration on fairly generic springs, it'd be interesting to try it heavily laden one day and look for an effect on the ride based on what's been said about that.

In terms of springs I've got the correct ones for SWB (I forget the number of leaves). One of the rear shackles is a little seized, which I've been avoiding, but the rest seem OK - although surely this would only make the ride feel harsher when the rear axle goes over bumps?

Thanks for the pointers anyway, gives me some food for thought!

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In the regard of shocks, it's a bit of "you get what you pay for". Bilsteins are great if you can afford them, I'm not totally sure but I think pro comps are sort of mid range.

The shackles being completely free will help the ride quality, as will the condition of the bushings in them. If they're knackered, it would be a good time to swap them out if you can. My truck used to clunk and thump speed humps, potholes etc and then I changed the bushings.. What a difference!

Not saying it's the be all and end all, but if the componentry in the suspension system isn't all good in fettle, the ride won't be as good as it can be.

Hope that helps!

Josh

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On the subject of bushes it is probably time I changed mine again.

Best option?

Poly bush or std, if std then what tools as last time I had to use a hacksaw to remove and the studding and socket method was really messy and only just lasted long enough to get them fitted.

Years ago there was the Bushwaker (haven't checked yet) but saw mixed reviews?

Marc

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Standard bushings are a good compromise for longevity IMO. From what I've heard, poly bushes are quite stiff? Maybe there's different grades.

I've just used a drill and drilled a load of holes through the rubber part of the bush, then use a piece of tube as a drift to bash the centre piece out. If the shackle bolt is rusted in, cut each end off, lather in penetrating oil, drill and start bashing with aforementioned drift.

I tried the hacksaw method, drove me bonkers!

Grease them when they go in, whatever you use. Or so I've been told/done every time I do it.

Josh

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As far as my expectations go, I know it's never going to be silky smooth, but I'd heard people talking about their parabolic equipped series coming close to coilers, or even exceed them as Pollywog has said (I do recognise that this is a very subjective measure of suspension performance) and I'd say mine's still quite far from that (coilers I have in mind as reference where my parents old 2.5NA 110 and disco 1)

The reality is, it will never ride, or more importantly never feel as though it rides as well as a Discovery.

A lot of this is down to non ride specifics. Such as the vast amount of sound proofing and carpet you'll find in a Disco compared to a Series. A Disco body is also mounted completely differently to the chassis and sits on "rubber donut" bushes. Where as a Series the body is metal to metal bolted to the chassis. Also on a Disco you get things like harmonic balances. These all add the comparative refinement a Disco (or RR Classic) have over a Series/Defender.

The longer wheelbase helps too. And of course more comfy/paddy seats.

A good parabolic setup should however get close to a 90/110 if you ignore wheelbase differences. But probably not quite as good, the coils will still be more supple. The Santana PS-10 is likely the best riding leaf sprung "Land Rover" type vehicle. But that has well matched springs and shocks.

In terms of springs I've got the correct ones for SWB (I forget the number of leaves).

Sadly this doesn't mean much. As most of the companies that sell these, sell too stiff springs for the vehicle. This is so they can haul or tow still. But tends to ruin the ride and reduce flex.

Number of leaves is not an exact way either, as spring design and specific material will affect what the spring rate is.

That said, almost all of the budget kits are 3 leaf rear springs. Which is too heavy. Unless you tow or haul often, a 2 leaf spring is what you want. But usually impossible to find in the UK and certainly not out of the budget offerings.

One of the rear shackles is a little seized, which I've been avoiding, but the rest seem OK - although surely this would only make the ride feel harsher when the rear axle goes over bumps?

A seized shackle if this is true, is very bad. The spring can't move up and down properly without the movement of the shackle.
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There's all sorts of shocks, Bilstein make many types for example and mine are not the usual ones you'd get as OE / HD replacements (can't remember the model, same as ToyRoverLander runs). Procomps are cheap & cheerful, Old Man Emu have an excellent reputation. Koni have a good rep too, but again they make many different flavours varying in price & performance.

There's some odd/counter-intuitive logic to choosing shock rates that I never really got my head around (I just went on ToyRoverLander's recommendation and it worked nicely), I dare say it's a rich ground for an argument on the internet :D

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I have a similar issue with my 88", I posted a thread a short while back -> here.

I was going to get around to changing the shocks absorbers for standard jobbies, but haven't found the round tuits yet. I have to say that dropping the tyre pressures from 30 to 25 and filling the back with loads of heavy 110 parts has improved things no end! It will be going back to a hard top soon which hopefully will help as well, as having practically no weight over the rear axle can't be helping.

I'm keen to sort it as I would like to start using the car more, so I'd be interested to hear how you get on.

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Good quality parabolics are every bit as good as coils. My 109 is on 3leaf front and 4 leaf rear Heystee springs with ES9000 (HD) dampers. It's heavier than standard because of the accessories and rebuild spec, but even empty it rides far more softly and smoothly than my wife's 2009 90XS Station Wagon. With some weight in it, the difference is even greater. I think it's very comfortable. I have 32psi on the front and 46psi on the rear 235/85 tyres, too. But I do estimate the empty weight of my 109 to be about 3-400kg more than standard.

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I run an 88 pickup, 90% of the time unladen, 10% of the time almost over laden, it rides almost perfect over the front axle, however the front roll stiffness is quite low, as to be expected. The rear roll and ride stiffness is much harder, as a result, it doesn't roll much overall but the ride is choppy. Put 100kg in the back and it rides perfectly. A high rear roll stiffness naturally induces oversteer, however I actually find the dynamics of my truck more like neutral steer, with a slight hint of understeer, until you put your foot down and it pitches into the bend nicely.

I think the bushes restrict the bump stiffness quite a lot as if I were to slacken off the shackle bolts it rides beautifully.

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Stupid question here, but why are the bushes tight? If my understanding is correct, we tighten up the shackles and then this clamps the bushes so they also behave in a spring like fashion. I can see the logic that this will eliminate lateral play in the joint, but wouldn't it make more sense for it to be a rolling joint to allow suppleness as the spring extends and the shacks rotate?

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This is what poly bushes do to an extent, the issue with doing what you say with normal bushes is that it means the bolt becomes a wearing part, and may snap eventually.

I looked quite in depth into various methods of getting around this without modifying anything other than bushes, nothing I looked at seemed as if it would last too long under hard conditions though.

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