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November 2007 Homepage (UK/Europe)

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Coil versus Leaf Springs for the Series Land Rover

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All Series I, II and III Land Rovers were fitted with leaf springs on the production line. Though, during the Series 2 production in 1970, the Range Rover was introduced with coil springs. Then, towards the end of the Series 3 production in 1983, the Land Rover 110 had coil springs fitted. All post Series Land Rovers have coil springs.

Generally, there is a common belief that Series Land Rovers fitted with standard leaf springs are less capable off road than their later coil sprung counterparts. There certainly is an element of truth in this, but the reality is that most generally encountered offroad situations can be handled effectively by the Series models, but it requires more driver skill. Also, it isn't a fair comparison to pit (say) a Defender against a Series Land Rover in a suspension comparison contest, because the Defender engines have higher torque at lower revs, and this significantly aids traction for the Defender as slower speeds are possible.

Series Land Rover leaf spring

Similarly, a leaf sprung Series Land Rover will often outperform another leaf sprung 4x4 by virtue of the Series Land Rover engines having higher torque at lower revs than most other contemporary 4x4's.

Series Land Rover axle

With leaf springs there is less downward wheel travel available for deep holes and less axle articulation for crossing ditches and rock crawling. Having said that, an experienced Series Land Rover driver can achieve feats that a novice Defender driver may not, by paying more careful attention to route picking and greater awareness of individual wheel traction.
Another restriction which leaf springs impose is the reduced wheel lock, especially with wide tyres. This is not often a problem offroad however, as tight turns are not often encountered.

 

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