Leaf Springs - how many leaves to remove?

Bottoms out? Shimmies? Shackles, springs, shocks, steering linkage etc. The old messages from the NPCA 'Suspension' category are here.

Postby Peter60 » Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:14 am

Just wondering what the thoughts are about removing one or more leaves from the front and rear leaf springs.

I'm looking for a bit more comfort and a little more articulation.

The 4WD club I'm a member of recently had a 'articulation demo'. This consisted of various 4WD driving one wheel up a 45 degree steel ramp until one wheel came off the ground.
Various 4WD got 400mm to 500mm up the ramp. I only got 200mm ! A old series 1 Land Rover got to about 500mm. His springs were soft and there was no stopping him!

So I started to examine my springs.

My MWB has 5 leaves on the front and 6 leaves on the rear. My LWB has 6 leaves on the front and 9 leaves on the rear. It looks like 2 leaves are fixed and go to the shackles.

So how may leaves can I remove to get a softer ride and increase the articulation?

I should add that my both Patrols won't be carrying any real loads, just 2 people, extra fuel and some camping stuff.

I think my previous MWB Patrol just had 2 leaves all round. It was fairly agile but I wasn't really comfortable that all the leaves were removed by the PO. I think they may have been sagging a little.
Not sure if I will get there.
Not sure if I will get back.
But I usually do!!!
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Postby Esteban » Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:17 pm

Peter60 wrote:Just wondering what the thoughts are about removing one or more leaves from the front and rear leaf springs.

.....A old series 1 Land Rover got to about 500mm. His springs were soft and there was no stopping him!

..


The old Land Rovers don't have an anti-sway bar like the Patrol. They only have some crude belts as limiters, and probably those were removed for added articulation. Certainly if you disconnect the anti-sway bar links, you'll be able to articulate a lot more, but you won't gain any additional comfort with it.

The 60 Series Patrol has 2 principal leafs at every spring (only one that I know) so removing one of them will be out of question. If you want to test, I will remove the second shortest one. And always have good shocks, since they're the ones taking all the impact force when you hit a bump at speed.

The 160 Series Patrol (MQ) had a slightly different leaf spring configuration, with some synthetic laminate material fitted at the end of each leaf, and the leafs itself had a funny shape that prevented them to make full contact with the adjoining leaf. With that, they could handle the same weight, but where a lot softer to ride, since there was no friction between leaves. Maybe you'll notice that after you've crossed a stream and got the springs wet, they become a little softer to ride until they dry. Water is helping with the friction between leaves.
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Postby G60michael » Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:44 pm

Hi mate, I've got a SWB G60 here, it had the 4 leaf front and the 5 leafs rear, they were very tired springs all round, was more like a lowered g60 :lol:

I removed a set of nicely Arched 6 Pack Leafs front the front of a G60 Buggy I had here, and made some custom shackles, Got it sitting a lot nicer and doesn't appear to nose dive everywhere anymore.

The Rear then needed some major TLC, I test loaded 300kg into the rear of it and she was riding on the bump stops and springs were on the verge of inverting,

So I Knew the Utes and MWB, had a heavier rear leaf packs, so I went to the local wreckers, and scored a sweet set of 2nd hand G60 MWB springs for $50 the pair, they are factory MWB 8 Leaf Springs.

So I thought to my self, 5 Rear leafs were to soft, 8 will be to lethal and rough in a SWB g60, so I just removed the bottom shortest leaf, if the shackle nuts are overtightened to the extent the shackle can't work, then the MWB leafs minus the bottom spring worked well for me, and once I loaded it up again with 300kg, sat very nicely, Ute Leafs are a 9 Leaf Pack, you could open up the clamps and take out 2 leafs from them.
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Postby Johnny Roadkill » Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:24 pm

Hi Peter60,

I got new springs from Industrial Springs in Adelaide ( now closed for good ), 6 leaf front, 8 leaf rear, and they were way too high and stiff - couldn't even refit the front travel limiters or tailshaft.
I removed the second and fourth shortest leaves from the front pair and they are significantly better in both respects.
Also, I applied industrial spray grease between the leaves to free them up - not sure how much difference that made in itself though and I will have to reapply that occasionally.

Bit of trial and error may be needed - not fun to remove leaf packs over and over but such is life...

Good luck!
D
'71 P510 Wagon - the smile generator.
'74 G60H - strawberry farm patrol.
'78 G60H Ute Cab - the cherry on top.
'80 G61H - the start of things to come.
'93 V6 4Runner - her off roader, my daily driver.
'05 V6 Challenger - the substitute.
'07 Challenge Camper - home away from home.
'12 Outlander - the grumpy bunny.
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Postby Peter60 » Fri Feb 16, 2018 5:52 am

Some interesting thoughts.

I'm aware of some Land Rover owners removing sway bars to get better articulation, but it sound like that doesn't improve the ride.

It sounds like greasing between the leaves could improve things as well as better shocks.

I think I will change my LWB from 8/9 leaves and find springs from a MWB and put in 5/6 leaves. That's a starting point then I might remove the second shortest one (and add a bit of grease) and see how that is travels. My MWB I will leave as is and just add new shocks.

Thanks for the input
Not sure if I will get there.
Not sure if I will get back.
But I usually do!!!
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Postby Peter60 » Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:20 am

I'm still working thru this. I'm still looking for a softer ride.

I am taking my Patrol to a local spring shop who works with old/historic cars next week. They will look at it and make a recommendation.

However I have a question about MQ springs. Would they be a direct replacement to the G60 springs? I'm just talking about swapping the springs, not the axles. Everything I read is that they are a replacement.

This may be an option for me.
Not sure if I will get there.
Not sure if I will get back.
But I usually do!!!
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Postby L60Boerne » Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:16 am

Greetings to the G60 Team,

I had Alcan in Denver make two "softer" sets of springs for me. I think they have three springs each but I could look closer. Unloaded it is a better ride. The obvious result that needs to be considered is the effect the reduced spring count has on payload and towing capacity.

I can tell you that my white Patrol hitch is at minimum tongue height with just 500 lbs of tongue weight. It is too low for over the road use but off the ground enough for moving from one place to another around our property. Naturally in an emergency I could try to position the weight over the trailer wheels if possible.

There is no free lunch.

Patrolling around Texas,
L60Boerne
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Postby Johnny Roadkill » Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:37 pm

Hi Peter60,

Check out the spring specs in the G61 manual - the MQ springs are detailed there too...longer and narrower than G60 springs if i remember correctly...

Cheers,
D
'71 P510 Wagon - the smile generator.
'74 G60H - strawberry farm patrol.
'78 G60H Ute Cab - the cherry on top.
'80 G61H - the start of things to come.
'93 V6 4Runner - her off roader, my daily driver.
'05 V6 Challenger - the substitute.
'07 Challenge Camper - home away from home.
'12 Outlander - the grumpy bunny.
'14 200EXC - a chainsaw with wheels.
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Postby Peter60 » Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:18 pm

I took my Patrol to the local spring shop last week. My request was to see how they could soften the ride by taking out a few spring leaves.

The result was pretty disappointing! Their advice as to replace/renew everything! Pittman arm, universal joints, spring shackles and bushes and the springs! I think they wanted the Patrol to have tight racing suspension. Sure those things are worn but not that bad!

So I've now decided to pull the springs apart myself. However that project will need to wait till next year.

Meanwhile I found this article on leaf springs http://www.mq-patrol.com/wiki/suspension/leaf-spring-rebuild/. The thing that caught my attention was the use of Poly Urethane between the leaves. This seemed like a good idea to increase movement in the springs. Any comments????

I did check out the MQ/G61 spring lengths and they seemed longer that the G60 springs.
Not sure if I will get there.
Not sure if I will get back.
But I usually do!!!
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Postby Esteban » Mon Nov 05, 2018 3:07 pm

Peter60 wrote:...
Meanwhile I found this article on leaf springs http://www.mq-patrol.com/wiki/suspension/leaf-spring-rebuild/. The thing that caught my attention was the use of Poly Urethane between the leaves. This seemed like a good idea to increase movement in the springs. Any comments????

...


My brother did exactly what that article mentions. He used to have both the MQ and the 60 series at the same time and noticed the unique design of the leaf spring package of the MQ, with these synthetic shims (material?) between the leaves at the center and at the tips. The leaves itself are shaped in such a way that they only make contact at the tips and at the center.

My brother used some plastic pieces that he cut from plastic containers and put them in the same places as the MQ leaf springs. It did softened the ride without affecting the load capacity. The reason is that you reduce friction between the leaves, since they do slide a little bit between each other.

One easy way to understand this is how the suspension softens momentarily after you ford some water. The spring package is immersed in the water that for a short time act as lubricant between the leaves.

If you decide to place the polyurethane shims or other suitable material, please post some pictures.
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