How To: Replace Coil Springs and Dampers

Cummins Repower July18

Sooner or later you will need to replace or upgrade your springs and shocks.

Springs are hard wearing but will loose retention (springiness) over time. In addition, all the accessories that you add to your vehicle will add weight and load to the springs. The overall effect is for the vehicle to sit a bit lower on the existing springs.

Shock absorbers also receive a pounding from normal road use and will eventually loose their effectiveness. This “effectiveness” can take the form of feeling additional lumps and bumps on the road and the vehicle rolling a bit more in and out of corners and the body not recovering quickly from bouncing up and down. In other words the shock absorbers become soft.

For this feature we will not be discussing the different choices of springs and shock absorbers. Suffice to say that in this particular application we chose a 2” suspension lift due to the extra load presented with a Safety Devices roll cage/roof rack, front mounted winch bumper, winch, plus extra spare wheel.

Our chosen products were:

Bearmach Springs:

Front: BA2101 (380lb/ 17mm wire spring)

Rear: BA2100B (420lb/ 21mm wire spring)

Bearmach Shock Absorbers:

Front: BR0645BMG2 (STC3766BMG2) 2” Lift

Rear: BR1077BMG2 (STC3772BMG2) 2” Lift

Bearmach Suspension Install from Alloy+Grit Magazine on Vimeo.

The actual fitting of these items is quite straightforward and does not require any special tools or set ups and can be done at home. The total job should take approx. 3 hours, barring any stubborn nuts/bushes etc.

Also, as there is plenty of space available this job can allow multiple people to work on the vehicle at the same time; one-person can work on the rear, the other on the front. This allows the job to be completed quicker but will also allow for additional assistance if a particular spring is proving difficult to seat etc. This makes an ideal activity for a club “shop-day.” However, for the basis of this feature we will treat the front and back installations separately.

The springs and shocks are being fitted to a Defender 110. However, the same procedure can be used for other coil-sprung solid-axle Land Rover vehicles, albeit the spring rates and shock absorbers may differ.

Be sure to jack up the vehicle and safely position jack stands under the chassis. Jacking the vehicle can be done with either a floor jack or in our case the luxury of using a car lift courtesy of Red Door Offroad.

 

Rear Springs and Shocks

Remove the rear road wheels. This should expose the fully extended rear suspension and rear axle.

Place a floor/bottle jack under the side of the rear axle being worked on. (This will support the axle once the shock absorber is released).

Remove the bottom nut securing the shock absorber to the lower shock mount on the axle. You may need to secure the bottom of the shock absorber using a chain lock clamp/vice grip. Be sure to grip on the lower extremities of the shock so the shock tube does not collapse.

Once the nut and washers and bushes are removed, push up on the shock absorber to compress the length so the bottom of the shock absorber will clear and pull away from the lower shock mount hole.

Let the shock absorber hang free. It will rebound and extend to its full length.

Now release the top shock absorber nut up by the chassis rail. Remove nut, washers and bushes.

The shock absorber can now be pulled free from the upper mount and away from the vehicle.

Be sure that all the mounting washers and rubber bushes are removed and the respective mounts are clean.

The rear spring should still be attached to the axle spring perch. The upper portion of the spring should be free.

Remove the two lower spring retention bolts and remove the retention plate.

The spring should now be free to move.

Slowly releasing the floor/bottle jack will allow the axle hub to drop, allowing more space for the spring to be removed. Be sure to keep an eye on the axle brake hose to make sure that it is not stretched or kinked.

Sometimes lifting up the opposite side will gain an extra inch or two to aid in the spring extraction.

The spring may need a little assistance to break it loose from the spring perch. (i.e. Whack with a dead blow mallet)

Be careful if the spring is still under some compression as once released it will release energy.

Once the spring is removed, clean the lower spring perch/seat, retention bar and bolts.

Leave the axle in a “relaxed” position.

Lift the new spring into position, leading with the top being positioned under the top mount.

Be sure that the bottom perch/seat is lined up with the boltholes. Grease the threaded holes in the axle and bolts.

Rotate the spring so the spring retention bar fits across the lower coil of the spring.

Remount and bolt the spring retention bar into position.

Compress and release the shock absorber several times to cycle the oil/gas through the shock absorber.

Place the one side of the shock absorber washers and mounting rubber onto the bottom of the shock absorber and the top shock absorber mount. Be sure that the washers are in the right order. (i.e.: Flat seating washer and cupped washer). The cupped side of the washers should be against the rubber bush.

Compress the shock absorber and place the bottom-threaded portion into the lower axle shock absorber mount. As the shock absorber relaxes and expands place the top shock absorber “eye” over the upper mount.

Place the remaining washers and mounting rubbers to the top and bottom mounts, (again in the correct order) and tighten the nuts. (Note: the Bearmach shock is supplied with a new lower mounting nut. The top mount requires reuse of the existing nut or having it replaced).

The opposite side can now be replaced, using the same procedure.

Once the new shocks and springs are in position. Remove axle jack and replace rear road wheels.

Front Springs and Shocks

Remove the front road wheels. This should expose the fully extended front suspension and front axle.

Support a floor/bottle jack under the side of the front axle being worked on. (This will support the axle once the shock absorber is released).

Release and secure the hood.

Remove the spring turret covers on each side of the engine bay. Be sure to use a magnetic Pozi drive screwdriver to release the four screws on each turret cover. A magnetic screwdriver will make sure that the small screws are not dropped into the engine bay.

On the near side of the engine bay access to the turret cover is obstructed by the coolant expansion tank, this should be released from the inner fender and gently pulled back.

Remove the bottom nut securing the shock absorber to the lower shock mount on the axle. You may need to secure the bottom of the shock absorber using a chain lock clamp/vice grip. Be sure to grip on the lower extremities of the shock so the shock tube does not collapse.

Release the four turret mounting nuts. Once released the turret may have to be eased off the studs using a screwdriver or pry bar. Once the turret is free, the shock absorber, and turret should be able to be lifted up through the inner fender.

Release the top shock absorber nut. Releasing this nut maybe problematic depending on the corrosion around the threads. It maybe necessary to cut the nut off the shock absorber to release and allow reuse of the shock turret. Be sure that all the washers are extracted from the shock tower and clean the turret.

The front spring should be attached to the axle spring perch. The upper portion of the spring should be free.

Remove the two spring retention bolts and remove the retention plate.

The spring should now be free to move.

Slowly releasing the floor/bottle jack will allow the axle hub to drop, allowing more space for the spring to be removed. Be sure to keep an eye of the hub brake hose to make sure that it is not stretched or kinked.

Sometimes lifting up the opposite side will gain an extra inch or two to aid in the spring extraction.

The spring may need a little assistance to break it loose from the spring perch.

Be careful if the spring is still under some compression as once released it can release energy.

Once the spring is removed, clean the spring perch, retention bar and bolts.

Leave the axle in a “relaxed” position.

Lift the new spring with the shock absorber inside the spring into position, leading with the top being positioned under the top mount.

Be sure that the bottom perch is lined up with the boltholes. Grease the threaded holes in the axle and bolts.

Rotate the spring so the spring retention bar fits across the lower coil of the spring.

Remount and bolt the spring retention bar into position.

Compress and release the shock absorber several times to cycle the oil/gas through the shock absorber.

Place the bottom end of the shock absorber washers and mounting rubber onto the bottom of the shock absorber mount hole. (Be sure to have the washers in the right order. (i.e.: Flat seating washer and cupped washer). The cupped side of the washers should be against the rubber mount.

Replace the shock mount turret into position.

Compress the shock absorber and place the bottom-threaded portion through the shock turret.

Place the remaining washers and mounting rubbers to the top and bottom mounts, (again in the correct order) and tighten the nuts. (Note: the Bearmach front shock is supplied with a new upper and lower mounting nut).

The opposite side can now be replaced, using the same procedure.

Replace the turret covers back into position in the inner fenders. Reposition the coolant expansion tank and secure.

Remove axle jack and replace front road wheels.

Place the vehicle back onto the ground.

Be sure to sight all the springs to be sure that all the springs are seated correctly.

During a road test you may hear a few clunks and clangs as the springs “seat”. After the road test, sight test each spring to make sure that they’re seated.

After a few hundred miles it is advisable to check and retighten the various nuts and bolts.

Enjoy your new elevation!

Tools required:

Floor/bottle jack

Wrenches/Sockets: 10mm/13mm/17mm /18mm/19mm

Pozi screw driver

Locking chain clamp/vice grip

Special Thanks to Neil Hanekom of Red Door Offroad for the loan and use of a shop bay and lift.

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