Series Land Rovers and Shock Absorbers
The job of the shock absorber is to damp down the oscillations of the leaf spring after the wheel of the Land Rover has passed over an obstacle. Without such dampening the Land Rover would continue to bounce up and down as it drove along. For the most efficient dampening, the characteristics of both the shock absorber and the spring should be matched. For this reason, a Series Land Rover should not have shock absorbers fitted from a non Land Rover donor vehicle.
Shock absorbers convert some of the energy of the oscillating spring into heat and this heat lowers their efficiency. Continuous driving on corrugated roads produces a lot of heat in the shock absorbers and leads to 'fade' in their performance. Modern manufacturers produce shock absorbers with different fade characteristics, enabling a better match between dominant road conditions and effective dampening. Some manufacturers make shock absorbers which have a degree of adjustability available to cope with different types of terrain.
A Series Land Rover is very effective off road, but the maximum compressed and extended lengths of the standard shock absorbers seriously limit the vertical movement of the axles. If parabolic springs are fitted, to increase axle articulation, then the standard Series Land Rover shock absorbers will no longer be sutiable as they will not be capable of extending sufficently. The company supplyng the parabolic springs will normally be able to recommend a capatible set of shock absorbers. Also, if you have raised the Land Rover's body artificially above its design level, then new and more extensible shock absorbers should be fitted.
If fitting non standard shock absorbers it is important to make sure that the maximum upwards wheel movement is limited by the axle bump stop and not by the minimum length of the shock absorber. It may be necessary to increase the vertical height of the bump stop. One way to allow for larger upward movement of the axle is to mount the shock absorbers at a greater angle from the vertical.
To see previous homepages visit the Series
Land Rover Archives