As we all sat around the table planning the TURAS Land Rover build last year, one of the key components of the build that always came to the fore was the suspension, we were determined to get this right.For those of us who love this lifestyle, we often carry more gear between roof top tents awnings, bumpers, winches etc. and all of this needs to be taken into consideration when choosing a suspension for your vehicle. The TURAS Land Rover 90 spends a lot of its time on the road so comfort is important but it also spends its fair share of time off the beaten track in search of that perfect remote campsite. We needed a suspension that offers on-road comfort but also is capable of tackling tough terrain when needed.
Our first port of call was to contact Nick and Francoise from euro4x4parts, to ask for advice as to what they would suggest would be the best solution that would fit our needs.The guys were on-board straight away and we were straight into it, Francoise is as close to an off road professional racer as you can get and Nick has years of experience in the 4WD industry so we were in very safe hands. Those of you who read the magazine will know that euro4x4parts are Europe’s experts when it comes to parts for 4WD vehicles.
During our initial discussions Nick and Francosie were keen to get as much information as to what we would be doing with the vehicle. One of the first things we asked Nick and Francoise was how high we could lift the vehicle, we were thinking maybe 2 inches initially but after discussing this further with Nick, this was ruled out. Nick suggested a 5cm lift, and this was for a number of reasons including not having to change the prop-shafts other things were taken into consideration including the universal joints and if we needed to go for a double-cardan or wide-angle prop at the front and so on.
After numerous chats and emails with Nick and Francoise explaining what we would be carrying e.g. a roof top tent, awning, drawer systems and what we would be using the vehicle for , they promptly came back to us with a recommended suspension kit that we think
really ticks all the boxes. We decided to go with the premium and industry-proven combination of the Australian King Springs and the Tough Dog foam cell shocks. Given the permanent extra load at the front of the Land Rover which would have a new winch bumper, Nick suggested the heavy duty URH1068 Kings coils. He also recommended the Kings medium coils URH1027 to the rear as the latter can be pretty uncomfortable if not permanently fully laden.
To cope with the extra load at the back of the vehicle Nick suggested adding a pneumatic suspension kit i.e. the American Airlift 1000 which will allow us to adjust the load capacity according to our needs.
For the shocks, we would be putting on the top quality Australian Tough Dog Foam Cells as they work really well with the King Spring coils. The beauty about the foam cell shocks particularly when driving long distances on gruelling tracks is that the foam cell design reduces the fade that can occur while standard shocks heat up.UTF1008 UTF1099
So what is shock fade? Shock fade happens when you are travelling over rough surfaces and the oil inside the shock is heated. The movement of the piston then starts to cause bubbles in the oil, which leads to poor shock absorber control also known as shock fade.The Foam Cell design combats these failure points with a huge 41mm internal bore for maximum heat dissipation and importantly the addition of the foam cell which stops the bubbles forming in the tube leading to better off-road performance and longevity.To complete this setup we would be adding a Tough Dog ‘return to centre’ steering damper which will improve the overall handling that would help to reduce the standard vague feel of the Defender design.UTD1025
It was also agreed that the standard Panhard rod would be OK with this setup given we were not going for a big lift. Nick highlighted that the Defender can be a tricky beast when it comes to coping with steering geometry after a lift and because of this it was suggested we add off-set Bearmach poly bushes to the radius arms to correct the caster angle. UKA1006
The final touch would be adding the high quality Aviation style flexible hose kit, this would be more for peace of mind.All up we are very pleased with this setup and having taken the vehicle out on a couple of short trips recently, it really is like driving a new vehicle that can pretty much go anywhere.The first reaction is how confident you feel when driving off the beaten track and when on the road it handles incredibly well. Over the next couple of weeks we will be taking it on some more challenging terrain and we will be reporting on how we got on in issue 19. We also have yet to install the Airlift 1000 which will add a whole new dimension to the vehicle when loaded with the Roof Top Tent, awning and so on. We will also be covering this in issue 19.
Really huge thanks to Nick and Francoise for all of your advice with this very important part of the build we are very pleased with how it has turned out….
Tough Dog Foam Cell Shock Absorbers
Tough Dog Return to Centre Steering Damper
Radius/trailing arm axle – bush kit
King Spring Suspension Coil Spring