How ToLand Rover Defender

How to change the rear coil springs on a Land Rover Defender

Old +2inch heavy duty spring, and the new standard height springThe back of my Land Rover 110 has been riding high ever since I got it a few months back.

A previous owner had fitted heavy duty +2 inch springs which had raised the back up considerably. With the weight of the engine and winch/winch bumper on the front, the Landy looked like a dragster.

So it was time to set it back to standard ride height with some new coil springs.

How to change the rear coil springs on a Land Rover Defender

The job is very similar for all Land Rover axles, so if you have Discovery or Range Rover you will be able to use this guide.

For this job you will need:

  • Trolley or bottle jack
  • Axle stands
  • WD40 or similar penetrating oil
  • Wire Brush
  • Socket Set/Spanners
  • Pry bar/strong screwdriver
  • Copper grease

Removing the wheels

Hi-lift, axle stand and trolley jack1: First things first is to park the car on level ground, engage diff lock and chock the front wheels.

2: Place the trolley jack under the rear axle, and jack the Land Rover up until the wheel is just off the ground.

I used a hi-lift jack to get the car off the ground to begin with, but still used an axle stand and trolley jack as shown in the photo on the right.

3: Place the axle stand under the chassis ahead of the rear wheel.

4: Using the trolley jack, slowly lower the axle until the chassis is resting on the axle stand, and let the axle rest on the trolley jack. You will use the trolley jack to lower the axle further once the wheel is off.

5: You can now remove the wheel.

Spring retaining plate bolts: At the base of the spring is the spring retainer plate bolts. These have a habit of rusting, so before you set to work, use a wire brush to clean off any dirt, then spray them liberally with WD40 or a good penetrating oil. Do it from above and below the axle. Do it before you start to remove the shock absorber as it will give it time to soak in - you don't want the bolts to shear whilst undoing them!

Removing the rear shock

Before you can drop the axle down, you have to undo the nut which fixes the shock absorber in place on the chassis.

Undo the top nut off the shock absorber and remove the shock6: Spray some WD40 on the shock nut, and slowly undo using an 18mm socket. Remove the end plate.

7: Once removed you will be able to wiggle the shock free. If it's a bit stiff, then some more WD40 and the use of a strong screwdriver or pry bar will help to get it free. See the pic on the right.

You don't have to undo the bottom shock mount, so just leave the the top of the shock free as shown in the photo.

NOTE: If the top shock mount won't come free, then you can undo the bottom shock mount on the axle instead.

Removing the spring retaining plate bolts & lowering the axle

Make sure you soak the spring retainer bolts in WD40 before undoing them8: Undo the 2 bolts which hold the spring retaining plate in place. Use a 17mm socket or ring spanner. Take it easy as you don't want them to shear off.

Whilst undoing the bolts, if they feel like they are getting tighter again, then just spray on some more WD40 and do them up again for a few turns. This will make sure the WD40 gets to all the threads.

9: Once you have removed the 2 bolts and spring retaining plate, you are ready to start lowering the axle. Lower it slowly using the trolley or bottle jack under the axle. See pic below

10: The axle will drop the spring away from the chassis and will the spring will become loose. Once this happens, stop lowering the axle and you will be able to remove the spring. See pic below.

Use the trolley jack to lower the axle until the spring pops clear of the chassisOnce the spring is clear of the chassis it can be removedOld +2inch heavy duty spring, and the new standard height spring

Fixing the new spring in place

NOTE: At this point it is worth mentioning that Land Rover coil springs are handed! This means there is a different spring for the right hand and left hand side of the vehicle. Make sure you know which is which when you buy them. If all else fails, take a look at this great resource on Land Rover springs.

11: Clean the old coil spring seat with a wire brush to remove any dirt. Do the same with the spring retaining plate. If the plate is very rusty or bent, then you can replace it for a new one - they aren't very expensive.

12: Fitting the new spring is pretty much the reverse of taking it out. Fit the coil spring seat onto the base of the new spring and place it on the axle, making sure to line up the bolt holes.

New spring secured in position. Axle has to be jacked up to seat the spring onto the chassis13: Spread some copper grease on the spring retaining bolt threads. This will stop them seizing in the future.

14: Place the spring retaining plate onto the bottom of the spring and line up the bolt holes. Tighten the bolts making sure that the spring retaining plate is holding the spring tightly in place.

15: You can now slowly jack up the axle until the spring is seated into the chassis mount.

New spring in place with shock absorber back in position16: All that remains to be done now is to replace the shock absorber onto the top mount and tighten the nut securely. When completed it will look like the pic on the right.

17: You can now replace the road wheel, and and remove the vehicle from the jack and axle stand.

18: Now do it all again on the other side!

Summary

New level ride height - doesn't look like a dragster anymore!Changing the springs isn't all that difficult. Just take your time and it will be fine. It took me a morning to change both springs, and that's with a few coffee breaks!

To check that the Landy was now level I measured from the ground up to the wheel arch and the front/rear was the same to within half an inch.

The pic on the right shows the new level Land Rover 110. The front looks higher because the diameter of the front tyre is smaller than the rear (don't ask me why, I have given up trying to figure out what the previous owner was thinking!)

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