The Beast gets new springs

Since the return of The Beast, I’ve noticed a slight vibration in the driveline. Not enough that it will rattle your teeth, but enough to know that something isn’t right. Turns out the lift was too high and the driveshafts were at too extreme an angle. The reason for this is simple enough… the truck was level when purchased. We put in a heavier motor (the Cummins 4bt diesel) and had to replace the front stock springs with Old Man Emu 2766 Front Extra Heavy-Duty Springs (2766) to support the weight. When we replaced the diesel with the Chevy LT1 V8 350 (a lighter motor), the front end of the Defender rode higher than the rear. It was not level. So, we leveled it out with some spacers at the rear. Unfortunately, that made the rig taller, unstable and changed the driveshaft angles. The Beast had to be lowered back to where it was when the shaft angles were set, so at the recommendation of hard-working Land Rover lover Luke Miles at The Shop, who spent a couple of hours researching the proper springs for this custom conversion, I purchased Old Man Emu 2751 Front Heavy-Duty Springs (2751) from Expedition Exchange.


Tom’s 4×4 in Chattanooga did the installation yesterday and had me on the road in about two hours. They replaced the front springs and removed the rear spacers, effectively lowering the rig about 1.5 inches from its overly tall and unstable previous height. It still has lift, but has lost that scary top-heavy lack of control from being too high.

The ride is MUCH improved. It doesn’t try to get away from me when I brake hard, it doesn’t lean out too far in corners, and it doesn’t rock or sway. It’s much smoother, more stable and a LOT safer (that one’s for you, Mom!) 🙂

The only vibrations now are the rumble of the motor and the grumble of the mud tires. I’ll eventually bring even that down a bit when I get around to switching the Treadwright Guard Dog M/T tires (using the Goodyear Wrangler tread) for Treadwright’s Warden All-Terrains (BFG All Terrain K/O tread). FYI… Treadwright is an awesome manufacturer of retreads. Now, don’t get all snobby about using retreads. They are every bit as good as the originals at half the price. And Treadwright will deliver them to the shop of your choice. Here’s a little clip I did for them during our Carbon Neutral Expedition in 2010:




3 thoughts on “The Beast gets new springs

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  1. Good to see the truck is up and running 🙂

    Not too sure on the re-treads, the ones I’ve tried have been quite noisy and wear fast. I’ve gone with BFG KM2’s on both our Rovers now despite their higher cost. My wifes truck has had them fitted for 14K miles and they are very quiet and give excellent tarmac performance for a mud tyre. You probably have a better selection and quality of off retreads over there. Here the off road pattern retreads are often poor quality.

    1. Where did you get your retreads?
      Mine have been on the Defender since 2010. There is only about 7000 miles on them right now, though. They’ve been towed, raced and off-roaded but have sat still for the past two years while the motor transplant has been going on. Despite the stagnancy, they haven’t developed dry rot (though my spare, uncovered on the gate for the entire time, is showing some sidewall rot). Now, they do whine a lot on the highway. And I can feel the tread on the pavement, but it’s about the same as the old BFG mudders I had on my FJ40. I haven’t tried the KM2s, however. They’re quieter than most other mudders?

      1. I have tried several brands of retreads over here but most were for off road use only as they were extreme mud terrain pattern which is illegal for use on our highways. I did have some BFG mud terrain style remoulds made by a company called Insa Turbo but they were pretty awful too. I think part of the problem is that the remoulds do not use the same grade of rubber as the original tyres even though they have the same tread pattern and this is very true of the BFG AT clones which do not use a winter compound rubber and they often don’t have the sipes either which is critical for us as we get a lot of ice and snow over winter here.

        The BFG KM2 seem pretty good on tarmac, probably the quietest mud terrain tyre I’ve ever had fitted. They are pretty lousy on ice and slushy snow though because they don’t have any sipes even though they are a winter compound. They are however excellent in very deep snow, my wifes truck merrilly blasting its way through 18+” of snow without problem 🙂

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