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GEAR

Terrain Tamer Parabolic Springs

tested

WORDS & IMAGES BY GRANT HANAN AND LINDA BLOFFWITCH

You shouldn’t feel seasick driving your fourby, but the standard suspension on our Toyota 79 Series felt like we were in a tinnie being chucked around in a swell. Sure, it settled down slightly when loaded, but the ride still varied from harsh to bouncy depending on the terrain and just how much gear we had on board. We knew something had to be done.

After learning that Terrain Tamer had released its three-leaf rear parabolic spring set with a heavy duty expanded shocker for the 79 Series dual-cab LandCruiser, we were keen to test it, so we bought a set and swapped out the standard-fit 10-leaf semi-elliptic spring pack. Not just to see whether it could carry the loads we needed, but how much difference it would make to the ride when driving across a variety of different terrains.

After covering almost 10,000 kilometres since fitting parabolic leaf springs to our 79 Series, we explore the pros and cons.

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ABOVE The suspension was given a good workout along heaps of corrugations

THE TEST
With the vehicle loaded and camper trailer hitched up, we thought we’d give the suspension a good work out travelling almost 10,000km across a mixture of bitumen, sand, dirt and rocks. Starting in South Australia, we headed up the Stuart Highway before turning onto the dirt of the Buchanan Highway not far from Katherine in the Northern Territory. We knew road conditions would vary through the Kimberley and Dampier Peninsula which would continue as we chased some of Len Beadell’s tracks through the Great Sandy and Gibson Deserts on the way back home.

"We thought we’d give the suspension a good work out travelling almost 10,000km across a mixture of bitumen, sand, dirt and rocks"

4WD ACCESSORIES FOR THE REAL OFF ROAD ENTHUSIAST

TRADE
ENQUIRES
WELCOME

DUAL
BATTERY TRAY

COMPACT FIRE PIT /
BBQ FLAT PACK

PREMIUM BBQ
SLIDE-OUT SYSTEM

INITIAL THOUGHTS
As soon as we drove away from the workshop after the swap over, the difference between our old, heavy leaf-spring pack and the parabolics was immediately noticeable. Highway driving while unladen was smoother over minor road imperfections because of the increased inter-leaf flexing. This is a big plus for anyone using a vehicle as their daily drive, regularly changing the payload from a little to a lot.

HOW IT WENT
Highway touring, at speed, was a real breeze and not dissimilar to how it felt after initially having the parabolics fitted. But the real test came after hitting the Buchanan Highway where we dropped the tyre pressures to continue along its 400 kilometres of dirt. Some sections of the Buchanan hadn’t seen a grader for a while, and it ended up being a top route to give the parabolics a workout. We found an average speed of 70-80km/h to be the sweet spot for keeping on top of the corrugations and the optimal speed for the suspension to soak up the bumps. We also kept an eye on the shock absorbers by periodically stopping to test them with an infra-red thermometer which returned readings between 45-60 degrees.

Things came unstuck when we drove through a few washouts too quickly, and the rear suspension bottomed out. Would we have bottomed out with the old suspension? It’s hard to say although I can’t recall having had this issue previously, and we’ve driven these roads several times. Unfortunately, while it would have been better to slow down before the washouts, that wasn’t always practical for us, as we’d have lost too much speed making getting back up on top of the corrugations harder (Unsealed 4X4 recommends always slowing down for washouts - Ed).

ABOVE The parabolics provided an all-round comfortable ride when our setup was fully loaded or unladen  // BELOW We’ve noticed a difference with vehicle articulation and flex since the changeover

ABOVE Changing the suspension was a quick process

BELOW We stopped periodically to measure the suspension temperatures

IN THE END...
We like the improved ride and handling the updated springs provide on the bitumen and there’s been a significant reduction in body roll through corners. The new springs have also improved both the low speed and low-range driving with the flexing parabolics smothering humps and ruts with ease. That said, we did find we needed the airbags to assist with load-carrying. Going forward, the way we use our 79 Series will mean I’ll likely need to upgrade to a parabolic set with a higher load-carrying capacity. And, as it turns out, Terrain Tamer is releasing a four-leaf heavy-duty spring set in September which would likely do the trick. Nudge, nudge…

Silencer pads on the springs assist with quieter operation

The leaves don’t touch each other when the vehicle’s unladen

The new three-leaf parabolics are a third of the weight of our old 10 leaf semi-elliptic leaf pack

THE LAST WORD
There’s no doubt choosing the right spring/shock combination can be a challenge when trying to improve your vehicle’s ride and handling. And for those who own vehicles with solid axle rear ends and semi-elliptic leaf springs there are trade-offs to be made between load carrying and ride and handling. But if your plans are to stick to a leaf type suspension, then these new parabolic spring designs for vehicles will go a long way towards improving the ride and handling.

For more information, visit: terraintamer.com

All bushes can easily be greased

GEAR

Terrain Tamer Parabolic Springs

You shouldn’t feel seasick driving your fourby, but the standard suspension on our Toyota 79 Series felt like we were in a tinnie being chucked around in a swell. Sure, it settled down slightly when loaded, but the ride still varied from harsh to bouncy depending on the terrain and just how much gear we had on board. We knew something had to be done.

After learning that Terrain Tamer had released its three-leaf rear parabolic spring set with a heavy duty expanded shocker for the 79 Series dual-cab LandCruiser, we were keen to test it, so we bought a set and swapped out the standard-fit 10-leaf semi-elliptic spring pack. Not just to see whether it could carry the loads we needed, but how much difference it would make to the ride when driving across a variety of different terrains.

tested

WORDS & IMAGES BY GRANT HANAN AND LINDA BLOFFWITCH

After covering almost 10,000 kilometres since fitting parabolic leaf springs to our 79 Series, we explore the pros and cons.

THE TEST
With the vehicle loaded and camper trailer hitched up, we thought we’d give the suspension a good work out travelling almost 10,000km across a mixture of bitumen, sand, dirt and rocks. Starting in South Australia, we headed up the Stuart Highway before turning onto the dirt of the Buchanan Highway not far from Katherine in the Northern Territory. We knew road conditions would vary through the Kimberley and Dampier Peninsula which would continue as we chased some of Len Beadell’s tracks through the Great Sandy and Gibson Deserts on the way back home.

ABOVE The suspension was given a good workout along heaps of corrugations

"We thought we’d give the suspension a good work out travelling almost 10,000km across a mixture of bitumen, sand, dirt and rocks"

4WD ACCESSORIES FOR THE REAL OFF ROAD ENTHUSIAST

TRADE
ENQUIRES
WELCOME

DUAL
BATTERY TRAY

COMPACT FIRE PIT /
BBQ FLAT PACK

PREMIUM BBQ
SLIDE-OUT SYSTEM

ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE

INITIAL THOUGHTS
As soon as we drove away from the workshop after the swap over, the difference between our old, heavy leaf-spring pack and the parabolics was immediately noticeable. Highway driving while unladen was smoother over minor road imperfections because of the increased inter-leaf flexing. This is a big plus for anyone using a vehicle as their daily drive, regularly changing the payload from a little to a lot.

HOW IT WENT
Highway touring, at speed, was a real breeze and not dissimilar to how it felt after initially having the parabolics fitted. But the real test came after hitting the Buchanan Highway where we dropped the tyre pressures to continue along its 400 kilometres of dirt. Some sections of the Buchanan hadn’t seen a grader for a while, and it ended up being a top route to give the parabolics a workout. We found an average speed of 70-80km/h to be the sweet spot for keeping on top of the corrugations and the optimal speed for the suspension to soak up the bumps. We also kept an eye on the shock absorbers by periodically stopping to test them with an infra-red thermometer which returned readings between 45-60 degrees.

Things came unstuck when we drove through a few washouts too quickly, and the rear suspension bottomed out. Would we have bottomed out with the old suspension? It’s hard to say although I can’t recall having had this issue previously, and we’ve driven these roads several times. Unfortunately, while it would have been better to slow down before the washouts, that wasn’t always practical for us, as we’d have lost too much speed making getting back up on top of the corrugations harder (Unsealed 4X4 recommends always slowing down for washouts - Ed).

ABOVE Changing the suspension was a quick process

ABOVE The parabolics provided an all-round comfortable ride when our setup was fully loaded or unladen  // BELOW We’ve noticed a difference with vehicle articulation and flex since the changeover

BELOW We stopped periodically to measure the suspension temperatures

The leaves don’t touch each other when the vehicle’s unladen

Silencer pads on the springs assist with quieter operation

All bushes can easily be greased

IN THE END...
We like the improved ride and handling the updated springs provide on the bitumen and there’s been a significant reduction in body roll through corners. The new springs have also improved both the low speed and low-range driving with the flexing parabolics smothering humps and ruts with ease. That said, we did find we needed the airbags to assist with load-carrying. Going forward, the way we use our 79 Series will mean I’ll likely need to upgrade to a parabolic set with a higher load-carrying capacity. And, as it turns out, Terrain Tamer is releasing a four-leaf heavy-duty spring set in September which would likely do the trick. Nudge, nudge…

THE LAST WORD
There’s no doubt choosing the right spring/shock combination can be a challenge when trying to improve your vehicle’s ride and handling. And for those who own vehicles with solid axle rear ends and semi-elliptic leaf springs there are trade-offs to be made between load carrying and ride and handling. But if your plans are to stick to a leaf type suspension, then these new parabolic spring designs for vehicles will go a long way towards improving the ride and handling.

For more information, visit: terraintamer.com

The new three-leaf parabolics are a third of the weight of our old 10 leaf semi-elliptic leaf pack