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A Guide To Leaf Springs And How To Maintain Them Properly
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Very few of you may be aware that leaf-spring suspension is being used since medieval times. Also called as carriage springs, its most simple definition would be that it’s a spring composed of leaves. To elucidate it further, it’s a semi-elliptical arm of one or more leaves crafted of strips of steel which flex under pressure, yet maintain their original shape when not under pressure. Earlier it used to be manufactured of leather but today, they are predominantly made of steel.
Leaf springs are still considered the best in suspension technology. Its combination of several strips absorbs quite a bit of shock with ease and equalizes the weight distribution of any vehicle. Its biggest advantage over a regular spring is that it can easily be directed along a specific path. These are ideal for heavy vehicles. Even luxury vehicles use them. Land Rover leaf springs are extremely in vogue.
The purpose of leaf springs
The suppleness of any vehicle is decided by its suspension. Today, leaf springs are most commonly used in any suspension schemes of motor vehicles. Additionally, it is reputed as the semi-elliptical springs or cart springs, similar to an arc-figured length of a steel coil having a rectangle cross-section. This spring can be easily fixed straight to one side or to both sides of the frame. When fixed on one side, its other side is fixed with a shackle or a bind.
Simultaneously, a leaf spring has many leaves in various layers oiled at the peak of each other which start big and progress to smaller leaves. This design ultimately lends greater comfort to those passengers especially who ride heavier cars. Its latest parabolic design is not only a mainstay of big commercial cars and SUV’s but also in buses where it lends a more amusing riding experience. Despite being called a leaf spring, it does not look like a leaf but has a big steel portion on which smaller ones are fixed .The sheets are ultimately centred on the piece to finally look like a broad and uneven “V” shape. Apart from absorbing shock and distributing weight evenly, its other advantages include an improved fuel economy, improved load carrying capacity, more cost efficiency and decreased road break for an equal axle weight.
Maintenance tips for the leaf springs
Even though leaf spring suspensions works like an absolute dream for heavy cargoes; it is subjected to wear and tear like any other vehicle component. Thus, to ensure their top form and performance, its best to follow the below-mentioned tips on maintaining them in the right manner for a smooth drive:-
It is inevitable that your vehicle during varied travels goes through various kinds of potholes, bumps, humps, etc. which can potentially get the weight of the car shifted. Normally, the leaf springs handle this shift but the stress caused by this action can lead the suspension to ‘sag’ or droop which hinders its ability to absorb shock as effectively and properly as before. The original shape of the leaf springs can be restored by pre-setting them with a ‘bull-dozer’. Your vehicle can then run for approximately another 1,000 miles. Ideally, this should be done before installation.
• Re-tighten the U-bolt
Located in the center of the leaf spring is a U-bolt, which holds all the metal strips together in its place in the middle. If it is re-tightened from time to time, ideally after every 500 miles, it prevents the leaf springs from further sagging and facilitating proper shock absorption.
• Lubrication of the leaves
Once a vehicle has travelled over any hump, potholes, etc. the leaf springs takes the whole stress for the vehicle. If these leaves are not lubricated, they go rusty and then make a crunching noise which leads to an abrasive absorption and a very uncomfortable ride for all its passengers. Once each leaf is lubricated frequently, this problem is nipped from the bud.
Resource Box: Sanderson Leaf Springs is a thirty-year old brand of West Midlands which has created a distinct niche for itself as the supplier of varied replacement suspension parts for any types of commercial vehicles, specialist leisure vehicles, etc. at the most affordable process and excellent quality. They can also be contacted for direct purchase.
Sanderson Leaf Springs is a thirty-year old brand of West Midlands which has created a distinct niche for itself as the supplier of varied replacement suspension parts for any types of commercial vehicles, specialist leisure vehicles, etc. at the most affordable process and excellent quality. They can also be contacted for direct purchase.
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