Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 24

Thread: Can Suspension Spring U Bolts Come Loose All By Themselves?

  1. #1

    Default Can Suspension Spring U Bolts Come Loose All By Themselves?

    I have a cautionary tale to tell.

    I bought another series III LWB land rover last year from a very reputable dealer in my area.
    It cost me over 10 grand.
    They did a lot of work on it before they'd let me have it, one of the changes being new springs on the front.

    Last weekend I was fitting air horns to the vehicle (difficult because there is not a lot of room with the tdi radiator and oil and air coolers fitted in front of it) and accidently dropped a spanner right under the engine.
    I clambered underneath to get it and noticed something odd.
    I could see daylight between the axle casing and nearside spring where the u bolts hold it all together.

    To my mounting horror I realised that the u bolts were really loose on both sides of the vehicle.
    On the nearside the gap between spring and axle was over 5 mm !!!!
    The springs were just dangling under the axle which was able to move back and forth in relation to the vehicle.
    Heaven only knows what was happening when accelerating and braking was going on.
    The axle was ready to part company from the vehicle.

    How could that have happened I ask myself?

    It had an MOT only the month before.
    Surely they would have noticed it?
    I've looked at the springs in the past and not noticed anything wrong.

    The vehicle is always kept locked up when at home so no one has easy access to it.
    Could someone have undone them when it was parked somewhere when the vehicle has been out?

    Could the u bolts have become loose all by themselves?
    ... I did notice at least one of the self-locking nuts was so loose I could turn it with my fingers very easily.

    Maybe the fact that the vehicle is permanently in 4 wheel drive might have caused or contributed it?
    ... It has the Defender 5 speed gearbox.

    I'm left puzzled and a little worried.

    Anyway I'm fitting new u bolts today (when they arrive) and will look for any further evidence if there is any.

  2. #2
    Moderator DarrenH's Avatar
    Join Date
    14th Dec 2009
    Location
    North kent
    Age
    40
    Posts
    8,235
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Can Suspension Spring U Bolts Come Loose All By Themselves?

    sitting there at rest, no way could they undo.

    could they walk undone with vehicle movement, possible, but youd notice some pretty horrific clonking and wayward handling in the mean time
    Drives: 1982 series 3 88" station wagon

  3. #3
    Consultant Richie_asg1's Avatar
    Join Date
    24th Apr 2006
    Location
    Aberdeen Scotland
    Posts
    9,411
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Default Re: Can Suspension Spring U Bolts Come Loose All By Themselves?

    I noticed when I ordered a set of U fixings that there are metric and imperial versions, and the tolerance on the rolled studs to nuts is variable. You have to check that you have a good match before you do everything up. There have been cases where the nuts stripped before being fully tight.
    It is very likely that the garage fitting them did not know of this issue and just fitted what arrived in the kit.
    More than likely the nuts have stripped rather than worked loose. Try tightening them hard to see if they strip.

    I would order a new set by a reputable make - and nuts to match at the same time. Make the garage where it was done aware of the problem, and send them the bill.

  4. #4
    Engineer Land Raver's Avatar
    Join Date
    4th Dec 2011
    Location
    North Hampshire
    Age
    46
    Posts
    3,496
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Default

    I found mine loose when I bought the vehicle. I have heard that they can with use (probably stretch too and corrode under them. I've always kept an eye on them since but they have been ok with the small mileage I do. Can't recall the torque setting but it's not that high either.


    'Gertrude' - 1981 Series 3 88" 2.25 Diesel

  5. #5

    Default Re: Can Suspension Spring U Bolts Come Loose All By Themselves?

    I also had a problem some years ago where the front U-bolts stretched.I didnt realise this and tried to tighten the nuts with a spanner and gentle pressure and could see the bolts stretch until one snapped. I replaced them with military spec ones and had no further problems

    Tim

  6. #6
    Apprentice
    Join Date
    1st Apr 2013
    Posts
    382
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Can Suspension Spring U Bolts Come Loose All By Themselves?

    I have just been doing some work that involved removeing and reinstalling the rear axel. The U bolts are the ones that came with the TIC rear springs some 15 years ago, there really fat compared to std, but there Metric, and M12x1.5mm pitch. Figuering they were old though i would order some new one's up, new ones come and no way in hell am i fitting them, there thin and were they have been bent into a U the metals been stretched - gouged down to near 1/4" rod. Brit part so no vast surprise, but IMHO there really bloody dangerous to use. I put the old TIC ones back on. I trust a old bit of 12mm bar over the mess the new britpart ones are any day.

    5mm Gap sounds like they were never tightened properly from day 1. One of my previous jobs made large agricultural trailers, every one got a sticker to retourqe the U bolts after a few miles - couple of heavy-loads. Its not so much they stretch, but because of how they all wrap around a axle they do tend to settle and need a tighten once in a while Especially from new. But im talking like maybe a half turn of the nut at most, just enough to take the pressure off, nothing like 5mm of slop! Thats damn right dispicable. The fact its MOT was so recent is even sadder if the Bolts have not failed - are actually stretching.

  7. #7
    Disco 1 TDi specialist zollaf's Avatar
    Join Date
    7th Mar 2010
    Location
    pembrokeshire
    Posts
    13,136
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Default Re: Can Suspension Spring U Bolts Come Loose All By Themselves?

    u bolts should always be re torqued after a good few miles. a 5mm gap though ?? not sure i have ever seen then come that loose before. still, the axle cant fall off unless they come all the way undone, which they wont, cos its just the bolts settling, usually on old springs where rust compresses through movement. maybe the u bolts have stretched, maybe they are britpart.. maybe you should torque them up and if they wont go tight then they have gone past their strecth point.
    currently between landrovers, just a scabby old audi with 359,000 miles under it.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Can Suspension Spring U Bolts Come Loose All By Themselves?

    Sounds excessive, but entirely possible. When I fitted my paras I torqued everything up to spec, and used nyloc nuts. A few weeks later I noticed that the nuts on the rear were no longer as tight as they should be. I think a combination of the springs and axles settling into place with each other, and even the newly painted and waxoyled parts no doubt bedding together slightly, along with the bolts stretching. Re-torqued and never moved since.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Can Suspension Spring U Bolts Come Loose All By Themselves?

    The axle and springs are back together again.
    I scrutinised the old U bolts for damage and stretching.
    The threads on the bolts were still clean and crisp and none of the shanks showed signs of stretching when compared to the replacements.
    The only differences were that the old ones were splayed outwards compared to the new so they were a little difficult to remove from the spring bottom plates.
    The nuts were ok but several lacked their plastic locking sleeve.
    Some would be loose enought on the threads to undo by vibration I think.
    As most of you will know not all of the front U bolts are the same.
    I was supplied with one square U bolt for the off-side but the one I removed was designed for the rear axle.
    I tried the square U bolt for size but decided to agree with the previous installer and fitted a rear U bolt because the fit on the axle case was much better.
    Besides the square one looked as though it was made for a bike it was so flimsy.
    I fitted 3mm steel penny washers (bought in a carboot decades ago) under all the nuts because the holes in the bottom plates were much larger than the bolts' shanks.
    For good measure I used two nuts per thread as they were plenty long enough.

    I have given more thought to how and when this problem arose.
    I cannot accept I did not notice the problem when the work was first done.
    I remember checking the tightness of the nuts when I received the vehicle back from the workshop along with all the other nuts, bolts, bits and pieces they had altered or replaced.

    Also in the MOT last month the inspector called me over to show me there was a slight movement on the steering relay.
    The vehicle was up on the ramp with the wheels raised to test the wheel bearings and steering joints and he was manually twisting a road wheel to show me the play.
    The suspension was up at chest level and the springs were easy to see.
    I can't believe he would not have noticed the gap between the spring and axle when he had the car up high when he placed and removed the hydraulic jacks directly under the spring bottom plates where the gaps were.
    I saw him with a torch closely inspecting all around the wheel arches from underneath.

    That leaves me with the suspicion the vehicle has been tampered with.
    I don't drive it much, about 2-3 times a week locally with the odd longer journey.
    Of course it would be vulnerable wherever it was parked.
    (As I said earlier it is ALWAYS in a locked enclosured when at home. Someone would have to scale a 6 foot fence to get at it.)

    The most probable place I can imagine is in the local Tesco car park.
    The car park is under the store and we tend to shop early-mid evening.
    Anybody could have undone the bolts in seclusion.
    At that time it is relatively empty of cars and there are usually groups of youngsters gathered in and around their cars playing music, talking etc.
    Also I have noticed many solitary people just sitting in their cars eating, reading and drinking.

    But it could have happened, if it happened, almost anywhere if someone had a mind to do such a thing.
    The vehicle looks quite smart and some people have a dislike for 4WD vehicles and their drivers.

  10. #10
    Engineer Land Raver's Avatar
    Join Date
    4th Dec 2011
    Location
    North Hampshire
    Age
    46
    Posts
    3,496
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Default Re: Can Suspension Spring U Bolts Come Loose All By Themselves?

    But why would you intentionally get underneath with a selection of spanners to see which fitted undo a U bolt when you can easily loosen a wheel nut from above? On that point - best check those too!


    'Gertrude' - 1981 Series 3 88" 2.25 Diesel

  11. #11

    Default Re: Can Suspension Spring U Bolts Come Loose All By Themselves?

    Quote Originally Posted by Land Raver View Post
    But why would you intentionally get underneath with a selection of spanners to see which fitted undo a U bolt when you can easily loosen a wheel nut from above? On that point - best check those too!
    You tell me.
    People do all sorts of things.
    The questions remain, why didn't the MOT inspector see it?
    Why didn't I see it when I was replacing the steering relay just 3 weeks ago?
    I always look around for problems when under the vehicle.

    I've checked the wheel nuts.
    The first thing I did was go around trying all the bolts I could think of.
    As it happens several of the spring bolts needed tightening but I don't think they had been undone.
    I regularly check wheel nuts and tyre inflation from past experience.
    I've had tyres stabbed or let down before several times.
    For about a year a while back one of my land rovers parked in the street had a broken wing mirror 2 or 3 times a month.
    I've still got a stock of replacement whole wing mirrors.

    Vandalism is nothing new to me.
    Many years ago in 1966 I drove up to Manchester to visit a friend at Uni.
    We decided to visit Liverpool for the day but what a mistake that was.
    It was blowing a gale and, walking past the Liver Building, I was hit by a large wooden sign board blown from off a cinema.
    It landed on my foot, I fainted and had to go to hospital.
    We were only allowed in after a lot of argument.
    We all had long hair and at that time people were very prejudiced about it.
    It was common to have adults become quite violent towards young men because of their hair.
    You wouldn't believe the number of fight I've nearly been involved in.
    We wasted all the day there waiting for a doctor.
    At last a doctor rushed into my cubicle and said "it's your shoulder isn't it"?
    well sitting there with my trousers off and a huge bruised blue foot I just looked at him and pointed to my foot!!!
    The nurse then threatened to get us thrown out for not showing respect!
    eventually I was examined and my foot was only badly bruised.

    Any how we had to stay in a small hotel for the night because I couldn't drive.
    The next day I was rather pleased to see my car was still in one piece.
    I'd been told all sorts of rumours in the hotel about gangs vandalising cars in Liverpool particularly if you were a "foreigner".
    We got in, started up and as soon we moved off we could hear a regular drumming noise.
    At first I thought it was the road surface but it was too regular and I soon suspected something was wrong with the wheels.
    I stopped and checked the wheels and every wheel nut had been undone by about 2 or 3 turns.
    What for I don't know but nothing surprises me now.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Can Suspension Spring U Bolts Come Loose All By Themselves?

    Long shot, but could it have been an interrupted attempt to steal the axle? As we know, second-hand parts are getting more valuable nowadays.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Can Suspension Spring U Bolts Come Loose All By Themselves?

    Probably easier and a bigger market if they just stole the doors and other panels to be fair.

  14. #14
    Apprentice
    Join Date
    1st Apr 2013
    Posts
    382
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Can Suspension Spring U Bolts Come Loose All By Themselves?

    Honestly if i found some one losening something under my landy after driving over them a couple of times im sure the crabs in the local river would be eating well that evening. IMHO you don't have a problem with the landy, if people are seriously breaking your **** that much, you need to relocate to some were else in the uk were this kinda behaviour just does not exist even if that means you have to have a hair cut??????

    As to the nuts lacking there locking nylon bit, have never ever ever seen thoes come out on there own, there not just pushed in but the nuts riveted over them. there real pigs to remove if you try to get em out because say its a sunday and you need just a plane nut! Sounds like who ever fitted the bolts took em out to make them easier to do up. IMHO i would be giving your ex garage a bloody good miss too ****ty short cuts like that kill people.

    As to stealing a axle? IMHO possible but bloody unlikely, even with the U bolts off you sure as hell are not takeing it out from under there as the break drum backing plates won't fit through the gap :-)

  15. #15
    Engineer erubus's Avatar
    Join Date
    10th Jan 2009
    Location
    nr blairgowrie, scotland
    Age
    36
    Posts
    2,209
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Default Re: Can Suspension Spring U Bolts Come Loose All By Themselves?

    The whole truck hangs off the U-bolts. When they are done up and wrap around the axle they tend to splay out. When your truck was getting Mot'd and the tester was underneath it, was it jacked up, either from the chassis or from the axle retaining plates?

    If jacked up from the chassis, then the weight would be transferred so that the axle was getting held up by the u bolts. There wouldn't be a gap between the bottom of the spring plate and the axle, the gap wouldhave been between the top of the axle and the u-bolts and unless your axle is spotless this would be difficult to notice unless you were looking for it.

    If jacked up from the bottom of the spring plates then again there wouldnt be a gap. Because the u-bolts tend to splay out after being deformed by the axle case, the sideways pressure would more than likely keep the nuts bottomed out on the spring plate and again the gap would be between the u-bolt and the top of the axle.

    As soon as the weight of the truck was back on its wheels, the truck would hang from the u-bolts again and the gap would re-appear.

    As mentioned above, the chances of someone crawling underneath the truck, selecting a spanner size and undoing the nuts has to be really small and as for trying to steal the axle, the chances of that must be infinitesimally small. I would suspect that the garage that fitted them either didnt do the job properly or they werent re-torqued after a few hours driving after the u-bolts have deformed over the axle casing. The whole assembly is located with a pin, so even a 5mm gap might not be too noticeable on a series truck.

    gill
    Henry: 1980 Series III 88" 2.25d on galv chassis, Hardworking favourite!
    Fred: 1990 90 CSW 19J. Getting rebuilt at the moment
    euroboxes:
    2002 Audi A4 1.9tdi 130 quattro
    2003 Audi A3 2.0tdi 140
    2006 Audi A3 2.0tdi 170 quattro
    2003 Audi A6 3.0 225 quattro
    2000 Audi A8 2.8 quattro
    2007 Audi A4 3.0tdi quattro cabriolet
    2003 Audi A8 4.0tdi quattro

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Hub bolts shaking loose
    By bvudzichena in forum Series Land Rovers
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 21st May 2012, 21:58
  2. spring bolts & bumper bolts
    By series3-2007 in forum Series Land Rovers
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 26th Aug 2007, 20:56
  3. Spring center Bolts
    By tony109 in forum Series Land Rovers
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 16th Mar 2007, 19:37

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •