The electronically controlled air suspension fitted to Our Range Rover, and other Vogue LSE's is the most technologically advanced system fitted to any four wheel drive vehicle in the world.
The system's five ride height settings add extra refinement by improving ride and handling both on-road and off-road. The setting heights can vary by 130mm.
Noise from the suspension and from the road is reduced because the conventional coil springs (a direct metal connection between axle and chassis) have been replaced by air springs with rubber diaphragms.
The new EAS automatically adjusts the level of our Range Rover measuring the height at each corner 100 times a second. The lowest height setting makes getting in and out of the vehicle easier and also helps loading.
Range Rover's unrivaled off-road performance is also further improved by the EAS system which gives our Range Rover higher ground clearance under the chassis, and improved approach, departure and breakover angles.
For towing and with heavy loads the self-leveling suspension system eliminates the need for headlamp leveling.
An additional benefit is that fuel consumption is improved slightly. This is because the aerodynamic qualities of our Range Rover are improved when it is driven in the low profile position. However for real improvements in economy you need to convert to dual fuel, ie Auto Gas, it paid us although the first conversion only lasted a year.
For safety the system remains in its ride height setting if either the brakes are applied or if any of the doors are opened.
How It Works
The EAS system consists of four air springs, which replace the coil springs, new dampers, and four height sensors at each corner linked to the 'C' spanners at the front, and to the trailing link at the rear.
An air compressor, an air drier, and valve block are located in a box between the suspension mounting brackets on the right hand chassis rail.
A 10-litre air reservoir is fitted to the left hand chassis rail, and the whole system is operated through an electronic control unit (ECU) positioned on top of the existing engine ECU under the right front seat.
The ECU receives signals from four ride height sensors, and also receives information from road speed, engine speed, the footbrake, the handbrake, the auto transmission lever, and the door-closing switches. A pressure switch from the air reservoir also sends signals to the ECU.
The air compressor charges the air reservoir until it reaches 10 bar (145 p.s.i). It automatically re-charges the reservoir if the pressure drops below 7.6 bar. This ensures that there is always sufficient pressure in the air springs which operate unladen at 3 bar and up to 6 bar at the rear when fully loaded.
The system can be stored in temperatures up to minus 40°C and will run in temperatures from minus 32°C to 52°C (the same as the design requirements for the vehicle).
The air is distributed to the air springs via the value block, which contains a valve for each air spring and an inlet valve and exhaust valve. The air is distributed through plastic tube and harness.
Operating the System
The system has five different ride heights.
The five ride heights are controlled by three buttons (up, inhibit, and down) on the console next to the radio/cassette.
When the system is switched off our Range Rover will remain at standard ride height.
When the system is switched on the low profile ride height will operate automatically. Our Range Rover will move into low profile position when the vehicle has been traveling at over 50mph for more than 30 seconds.
The low profile position improves ride and handling particularly for major road and motorway driving. The steering feels slightly firmer - with stronger self centring - owing to the slightly increased caster angle on the front axle.
The smaller frontal area of the vehicle in low profile produces a marginal benefit (one per cent) in fuel consumption and a two per cent improvement to the vehicle's aerodynamics.
The suspension will revert automatically to standard height when the vehicle has been traveling at less than 35mph for more than 30 seconds.
This prevents the vehicle from continually changing its suspension height and enables, for example, a driver to slow down and drive round a roundabout without changing ride height.
Similarly, if a driver slows down and stops at traffic lights for more than 30 seconds the suspension will remain in the low profile position while the vehicle is stationary. It will then return to standard height when driven off.
It is also possible to return to standard height from low profile position by pushing the "inhibitor" button.
The high profile position, selected manually by pushing the "up" button, operates when the vehicle is traveling under 35mph. Moving to this position takes about five seconds.
The high profile position further enhances our Range Rover's off-road capability. The additional 40mm height is better for wading and improves ground clearance under the chassis.
Both the approach and departure angle are improved from 30° to 33° and the breakover angle is also up from 29° to 32° on the 100 inch wheelbase and 30° on the 108 inch wheelbase.
The suspension automatically reverts to standard height in about three seconds when the speed exceeds 35mph, and can also be returned to standard ride height by pushing the "lower" button or "inhibitor" button.
In extreme conditions, when the bottom of the vehicle is grounded EAS will automatically select extended profile, raising the suspension up to 30mm beyond high profile until traction is regained. The system will automatically revert to high profile when the obstacle has been cleared.
The access mode can be selected by pushing the "down" button only when the vehicle is stationary and the handbrake (manual transmission) or park (automatic transmission) is selected. The position can also be selected up to 20 seconds after the engine has been turned off.
Opening any of the doors will automatically freeze the system.
The access mode makes it easier for passengers to get in and out of our Range Rover, and access for loading through the tailgate is also easier.
When the driver gets into the vehicle, shuts the doors, and starts the engine, the system measures the height at each corner 100 times a second. It automatically adjusts the vehicle to a level height taking into account the weight of the driver, passengers, and load.
When our Range Rover is driven off the suspension will automatically move from the access position to the standard height in about seven seconds depending on the load. Pushing the "up" on "inhibitor" button will have the same effect.
Range Rover is the first off-road vehicle in the world to be fitted with electronic traction control.
Fitted to ABS vehicles only, the ETC system gives improved traction on ice and snow, and further improves its unrivaled performance in the most severe off-road conditions.
ETC operates on the rear wheels only by applying the brakes to the spinning or slipping wheel and transfers torque to the other side of the axle. It provides up to five times more traction than previously to the wheel which maintains grip.
The system is particularly useful in severe conditions where one side of the vehicle is on a very slippery surface and the other side on a good surface. For example, a vehicle could be towing a trailer up a steep hill and be forced to put two wheels onto a wet grass verge due to oncoming traffic or obstruction. Electronic traction control ensures that torque is transfered to the rear wheel with most traction.
The ETC on Range Rover improves off-road performance in a number of instances. For example, in extreme conditions, when a rear wheel is in the air, the torque transfers to the wheel with grip.
The ETC is also beneficial in cornering off-road, and also gives improved traction on side slopes.
ETC Information Light
The ETC information light illuminates when the ignition is turned on and goes off after three seconds. When the ETC is employed the light comes on for a minimum of two seconds.
How it Works
The ETC system consists of an integrated brake booster/ABS modulator assembly, onto which an additional valve block has been fitted for ETC. This booster assembly directly replaces the vacuum serve/master cylinder unit of non-ABS vehicles, to reduce the number of connections.
The system also has a hydraulic energy unit, comprising an electronic motor driven hydraulic pump with integral pressure switches and an accumulator to store the hydraulic energy - all fitted under the bonnet close to the booster.
There are also four wheel speed sensors, one for each wheel.
The Electronic Control Unit (ECU) under the left hand front seat has been modified to include ETC. The modifications include additional output transistors to drive the ETC valves and light, and a higher capacity microprocessor chip. The control software has been expanded to include the traction control software.
ETC has been developed by extending the ABS. Two extra solenoid valves are added to the hydraulic system in a separate valve block bolted to the top of the brake booster. One of these valves is used to isolate the rear brakes from the braking actuation. The other is used to provide pressure from the accumulator to the rear brakes.
The existing ABS valves are used to control the fluid flow to the individual rear calipers. A light is added to the instrument binnacle to inform the driver that ETC is fitted, when it is active, and if a fault occurs.
The ECU is extended with these additional outputs and a 12K programme chip with extra software to replace the previous 8K chip. There is also extra wiring for the new components and hydraulic pipes to connect the new valve block into the system.
ETC will operate when it sees that one of the rear wheels starts to spin above vehicle speed. It closes one value which which isolates the rear brakes from the power valve and closes the rear inlet valves. It then supplies pressure to the caliper of the spinning wheel by pulsing the valve to the accumulator and the appropriate brake valve simultaneously.
This pressure is later dumped through the corresponding outlet valve when any reduction is necessary. ETC only operates up to 31.07mph (50kph) as the vehicle is not in danger of getting stuck at speeds over 50kph.
The system has been jointly developed by Land Rover and WABCO over the last three years. Extensive testing has taken place in frozen lakes in Arjeplog, northern Sweden, Rover's proving ground in Gaydon, England, the Motor Industry Research Association's facility in Nuneaton, England, the woodland tracks at Eastnor Castle, England, the military rough road tracks at Bagshot, and other locations in Germany.
The old 3.9 engine was replaced by a 4.2 V8 in the LSE derivative giving improved mid-range acceleration and 200 bhp at 4850 rpm with a top speed of 111 mph. This engine has an improved torque curve giving better driveability.
The 4.2 was achieved by increasing the stroke from 71.12 mm to 77.40 mm through the use of a new crankshaft based on the older proven design.
The catalyst engine uses high compression ratio pistons designed specifically for the 4.2 power unit to optimise fuel economy.
An all-new camshaft was fitted to optimise the increased capacity at the top end of the rev range. The automatic gearbox was also re-tuned, and a new electronic control unit (ECU) was fitted.
The older 3.9 V8 engine, used in other petrol Range Rovers, has also been given high compression ratio pistons to ensure that the catalyst power plant is comparable to the performance of the previous non-catalyst engine.
The traditional 100-inch wheelbase for Range Rover was extended to 108 inches to create a new luxurious flagship model, the Classic Range Rover Vogue LSE.
The extra eight inches was inserted between the B/C post and D post in the rear passenger floor area.
The LSE, with its wider rear doors, made it much easier for passengers to to get in and out. The doors, which now incorporated pubble lamps, were given revised opening angles.
The comfort of passengers was also enhanced by the additional legroom, and Range Rover's legendary ride was further improved by the extended wheelbase.
A unique exterior colour was developed for the Vogue LSE. Mosswood is a very dark green/brown metallic paint which reveals golden/green highlights when in sunshine or bright lights.
There are now 15 exterior colours for Range Rover. They are Aries blue, Alpine white, Eastnor green, Pembroke grey, Portofino red, Beluga black, Ardennes green, Sororan brown, Mosswood, Trocadero red, Roman bronze, Aspen silver, Plymouth blue, Aegean blue, and Westminster grey.
A new soft-feel leather trim, Saddle (mid tan), was introduced for the flagship Vogue LSE model. It was designed with a unique vertical stitch pattern.
For Vogue SE customers Dark Sable, a new dark brown/black leather interior trim, was introduced to offer a third option. The other two are Sorrell and Westminster grey which was lightened slightly. Vogue customers were offered the choice of either Sorrell or Westminster.
The Burr walnut of the Vogue SE was replaced by a new "Italian Poplar" veneer which was extended to include inserts to the auto transmission lever, transmission tunnel and rear door cappings. Comfort was improved on all four door models by a revised rear seat rake.
Stowage was improved by the inclusion of a new pocket in the front passenger footwell area on all models, and the LSE got stowage bins on the rear doors.
Considerable improvements were made to the in-car entertainment throughout the model range. The re-positioning of the aerial in the rear side screen gave improved radio reception.
All radios have an RDS (radio data system) button to track the strongest transmitter signals on FM stations. There is also a traffic programme button which automatically interrupts FM broadcasts (or cassette or CD) to broadcast traffic reports.
The Vogue SE and LSE derivatives were given four co-axial speakers, and two base speakers. A new amplifier and sub-woofer were located in the rear loadspace area.
A six-disc capacity CD autochanger was an option on all models. Naturally our Range Rover has this option, it's really posh, pure dead brilliant in fact.
Cruise control, absolutely brilliant, a must, available on automatic models in the past, was now extended to the manual Vogue SE and as an option on manual petrol Vogue models.
A new switch logic enables the driver to increase speed by tapping the "SET" button. One tap increases the speed by one mile per hour - five taps increases the speed by five miles per hour, etc.
State-of-the-art technology was put to good use in the new alarm system fitted as standard which combined both perimetric and volumetric sensing on Range Rovers.
Operated by radio frequency the system is linked the the ECU in the vehicle. The system uses a 40-bit rolling code which changes every time the vehicle is unlocked. No two vehicles have the same rolling code.
The new cover was given a better quality finish and provided discrete packing for the sub-woofer and CD autochanger, it was also raised so suitcases could be stood instead of stacked. A new storage pocket was situated behind the rear seats on the left hand side of the loadspace area.
A significant improvement to the power output of Range Rover headlamps was introduced across the range by the introduction of improved beam pattern seven-inch lamps. The headlamps have an increased light intensity, particularly on dipped headlamps.
Electric Window Enhancements
The introduction of a modified controller enables the windows and sunroof to be closed up to 45 seconds after the ignition has been switched off providing the door is not opened or closed.
The one-shot facility to open the driver's window was added to the front passenger window.
A comprehensive package of improvements was incorporated across the range making our Range Rover Classic quieter inside. Additional noise absorbing material were put in the passenger side bulkhead, engine side bulkhead, pedal box covers, tunnel and front floor, extractor vent cavities, body mountings, intermediate floor, and seat box covers.
Body Styling Enhancement
Customers who wanted a more aggressive sporting visual appearance to their Range Rover could order a body style enhancement package. It consisted of new front and rear aprons and deeper side sills in matching body colour paint.
New cyclone-style wheels were included in the option.