Updated: Apr 20, 2020
I did consider buying a set of parabolic springs for the vehicle. However, there seems to be mixed views on the wisdom of such a move, and lots of room for getting it wrong in terms of configuring the right number of leaves, the right arch on the leaves, the quality of the manufacturer, etc. I don’t foresee myself using the Landy for any high performance driving (not sure if the use of “high performance” and “Land Rover” in the same sentence is even allowed!?), and I would like to restore as many of the old components as possible rather than replacing them with new (sucker, I know!), so I decided to refurb the old ones.
I stripped each cluster down into individual leaves (I just bent the tabs open without heating them, and it seemed to work well), and wire brushed them with an angle grinder to remove as much rust as possible. I then used an hydraulic press to remove the old bushes (using a suitable drift), and to re-arch each leaf to match its corresponding partner from its opposite spring. There were quite big discrepancies between opposite leaves. I also decided to add a small, arbitrary amount of extra arch to each leaf, just to give a little “life” to the tired old springs. Only time would tell if this was a wise decision or not...
In preparation for painting, I wanted to sandblast the exposed surfaces of the springs, but not the mating surfaces between leaves. I thus assembled each leaf set temporarily and inserted them into my sandblasting cabinet through a modified side door (I made a door out of thin ply, with a small round opening just big enough for the spring to stick out of), and gave everything a good blast.
I then dismantled the springs again, and painted each leaf with rust converter and primer to neutralize the last bits of rust present in the grooves and pit marks. The new bushes were pressed into each main leaf using a bit of copper grease, and then each leaf received a coat (by brush) of Hammerite gloss black (smooth).
Once dry, the leaves were lightly sanded and packed back together with a small amount of copper grease between each one. The ease with which the leaves slide over one another now is vastly improved, which bodes well for how the new springs will perform once on the vehicle (again, I use the term "perform" loosely in this context...). The tabs were pressed closed again using the hydraulic press.