M201 - reinforced suspension for anti-tank weapons carriers
suspension renforcée pour le M201 antichar
 

The M201 Sahara had additional leaves in the front and rear springs but to support the weight of anti-tank weapons carried by the standard M201, the standard leaf spring suspension was reinforced in a more substantial way. The following details apply to the SS 10, 106 SR, ENTAC and MILAN versions of the M201.

The principal component consisted of additional coil springs fitted to the rear axle together with heavy duty shock absorbers. (photos: Tim Tearle).

 
coil spring - front view   coil spring - rear view

The coil springs were part of a cleverly designed kit which clamps round the rear axle and bolts to the main chassis rail. Its design is of American origin in that it formed part of the complete kit to mount an M-40 recoilless anti-tank rifle on various standard jeeps in service during the 1950s and 60s. Evidence for this can be seen in the photo of an ex-Greek army Willys MB below fitted with exactly the same kit as the M201 anti-tank weapons carriers.


Photo of an ex-Greek army MB by Chaz

Fitting the kit shown below also involved relocating the upper shock absorber mounting to a bracket welded to the top of the chassis rail in a forward position. (photos below : Tim Tearle)

 

     
  As part of the overall modification the shackles securing the normal leaf springs front and rear were also up-rated to a longer type with steel plates to prevent the shackle fracturing as a result of the additional stresses created by the heavy load being carried over rough terrain.

One final point is that at the rear that additional spacers were fitted between the bump stops and the chassis as part of the coil spring modification.

If your M201 has the rear shock absorbers mounted in the forward position then it is an indication of a history of once being an anti-tank weapon carrier. The springs are often removed to give a softer ride but the revised shock absorber mounts are much more difficult to remove often leading to uninformed debate amongst owners as to the origin of the chassis.