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  #1  
Old August 12th, 2007, 04:15 AM
punter
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suspension overhaul

This seems like one of those questions that has probably been asked a hundred times, but I have searched all the Land Rover Forums I can find and nothing seems to turn up in my forum searches.

I have a 1984 Defender 110 chassis and drivetrain, with a 1966 Series IIa body fitted to it. I have already rebuilt the engine and gearbox and I just ordered a new chassis (from Richards). I am getting ready to start a full frame up restoration of my truck, in the coming months. I intend to completely overhaul and upgrade my suspension while I'm at it.

All that being said, I am hoping that some of you could give me your thoughts/opinions/advice regarding what's available out there.

Considerations:
The Truck- I will be installing a winch bumper and winch, a swing away rear tire carrier, a roof rack, some internal storage and I tend to have a fair amount of gear in the vehicle when I travel... so it's gaining some weight.

Driving Habits- This is will be my daily driver as well as off-roader, and it will be taken on many long trips. I will be driving it approx. 75-80% on the pavement. My off road driving is generally on moderate trails but sometimes they can get a little hairy... the full gamut of terrain (sand, mud, rocks, loose soil), though, as I tend to travel a lot.

The Suspension- I would like to get about 2" of lift out of it, so I can fit it with larger tires. I would also like to get a little bit more articulation out of it if I can. BUT, I do not want to sacrifice too much of the vehicle's road-worthiness, as it will spend a fair amount of time on the highway.

Basically, I would like to increase the vehicle's capabilities to be a little beyond my ability and needs, but I do not want to get ridiculous.

I've already got some ideas of my own, but I'd like to hear what you all would recommend.

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old August 12th, 2007, 10:25 AM
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S. Smith
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If you are spending that much time on the pavement then I would make a few comments.

1. Keep your sway bars. My 110 has them and my axle articulates enough to pop the springs (OME) out of the upper seats when I am offroad.

2. Get castor corrected front radius arms. It improves the handling.

3. Don't automatically get heavy duty springs. Match the springs to the real normal loads you are carrying. It will ride much smoother that way.

4. Move you rear shock mounts down 2 inches and consider 2 inch shorter shock towers for the front. This will increase articulation more than any other mod.

5. If you go with lockers I would suggest ARB or some normally open setup vs a Detroit which is normally closed.

6. Don't armor up excessively. The extra weight will cost you in fuel economy. My 110 is lucky to get 15 on the highway and 11 in town. The roof rack, external roll cage and 4 Hellas create a hell of a lot of wind resistance.

Hope these suggestions help.
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  #3  
Old August 12th, 2007, 11:49 AM
punter
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Landrovered, thanks for the advice... very helpful.

One other quick question... A response I had received in another forum stated that I would not require any additional lift to accomodate 33" tires. I was under the impression that I would need about 2" of lift to fit them properly. I hate to second guess someone, but I'd like to hear another opinion on that. Does that sound right to you?

Thanks agian for the help.

Cheers,
Punter
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  #4  
Old August 12th, 2007, 01:48 PM
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I would consider an "offroad" trailer with pintle hitch instead of the roof rack. It decreases the weight on the top of your car (important on off-camber terrain), cuts down on the wind drag, holds a ton of stuff (incl. optional tent), and frees up room for passengers inside your truck. Best of all, it's only there when you want and the other 80% of the time, you don't have to haul all of this stuff around.

You will need 2" lift to comfortably run 33" tires (or rather, 285/75). If you go that route, plan on buying the double-cardon driveshaft because more than likely, your driveline will vibrate if you don't. The radius arms or caster-corrected swivel balls are definitely recommended.

Like Scott said, be careful about getting too-heavy springs. I'd go medium duty and then see how it rides.
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  #5  
Old August 12th, 2007, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terrapin
You will need 2" lift to comfortably run 33" tires (or rather, 285/75).
Not true. 33's will fit stock no problemo.
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  #6  
Old August 13th, 2007, 02:44 AM
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I've got 90 rear springs up front and 130 outer springs on the rear of my 110.
It's a little harsh when the truck's empty but just fine fully loaded for a big adventure - no bottoming out at all Gives about an 1 1/2" of lift. 235/85-16's fit in with room to spare
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  #7  
Old August 13th, 2007, 04:54 AM
punter
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Hmmmm... all good advice.

I'm hesitant to go off-roading with a trailer. What off-road driving I have done with a trailer (albeit not with this truck) got pretty hairy pretty easily. Perhaps a removable Yakima rack and a Rocket Box is the best way to skin that cat (then just mind the weight that goes in it). I can take it off when I don't need it, and it's relatively aerodynamic when it is on.

Sounds like the consensus is not to go too heavy on the springs... fair enough.

There seems to be about a 50-50 split on the lift, though. I know I needed the lift on my old truck to accommodate my wheels, but that's an entirely different story. This truck has muck more clearance stock.

I've gotten a couple of different suggestions of how to gain a little extra articulation. Scott's suggestion above and a suggestion I had from another forum was to actually raise the shock mounts and go with a long-travel shock (which I think would require a longer spring). Theoretically, they both sound like they would accomplish the same thing. I'd love to know if anyone else has had experience with this sort of mod.

Again, thanks all for your help... and further thoughts/opinions/ideas are more than welcome.

cheers,
punter
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  #8  
Old August 13th, 2007, 08:47 AM
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Chris Snyder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckon37s
Not true. 33's will fit stock no problemo.
x2. I've got 34x10.5 LTB's on my 90 at stock height. They fit fine. You'll just need to adjust your steering stops.
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  #9  
Old August 13th, 2007, 09:31 AM
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One important note, you LOWER the shock mounts not raise them to get extra travel downward. Sure you could raise them and fit longer shocks but why raise them at all if your getting a longer shock?
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  #10  
Old August 13th, 2007, 09:33 AM
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with stock length shocks. If you want to run more upward and downward travel, raise your mounts and fit longer shocks.
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  #11  
Old August 13th, 2007, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landrovered
One important note, you LOWER the shock mounts not raise them to get extra travel downward. Sure you could raise them and fit longer shocks but why raise them at all if your getting a longer shock?
huh
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  #12  
Old August 13th, 2007, 11:21 AM
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Ok, I will explain...

If you add 2" of lift to your vehicle then you have actually moved your shock mounts 2" higher in relation to your axle. Thus reducing the amount of travel downward that your shock will allow.

If you have 7" of travel in your shock and you add a 2" lift you now have only 5" of travel in your axel before the shock reaches the end of its travel and this will restrict articulation.

In order to regain the travel in your shock lost by adding the lift, then you must lower your upper shock mounts by the same amount.

In some cases, such as my 93 RRC, since it had EAS that was converted to coil, my choice of shock lengths is limited due to the fact that the shock is not located inside the coil as with defenders, but has a different mount. Bilstien makes shocks for this application but they don't come in a plethora of sizes. So to regain travel and increase articulation, I have to lower the upper shock mount by a distance equal to the lift of the vehicle, and use standard length shocks.

It is the bump stops that will limit upward travel of the axle and the shock length that generaly limits downward travel of the axle, assuming your axle is not hanging by the brake lines.

So, if you are buying longer travel shocks you don't need to lower your shock mounts, if you are keeping your old shocks, then you should lower your upper shock mounts, if you are getting longer shocks then there is no need to raise the upper shock mount if you have the correct bump stops for your setup.

Hope this clears up the confusion.
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  #13  
Old August 13th, 2007, 08:14 PM
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Okay,

But thats only if you want to limit your articulation to stock and why would you ever want to do that if your already going to the trouble of getting new shocks and mounts. You want to raise your mounts and fit longer shocks for the longer stroke. Mine come up through the floor, and darn near through the hood.

And another thing, you DO NOT want your shock to be your limiting factor. In a stock setup, you want suspension bind or spring retaining to stop droop. If you rely on the shock it will destroy it over time.
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Old August 14th, 2007, 03:23 AM
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My 90 has police spec RRC HD prings (with the red & white paint ID colour code) [about 2" lift] with standard shucks in standard locations it was truely terrible - shocks reaching the bottom of their travel on every bump. So +2" decarbons went on fast much improvement then I lowered the rear shock mounts by 2". very cool off road except the rear springs kept popping out of the top mounts so I made up some relocation cones I don't think the rear shocks ever run out of movement on compression but the axle does hang off them on extension
I suspect the radius arm bushes bind up and limit downward travel at the front.
This home grown suspension package gives about 26" of wheel movement - one wheel can lift that much with the other three still on the deck. Not briliant. but enough on a low budget - biggest outlay was 75 for a pair of shocks

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  #15  
Old August 14th, 2007, 11:42 AM
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Buck,

I was trying to address the question without breaking the bank. We all know that long travel shocks, a three link suspension and lots of doe-ray-me will keep all four wheels on the ground in some amazing circumstances but that was not the idea as I saw it.

I would agree that shock travel is the limiting factor in most peoples set up.

I will restate one point that seems to be overlooked and that is that bump stops should be the limit of upward travel and not the shock.

Was this an issue when you got longer travel shocks, if not then what is the advantage of raising the shock mount at all?
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  #16  
Old August 14th, 2007, 01:49 PM
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Thanks Landrovered... I'm tracking now. I wasn't fully visualizing what you were getting at until you explained it further.

...And, for the record, you are on track for what I'm looking to accomplish. As cool as it would be to have some insane suspension that'd allow me to drive over my neighbor's car while maintaining 4 points of contact the entire time, my driving doesn't warrant it. Plus, this is going to be an expensive project already... I don't need to spend $4+k if I can get acceptable results for half that.

That being said... I still appreciate your input Buck. Suspension isn't my thing, so this is a learning experience for me and the more opinions I can hear the better.

Landrovered, you brought up a question a couple times, that had occurred to me, but you never really answered it... bump stops. If you were to install longer springs, to achieve 2" of lift, and you lower your shock mounts to retain your articulation, you could conceivably bottom out your shocks... depending on spring rate and such (which will eventually destroy them). With this set up, have you found the need for longer bump stops?

Now, all that being said... I intend to go ahead with a mild lift even though it isn't entirely necessary. My truck is a 110, so the turning radius suffers already, I don't want to have to limit it more by adjusting the steering stops to accommodate the bigger tires.

My shocks are in need of replacement, regardless, so that begs the question of whether or not LTR shocks would be a worthwhile investment. Clearly I can get good results without (by employing Landrovered's suggestions), but would they offer much of a benefit? if so, how much?

So far I'm looking at roughly:
Springs- $325
Radius Arms- $250+
Dislocation Cones- $180
Bushing Kit- $180
Extended Brake Lines- $90
and some other ancillary stuff
...PLUS...
Shocks- $325
2" Drop Kit- $180
Longer Bump Stops- $?
...OR...
LTR Shocks- $1000
...Of course, please let me know if I missed something noteworthy.

So, I'm looking in the ballpark of $1500-$1600 or so, as it is. At that point, bumping that up to $2000 -$2100 isn't unreasonable if it's going to offer some worthwhile performance gains.

Whadda ya'll think?
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  #17  
Old August 14th, 2007, 03:25 PM
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Bump stops do two things, they stop your axle from getting too close to the body/frame and they keep large tires from scrubbing the underside of your wheel arches.

If you have a 2" lift and you have lowered your shock mounts 2" then as Buck correctly pointed out, you have your original suspension geometry intact but by doing this you have effectively raised your bump stop by 2" as well.

In my experience, I have never had any problem with the shock topping out with 2" of lift. You might check your set up to be sure.

Hold the new shock in its most compressed state, usually when they come out of the box and have the band holding them compressed, hold it up to the top of your existing turret and measure the distance from the bottom of the shock to the lower mounting point. Then measure the distance from the top of your axle to the bump stop. If the shock distance is less than 2" longer than the axle to bump stop distance, then you will need to lower your bump stops when you lower your shock mounts. If the distance is greater than two inches then you are good to go.

If you have to modify your bump stops, it can be simply done with a rectangular piece of tubing, four bolts and a drill. Bolt the tubing to the bump stop mount and then the stop to the tubing.
About $10
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  #18  
Old August 14th, 2007, 03:50 PM
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Maybe overkill, but I think this is in your price range. I used to have a pricelist, but lost it. You can order it through Draken Off Road. Nice people too. http://www.equipe4x4.com/inglese/ART...T%20STAGE%20II
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Old August 14th, 2007, 09:56 PM
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If your going to cones, raise the shock mounts and fit longer shocks. If your going to drop the shock mounts and run a stock lenth shock, don't go with cones, retain the spring. Also something to consider, if you are running 33's you don't need to adjust the bump stops. So if you lower your shocks you are losing two in of uptravel you don't have to.

Of course, if you raise your shock mounts you can fit a longer body in there so you can take advantage of the cones and have full up travel. But that the heck do I know?
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  #20  
Old August 15th, 2007, 08:47 AM
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The equipe design has lowered turrets and lowered rear shock mounts.

Buck, there is always more than one way to skin a cat. I have learned some new things from this thread and thanks to you I am looking at different options myself now, but how do you loose upward travel if the shock is not topping out?
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