Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Half Moon Bay, CA
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A couple additional observations on springs vs spacer lift.
The springs are harder to install since you must remove the strut assembly and then compress the springs and change them out. With the DAP (Bearmach in Europe) spacer lift you remove the strut assembly but don't have to disassemble it. Probably a difference of a couple hours for the whole job.
You don't replace the shocks when installing the Ironman springs, or at least I didn't. What results is a bit stiffer ride with the stock tires and a slightly underdamped suspension. But if you install tires with higher sidewalls you get back to approximately the stock ride. I'm refering to the NAS Freelander SE standard of 17x7" alloy wheels and 225/55-17 Michelin Synchrone as "stock".
The springs keep the OE strut travel/articluation. This is both good and bad. The good is you are still within the design range of the CV joints and are less likely (IMHO) to damage them and also less likely to run afoul of a warranty refusal should you have to replace the axle. The bad is that you will see the TC light come on more often as a wheel lifts due to the stiffer springs and the stock articulation range.
The 2" DAP/Bearmach spacers on the other hand allow more droop in the suspension so you will have better 4 wheel contact with the trail and better traction. But the spacers modify the articulation range by 2" and therefore (again IMHO) put more stress on the CV joints. The right side front axel is the shortest so that is where the trouble is most likely to appear. You also get a bit more sway since the vehicle is taller but with the stock spring rates. Many have run the DAP lift for tens of thousands of miles with no problems what so ever.
The spacer lift is more cost effective in the US because, as yet, there is no US importer of the Ironman springs and shipping, although better than it used to be, is still expensive.
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