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Old 04-12-2006, 04:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Lift - Springs or Spacers

In my earlier post on my views on the Freelander, HMBFreelander (Brian) indicated that he had fitted 1.5" lift springs. Another alternative is to fit a 2" spacer kit to each of the spring towers.

As I see it the main disadvantage with the springs is the need to also fit new shock absorbers so works out a bit expensive. Likewise the main disadvantage of the spacers is it is an area for brakage and where I live the mods may be frowned upon by the authorities. They cost about $350US for the kit.

I would be interested in hearing peoples experiences and comments on these mods. Like Brian, I am also fitting 16" wheels but mainly because there is a wider tyre range in 16" tyres vs 15". I don't think I will go taller in the tyres that normal because of the reason Brian mentioned - the reduction in available torque at low revs will have too much effect on the car.

I would appreciate your thoughts.

Garry
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Old 04-12-2006, 07:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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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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Old 04-13-2006, 08:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
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What HE said... I put about 30,000 miles on the DAP lift- don't know how many miles the new owner has put on, but haven't heard back about any problems.
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Old 04-13-2006, 04:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the information. I think the spacers might be the way for me to go. My front right outer CV is already making heaps of noise so I might replace it and put in the lift kit as well - I will the full 2" rather than the 1.5" but I do recall that there are 2" springs also available in Aust. Some guys in the Freelander Club in the UK just use extended bolts and use nuts to create the spacer effect - probably works but doesn't seem as reliable as the fabricated spacers. As far as wear on CVs is concerned to concensus seems to be that a 2" lift is the max you can go without reducing life on CVs. Some have gone to 3" but have indicated that CV life is reduced.

Thanks for the input

Cheers

Garry
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