In the previous article we discussed the importance of choosing the correct components for your suspension lift and we advised that the fitment of a properly engineered matched suspension lift kit was the best option. There are cheaper options, some with better results than others and some to avoid.
Leaf Spring Suspension:
- A block spacer between the axle and leaf spring on the back of your bakkie is acceptable provided the surface of the block spacer that will be in contact with the leaf spring is identical in size and shape to the original spring seat on the axle.
- Adding an extra blade to your existing leaf spring pack works in most cases however, in strict engineering terms, this is not ideal. A leaf spring pack is designed as a collection of inter dependant blades with specific lengths and thicknesses that work together as a whole. This ensures optimum functionality, load carrying ability and ride comfort. Adding an odd blade amongst these is sure to change this. You may get an increase in height and additional load carrying ability but you are sure to compromise ride comfort and the life of the springs.
- Longer shackles are definitely not advised. They alter the angle between your gearbox/transfer case and diff due to the rear of the spring being lifted and not the front. This change in angle causes a drive-line shudder, especially on pull-away and will soon cause damage to your prop shaft universal joints and eventually your diff and gearbox.
- Coil spring spacer pads may work safely in many cases provided they have the correct shape to ensure that the coils remain properly seated. Be aware of spacers that are too thick. Under full suspension compression, this may cause the coil spring to compress completely and become solid before the bump stop rubber comes into play.
- Spacers on top of the shock absorber/coil spring strut assembly on the front of your late model 4wd bakkie or SUV are definitely not advised. These spacers allow the front wheels to droop down further than the vehicle designers intended. Under full compression, these spacers rob the coil spring of available travel and in most cases we find that the coil spring compresses to a solid before the bump stop rubber comes into play. This results in the shock absorber bottoming out and ends in certain permanent damage and component failure.
- A locally developed product that has gained popularity is the Coil-Over. It’s a simple idea that works well in many applications. A coil spring is mounted onto a specially manufactured shock absorber and then fitted in place of your normal shocks in addition to the standard springs. There are reservations about the fact that your shock mounts now carry some of the weight of your vehicle. They were of course not designed to do this. I have however never come across any such issues personally.
Springs undergo specific procedures when being manufactured. Very specific heating and tempering procedures ensure that your springs maintain their spring rate throughout their service life. Re-heating and re-shaping most often only results in a short term fix and can even render the springs useless after as short time. In a future article we will look more closely at spring manufacture.
On road or off the beaten track, South Africa’s best choice for 4×4 Suspension and Accessories is Ironman 4×4. Whether you use your 4×4 as a family vehicle or as an off-road explorer, Ironman 4×4 Africa is Flagship store is situated in Alberton, Voortrekker road Off-ramp. Call us today for a fitment quote on +27 011 634 7770