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Freelander 1 How to fit a 50mm Lift Kit

Discussion in 'Land Rover Freelander' started by Alibro, Nov 7, 2016.

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  1. Alibro

    Alibro Well-Known Member

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    So you want to fit a lift kit,
    DON'T DO IT YOU PLONKER!

    Since you're determined to ignore my advice read on, but don't say you weren't warned!
    Here are my pearls of wisdom/stupidity/experience (delete as appropriate)
    Disclaimer. This is how I did it, I don't suggest it is the correct method or how you should do it. I take no responsibility for death or injury that may occur to you should you copy what I did.
    First unless you really really REALLY need that extra 10mm then don't bother. Buy the 40mm kit instead and you will still need to cut some metal but not (so I'm told) the chassis rail. Whatever you do read the next bit about swapping the steering arms before you start.

    The Fronts

    Tools required
    Long breaker bar
    Hex socket set. (don't even think about doing it with a 12 point set)
    Torque wrench
    Big hammer, preferably ball pein.
    Grinder
    5mm Good quality allan key
    Spanner set
    Ball joint splitter

    Spare parts required (probably)
    Track rod ends
    Drop links

    1. Jack the car up and remove both front wheels
    2. Turn the wheel full lock both ways and measure down 55mm from the track rod end bolts when at their lowest point then mark where you need to cut.
    3. Sit back and stare in disbelief that you need to cut quite so much, think about it for a while then weep a little at your stupidity.
    Passenger side.
    4. Remove the clip holding the brake line to the strut and the abs cable.
    5. Remove the track rod end nut and bash it out. Some people have success bashing the end of the arm beside the TRE so that the shock releases it but I've never found it to work.
    TOP TIP, Put a sledge hammer or similar heavy lump of metal on the arm beside the TRE so that when you bash the bolt you've half a chance of getting it out without damaging the TRE. It helps prevent the arm flexing every time you bash with the hammer, If you're very lucky you won't damage the TRE but as you'll probably need a ball joint splitter don't bet on it.
    6. Remove one end of the drop link. (doesn't matter which)
    7. Remove the two big bolts at the bottom of the strut which will free up the wheel hub.
    Drivers side
    8. Disconnect the battery.
    9. Open the fuse box and remove the three nuts holding it and the bolt holding the electrical connection and pull the fuse box out of the way.
    10. On the TD4 you have another bolt to remove as a sensor (or something) is in the way
    11. Pull out the plastic clip holding the two fuel lines to the chassis arm and push them out of the way.
    11. Remove the plastic cover and the three bolts on the turret strut then the strut should drop out fairly easily.
    12. Bolt the new lift kit onto the strut and set it to one side.
    13. Cut out the metal facing you that you marked earlier while trying not to cut too far across the chassis rail. Pay more attention to the forward edge as that is where the bolt on the TRE will catch when on full lock.
    14. Take your big hammer and start bashing the chassis rail down to the new level. It needs to be fairly level from your new edge to at least half way across the width of the chassis rail.
    15. Once you've bashed the Bejesus out of the chassis rail and are happy it is low enough, then refit the strut and the bottom bolt but not the top one and don't tighten up the TRE. A jack under the brake disk will help getting it in position.
    16. Fit the new top camber bolt with the camber pushing the top of the strut in. I had to cut the tab off my camber bolt washer as it fouled the edge of the strut.
    17. Push the TRE into it's hole with a gentle tap from a hammer then take the nut from the old bolt and and use it as a spacer on the TRE and screw the TRE nut on finger tight.
    18. Turn the wheel to full lock and marvel at how you got the cut out completely wrong. This is why the TRE bolt is in finger tight, remove it and tie the TRE up out of the way while you start bashing the beggar again with a hammer.
    19. Repeat 18 multiple times until you have full lock.
    20. Repeat on the other side, this time you need to move the coolant header tank out of the way to get the top strut nuts off.
    21. I don't know how important it is but I plan to weld the chassis rail before painting.

    IMG_20160907_221247.jpg
    This photo gives you a good idea how far you need to cut down if you look at the position of the missing plastic rivet. Initially I didn't cut down far enough and gave myself a load of extra work, you need to turn the wheel to full lock, then mark down 50mm to see what needs cutting out.

    ******* Since writing this DieselDo suggested you can lessen the cutting required by swapping the steering arms. This will leave locking bolts on the track rod ends at the rear instead of the front which would help a lot. Also you can grind off a knob on the TRE to help a little more. This will help reduce the hammering and cutting a little but only if you do it before fitting the lift kit. I had already got the chassis arms adjusted for the TRE's before swapping the arms and now need to make more adjustments as the bolts now foul in a different spot. :(

    OK, a quick update on how to swap the steering arms if you decide to do that. Note this was done on a TD4 with terrible access to the steering arm bolts. I did it from above but others have suggested it can be done through the wheel arch.

    Steering Arms
    Tools required
    14mm spanner. If you have the correct torx socket and enough space to get at it then life will be much easier for you.
    Short(ish) length of pipe that fits over the spanner
    Normal tools to remove track rod ends.
    Loctite

    1. Turn steering to move the rack to a point where you can get access to it.
    2. Reach into the back of the engine bay and fit your 14mm spanner over the torx bolts, put the pipe over the spanner and start the process of loosening the bolt a 1/4 turn at a time.
    3. Repeat many many times. No it doesn't loosen up or get any easier as it is held in with locktite. :(
    4. Loosen both bolts at the same time and remove.
    5. Remove track rod ends as described below. Take them to your grinder and carefully remove the nodule beside the bolt.
    Now would be a great time to free up the tracking adjustment lock nuts as you will need your tracking reset anyway. If yours are like mine were they get pretty seized and the guys at Kwiktit or wherever will probably chew up your lock nuts for you.
    6. Swap the arms around and hesitate for a second as you see the TRE's are now upside down. Then laugh at your stupidity and remember they are screwed on and can be easily turned. :oops:
    7. Using loctite refit the arms to the steering rack and tighten them up. I found the first one easy to get the bolt started but the second was a right pig. I found it helped to have the first one fairly tight.
    Refit the TRE temporarily as described below and follow procedure for measuring, cutting and hammering.

    The Rears
    The rears are easier then the fronts but not without their issues. The flexi brake hose goes from the chassis to the strut then a hard connection goes from the strut to the wheel hub. This means that for you to remove the strut you need to disconnect the flexi hose either at the chassis or the strut. Either way you are in for trouble as the solid pipe will probably be welded to the nut so that it twists as you loosen it. I'd advise you disconnect at the strut end because it is a whole lot easier to replace the short pipe than the long one which goes towards the front of the car. I had to replace both the flexi hose and the solid pipe on the passenger side as the main brake pipe was leaking before I touched it.
    So here goes.
    Tools required.
    Long breaker bar
    Hex Socket set
    Spanners
    Brake pipe crimping tool
    11mm brake pipe spanner
    Spare parts required
    Brake pipe
    Brake pipe unions
    Or just buy the brake pipes ready made.

    1. Remove plastic panels in the boot which cover rear strut turrets.
    2. Jack up rear of car and remove wheels
    3. Remove the nuts from the two bolts at the bottom of the strut but don't tap them out yet.
    4. Release the ABS cable and try to loosen brake pipe union where it joins the flexi pipe at the strut.
    5. Realise the pipe is twisting with the union and brake fluid is now ****ing everywhere, swear, run and make up a new pipe the correct length and then carry on disconnecting the union and trashing the pipe.
    6. Now with a bowl collecting the dripping brake fluid (unless you have a brake pipe crimp but I don't like them as they can damage the pipes or had the sense to cut the pipe which isn't going to survive anyway and fold it over) release the two large bolts.
    7. Remove the three turret nuts and the strut should fall out fairly easily.
    8. bolt on the 50mm lift kit and refit. A bit of pushing and pulling is required but a jack under the hub will help get it into position.
    9. Reconnect the brake pipe and refit ABS cable
    10. Bleed your brakes

    Top tip. Make these up to stop the dripping brake fluid if you're like me and don't like clamping the flexy pipes.
    They are male and female brake unions on a short length of pipe with the ends crimped over.
    20160922_155759.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
    Hippo and GrumpyGel like this.
  2. Alibro

    Alibro Well-Known Member

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    BTW I did weld up the cuts I made. I don't know if this was necessary but it made me happier.
    20160921_121900.jpg
    And painted
    20160921_174953.jpg
    The cable ties are to hold the fuel lines which used to sit on top of the chassis rail, there's no room for them there any more so they have to go beside the rail instead. They cable ties also keep them away from the gear pivot which you can see in the background and would damage the lines if allowed to bash into them. The wet drips are from release spray on the steering arm lock nuts, As mentioned earlier I should have freed them up before refitting the steering arms.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017
  3. TD4_4x4

    TD4_4x4 Active Member

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    Thank you for the detailed write up and photos of your upgrade, it's helpful for many in the future I'm sure.
     
  4. Alibro

    Alibro Well-Known Member

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    I hope so. I drove the car for the first time tonight on the motorway and back roads and can say it is does roll a bit more than before but the handling is still fine and no worse than many cars I've driven in the past. I plan to fit polybushes sometime soon and suspect I will need to anyway as the old bushes are now being stressed slightly differently than before. They are mostly 14 years old now so won't like change. :p
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016
    TD4_4x4 and Diesel Do like this.
  5. Joe_H

    Joe_H Well-Known Member

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    Great write up ! well done.;)
     
  6. Alibro

    Alibro Well-Known Member

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    I forgot to mention, one of the effects of fitting a 50mm lift kit is to move the rear wheels approx 16mm forwards. This is because of the swinging arms which are approx half a metre long and are attached to the chassis in front of the wheels. Also the natural angle of the struts is slightly forwards.
    It is fairly obvious here partly because Bertie doesn't have any mudflaps.
    Before


    [​IMG]

    After
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    This was my solution to lengthen the arms. First I marked them so I could ensure thy were aligned correctly when putting them back together later, then cut them.
    [​IMG]

    After cutting the arms I cut a length of solid 25mm bar and ground a mm or so off it so it would slide into the arms. I say slide but they had to be hammered in with the help of heat so they are a very tight fit. You can see the marks where I had to hammer the end of one of the arms to get it off after an unsuccessful trial fit.
    [​IMG]

    I then drilled two holes at either end all the way through the arms and solid bar, inserted bits of six inch nail and welded them in place.
    In this photo the hole isn't through the bar stock but I did that later. I also welded at the gap
    [​IMG]

    All painted up and ready to refit. I also fitted new bushes.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016
  7. Alibro

    Alibro Well-Known Member

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    Oops, duplicate post.
     
  8. Alibro

    Alibro Well-Known Member

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    Just a wee update.
    After driving the car for 6 months or so, both off and on road I can confirm this upgrade has been 100% positive. Contrary to some garbage written by a certain chap a few months ago, the car handles just as well as it ever did. It leans a little more in corners but still corners perfectly safely and how much of the lean is the lift kit and how much the taller tyres is hard to judge. The change is subtle though and it still handles a great deal better than and Disco 1 or 2.
    As for the extra height, it gives brilliant clearance for lanes or tracks through deep ruts with the diff being kept up high by the independent suspension.
    I still get a kick every time I look at how great it looks. :D
     
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  9. Kayos

    Kayos Active Member

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    Nice write up, does the 40mm kit need the rear arms extending? If so and I've got to drag the welder out I might as well do the 50mm kit
     
  10. Alibro

    Alibro Well-Known Member

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    You don't need to extend the arms for 50mm, I just thought it looked better. As for 40mm I'd have thought the rear wheels will still be forward of centre but a bit less. If that means 20% less than 16mm (40mm is 20% less than 50mm) then they will be 12.8mm forward of centre. This might not be correct as you're dealing with a swinging arm so the movement forward will accelerate the farther down you go so it might be a lot less than 12.8mm.
    Note you will have to get the front and rear wheels aligned regardless so before you go near any tyre shops ensure the adjusters are all freed up and it might be an idea to have a couple of spare TRE's. Last time I took a Freelander to my local tyre shop they refused to do the job because they said the TRE bolt would break.
    Guess what? They were right! :eek: Another time they said the rear adjustment lock nut was seized and their spanner was just slipping off. They were right about that too but a few minutes with a pair of footprints got it freed.

    Also the alignment will be a country mile out so before driving anywhere you should have a go at getting it close first.

    I set the rears and fronts as straight as I could like this with a tiny bit of toe in on the fronts and TBH I haven't felt the need to take the car to a tyre shop since. No sign of pulling either way and no bad tyre wear.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2017
  11. Nodge68

    Nodge68 Well-Known Member

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    It's nice to see you are still with us Ali and the Freelander hasn't turned onto a death trap on wheels!!!
     
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  12. Charlot

    Charlot Active Member

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    Nice write up. And great tip about the rear arms mod.
    Did the 50mm lift a few months back and was the best mod on the FL. Clearance is a lot better and still handles great.

    Only difference from yours is I installed 2 chamber bolts at the front to adjust the chamber after the lift as it was obvious. Did you install any and hod did you deal with it if not?
     
  13. Alibro

    Alibro Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I mentioned it in the original post but didn't take a photo or say much about it. I ended up using the max adjustment but the wheels still have a very slight pos camber. I think I had to cut a piece of the camber bolt washer to let it clear the lip on the edge of the strut.
     
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  14. Philgt50

    Philgt50 Active Member

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    Wow. Now that is serious stuff, looks like I will not be doing that any time soon but awesome write up outstanding!
     
  15. Alibro

    Alibro Well-Known Member

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    Thanks mate, like I said in the write up I think you can save yourself a lot of grief and chassis rail cutting by going for the 40mm kit. It is still a big job but great fun and very satisfying. I don't know your circumstances but I wouldn't want to be doing it on the side of the road.
     
  16. Philgt50

    Philgt50 Active Member

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    Yes, that sure is a deal breaker; I have no where decent to be doing anything like that right now but it's great reading through yours and other members work. Great heads up on jobs for the future maybe! Thanks
     
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  17. Nick84

    Nick84 Member

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    Wow just wow so much for a easy lift kit looks like some serious grafting but I would still like to go 50mm if you gonna do it might as well go all in ?! And as I said mines mainly an off roader and want it ready for green lanes and pay and play I’ve got my tyres here 195/80/15 so that will help
    I will be doing it on my drive but have all the tools I might order the parts you listed first ie brake pipes bull joints etc there cheap enough and might as well get done !! Probably still think I’m made but normals boring lol

    Cheers for the write up and pictures I will be using them for reference
     
  18. Hippo

    Hippo Lord Hippo

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    I think yer'll find 50mm is too much. Peeps don't go above 40mm ont FL1.
     
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  19. Nick84

    Nick84 Member

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    588B5F3F-48F6-4A31-97A4-2C1966246C33.jpeg
    That seems excessive and what was the point it’s still going to ground out ??
     
  20. Nodge68

    Nodge68 Well-Known Member

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    There's a few FL1 bodies on a Defender chassis going about. I can only assume the Defender owner got fed up with getting wet when it rained. Or maybe it was the constant rattles and noise that prompted a body change.
     
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