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Lifting a D2 'properly'

Discussion in 'Land Rover Discovery' started by Coops979, May 16, 2016.

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  1. Coops979

    Coops979 Member

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    Hi guys/gals!

    I've read a few posts about some Disco projects and a few folks have commented saying 'don't lift unless you're going to do it properly'. So what's the proper way to do it? I will eventually be using my disco to do some green laning, but will be keeping away from any tough sections since I'll be running my new to me D2 TD5 as an every day drive (I'll be more of an owner spectator at some points!). I don't want to be an "all the gear, no idea" guy so will be wanting to fit only necessary mods to keep it running smoothly. I have also been looking at Cooper AT3 tires with the black modular wheels, 235/70/R16. I can't go bigger than this unless I carry out some modifications to the bumper/arches. Again I don't want to lift the disco unless there is a necessary reason.

    Cheers
    Shaun
     
  2. 300bhp/ton

    300bhp/ton Well-Known Member

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    There are several things to consider.

    1. Why would you want to lift a vehicle? What is the purpose?
    2. What is the cost of lifting a vehicle? And I don't mean in a monetary sense.


    First it's probably worth examining the limitations of a D2.

    1. It has large overhangs front and rear. Which limited approach and departure angles.
    2. The LWB gives it a less than ideal breakover angle
    3. The big bumpers, especially the front are vulnerable off road

    And the good bits.

    1. The total suspension travel is about equal to a standard Defender
    2. The car is actually quite capable in stock trim
    3. The ground clearance is generally acceptable for most forms of modest off roading
    4. The vehicle is well geared for standard size tyres.


    To sum up, it's really the body that restricts the D2's performance off road vs a Defender. And a standard Defender is more than capable of tackling any Green Lane in the UK.

    Arguably for just green laning there is probably no need to lift a D2 at all. Just fit suitable off road tyres that fit under the arches. And note that you won't quite have the ground clearance of a Defender (easier to get beached in deep ruts) and that the body will restrict all of the approach and departure angles.



    The easiest lift to address all of the negatives and not affect the positives is to fit taller tyres. This will improve approach, departure and breakover angles. And improve ground clearance, not only under the chassis, but under the diffs as well.

    To solve the vulnerable bumpers, you could look at some HD aftermarket items, which will improve the approach and departure angles even more so.

    Of course, there is a limit to how tall a tyre you can fit. Which is usually why people lift a vehicle. But there are other options.


    So what's wrong with lifting?

    Well nothing. But the approach taken can cause issues. So lets look at some of them.


    1. A common way to lift a vehicle is to simply add some HD springs. And sure enough, when sitting, it will now have increased ride height, i.e. the wheel arches will be higher and a bigger gap to the wheels.

    2. The most obvious issue here is. Ride quality. Generally HD springs will make for a less compliant ride on the road and of course off road as well.

    3. Handling. Raising the vehicles roll centre and it's centre of gravity can cause un-wanted or excessive lean out on the open road.

    4. Lifting a vehicle will change the caster angle of the hubs. Which will affect how a vehicle steers.

    5. Lifting will also change the pinion angle of the diffs, which can cause vibration and binding issues.


    These are all the obvious issues. Some more minor than others, some livable and some solvable by other parts.


    But there are some less obvious issues too:

    1. If you think about it, your suspension can only move up and down the distance of the shock absorber. This is the ultimate limiting factor. You wheel cannot move further up than when the shock is fully compressed, nor can a wheel drop any further than when the shock is fully extended.

    Of course, lots of things can mean you don't get to see or use all of this travel, but the shock is really what dictates what is potentially available.

    Lets assume this total range represents a value of 10.

    0 = fully compressed
    10=fully extended

    When sitting on level ground, assume that the shock is position 5, half way extended, half way compressed.

    This means you have equal travel up and down.

    When you lift by using HD springs, your resting position may now be 7. You still have the same total travel, but you are now starting in a different position. And you now only have 3 units of extension left, rather than 5. Which means you'll get cross axled far easier and be far more likely to lift a wheel off road.


    It's also worth bearing in mind, that a HD spring won't be as easy to compress either, so you may loose some of your available articulation.


    2. Lift packers/blocks will result in something similar. Although will generally preserve the ride quality better than HD springs.



    So getting back to why do you want to lift it. Oh yes, to fit taller tyres on. Because if you lift a vehicle, it'll increase the wheel arch gap and allow taller tyres on.... nope, not really. :eek:


    If we think what happens under suspension compression, the wheel will move upwards. So completely negating the lift. And if you can attain full compression still, then it will be equal to having no lift at all. Which means a larger tyre is just as likely to foul when used off road.

    A solution sometimes used is to fit extended bump stops. However all these really do is prevent you getting full suspension compression. It might help stopping your wheels rubbing, but will further reduce the amount of suspension articulation you have and ultimately reduce your off road capability.



    Now this isn't the end of the story. There are many options open to you form this point.


    1. The easiest, but arguably most brutal is to cut the wheel arches and body work. This may negate the entire need or want to lift the vehicle at all. As it will allow you to fit taller tyres on, avoid them rubbing, but still retain the full use of the suspension, without any of the negatives of lifting a vehicle.


    2. More common in the Jeep world is what is known as a body lift. This essentially involves spacing the body tub up from the chassis. And will achieve a similar result to cutting the wheel arches, as the body will be further from the wheels. But this kind of lift can be difficult to fit and sometimes won't look right. And you'll get those that say it doesn't actually lift the chassis, which is correct. But it means the handling, ride and steering will also not be affected. Your "lift" will come from the bigger tyres. E.g. going from a 29" to a 33" tyre will give you a 4" lift.


    3. A more comprehensive suspension setup. While there is little wrong with the standard suspension and it is more than adequate for most peoples off road needs, you can enhance and improve certain aspects of it, although it may be at the detriment to other aspects.

    For more of an off road setup, what you'll want is increased articulation. This will normally involve longer shocks, maybe even new shock mounts in different positions and different springs. It might however still require you to cut the bod work to make it all fit.

    The end result here is to fit tyres of suitable size on, and increase travel. And attain a suitable ground clearance for your intended needs. Keeping the centre of gravity as low as possible while meeting the other points is generally good, it will improve stability and reduce roll.


    The D2's only additional complication is some have air suspension at the rear. This is neither good nor bad, but will need addressing differently to coil springs.

    And ACE may have some impact on extreme setups.

    The Watts linkage rear also responds differently to A frame or 4 link setups. But this is only of concern if you are massively trying to promote more travel than the standard setup is capable of.




    Sorry for a long reply. But there really isn't a simple answer to all of this. If all you want to do is get a monster truck look with big tyres. Then a simple lift is fine. Just expect it to drive and behave worse on and off road. If you want to make it better off road, you'll have to work a bit harder on what you do and this may or may not involve a suspension lift.
     
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  3. MJI

    MJI Well-Known Member

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    Air can have spacers.

    ACE unlocks at low speeds aiding articulation.

    Neither are an issue either way,

    Green laning, no need to lif.
     
  4. Coops979

    Coops979 Member

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    Hi 300bhp/ton,

    Really appreciate the time and effort you took to reply to my post, thank you very muchly! I'm not going to be an offroad king but nor do I want to be the stereotypical disco kid that lifts it as high as it'll go! I do want a machine that is more capable and has a more purposeful setup rather than just looking good, imo a purposeful machine looks amazing. I'm thinking that I will stick to the tire size I mentioned before and add bits as I go/as I need them. The tires currently fitted are nearly worn so I'm thinking why not treat it to some spangly new wheels and good rubber too! can never beat good rubbers, or so my dad has told me! Anyone would think he doesn't like me haha

    Anyways, thank you very much for your response. My newbie nerves are clearing slightly now

    Coops
     
  5. 300bhp/ton

    300bhp/ton Well-Known Member

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    Tyre choice is always a tough one. For most off roading in the UK, narrow tyres tend to work better than wide ones. And are usually easy to fit in the arches with less rubbing.

    You might want too look at some 215/80R16 or 215/85R16's as an alternative. Although tread choice might be limited.

    Some 7.00 x 16's might fit or if you are real luck you might manage to get some narrow 7.50 x 16's on there. This is the size used for the Camel Trophy D1's, but I'm afraid I don't know what sizes will fit a D2.

    You may need to look at some narrower steel rims though if you go for narrow tyres.

    If you don't mind cutting the arches and fitting an aftermarket arch kit, then I'd recommend 7.50 x 16, 235/86R16 or 255/85R16 as sensible sizes too look at.

    Just to show this kind of thing is possible. Albeit not a D2. This was my Disco 1, it's on completely standard suspension, but has heavily trimmed arches. It's running 33.11.50R15's tyres, that measure almost 34" tall.

    And it was used off road extensively, on terrain more aggressive than a green lane.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And latter mods to improve the front approach angle. Still on stock suspension:
    [​IMG]


    I'm not against lifting a vehicle. But I'd only lift it if I understood why I was doing it, and what ramifications it may produce.

    However I believe if you don't mind taking a cutting disc to the vehicle, then you can actually fit large tyres without the need to lift it.

    For the record, I knew other people with Disco 1's at the time and despite them running 2" or more lift kits, my stock suspension Disco on Simex's would sit about 2" higher total height than any of theirs and have more room under the diffs. But still rode and drove on the road fine (excluding the fact the tyres where big ass MT's and not really a road tyre).
     
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  6. Higgo

    Higgo Active Member

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    I'm in a similar position.

    My Disco 2 is the family car. We can all get in my wife's 'pocket rocket' but we couldn't go on holiday in it. I know it's going to be a compromise but I'd like to progressively make it more suitable for off-roading without taking too much away from road manners.
    Let's start from the point of view that it's pretty competent off road anyway. Mine has been up and down a few 'green lanes' already. In a couple of weeks I'm planning to go along to my first 'TYRO' too (which by definition should be fine without modification).

    The way I'm thinking is...
    • my front bumper is already damaged - a bit of hardcore Tesco car park action - so that will be replaced with a steel one at some point
    • I have no interest in a winch right now as I wouldn't know how to use one safely - if I get more involved in off-roading and get some experience I might fit one later.
    • if I'm going for a steel front bumper, I ought to go for one at the back
    • I currently have air suspension/ACE etc and I like the fell on the road so I intend to keep this (so no lift) as long as I can.
    • I've still got tread on my tyres (and 18" wheels) but when the tyres need changing I'll go for something chunkier and a little bit bigger - possibly a Cooper Discoverer STT in 265/60R18 which should fit the standard set up without disturbing things too much.
    • I'll fit a snorkel once all the above is sorted, partly because I like the look and partly so I have a bit more wading capability should I need it.
     
  7. blue beasty

    blue beasty Leaks an prone to bits dropping off Global Moderator

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    Just to note going from 29" to 33" tyre will give you a 2" lift.

    2" can make all the difference though :p
     
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  8. Coops979

    Coops979 Member

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    MJI, thanks for your response too, didnt see it there before I responded earlier.

    300BHP/ton, now your D1 looked sweet. Purposeful and still like a monster! See, I'm all up for cutting my baby up (eventually, maybe, if I'm tied up and someone does it for me). 2" lift is the first thing folks I know say to do, I'll do it if needs must, but like Higgo I like the way the Disco drives now, albeit I don't have air and ACE. All the tire sizes you've quoted are different to ones I've been looking at, so I'll have to do some more investigation.

    I'm in a pretty similar position Higgo, I like how it drives now and want to keep it as sturdy and reliable as poss. But I like to tinker so will add sensible things as and when funds allow. I only got her on Saturday, been looking at a few on the Bay and found one I liked the look of. X reg, 124k S specced Auto. I know a lot of ppl don't like autos but I quite like being lazy :) hopefully she'll stay reliable for a bit
     
  9. MJI

    MJI Well-Known Member

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    Just change tyres, it is not like a D2 is not a good off roader as it is,

    I off road with ACE, air, and more road oriented AT tyres
     
  10. fozt

    fozt Active Member

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    I lifted my Disco because I like modifying things and learning stuff - but it isn't a daily driver so it doesn't matter.

    300bhp/ton has been very thorough in his response and I agree with everything he has said - I also learnt a couple of bits.

    As mentioned, you may not even need a lift - have a go in the lanes and see what you need, if anything. If your D2 is your daily driver I can't imagine you doing anything too extreme just incase you damage it.

    Good tyres do make a big difference.

    On the topic of body lifts, I fitted one a couple of weeks ago on my D1 - other than lifting the body up using spacers, you will also need to raise the bumpers as these are attached to the chassis, as well as extended brake lines. You may also need to extend the transfer box lever and fit extended body ties (not sure if that is a factor on a D2, though).

    Foz
     
  11. brian47

    brian47 Well-Known Member

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    As has already been said, the first thing to look at is tyres, whether you change completely to knobblies or use a slightly less efficient "all terrain" type, there are many types depending on how much off-roading you intend to do; 10% off and 90% on the road to 50/50 off and on road. Another way around the tyre choice conundrum could be to use a different set of wheels for your off-roading, using road wheels and tyres for your daily drive and some proper rubber for the weekend.;)
    If your Disco is still on air suspension, and not been changed to coils by a previous owner, just because "that's what you do", you will have the ability to raise the rear suspension by about 20-40mm from the switch on the dashboard, it doesn't sound like much, but it can be quite effective in the right conditions.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2017
  12. Coops979

    Coops979 Member

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    Cheers for the replies guys, appreciate the help.
     
  13. MrIFan

    MrIFan Active Member

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    I run 235/85/16s on my standard D2 with no clearance problems, as stated above not only does this give me a 2" lift over standard tyres it gives an all important extra 2" under the diffs.
    As for 300bhp/ton's comment about a standard defender being capable of tackling any green lane in the UK, you've obviously never tried Swan Rake at Holinsclough in the Peak District :D nothing standard is getting up there without damage!
     
  14. Coops979

    Coops979 Member

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    Thanks Mrlfan, that's exactly what I needed to hear. I'll start shopping around for 235/85/R16 Cooper discoverer AT3s
     
  15. MrIFan

    MrIFan Active Member

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    Mine are BFG ATs but Coopers should be the same. As you can see they get pretty close but don't rub. Mine is still on air and ACE and get's used on the lanes regularly, both axles have been on full articulation without any tyre contact.

    [​IMG]
    Ignore the bit of rubbing on the front inner trim, it came loose on the motorway the other day and was flapping into the wheel.
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Coops979

    Coops979 Member

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    Sweet, thanks Mrlfan. Been looking at Coopers and they aren't a bad price really. Might press the button, but thinking I might have to ask the "boss" first
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2016
  17. reggieroo

    reggieroo Member

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    Coops, just my input on the whole trying to keep the disco road friendly etc. I wanted to increase my off-road capabilities without compromising on road ability or driving pleasure. On my Disco 2 I fitted 265/65/18 BFG At and I have zero issues, I've increased the lift without touching my suspension although not sure how much lift I've given it exactly but it sits taller than a standard Disco 2 now and still drives great, I actually prefer the driving position now.

    With regards to the front bumper, mines a pre-facelift and I destroyed it at sibbertoft Sunday, it was ok all day until I ventured off into the wooded area into some bomb holes I've now got to decide what bumper to fit etc. I had no rubbing issues that I knew about with the tyres all day. Only thing I had to do when fitting the 18s was to trim the edge off my front mud flaps and adjust the steering stops. The only negative thing over a standard D2 is my turning circle has been reduced but the other pros far out way the con for me.

    Mine on the 18s
    image.jpeg
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2016
  18. Coops979

    Coops979 Member

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    Ah thank you Reggieroo,
    I know my thread has probably been asked hundreds of times but I'm new to all this. All I can tell you is I f**king love driving my disco. I don't know why it's taken me until now to get one!

    Back on topic now, I think I'm going to go for Cooper AT3s 245/75/16. I'm sure I've read somewhere that they fit
     
  19. reggieroo

    reggieroo Member

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    Think about the BFG AT, really good tyre for on road and off in the sticky stuff. I've been really impressed with mine.
     
  20. Coops979

    Coops979 Member

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    A long time since this thread started but thought I'd post a pic of the disco on 245/70R16 BFG ATs. Just a little trek up the field at home lol, but willing to get it dirty soon. Debating the lifting again though, save it from too much damage.
    Coops
     

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