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P38A Should you lift a Range Rover? Air/Coil?

Discussion in 'Range Rover' started by 300bhp/ton, Jun 27, 2020 at 11:40 PM.

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  1. 300bhp/ton

    300bhp/ton Well-Known Member

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    Or any Land Rover/4x4 for that matter?

    Ultimately I cannot tell you either way. There are many reasons why you might want to lift a vehicle or why you might not want too.

    However I can share some thoughts on the matter and hopefully demonstrate some of the Pros.

    Lifting a vehicle can be done by many different ways, however in this example it is my 4.6 V8 p38 Range Rover.

    Having owned this vehicle on the factory air suspension and now on a coil setup. I feel reasonably well versed to give some thoughts on the matter.


    First up, remember lifting a vehicle will have implications. However there are likely to be positive and negative implications. So it is worth considering all of them. As well as the vehicle in question.

    This, or rather was my Range Rover with the air suspension, this is in its normal ride height.
    [​IMG]

    And how it is now with the lift.
    [​IMG]


    So let's talk about the elephant in the room. As this is a p38, it had factory EAS (air suspension). Now the air suspension was one of the reasons for buying my p38 believe it or not. My Mrs doesn't like climbing into my pickup Land Rover, so this was to be a more civilised 4x4 that she would go in. At least that was the plan initially.

    And for a number of years it worked out fine and the EAS behaved itself. However, it has to be said. The EAS has some rather major short comings in regards to the p38.

    • When in the lowered motorway mode the suspension is too soft
    • When in the normal ride height mode the ride is worse than the lowered motorway mode
    • In both modes the vehicle leans and rolls excessively, especially on initial turn in. Such a shame Land Rover never saw fit to equip the p38 with superbly brilliant ACE system from the Discovery 2!
    • When in the extended off road height the vehicle rides terribly and is horrid and bouncy
    The Arnott Gen 3 air springs would likely solve most of the above. But they are comical amounts of money to buy. Sadly the more affordable Arnott Gen 2's do nothing to address any of these issues.

    I also found out, that should an air spring catastrophically fail, you will be pretty much buggered off road. The plastic cup decided to part ways with the rubber sleeve in an explosive fashion while cross axled. Sadly this causes all 4 corners to plummet to bump stops.

    The air suspension is only part of it however. In the case of the p38, it has a relatively long wheelbase and a largish rear overhang. The standard tyres are also on the smaller side of things. The result is, a vehicle with a moderately poor breakover angle, worse departure angle and a not too bright approach angle. A shame as the basic suspension is rather good off road.

    Now my p38 being equipped with mud flaps and side steps puts itself at a further disadvantage. However the above concerns would result in the vehicle becoming beached very easily, sitting on the chassis rails. The sidesteps were knocked loose and spent way too much time in contact with the ground.

    If you had the rear towbar installed, it would impact the ground frequently due to the poor departure angle and long over hang. In fact this was the also damaging to the stock bumper.

    [​IMG]

    The front faired a bit better, but even the owners manual tells you to remove the lower lip of the bumper if you are off roading. So it was always vulnerable.

    Overall, as an 'off road' vehicle. This p38 has some shortcomings.

    I decided to address some of these by getting some off road tyres. Nothing crazy, only a little bigger than standard.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    However this is where the air suspension can bite you in the arse! Which it did. Failure after failure saw it on the bump stops, however with the slightly taller tyres they now hit the inner arch, making the vehicle near to impossible to use.

    I did really want to keep the air suspension, but after too much effort, time & money. I threw the towl in and went for a coil conversion kit.

    I opted for a +30mm kit from Bearmach, however as you can see from the pics at the top of this post. The lift was more like 3-4" over the standard ride height. However that is another story....

    What I can say about the lift is. The p38 no longer wollowys and leans like it did with the air suspension. And off road it rides no worse or slightly better than the extended height on the EAS. On road of course the CoG has changed, but overall it feels better in the corners. The rear springs are too stiff and give a poor ride however in some scenarios. Some new shocks and bushes may improve this however.


    So to the crux of this thread. Was lifting the vehicle worth it, despite the lift being far more extreme than originally planned?

    Well, I have always been a big believer in keeping a 4x4 as low as possible for stability. And ensuring you maintain good droop and compression suspension travel. However, I think the wheelbase of the vehicle in question and the size of tyres it is running makes a huge difference to this view. For example, a standard Defender should be on 31-32" tall tyres. The 90 has a short wheel base and good overhangs. It really doesn't need lifting to be capable.

    The p38 on the other hand would be on 29" tall tyres, big over hangs and a long wheelbase.

    So in the case of the latter, the p38. Lifting it has done wonders off road.


    The breakover angle is vastly improved:
    [​IMG]

    As you can see the side step is close to the ground. If the vehicle was on 29" tyres and a few inches lower, it would be grounded here. In fact I know it would because it used to on this very spot. Remember the chassis rails hang lower than the side steps do.

    Front and rear of the terrain from the above pic:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    A more extreme example. This is at the top of a slope. Previously it would completely stop the Range Rover unless going rather quickly. Worse when dry out and the ground hard. It would sit on the chassis beached.

    Now though, the steps look very very close to the ground:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    But I was able to stop, jump out, take some photos, jump back in and drive forward without any bother. Pre lift this was a challenging obstacle.

    Since lift I have also not impacted the rear bumper at all, nor the tow bar.
    [​IMG]

    Although you can see how close the towbar still gets.
    [​IMG]

    And I feel much more happy that I'm not going to rip the front bumper off either.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The suspension still seems to flex pretty well too. I think comparable to the air springs by and large.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And no rubbing either, the standard tyres used to rub at the rear near the chassis rail. The mud terrains are on slightly wider off set rims.


    I think some longer rear shocks would benefit the setup overall.
    [​IMG]

    Maybe on the front too.
    [​IMG]

    However I would say, while I'm not 100% happy with the rear axles ride on road (it is acceptable, but not ideal). Overall a large lift like this has dramatically improved the p38 off road. So my view in this instance would be, YES a lift is a good thing and was worth doing. :)


    Some more off pics:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. oakey

    oakey Well-Known Member

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    That was a very interesting read thank you. Fascinating.
     
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  3. RangeRoller dt

    RangeRoller dt Well-Known Member

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    Lifted P38 on coils handles well on road compared to other lifted vehicles I’ve used. Not particularly wobbly and pitches in nice. The rear height on mine is slightly higher than front.
    Bigger tyre and lift certainly increases off road capability, which isn’t bad to begin with.

    Are they steel modular wheels, what you get them off?
     
  4. Henry_b

    Henry_b Rover V8 Powered

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    An interesting read for sure, however the EAS is kind of what makes a P38, without EAS it handles and rides no better than a llifted D1 i've offroaded mine to a degree and lifted tyres, so long as you don't have long travel shocks the Airbags shouldn't come apart, and if they did chances are the rubber was perished, they have a service life of around 8 years.

    I found this quite an entertaining watch



    I appreciate the price of Gen III's are prohibatiive but i'm sure some ingenuity could get you some spacers even for the stock Dunlops, and with extended arms on the height sensors + a re-calibration i'm sure you could lift it just as high if not higher than a Coil spring set up..

    Not píssing on your parade, just my thoughts.
     
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  5. P38Rover

    P38Rover Active Member

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    Nice read.

    I say if you can weld...lift it. If you cannot.. Fuhgettaboutit...

    Just like Henry B posted. EAS is what makes the P38 special. Ive had every single person to get in my rig off-road compliment on how supple the ride is over very rocky and torturous terrain. That has never happened while my Rover was fully loaded on coils for many years. Most people got motion sickness..

    I suppose the new 33in tires help some with the bumps too...

    Also I travel off-road with a spare Dunlop bag for each axle. In the event of a bag popping off due to extreme articulation; you can reseat a Dunlop bag in about 5 secs without any tools on the side of the trail. Very easily
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020 at 5:52 AM
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  6. wammers

    wammers STILL BREATHING. Donater

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    Simple answer no as it makes your car illegal to use on the road. Some day the authorities will bang down on moded vehicles and a lot of people will be really peed off.
     
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  7. 300bhp/ton

    300bhp/ton Well-Known Member

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    You talk a lot of rubbish like this. And never back any of it up. You must be a right riot in person..... :rolleyes:
     
  8. 300bhp/ton

    300bhp/ton Well-Known Member

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    100% standard. Air bag looked in good condition once removed.
     
  9. wammers

    wammers STILL BREATHING. Donater

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    Simple facts my friend, your car is no longer compliant with the construction and use certificate it was given. Your speedo and mileage recording is incorrect. And it would no longer pass the Moose test for high speed maneuvering. If you modify a car for off road use and take it there on a trailer no problem, but driving it on the road you are commiting an offence.
     
  10. Datatek

    Datatek Well-Known Member

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    LOL
     
  11. Salisbury Nick

    Salisbury Nick Well-Known Member

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    Great post. Thanks for sharing this.
     
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  12. 300bhp/ton

    300bhp/ton Well-Known Member

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    As said, a lot of nonesense. Speedo is now 100% correct against GPS. And there is no legal precedence or case law of any vehicle ever being removed from the road for a slightly inaccurate speedo!!! The Moose test is not even a thing, it is something coined by a motoring magazine about something they did to vehicles in Scandinavia!!!!

    It has no bearing on Type Approval, Construction & Use or any other ****ing thing. Modified vehicles are perfectly legal in the UK.

    You say it is an offence. Well show me and the rest of Landyzone what offence it is. Come on, something legit, tangible and verifiable. As in exactly what is the offence and proof that at least 1 person in the UK has been prosecuted and sentenced for that exact offence.
     
  13. myfirstl322

    myfirstl322 Well-Known Member

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  14. 300bhp/ton

    300bhp/ton Well-Known Member

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    Don't get me wrong, I'm not against the EAS. But I spent nearly 2 years of being unable to use the vehicle properly because of it. And I still don't really know what was wrong with it. The cost to try and replace bits vs the actual value of the vehicle or a coil kit, just didn't stack up. And there was no guarantee that it would fix it, just allow further diagnosis.

    If the Gen 3 Arnotts were sensible money, I would likely have tried even harder to retain it.

    BTW, you must have fun if your EAS drops to the bumps stops with 33" tyres. Or have you extended the bump stops? This became a point of paranoia for myself. On standard wheels/tyres you can drive on the bump stops, although it is bloody horrid. With my MT's, which are a lot smaller than your 33's. It would sit on the rear tyres, and thusly want to damage and rip the tread blocks when you moved it. The front also made the tyre sit inside the arch to the point it would limit steering. With 33's I can't fathom how you'd be able to move it more than 20 foot without damaging stuff if you are on the bump stops.


    Also, when you say reseat a bag in about 5 secs. What do you mean? Are you just talking about the the piston base on the axle, maybe due to the clip breaking? I found the biggest bugger changing a bag after a failure, was it was difficult to get under the vehicle to jack it up. This was in a farm yard with equipment too. I guess if you have a high lift and bumpers to use it on, it wouldn't be so bad.

    When my air spring failed I was cross axled. And oddly it was the wheel under compression (drivers side (rhd) rear). The front right wheel was in the air and the rear passenger wheel was light on the ground. It went with a massive loud explosive decompression. Ending with the air spring in two parts, the plastic piston as one and the rubber bladder inside out. No way to fix other than replace.

    As for the ride off road. In normal ride height it was ok, not as compliant as my pickup Land Rover, but not bad. This was fine on lanes and across the fields. But the standard ride height gives even worse approach/breakover/departure angles. So isn't practical for more difficult terrain. I know you could use/fab a spacer to give increased ride height and the same bag pressures as the standard ride height. Which may well be a winner, although doing this means your lower ride heights would also be higher. So maybe negating some of the benefits anyway.

    The EAS is just fundamentally flawed in that the lower the vehicle rides the softer the springs are and the higher it rides they get massively stiffer. You ideally want it the other way around. Which is exactly what Arnott Gen 3's address.

    BTW - any pics of your beast on 33's? :)
     
  15. 300bhp/ton

    300bhp/ton Well-Known Member

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    https://www.paddockspares.com/6805120bkmo-16x8-black-modular-for-discovery-2.html

    16x8 +25ET

    They fit nice as they don't cause the tyres to stick out of the wheel arch or even hit it. But move the wheel ever so slightly outboard. The factory alloys used to cause the standard tyres to rub the rear chassis rail under compression.

    Tyres are 255/70R16 Kumho MT51.
     
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  16. wammers

    wammers STILL BREATHING. Donater

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    Up until 2004 the limit for speedos in the UK was plus or minus 10% at a recorded 30 MPH. This means at a recorded 30MPH your true speed can vary between 27 and 33 MPH. This due to tyre wear. After 2004 a speedo can read 10% above actual speed but not below it. Your larger tyres rotate at a slower speed than stock tyres therefore your speedo cannot be correct and your mileage covered will be less than actual. GPS is not recognised as a speedo. Your vehicle is illegal to drive on the road. Modified vehicles are accepted in the UK but that does not make them legal. If you want to go off road and that is your thing by all means do so but that car is dangerous to others and yourself driven on a public road.
     
  17. Shippers

    Shippers Well-Known Member

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    And so is messing around with wheel and tyre size...

    Here in Portugal it would be an mot fail unless coil kit was an option offered by LR...
     
  18. Datatek

    Datatek Well-Known Member

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    Dodgy here in France too.
     
  19. 300bhp/ton

    300bhp/ton Well-Known Member

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    So it’s the same old **** with the Speedo ffs. Give it a rest. Nobody and I mean not a single person cares one bit.

    and as said it is now accurate and reads the real speed. Verified with multiple gps systems and road side radar!

    Not to mention you still have never once produced any evidence of a single person in the UK being prosecuted for your made up offence.
     
  20. 300bhp/ton

    300bhp/ton Well-Known Member

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    I’m not in Portugal or France. The UK government happily recognise such things. It is even documented on their site under “radically altered vehicles”.

    Although arguably I haven’t changed to suspension system. It is still a live axle radius arm setup. I have simply changed the spring type. So likely wouldn’t even be deemed as altered in the eyes of Government.
     
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