Category Archives: Equipment

Suspension Lifts & Lift Kits, What does is all mean and do??

When people ask about suspension lifts on public internet forums or at offroad shows and meets, you get a lot of people saying you don’t need one and that it’s perefectly ok at standard height. This is in part true. A Defender is very capable in standard height and you only need to put a suspension lift on a Defender if you want to fit tyres 33″ or higher and/or to help improve approach/departure and break over angles.

Other people just do it because they can or they like the look.
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Adding a Suspension lift can improve your vehicle and its offroad capabilities, but it’s worth noting that there are some drawbacks to lifting your suspension. Your centre of gravity is now higher, most multi storey car parks are now out of bounds and if you are a short you are going to have more of a problem getting in or out.

You can easily achieve a suspension lift by either fitting longer or heavy duty springs or altering the spring mounts. It’s that simple! For springs there are many available on the market including springs from Terrafirma, Britpart and Procomp. Which you decide to purchse is upto your budget and needs. Some springs give a much harder ride, so this also needs to be taken into account.

A very easy way to raise your vehicle is to alter the mounts by fitting a spring spacer/packer to base mount…

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This will raise your hight buy will not increase travel of the suspension as the length of the spring or shock has not changed.

Once you have increased the height of your vehicle other suspension components will be effected.

Shock Absorbers
If you increase you spring height by 2″ your shocks will have further to travel. This will have the effect of reducing the amount of travel/articultaion in your suspension. You can solve this by buying longer shocks or altering shock mounts. A popular make of longer shock is the Procomp ES9000, available in +2″, +4″ and +5″ options, and Terrafirma which come in 2″and 5″ and a more extreme 9″ and 11″. Other include Rough County, De Carbon, Koni, OME and many more.

Adjusting the shock mounts is a common option. By altering the shock mounts to fit lower shock chassis mounts with a -2″ mount, will lower the mounting point of your standard shock, giving you the extra two inch you require. Here’s a pic of a front -2″ shock turret…

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The downside of this is that you have now reduced upward travel by 2″ on your shock. Having a shock ‘top-out’ under compression is a bad thing as it will damage the shock quicker. So people fit bigger extended bump stops to stop this from happening. This is all well and good, but now your axle can’t come up as high as it used to and this limits articulation. Some shocks like DeCarbon seem to have greater upward travel by design and do not ‘top-out’ on a Defender with -2″ shock mounts and so don’t need extended bump stops, but it is trial and error.

Once you start to fit long shocks and have lots of articulation the shock will actually move in an arc with the axle. This can induce fatigue on the mounts/bushes and over time the shock. This is why you see revised mounts from the like of Gwyn Lewis and WhitePeak (QT Services) etc …

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It’s also why Devon 4×4 introduced their rotating swivel shock mount…

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Articulation
Articulation is the amount the axle will move up and down. It can be affected by length of shock travel, radius arms/bushing, anti roll bars if fitted, spring extension/compression and upward axle travel. As said above if you fit a lift of 2″ and don’t change your shocks you have just reduced your articulation by 2″. Now if say you fitted a 2″ lift and +4″ shocks you would now have an extra 2″ of articulation.

When off-roading most people like extra articulation as it aids traction over uneven ground and can aid stability. On a Defender, once you have increased the articulation by 2-3″ over standard through shock travel other items will start to limit the articulation. Also note that you’ll also have to fit longer brake hoses as standard ones will not stretch to the new travel and will be ripped off their mountings. On the front of a Defender it is the radius arms and their bushes that limit articulation the most.

Articulation and radius arms

When an axle drops the angle of the radius arms increases downwards and causes the lower part of the chassis bush to compress…

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It will only compress so far and once at this point it will stop the axle from dropping any lower. It also damage the bush quite quickly if under constand compression, ie from a 2″ lift. These will need replacing and could cause a MOT failure. To overcome this people fit kinked radius arms to decrease the angle…

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or jointed radius arms from the likes of QT, Equipe and X-Eng for even more movement…

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An alternative for the front suspension to achieve even more front end articulation is to change the layout completely and opt for something like a 3-Link set-up from the likes of QT, Safari Guard etc..

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To allow more articulation you also have to consider lateral movement and again jointed radius arms or 3/4 Link systems provide greater movement here. On the rear you need to look at lateral movement of the A-Frame joint too…

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Articulation and Spring extension/compression

If you have enough articulation your spring will come out of it’s mounts, this is know as dislocation, and when the axle lifts back up it will not reseat properly on its own. This can be overcome in a number of ways…

  • Secure the top and bottom of the spring to stop it from popping out. The downside of this is that if your spring is not long enough under extension it will stop your axle articulating enough.
  • Fit long/softer springs. The problem with softer springs is that they are not great on road and on side slopes when off-road. So people like Max Traction use this route, but with progressive rate springs. These give better handling on and off-road and they have the length to still put downward pressure on the axle to aid traction…Posted Image
  • Dislocating Springs allow the spring to pop out and by using a re-locating device like a cone etc guide the spring back into it mount. This is a very common option and comes as part of kits from Terrafirma etc.Posted Image
    There are various versions of this with some fitting to the top mount and others fitting to the axle.Posted Image
  • The latest to hit the scene is the helper spring design from X-Eng, X-Flex springs. This is an additional spring that sits inside a spring mount cup on the bottom spring mount. As the axle articulates past the length of the main spring the helper spring takes over the extra length and still provides downward pressure for traction. That way you can fit springs for good on-road/side slope stability yet still have traction at large amounts of axle articulation.Posted Image

Spring compression can also affect articulation. If a spring is too heavy duty it will not compress in length that much and can affect axle upward travel. You also have to be careful with too soft a spring as it can start to bend out under compression and can catch on other components or the wheel/tyre. On the same lines you need to make sure that on upward travel that your wheels/tyres are not fouling on any components.

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Articulation and anti roll bars In doing their job anti roll bars reduce axle articulation. If you want more, you either have to remove it or fit detachable axle or chassis mounts. This way you can detach it for off-road use, but still have good handling on-road.

Articulation and prop-shafts You may have noticed that the your diffs are not in the centre of the axle.  If so you’ll know that is the axle articulates more it’s going to alter the angle and length of the propshafts. At slow off-road speeds vibration is not so much of an issue but the UJ’s binding is a problem. This is why people have fitted wider yoke props or custom props with with bigger UJ’s that have a wider operating angle…

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When you lift your suspension you alter the angle and the length of your prop-shafts. Lift it too much and you will cause excessive vibrations in the propshafts at road speeds. Also a large lift will cause the UJ’s to bind. This can be solved with use of large wider yoke props for the binding and Double Cardan jointed props for the angle induced vibrations. It is often suggested to use the Discovery II front prop as this has a double cardan joint as standard…

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Note that it has a different flange, doesn’t have bigger UJ’s/wider yoke and doesn’t have grease nipples so longevity can be an issue. Custom made props can overcome this though…

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Suspension lift and castor correction

Castor angle can affect the steering of the vehicle, especially self centering. If you lift your suspension it affects Castor angle. On Defenders a lift of greater than 2″ can seem to affect castor angle. To overcome this you can fit castor corrected swivels, radius arm bushes or corrected radius arms. I personally don’t see the point of lifting past 2″ and would advise that you see how your steering is first before spending any money here.

http://www.terrafirma4x4.com/index.php

Lift Kits on ebay

Hi-Lift Jack accessories

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q881HaMAWkk&feature=youtu.be

There are several accessories for your Hi-Lift jack that are very useful in aiding you recover you vehicle offroad.

These accessories include:

Offroad Base, which offer a larger base for your jack. This aids and helps stop the jack from digging into soft ground and makes the jack more secure on loose surfaces.

Bumper Lift, which attaches to your Hi-Lift jack and allows for lifting from jack-able bumpers

Jack Mate, which allows the hi-lift jack to be able to lift a wheel directly

Handle Keeper, which keeps the handle in place when not in use, it useful when offroading as the handle are know the rattle when on bumpy surfaces.

Offroad Kit, Which aids when using your lift as a winch. Kit contains winch accessories, tree saver, gloves and a robust bag to store it in.

Jack Protector, A bag to store your jack which help maintain it when in storage.

4xRack, a mounting solutions for mounting your jack to a flat surface including racks and bumpers.

LocRac, A locking solutions to secure and lock you jack to your vehicle

Fix-It-Kit, spare shear pins for serving and repairing your hi-lift jack.

Hi-Lift Lift Mate

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgQJDuoJORg&feature=youtu.be

The lift mate from Hi-Lift is an accessory for your Hi-Lift jack which is designed to help raise a wheel of a vehicle off the ground more easily.

If you have a offroad vehicle, even more so if it has modified suspension  you may have allot of travel if you suspension  This travel mean that when jacking your vehicle from a jacking point (front nose bumper or jack-able sills) your wheel may remain on the floor. The jack mate help by allowing the hi-lift jack to lift a wheel directly.

Maintaining Your Hi-Lift Jack

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIeASvjxDtU&feature=youtu.be

If you use and maintain your Hi-Lift jack properly, it will give you many years of service. Follow the maintenance instructions carefully to keep your jack in good working condition. NEVER PERFORM MAINTENANCE
ON THE JACK WHILE IT IS UNDER LOAD.

Inspecting Your Hi-Lift

You should inspect the jack for damage, wear, broken or missing parts (e.g.: climbing pins) and functionality before each use. Follow lubrication and storage instructions for optimum jack performance.

Cleaning Your Hi-Lift

If the moving parts of the jack or the standard bar are clogged, use air pressure, water pressure, or a stiff brush to clean. Use a non-flammable cleaning solvent or another good de-greaser to clean the jack. Remove any existing rust, preferably with a penetrating lubricant.

Lubricating Your Hi-Lift

Using the jack without proper lubrication will result in poor performance and damage to the jack. The jack is not self-lubricating, inspect the jack before use and lubricate when necessary. After cleaning, lubricate the jack using light penetrating oil, or a silicon or Teflon spray

Binding

If the climbing pins start to bind and stick in the holes of the standard bar the jack will not operate properly and safely. Rusty climbing pins, dirt, or worn bar can be causes of binding.

Clean and lubricate the lifting mechanism as indicated in the Lubrication section. Test the jack by lifting it up without a load. If the binding continues, send it to our Factory Service for repair. If the jack binds while
under a load, use a jack with equal or larger load capacity to lower the load safely to the ground. After unbinding the jack clean, lubricate and test as described at the start of this paragraph.

Storing Your Hi-Lift Jack

1. Place the handle in the upright clipped position against the steel standard bar.

2. Raise the reversing latch until it locks in the up position.

3. Store in the upright clipped position in a dry location, preferably indoors.

Tip: If the jack is stored outdoors, consider using a Hi-Lift protective cover accessory.

Storing the Equipment-Agricultural Jack

1. Pivot the Equipment-Agriculture jack to a horizontal position. Rest the steel handle of the Equipment-Agricultural jack on top of the steel standard bar.

2. Secure the jack in this position with the lock-pin through the holes in the tubular mounting bracket.

3. Secure the lock-pin in the tubular mounting brackets with the safety cotter pin.

 

Winching With A Hi-Lift Jack

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xldBPnzohtI&feature=youtu.be

Hi-Lift jacks are versatile pieces of equipment and perfect for helping you get out of the sticky situations when offroading.

The Hi-Lift jack can be used for more that simply lifting or jacking a vehicle, it can also be used as a winch.

Winching can help pull your vehicle out of situations where you may have become stuck.

Winching with a Hi-Lift jack

1. Make sure the top clamp-clevis is in line with the steel standard bar.

2. Install one end of a chain or tow strap securely to the object to be winched. Securely attach the other end of the chain or tow strap to the top clamp-clevis of the jack.

Note: Use a shackle if the chain or tow strap will not fit through the top clamp-clevis of the jack.

3. Take another chain or tow strap and secure one end to a fixed, stable object. Attach the other end of the chain or tow strap to the large runner on the jack (do not attach chain or shackle to bottom hole of the large runner on the jack). If the fixed object is a tree, follow “Tread Lightly” principles and use a tree strap.

4. Operate the jack as you would for raising a load (See Raising a Stationary Load).

Warning

Always use chains or tow straps that have a greater working load than the jack. If a chain or tow strap breaks while winching, the load could shift or the chain or tow strap could snap back. When used as a winch, the top clamp-clevis will support up to 5,000 lbs. (2273 kg). Going over this limit will result in the top clamp-clevis bending or breaking, causing the load to move or the chain or tow strap to snap back. This will result in serious injury or death.

Always make sure you have read the instruction manual and follow the safety instructions.

Clamping With your Hi-Lift jack

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4wQGYYcwZA&feature=youtu.be

A high lift jack is a versatile piece of equipment that can do more that lift/jack a vehicle or object.

A Hi-Lift jack can also be used to clamp item to aid in repair or recovery.

Clamping With Your Hi-Lift

When using the jack for clamping, the maximum clamping force of the standard top clamp-clevis is 750 lbs. (340 kg). If you exceed this limit, the standard top clamp-clevis could bend or break, resulting in serious injury or death.

1. Loosen the standard top clamp-clevis bolt.

2. Turn the top clamp-clevis 90° to the steel standard bar, and re-tighten the bolt.

Note: You can connect the top clamp-clevis anywhere along the steel standard bar to use the jack as a clamp.

3. Operate the jack as you would for raising a load (see Raising a Stationary Load).

Warning

A Hi-lift jack can be a dangerous piece of equipment, remember to read the instruction manual and follow the safety instructions.

Hi-Lift Jack Operation – Raising a Stationary Load

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrfbR4REV-s&feature=youtu.be

A Hi-lift jack can be dangerous and cause serious injury if not used correctly. Before using your Hi-lift jack please follow the general safety instructions and read the user manual before use. Do not allow anyone who has not read the manual, and/or does not understand the requirements, use the jack.

Raising a Stationary Load

  1. Securely chock and stabilize the load, ie your vehicle, to prevent it from rolling or shifting as you lift it
  2. Place the jack’s base plate securely on a firm, level, and dry surface with the steel standard bar pointing straight up.
  3. Lift the reversing latch until it locks in the up position.
  4. Pull the handle away from the steel standard bar, releasing the handle clip spring.
  5. Grasp the handle or the handle socket and raise the lifting mechanism until the large runner is completely and securely under the load.
  6. Important! Keep the handle against steel standard bar with the handle clip spring holding it when not lifting or lowering.
  7. Grasp the handle firmly with both hands. Carefully pump the handle up and down to raise the load. Do not use an extension on the handle.
  8. The load will be raised on each down stroke of the handle. Watch the load and the jack carefully. Stop lifting if either one starts to move. Do not continue until it is safe to do so. When safe, stabilize and block the load.
  9. When the load is raised to the desired height, place the handle in the upright position clipped to the steel standard bar.
  10. Block the load securely to avoid any movement.

Lowering a Stationary Load

The jack must have a load of 150 lbs. or more to lower step-by-step. Otherwise, the lifting mechanism will slide down to the base plate, dropping your load. Ensure all bystanders are clear of the load being lowered.

  1. Position the jack under the raised load and raise the stationary load
  2. Remove blocks from under the load.
  3. Be sure the handle is in the upright position clipped to the steel standard bar before lowering the load.
  4. Move the reversing latch to the down position.
  5. Grasp the handle firmly with both hands. Carefully pump the handle up and down to lower the load.
  6. The load will be lowered on each up stroke of the handle

Warning

Unexpected movement of the jack handle may result in the user being struck causing serious injury or death. Always keep your head away from and out of the jack handle path of movement.

The jack handle may move rapidly when moving the reversing latch and cause serious injury or death. Always place the handle against the steel standard bar with the handle clip spring holding it up before moving the reversing latch. This will prevent the handle from moving up and down rapidly. Securely hold on to the jack handle so your hands do not slip and ensure the handle is not in the horizontal position when moving the reversing latch.

Important! During lifting and lowering, the weight of the load pushes up against the jack’s handle. If your hands slip off the handle, or if the handle is horizontal when you move the reversing latch, it may move up very quickly.

You can download a copy of the manual here jack_instructions.

 

Hi-lift Jack General Safety

A Hi-lift jack can be dangerous and cause serious injury if not used correctly. Before using your Hi-lift jack please follow the following general safety instructions and read the user manual before use. Do not allow anyone who has not read the manual, and/or does not understand the requirements, use the jack.

hilift jack

 

Spectators
• Do not allow bystanders around the jack or under the load supported only by the jack.

Inspection
• Inspect the jack carefully before each use. Ensure the jack is not damaged, excessively worn, or missing parts.
• Check the climbing pins to make sure that they are not worn or damaged.
• Check the steel standard bar to make sure that it is straight and that nothing is blocking the steel standard bar holes.
• Do not use the jack unless it is in good clean working condition.
• Do not use the jack unless it is properly lubricated.
• Using a jack that is not in good clean working condition or properly lubricated may cause serious injury.

Chock and Block (Stabilize)
A chock is a wedge for steadying an object and holding it motionless, or for preventing the movement of a wheel. Chock the wheel opposite the end being lifted.

When you block a load, you secure and support a load that is being lifted. The block(s) or stabilizer(s) should have a weight capacity that is greater than the weight of the load which is being lifted. Do not use the jack to support the load.

You can download a copy of the manual here jack_instructions.

Hi-Lift Jacks – What Are They?

hilift jack

Hi-lift jacks, some time refereed to as farmers jacks, are rugged, highly versatile jacks that puts you in command of situations requiring lifting, pushing, pulling, winching, and clamping. Although light in weight and easy to maneuver, the Hi-Lift Jack offers a rated capacity of 4,660 lbs (2114 kg) and a tested capacity of 7,000 lbs (3175 kg).

Hi-lift jacks are designed to help you survive in the most demanding situations – whether you are in the Moab desert canyons, the Welsh Mountains, the Amazon jungle, or simple off roading a Hi-Lift jack is a must have piece of equipment. With a full-range of specially designed accessories, the Hi-Lift jack is just about the most versatile piece of off-roading/farm/auto recovery equipment you can buy.

All thought the hi-lift jack is a very useful piece of equipment, it can also be very dangerous if not used correctly. Please ensure you have read and understand the instructions provided with the jack. Alternatively you can download a copy here. jack_instructions