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Time for coil spring conversion?


NeilF

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Disco 2 facelift, 2002, 7 seat. I've done a search of the forum, but didn't find an answer to my problem.

I'm having trouble with my air springs. Both have been replaced, the last one about 2 years ago. They are not leaking - I can pump up the suspension and they stay up for days.

The problem is that the suspension goes down, on both sides, often just after parking. They will go up on driving, usually but not always. I can raise the suspension to off road hight without any problem and quickly. 

Is it worth dispensing with the air springs and go to coil spring conversion? Do you need to reprogram the ECU in some way?

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Hi Niel,

My disco 3 has the air suspension and it goes down too. I have an idea that the software in the ECU is set to try and level the vehicle every twenty minutes. I think that this would use up all of the stored air in an evening, which it does  on mine. I also suspect that it's one of the height sensors that is causing it.

It's expensive to change out the air suspension for conventional spring type, (£700+) so I reccomend trying to find the real fault first.

One thaught is to have the ride height re-calibrated, but the main agents costs to do that may well be more than changing all four  ride height sensors. (£64 each!)

I am still looking at mine and it might take me a while to find the real fault. [ The coil spring conversion kit contains an ECU foxer, which plugs in and says everything OK to the ECU]

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I put mine up to off-road hight about 4hrs ago and it's still up high......

It's very irritating! 

Craddock sell a conversion kit for £60-odd; while I'd like to keep it standard, it's becoming a bit of a pain

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Addendum 2. Stayed up at normal hight for hours. Just drove over 6 or 7 speed bumps on our estate and by the last, the suspension was down to the bump stops ( the back crashed down at the last). Used the off road setting to get it back up.

So it's unlikely a leak or compressor fault, and unless both ride hight sensors went out at the same time, it seems more of a management issue. I'd rather not go to coils if it was easy to sort.

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It's not legal to do this conversion in the UK, if you are driving on the highway. Being in Dublin that's not an issue; but worth questioning the reasoning. It's also a massive retrograde step

Have you checked the bags for leaks

Checked the pipes for leaks

Checked the solenoids for leaks

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I would bet you have some dust under the valve seats.  Nobody ever changes the filter on the compressor - after a while they degrade and dust / filter material get into the valve block.

It's easy to fix though just by disassembling the valve block and cleaning it with an air blower.  I've bought a couple of apparently 'broken' valve blocks to find this was the only fault.

The filter is located behind the NS rear light and easy to change.

Si

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11 hours ago, honitonhobbit said:

It's not legal to do this conversion in the UK, if you are driving on the highway. Being in Dublin that's not an issue; but worth questioning the reasoning. It's also a massive retrograde step

Have you checked the bags for leaks

Checked the pipes for leaks

Checked the solenoids for leaks

Sorry,but its not illegal in the UK. It is a cost effective way to keep older DII's on the road. All of my customers who I have done this conversion for have been asked to inform their insurance company before I would carry out the work. I make sure the customer understands that 7 seat DII's were never type approved with coil suspension and therefore need insurance approval beforehand. All have come back and said that it had been noted,but was not a problem.

The kits have been on the market for years, do you not think someone would have made a fuss and outlawed their sale by now ? My own 7 seat DII ES had coils fitted before I bought it, I can only say I'm glad,its one less thing to go wrong,the car performs very well,no passengers have ever complained about the ride and its towed plenty of heavy loads with no issue.

And by the way,more than once the SLABS ecu has been at fault for dumping the rear down on cars I have diagnosed,with no logged codes.

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It's not illegal at all to convert one type of suspension to another. if that was the case then replacing standard springs with HD ones would be illegal. lifting the vehicle with longer springs and shocks would also be illegal. What utter rubbish. Replacing standard leafs with parabolics, etc, etc. I have done coil conversions many times without there ever being an issue. Just tell your insurers and that's all you ever need to do.

 

 

Les.

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I've based my opinion on type approval regs. An MoT isn't a legal vehicle approval check - it's a mandatory vehicle safety check built around a finite list of checks; so has nothing to do with this. Small print on ALL vehicle insurance places the blame for a non legally compliant vehicle at the door of the person who holds the insurance.

I've run this past Bristol DVSA, Somerset and Avon CIT (as was, thinks its now CSI), Exeter VOSA (as was) and one or two others.

No one gives a damn until their is a crash - then they give a damn

I base my interpretation of the law on advice, guidance and primarily the need to cover my professional arse

 

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Any significant changes I make I get an engineers inspection and report on headed paper from an MoT test approved garage, a copy of which I send to the insurers.  That way I have an expert set of eyes double check the work and have proof of expert check.  I also get a letter from the insurer acknowledging the new modification to make sure they can't claim they weren't informed.  Trust issues... including of my own work! ;)

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Nick - that's a good plan.

Insurance companies will walk away if they see any loop hole or grey area. It's their easy get out clause. So it must be ironclad. But this only gets tested when the smelly stuff hits the fan and the fan is on high. Then it all gets unpleasant

In the EU at present we have Type Approval. It's the guidance for all sorts of things, like safety testing; and it's the limit of liability 'get out clause' for the manufacturers. In the UK the 7 seater D2 only comes with type approval for air springs on the rear - unless it was modified by SVO (long story). If we ran the zero mods rule that the Spanish use, then any mods to that wouldn't pass the MoT. Suspension changes here in the UK are a major issue with the DVSA and are part of the points system. As that specific vehicle came only in that form, then any change must be notified to the DVSA (with each all the various legal interpretations that involves). You can change the spec of the vehicle to 5 seater - but this must be done via the DVLA.

It's interesting to see how many after market spring retailers mention 'not for road use' on their non standard springs

As I mentioned before

"I've based my opinion on type approval regs. An MoT isn't a legal vehicle approval check - it's a mandatory vehicle safety check built around a finite list of checks; so has nothing to do with this. Small print on ALL vehicle insurance places the blame for a non legally compliant vehicle at the door of the person who holds the insurance.

I've run this past Bristol DVSA, Somerset and Avon CIT (as was, thinks its now CSI), Exeter VOSA (as was) and one or two others.

No one gives a damn until their is a crash - then they give a damn

I base my interpretation of the law on advice, guidance and primarily the need to cover my professional arse"

I may not make a living out of vehicle prep, but it's part of my income. I have a good reputation. Added to which I have a duty of care - this goes beyond my TPL and Professional Indemnity Insurance. So I'm happy.

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  1. I'm trying to get my head round the fact that it can stay up for days, and yet go down within minutes, even with the engine running. If I bounce on the back bumper (engine off), it goes down in seconds and if I park with one side on the kerb, it also goes down. Further, if I go over speed bumps, it will also go down between one speed bump and another (engine running). I've replaced leaky bags once already so I know what it looked like -  this time it goes down too fast for a leak. What can I try?
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On 13/3/2017 at 0:20 PM, simonr said:

I would bet you have some dust under the valve seats.  Nobody ever changes the filter on the compressor - after a while they degrade and dust / filter material get into the valve block.

It's easy to fix though just by disassembling the valve block and cleaning it with an air blower.  I've bought a couple of apparently 'broken' valve blocks to find this was the only fault.

The filter is located behind the NS rear light and easy to change.

Si

The valve block is attached to the compressor under the passenger seat?

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I was wondering whether I should just buy a new valve block and slot it in. I've been looking at some step by step guides re compressor rebuilds, and by the looks of it, I can remove the block and leave the rest in situ. I'll replace the filter while I'm at it?

 

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If it stays up for days but drops quickly in use, then I can't imagine it being the valve block.  I can imagine perished air bags leaking as the flex while driving, but I think an electronic control issue commanding a lowering is more likely.

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