Jump to content

Helper spring top plate idea on 110 with airbags


Recommended Posts

I have an ongoing issue with the Airlift bags in the rear of my 110 - they work fine except for a problem that has emerged which apparently AirlIft are aware of - the PU 'plug' that sits at the top inside the spring above the air bag is, by careful design, chamfered so that the the upper, narrower bit of it sticks through the hole in the top of the spring locator.

This top plug has a hole in it and a slot on top to lead the air hose through from the bag. Problem is the plugs are too pliable and are being forced up out of the top hole in the spring locator. You can see it here with the black plug starting its journey to freedom (on Devon 4x4's site).

air_lift_kit_2.jpg

AirLift are apparently working on a fix for this but its anyone's guess when that will appear. So, in the meantime in the great spirit of Land Rover bodgery I wondered if I could effect a remedy myself so I have properly supportive suspension.

Fitting a flat plate with a hole in it wont work because the underside of the spring locator is curved to accept and locate the very top coil of the main spring. I could weld a pair of steel straps over the top of the spring hanger to retain the plug, but I'm not too enamoured of whacking off some of the galvanized coating in such an exposed location just for this.

So...I was looking at the upper plate that retains the top of the helper springs on 130/110's (Item 22 below) and I wondered whether I could use this to reduce the hole diameter at top. I can cut some of the PU plug away easily enough if I need to, to make it fit the hole in this retainer. What I'm not entirely clear on is how the top plate actually fits in the main coil. Is it just rammed up against the rolled 'lip' of the coil seat at top, and held in place by the upwards force of the helper spring? Or does it somehow fit inside an upper coil of the main spring?

rear_shock_and_spring_defender.PNG

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Erm, wasn't this posted already, word for word?

Almost but not quite. I mentioned it in a previous thread (which I'll update (now!) - tomorrow I may find out if my problem has been solved). That thread was about a strange 'clack' coming from the rear suspension. I *may* have solved that problem this evening after a bl@@dy marathon but wont know until I give it a good run tomorrow.

What THIS question is about is a query as to how a 130/110 rear helper spring top retainer actually fits, because I cant figure it out from the diagram.

As the last post was about a strange 'clack' noise, and I'm probably not the only one who has the AirLift bag problem I thought a new thread devoted to the AirLift problem might make more sense and be easier to find when archived.

:-) But I may be wrong!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have airbags in the front , but 130 helpers in rear , since Boge unit nls , IIRC the top plates just sit there located in top of spring , but the inner spring is longer than the outer . The black plastic spacer is flat , when new , I had the top turned down to fit in front spring top hole. Its a rear set,for a 90 as they dont list a front set. Works well with the snow plough , BTW I have used dual shock turrets on front , so the shock is on outside now . I don't see why you couldn't just get one turned from ali bar stock , that would solve the fluidity problem , JMHO

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a set of Air Lift airbags that came in the post this week and what I can add to your problems is what I have read on an American site a while back. A D90 owner wrote that he had to carefully pry the inner lip of the upper spring mount inwards so that it sat snug around the grove that is molded in the upper spacer (plug) This trick should solve your problems with the upper spacer. But I do have to ask, are you 100% sure that you have the correct air lift kit that is for the 110?

Without high jacking this thread, I'm wondering if the air lift 90 kit is OK with LR 90 HD rear springs? I know it works fine with the standard 90 springs but I have the longer HD springs and worried that I might have to create a steel spacer to place under the bottom air lift spacer.

Todd.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have airbags in the front , but 130 helpers in rear , since Boge unit nls , IIRC the top plates just sit there located in top of spring , but the inner spring is longer than the outer . The black plastic spacer is flat , when new , I had the top turned down to fit in front spring top hole. Its a rear set,for a 90 as they dont list a front set. Works well with the snow plough , BTW I have used dual shock turrets on front , so the shock is on outside now . I don't see why you couldn't just get one turned from ali bar stock , that would solve the fluidity problem , JMHO

Thanks - I may get something turned if the top helper idea wont work. So are you saying these spacers (Item 22 on the diagram above) are actually made of plastic then? I thought they were metal?

I have a set of Air Lift airbags that came in the post this week and what I can add to your problems is what I have read on an American site a while back. A D90 owner wrote that he had to carefully pry the inner lip of the upper spring mount inwards so that it sat snug around the grove that is molded in the upper spacer (plug) This trick should solve your problems with the upper spacer. But I do have to ask, are you 100% sure that you have the correct air lift kit that is for the 110?

Without high jacking this thread, I'm wondering if the air lift 90 kit is OK with LR 90 HD rear springs? I know it works fine with the standard 90 springs but I have the longer HD springs and worried that I might have to create a steel spacer to place under the bottom air lift spacer.

Todd.

The box set clearly stated it was for a 110 and the instructions were too. AirLift have acknowledged a problem with this plug popping out and AirLift UK have informed me that the parent company are currently working on a fix involving some plate that will retain the plug.

So basically its get the large prybar out and bend the spring hanger hole to a smaller diameter? I dont fancy that to be honest!

If the helper spring retainer is metal I'll use one of those (because I know it will fit inside the main spring) and cut the AirLift plug diameter down to suit.

Thanks for heads up!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No I am saying the no22 spacer/locator is steel , the airlift component is black plastic (nylon)

Re kits the 90 kit is right diameter for 90 front or rear , or front only on 110 as the 110 rear is larger diameter

re HD springs it depends on how much extra length the HD spring gives , as you dont want to over extend the bag excessively if you are riding around empty , but you should not have max psi in bags if that is case, the real risk comes when fully laden and air bags at max, and then you "jump" and go to full extension .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Will be interested to see what you come up with.

I was planning on using air bag to assist the standard station wagon rear springs in lieu of the Boge strut.

I would think that they would work quite well in that respect , as long as you have the ability to vary the air pressure either on board air, or lecky pump , also you need a guage that reads low as when not in use you need to keep 5 psi to stop pinching , the 130 helpers don't give the flexibility and ride of the boge unit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

re HD springs it depends on how much extra length the HD spring gives , as you dont want to over extend the bag excessively if you are riding around empty , but you should not have max psi in bags if that is case, the real risk comes when fully laden and air bags at max, and then you "jump" and go to full extension .

The HD rear springs are 2" taller than the original springs. I just measured the spacers and air lift bag which are 2" shorter, therefore when I remove the dislocating cone I'll have to install a spacer to suit the air lift airbag. The whole meaning for me having these airbags is to use them for a 7500 km road trip this summer.

Todd.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The HD rear springs are 2" taller than the original springs. I just measured the spacers and air lift bag which are 2" shorter, therefore when I remove the dislocating cone I'll have to install a spacer to suit the air lift airbag. The whole meaning for me having these airbags is to use them for a 7500 km road trip this summer.

Todd.

That seems a suitable solution :) Going anywhere nice?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, "Norder Runt 2016" a 7500 km tour of Scandinavia which at this point is taking in over 300 km gravel/offroad routes.

post-194-0-50295400-1463332646_thumb.jpg

I have a blog for this epic trip for my 50th birthday, I'll have to start a thread in the proper section for others to follow along.

Todd.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would think that they would work quite well in that respect , as long as you have the ability to vary the air pressure either on board air, or lecky pump , also you need a guage that reads low as when not in use you need to keep 5 psi to stop pinching , the 130 helpers don't give the flexibility and ride of the boge unit.

Yeah, I was thinking some kind of air suspension compressor hidden away somewhere. I do recall the instructions noting the requirement to keep a certain minimum pressure.

The good ride is the reason for it. The 110 had previously had its Boge unit removed and HD springs fitted so was quite harsh when empty. I had another 110 briefly that was still fitted with its original SW springs and a working Boge and it rode beautifully. So that's what I'm trying to replicate.

I suppose you lose some suspension flex if you've got the air bags pumped up compared to the centrally mounted Boge strut. I wonder if an air bag could be mounted centrally on its mountings?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

No I am saying the no22 spacer/locator is steel , the airlift component is black plastic (nylon)

Re kits the 90 kit is right diameter for 90 front or rear , or front only on 110 as the 110 rear is larger diameter

re HD springs it depends on how much extra length the HD spring gives , as you dont want to over extend the bag excessively if you are riding around empty , but you should not have max psi in bags if that is case, the real risk comes when fully laden and air bags at max, and then you "jump" and go to full extension .

Thanks for clarifying that tacr. I guessed they must be steel. I think I may give them a go - it'll be cheaper than getting someone to turn something, and I'll be certain (as they're made to fit in the top of a 110 coil) that they'll fit! I can adapt the AirLift plastic/pu spacer to suit. Will update if successful (or not!).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

AFAIK the upper ring sits in the main spring chassis bracket with the 4 lugs locating it, the inner spring sits against the turned down rim.. pics of both faces here http://www.johncraddockltd.co.uk/land-rover-defender/defender-90-and-110/parts/suspension/rrc3352-retainer-for-inner-rear-spring-110-with-heavy-duty-twin-rear-springs-and-130-3500kg.html

I've never actually looked at a HD 110 or 130 to see how they fit,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

AFAIK the upper ring sits in the main spring chassis bracket with the 4 lugs locating it, the inner spring sits against the turned down rim.. pics of both faces here http://www.johncraddockltd.co.uk/land-rover-defender/defender-90-and-110/parts/suspension/rrc3352-retainer-for-inner-rear-spring-110-with-heavy-duty-twin-rear-springs-and-130-3500kg.html

I've never actually looked at a HD 110 or 130 to see how they fit,

Thanks Ralph. Aye, I think you're right. I'd deduced that the side with 4 'lugs' was intended to go upwards (as diagram shows) and the smaller diameter coil fit against the other side. Will give it a go I think.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

UPDATE

Ok - here's what I did.

This is the problem - the rubber plug gets pushed up out of the hole in the top of the spring hanger.

May16-1.jpg

I got two spare top rubber plugs for the AirLift bags and cut the top shoulders off to leave a square (only square because I was going to try a different method to solve the problem but realized it would not work).

May16-2.jpg

Got a pair of the metal top spring retainers for the helper springs (110/130 flavour) Part No RRC3352.

May16-3.jpg

These are good because they have the locating lugs on the upside to fit into the hole above the spring.

May16-4.jpg

May16-6.jpg

Then a cheap 86mm diameter holesaw to drop a slot into the top of the rubber plug - this is to accept the flanged edge of the spring retainer.

May16-7.jpg

Once the slot was deep enough I used a Bosch oscillating tool to trim off some of the rubber to accommodate the rolled edge of the flange of the spring plate and allow it to sit almost flat on the rubber plug. I realized when I was doing this that the oscillating tool would most likely have done the job of the holesaw although not as neatly, and saved £8.

May16-8.jpg

Then fitted this combination into the top of the main coil and held it in place while I fastened on the AirLift bags air hose and refitted all the bits. A combination of lifting the axle and raising/lowering the body had it seated first time each side, with the locating tabs keeping the metal plate central.

May16-9.jpg

I think the original design of the rubber plugs is intended to fit a bit higher but I kept them lower in the space to ensure that when the axle is articulated a lot the air bags will hold the plug and metal plate up tightly. I'll see how it fares over the summer - my only concern is the lack of any fastening for the metal plate- - in its 'proper' role as a helper spring retainer it is under pressure ALL the time because of the extra length the helper springs are compared to the main springs. Possibly a hole drilled in the metal plate and a hook over the top of the sproing might be enough - will consider options if it turns out they're needed.

May16-10.jpg

SO there you go - a fix of sorts for a problem that AirLift are still working on - theirs might be more elegant - but at least mine is at the test pilot stage!

Hope this helps someone else.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Thanks a lot for all the photos!

Exactly my problem so far. Have also ordered the helper spring retainers to solve the issue with the plastic plug popping through. So far it already made its way up.

Can you please let us/me know if your solution has worked without securing plug or metal retainers to the top?

I occasionally hit a speed bump too fast and the rear axle lifts like a rabbit. Just want to make sure that the retainer plates and plug won't drop down and then re-settle in some awkward angle.

Thanks for keeping us updated!

Claus

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks a lot for all the photos!

Exactly my problem so far. Have also ordered the helper spring retainers to solve the issue with the plastic plug popping through. So far it already made its way up.

Can you please let us/me know if your solution has worked without securing plug or metal retainers to the top?

I occasionally hit a speed bump too fast and the rear axle lifts like a rabbit. Just want to make sure that the retainer plates and plug won't drop down and then re-settle in some awkward angle.

Thanks for keeping us updated!

Claus

Hi Claus - glad you found them useful!

Well so far with the vehicle laden and unladen and driven on a variety of ground (but nothing too severe) the plates have stayed put.

I also do the bunny-bounce over the speed humps and mini roundabouts and a wheel will lift but so far, as best as I can establish, the plate has stayed put and held the Airlift plastic plug securely in place. WIth both the air bag and spring pushing up I suspect you'd really need to drop a wheel in a dip to even approach a problem.

I guess howver that the big variable in it will be the particular shock & spring combination you're using.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 6 months later...
13 hours ago, Retroanaconda said:

How is your fix holding up?

Rock solid. Have run van empty with bags up hard or soft - no problem. Run full with bags softish no problems, and last week hauled a massive pile of stone tile inside over back axle and bags pumped up to 30psi and not a grumble. I've put several thousand miles on with no adjustment needed and not a creak nor squeak from the rear end. The two plates and plugs are still sitting in exactly the same places as I installed them. So safe to assume it works! Not sure what would happen under very extreme articulation - but as I rarely do that it'll be a while until I find out!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's good to hear.

How do you control the system? I am aware that one is required to keep a minimum pressure in the bags to prevent damage - do you just monitor this manually and top up when needed via electric pump etc?

Rather than spending hundreds on the Air Lift control system I was thinking of having a pressure switch wired up so that it kept the bags at least at the minimum pressure automatically, and then I could have extra switches to raise/lower the system pressure as required for a given load.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I looked at the pump and gauge set up but in the end decided it would be better if I kept it as simple as possible to be honest.

The air pipes from each side come to a T, then a single pipe to rear just above the chassis, to the right of the number plate (left of door). The valve that pops through the panel is your normal car tyre type and I check it with a digital tyre pressure gauge, and fill up as required using a bicycle pump.

Yes you need you keep a minimum pressure to stop the bags chafing (I think its about 5 or 6 psi.)  Method is to pump up to whatever pressure you think you’ll need, then load up (rather than pump up after loading).

I’m really happy with the setup. The ability to quickly adjust for loads or road conditions is excellent and as an upgrade to basic suspension its well worth it (I opted for standard LR springs and Armstrong shocks) and the rear bag set cost about the same as one expensive gas shock!. When I'm just running about I can have a nice flexible ride and then if going off with bikes hanging off the back, a full load of food, water, fuel and gear pump up to 25 or so (max pressure os 30psi) and its nice and firm.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I see, that sounds simple enough. I think I'll go down the electric pump route for mine, just trying to figure out how to plumb and wire it to allow for the control required.

Current thinking is a pump under the drivers seat, hooked into both a low pressure switch so that it will run automatically when the ignition is on if the pressure drops below 5psi, and also a manual switch to increase the pressure (raise vehicle). Non-return valve between pump and a 'system' manifold linked to the air bags. Then a solenoid to bleed off pressure operated by a second switch (lower vehicle). And a gauge to show system pressure. Potentially a second pressure switch set to interrupt power to the pump and protect from over-inflation.

The gauge and switches would need to be mounted somewhere accessible, ideally at the back of the vehicle (rear lighting cover panels perhaps).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience. By using our website you agree to our Cookie Policy