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Suspension Lift: shocks, struts only


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27 replies to this topic

#1 Scott in Bellingham

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Posted 30 April 2005 - 02:48 PM

I have read were a few of you have added spacers or brackets to the struts and shocks , I have a few Questions whats the max you can go on these shims what has proven to work or to fail on these mods thanks SJR

#2 offroadsubaruguy

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 08:29 AM

it all depends mainly on what year and model you have.........

#3 VaporTrail

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 09:14 AM

I have read were a few of you have added spacers or brackets to the struts and shocks , I have a few Questions whats the max you can go on these shims what has proven to work or to fail on these mods thanks SJR


the strut/shock extensions are usually part of a lift kit.

you can lift the rear of a ea81 a couple of inches by making a bracket and fitting ea82 rear coil-overs. puts a little more wear on the outside edges of the tires though....

http://www.ultimates...rticle.php?a=43

#4 Scott in Bellingham

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 09:43 AM

it all depends mainly on what year and model you have.........

85-94 wagon

#5 Vanislru

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 03:17 PM

I've had spacers/shims and rubber pucks in my struts/shocks on a few different cars, 3 wagons and 1 4dr sedan. They are good for a few things, they will increase your ride hieght and make your springs alot stiffer. The bad part is your struts/shocks will doing the bulk of their damping work partially extended and toe in on the front will be bad \ / I've been through more cv's than normal and a few sets of sway bar bushings on the front. No problems on the back. I also have 2 4" byb lift kits on my wagons and they do eat axles a bit faster than normal because of the extra 1" of ride hieght which is gained from extra preload on the struts. All of my cars are ea82t's modded for power with 5spd d/r trannies swapped in so the cv's are stressed more anyways. The rubber strut/shock extenders seem to be the best so far, if you are looking for anything more than an 1.5" gain in ride hieght then I would buy a kit off of PK [byb] cause the added toe in from the struts being extended in the front will cost you a lift kits worth of tires in a year or so.

I will try and post some pics when I'm back at home in a weeks time.

#6 Scott in Bellingham

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Posted 10 May 2005 - 08:23 AM

I've had spacers/shims and rubber pucks in my struts/shocks on a few different cars, 3 wagons and 1 4dr sedan. They are good for a few things, they will increase your ride hieght and make your springs alot stiffer. The bad part is your struts/shocks will doing the bulk of their damping work partially extended and toe in on the front will be bad \ / I've been through more cv's than normal and a few sets of sway bar bushings on the front. No problems on the back. I also have 2 4" byb lift kits on my wagons and they do eat axles a bit faster than normal because of the extra 1" of ride hieght which is gained from extra preload on the struts. All of my cars are ea82t's modded for power with 5spd d/r trannies swapped in so the cv's are stressed more anyways. The rubber strut/shock extenders seem to be the best so far, if you are looking for anything more than an 1.5" gain in ride hieght then I would buy a kit off of PK [byb] cause the added toe in from the struts being extended in the front will cost you a lift kits worth of tires in a year or so.

I will try and post some pics when I'm back at home in a weeks time.



so on the kit(byb) there is 1`` suspension lift , on your mods 1.5`` is max suspension lift and both tend to eat axles ,do tire size eat more axle of not

#7 Vanislru

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Posted 10 May 2005 - 02:11 PM

the byb kits I have use 4"strut/shock mount ext. instead of 3".this puts 1"of preload/suspension lift on top of the 3" body lift. I ran the rubber spacers for a while but didn't like the toe in.

#8 4x4mudrat

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Posted 10 May 2005 - 02:58 PM

Toe is adjustable, I think you're refering to camber.

Remember that every inch you increase the stroke of the strut is an inch of droop that you'll loose = less wheel travel. Increasing suspension lift will also alter your caster, meaning more steering shimmy and a vague feeling when the wheel's straight or slightly turned.

On a part time 4WD car the accepted height for suspension lift is about 1" before CV joint wear becomes excessive, yet managable. On an AWD vehicle 1.5" is about the limit. Also remember that you'll loose travel in your CV joints. I've seen bearings actually get ripped out of the cup at full droop with an excessive suspension lift.

#9 Vanislru

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Posted 10 May 2005 - 03:19 PM

Toe is adjustable, I think you're refering to camber.

Remember that every inch you increase the stroke of the strut is an inch of droop that you'll loose = less wheel travel. Increasing suspension lift will also alter your caster, meaning more steering shimmy and a vague feeling when the wheel's straight or slightly turned.

On a part time 4WD car the accepted height for suspension lift is about 1" before CV joint wear becomes excessive, yet managable. On an AWD vehicle 1.5" is about the limit. Also remember that you'll loose travel in your CV joints. I've seen bearings actually get ripped out of the cup at full droop with an excessive suspension lift.

yup camber is what it should have read, I'm thinking of adding a 1/2 " spacer under the main crossmember engine carrier lift block[s] so there's not so much camber in the front.

#10 4x4mudrat

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 02:51 AM

Probably not a bad idea, will mean you'll need another steering extension though.

I just moved the pin on the end of the strut shaft inboard. I'm still trialling a few methods to get this right, but factor about 7mm per 25mm of lift and you'll be in the ballpark.

The other option in my book is to build a secondary crossmember underneath your main engine crossmember (though you're running a front diff aren't you Vanislru?) and attach the lower control arms to this.

#11 diluded000

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 11:36 AM

Probably not a bad idea, will mean you'll need another steering extension though.

I just moved the pin on the end of the strut shaft inboard. I'm still trialling a few methods to get this right, but factor about 7mm per 25mm of lift and you'll be in the ballpark.

The other option in my book is to build a secondary crossmember underneath your main engine crossmember (though you're running a front diff aren't you Vanislru?) and attach the lower control arms to this.


My lift gives quite a bit of (positive? top-out) camber. I was thinking of trying to mill a slot where the traverse link attaches to the crossmember to get rid of this. I would likely add on some kind of threaded rod and adjuster nut between the xmember and traverse link to keep if from sliding in the slot. The xmember and strut tops already have lift spacers so the CV angle is about stock, I just need to get the bottom of the steering knuckle pushed out a bit so the wheels are vertical again. Is my logic right on this?

- James B

#12 4x4mudrat

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 02:54 PM

It depends what lift kit you've got. In a BYB kit or any of the Aussie kits the camber is built into the strut top extensions to make the wheel sit perfectly verticle, so long as the engine crossmember is lifted the same ammount. I can't speak for the US ones as I've not seen any.

#13 Vanislru

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 03:24 PM

No front diff for me. I might have enough slack in the steering ext, there's about 2" of extension on the splined shaft from the steering wheel.

Still waiting to get some photo's up of the strut/shock rubber spacers.

#14 4x4mudrat

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Posted 12 May 2005 - 05:50 AM

What brand of lift kit do you have there Vanislru? I've oft' admired your wagon from a distance.

#15 Vanislru

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Posted 12 May 2005 - 02:32 PM

4 inch BYB from PK in the US, Basically a three inch kit but 4inch strut and shock extensions.

#16 4x4mudrat

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Posted 12 May 2005 - 05:27 PM

Basically a three inch kit but 4inch strut and shock extensions


I think therin lies your problem. As it's been suspension lifted you need to compensate now by either increasing the lift on the engine crossmember or by moving your struts inboard. Measuring how far the top of the tire is outside the bottom of the tire will give you a number to work with.

#17 Scott in Bellingham

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Posted 16 May 2005 - 01:40 PM

this is all good thanks and keep up the talk,
now on the back how far can you angle the diff from stock (lower rear or diff,leaving front of diff up)and still have it preform, bearings etc. last

#18 4x4mudrat

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Posted 16 May 2005 - 04:16 PM

The answer to that question is ZERO, to spite what some companies will have you believe.

#19 P K

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 10:16 AM

For clarity, the front strut extensions are offset on the BYB kit to keep correct camber. Even on the 4" strut extensions - On the EA81 we use 4" crossmember blocks, and on the EA82 we use 3" blocks, but those 4" EA82 strut extensions are offset even more for correctness. The advantage of the latter is one inch increased ground clearence. The disadvantage is the potential for increased CV wear.

Using rubber inserts to increase spring (ride) height will change camber, just like cranking the front adjusters on the EA81 springs. As in the Subaru users manual, it is okay for short periods, but will it will cause abnormal wear on the street.

One inch suspension lift would be the max I'd recommend as far as CV wear, so as it is with the 4" EA82 BYB kit. Vanislru's 4" BYB Kit has the correct strut offset and his camber is proper. He does have the one inch CV deflection angle which does affect its wear - primarily in the front. The additional one inch in the rear setup has little or no affect as the CV deflection angle there is so minimal.
There should be none of this: \ / with any BYB kit. Sincerely, PK.

#20 Vanislru

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 11:50 AM

For clarity, the front strut extensions are offset on the BYB kit to keep correct camber. Even on the 4" strut extensions - On the EA81 we use 4" crossmember blocks, and on the EA82 we use 3" blocks, but those 4" EA82 strut extensions are offset even more for correctness. The advantage of the latter is one inch increased ground clearence. The disadvantage is the potential for increased CV wear.

Using rubber inserts to increase spring (ride) height will change camber, just like cranking the front adjusters on the EA81 springs. As in the Subaru users manual, it is okay for short periods, but will it will cause abnormal wear on the street.

One inch suspension lift would be the max I'd recommend as far as CV wear, so as it is with the 4" EA82 BYB kit. Vanislru's 4" BYB Kit has the correct strut offset and his camber is proper. He does have the one inch CV deflection angle which does affect its wear - primarily in the front. The additional one inch in the rear setup has little or no affect as the CV deflection angle there is so minimal.
There should be none of this: \ / with any BYB kit. Sincerely, PK.

Hey Patrick, thanks I would like to add that I was running rubber spacers in addition to the byb lift kit, and most of the camber issues are related to that increase in ride hieght. The problem I'm running into now is that there is not enough damping provided by my struts, cause when I hit boost my camber goes out the window[in fwd]. This week I'm installing new struts so hopefully that'll deal with a bit of it, and 1/2" of additional spacing to the main cross member under the engine to be sure.
As far as front axle strain goes I've not had any problems with the cv's really I just replaced both that had been on the car since well before the lift. They had alot of miles on them from me and came from a wrecked car with unknown miles. They've held up well when you consider that I'm running a good bit of more power than stock and most of my 4 wheeling is done on rocky bluffs. However with blown boots on both sides and alot of mud in there I replaced them with lifetime warranty fenco jobbers for $150 a side.

#21 Scott in Bellingham

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 04:25 PM

The answer to that question is ZERO, to spite what some companies will have you believe.

this is in reference to the angle of diff correct? now saw if I wanted to angle the diff for clearance is there any modifications you could make , maybe running more oil? maybe replacing the front bearing with a sealed unit?, maybe some how setting up a oiler to feed that front bearing? now this is all under the asumption that its the front bearing that will give am I right? thanks all SJR

#22 Vanislru

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 04:32 PM

I think the best route as far as the rear diff goes is to have a solid skid plate, removeable of course. Oh yeah and the tallest tires you dare run too.

#23 4x4mudrat

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 08:35 PM

The thought of filling the rear diff up further has also occured to me too, although (a) I haven't tried it, and (B) does overfilling your diff lead to overheating problems?

Maybe you could do an experiment for us SJR?

PS, Off Topic: Bellingham as in Bellingham Washington Sate? With the big-assed mall? Of all the places in the world, I've been there. In fact I attended a family reunion there (no, didn't pick up unfortunately). My family's originally from Chilliwack BC, though more lately of New South Wales Australia.

#24 4x4mudrat

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 08:38 PM

Oh, and I just saw Vanislru you're from Comox Valley? Isn't that near Port Alberni (with the Norske mill)? I was just there in June.

I work in the Pulping Industry myself.

Sorry for the whaaay off topic guys. Just getting homesick...

#25 Vanislru

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 09:12 PM

Oh, and I just saw Vanislru you're from Comox Valley? Isn't that near Port Alberni (with the Norske mill)? I was just there in June.

I work in the Pulping Industry myself.

Sorry for the whaaay off topic guys. Just getting homesick...

Yeah just a bit further up island. I pass through port Alberni alot on my way out surfing at Tofino, worked in the pulp mill a little bit too during a shutdown once. Weathers been great here but we had a lousy winter with ony a 1/5 of the regular snowpack in the mountains, hope there's not much for wildfires this year.




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