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Suspension lift information


Precise1
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Just like it says...

 

As we are talking about tidying up some information here at NPORA, I thought that some of the most common questions should isolated and broken down. This thread is solely about suspension lifts; the brands, installs, experiences, pro's and con's, articles, etc. We need specific threads to point people to rather than regurgitating the info or telling them to search.

 

By all means chime in with pertinent info; I will be copying parts of other threads to insert here so feel free to do the same. I'll start with a basic article that explains what is being done with a suspension lift.

 

http://www.off-road.com/trucks4x4/Ref/Susp...ategoryId=11319

 

:beer:

 

B

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Some more basic information...

 

SUSPENSION:

 

All Hardbodies and Pathfinders use a common independent front suspension (except two wheel drive Hardbodies; they still use an independent front end but of a different design). It consists of an upper A-arm, a lower A-arm, and a torsion bar spring. The lower A-arm uses a compression strut (extending from the rear of the arm to the frame) to make up the rear half of the arm. The torsion bar is connected to the lower arm and runs along the frame rail to a crossmember where it is connected to its tension adjuster, and the adjuster to that crossmember. The front anti-sway bar (or roll bar) is attached to the front portion of the frame and its ends attach to the lower A-arm through small links.

 

The rear suspension of the Hardbody is rather conventional in design. It employes a typical solid axle design that is suspended by leaf springs. The 2WD models mount the leaf springs under the axle while the 4WD variant mounts the leaf springs on top the axle for the added "lift". The Hardbody's rear axle (to the best of my knowledge) does not use an anti-sway bar.

 

The Pathfinder's rear suspension, on the other hand, was quite unconventional for its day. While the other manufacturers (save Land Rover) were using a standard leaf spring setup derived from their pickups, Nissan went out on a limb creating a "5-Link" coil spring rear suspension. This offered several advantages for the sport utility. The most important being extremely good compliance when compared to a leaf spring set up. This excellent compliance gifted the Pathfinder with a much more supple ride then the other sport utilities of the day. For those of us that like to go off-road, it offered excellent advantages as well. The compliance was very welcome. That combined with the longer travel nature of the coil springs, lead to excellent suspension articulation off-road, and excellent suspension control both on and off road as well. Since coil springs can not "locate" an axle as leaf springs can, Nissan had to design a fairly complex (from an engineering standpoint, the angles of these links as the suspension moves must be precise in order to work properly) system of linkages to locate the axle. This is the design they settled on: two upper links, two lower links, and a horizontal Panhard rod to locate the axle. Then they tossed in an anti-sway bar for good measure. This rear suspension design has much to do with both the Pathfinders excellent on road handling manners (it's been described by many publications as the drivers sport utility), and its excellent off road prowess. Other manufacturers quickly noticed this and the coil sprung rear suspension was adapted on most of today's current crop of sport utes (Toyota, Land Rover, Isuzu, Jeep).

 

Things to Watch for:

 

The independent front suspension is very sensitive to modification. It is common to run out of camber adjustment when people try to lift the front end by "twisting" the torsion bars. This is a poor man's lift that causes problems down the line. If you can't afford a suspension kit from a reputable manufacturer, consider a body lift. All of the Nissans soon suffer from front suspension creaking noises as dirt works its way into the rubber bushings of the upper and lower suspension arms. This is normal and all IFS designs suffer from it. Sometimes spraying them down with a liquid lubricant Tri-Flow will quiet them down for a few days, but they'll be back! Also, Nissans (And Toyotas) suffer from an awful sounding (but harmless) metal to metal creak when the front tires are turned tight. This is the steering stops hitting their spot. When the truck is new, it has little nylon caps on the stops to keep them quiet but once they wear through, you'll hear them. It is caused because of the placement of the stops. If you turn the wheel against the stops, and ask the suspension to move, they rub with an accompanying nasty noise. Cheap fix: a glop of grease on the stop!

 

Also, the stock torsion bars tend to sag with time. There is nothing you can do about this except adjust them as necessary. The only real fix is quality aftermarket heavy duty bars. Nissan Motorsports sell single and two stage bars, Calmini sells some, and Sway Away Suspensions (SAS) sells the two stage bars I run on my truck.

 

I'm not aware of any sagging problems with the Hardbody's rear Leafs, but I do know that the Pathfinders sag with age. Again, the only cure is quality aftermarket springs. Nissan Motorsports (again) carries two versions of replacements, one with a 1/2" to 3/4" lift, and the other with a 2" lift.

 

Modifications:

 

Oh boy, here we go again! Again, I'm going to start off by saying that our options are limited in this area as well. However, again there are options. All of the major suspension kit manufacturers seem to have a kit for the truck.

 

Rancho (the system I run) Offers a 2-2.5" lift kit for the Hardbody and Pathfinder. Both front kits are virtually identical. They supply you with an upper A-arm, urethane bushings, and a new pivot shaft assembly that employs braces at the outboard ends for added strength. These arms, combined with new torsion bar adjustments give a realistic 2" of lift while still allowing you to bring the alignment in to specs (though I still have a slight camber problem; custom work time again!). The rear kit is a set of add-a-leafs for the Hardbody and a new set of coil springs for the Pathfinder's rear. Take note that there are two different Pathfinder systems: one for the 2-door trucks and one for the 4-door trucks. The only difference in the kits is the rear springs. I recommend the 4-door kit even if you have a 2-door. I ended up swapping out the 2-door springs for the 4-doors. I didn't get an appreciable amount of lift from the 2-door springs, but the 4-doors worked out perfect! This kit allows for 32" (max) tires on the Pathfinder, and 33" (max) tires on the Hardbody thanks to the latter's higher body mounting position.

 

SuperLift also has a similar system for about 2"- 2.5" of lift. They use replacement upper A arms (using the factory spindle) with urethane bushings. They use longer shackles or add-a-leafs for the rear.

 

I'm told Explorer Pro-Comp has a system for these trucks as well (2-3" range) but I have not seen it and therefore can not comment on it. However, I have heard generally good things from Explorer Pro-Comp owners...

 

TrailMaster produces the largest lift available for these trucks at 4". The TrailMaster approach is completely different, and much more complex though. The front uses a system of drop down brackets and steering knuckle adapters to lower the front differential and lower A-arm assemblies as well as the rear torsion bar mounts. This causes several other caveats. The knuckle adapters require using wheels of greater offset to clear them, therefore mandating aftermarket wheels which will stick out of the wheel wells. Then there is an exhaust system modification that must be purchased from them so the exhaust can clear the now angled front driveshaft. This lift affords no increase in front crossmember clearance without increasing tire size as the other kits do. On the plus side, it retains OEM CV joint angles and suspension droop, although it also puts a new angle in the front driveshaft, one that Nissan didn't count on. Additionally, the rear suspension is lifted by using four inch long coil spring spacers that bolt into the top spring mounts, retaining the factory coils... Good for the ride I suppose, but then still vulnerable to the sagging problem.

 

Additionally, Nissan Motorsports offers dual shock kits for the front of the Hardbody and Pathfinder, and dual shocks for the Pathfinder's rear Suspension. However, in the words of those in the know - if you need dual shocks, you're driving it too hard!!

 

B

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 5 months later...

call a small, local, offroad shop, and ask for a price on a d21 2.5"-3" lift kit from Rough Country

 

This gives you the front suspension stuff you need, and i can get one around here for 205, with a new set of performance shocks. You throw out the stuff for the rear lift, and get a cheap set of coils. :)

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  • 2 weeks later...
call a small, local, offroad shop, and ask for a price on a d21 2.5"-3" lift kit from Rough Country

 

This gives you the front suspension stuff you need, and i can get one around here for 205, with a new set of performance shocks. You throw out the stuff for the rear lift, and get a cheap set of coils. :)

 

Or call rough country directly and ask for just the A-Arms from their D21 kit, they will charge you far less than any 4x4 shop would for the entire kit.

 

Also about the metal grating noise due to worn out bump stops, Nissan now makes chromed replacement bump stops that will stop the noise for a long time.

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  • 2 months later...

i would like to put a 3-4" lift on my 06 pathy. could anyone point me in the right direction. i know calmini sells a 5" but i really don't want that much. so far what i have seen is to just to change the coils and shocks for 2-3".

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would the hardbody uca's correct the ball joint angle? Or are they the same?

Assuming you mean the stock UCA's, no, they are the exact same as ours, the only difference really inbetween our trucks is the body sits SLIGHTLY higher than the body of ours, and it of course has a truck bed and rear leaf sprung suspension.

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Assuming you mean the stock UCA's, no, they are the exact same as ours, the only difference really inbetween our trucks is the body sits SLIGHTLY higher than the body of ours, and it of course has a truck bed and rear leaf sprung suspension.

 

The Hardbody 4x4 truck comes from the factory with a 2" body lift (accounting for a majority of the height difference between a 2wd and 4wd D21 truck). Which is why some people grab a D21 transfer case shifter when they do a body lift on WD21 Pathfinders.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 months later...
  • 4 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

What is the real downside to the 4" system. Maybe I'm one of those guys who likes bigger and better but I want the biggest lift I can get. This is turning into less of a DD and more of a rig in my head.

 

Jesus did you even read what Precise1 wrote about the kit in the second post? I don't know how he could make it any clearer.

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has anyone used the 3" AArms from 4x4.com?

https://www.4x4parts.com/catalog/product_in...products_id=142

 

they are reasonably priced, but i was curious to know if anyone has had any issues with them.

 

 

I wouldn't bother with them. They don't seem to correct ball joint angles when you crank your torsion bars. I won't recommend them to anyone. Go for the Superlift, Rough Country, Calmini or Rancho brand.

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  • 2 months later...

Who here has used the OME lift springs in the back? how much lift do those give?

 

I'm not getting the lift I need at the front to remotely level it out (in fact I need to turn it down a bit again - at this point proper alignment and longevity is more important). So I was thinking of swapping out my 3" (more like 4.5") springs for either the AC 1.75" springs or the OME springs.

 

Need to know how much the OME springs really give though - I've heard everything from .5" to 2".

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just want to add that the pathfinder torsion bars are longer than the hardbody's, 48.43" vs 47.44". Sway a way no longer sells 2 stage torsion bars but they did make them for Nissan motor sports about 10 years ago, (just got a reply to an e-mail I wrote to them)

-----------

 

 

Jesus did you even read what Precise1 wrote about the kit in the second post? I don't know how he could make it any clearer.

 

 

regarding the 4" trailmaster kit the exhaust modification is only for the V6 trucks, and the big downside to this kit in my opinion is that the torsion bars will be dropped 4 " and are visible below the frame which looks crappy to me. On a side note I have a copy of the instructions for this kit if anybody would like to see what is involved in installing it I will be glad to scan it and post it.

------------

 

 

just thought of something else that comes into play when raising the Nissan, this applies whether you use a body lift or suspension, the increased load on the ball joints as well as the idler arm from running a larger than stock sized tire and especially with a wheel wider than 7" causes the steering components, ball joints and idler arm to wear out quicker. Running a larger wheel and tire and having the front end come off the ground can also lead to the idler arm bending, ( I know from experience trust me)

Edited by RedPath88
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  • 4 weeks later...

Okay gotta give some input...

 

I have the Calmini 3 inch system installed minus their t bars and shocks. Sure it lifts it up...but it puts the tie rods at such an angle that it is tough to align. AS of right now, I am waiting for some metric bolts to come in, so the alignment can be properly done. What I ran into was this:

 

The torsion bars are cranked, the Calmini UCA's correct the ball joint angle issue, yes...however the addition of 33 inch tires and 4 inch offset wheels puts quite a strain on the front end. The camber was impossible to get right with the factory bolts. (Thus I ordered some longer ones.) My alignment guy also mentioned the tie-rod issue. With every bump, or flex of the IFS, the tie rod because of the crazy angle it is at pushes the caster out like crazy. Makes the vehicle prone to damage if you are making a turn, and hit it just right. Can jack it all up pretty quick style.

 

When all is said and done, the camber will be corrected, but I fear that even with a hoohaa upgrade, the steering will still be the weakest link...(And I really don't do any wheeling, other than the remote fishing spot or two...)

 

Anyone ever tried turning the inner tie rod upside down and using it that way? That would take some strain off of the linkage there...hmmm, when this CL wears out, and I do my TK1 upgrade, I may try that...

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Okay, feel uber silly...just went and looked at my suspension, and it is already upside down...geez. Sorry.

 

Here is a pic...literally just took it.

nastyangle4.jpg

I know, I am missing a bump stop, and I have a broken CV boot...(on both sides.)

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  • 4 months later...

The torsion bars are cranked, the Calmini UCA's correct the ball joint angle issue, yes...however the addition of 33 inch tires and 4 inch offset wheels puts quite a strain on the front end. The camber was impossible to get right with the factory bolts. (Thus I ordered some longer ones.)

 

How much camber did it have? I run mine at 1deg negative and have for years, you get a bit of bumpsteer (toe change over bumps) but as a plus it does help the cornering. With the correct amount of toe you won't have wear problems either.

The other issue you have is that the bolts are on a slight upward angle and you have to add a sh*tload of shims to correct things, which also puts a lot more strain on the bolts. And the further you go, the more you increase the incline on the upper arm, increasing the camber change drastically with suspension movement.

 

My alignment guy also mentioned the tie-rod issue. With every bump, or flex of the IFS, the tie rod because of the crazy angle it is at pushes the caster out like crazy.

 

The tie rods DON'T affect caster. At all.

These things do loose caster when you jack 'em up due to the angle of the top and lower arm.....the top arm drops toward the front of the vehicle a little, and the lower toward the rear.... but again, I only have around 1/2 deg and have run it this way for many years with no issues. (except the bumpsteer)

 

Makes the vehicle prone to damage if you are making a turn, and hit it just right. Can jack it all up pretty quick style.

Potentially yes it could. But I think that any hit with any force will compress the suspension a little first, thus lessening the angle.

The biggest issue is the accelerated wear on the crossrod, the joints on the end that hold it flat don't like it. The only other is you will bend the idler if it's not braced.

 

When all is said and done, the camber will be corrected, but I fear that even with a hoohaa upgrade, the steering will still be the weakest link...(And I really don't do any wheeling, other than the remote fishing spot or two...)

You are right, but as long as you brace the idler (very important with a lift) and can put up with a bit of bumpsteer, it should be fine.

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  • 1 month later...

I wouldn't bother with them. They don't seem to correct ball joint angles when you crank your torsion bars. I won't recommend them to anyone. Go for the Superlift, Rough Country, Calmini or Rancho brand.

They don't seem to or they just don't? Their website states in the description "These a-arms are designed to allow for correct ball joint angle and additional wheel travel".

 

edit: this is in regard to the 4x4 parts UCA's.

Edited by XSrcing
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