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Subframe drop for R50


shift220
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My Pathfinder has been stock for to long and i'm looking for some solid information on the infamous subframe drop. I have collected some pictures and very little information on the actual drop.

 

Here is what I understand is needed:

 

- 4 blocks total to drop the subframe itself. The height of the blocks has been discussed in another thread and the limiting factor seems to be steering. I would have to investigate this personally to see how the steering shaft could possibly be modified. Any insight and/or pictures would be great

 

- 2 blocks to raise the engine back to stock height for obvious reasons. Anybody have some close up pics of the engine mounts? Are they square with the frame or angled?

 

Now what i'm not clear on is how the struts/mounts are changed. It would make sense that if you drop the subframe 4" that you would also have to drop the strut 4" (or drop it 3" and put in a 1" lift spring?).

 

Any other little items that interfere with the drop?

 

Disclaimer: I'm trying to collect as much info as possible so there aren't any surprises for me. My Pathfinder is my winter DD so it can't be out for long! And yes I do have the resources available to recreate kits should I choose to do so...

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Yes you are correct with needing 4 blocks for the sub frame- all 4in tall, drilled in the stock locations for bolts. You are also correct on the engine blocks, I do believe that they are also 4in but from the pics nissandoms has been sending me they seem to be square. Steering- you will need a steeting extension, ususally consisting of a u-joint and I believe some parts from a honda steering column. Going on to the strut spacers, they are 4in spacers. basically just a flange is cut out and a piece of tubing 4in is welded on to create a spacer. If you use the stock springs then you wont get as high of a lift, as apposed to doing a SFD with the AC 2in Lift coils. This is what I will be doing, the strut spacers with the AC 2in lift coils. As for the back there are 2 options. The most common and easy route is making a 4in spacer, that the lift coil can sit in. The second option that has been discussed, but not yet applied or tried out is using F250 coils. These coils just are the right length for the lift. This in theory works, but Fukinitupagain has all the parts for his SFD and is going to try out using F250 Coils, im just as interested as u will be to find out if they work or not. Another good member to talk to is tmorgan and nissandoms he could help you out ( with the planning stages, im not trying to be rude or anything to alex, but dont actaully buy one from him) im sure you have seen the thread.

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meh i dont care, im not really in the mood to sell anymore anyways. Its a pain. Anyway with a subframe drop and say you want a 6" kit using AC lift coils the lift coils give roughly 2 inches. but there is a 2 inch rake, every pathfinder ive put a SFD on using AC coils as well has had a 2" rake roughly. So the rear coils spacers will only be 2" not 4" this way it'll be completely level. I wont sell anymore complete kits but I can help anyone who is trying to build one.

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Good thread. :aok:

 

The rear set-up has been subject to some discussion, namely with the coil spacers and rake issue. I've been exploring some options regarding the rear in the hopes to avoid both issues. All I can say is it won't be F250 coils... ;)

 

I'll keep everyone up-to-date on my ideas. :D

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Thanks for the excellent replies guys. The problem I see with using F250 coils is even though they might be the right length, they are probably way to stiff for our application. Jeep coils would seem more appropriate if they came in the right length.

 

I hate to go big on the rear coil spacer but 2" wouldn't be to bad either. Do they make these for our application?

 

As for the style of blocks, I like the way they made them in this picture.

 

SFD.jpg

 

But using rectangular metal tubing would make fabrication much simpler. Alex, I think you made them with just the tubing. Was it hard to get to the top bolts to tighten them?

 

Also I just thought of this looking at the picture, does the front driveshaft need to be extended in any way or does it extend enough?

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Way back when on my first white pathy thats how the blocks were made, i dont like that design because they are welded together. So then i switched to the rectangular tube design, way easier too but the tops are rounded in a sense. Tightening up the bolts isnt hard, you'll just have to use a wrench or a socket and an extension that goes through the bottom hole then you could use an impact. Driveshaft is fine. Some people have had the issue of the blocks moving around, thats why if you plan on never taking them off again id just weld them on, i welded them to my white pathy after i was having issues and also to my black pathy and never had anymore issues.

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Did you have problems with the blocks moving around because of loose holes for the bolts? The reason I like the other style blocks is because of the multi-direction supports in the blocks. What I mean by this is that if the subframe experiences a hit from the side then the blocks could possibly collapse on themselves (or bend into a "parallelogram" shape). I think I have a simple solution that will still be easy to produce and let me sleep at night.

 

I also noticed that this person simply added a block to the steering shaft.

 

kaioh_lift.jpg

 

I would be inclined to try this first and see if the joint will bind or not. I don't like the idea of welding anything purely for purposes of going back to stock if needed.

 

Anybody know the minimum ID of the strut spacers? I'd like to design and manufacture much of this lift before actually taking apart my own Pathfinder so any help is appreciated! Its currently my only DD :blush:

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If I get a chance this weekend, I'll post some pictures up on my SFD. Also, recommend welding the rear block from the unibody to the block that goes between the subframe. I think that part of the frame has the most stress. The pem insert in the unibody broke and the block starting becoming loose, especially after hitting something so hard that literally pulled my hands of the steering wheel and also had to weld the sub frame, because of a stress tear. Luckily that I didn't bend the lower control arm. Last weekend went off roading with a few buddies and everything is tight, no more of the front end sounding like it's going to fall apart and also if you decide to do the SFD, all the work you put in it and time, there's no way that you're going to put it back to stock. you'll see what I'm talking about. It's a real pain in the arses.

 

David

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The rear nuts that are tack welded into the unibody frame that the rear bolts go into are pretty weak, the welds that is. The front bolts that go through the frame can be replace with some big ass heavy duty bolts if you wanted, i recommend that. I'll try and take some pictures of what im talking about when i get around another r50. Id recommend this, but you need a bolt thats like 10 inches long lol.

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If I get a chance this weekend, I'll post some pictures up on my SFD. Also, recommend welding the rear block from the unibody to the block that goes between the subframe. I think that part of the frame has the most stress. The pem insert in the unibody broke and the block starting becoming loose, especially after hitting something so hard that literally pulled my hands of the steering wheel and also had to weld the sub frame, because of a stress tear. Luckily that I didn't bend the lower control arm. Last weekend went off roading with a few buddies and everything is tight, no more of the front end sounding like it's going to fall apart and also if you decide to do the SFD, all the work you put in it and time, there's no way that you're going to put it back to stock. you'll see what I'm talking about. It's a real pain in the arses.

 

David

 

Can you elaborate on why its so much work? Believe me, I know what its like to do a project where there is no going back to stock but its hard to see why it would be like this for the SFD.

 

I got my Pathfinder up on the ramps today and took most of my measurements to start making blocks. Just have to pick up some material.

 

Can we use the "Calmini - H.D. 3" Rear Coil Springs" for our R50s? I found them on the Rugged Rocks website but it doesn't specify year.

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Guaranteed those coils will be for the WD21 model. If you're planning on running subframe spacers upfront, you're going to have to look into F250 coils or Jeep coils (not sure what model, though).

 

I've been researching which coils work best but so far what I've found is pretty much preliminary. :shrug:

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I'm going to be in Australia / New Zealand in December....do they sell any SFD parts over there I could possibly look into? I also remember awhile back people talking about the "PRADO" sub frame drop....are those still around?

Edited by OfftourRoadie96
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Prado...that was Tyler M.'s thing (tmorgan4). Thats no longer around.

 

The whole SFD thing is a big topic with few doers. When you step back, it doesn't seem so complicated, but its always the small things that get to you. Don;t know how many there are with this. But a big snag aparently are the rear spacers or longer coils.

 

Imma get to a junk yard soon to check things out. Have to. i want to do this at the same time I fix my pathy...

 

Jose

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I'm going to be in Australia / New Zealand in December....do they sell any SFD parts over there I could possibly look into? I also remember awhile back people talking about the "PRADO" sub frame drop....are those still around?

what part of australia and new zealand you going to. some of us may be able to help you out. havnt herd anything on a subframe drop but can look into it.

 

I tried the ARB site and TJM site for the parts but nothing is listed sorry. best way to try would be to send them an email. I havnt honestly seen an r50 lifted this way in the past. most of them are stock rides.

these are the sites for our main 4wd supplies

http://www.arb.com.au/

http://www.tjm.com.au/

 

or try the aussie forum pcoa

http://www.pcoa.org.au/

 

or this forum is probly the biggest one in australia

 

http://www.4wdmonthly.com.au/forum/

this covers all 4wd's in australia.

 

hope it helps. but if youre in wa perth or around sydney in australia. look a few of us up.

Edited by jadm4x4
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Aspects of a subframe drop include:

 

-The subframe drop is 4 blocks. You can design it several ways, but honestly its simple. You are just making a rectangular spacer between the bolts and pushing the whole subframe down. Mine are 4" height.

 

-The engine requires 2 blocks the same height as the subframe drop blocks. These are also very simple design. Again just a spacer between bolts, rectangular with no angle.

 

-You also need to lift at the front suspension. However there are no longer struts available, so anything longer than AC coils will lead to severe topping out. So you will need spacers here too. These are NOT straight to keep the geometry right. If you are designing your own lift then you'll need some trial and error to make the angle right. My spacers are 2.5" and the rest of the lift comes from the AC coils. Most people have used 4" spacers plus AC or OME coils to achieve 5-6" total lift.

 

-You need to extend the steering shaft. I think most of us are using a honda U-joint with a spined shaft that matches the R50 shaft for the extension. I do not know if a straight extension would work, but I can confirm that this method does.

 

-The rear lift is much simpler than the front. You can use straight cylindrical blocks, longer coils, or both in combination to achieve the desired lift. I have 3" blocks and AC coils. There may be coils from another vehicle that fit, or you can order custom coils.

 

-You will want longer travel shocks in the rear

 

-You will need new bump stops in the rear and possibly limiting straps

 

-The stock panhard rod will be out of stock specs and force your rear axle towards the driver's side. The setup will work like this, but ideally you should make a drop bracket or a longer rod. Adjustable upper and lower control arms can be considered as well.

 

-You'll need longer brake lines front and rear

 

-You'll want to extend both differential breather tubes

 

-Your rear swaybar will be out of whack. I modified a stillen swaybar with longer links that can be disconnected with a single bolt. The front will still work if you want to keep it.

 

-The front skidplate will no longer work, you'll want a new one.

 

-Ideally you should add lateral bracing of the blocks up front. The SFD is kind of like putting your vehicle on stilts, and actions like laterally winching could twist your subframe. A solid skidplate will help.

 

-You'll need to adjust the routing of your front ABS line to prevent stretch

 

-If you are going with larger than 33" tires you will need to do a lot of trimming even after this lift. Of course you'll want to re-gear as well, especially if you have 4.3's.

 

 

The front blocks:

post-2060-1252972347_thumb.jpg

 

The rear blocks:

post-2060-1252972293_thumb.jpg

 

The engine spacer:

post-2060-1252972263_thumb.jpg

 

The steering extension:

post-2060-1252972278_thumb.jpg

 

The skid and driver's side front block:

post-2060-1252972683_thumb.jpg

 

Installed:

post-2060-1252972731_thumb.jpg

 

 

I owe Tyler Morgan thanks for doing all the research and providing me with a Prado prototype. You will run into hiccups with any custom project like this. Installation is a lot more involved than doing a regular suspension swap and you will need multiple jacks and stands. Air tools and an engine hoist would make it easier. However, I had very little experience and did the installation alone with only hand tools.

Edited by MichiganAve
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Agreed, thanks for all the heplful info, now i need to figure out where to get extendable rear brake lines?

 

Fastest may be to either have some braided steel lines made (you can get 'em done for as little as $25/pair if you find a shop willing to do it) or use steel/hose from another vehicle with the same fittings.

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Great reply MichiganAve! That really helps with the process. I didn't even think about half the stuff you posted.

 

Brake lines: Any performance shop carries generic SS braided brake lines. It would be as simple as getting lines the amount of drop longer then stock and buying the correct fittings. The only consequence is improved braking from the stiffer lines.

 

Sounds like most of the other stuff will have to be fabbed up. I'll try to do some figuring on the strut spacers.

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Go to any shop specializing in hose and they can do extended brake lines for you, You'll absolutely need a new rear brake line but you can get away with the fronts just fine, unless of course you are wanting to get stainless lines then go ahead and let longer ones. The place ive been to before to get my hoses done has been evco- house of hose but i dont know if they are nationwide.

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