Lift & 31's and stuff

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Pico42
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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby Pico42 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 2:15 pm

Tow bar:

Standard tow bar that we kept for a long time as it was where our rear recovery points were fitted. However we often found that the fixed tongue would dig into the ground when reversing off a steep bit, stopping us going backwards. Whilst we needed a small run-up to get of the hill, stopping us going forwards.

So we have finally replaced it with a detachable style tow bar with a single rear recover point. This will also spread the recovery load to both chassis rails. The new bar is also lifted to improve the departure angle - we barely touched this on the ground in the past few weeks of driving.

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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby Pico42 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 2:45 pm

Front Bar:

And in the spirit of more refinement, we added some recovery points to the winch bar. Makes a total of four on the front now. These are higher up than the recovery bar, plus are simple hooks instead of the shackles. Should make putting a strop on quicker.

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That said, over the past few weeks of our 4WD holiday, we noticed a definite trend away from snatch strops to using winches for recovery. We did not use a strop once, opting for a winch each time. Many of those were winch only, but several were places we would have normally used a strop. This was echoed by many of the people we talked too.

The shackle mount on the front of the winch is growing on us too. It is simple and tidy. I guess if we ever enter a competition where speed is of the essence, we will switch to the hook we have on the extension line, but otherwise we are happy with the shackle mount.

And the winch performed flawlessly. Single pulls only at Ashley River, Tailings, Petrol Hill and pulling some idiot out of the creek that feeds into Lake Hayes, it never looked like it had a problem.

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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby Pico42 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 2:52 pm

We committed to a single battery set up for the time being too (and its a 620CCA in there - I checked) as we installed an on-board compressor where a second battery would go. Pumps up tyres fast. And nearly takes your eye out if you don't release the air pressure before popping the air hose off. One of those lessons you learn quickly.

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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby Pico42 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 3:05 pm

Using the winch:

This is at the creek running into Lake Hayes. A chap in a Hilux (on 31's or 33's, good lift, no recovery points) opted to drive up the creek. Barely got into it before sinking up to his diffs.

We were at a house across the lake, eating tea outside in the still air and heard what sounded like someone trying to pull a vehicle out.

Went down to have a look and found the hilux stuck with them trying to pull it our with a RAV4. Using a truck tie down strop between the tow balls of both vehicles. Shudder.

Explained to both the girl in the RAV4 and the guy in the Hilux why this was a bad idea, then winched him out with a tree protector wrapped around the tow bar. Decent enough load on the winch, he was well bogged, but overall relatively quick and easy.

Nice guy, just a dumb decision. We suggested he joined the local 4WD club and sort some recovery points, which he took on board.

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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby Pico42 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 3:14 pm

And this is at the top of Tailings, just south of Westport. A really fun, challenging track. We reset the winch to two or three spots between the bottom and the top.

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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby Pico42 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 3:38 pm

Over the past three weeks we did break some stuff.

1) The spare tyre mount. Take a 31" tyre, tie a ground anchor and spade to it and then driving it quickly out from Big River at 6:00pm gave us a broken spare tyre mount. Add more weld to fix. We also lost the top of the PRS aerial that mounts to the spare tyre mount.

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2) The drivers side CV. Had come through Molesworth and just got back to the seal in Hanmer when I heard a funny sound. Pulled over and checked underneath to find two of the three bolts gone and the third on the way out. The CV shaft was hanging loose. Stopped at the garage for bolts, washers and loctite, followed by a visit to Hammer Hardware for a hacksaw and fixed it in the motel carpark. Hasn't moved since.

3) The rubber strut mount now has some splits. Not sure how long this has been like that - only noticed it at the end of the holiday.

4) Rear A-Arm heim joint: This is well known for wearing out, or the joint coming loose from the a-arm and slopping around in the threaded hole. We had to stop a few time and tighten this up to remove the slop. Have started looking at what we can change on it to make it a better set-up, but in the meantime I have ordered a replacement joint kit to kiss it all better.

5) Not something we broke as such, but we added another set of shock repositioners - 1.5" this time - for more rear articulation. However doing so means the flexible brake line to the rear diff is under tension when the rear diff is at full extension. We will need a longer brake hose here. Something else to fix.
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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby Pico42 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 3:53 pm

But after all this, how does it drive?

Fantastic! We were blown away by what we can do in this - and it is still more capable as a 4WD than we are as drivers. I have started learning how to drive it again, making best use of the crawler gears and the armour.

Don't get me wrong, this is not a full blown comp truck, truggy or other big budget type ground up build. It is still a relatively small vehicle on 31's with open diffs. But all the bits we do have we found work very well together and we are now comfortable with tackling serious Grade 5 tracks without feeling like we are relying on others to make sure we get through. It is a great feeling.

The on-road manners are still very acceptable. We won't be overtaking cars going up Kilmog Hill or winning drift competitions, but it still corners well (Buller Gorge, Lewis Pass, Lindis Pass, Kawarau Gorge, Crown Range). It was less happy when we have 3 weeks of holiday luggage + all 4WD equipment + spare fuel stacked up in the back. And the front. And behind the seats. And on the roof and spare tyre. Don't forget, there is no sway bar since last ZukFest

Looking forward to ZukiCentral at Easter and Haast at ANZAC weekend.

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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby Pico42 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 4:05 pm

crzyfl wrote:Pico,
mind giving some details about your power steering upgrade?


Finally, although somewhat separate to the power steering, we had a heavy duty idler arm fitted. Basically the consensus on different suzuki online communities is that bigger tyres + power steering + deep ruts/big rocks is the ideal way to bend your idler arm and generally end your day's driving. Ours came from either Low Range Off Road or ZOR. There is also a Calmini Idler Arm brace we got as well, but not sure if it is needed yet.

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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby loppee » Mon Mar 03, 2014 5:58 pm

Sounds like ya had a good time away.
Zuk is looking good.
Woody.

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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby crzyfl » Wed Mar 05, 2014 3:09 pm

What is going on at Haast?
Probably moving (back home) to southland. So will be around looking for some mud.

I got some extended brake lines from Jimnybits, work real good.
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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby Pico42 » Thu Mar 06, 2014 1:07 am

Shotover 4WD Club's Haast trip - Barn Bay and Coopermine Creek. A regular trip that I haven't done yet, but have heard lots about. Southland LROC and Otago LROC both have regular sojourns to Haast.

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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby Pico42 » Sun May 04, 2014 9:21 pm

Toyota CV's & Half Shafts:

We now have toyota CV's instead of Suzuki ones, using this kit sourced from BenT. The key components are the adapter plates from suzuki diff output flanges to toyota CV flanges, free wheel hub spacers and brass bush bearings.
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Here you can see the installed adapter plate with the countersunk cap screws on the suzuki side of the adapters. These were necessary because of their proximity to the diff mount bolts, which were also countersunk cap screws.
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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby Pico42 » Sun May 04, 2014 9:23 pm

To get it all to fit, the rear mount of the control arm was moved out in what is know as the Hagen Widening Mod.

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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby Pico42 » Sun May 04, 2014 9:27 pm

It now has these Aisin free wheel hubs - factory fit toyota. The spacer is the same diameter, but the bolt positions are in between the hub bolts.

The toyota hubs have holes for pins, apparently these are what take the rotational load. The vitara free wheel hubs also have them, but there is no corresponding hole in the main hub, meaning they are not used.

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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby Pico42 » Sun May 04, 2014 9:31 pm

The final product, sort of. This is at full droop, but that was too much droop with the CV's binding slightly. To fix this we removed the calmini strut spacers (50mm) and did the strut mount flip (35mm) to pull the droop back the 15mm needed for the CV's to spin freely.

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You can also see where part of the calmini a-arm was trimmed back so it would not interfere with the CV boot.

Looking at the photo, I am now wondering whether the ball joint should be on the top side of the a-arm?

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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby Pico42 » Sun May 04, 2014 9:33 pm

After all that, some flex shots:

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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby Pico42 » Sun May 04, 2014 9:39 pm

Now for some testing...

At ZukiCentral, I got onto a steep rutted sidling. Taking it slowly, I got hooked up and lost traction - drivers side front wheel at full extension. Back in the day, I would gently apply some brake while driving forwards to spread the drive so tried that.

BANG!

Bugger, I thought I had popped my drivers side CV. Got out at 5:00pm, raced to Repco to grab a spare to replace it with at the camp. Only to find it wasn't the CV, but the spider gears in the diff...

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Lesson learned - what worked with 27's and standard gears is not good with 31's and crawler gears. Don't do it again!

But, the CV's held fine in what is normally the situation they would pop.

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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby Pico42 » Sun May 04, 2014 9:53 pm

So, then to fix the diff. I called back into Rick's on my way back down to Haast, where we found that sourcing Vitara ring, pinion and spider gears in 5.125 ratio with 26 spline sides is actually kind of difficult. Some ringing around of wreckers yielded the correct ring & pinion from a GV diff, but not the pair of 26 spline side gears...

Except for Peter Munro Commercials, who happened to have a 4 side gear, 26 spline centre sitting on their shelf. Ordered in by a dealer who meant to get 22 spline, but didn't realise until it was installed. Now the unit was sitting opened on the shelf and they were keen to get rid of it. Best thing though, the air actuated locking ring. Yep, they happened to have the correct ARB air-locker on the shelf and would discount it to get it gone.

Oh yeah!

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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby Pico42 » Sun May 04, 2014 11:45 pm

All back together and down to Haast, further problems:

Driving along the track (such as it is) and something hooks up underneath - feels like a stick or something caught underneath. Get to a creek crossing that needs some thought and as I line it up, Al notices the diff rotating.

Seems the third member mount has let go and in doing so sheared off one of the drivers side diff mounts, one of those countersunk cap bolts. The entire nose of the diff is rotating up and down about the diff mounts when under the drive and it was pretty close to puncturing the sump - some impressive looking bolt head shaped dents. We hold it down with a tie-down and I drive out in 2WD - now a familiar feeling.

Again, that night heaps of help from everyone on the trip, but this time, instead of finding a busted diff, we manage to ezy-out the sheared bolt and put it all back together. Then checking the third member mount, find it has come loose again - the thread pulls in somewhat when spannering it, but it is half stripped. Replace the entire bolt with a new one and add another new nut beyond the captive nut. Some spring washers and some loctite and it is better than ever.

Have speculated that the third member mount may have contributed to the previous diff breakage, but it seems odd that none of us noticed while fixing the diff.

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One other thing you can see in the photo is the metal clamps on the CV boots - it doesn't take much to rip these off in grass and other muck. May have to replace with zip ties or wrap in insulation tape to stop them getting caught. What have others done?
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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby Pico42 » Sun May 04, 2014 11:55 pm

And a couple of token trail photos

This is on the beach near Hannah's Clearing, between Haast and Jackson Bay. Sun shining, minimal breeze, not many sandflies and both of the two Suzuki's on the trip.

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And a bit more of an action shot - close to the downstream end of the track, I had ended up in front after the heavy winching section and had to punch through some muddy spots. To get through this one took several goes on the rev limiter, getting another metre or two each time. I will see if I can find one of the video's and post it up.
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After a few of these holes, the engine started running rough which normally indicates some water where it should not be. Opened the air filter box and it was half full of muddy water. I wrote it off as getting water in through the top of the snorkel, but subsequent checking once back at home identified a leak in the snorkel where it goes through the guard! And the air flow meter looked like a piece of shipwrecked steel. Ran a lot better with cleaning up, but really should get a new one.

Plus a video


Oh, and you can see the de-beaded tyre on the back. Plus I bent a tie rod end too. Those West Coast trips are hard on gear...
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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby Pico42 » Mon May 05, 2014 12:06 am

... speaking of which, this little gem capped off the destructive weekend. Drove back over Haast Pass, through the Neck and beside Lake Hawea when I thought "this gear lever feels a bit funny".

Then it broke off. I was doing about 80km/hr.

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I pulled the whole thing out with the boot and could move the stub between 3rd & 4th with my fingers, which I did until AlbertTown. Then used a socket and extension bar to change gears from there until Queenstown. Welded up that night courtesy of Keri and it was all go again.

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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby Mattman » Mon May 05, 2014 9:22 pm

Epic adventures!

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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby Pico42 » Mon May 19, 2014 12:50 am

I have been asked a few times for footage of the crawler gears in action - just how slow they go. Most of the stuff in this short crossing is in 1st low with a few revs.



Credit for the video goes to Sarah Campbell.

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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby kiers117 » Wed Nov 19, 2014 2:06 pm

Awesome read thanks for the information. I have a 91 Escudo on 31's with what I have been told is a LSD front diff (others say has to be a lockrite). I have broken two axles as you can see in the picture. The left side is a standard cv and the right has 2.5mm taken off to fit. This picture is of the cv that came with the truck when I bought it but second time round my engineer mate did a great job far better then that which I had hoped would be stronger but the axle broke again at the same spot on the second trip.

Howat Engineering can make a chromoly axle for $200 which I would fit my standard CV onto. Looking at your setup I would love to know what sort of prices and where to buy from? Are you running a standard open diff with crawler gears?

Thank for any advice
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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby Pico42 » Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:34 pm

kiers117 wrote:Awesome read thanks for the information. I have a 91 Escudo on 31's with what I have been told is a LSD front diff (others say has to be a lockrite). I have broken two axles as you can see in the picture. The left side is a standard cv and the right has 2.5mm taken off to fit. This picture is of the cv that came with the truck when I bought it but second time round my engineer mate did a great job far better then that which I had hoped would be stronger but the axle broke again at the same spot on the second trip.

Howat Engineering can make a chromoly axle for $200 which I would fit my standard CV onto. Looking at your setup I would love to know what sort of prices and where to buy from? Are you running a standard open diff with crawler gears?

Thank for any advice


Hey mate, I have only just seen this question of yours.

The shortened axle - is that from a later model Vitara? Perhaps not - if it is going into a 1991 diff it is probably the 22 spline. From what I have read online, the later 26 spline axle is thicker and therefore stronger, but the CV (size and shape of a coke can) is weaker. Ours were 26 spline.

These costs are all from memory so a bit rough, but the costs of different things for this set up totals more than the $200 for the chromoly unit. I think that's what we paid for the stubby shaft from a chap in Auckland (plus the CV's he made them from). Then a few hundred in hilux CV's and free-wheel-hubs (wrecker or Trade Me). The Hilux CV kit was about $400 (see ORE member BenT). Widening mod, dunno - you can do it yourself, but it triggers certification. And since you normally combine it with a steel diff (which get re-built to swap ring & pinions for the 5.2 ratio) the cumulative effects are quite something.

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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby Pico42 » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:38 pm

Diff / CV's again:

Did some more real world testing again over the weekend. It drove really well and managed to tiptoe across some of the soft areas that the Safari's bogged down in. But there were a few niggles.

1. The drivers side flange (the stubby shaft) kept popping out. Got into the habit of tapping it back into place with every stop. Pretty sure the circlip has gone AWOL (if it was ever there).
2. The countersunk head bolt on the diff mount had sheared off again. With only two of them holding the diff mount to the diff beside the stubby shaft, any movement turns the diff mount into a metal shear. But, upon closer inspection, there are 4 bolt holes whereas the calmini diff drop bracket only has two holes. So will modify the bracket to take all 4 bolts.
3. The countersunk head bolts holding the stubby shaft flange to the adapter flange were slightly loose. Writing this off as the axle getting a lot of vibration / movement from the different issues and they just need tightened up with some loctite.

As you can see, they are just some fine-tuning. Sorry, no pictures. I drive the vehicle, then drop and run to the airport.

The testing was a 18hr teams event in Southland hill country. Damn good fun.

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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby NJV6 » Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:13 pm

I bet you thought it was going to be a long night when 10 mins into it your free wheeling hub wasn't working!! Catherine (one of out team navi's) got quite a few pics I think she had one of you climbing that steep hill after using the ramps.

Glen (in the paj)
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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby Pico42 » Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:04 pm

Hey Glen

I must apologise, it took me until the day to place who you were. Pretty sure we caught up one day at the bottom of the rock face in Skippers Creek.(which turned out to be an expensive trip for me - Deborah says I am not allowed to go there again unless she is driving) and i know we have talked on the phone about Bullendale too.

Yep, I wasn't very happy with the start with that hub being seized open. But I did take some solace from the fact I had everything I needed to fix it. It really highlighted the need for everything to just work for that even - any time you get badly stuck, or break down, you lose your place and fall behind the pack. As for that steep spur - it was what I had lined up when I tried to cross that stream where I did. Pity I spent 1/2hr in the stream.

I would do it all again in a heartbeat. Was great fun and is in my top 4 trips (with Bulletproof Chasm, Jackson River and Rubicon)

A couple of pics from the weekend - who is that out front?
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I don't have too many photos - I need to link up with a few people and get copies. Alex took quite a few. Will PM you.
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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby Pico42 » Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:10 pm

Cross member:

I happened across a Brisbane Suzuki forum where I found a cheap HD cross member for sale. Had been thinking about one of these for a while and it so happened one came up and it was priced cheap. It also came with a pair of the altered ego style shock repositioners.

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What I didn't realise is that as well as being solid plate steel, it is also designed to lower the transfer case to help restore driveline angles after a lift. However, this does not work well with a 3" body lift. The gear lever simply would not work and the mechanic had to space the transfer case mounts back up to their standard position to make the gear lever work. Even so, I still got used to holding the lever in place in 4th.

And it seems it was a fortunate thing. The factory cross member we removed (the third one we have gone through) have the start of a crack:
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Re: Lift & 31's and stuff

Postby Sausager » Fri May 06, 2022 8:49 am

This is a cool wagon, and a cool writeup! Is the vehicle still around?

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