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Thread: Increasing ground clearance

  1. #1
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    Default Increasing ground clearance

    I own a 2003 2.0 DTI Estate which I use mainly for getting to work, 250 miles a week and at weekends for fishing. I am very pleased with the way it handles but I have slight problem that I wondered if anyone could help me with. Where I fish entails a 2-3 mile drive of very rough track which I have to neogiate rather carefully so that I dont 'ground out'on the front. Is there any way of raising the front suspension to give a little more ground clearance. I have looked on the internet and found some people use rubber blocks in springs to prevent the suspension from contracting to much but I dont like this idea. I have wondered about coil over springs and wondered how high they might raise the suspension?
    Any help would be appreciated.

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    Buy a 4x4.

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    Put a set of Elite springs on it.

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    The problem is that if you fit longer springs and dampers to increase the ride height, you're putting a greater angle on the driveshafts to the hubs, and the CV joints on cars like the Vectra just can't handle much more that their normal range. You might also find that you have quite severe positive camber that you can't adjust out with the normal suspension geometry, requiring more modifications.

    My suggestions would be to pick up something like an old 1994 or later Subaru Legacy (ideally an Outback model) for £300 or so. That'll give you 4x4 and 150mm+ ground clearance, plus a huge boot for all your fishing gear. Having had three second generation Legacys (before moving on to a big Mitsubishi Pajero), I can vouch for the ground having to be pretty rough for them not to manage. Insure it with limited mileage, and it could well work out cheaper than adapting the Vectra - which could lead to that being too compromised to use at motorway speeds, plus what it'll do to your insurance premiums....

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    Thanks for your replies but buying another car is not an option. I have to sometimes do 500+ miles a week for work which involves motorway driving and I need to watch the pennies. My veccy averages 45-50 to the gallon which I consider quite economical.
    The rear suspension is fine its just the front seems to be quite low. I re newed all the springs about 2 years ago.

    Would it be possible to fit a slightly larger diameter pait of tyres on the front , currently running 215/55-16 , how about 215/65-16??

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    Quote Originally Posted by DasArab View Post
    Put a set of Elite springs on it.
    Standard then?! Or was this sarcasm? I'm not very good like that...

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    A new set of standard springs may raise the front as the existing springs may have got soft. YOu can buy uprated standard length springs or maybe buy some for a model that has a heavier engine, although they may be too stiff?

    The rubber dohnuts are for the rear springs and fit between two coils. Monroe used to make shockers that were adjustable by compressed air, but I beleive they were for the rear only.

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    Larger tyres are indeed one way of gaining height, it's very common on 4x4s. However I suspect there isn't enough room under the arches on a Vectra to make much difference. Also you've got to be careful as going too big with your tyres could mean that your speedo will be showing a slower speed than you're actually doing, which is illegal. You could try fitting longer springs - but I really don't think the Vectra's CV joints and suspension geometry would like it, and you may find it unstable at motorway speeds.

    The reason I suggested a second, cheap car (purely for this rough work, hence limited mileage insurance) is that anything you do to your Vectra may compromise it too much to make it usable on road, plus you may have issues with your insurance, as increasing suspension height makes a vehicle more unstable, so it's not a modification many companies will ignore. It's fine to lift a big 4x4 by a couple of inches as it won't make much difference, but to a lighter, monocoque body, fairly aerodynamic car like a Vectra, which is already a bit twitchy on rough roads, it could make scary to drive at higher speeds.

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    if its just the lane when you go fishing then wouldnt it be easier and cheaper just to park car up and walk the couple of mile down the lane

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    What about springs from a 3.0 cdti since this is a much heavier engine, they should I theory raise the height of your front a bit? Would this work anyone??

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