LR3 Air to Coil conversion.....one year later.

roverandom

Adventurer
I've been prompted to start a thread concerning the EAS to Coil spring conversion I completed approx a year ago. This is to be an honest, unbiased report of what it is like to live without the EAS long term on my own Land Rover.

The vehicle concerned is a 2006 North American spec LR3 HSE currently showing over 270,000km (yep, I'm Canadian) and driven on dirt roads every day as well as seeing some light off roading with extensive HWY and family use, year round. It does have a few other mods such as aftermarket 18" wheels and TOYO OCAT tyres, an ARB winch bumper with a 9K Warn winch, LR roof rack and will have LS rock sliders as soon as I can find the time to fit them but lets not get too much into that other stuff.

So first of all lets get the obvious question out of the way.
Q, Why on earth would I want to replace such a major feature as the EAS with old fashioned coil springs?
A, Short answer, it was worn out and broken. It goes a little deeper than that but that is the gist of it.

Q, So why not fix it?
A, I did, and have repaired previous faults but the time had come where a major overhaul of system was in order to maintain any semblance of reliability. The value of my vehicle is now probably quite low but the cost of repair is the same as it was when it was brand new. The nearest Dealer or Land Rover specialist with the needed computer software for calibrations and such is a 660KM round trip away.
But more than that, although I had been drinking Land Rovers "Kool Aid" about how fantastic the modern EAS was, deep down I know if I had had the option of buying a bare bones factory no EAS model in the first place I probably would have done so.

Q, So how did I do it?
A, I used the Atlantic British kit. http://www.roverparts.com/Parts/L319SRK-OME.cfm

Q, Was it hard to install?
A, Nope. It's a little tight at the front but it's all pretty straight forward and you could do it on your driveway as long as you have a decent tool box. Instructions are good too. Here is a write up I did at the time. http://www.landroversonly.com/forums/f41/how-i-converted-my-lr3-air-coil-suspension-68194/

Q, So how do you like it?
A, This is the big question I want to address in this thread. As you may or may not of read in the install thread I had problems with the first kit being too low. So I had a discussion with AB tech guy and he had the OME +2" sent out to me. I had been initially concerned with ride quality as I had the impression from the UK forum that the EAS was far superior to coils. I can tell you with absolute confidence that the ride is as good, if not better than with EAS on the hwy and a big improvement off road over the EAS in "off road" mode. It still handles very well for a heavy SUV, it carried big loads with no issues, it off roads as well as it ever did and all the functions of the TC is retained (except height control obviously).

Q, What maintenance has been done?
A, None. None at all. It's working just fine. There was one incident that took me back to the specialist and that was to do with the transfer case module. As many have found out LR decided to put one of the most important control modules in a $2 leaky plastic box right under the windscreen to ensure water contamination? Anyway, it failed. The box is cheap (ish),easy to diagnose and easy to get at behind the battery. It does however need to be synced to the vehicle requiring the factory testbook or faultmate type scan tool so I had to take it to the specialist for that. Once this had been done the EAS factory parameters were re-enabled confusing the tech`s working on the car. I reset the system using the AB kit install guide and all was as it had been.

Q, Would you do it again or recommend it to another?
A, Yes, but only if there was doubt or existing problems with an EAS system on an older LR3/4. As time passes I think we will see more of this.


That`s about it. If you have any questions fire away.
 

Ray_G

Explorer
Great post, thanks for following up-seems to me that you may be the leading edge of something that becomes more common as these vehicles age a bit and/or specific applications make it worthwhile to consider coil conversion!
r-
Ray
 

Eniam17

Adventurer
Great post. I am still waiting for pics as I have been asking you for on another forum :). I agree that you are one of the first of many who will end up doing this as these things age. One day, coil conversions will become standard on the lr3 as they have on RR classics. I'm glad the one system is working out for you.
 

roverandom

Adventurer
Thanks. I am working on those pic's but I'm handicapped with a severe case of Computer Stupiditus. Hoping it's gonna clear up one of these days.

I'm not so sure about being on the leading edge? These kits have been available for a while now. I suppose I am one of the few that has 'come out of the closet' about ditching the almighty LR3 EAS though. Seems to be a stigma attached to not really wanting EAS on your modern Land Rover?

Personally, I like the coils..........a lot.
 
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Ray_G

Explorer
I'm not so sure about being on the leading edge? These kits have been available for a while now. I suppose I am one of the few that has 'come out of the closet' about ditching the almighty LR3 EAS though. Seems to be a stigma attached to not really wanting EAS on your modern Land Rover?

Personally, I like the coils..........a lot.
I don't know, I think the wave of using the LR3/LR4 more offroad is really going to start now that the price point is fairly low and thus I think your documentation of the conversion to springs will help folks on the fence. Removing one variable from the equation will certainly increase reliability in my eyes. Moreover hearing that it hasn't mitigated the other positive attributes of traction control and such...seems like a win.

Not to mention my read over the past few years was a lot of folks saying that the air suspension was so integral to the vehicle that the cost/benefit of converting to coils unless it left the factory was exorbitant and not worth it, etc etc etc. Your experience adds bonafide info to that dialogue.
Ray
 

mpinco

Expedition Leader
There was a base LR3 available from the factory with coil springs. Also read somewhere that a few vehicles were imported to the US and South Africa?

My concern would be that converting a LR3/4 to coil springs basically results in an independent suspension outcome.

Range Rover Suspension Innovation

........In a major leap forward, the air springs are cross linked (left to right) when off road, reducing the effective spring rate to near zero. This not only softens the ride but increases the ground contact force and traction considerably on a drooping wheel. It also makes the independent setup simulate the articulation motion of a beam axle, getting around the usual criticisms of reduced effective off road clearance on uneven terrain that independent suspensions usually receive.......


I understand why you would be interested in lockers.
 
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LR Max

Local Oaf
The cross linked air suspension thingie is superior off road. That said, for what most people are doing, you really won't notice it. You aren't taking a LR3 and trying to follow a lifted Jeep on 35s. On top of that, the traction control on these trucks is amazing, making up for not having rubber on the ground most of the time. Heck if you locked up a LR3 with full coils, it would be epic awesome.

Glad to hear that the on road ride is better. That would be my only concern with ditching the air suspension.
 

roverandom

Adventurer
Yeah, I hear ya. This was a factor I was concerned about when I had first concidered eliminating the EAS. Land Rover make a big noise about the cross linked system and how much better it is than a traditional IFS/IRS layout.

Here are my observations. The cross linked EAS always seemed to shine on mildly undulating trails at very slow speeds, and those shiny purpose built show off courses LR set up to display their stuff.

While I think it certainly helps and is desireable in an air suspension that lifts the vehicle by increasing the air pressure in the air springs it is limited in effectiveness buy the suspension travel. Off road I had noticed the stock LR3 often lifts a wheel when the going gets tough and the cross linked air bags do no transfer pressure fast enough on rocky/bumpy ground giving a rather unpleasent ride. Since fitting the coils I have honestly not noticed much difference from the drivers seat.

I have an area on my property that I have made into an off road course. It has steep hills, ditches, cross axle traps and logs. You can make most obsticles in the dry with a well chosen line with a stock LR3, but it gives the suspension and traction control a really good work out. Other lines are more difficult and are designed to stop/test my RRC off roader with lockers and 33" MT tyres. Certain obsticles were designed specifically to trap an LR3, and they work. My LR3 can't make the RRC lines. Never has with EAS and still can't with coils.
I tested the air and the coil springs as close to back to back as possible and found that (other than the ride was less jarring on coil springs) traction, control and progress were all very similar between the two.

Subsequent mild trail rides on the coils have been quiet and trouble free. It would be interesting to do a direct comparison with another EAS equipped LR3 on the same trail at the same time but so far that has not come together yet.

I believe the UK base and commercial models were available with factory coils and a manual 5spd gearbox. They did not have the terrain response fitted though. From what i've read 20+ coil sprung 2005 LR3's were imported to NA.
 
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JAK

JAK:JeremySnow
I considered the AB kit about three months ago and was faced with the same criteria of do I spend the money or not on fixing the air suspension.

First my compressor failed so I replaced it with the new upgrade unit which required modification of my slider. I was pushing 100,000 miles and my bushings needed to be replaced so I had poly bushings installed. My shocks were starting to feel squishy so I made the decision to replace all four struts and bags. At this point I felt that I had replaced almost all of the things that could go wrong...

So fast forward a bit. On my last trip I was on a trail at 9500 feet I had an airline rupture. This resulted in dropping me to the bump stops. The line turned out to be the main feed line that runs from the compressor valve block to the forward valve block for the front struts. The line rupture was essentially under the drivers door. This line runs above the air tank, above a the frame to body mount, into the front left wheel well, under the radiator mount and into the lower right front bumper. The rupture itself was not caused by any rubbing on the frame or adjacent structure. My best guess is that the line was slightly kinked when it was installed and it simply fatigued out. The rupture was on the inside of a factory bend. The line ballooned out and eventually ruptured.

This caused the front to lower every time the system tried to air it up, eventually the computer gave up and dropped the truck completely. I could not stop it in time and so down she went. Getting off the trail was brutal for the truck. I fixed it by airing up each corner separately with a a custom schrader valve setup. I could not make a field repair of the rupture as it would have required dropping the slider and the air tank. Dropping the slider would have resulted in the inability to put it back on on the trail. I need a floor jack to lift it into place not to mention that it was getting cold and dark. To top it all off Bishop PD gave me a ticket for not having covers on my roof lights. I blame the ruptured line for that one too as would not have had to go into Bishop had I not broken down.

I am not sure if I have a moral to my story except that right now I hate air suspension, by the way that ruptured airline is a cool $140 from the dealer. I have modified my bump stops again to allow for mud and snow to clog up the wheel well and still allow things to move forward. I have also added the schrader valves permanently to the truck to allow me to switch between air sources and isolate most potential line ruptures.

I am still debating moving to coils...
 

roverandom

Adventurer
This was a similar situation I had been facing. Although I never experianced a total failure of the EAS (yikes!) it was at a point that it really needed a total overhaul as it had become unreliable.

To be fair part of the blame for the jarring ride could be placed on the worn air struts. Replacing these probably would have solved that issue.

I looked into the cost of replacing the air struts etc and frankly on a $10,000 truck with lots of miles on the clock it didn't make any econmic sense. The rest of the LR3 worked great however and the famdamily love the versitilty so I wanted to keep it going as long as possible. The coil retrofit was comparitively cheap and somewhat future proof as it will be cheaper to maintain as the vehicle ages and depreciates further.
 

jhawk

Adventurer
I have modified my bump stops again to allow for mud and snow to clog up the wheel well and still allow things to move forward. I have also added the schrader valves permanently to the truck to allow me to switch between air sources and isolate most potential line ruptures.
Can you explain a bit more about how both of these modifications were done?

Thanks,
Jim
 

JAK

JAK:JeremySnow
Can you explain a bit more about how both of these modifications were done?

Thanks,
Jim
Bump stop modification involved installing a replacement 2 inch polyurethane bushing inside the air spring around the shock absorber shaft. This is similar to the oem method only taller. The OEM bump stop compresses to much for the weight of the vehicle and is not tall enough. I end up loosing a full inch of upward travel in the suspensions to run 33 inch tires now with zero rubbing at the bump stops. http://www.mcmaster.com/#standard-polyurethane-hollow-tubing/=q72ayb I used the 95a durometer to make the bump stop. I drove the truck around a bit with the air out of the system to get a feel for it. It is very rough of course but not unbearable for an emergency situation. If doing it again I'd probably use a softer material.

The schrader valves are spliced into the the airline that goes into the top of the air spring. I have a selector valve on each air spring that lets me use factory air or compressed air when I need. Schrader valves have a hard time not leaking at higher pressures sometimes so I have also installed check valves. While I cannot deflate the spring it has kept air in the system now without any top up for close to three weeks. I'll try and take some pictures this weekend. I cannot take credit for the idea only the implementation as this type of modification has been done before on other Land Rover vehicles. Here is a good link to the FASKIT mod http://www.disco3.co.uk/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=3802. I did something similar but reduced the number of airlines by adding the valves for the rear springs at the rear of the truck. Again, I'll try to take pictures this weekend.

I will start a new thread for the pictures.
 

tmpolice

New member
Nice to read. I Wanna keep the air suspension as long as it is easy and low cost to fix. This write up gives me a page to order lift coil conversion package for my LR3.
Been looking for a plan B i that case of total error on the eas.
 

roverandom

Adventurer
Absolutely, I think that I commented in my LRO thread linked to this one that had my EAS been reliable I would not have replaced it.

Sadly my truck is not worth anything like I paid for it so that was also a factor.
 
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