LR3 suspension failure - not a bladder leak

RBA

Adventurer
Hi Gents,

A group of us were exploring southern Utah last week (G-Wagen, RRSC, LR3 and Xterra). On our final day the LR3 suffered a failure on the passengers front suspension. The rod that connects the sway bar to the A-arm (I believe) folded like a taco shell and the A-arm started rubbing against the aluminum shield on the bladder and wore out the shield and left a hole. Luckily it was caught before it punctured the bladder.

We were able to use the IIDtool to compensate the difference in height so the compressor wasn't overworking and overheating, causing a fault.

I'm wondering whether the owners use of the IIDtool to raise the vehicle about 50-60mm over stock during everyday driving, then raised it to offroad mode for an extensive period during the trip, could this extreme height compromise the components to the point of failure?

thanks in advance!
 
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Jwestpro

Explorer
I'm wondering whether the owners use of the IIDtool to raise the vehicle about 50-60mm over stock during everyday driving, then raised it to offroad mode for an extensive period during the trip, could this extreme height compromise the components to the point of failure?
Air lift is not going to "bend" a sway bar end link or an A-arm or any of those steel parts. Things failed because they were being used in a way they were not designed to be used.

If what you are saying about the height they use "every day" is true, then that's just a bad idea to start with. Additionally, there's no need to be that high to start with and THEN also add the factory "lift" into the mix for ALL of the offroad driving. I can't understand why some people think it makes any sense to drive this independent suspension at +2" all the time. It is just plain ridiculous. Just lifting the vehicle with the air springs does not make it "better". In fact it becomes worse for high speed driving, dangerous actually, aside from pointless.

Do they know how much narrower the track is when lifted that high? It is and what would normally be a difficult suv to flip becomes easy to flip, especially off road on side slopes.

Now, if we had a full kit of A-arms, air springs and other linkages that were designed for this change, then it would be different. This is how you do it with a 2014 Land Cruiser, you get aftermarket upper control arms, ARB springs, longer travel dampers, etc. It gets built the right way, and it works accordingly.

Unless someone is trying to run a 33"+ tire, they do not actually need to be riding at +50-60mm all the time either. Even with a 33", +50 is not needed, +30 would be plenty. Then they'd have to be cutting a number of things to make it actually work anyway.
 

brdl04

New member
Jwestpro,

I agree wholeheartedly. We think being LR3 owners that just because we can manipulate the ride height with the flip of a switch, that we can then modify the sensor rods to run in a taller state on the highway without regarding engineered parts and their intentions.

RBA,

to try and answer your question, This guy sounds like he did the same thing.... http://www.disco3.co.uk/forum/topic52963.html
 
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JAK

JAK:JeremySnow
Hi Gents,

A group of us were exploring southern Utah last week (G-Wagen, RRSC, LR3 and Xterra). On our final day the LR3 suffered a failure on the passengers front suspension. The rod that connects the sway bar to the A-arm (I believe) folded like a taco shell and the A-arm started rubbing against the aluminum shield on the bladder and wore out the shield and left a hole. Luckily it was caught before it punctured the bladder.

We were able to use the IIDtool to compensate the difference in height so the compressor wasn't overworking and overheating, causing a fault.

I'm wondering whether the owners use of the IIDtool to raise the vehicle about 50-60mm over stock during everyday driving, then raised it to offroad mode for an extensive period during the trip, could this extreme height compromise the components to the point of failure?

thanks in advance!
You said it folded over like a taco shell. This indicates a compression load resulting in column buckling failure. To get the compression load you need to be torque the anti sway bar. This means that the body must roll or there is significant articulation difference left to right while offroad. A permanent lift of any kind will change the center of gravity of the vehicle upwards. During cornering this will result in more body roll and more load on the rod.

This is not an uncommon failure for the LR3. http://www.sclr.org/roverboard/2013-rendezvous/8377-rover-rendezvous-xiii-september-27-29?start=36#9736 A shock load, not a shock absorber load, could aggravate the condition, as well as getting one of the front wheels off the ground allowing the suspension to drop all the way down. I may be wrong but I recall reading that this rod combined with the anti sway bar is what actually limits articulation rather than the strut and if the ball end limits are reached a bending or prying load could be put into the rod. Combine that with a compression load and you can buckle the rod as you did.

So my answer to your question is yes the "extreme" height could lead to this component failure. Most likely though it was compromise a long time ago and has only now failed. I changed this particular component at 100,000 during a suspension refresh to limit my exposure to this failure mode. A better fix would be a stiffer and stronger part.
 

RBA

Adventurer
Thanks for the responses.

My buddy does have larger tires (not sure of the specific height). Which is why he decided to run with a lift. He did have the truck realigned with the lift but I don't know whether he did anything else. His truck had about ~80K miles.

Reading the other threads it does some very similar. I own an LR4 ('13 with 32K Miles) also, which I raise with the IIDtool by 30-50mm when I'm offroading. Which is why I'm so curious about this failure. I drove my G-wagen on this trip and while I didn't have any suspension issues...my window regulator went in the rear and I envied the comfort of the RR and LR3 on the highway.
 

Jwestpro

Explorer
Another thing that I seem to see too many people doing is just driving too darn fast off road. It's like they are dreaming of rally racing, or at least Top Gear but while using their own vehicle which will cost their own $ and not that of a show or team sponsorship budget. When I bought my first Land Rover, it was a used Disco 1 1996. I felt so fortunate to be able to own such a machine. I also found a great sense of responsibility to take care of it so as to not break things. The biggest thing was "slow" unless absolutely necessary and then faster only for a well timed moment.

Seems the sway bar could have simply been disconnected though to make it off the trails and home without having to screw around with the air suspension settings.

Regarding "bigger" tires: Again, hardly anyone is trying to run bigger than 32" tires. 32" fit under the fender liners at normal height. Thus there is no true need to ride so high all the time. It's only for aesthetic reasons which are not worth the results.

This reminds me of the Rang Rover Sport option many years back called "dynamic handling" package or something like that. It was only offered on the supercharged version I think and it did something along the lines of disconnecting the sway bars while in low range or lift mode or whatever. This allowed for fantastic on road handling with much, much less body roll while then offering even better articulation off road than maybe even the standard Sport.

Too darn bad that Land Rover doesn't build in for us something like the KDSS system on the Land Cruiser which loosens up the sway bar end links when off road. I realize part of that though is because it's steel spring suspension starts off with less travel than our LR3/4 design. I just wish we could have both better off road flexibility and stiffer on road handling.

The Lexus LX 570 version uses a hydraulic system to stiffen up when chosen by a switch as well as some lift and drop similar to our air struts. It does not have quite the articulation but it does have a simpler system less prone to the issues our air system has with the lines, compressors, faults, etc.

Now, enough with the rant. I still love our Land Rovers ;)
 

Jwestpro

Explorer
I own an LR4 ('13 with 32K Miles) also, which I raise with the IIDtool by 30-50mm when I'm offroading. Which is why I'm so curious about this failure.
You should check out the LLAMS electronic kit which allows on the fly knob accessed -/+. Rolling 500 miles to the "event" through mtn roads, -20. Arrive, have slightly larger tires, want just a bit more travel at 31 mph, use +30 while in normal factory lever setting. Come upon a deeply rutted mud section where high center is likely, turn knob to +50 and factory off road.... clear it, next up is rocky cross axis crawl section, drop back to -30 or zero on lift mode to retain the most range of articulation while retaining your sway bar end links in their nice straight shape ;)

It's really a sweet set up gaining the very lowest possible garage parking/slow driving or the very highest possible ground clearance in combination with the IIDTool.

Lowest: Running 32" tires I am able to get my roof antenna just under 74.5".
Highest: I have Rasta 6mm plates under my engine and currently a bare rear differential. I measured 14.5" under the engine slider plate and 14" under the rear diff, 13" under the low hanging exhaust beside the rear diff.

These extreme settings would be only for very specific purposes for short periods and very slow movement with care. The lowest is obviously useful for garage parking, including a rack system. For example one could use the EZ Awn which fits fairly low to the roof line plus awnings which stick up higher. The highest is obviously useful for very deep rutts or deep snow.

Imagine a forest road which is relatively tame regarding articulation needs but is in deep, deep snow. The extra height would not only allow less chance for bogging down but also chains for fantastic traction. Keeping in mind that as the vehicle raises, the wheels actually pull in tighter to the vehicle closer to the frame, upper control arm, etc. Narrow tires and/or spacers would be recommended for the full wrapping chains. The quicker mounting ones that do not wrap behind the tire would be easy though.
 

Eniam17

Adventurer
to the original post, if you are raised 50-60 mm during normal driving aren't you already in the equivalent of "off road" mode? Or are you talking about being in super extended mode during the offroading trip?
 

RBA

Adventurer
My buddy had his LR3 raised around 50mm in normal mode and then switched to offroad mode via the dial on the dash, so at that point he was in super extended mode while offroading.
 

Jwestpro

Explorer
^ to the above 2 posts. basically yes and yes.

A fault can also occur if running this way and entering a moment where there is no contact on the diagonal which makes the system "try" to extend further to reach for traction. Because it's already overstretched, it gets "upset" and faults. This is also confirmed by the LLAMS designer in Australia who uses a ditch situation near the shop to test for such things.
 

Mack73

Adventurer
Slow down guys. I have seen this happen and we tracked down the problem after many hours. This happened to Houm_WA's truck if you search around on other forums and see his posts.
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You have bent a shock. It is now out of alignment causing the sway bar end link to bind and eventually break. Also since it is out of alignment the upper a-arm now hits the bag.
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So replace your shock and you'll be fine.
 
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