Friday, 5 October 2007

Raisin' Up The Van

My van is too low. The previous owner lowered it as much as he could and even put low profile tyres on the front. I guess there must be no bumps in the road where he lives because I managed to scrape the low points of the front beam on the ground within my first week of ownership, and not on an obviously bumpy road either.

Raising her up a bit should have been simple given that there are adjusters on the beam however when I tried to move them, they wouldn't budge. I posted about it on and took her to a local-ish VW garage. The conclusion is that the installation of the adjusters was probably botched such that the internal collar has been locked in place by excessive weld penetration. The garage said they could fix it by removing them and fitting new ones at a cost of 250 quid.

At about this time, somebody posted on asking if anybody had any experience of the EZRider kit from Red 9 Design, thereby bringing the product to my attention. This is essentially a system for lowering a bus or bug by effectively doing away with the torsion bars and installing coil over shocks. It occurred to me that if the torsion bars were made redundant then my stuck adjusters would no longer be an issue and although the kit was 320 quid, Red 9 reckon that their kit gives a much better ride than a standard lowering job.

The idea of making an improvement rather than just a fix appealed to me however opinions about the kit seem to vary. The aforementioned thread on quickly turned into a discussion about safety rather than ride quality. A number of posters, and some mechanics that I've asked about it, point out that the damper mountings were not designed for this purpose. On the other hand, Red 9 Design have been making these items for several years now and there don't seem to have ever been any problems. I checked with my insurance company (Adrian Flux) and they had no concerns or warnings about it and all of the doubters on the forums seemed to be simply that i.e. doubters. I could not find, and I checked several forums, a single instance of anybody having had a problem with the Red 9 kit.

The main concern regarding safety seemed to be what would happen if the mounting failed however Red 9 are also able to supply lowered bump stops at an additional 47.50 per pair. I figure that having them in place is a reasonable safety precaution and added them to my shopping list. As a matter of fact I received the kit a few days ago and I fitted some of the kit today. I'll describe what I did, and report on the effect it's had, in my next post.

No comments: