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Old 28th May 2011, 06:11   #256
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Default Re: Composite Fibre Leaf Springs: Can they be used for off-roading?

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Originally Posted by Desmosedici View Post
So which one would be better, CFLs or Gas Shocks. What advantages / disadvantages would one have over the other? Sorry if this has already been addressed somewhere else.
I dont know as I have not tried CFLs.

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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
In a lighter vehicle like SWB Jeep or Gypsy, most of the work should be done by the leaf springs and the shocks should only eliminate the residual harmonics and not interfere with the primary action of the leaf. I remember hearing this from Jammy long time back. That means CFL is the way to go.
In any vehicle, the job of a leaf spring is different from that of a shock absorber, irrespective of the weight of the vehicle. I agree with the shocks eliminating the harmonics part - thats why there are there - they are SHOCK ABSORBERS!!!

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Originally Posted by starter View Post
Thanks for the detailed post Vikram.
Just one question, how is the ride quality now with the Bolero shocks?
Since a Bolero weighs close to twice a Gypsy, having these shocks on Gypsy would mean a very stiff ride, i presume.
So, what is the benefit of having these on?
While changing shocks, one has to take care of the total length involved in the shocks and match it to the total height the leaf spring allows. This will give a firm ride on road as well as help in articulation.
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Old 29th May 2011, 09:52   #257
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Default Re: Composite Fibre Leaf Springs: Can they be used for off-roading?

I have got the 4th set of CFL's for the front after successfully breaking 3 sets of front CFL's. Let's see how the the new/improved version works out.

But this time for sure I ain't going out without the metal leafs as spare :-)
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Old 27th June 2011, 19:30   #258
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Default Re: Composite Fibre Leaf Springs: Can they be used for off-roading?

After a long delay I finally got time this Sunday (or rather woke up in time to make it to a local Garage - Work queue becomes full after 10AM usually).

The install went wrong in every possible way one can think of with one goof-up after the other!!

The vehicle was jacked up around 12pm. I had mixed up the front and rear supporting backplates in a heap in the plastic bag. The mechanics just took the ones I handed out and starting fitting them on the rear. Unfortunately they were the front ones with a vertical protrusion and eye hole for the Tie rod!! If that goof-up was not enough, the mechanic was trying to put the plate upside down with the protrusion jutting down (also reducing G.C)!! While I was loitering around the place and "enjoying" the lazy Sunday the bugger disappeared into the back somewhere and appeared after grinding away a portion of the protrusion!! His contention was that the spanner was being obstructed by this protrusion and he could not tighten the plate. Obviously if you put it "ulta" or upside down that will happen!! I was actually still unawares of the mistaken logic behind all this as I had not yet realized that he was trying to do it all wrong.

In the meantime he decided the supplied U clamps were too flimsy and he suggested we get clamps from Mahindra jeep. 4 of the originals supplied were from Tata ACE vehicle.

So the owner and another person set off on a bike racing against the 2pm deadline for Sunday shops closing. I called Dr. Pawar assured me they would take the stress of off-roading, but by this time the owner had been gone for some time so I said never mind.

Two hours had gone by with no progress in the fitting. I went off for lunch and came back when I found that his common sense had returned and he had discovered that those backplates were meant for the front. Sigh! Unfortunately he had already done a grinding and burring job over the welding spots (also eating into some of the metal with a careless hand), but he justified it saying the U clamp shaft was being obstructed by the uneven welding lump around the edge of the hole. And then proceeded to repeat the same job to smoothen it out even further on the other plate.

Then we also had a problem with a few of the clamps. The ones supplied were too long with the threading too low down the shafts which requiring spacer nuts to align the tightening nut along the thread. This reduced the Ground Clearance considerably after fitting. Moreover the mechanics took whatever washers/nuts they could find within arms reach and used them as spacers. Some nuts were too much in height and now I have to redo the thing with right sized flat washers that do not reduce G.C so much.

But before that I need to find U clamps that have the threading begin high up like the original (see pic) but longer than stock parts by one inch. Else the spacer nuts lowering GC will have to remain.

The Buffer was also obstructed by a brake assembly fitment on the casing as shown in pic. That was cut too in a curved "L" shape. All cuts were painted for rustproofing with some kind of white coat.

By the time the job was done on all 4 leafs, it was almost 6PM and getting dark. The last thing I ensured they did was use a hacksaw on all the clamps and remove 2 inches of protrusion that would have reduced my G.C to that of a sedan.

We went for a test ride around 6pm I found the front right wheel cannot be turned fully because it is scraping against the broader CFL leaf. All other wheels are ok. The steering was also crooked by 15% to the left. i.e the horizontal line of steering was not dead straight.

I drove home and went back today morning to check the alignment at a shop neighboring his garage. The chap has only mechanical gear and no computers. We went underneath my car and after some fiddling and attempt at correcting he said it was not possible to improve the situation. the alignment is only off by 1.3 degrees he said, but correcting that would not result in a suitable gap between tyre and CFL. Then the steering wheel (because I the smart idea that I could rotate wheels since they had been taken off anyways) was corrected by removing it and putting it back straight rather than correcting the alignment of the wheels! Sigh!

Now I am stuck with a vehicle that I cannot drive above 40kmph for the fear of not having a safely maneuverable car that does not turn right sharply with the leaf obstructing its movement. I left it at home and took a bus to office today.

Total Damage: 800/- original labor charge + 600 for 5 clamps + 400 extra for the extra labor owed to idiotic stupidity and dumbness. The mechanic actually doing the job got greedy and quoted 2000/- labor instead of the agreed 800/-. I brought it down to 1200/- for labor. I did not grudge too much as I had seen them struggle with the manual labor non-stop although they did not do the smart thing of pausing and visualizing what goes where before starting.

On the ride quality - I did not find bad roads around the place for more than 5kms I went but whatever little bumps and potholes I went over it was really fun and smooth!! Guys this could be trick to bringing the fun factor back into the Gypsy for daily drives - A little bouncy ( the kind children love) but a joy over stock leafs. Still to get used to the feel though. The entire feel of the many shocks and impacts on the road has softened and do not peak very hard in bone or mind jarring fashion like before. These CFLs appear very capable of blunting the torture inflicted by our roads and I anticipate a much less stressful and a more fatigue free ride going forwards. I can't think of going back to stock spring leafs again.


PROBLEMS:

1. But the major problem of wheel scraping needs to be addressed asap. The alignment mechanic told me that the older Gypsy had a threaded steering end rod above the tie rod that could be turned to make gap adjustments. But mine has no threading with an adjustable nut, its just a straight rod bolted on. Is it possible to thread the steering end rod and manipulate it? (I am a novice, please correct me if wrong). Is it true that this could be tweaked in older Gypsy's? Can I get the older adjustable steering end rod and use it to fix the problem? I saw the mechanic's struggle with getting the tie rod into the backplate hole. could they have shifted the alignment of the axle/hub assembly a little too much? Both shocks do not look slanted to one side, but look symetrical to me at casual glance. Only driver side wheel is scraping this leads me to suspect a misfit somewhere.

2. Last option is wheel spacers that are used when up-sizing to broader tyres - where can I get them ASAP in Bangalore? Does it affect steering negatively? Does it place excess load on axle hub that might shorten life of bearings etc?

3. Find U clamps only once inch longer than original.

After the scraping issue is resolved I will go to a more modern Tyre Alignment shop like Madhu's on Langford road for checking toe-in and alignment etc. The current mis-alignment I think is probably larger than what can be fixed in an alignment center with their normal process.

Pics attached.

--Ragul
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Last edited by Ragul : 27th June 2011 at 19:44.
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Old 27th June 2011, 19:43   #259
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Default Re: Composite Fibre Leaf Springs: Can they be used for off-roading?

Yikes, it should have been no more than a hour's job. Next time don't pick Mr.Bean as your mechanic.

When I bought my CFL set in 2009, I only got two leafs, nothing else, no plates, no U clamps, no nothing. I used the stock plates, bought shorter U-clamps and then the installation took just 30 minutes. Keep in mind that none of the mechanics would have seen a CFL before in their lives. So, don't let them do any experimental juggad work on it.
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Old 27th June 2011, 20:23   #260
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Default Re: Composite Fibre Leaf Springs: Can they be used for off-roading?

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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Yikes, it should have been no more than a hour's job. Next time don't pick Mr.Bean as your mechanic.

When I bought my CFL set in 2009, I only got two leafs, nothing else, no plates, no U clamps, no nothing. I used the stock plates, bought shorter U-clamps and then the installation took just 30 minutes. Keep in mind that none of the mechanics would have seen a CFL before in their lives. So, don't let them do any experimental juggad work on it.

I dont think the original plates will fit with the ones I have - the center is sandwiched in some soft material covered by clamps on both sides that increase the width at the plate area by almost an inch. And the new CFLs are more than 12mm wider than stock at front I think.


--Ragul
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Old 27th June 2011, 22:48   #261
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Default Re: Composite Fibre Leaf Springs: Can they be used for off-roading?

Oops! I may have mistaken the stabilizer bar for the tie rod. And what the mechanic referred to as the steering end may have been the drag rod.

Well I am learning.

--Ragul
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Old 27th June 2011, 22:57   #262
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Default Re: Composite Fibre Leaf Springs: Can they be used for off-roading?

Ragul: Am sorry but i think something is horribly wrong here. You should have taken it to a garage who knows the job. Even your dealership would have been fine. I would seriously recommend you to take to Suraksha Silk Board Jn and show them so that they can set it up right. If required buy some new back plates etc to set this up right.

If set up right it can be a joy or else pain in all the wrong places.
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Old 28th June 2011, 08:09   #263
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Default Re: Composite Fibre Leaf Springs: Can they be used for off-roading?

By faar, the shoddiest job by any mechanic I have seen. Sigh!! What made you risk such a rare mod to be handled by such a in-competent person. Hope not all is lost, suraksha and khan was always the place to go to in bangy for a gypsy mod. Hope you dont stand to loose a lot in the process of grinding/damaging the mounts...

PS - can you share the exact details of person/mechanic, assuming you would never ever go back to him and also suggest others here to avoid him!!

Last edited by svsantosh : 28th June 2011 at 08:13.
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Old 28th June 2011, 10:02   #264
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Default Re: Composite Fibre Leaf Springs: Can they be used for off-roading?

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Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
Ragul: Am sorry but i think something is horribly wrong here. You should have taken it to a garage who knows the job. Even your dealership would have been fine. I would seriously recommend you to take to Suraksha Silk Board Jn and show them so that they can set it up right. If required buy some new back plates etc to set this up right.

If set up right it can be a joy or else pain in all the wrong places.


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Originally Posted by svsantosh View Post
By faar, the shoddiest job by any mechanic I have seen. Sigh!! What made you risk such a rare mod to be handled by such a in-competent person. Hope not all is lost, suraksha and khan was always the place to go to in bangy for a gypsy mod. Hope you dont stand to loose a lot in the process of grinding/damaging the mounts...

PS - can you share the exact details of person/mechanic, assuming you would never ever go back to him and also suggest others here to avoid him!!
Guys

I was given the impression any mechanic could do it. I am a first time car owner and learning ...

I took some rough measurements under the car. The distance between the tyre inner wall and the Leaf is 5.5cm on the (bad) driver side but 6.5cm on the (good) passenger side. So maybe I need to shift the axle right by 5mm to make both equidistant at 6cm? See sample pic. At full lock the Left Front (LF) wheel is 1.8cm away from the leaf at its closest point, while the Right Front (RF) touches. I think both wheels need to maintain a gap of 9mm from the leaf.

I also took a closer look and found the threaded Tie Rod End I had missed yesterday (see pic). But I believe the Tie Rod end can be screwed to manipulate only the length of the tie rod and resulting toe-in and toe-out. It will not shift or correct the misalignment if any of the axle hub assembly by 5mm or more - Is that a correct tidbit of knowledge? At a glance, it also seems like the wheels have a toe-out instead of a toe-in.

So now with some objective measurements I think the problem does not look too difficult to solve. Unless 5mm is too much of a distance to manipulate safely without affecting handling and stress on the system - but I think it is off anyways so I will only be correcting a problem. Combined with adjusting the toe-in it may do the trick. The SJ413 repair manual tells me the toe-in can be between 2-6mm with a recommended camber of 1 degree and kingpin inclination of 9 degrees.


Q: Would the Caster also change with a new suspension that gives a body lift? In that case I would need to adjust that as well. (The recommended caster is 3degrees 30minutes or 14.5mm. )

I think toe-in, Camber and Caster can be done at Madhu's Tyre alignment center rather than at Suraksha? Or do they have alignment facilities there as well?

Regarding my choice of the place - Suraksha is 25+kms form my house hence I did not consider going there earlier and chose a local place in Rammurthy Nagar soon after the Railway Crossing in a gully to the right. It is called Sai Raj Motors and mainly does body work outsourced from Pratham motors he told me. See pic. One mechanic (the cocksure idiot who almost immediately starting banging the parts to fit them in the wrong location) was also working at Pratham MASS and doing Sunday's at this Garage. The other mech works at Naveen Auto (TATA) in Kamannahalli. (See pic). Never go to this place again for mechanical repairs unless it is body work maybe.

The two monkeys also used 4 different types of clamps at the front!! Because time was running out on a Sunday and no shops were open they did not go and buy extra U clamps from the Armada/Bolero when they found that the threading on a few clamps was not good. This has also contributed to a slight un-evenness in the horizontal plane of the leafs. I think if I leave it like that the stress and load may break the leaves over time because of improper alignment? I will first hunt for U clamps washers and nuts immediately after breakfast right now then call Suraksha as well.

Thanks guys for your support. It is good to talk to somebody when one has problems

--Ragul

PS: I will also request new plates and refit them again at the front after the immediate issue is resolved - unless it can only be resolved by changing the plates as Jaggu says. I dont want to take a chance with them breaking at the weld seams after all the monkey business done to them.
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Last edited by Ragul : 28th June 2011 at 10:10.
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Old 28th June 2011, 11:11   #265
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Default Re: Composite Fibre Leaf Springs: Can they be used for off-roading?

I repeat again order parts and go to Suraksha Silk Board Jn. They have done this enough number of times to know what and how to do. Dont even take a weld gun near the cfl! Why do you want to experiment further when there is a straight forward way out.
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Old 28th June 2011, 11:25   #266
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Default Re: Composite Fibre Leaf Springs: Can they be used for off-roading?

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I repeat again order parts and go to Suraksha Silk Board Jn. They have done this enough number of times to know what and how to do. Dont even take a weld gun near the cfl! Why do you want to experiment further when there is a straight forward way out.

Yep Spoke to Sardar at Suraksha. Told me a few things and he surely knows what he's talking about. Going there right now.

Thanks

--Ragul

Last edited by Ragul : 28th June 2011 at 11:27.
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Old 28th June 2011, 12:51   #267
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Default Re: Composite Fibre Leaf Springs: Can they be used for off-roading?

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Originally Posted by khan_sultan View Post
I have got the 4th set of CFL's for the front after successfully breaking 3 sets of front CFL's. Let's see how the the new/improved version works out.

But this time for sure I ain't going out without the metal leafs as spare :-)
A suggestion is to try the front CFL in a normal gypsy. Looks like your vehicle is pushing the boundaries for the manufacturer IMO

OR, the product is lousy and unable to handle even 30% odd overload
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Old 28th June 2011, 17:13   #268
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Default Re: Composite Fibre Leaf Springs: Can they be used for off-roading?

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Regarding my choice of the place - Suraksha is 25+kms form my house hence I did not consider going there earlier and chose a local place in Rammurthy Nagar soon after the Railway Crossing in a gully to the right
Sigh, just on the left is a well respected bangy jeep mech who knows his stuff about mods. He did my locker install with aplomb. PS, he stays 55Kms away from my home and in a different state. Kms shouldnt matter when looking for a right guy, right place or right solution.

Good you got away easy, get used to 500 series Volvo (Silk brd to Hebbal)
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Old 29th June 2011, 01:15   #269
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Default Re: Composite Fibre Leaf Springs: Can they be used for off-roading?

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Sigh, just on the left is a well respected bangy jeep mech who knows his stuff about mods. He did my locker install with aplomb. PS, he stays 55Kms away from my home and in a different state. Kms shouldnt matter when looking for a right guy, right place or right solution.

Good you got away easy, get used to 500 series Volvo (Silk brd to Hebbal)

Ok I learnt my lesson! And now I can't agree with you more!

The issue is resolved. The leaves needed to be shifted to the right slightly with the axle centered and this was achieved by widening the hole in the axle through which the centre bolt of the leaf goes through. The inner facing side of the hole was widened using a plasma cutter and the leaf's re-aligned. See pic!!

Oh now I am the new kid on the block chanting "Surakshaa .. Surakshaa ...!" Move over Juggi. Glad to meet Intelligent, experienced and competent people finally!!

Mr. Sirdar handled it like a seasoned pro. I also met Mr. Lokesh who walked over to where I was eating from my Tiffin upstairs and offered me some carrot and radish from his lunch even before any introductions. Then I found he knows all the seniors at Team-BHP. I am so glad I found them, I heaved a sigh of relief!! I mean there is no need for them to prove anything to me for me to say this. I instinctively trust them based on small talk ( and in some measure to Juggi's exhortations) and the proof of the pudding is in the execution of the work done today.

Now all my servicing and mods will be done at ... <chorus> Surakshaa only!!

The clearance is now approx 5mm on full steering lock at both sides - I couldn't read the measuring tape accurately as it was too close to my eyes when lying underneath, but it appears to be equidistant when checked with the finger test as well (Wasn't it banned recently? ).

We did wheel alignment first then found it did not fix the problem then the hole was widened. Then a 2nd alignment check was done. Went to office by 6pm.

All the worry about scraping the suspension has made me decide to go for 25mm negative offset 7J rims. This should enhance the "performance" (going by marketing noise on Yoko site) and looks of 215/75/R15 radials over the stock 5J rims, as well as increasing inside tyre wall distance from suspension by 25mm along with a healthy 75mm wide stance'd outer projection for the looks department. After all the wheel alignment will keep slipping over every 1000kms and I can't keep worrying about those 5mm all the time ( I have worried enough about adding those extra mm in my teenage years!).

Correct me if my assumptions are wrong guys.

And thanks to you folks for all the support! Mr. Khan_Sultan offered to drop by but I arrived at Suraksha too late for his schedule. Much Appreciated!

--Ragul
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Last edited by Ragul : 29th June 2011 at 01:31.
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Old 29th June 2011, 08:28   #270
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Default Re: Composite Fibre Leaf Springs: Can they be used for off-roading?

25MM -Ve Offset 7J alloyz - WOW, I got -13 and that itself made a big difference. Can you post a pic of it on your thread plz? Would love to see them.

I guess now you dont need spacers, 1 inch itself is too much difference. Good your gypsy can/may take it, a jeeps wheel bearings would go for a toss with so much -ve offset!!
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