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Old 23rd September 2021, 00:15   #1
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Default DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension

My In-Laws and I took a trip during the Ganesh Chaturthi weekend to the Amboli ghats in our 2010 Indica Vista Quadrajet. We wanted to avoid police check posts at the Goa-Maharashtra border as much as possible, so we took internal roads from Colvale right up to Banda village. The roads were quite bad with many over-sized speedbreakers causing the car to scrape terribly due to full load. We later realized that it was the jack mountings that were hitting the ground as they appear to be quite low. Despite all the scrapes (which were felt pretty bad by the ones sitting at back), the car did not suffer any damages at all!

My Father-in-Law later decided that it was best to install spacers beneath the coil springs. We planned to do it by ourselves last Sunday.

Tools used:
1. Car Jack.
2. 2 Nos. x Stand Jacks.
3. 16 mm Ring spanner.
4. Adjustable spanner
5. Impact Driver.

My FIL got these Titan Stand Jacks from Industrialbuying.com, which are of great quality. From my understanding, Titan tool kits were supplied in the Maruti 800. My mom still has the kit and after 24 years, not a single tool has corroded.

The jack mounts that kept hitting the ground during our trip:

DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension-20210919_132040.jpg

The Titan Stand Jacks along with pricing info:

DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension-20210919_131748.jpg

DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension-20210919_131751.jpg

DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension-20210919_131756.jpg

20 mm Rubber Spacers which he had purchased from an FNG in Vasco long ago:

DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension-20210919_122347.jpg

We fitted each spacer using different methods.

Preparations:

1. Park the car on levelled ground and engage the handbrake.
2. Loosen the wheel nuts on one wheel and raise the vehicle on one side by placing the car jack under the torsion beam (this is not actually recommended due to the curved shape of the beam, however, we had to place the stand jack on the actual jack mount) - and then place the stand jack. Ensure that the jack is placed securely in the correct place. The Indica Vista has designated mounts for the jacks which I have not seen on any other car.
3. Remove the nuts and the wheel, while leaving the car jack under the torsion beam for double safety.

Method 1 (not recommended):
1. Loosen the bolt at the bottom of the damper. This was a really cumbersome task and took us nearly 20 mins just to get it loose. We had to use the impact driver here and managed to loosen it after continuous hammering and some bolt slippage.

2. Remove the bolt and free the damper and then release the car jack that was placed under the beam.

DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension-20210919_122406.jpg

After doing this, we tried to release the coil spring from the mounts, but it would not budge, due to the load acting on the beam from the other wheel. Hence, we had to release the other damper as well. Good thing my FIL decided to buy a pair of stand jacks!

We repeated steps 2 & 3 from the Preparations section. Here we realized that the damper could be loosened by removing the nut on the top, i.e. inside the boot. This was a much easier method.

DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension-20210919_124544.jpg

Method 2
1. Remove the rubber cap from the top of the mount and loosen the nut. This is a very easy process as the nut itself is not tightly fitted.
P.N: The damper bolt itself will start turning once the nut is loose, so please counter turn it using an adjustable spanner.

DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension-20210919_124435.jpg

DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension-20210919_122353.jpg

2. Remove the damper and then release the car jack that was placed under the beam.

With both dampers now loosened, the coil springs will easily come off their mounts.

Placing the spacers onto the springs:
1. Notice how the spacer has three rubber stoppers, each higher than the other. The spring has to be tightened around these like a screw, moving it clockwise.

DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension-20210919_122344.jpg

2. Ensure a tight fit between the spacer and the spring.

DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension-20210919_122530.jpg

DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension-20210919_122524.jpg

Place the spring on its mounts on the beam and put the damper in place by slowly lifting the beam using the car jack, one side at a time.

DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension-20210919_124505.jpg

DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension-20210919_124458.jpg

We greased the bolt that was removed from the bottom of the damper in method 1, as it had accumulated a lot of mud. This made it a lot easier to tighten.

Ensure that the bolts are tightened properly.

We managed to get the damper that was loosened using Method 2 in its proper position only after fitting the wheel back on the other side. After doing this, we loosened the nut on the top of the damper from method 1, to ensure a proper fit on both springs and dampers.

Put the wheels back and removed the stand jacks and lowered the vehicle.

These spacers increased the height by approx. 20 mm at the rear. My FIL had them installed a few years ago and then removed them while replacing one of the dampers. He mentioned that the car gets a tad bouncy over undulations at high speed, but nothing that made him nervous.

Here are a few pics after installation:

DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension-20210919_132016.jpg

DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension-20210919_131913.jpg

DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension-20210919_131849.jpg
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Old 23rd September 2021, 11:32   #2
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Default Re: DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension

From your last two pics, I can see that the strut has started leaking oil. I would suggest that you get that changed. Worn out struts will lead to a bouncy ride and will not track the road surface properly. Spacers will only exacerbate the situation. Just my two cents.
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Old 23rd September 2021, 12:57   #3
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Default Re: DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension

Sorry to ask this but what was the need to avoid the police check post.
Is there any illegal mods in the vehicle?

Also, the TATA INDICA VISTA already has tiny wheels compared to its size. With it raised up not sure how it would look.
Will it be possible to share some picture of the full vehicle.
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Old 23rd September 2021, 18:07   #4
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Default Re: DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clayton Crasto View Post

These spacers increased the height by approx. 20 mm at the rear.
Thats a nice DIY. I have done it very long back ( I bought it online and the buffers are installed at a workshop by paying 500 RS or so ) on my Indica and Fiesta. However the ride was very harsh so later I had to remove it and I tried buffers from Roger Motors which was much better, also no tools are required except a normal jack. If you find the ride not very comfortable , you could try RogerAB. This will increase your ride height by minimum 30mm as they claim
https://www.amazon.in/ROGER-Rogerab-.../dp/B07W5TX3NN
https://www.rogermotors.com/productdetail/rogerab-duo
https://www.rogermotors.com/productdetail/buffertek

Last edited by Salnv : 23rd September 2021 at 18:13.
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Old 23rd September 2021, 20:51   #5
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Default Re: DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension

No, that's not oil. It is the inner part of the strut that is now exposed due to the increased height. Since it is clean black, it appears to be like oil from the pics.
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Old 23rd September 2021, 20:58   #6
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Default Re: DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension

Quote:
Originally Posted by norhog View Post
Sorry to ask this but what was the need to avoid the police check post.
Is there any illegal mods in the vehicle?

Also, the TATA INDICA VISTA already has tiny wheels compared to its size. With it raised up not sure how it would look.
Will it be possible to share some picture of the full vehicle.
Well, two of us had not done the RT-PCR test for the trip and having taken just the 1st dose of the vaccine, the cops would surely try and either force us to do a test at the border, or ask for 'chai pani'. While returning though, we took the highway and did not encounter any cops. Assumed that they were off for Chaturthi celebrations.

The Vista came with R14 tyres, which was a common size across that segment 10 years ago. The car handles pretty well with them. With the spacers, it doesn't look bad at all. Will share a few pics in the morning.
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Old 23rd September 2021, 21:04   #7
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Default Re: DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension

Quote:
Originally Posted by Salnv View Post
If you find the ride not very comfortable , you could try RogerAB. This will increase your ride height by minimum 30mm as they claim
]
Thanks for the suggestion. My FIL said that the ride does get a tad bouncy over bad patches at high speed, but nothing that would upset the car too much. Will give some more feedback after a few long drives.
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Old 24th September 2021, 00:02   #8
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Default Re: DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension

Nice DIY. I would, however, suggest torquing the suspension mount bolts to the OEM specifications using a torque wrench.
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Old 24th September 2021, 05:16   #9
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Default Re: DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clayton Crasto View Post
Well, two of us had not done the RT-PCR test for the trip and having taken just the 1st dose of the vaccine, the cops would surely try and either force us to do a test at the border, or ask for 'chai pani'. While returning though, we took the highway and did not encounter any cops. Assumed that they were off for Chaturthi celebrations.

The Vista came with R14 tyres, which was a common size across that segment 10 years ago. The car handles pretty well with them. With the spacers, it doesn't look bad at all. Will share a few pics in the morning.
Many thanks for the reply.

So, after the spacers, did you experience driving over the same road with same load on board. This time is the body parts scrapping as before.
Thanks in advance.

Last edited by Aditya : 26th September 2021 at 04:52. Reason: Typos
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Old 24th September 2021, 11:48   #10
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Default Re: DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clayton Crasto View Post
Method 1 (not recommended):
1. Loosen the bolt at the bottom of the damper.
This is the right way of doing, service manual will suggest the same for Spring replacement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clayton Crasto View Post
This was a really cumbersome task and took us nearly 20 mins just to get it loose. We had to use the impact driver here and managed to loosen it after continuous hammering and some bolt slippage.
Because the rear axle is already floating and entire weight is on these 2 bolts.
Easy procedure
- Lift the vehicle such that the tires are still touching the ground (this makes more space for easy access)
- Looses the bolts
- Hold the shock absorber bottom eye end, give a gentle upwards push and slide the bush out of rear beam stud

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clayton Crasto View Post
Method 2
1. Remove the rubber cap from the top of the mount and loosen the nut. This is a very easy process as the nut itself is not tightly fitted.
Avoid this as much as possible.
Shock absorber top mounting is very sensitive to NVH. Any change in tightening torque (either due to torque application or deformation of rubber bushes due to ageing) will spoil the NVH. Also the mounting nut is self locking type, refer service manual if they need to be changed every time we remove it (one time application or single use nuts)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clayton Crasto View Post
We greased the bolt that was removed from the bottom of the damper in method 1, as it had accumulated a lot of mud. This made it a lot easier to tighten.
Another wrong doing.
Now the bolts tend to lose torque

Last edited by Mr.Boss : 24th September 2021 at 12:05.
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Old 24th September 2021, 16:49   #11
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Default Re: DIY: Installing spacers on a torsion beam suspension

For increasing ground clearance I upgrade to tyres with higher sidewalls when the time comes to change my tyres. This also improves ride quality. Only downsides are a slight odometer and speedometer error. I've done this for both my sedans with good results.

I don't like spacers since they worsen the ride quality.
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