Think I have a Front Suspension Problem

PeterInSa

Member
If I hit a bad pothole at speed I hear a "crunch" ( Ist time I thought it was the front windscreen cracked)
Have checked under the vehicle, front spring on the bottom appears OK, distance between the driver side rubber bump stop and the metal base is around 12mm, passenger side around 22mm.

Ground to Mudguard on Driver side 12mm less than Passenger side.

I do not seem to be able to push down on the front of the vehicle to test the shocks, however when I jacked the front up and let it down again I was to rock the front up and down more easily. ( Maybe there is no gas in them?)

In a process of elimination do I replace the front shocks.

Appreciate your comments

Peter
 

Eric Experience

Well-known member
Peter.
The pressure from the front spring is the same both sides because it is just the one spring. More likely it is the back springs, Can you measure accurately the centre of the front cross member and mark it then using a plate to spread the load on the cross member jack the front up directly under the mark. Now measure the bump stop distances at the back. Eric.
 

Midwestdrifter

Engineer In Residence
Depending on where the front spring cracks, it can cause one side to sag more than the other. Though typically it would cause both sides to sag. I would also suggest checking the rear springs first, as body lean can come from either end.
 

PeterInSa

Member
Hi Eric, The jack that I used to lift up the cross member had a Plate approx 16cm in diam, the distance from the rear bump stops to the axle was the same on both sides 53mm.

When I lifted up the front, the passenger wheel came off the ground first indicating to me that the driver side was heavier.

Appreciate the next check/step

Peter
 

Drayton

Member
Hi Peter
broke a spring whilst in victoria some time ago , found that the break was on the left of the spring & caused
a very soft feel on that side . So whilst the spring is one piece it broke well to the left of centre with less bump stop clearance .
The gas in the strut is only there to control foaming . Do you have the dual spring set up (T1N) . on mine the upper leaf failed .
Not sure it helps you depends on the model year .
 

Eric Experience

Well-known member
Peter.
When you lifted the front the struts being the same length, should have raised both sides the same. Are you sure you had the jack in the centre. if yes you may have a broken strut.
It could be the sway bar is bent, can you disconnect the sway bar, any one of the 4 bushes will do, you may need to lubricate the rubber to get it off. Eric.
 

PeterInSa

Member
Will double check,... re Jack in the centre.
Re Sway bar bent, if disconnected ( and strut OK) both wheels should be same height when off the ground.
 

Midwestdrifter

Engineer In Residence
The sway bar shouldn't bend with suspension travel, even if one wheel is at full bump and the other full droop. The only possibility there is that it was hit by something, which should leave an obvious dent or deformity.
 

PeterInSa

Member
Re When you lifted the front the struts being the same length, should have raised both sides the same. Are you sure you had the jack in the centre. if yes you may have a broken strut. )
Lifted the front again, jack at least 50mm towards drivers side, still the same result the drivers side wheel was lower.

Jacked up again in the middle with a 40mm piece of wood on top of the jack just in case the wide saucer top of jack was not level, same result.

Thought maybe the top shock mounting bolt was loose so read the good book that says on the drivers side remove the floor covering which I did after removing the plastic step cover, only to find a rubber grommet in the floor covering that can be removed and allow the nut to be inspected and help with a shock changeover. The Nut was firm and in place.

Have yet to disconnect the sway Bar.

Did not measure it accurately but drivers side wheel appears to be at least 15mm lower than passenger side, cannot understand how this can happened. When the shock is fully extended is there gas in the shock on the passenger side ( at the top) which is compressed and no gas on the drivers side allowing more travel. Neither shock has any oil on the outside.
 

Cheyenne

UK 2004 T1N 313CDi
Are the shocks identical or has one possibly been replaced with an incorrect length?

Keith.
 

Eric Experience

Well-known member
Peter.
A difference in gas is not likely as you reported a height difference before the suspension was jacked up, Getting the sway bar off is the next step. Eric.
 

PeterInSa

Member
Eric,
Took our Sprinter up to my local Sprinter workshop to disconnect the Sway Bar, owner checked the Sway Bar out and assured me it was OK and he thinks that my Transverse Springs has flatten out and that is causing the front end to bottom out. (The vehicle has done 155,000Km very little on dirt) and told me of any Adelaide firm that can give the the info to confirm this ie Height to wheel centre and mudguard height etc.

To me that maybe so, in which case I think I would hear a bang not the crunch I am hearing.( He could not hear a crunch ( or a bottom out) during a test drive)

So re your (When you lifted the front the struts being the same length, should have raised both sides the same. Are you sure you had the jack in the centre. if yes you may have a broken strut.)

Should I be changing the drivers side struct/shock ( which hangs down lower but with only half the bump stop clearance of the passenger side when both wheels are on the ground) as an elimination exercise.
 

Eric Experience

Well-known member
Peter.
Why did you take it to a mechanic? you could have pulled the sway bar of easily yourself its only a 30 second job. When the bar was disconnected was the height difference more or less than before? How did the mechanic measure the bar? With the bar disconnected did you get both wheels cumming up at the same time on the jack? Eric.
 

PeterInSa

Member
Hi Eric, For you a 30sec job, me much more. Had a mate around today and removed the the lower sway mount on the drivers side, results similar to first check, drivers side wheel 10mm off the ground and Passenger side 26mm off the ground. ( lift off first on Passenger side.)

Prior to jacking up the front the lower rim edge of the drivers side wheel was 62.5mm away from the mudguard, passenger side 64mm.

After the jack up and let down the mudguards are definitely higher as the weight of the vehicle has yet to settle, Drivers side lower rim edge to mudguard 66mm on the passenger side 67mm.

I can stand on the bumper bar foot step on each side and rock the vehicle, which I cannot do to any degree once the vehicle has been on the road for any distance.

( Note the Front Bump stops Look like new ie no wear so I don't think the Crunch is coming from Them)

Appreciate your comments

Thanks

Peter
 
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Eric Experience

Well-known member
Peter.
I am not clear on your results but it still looks like there is a difference in length of the struts. May be the simplest way to find out is to remove the top nut so the struts can swing out to measure the length. The struts should have a hole for an Allen key in the top. With the struts off the wish bones should be the same height if not then you spring is bent or one of your rubber bushes has split. To remove the sway bar bush just slip an open ended spanner over the stud on the wishbone and then just pry the bush off. Eric.
 

PeterInSa

Member
Eric
Re (To remove the sway bar bush just slip an open ended spanner over the stud on the wishbone and then just pry the bush off.).
With mate above, I removed the lower sway bar bush with a bearing puller to get the results. The Struts are original and should be the same size, the crunch is a recent noise.

So I undo the Nut/Allen Key, Jack the front up, and measure the distance between the ground and the bottom of the wishbone outside edge nearest wheel.

( Have 2 springs could one be broken to give me the crunch, ie. it grates when a pothole is hit))

Thanks
 

Aussie 2002 4x4

Active member
Hi Peter, unless you have a perfectly level concrete pad you are working on, I would measure relative to a point on the vehicle rather than the ground. Patrick
 

Eric Experience

Well-known member
Peter.
If one spring was broken then the suspension would have dropped onto the bump stops. That is what is so puzzling about your story. Eric.
 

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