Road Clearance when Lowered

Road Clearance when Lowered

Postby Lumpy [OP] » January 5th 2015, 7:12am

I'm genuinely interested in a serious answer. Apparently someone in another thread felt his balls were getting busted by my asking. Those of you with lowered vans and able to discuss it intelligently, would you care to comment? I know that even when my van was in stock height, it would modest bumps on and off road. I can't imagine it even getting in my driveway or through Wally's parking lot if it were lowered.

Some clearly spend a lot of money and time doing the drop. I'd be worried that all my efforts would be screwed the minute I went over a speed bump.


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Re: Road Clearance when Lowered

Postby cleanconcepts » January 5th 2015, 5:47pm

Hey lumpy, I think we got off on the wrong foot. I'd like to start over.
As for the lowered stance... these vans have a fair amount of ground clearance and even lowering 4-5" still maintain more ground clearance than the average stock height car. The areas of concern are the front bumper valance but with the wheel location so far to the front there is very little hanging off the front so that is not much of an issue. So speed bumps are not a problem unless they are huge which present problems to all cars. Just approach and exit angles are affected and need to be handled as necessary. But easily done for anyone that has ever drove a lowered vehicle. This is assuming you have a modestly static lowered van. Any lower than that would become difficult and they are usually done with a adjustable suspension such as airbags or hydraulics in order to maintain driveability.

The other issue with lowering is wheel and tire dimensions. With the wheel gap closed rubbing can become an issue while driving or turning. Same as lifted vehicles and larger tires. When those dimensions change they will rub. The difference with us is that we cannot simply cut fenders and bumpers for clearance strictly due to cosmetics. So we must find the "best" fitting wheel tire combo for the look we want to achieve and use alternative methods to increase clearances under the fenders such as trimming fender liners and or rolling fender lips to create the space we need to articulate and turn with little to no rubbing.

There are obviously 2 sides to the fence and both have obstacles to cross to make them functional and comfortable but done correctly both can be reliable, comfortable, good looking outcomes. Mine drives great. I am very happy with how it performs and looks and with the airbags in the rear it can haul a trailer and or 8 people with zero effect on ride quality.

I hope this answers your question a little better.
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Re: Road Clearance when Lowered

Postby Lumpy [OP] » January 5th 2015, 6:02pm

I guess I'd just be way worried about scraping body parts (or engine/drivetrain) on any kind of bump. Where I live we don't have driveway ramps like we did when I was a kid. The "curb" is a rounded storm drain kind of thing. To enter the driveway you are essentially driving over the curb - it's just rounded a bit so as not to shock the tires so much. Nearly every shopping center parking lot here, and many city streets, have speed bumps - "Traffic Calming Humps". It's difficult for me to imagine why I'd want to deliberately put my car into MORE of a possibility for expensive damage.

No ball busting here. Just trying to figure out the appeal. I dig well done custom work on any kind of machine. Even if it's not something I'd do.

Pics of your airbag setup?


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Re: Road Clearance when Lowered

Postby cleanconcepts » January 5th 2015, 6:25pm

Oil pan is low but almost centered on wheels so somewhat safe tranny pan is well above cross member, transfer case has a small skid pan but is most vulnerable to large speed bumps. Pics uploading.
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Re: Road Clearance when Lowered

Postby cleanconcepts » January 5th 2015, 6:29pm

Image

My driveway entrance
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smoothed the transition with some concrete
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Re: Road Clearance when Lowered

Postby Coaster » January 5th 2015, 8:18pm

well done axle flip
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Re: Road Clearance when Lowered

Postby Astrofarian » January 6th 2015, 12:07am

Nicely done flip; the bags will help, I'm sure. Just wondering about the front of your drop project....did you just back off the T-Bars or is there more involved in lowering an AWD than that? Sorry for the dumb question but I think a few members share my curiosity regarding lowering an AWD vehicle. Thanks!
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Re: Road Clearance when Lowered

Postby cleanconcepts » January 6th 2015, 4:12am

I loosened the torsion bars. Wasn't quite low enough so I clearanced the cross member where the adjuster rests and shortened the adjuster bolt so I did not hang below the cross member.
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Re: Road Clearance when Lowered

Postby zippy » January 6th 2015, 4:46am

Looks good to me! I wonder about lowering an RWD as I have heard it doesn't have the torsion bars in front. I am thinking about a modest 2". Is this easily doable? I think it would make it a little easier to get my old bones in and out of the seat. :roll:
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Re: Road Clearance when Lowered

Postby cleanconcepts » January 6th 2015, 7:44pm

I'm no expert on these but I think for a modest 2" some lowering leaf springs in the rear and shorter coils up front would be your best option. The rear flip would be too much even with a lengthened shackle I would assume. Others with that configuration may have more info and point you in the correct direction.
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Re: Road Clearance when Lowered

Postby Bis » May 11th 2015, 10:01am

zippy wrote:Looks good to me! I wonder about lowering an RWD as I have heard it doesn't have the torsion bars in front. I am thinking about a modest 2". Is this easily doable? I think it would make it a little easier to get my old bones in and out of the seat. :roll:


Looking for the same sort of info for a RWD.
Your van (what I could see of it on this post) looks nice!

Lowering mine now. Nothing crazy. Just want to reduce the gap on the wheelwells with the stock height it has currently by about 2 to 3 inches. Nothing too dramatic. I already had to trim some material from the back part of the front wheel wells, I don't want to have to do any more body work if I can avoid it.

Would love to see your van's profile view.

Any other knowledge your can pass is appreciated. I am a total suspension noob.

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Re: Road Clearance when Lowered

Postby AstroWill » May 11th 2015, 2:25pm

cleanconcepts wrote:My driveway entrance
Image
smoothed the transition with some concrete


My city recently went around and jack hammered all of those out.

SpeedHump1.jpg

I prefer to take it slow.

Trolls take away from productive work, best to ignore & go about your business.
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Re: Road Clearance when Lowered

Postby Mmusicman » May 11th 2015, 4:27pm

cleanconcepts wrote:..speed bumps are not a problem unless they are huge which present problems to all cars...

Well this is not exactly correct. While speed bumps may be a "nuisance".. they are designed with the "typical" car in mind. My stock vehicles have NO problems going over speed bumps.

I did lower the front of my 92 by 1 3/4" many years back. I haul sound equipment and when loaded.. only the back would drop making it look like it was going uphill. I'm not a fan of lowering.. but did it in this case to give the van a nice "stance" while loaded. It turned out nice and I am pleased. It looks good IMO unloaded too.

But even with less than 2" drop... I have to be careful over speed bumps.. or it will bottom out. It is less practical.. but still somewhat acceptable. I do not clear standard parking curbs either. I am fortunate however, that when I hit normal dips in the road when traveling at highway speeds, there are no issues and the tires do not hit the fenders. I did add a couple rubber spring spacers that don't lift.. but only make contact when the spring is compressed, making them firmer ONLY while under extra load. That along with good KYB shocks seems to do the trick for me. To facilitate the front drop I cut exactly one coil off the bottom of the spring. It was simple and easy to do. The ride seems basically unaffected for the most part. Of course, this was just a "moderate" drop.

I understand that people will make (sometimes ridiculous) sacrifices for customization purposes... sometimes for nothing more than a desired look. I know some people will even go the opposite extreme as well... sometimes cutting up fenders just to facilitate non-stock tire sizes.

I basically find lowering a vehicle to be mostly impractical.. and I usually (personally) don't care much for how they look. But since "stock" can be so boring and common... there is pretty much only two directions you can go (with suspension). Lifting certainly has drawbacks too... but at least not with speed-bumps! LOL

So to each his own! Cut em up... lower them... lift them... have fun! But keep it safe too!

Cheers!
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Re: Road Clearance when Lowered

Postby Lumpy [OP] » May 11th 2015, 5:31pm

None of my vehicles, stock or otherwise, have problems with speed bumps. Honda Accord, Ford 3/4, Dodge 1 ton, Pontiac Grand Am, several horse trailers, RV, Astro Van, Gary Fisher Mtn Bike.


Years ago my ex wife owned a Corvette. Low to the ground from the factory. We placed a flattened, oval shape pipe in the curb trough, like the concrete shown above, to allow her to get in and out of the driveway without scraping.

The city came by (not the entire city, just a couple guys in a truck, I imagine) and removed the pipe and fined us.


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Re: Road Clearance when Lowered

Postby Meterpig » May 11th 2015, 10:47pm

If you have the the air bags, why do you need the factory leafs? Seems like you could remove two of them to go lower...right?

Lowering has it's place and does look great if done well. Most of the lowering I see here is related to wannabe racers who "stance" their cars.

My wife would love a lowered astro. I would just get her a mini van in that case.
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Re: Road Clearance when Lowered

Postby Lumpy [OP] » May 12th 2015, 2:06am

Meterpig wrote:
My wife would love a lowered astro. I would just get her a mini van in that case.


A guy in a parking lot once asked me "Where did you ever get a lift kit for a mini-van?"


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Re: Road Clearance when Lowered

Postby markmitch » May 12th 2015, 3:03am

2 things no disrespect to anyone meant on either. ! I have traveled a lot in and out of this country and never seen a sign that says speed humps anywhere till I moved to California every where else I seen speed bumps, just find it funny since hump is normally a nicer word for a sexual act where I come from. 2 why would you even consider lowering a AWD or 4x4 vehicle instead of a 2 wheel drive? Just asking because the whole purpose of either AWD or 4x4 is to be able to go where 2 wd vehicles can't go or for snow/traction which a lowered vehicle can't do well either off road or in snow?
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Re: Road Clearance when Lowered

Postby Sailing_Faith » May 14th 2015, 5:39am

Ok, we all know I am weird.... My 2wd Safari does a wonderful job with speed bumps, or speed humps at the stock ride height.... Just saying, not "hateing".
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Re: Road Clearance when Lowered

Postby 97cargocrawler » May 14th 2015, 4:41pm

Lumpy wrote:A guy in a parking lot once asked me "Where did you ever get a lift kit for a mini-van?"
Lump


I'm sure nobody even noticed the skull and torso shaped smudge on the hood. Gotta love the camo!

But seriously though...where'd you get it? :think:
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Re: Road Clearance when Lowered

Postby Lumpy [OP] » May 14th 2015, 5:07pm

97cargocrawler wrote:
Lumpy wrote:A guy in a parking lot once asked me "Where did you ever get a lift kit for a mini-van?"
Lump


I'm sure nobody even noticed the skull and torso shaped smudge on the hood. Gotta love the camo!

But seriously though...where'd you get it? :think:


I suppose the answer I'd come up with would depend on who's asking. With a guy like that, "mini-van", he's not seriously interested in WHERE I "got it". So I could just say something like "Oh at CargoCrawler's in LA. He's got lift kits for all the mini-vans".

I've never had another AstroFari owner ask. I've never seen another lifted Astro. The only customize at all I've seen was the one with the faux stone facade I posted about here that I saw at Home Depot.

The kids at the auto parts stores sometimes ask. But as soon as I start describing "Well, they're 1 ton chev front coils..." they start in about how "My uncle had a lifted pickup in Wyoming. It was eleven feet off the ground" yada yada.

A big, Amazon looking chick in a parking lot, gave me a thumbs up and yelled "Nice Van!". I gave her a thumbs up and yelled "Nice ****". Apparently not the least bit unnerved, she straightened up, puffed her chest out and yelled "Thanks!".

So I guess there really isn't a catch-all answer. Just depends on who's asking. You ever get asked?


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