MR.G's Highway Star

Mr G

MR G
Staff member
E51 Owner
#61
back in the summer I fitted some BC Coilovers I went for a spring rate of 9/12kg rather than the standard 7/10kg as I've heard it wasn't great for the weight of the van.
The reason I wanted to install coilovers was 1. Go a little lower
2. Handling
To install the coilovers I did it in stages when the wife wasn't looking. First up the front.
Jack it up and remove the wheels.
Revive the 2 bolts that hold the strut on to the hub and undo the drop link from the strut. Take off the brake hose.
IMAG0238.jpg


Next up take out the bolts that hold In the fuses and relays so they can be pushed aside to gain access the the 3 bolts securing the top of the strut.
IMAG0237.jpg

Here is and after shoot with the new coilovers installed but you can see the 3 nuts I'm referring to.
IMAG0244.jpg
Remove the 3 nuts and remove the old unit.

Fitting is the reverse but you need and extra Jack to raise the hub up to make installation easier.
When I removed the old unit I noticed it revealed an untreated area of the arch that was covered by the bigger original unit. So I grabbed some spare underseal and squared it away
IMAG0239.jpg
IMAG0243.jpg


Coming up next the rear.
 

Mr G

MR G
Staff member
E51 Owner
#62
The rears.
Jack up and remove the wheels.
Remove the 19mm nut and bolt securing the suspension arm to the hub,make sure there is a second Jack under this taking the tension of the spring, once the bolt is out lower the Jack/arm and the spring will become loose.
IMAG0247.jpg

You may have to loosen the bolt at the other end of the arm so it drips down enough to get the spring out
IMAG0248.jpg

Now on to the rubber spring perch, this is held on by a 12mm bolt inside the perch.
IMAG0249.jpg


Now to remove the shock undo the 2 17mm? Nuts and the top of the shock
IMAG0251.jpg

And then the bolt at the bottom
IMAG0252.jpg

Remove the shock.
After this I got carried away and forgot to take pictures.
Install new spring perch. (I wound my spring seat collar all the way to the bottom and then put the spacer I too, this gives you the maximum height available on the coilovers.) Under new spring using the old lower rubber spring seat and refit the out arm bolt (using Jack to aid)
Refit wheel and lower down to check ride height, if happy Jack up remove wheel and offer up new shock, secure using the 2 top nuts, and with the suspension hanging, adjust the length of the shock to fit and refit the bottom bolt. Wheel on lower the van.
Job done.

Initially I set the shocks to 15 clicks out of 30 front and back. And after a camping trip this made me feel a little sick they are now set on 25 out of 30 front and back and it is a lot better. Yes the ride is firmer and the van looses a bit of its passenger comfort but u don't care as I'm the driver and I like to drive. It now handles a lot better and the tyres are now show g themselves as the weak point.

While I was doing the rear I also changed the drop links as these are a pain to get to with the suspension in the way.

The end result is this.
jae17-26.jpg
 
Last edited:

Alan Morgan

Here for life
Premium Member
E51 Owner
#65
Hi @Mr G - you were more successful in changing the rear struts than me - I couldn't get my rear springs out and in attempting to do so, I loosened the bolt shown in your picture (and arrowed in the copy below).

My local garage did the springs in the end and it was at this point that I discovered that the bolt is for adjusting the rear wheel camber so it was off to the local tyre show to get my mistake corrected.

Might you need to do the same?
temp.jpg
 

Mr G

MR G
Staff member
E51 Owner
#66
Hi @Mr G - you were more successful in changing the rear struts than me - I couldn't get my rear springs out and in attempting to do so, I loosened the bolt shown in your picture (and arrowed in the copy below).

My local garage did the springs in the end and it was at this point that I discovered that the bolt is for adjusting the rear wheel camber so it was off to the local tyre show to get my mistake corrected.

Might you need to do the same?
View attachment 1336
Yeah that's the camber bolt, the arm won't drop down low enough to get the standard springs out. When changing the suspension it's usually best to get the alignment done anyway.
I've been messing with other bit under there for the last few week so not had the alignment done.
Now I've finished I'll probably take it in next, it was starting to chew the inner edges anyway and I've never had the alignment done. Front is off too as the steering wheel is off. The handling is better no but you can feel that the geometry is off somewhere.
 

Mr G

MR G
Staff member
E51 Owner
#67
Popped to Luton today to get the alignment done (what a shit hole). Took it to Tyre City after a recommendation. One of the younger guys got it on the ramps and came in to show me what adjustments need to be made. He told me that there was no adjustment on the rear.....anyway after I pointed out the camber bolts, one of the more experienced guys jumped in that had done the Elgrand before. They could only get rid of so much camber due to it being lowered but now it's all done.
Roughly £120 all in 3x£40 per adjustment or they do a package, £150 for 8 alignments in the next 2 years so I went for that.
IMAG0562.jpg

IMAG0565.jpg
 

Mr G

MR G
Staff member
E51 Owner
#68
Today I ordered some new wheels, Although the current ones I've grown to like (probably wouldn't have bought them myself) they only just about pass the 5m test and are starting to look a bit ropey, with corrosion around the studs the odd bit of curb rash and the clear coat on the chrome looking hazy. they may have been on the van 10+yrs. these can now be my winter wheels.
 

Mr G

MR G
Staff member
E51 Owner
#69
I'm bored of the cold now, and I have a list of things to do. Need to service the old girl and as I'm nearing 75k might as well change the plugs..yay.
The front splitter need a bit of repair work, to keep the costs down I'm probably going to wrap it maybe with carbon fiber effect, while I'm at it I will probably do the divider bar and maybe the bonnet too.

New wheels will be here end of march, which means I need to crack on with the sliding door spacers. I then should be happy with the outside of the van.

I Don't need a new exhaust but I want a new midsection for 2 reasons
  1. audio pleasure
  2. remove evidence that there was once rear cats.
Braided brake lines I think would be the next mod to improve stopping performance.

Lastly I think some subwoofer action is needed.
 

L18MNO

Newbie
E51 Owner
#70
Looks good mate really like the interior lights the kids would love them , intrested to see the install of sub, how does the car feel on coilovers how’s the ride and would you do anything different to suspension to improve/adjust


Keep on updating 👍
 

Mr G

MR G
Staff member
E51 Owner
#71
Looks good mate really like the interior lights the kids would love them , intrested to see the install of sub, how does the car feel on coilovers how’s the ride and would you do anything different to suspension to improve/adjust


Keep on updating 👍
Its a big improvement on drive quality. Before it used to lean quite badly in the corners and didn't like doing a quick left, right, left on roundabouts. now it feels a lot tighter and I can enjoy a drive on fast B roads. on the downside the ride is a less luxurious and some interior trim had started to rattle. It does depend how you drive it really if i was to slow down it bit it probably would seem so rough. The original suspension also may not have been as good as it was when it left the factory, which may have made it feel a bit like a boat before.

Now the suspension is sorted the budget tyres it came with are now exceeding their limit on the bends but will be getting new rubber with the new wheels. I'm surprised the bushes are still intact so they will probably being replaced with polybushes when the time comes.

The sub wont be anything to expensive, just enough to give a bit of boom and let the other speakers relax a bit.

All this has to be done without the wife seeing. managed it so far and the bits she has seen me do is 'routine maintenance.' #still thinking how Im going to explain new wheels :no_mouth: probably say i got a really good deal or i swapped some other parts for them?
 

L18MNO

Newbie
E51 Owner
#72
Thinks it’s jst an elgrand thing with the boat effect really want to get coilovers but wasn’t sure if it effect the ride but think you’ve convinced me just need to hide from mrs’s jst brought new wheels 🙈

the front of mine has been polybushed already so it saves me one job jst need to sort out stereo would you recommend the unit you brought and what model as it sounds just up my street
 

Mr G

MR G
Staff member
E51 Owner
#73
Thinks it’s jst an elgrand thing with the boat effect really want to get coilovers but wasn’t sure if it effect the ride but think you’ve convinced me just need to hide from mrs’s jst brought new wheels 🙈

the front of mine has been polybushed already so it saves me one job jst need to sort out stereo would you recommend the unit you brought and what model as it sounds just up my street
It's OK if you on a tight budget it does everything I need and more but....it is a little slow to get going (apps like, deezer you tube and google maps) which I don't mind as its ususually needed on long journeys and if it takes a while it's not a problem. Once it's woken up its brill. Half the problem is updating the apps as I run it from my phone data it doesn't auto update apps. This is something I try and do while she is in the shops. The model is td696ads.
If it was my everyday car I think I'd want something a bit quicker off the mark to work.

The coilovers I managed to pick up from the post office and fitted them while she wasn't looking a corner at a time over a couple of days.
 
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