Frequently Asked Questions - Suspension
WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT IRONMAN LEAF AND COIL SPRINGS?
The thing that makes Ironman leaf and coil springs unique is that they are designed to match driving style and vehicle use. Generally most 4×4 owners are totally obsessed by how much lift they can achieve for a vehicle.
Ironman 4×4 Suspension however concentrates on improving ride, handling, comfort and control while also providing lift. These design concerns are made without compromising safety and will make driving your vehicle a pleasure.
Ironman leaf and coil springs allow 4×4 owners to choose the right design of springs that suits their driving style. So whether you drive on road, off road or with a constant load you can find the Ironman spring that suits you. In some models we offer four different spring designs to cover all driving styles.
HOW MUCH LIFT CAN I EXPECT FROM IRONMAN 4X4 SPRINGS?
Ironman leaf springs lift vehicles around 50mm above new vehicle ride height.
Ironman coil springs lift vehicles around 40-50mm from new vehicle ride height.
Vehicles with Independent Suspension are limited to 25-50mm lift (vehicle dependant) due to the geometry restraints inherent by this design of suspension.
WILL MY VEHICLE FEEL FIRMER AFTER FITTING IRONMAN 4X4 SPRINGS?
Yes it can. However, nobody wants a rigid and stiff suspension. Ironman springs will firm the ride and support the load, but when used in conjunction with Ironman Shock Absorbers, the ride will also become noticeably smoother. With this combination you benefit from a strong and responsive handling vehicle, but with the comfort and flexibility you desire.
CAN I USE IRONMAN 4X4 SPRINGS WITH STANDARD LENGTH SHOCK ABSORBERS?
The standard length shock absorbers installed with new vehicles are designed to sit in the middle of their travel. Installing Ironman springs will make them to sit higher in their range of travel. This will not affect shock performance and you can enjoy the improved performance of Ironman springs.
* Except Competition Lift Kits.
CAN I USE IRONMAN 4X4 SHOCK ABSORBERS WITH STANDARD HEIGHT SPRINGS?
Ironman Shock Absorbers will sit slightly lower in their travel when installed to standard length springs. This will not affect shock performance. Ironman springs and shock absorbers have been "tuned" to work in conjunction, to produce a truly harmonized result.
* Except Competition Lift Kits.
CAN I ADJUST THE STRUT SEAT HEIGHT?
Ironman 4x4 struts feature an adjustable height spring seat. 12xxx & 24xxx series struts utilise a trim packer system, 45xxx series struts utilise a threaded strut body.
Seat height cannot be adjusted whilst in vehicle, strut must be removed from vehicle with spring tension unloaded to enable adjustment. The purpose of this adjustment feature is to allow recalibration of ride height following the installation of heavy accessories or to compensate spring settling.
Not to be used as a variable ride height system. An increase in seat height beyond OEM specifications may result in excessive lift and non-compliance to state or federal laws.
A minimum 60mm suspension droop must be available at all times.
NITRO GAS OR FOAM CELL. WHICH IS BETTER FOR ME? WHICH SHOCK ABSORBER TYPE DO I CHOOSE?
4×4 Shock Absorbers used in smooth onroad conditions are judged upon their ability to provide a smooth controlled ride and handling, this means they must accommodate a stiffer valve performance to counter-act body roll and dive etc. An Ironman Shock absorber has been carefully designed to create the correct balance between firmness and comfort.
4×4 Shock Absorbers used in offroad applications generate enormous amounts of heat. Essentially, a shock absorber converts the energy of the spring movement into heat, it is vital to keep the shock absorber as cool as possible for maximum efficiency. Too much heat will cause "Shock Fade" and a poor vehicle ride and handling.
Ironman offers two distinct Shock Absorber concepts to cater for the needs of today’s 4×4 vehicles. 35mm piston, Nitro Gas Shock Absorbers are ideal for the general purpose user, with excellent performance in all terrain, from smooth tarmac surface through to the most demanding corrugations or rocks. Best for the all-rounder who mainly drives onroad, and the occasional adventure weekend and trip away.
41mm piston Foam Cell Shock Absorbers are constructed similar to the Nitro Gas, with the exception being their increase in piston size and the use of the cellular foam sleeve inside. The compact foam cell sleeve replaces the gas charge. The foam sleeve occupies less space inside the shock absorber than the gas charge, allowing more oil inside the shock absorber. The oil is the cooling agent required to expel the heat out of the shock absorber via the outer casing. More oil and the larger outer surface area results in a more efficient radiation of heat. The Foam Cell Shock Absorbers are perfect for use in very demanding and hot offroad environments. Foam Cell shock absorbers also operate very well in smooth onroad applications and will provide a marginally softer and supple ride.
WHAT IS THE NATA?
NATA stands for National Association of Testing Authorities. It is Australia’s national laboratory accreditation authority which recognizes and promotes facilities competent in specific types of testing, measurements, inspection and calibration.
CAN I REUSE MY ORIGINAL RUBBER SPRING BUSHES?
Ironman 4x4 always recommends to renew leaf spring bushes with polyurethane when new springs are fitted.
The extended range of travel provided by Ironman 4x4 leaf springs and longer shock absorbers can over-rotate and damage the rubber material. In all cases when a silent block press fit bush is used, it cannot be transferred to an Ironman 4x4 leaf spring.
Original 2-piece rubber bushes will fit Ironman 4x4 leaf springs, however it is not recommended. When greased, polyurethane allows greater rotational freedom on the shackle pins when compared to rubber.
DOES POLYURETHANE REQUIRE RE-GREASING?
Yes, polyurethane bushes should be re-greased as part of a regular maintenance schedule.
Ironman 4x4 recommend a Molybdenum Disulphide based grease or other grease specified for use with polyurethane.
CAN I ASSEMBLE STRUTS AT HOME?
In most cases, no.
Ironman 4x4 recommend strut assembly be performed only by a qualified automotive mechanic using specialised strut compressor equipment. Assembled struts store large amounts of sprung energy. Only mechanics with necessary tools and equipment should attempt to disassemble or assemble a strut. Mishandling of strut assemblies can result in severe injury or death. Never loosen or remove strut centre top nut until all spring energy is retained within a high quality strut compressor.
The shock absorber does not self-extend with gas pressure?
Ironman 4x4 Nitro Gas shock absorbers will self-extend due to pressurised nitrogen gas contained within, the rate of gas extension offers little relevance in determining the health or performance of the shock absorber.
Ironman 4x4 Foam Cell shock absorbers will NOT self-extend like a gas pressurised shock absorber as they do not contain gas pressure - A Foam Cell shock absorber will generally feel firmer to extend than it will to compress.
If a gas shock absorber fails to self-extend, this may not indicate a problem, it may simply be due to a dry or dirty piston rod, firm valving resistance or due to low gas pressure design. This does not adversely affect performance.
Avoid removing the thin film of oil from the piston rod, it is required for smooth seal operation and lubrication. A light oil may be used to rejuvenate the seal if a squeak is present.
MY VEHICLE DID NOT LIFT AS HIGH AS I WAS EXPECTING?
1. modified suspension. The lift an Ironman kit provides is over the suspension of a new vehicle. With old vehicles, the suspension may have been replaced/modified by previous owners. An Ironman 2" inch lift will not further raise a vehicle that already has a 2" lift installed unless this vehicle has sagged.
2. incorrect application. By purchasing a comfort type "a" kit for a workhorse vehicle that carries heavy loads, the springs will sag under the additional weight. It is strongly recommended that before purchasing an Ironman kit, you explain to the distributor what you use your vehicle for so that they can recommend the correct application for your vehicle.
3. incorrect installation can result in an incorrect lift.
LOWER STRUT BUSHES HAVE PERISHED?
This is most likely as a result of the bushes being tightened without neutralisation.
Never tighten shock absorber bushes until the vehicle is lowered to the ground. Leave eye ring mounts finger tight ONLY, until the vehicle is lowered to the ground at normal ride height, failure to do this can damage the rubber bond due to twisting resulting in premature bush wear. This is particularly important for load bearing lower strut bush applications.
Once the vehicle is lowered to the ground, only then tighten to specified tensions.
WHAT TYPE OF STEEL IS USED IN IRONMAN LEAF AND COIL SPRINGS?
All Ironman springs are made of premium quality (SUP9) silicon manganese spring steel which is the same as supplied to spring makers to most car and truck manufacturers.
WILL IRONMAN SPRINGS DROP AFTER A SHORT TIME?
All Ironman leaf and coil springs are shot-peened and triple scragged to limit settling and provide longer life.
It is normal for any new spring to drop around 6mm soon after fitment as the springs "bed in".
THERE IS A VIBRATION AFTER FITTING THE SUSPENSION?
This is a known issue in some vehicles after ride height has been raised. It is caused by the change in angle within the driveline, most commonly in vehicles with 2 piece driveshafts. In many cases where vibration is a common factor, Ironman 4x4 offer a solution such as a driveline spacer kit to adjust the angles of the driveshaft. The spacer kits are used to adjust the location of the centre bearing with view to reduce the vibration to a satisfactory level. Each vehicle can vary in severity, some may not be fully rectified after the re-alignment. In such cases axle wedges or a reduction in ride height may be required.
THE SHOCK ABSORBER FEELS TOO SOFT OR INCONSISTENT WHEN COMPRESSED?
Prime the shock absorber by fully pumping it upright 2-3 times, ensuring the pressure chambers are fully purged of gas or air bubbles.
The shock absorber will generally feel firmer to extend than it will to compress.
THE SUSPENSION APPEARS TO BE RUSTY?
In many cases damage to spring or shock absorber coating is unavoidable due to impacts with stones and debris.
In some instances light surface rusting may appear on exposed steel if coating becomes damaged. This will not affect the performance of the product however may be unsightly.
Take care when using a high pressure washer or strong chemicals during cleaning as this can further compromise the coating leading to greater exposure. Care should be taken during installation to ensure components are not scratched or damaged which may result in exposure of the underlying steel.
Vehicles operating in salty environments may experience further accelerated surface rusting.
THE VEHICLE IS LEANING TO ONE SIDE?
Refer to completed installation form to measure and compare with new ride height. If a vehicle is leaning down on one corner, firstly ensure the vehicle is on level ground and then assess the weight distribution to ensure even placement of load and accessories.
Many vehicle models exhibit an uneven weight distribution from factory, Ironman 4x4 adjust the spring height accordingly to level the vehicle.
Check if springs are designated for Drivers Side (D/S) or Passengers Side (N/S) and ensure they are installed to the correct location. Typically the taller coils should be fitted to the heavier side of the vehicle.
THE VEHICLE IS LEANING TO FRONT OR BACK?
Refer to completed installation form to measure and compare with new ride height. Typically if the vehicle is level from side to side, but down at front or back, indicates incorrect spring selection. Check springs are correctly specified to match the load and accessories.
Vehicles which feature independent suspension are generally subject to a 2:1 motion ratio, meaning that for every 1mm of movement at the spring, the ride height is affected 2mm. This is particularly important when assessing spring settling or sag. Natural settling of 10mm at the spring will result in 20mm setting of ride height. Settling of new rubbers and bushes should also be factored as they will contribute a few additional mm.
THE RIDE HEIGHT IS TOO HIGH OR BANGING OVER BUMPS?
Independent suspension operates with limited wheel travel. Ironman 4x4 design springs to increase the ride height a prescribed amount within the safe limits of the original vehicles design. If incorrectly specified springs or additional spacers are fitted, the ride height may be excessive causing the strut to reach its upper limit “top out” during motion. As a general rule, Ironman 4x4 recommend a MINIMUM of 60mm downward travel available in the suspension, otherwise referred to as “droop”. To establish ride height in relation to maximum height, a droop measurement will be required.
- Measure and record the vertical rim to guard distance with the vehicle on flat level ground.
- Raise and support the vehicle with front or rear wheels hanging.
- Measure and record the vertical rim to guard distance with the wheels fully hanging.
The difference between the two measurements is the amount of downward droop the suspension has available to it. The minimum droop distance should be no less than 60mm fully settled. If droop is less than 60mm, a reduction in handling performance will be experienced, possibility of damage to suspension, driveline and tyre wear can be a factor. In this case the ride height must be lowered.
THE LOWER STRUT BUSHES HAVE PERISHED?
This is most likely as a result of the bushes being tightened without neutralisation.
Never tighten shock absorber bushes until the vehicle is lowered to the ground. Leave eye ring mounts finger tight ONLY, until the vehicle is lowered to the ground at normal ride height, failure to do this can damage the rubber bond due to twisting resulting in premature bush wear. This is particularly important for load bearing lower strut bush applications. Once the vehicle is lowered to the ground, only then tighten to specified tensions.
THE SHOCK ABSORBER APPEARS TO BE LEAKING?
Upon initial use, there may be an oily residue or a small amount of oil originating from the rod seal and surrounding parts, this is referred to as manufacturing overflow.
Oil can be trapped in the seal during assembly and released during transport or initial operation.
This is considered normal and should be wiped clean prior to installation or after first use. If oil continues to appear, the shock absorber may be leaking and it should be replaced.
THE SPRINGS APPEAR TO BE SAGGING?
Refer to completed installation form to measure and compare with new ride height.
Ironman 4x4 design an array of different springs to suit different load applications.
It is imperative the correct spring is selected for the expected loads. Installing a spring which is too soft for the load will result in loss of expected ride height. Installing a spring which is too strong for the load will result in excessive ride height.
To properly determine whether a spring has sagged or is under-specified, the spring must be removed from the vehicle and free height checked against the original specification found in suspension catalogue.
Depending on spring size and rate, a loss of up to 10mm due to natural steel
relaxation is considered normal.
Natural settling is expected within the first 2-3 months, after which the springs are expected to maintain height.
If a spring has lost more than 10mm free height from new, they may require replacement.
THERE IS A SQUEAK COMING FROM THE SUSPENSION?
A squeak can originate from any number of sources or for many reasons.
The most effective method to diagnose and resolve a squeak is to perform a systematic approach to locating the source. Make note of what conditions cause the squeak, ie. large bumps, small bumps, wet weather, cornering etc. Also note the type of noise whether it appears to be from a soft rubber / plastic origin or hard steel origin.
Attempt should be made to simulate the condition, such as bouncing the vehicle whilst listening to locate the source, it may be required to enlist a second person to bounce the vehicle whilst another accesses the underneath of the vehicle closely to pin point the exact location.
Typical sources for noise include:
- Dry or broken bushes
- Loose or misaligned components
- Bent or damaged components
- Steel to Steel friction
- Under-tensioned bolts
WHAT DOES N/S AND D/S MEAN IN THE IRONMAN SPRING PROGRAM AND WHY THE DIFFERENCE?
N/S stands for near side or passenger side while D/S stands for driver side. Quite often driver side springs are made higher to compensate for the torque of the motor and uneven weight, such as driver, fuel tank, battery, spare wheel etc. In Ironman springs this difference can be as much as 20mm.
If your vehicle exhibits a lean after installation, check to ensure the springs are installed correctly, also consider that if the weight distribution in your vehicle is disrupted by the weight of added accessories, the taller spring should be installed to the heavier side. In some cases trim packers may be required to fine tune the ride height.
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