Home Brew Lift Kit 95 AWD

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LAZ 1
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4" lift with POLY bushings and trimmed wheel wells

Post by LAZ 1 » Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:17 pm

I just got a set of the Energy Suspension Polyurethane body mount bushings, so I guess I will be doing my front end lift TWICE.

Oh well, it is all good experience.

The plan is to install 245/75/R16 10 PLY tires all around, and to make sure there is enough clearance I am re-radiusing my wheel wells. Simple job, but it takes TIME..

Image
Marked the holes and the cuts with a felt pen, about 1" spacing, 1" in from the flare line. NOTE: the front half of the wheel well has an inner fender section that comes almost all the way to the outer fender. The back section is further away, which means the front "tabs" that you bend in can be shorter for the front, and are unsupported at the back. I plan to cover the gap with DUCT tape, and spray the expanding foam sealant inside the fenders to stiffen them up.

Image
Rear section has holes drilled, slots cut, and tabs bent in at 90 degrees from the outside fender. Front section still to do.

Image
Inner fender seam bent out to match new larger radius line. NOTE: tabs are floating over air at the rear section, but mate up nicely with inner fender at the front.

Rearcing complete. Not only is the opening larger, but all sharp edges are trimmed and/or beat down flush. NOTE: The inner fender seam is bent OUT to match the new radius contour. Everything inside is smooth and flush.
Image

Still to do: Recontour plastic rear wheel well moulding to MATCH NEW RADIUS and REINSTALL
THEN,
1.] use foam rubber to block between inner and outer fender sections, cover with duct tape [ leave a few access holes ] and fill in all gaps solid with expanding spray in foam sealant
2.] make and install new BLACK plastic edge bead moulding [ gardening edging material ]. Screw in with self drilling/self tapping steel stud screws.
3.] apply a bead of BLACK MARINE GRADE SYKAFLEX sealant at edge of fender and bead.

4.] Mask along the flared section to fender seam, and paint the 1'" flared section with BLACK bed liner paint

Slicky
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Re: Home Brew Lift Kit 95 AWD

Post by Slicky » Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:07 am

Looks like you have definitely addressed the clearance issues that stop most guys from running larger tires. I am looking forward to seeing the final product.

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Stroverlander
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Re: Home Brew Lift Kit 95 AWD

Post by Stroverlander » Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:03 am

Seems like you went about it the hard way! :D

The only clearance issues I had from 245/75-16 tires with 4"-5" lift are all at the back and edge of wheelwell and front bumper cover.

It will be interesting to see what it looks like with the edge molding trim.
2004 Astro LT AWD Stroverlander

LAZ 1
I get chills without my van.
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How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4

Re: Home Brew Lift Kit 95 AWD

Post by LAZ 1 » Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:45 pm

I chose to get extra tire clearance at the front by re-radiusing the wheel wells without adjusting the front torsion bars and without increasing drive shaft angles or front suspension wear, and also, without raising the center of gravity any more than necessary.

I am more concerned with minimising tire side wall flex than with increasing tire diameter. 29" or 30" should be ideal for what I am doing .... adding a box on the back to create a DIY TIGER mini motor home. My previous experience with motorhomes on rough roads and also with HIGH TOP/ HIGH CENTER OF GRAVITY 4x4 vans has convinced me that stiff side wall tires with the lowest possible center of gravity is the way to go.

If there were more available 10 ply choices in 15" tires I could have avoided most of this work. But to get the much greater selection of E rated tires available in 16" sizes, more clearance at the front is required and reradiusing the wheel wells is going to provide that clearance with a lower center of gravity and also minimise front suspension stress. Bending a bit of tin seems cheaper and more trouble free in the long run than adding suspension lift ...especially given the near maximum GVW I will be running with my big box.
LAZ 1
Last edited by LAZ 1 on Thu Jul 17, 2014 1:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Stroverlander
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Re: Home Brew Lift Kit 95 AWD

Post by Stroverlander » Wed Jul 16, 2014 11:25 pm

Gotcha, I thought you had already done a 4" lift but see where you're headed now.

Do you have camper box in mind that you're going to adapt to the Astro?
2004 Astro LT AWD Stroverlander

LAZ 1
I get chills without my van.
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri May 30, 2014 3:52 pm
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How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4

Re: Home Brew Lift Kit 95 AWD

Post by LAZ 1 » Thu Jul 17, 2014 1:23 am

When I was MUCH younger, I spent several Saskatchewan Winters as an unemployed carpenter. To keep the cabin fever to a minimum, I camperised vans as a Winter hobby. I even went so far as to build a MICRO motor home on a VW van chassis. I also spent one Summer working for a Motorhome/Trailer shop doing custom van conversions. So I do have the practical experience to take on a motorhome build.

In my experience, when camperising a van, a square box is SO MUCH easier to work inside than the compound curves of the usual van interior. If you are going to start cutting to raise the roof, you might as well keep on trimming and build a respectable square box on the remaining "Flatdeck". At least that is my opinion.

Of course, with a UNIBODY, keeping everything properly braced and structurally sound is a major consideration. But since TIGER has already BTDT, we know it can be done. My conversion will be lighter and simpler than the Tiger. And after spending many years banging around in camperised vans, and last Winter in Arizona in a 21' motorhome, I know exactly what I want in my conversion.

Hopefully it will all be done before the end of the year, as I plan to Winter in the Baja in an AWD Micro motorhome.

But first I need to get the foundation solid ...
10 ply tires, HD 1750 lb rated rear springs, and Bilstein shocks are a good start.

After that the fun will really begin.
[;{)
LAZ 1


PS: I have already bought a beat up Import size camper, stripped what I wanted out of it, and dumpstered the rest. A camper is a great DONOR for parts, but actually mounting an old camper shell on the Safari chassis might get you into all sorts of engineering issues I prefer to avoid by simply building my own all new box. All new materials, properly anchored to the metal chassis, with the bed and the rest of the interior EXACTLY as I want it.

SilverBullet1997
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Re: Home Brew Lift Kit 95 AWD

Post by SilverBullet1997 » Thu Jul 17, 2014 2:50 pm

Hey Laz, Thanks for the pictures, gives me some good ideas of what I will be getting into :D Looks good!
Here is a couple videos of my first van offroading at Tahuya WA.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkFaZXo2KL4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1zn5ppLI6g
R.I.P 1997 Astro AWD SilverBullet 4-9-1997 to 2-17-2015 - Cause of death: Rear-ended
1999 Astro AWD SilverBullet II 1-4-1999 - Present

5" lift, 31x1050r15 tires. 7 inches over stock

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