Lovells Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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Why should I replace my Springs?

Springs should be replaced to improve ride height, handling, load carrying capacity and comfort.

Ride Height
To restore the vehicle to its original standard ride height, when the original springs have sagged or weakened.

To lower the centre of gravity of the vehicle for enhanced appearance, performance and handing.

To raise the vehicle for increased ground clearance and load carrying capacities.
eg. towing, LPG, load bearing accessories

Handling
Lovells Springs ratings exceed that of original equipment springs by around 10% – 50%, therefore handling is dramatically improved by controlling excessive body roll and break dive.

Load Carrying Capacity
Lovells offer a range of heavy-duty uprated springs to increase the vehicles load carrying capacity and maintain stability when loaded.
These springs should be selected where a vehicle carries heavy loads, is use for towing, is fitted with LPG or larger fuel tank or load bearing accessories i.e. bull bar, winch etc.

Comfort
Lovells Springs offer a vast range of variances in progressive and linear rate spring design, ratings and ride height options to enable the vehicle to be enhanced to the customers exacting comfort requirements.

How do I know my springs need replacing?

Weak, sagging springs can cause serious problems for all kinds of vehicles, from front wheel drive to rear wheel drive, station wagons to vans. Here are some of the symptoms of weakened springs, which are easily recognized:

  • Bottoming out
  • Vehicle sag
  • Vibration
  • Wheel hop
  • Loss of steering control during braking & cornering
  • Road wander
  • Side sway or body roll
  • Nose diving when breaking
  • Overall poor handling
  • Early & uneven tyre wear

Worn out springs can force the entire steering and suspension system to go out of proper alignment. That means serious trouble for any vehicle yet many technicians fail to notice improper vehicle height and misalignment caused by weak or worn springs.

How are coil springs measured?

Static (working) height.
The length of the coil spring whilst still mounted in the vehicle under normal load.

Tapped height.
The overall length of a coil spring when still in the vehicle while the body of the vehicle is jacked up, to full extension of shock absorber.

Free height.
The overall length of a coil spring at its longest part while not under load. i.e. Out of the vehicle.

Total Coils.
Total number of compete turns = 5.00 turns. Example image.

Diameter of material.
Use Vernier calliper to measure. Check at various points along the coil and then check end coils as the diameter may vary.

Inside Diameter (I.D)
Use Vernier calliper to measure inside diameter of coil spring at both ends. Measure coils spring whilst out of vehicle.

Spring end Finish.
Normal: unground, straight cut
Ground: ground flat.
Reduced: End coil finishes smaller in diameter than main coils.


How low/high can I make my vehicle and still be legal?

All states vary considerably, so it is best to contact your state Authority for more information. Simply, there are basic Federal guidelines, so the information below will give you a better understanding.

ADR’s and Suspension Modification

This information has been extracted from the NSW RTA Code of Practice for Light Vehicle Modifications. Lovells Copy No. 753 - issued 1996. Requirements vary from state to state.

2.4.1. Precedence of ADRs and manufacturer's guidelines

It is important to note that the requirements of the ADRs and the original manufacturer's modification guidelines take precedence over the Code of Practice. Persons modifying or certifying modifications to light vehicles must ensure that any relevant manufacturer's recommendations are complied with and that no ADR compliance is invalidated, even as an unintended result of complying with the Code of Practice.

Vehicles Manufactured:

  • 1934 - 31/12/1960:
    • These vehicles are not covered by regulation.
  • 1/1/1961 - to introduction of ADR 13 - Introduced 1973 - 9/1991
    • Minimum Head Light Height: 600 mm.
    • Maximum Head Light Height: 1400 mm
  • 10/91 - to date:
    • Minimum Head Light Height: 500 mm
    • Maximum Head Light Height: 1200 mm

***Measurements taken from the ground to the centre of the headlight***

3.5.2 Certification of suspension modifications
Certification of suspension modifications shall be treated as follows:

Minor modifications can be treated as owner certified. These are modifications which do not affect the basic geometry or load carrying members of the suspension. Examples are:

  • additional or uprated anti roll bars;
  • uprated shock absorbers and/or springs;
  • altered vehicle ride height by no more than one third of the manufacturers suspension travel in the direction of the ride height change; fitting of suspension assemblies which were options from the original manufacturer for the particular make/model.

Major modifications are to be certified by an engineering signatory. These are modifications to suspension components, systems or installations which affect the major load carrying components of the suspension and which were not options available from the original manufacturer for the particular make/model, Examples are:

  • replacement of the original suspension (front or rear) with a system of a different design eg: from another model vehicle;
  • changes to suspension components such as changing the front cross member to accommodate an engine change;
  • substantially altering the mass of the vehicle.

3.5.3 Australian Design Rules
While no ADR is involved directly with suspension systems, the following are examples of ADRs which may be affected indirectly by a suspension modification:

  • ADR 7/- Brake hoses
  • ADR 13/- Installation of lighting devices - eg: height
  • ADR 14/- Rear vision mirrors - eg: altitude change
  • ADR 31/- Brake systems - eg: partial failure
  • ADR 43/- Vehicle configuration and dimensions

3.5.4.11 Changes to ride height
Changes to ride height are limited to one third of the working travel of the suspension from kerb mass height to metal to metal bump or rebound positions as specified by the manufacturer. Such modifications must comply with the following:

  • altered spring free lengths are acceptable providing the spring seat load is maintained at full rebound and material stresses are not exceeded;
  • the use of extended spring shackle plates is not permitted;
  • the suspension ride height of a coil spring suspension shall not be lowered by cutting off a section of the spring coils. New coil springs with increased spring rate specifications to provide for the reduced travel of the suspension shall be fitted.

3.5.5 Road testing
The completed vehicle must be evaluated under a range of road operating conditions to establish that ride, handling and steering characteristics are appropriate for the vehicle character and proposed type of operation. While some of these aspects are subjective, the vehicle must not behave in an unpredictable manner under any circumstances and its general behaviour must not be significantly different from the majority of vehicles available at the time of road test. The vehicle must be suitable for subsequent sale to persons of average driving ability.

How do you measure ride height?

Vehicle ride heights (Eye Brow Heights) are measured vertically from the centre of the wheel hub to the edge of the guard.

Vehicle ride heights are approximate only and can vary depending on:

  • The age of the vehicle
  • Load bearing accessories. (ie. bull bars, winches, extra fuel tanks, fridges, spare wheel carrier etc.)

When selecting springs all of these factors must be taken into consideration.

What tolerances effect ride height?

  • Vehicle manufacturers tolerance
  • Coil spring manufacturers tolerance
  • Worn or soft spring insulators
  • Bent or twisted chassis
  • Worn suspension mounting bushes
  • Excessive loading

What are the largest springs Lovells make?

Leaf Springs
R.E.C. Flat spring steel
RANGE stock items 40mm x 6mm to 100mm x 20mm
MAXIMUM capacity up to 15Omm x 2Omm

Coil Springs
Round spring steel
RANGE stock items 10mm diameter to 48mm diameter
MAXIMUM capacity up to 65mm diameter.

I want to lower my car, but do not want to give up my ride quality, will Lovells springs ruin my ride characteristics?

Lovells engineers are familiar with the balance of optimizing handling while maintaining ride quality. With our extensive research, Lovells Springs will provide the exceptional handling and precise vehicle responsiveness and stability with the minimal effect to the ride quality. Lovells suspension components are designed to allow the suspension to move in a controlled manner ensuring the performance potential of the vehicle.

Is it necessary to have my vehicle aligned after installing Lovells Springs?

Yes. Any time you work on the suspension system and alter the ride height. It is necessary to check and adjust the alignment of the vehicle. By lowering the centre of gravity and ride height of a vehicle to enhance the handling, some negative camber may occur, which additionally improves adhesion during performance driving. In setting up a performance suspension system, some negative camber is desirable. Lovells offer xTreme kits for selective applications to assist in performance and street suited alignment requirements.

Some competitors springs claim to lower my vehicle more than Lovells, isn't this better? If the vehicle is lower, won't it handle more like a race car?

A spring kit that lowers the vehicle excessively will be operating with little or no suspension travel, resulting in an uncomfortable ride and unsafe handling. The vehicle may skip over bumps and road transitions, causing the tyres to loose contact (adhesion/traction) with the road surface. A race prepared vehicle has a chassis and suspension designed for use solely on racetracks. The requirements for an everyday, street vehicle that encounters potholes, expansion joints, weathered tarmac etc are completely different. Lovells Springs lower the vehicle centre of gravity properly while maintaining adequate suspension travel to meet the demands of the enthusiasts. Lovells advise against set-ups, where the vehicle is riding mostly on the bump stops.

What shocks or struts should I use with Lovells Springs?

Lovells Springs are designed to work with original equipment shocks and struts provided that they are in good working condition. After market performance shocks and struts will increase the overall performance of your suspension and are also recommended for use with Lovells Coils.

Will I have proper tyre clearance with a "plus size" wheel & tyre package after installing Lovells Springs?

Lovells Springs are designed and tested around the vehicle's original wheel and tyre combination as provided by the manufacturer. The installation of Lovells Springs does not alter the original range of wheel travel and as a result can never be the cause of wheel or tyre clearance problems. It is best to work with a reputable wheel and the dealer that is knowledgeable in the proper wheel size (width and offset) that is correct for your vehicle in order to prevent clearance problems caused by improper wheel and tyre packages.

What is wrong with heating or cutting a coil spring to lower a vehicle?

Heating or cutting a coil spring in order to lower a vehicle is just plain foolish. These procedures are very dangerous and at the very least results in poor handling due to the changing of the original springs characteristics and pre-load.

When Lovells springs are fitted, will the car sit at the correct ride height or will it need time to settle?

All Lovells coils are pre-set to eliminate settling and increase life expectancy. some minimal settling may occur as the new spring mates up to an existing rubber suspension isolator, this is normal, but is not the same as a poorly produced spring which may take a set and effect the ride height, handling and alignment of the vehicle.

My vehicle has a torsion bat at the rear (or front). If I lower the front (or rear), how do I alter the other end of the vehicle?

Vehicles equipped with coil springs at one end and torsion bars at the other, have a height adjustment available from the factory, which allows altering the ride height to be compatible with the height of the Lovells coil springs. The maximum load capacity of the torsion bar will be reduced.

Can I just fit front (or rear) springs instead of the complete front and rear set?

NO! Lovells springs are designed as a balanced spring system producing increased performance, responsiveness and driving enjoyment. Under no circumstances do we recommended or endorse the installation of 1/2 of a Lovells Spring System.

What is the spring rate of Lovells Coil Springs?

Only simple linear springs have a spring rate. Progressive Rate spring have load/deflection characteristics. The special design parameters are only accessible through Lovells distributor network.

How often should Lovells springs be replaced?

Lovells Springs usually last and perform for the lifetime of the vehicle and do not need to be replaced. All other springs should be replaced, whenever you no longer are happy with the handling of your car.

What is the advantage of a progressive set-up - like Coil Over Race style tender spring combination?

Each suspension set-up is a critical balance between two combinations:

  • as soft as possible and as stiff as possible. The progressive set-up combines both targets
  • the smooth, softer initial characteristics for the traction and comfortable cruising
  • the sportier, stiffer final rate for reduced body roll and better responsiveness under curving, braking and accelerating
 
   

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