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BigJimnyMeet (North) 2024 (12 Jan 2024)


BigJimnyMeet 2024

14th July 2024
Parkwood Nr. Leeds

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Black Raptor Premium 2" (50mm) lift kit install - JB74w

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23 Mar 2024 16:00 - 23 Mar 2024 17:37 #255215 by 300bhpton
Having owned the Jimny for 4 years I eventually decided on a lift kit. I went through a lot of deliberation and very nearly bought the Old Man Emu kit at one point and was then this close to buying the 3" Black Raptor kit. My goal was improved flex, but wanting to keep it road friendly. The Jimny is my "main" road car and I have vehicles for more serious off road use, but still, at times I wanted something more extreme.

In the end I settled on the 2" Black Raptor Premium kit from JimnyBits. This was for several reasons, firstly is is a 2" kit as opposed to only 40mm of some of the others. But more critically it required longer brake lines and a dropped front cross member, which not all of the other kits do. Clearly these other kit are more concerned with lift than suspension travel.

I also wanted improved damping as I felt the standard suspension was under damped.

The Black Raptor kit isn't a budget kit and sadly in the past 2 1/2 - 3 years has gone up massively in price. But it is still competitive with many of the other kits price wise.

The kit arrived promptly, although I've waited for the weather to improve to install it.

www.jimnybits.com/2-50mm-suzuki-jimny-bl...ift-kit-2019-on.html
 
 

Before fitting the kit I tested the Jimny by lifting a wheel up and measuring how far off the ground it would go. This also allowed an RTI score to be calculated.
 
Stock:
Jimny - front wheel 14” off the ground - RTI = 462
Jimny rear wheel 17.5” off the ground - RTI = 578

Sadly not much in the way of instructions are supplied with the kit. I feel JimnyBits are missing a trick here. I know a "qualified mechanic" is the default answer. But the reality is, fitting lift kits is not an every day activity for most mechanics, certainly not here in the UK. I feel JimnyBits could have been more helpful with some simple instructions and hints & tricks to fitting.

Overall it isn't a difficult kit to install if you are used to home spannering, but there are certainly a few things to consider if doing it again.

We started on the front axle and the new chassis cross member, so up on some axle stands under the chassis and a trolley jack under the axle. Wheels off and lets make a start.

Again here I feel JimnyBits are lacking a little. There is nothing to tell you which way the cross member is meant to fit. I like that they supply a new cross member rather than the flimsy extender plates like the IronMan 4x4 kits. But it clearly is meant to fit a particular way round, I'd guess there may be more than a few fitted incorrectly as time goes on.

 
 

The new cross member is quite chunky, although I personally believe it is actually a prop shaft safety loop, to catch prop should it fail and fall, to stop it digging into the ground/road as you drive forwards.

 

The front shocks come off quite easily, although the top fitting was a bit tight on one side. Access was generally good. Initially we planned to fit the suspension and do the brakes afterwards, but tbh, getting the standard front springs out without compressors required the brake lines removing. You also need to remove a bracket from the axle to allow it to droop more, I think these are the vacuum lines for the hubs. These are the sorts of things that would have been handy to know, rather than trial and error.

 

We left the anti roll bar attached and with a little manipulation got the springs out and the new ones in.

JimnyBits supply a left and right (passenger & driver) front spring. the driver being longer (at least for RHD, no idea for LHD). No real info to tell you which goes where, but after making an executive decision it seems to have turned out ok in the end.

Driver, passenger & rear spring:
 

And the longer front shock:
 

We decided to drain the brake reservoir to avoid too much fluid on the floor. The new brake lines are nice, although some of the factory fittings didn't want to undo and wanted to round, I guess even Suzuki workers do stuff up too tightly too.... But all swapped over fairly easily.

You need to ensure the spring is orientated correctly, as there are some notches the spring sits in. As I have a winch bumper (and one day a winch) I also fitted some 25mm spacers on top of the front springs, as the front was sagging more than the rear. I hope this will mean it will still sit level once I get a winch installed.

 

And all done:
 

Then onto the rear. Pretty much the same formula, there are some brackets to remove from the axle to allow enough droop and getting to the upper shock mount in a little tight and a lot easier without the springs in the way. Again a couple of brake line fittings wanted to round, but solved with a pair of mole grips.

Rear springs vs stock:
 

Rear shocks:
 

The final thing to fit is the extended for the LED headlight adjuster. Which of course you take off off before drooping the axle....

The trouble is. The new item looks like it'll fit, but both the holes are too small!!!! A minor thing to fix, but rather annoying when you are laying on your back under the vehicle in the semi dark trying to figure out why it won't go back on. Drilling out the bottom round hole was easy, but the top hole is a rectangle and needed a file to be taken to it.

 
 
 

Overall it wasn't a bad kit to install. We didn't rush, started about 10:15am, short lunch stop and were done by 5:30pm. An extra pair of hands helps. Only minor issue was after bleeding the brakes, when you used the hill brake assist there was a weird screeching sound. Someone on here suggested activating the ABS. I drove on some wet grass and did this and it cured the sound. Brake pedal feels as it did before.

Here is a before and after pic:
 
 

I did take some measurements. For each corner I measured from the bottom of the rim to underside of the wheel arch. I also measured from the ground to the front recovery point, side bar and tow hitch:

Front passenger wheel before 65cm, after 71cm = +6cm
Front drivers wheel before 64cm, after 70.25 = +6.25cm
Rear passenger wheel before 67.5cm, after 71.5cm = +4cm
Rear drivers wheel before 66cm, after 71.25cm = +5.25cm 
To side bar drivers before lift 36.5cm, after lift 42.5cm = +7cm
To drivers front recovery point before lift 32.5cm, after lift 39cm = +6.5cm
To tow bar before lift 33cm, after lift 38cm = +5cm

Measuring anything is a bit of a challenge, so take these with a pinch of salt. However, visually you can see it was sitting low at the front on standard suspension. It now seems to be sitting level all round.

I do have some caster correction bushes which have not yet been fitted.

Summary

Overall I'm please with how the kit fitted. I do think JimnyBits could have supplied a bit more info and guidance on one, installing the kit and secondly some good starting points or configurations they had found to work well with the adjustable shocks. The general service from JimnyBits was good and I'm pleased with the kit parts and install, bar maybe the LED headlight adjuster bracket. So, no real complaints thus far.

I'll post an update on performance after this.
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Last edit: 23 Mar 2024 17:37 by 300bhpton.

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23 Mar 2024 16:02 - 23 Mar 2024 16:44 #255216 by 300bhpton
On road:

As JimnyBits didn't provide any info on the 16 stage adjustable shocks. I started out on the softest setting, lets call this 0. In this setting I found the Jimny a bit floaty and blancmange like. I wasn't all that keen, it also didn't ride as softly I was expecting. But more on this shortly.

I then tried the shocks at number 8. Now, part of me really liked this. It made the Jimny feel very taught and removed any body roll or lean in the corners. For high speed road use or performance driving this would work. But I found it a little on the firm side. Not so much the bigger potholes, more the just trundling at 20mph on what you think is an ok surface. It was maybe a little bouncy/choppy. It could be liveable if you are more on road with your setup, but I found it a little too firm.

I have not tried anything stiffer than setting 8, if you are heavily laden or have a loaded roof rack I can these firmer setting might be useful. But considering they are 16 stage, it does seem many of the stages won't be used by most people.

Since then I've tried 5, 6 and 4. Ultimately I have settled on stage 5 all round. This seems to be a nice blend for me. Most of the time the car not heavily laden, bar the winch bumper, side setups and skid plates. It isn't quite as flat as stage 8 in the corners, but it is still a step up from standard suspension. Setting 4 didn't seem to make the vehicle ride any better than setting 5.

I've spent about 2 weeks messing with the settings and done maybe 400 miles over varied roads and speeds.

Lets talk about the ride. Matching springs with shocks is important to get the best control. As far as I know the 2" Black Raptor kit springs are slightly stiffer than standard springs. Which I think is true for most of the kits out there. The spring is largely dependant on how the car rides bumps. What the damper/shock does is control the movement. And this is where the real difference is. The standard suspension felt rather crashy and under damped to me. This was evident on and off road. In some ways the new suspension hasn't changed how it rides over some kinds of bumps or broken tarmac. But it does offer a lot more control.

You really notice it on road humps, before it crashed over them and you'd want to go slowly. Now, it feels much more planted and controlled, allowing higher speeds with improved comfort. Similar improvements riding over manhole covers and the like.

What it hasn't done is change the sideways and back, forward motion you get from a narrow track, short wheel base live axle 4x4, with a relatively speaking high centre of gravity. Where a road has dips and whoops due to the road foundations failing, the ride is largely unchanged as the entire vehicle is being moved about. The suspension upgrade has only really addressed ride when it is the wheels moving up and down. To get a softer ride I suspect you'd need softer springs and then match the damper rate to them.

Overall I am impressed, as the Jimny rides and handles better than it did standard and has gained a 2" lift. It leans and rolls less and is more controlled in all situations. It is a win win, but it is an evolutionary improvement, not a night and day transformation that makes it feel like a different vehicle.

One are it has massively improved is high speed stability and cornering in general. When I bought the Jimny new four years ago, I always thought it was fun. But it never felt confidence inspiring to really lean on it (push hard) in the corners. Not like a Land Rover Defender does. My vehicle had also developed a wobble under high speed cornering. Which I'm sure wasn't there originally. I'm not sure if this was an impact of the bumper and skid plates, but it has felt a gradual issue, not a sudden change. I personally think the front shocks, despite having done only 26,000 miles, where no longer up to the task.

The symptom, at high speed. Say 70-80mph on the speedo on a fast dual carriage way, you get a nice sweeping left hand bend. The vehicle just no longer felt stable with a sideways wobble, which could make for a bit of a butt clenching moment.

I'm very pleased to say that this has completely vanished now and you can corner at high speed with high confidence. And lower speed hard cornering, such as British B roads are a total joy. You do feel like you can really push the vehicle now.


Off road:

Let's start with some measurements. I repeated the RTI ramp tests.

 
 

Standard suspension:
Jimny - front wheel 14” off the ground - RTI = 462
Jimny rear wheel 17.5” off the ground - RTI = 578

Black Raptor Premium 2" suspension:
Jimny - front wheel 16.5” off the ground - RTI = 545
Jimny rear wheel 19.25” off the ground - RTI = 635

Not the biggest gains, although a +2" kit has delivered pretty much +2" travel front and rear. So some decent gains considering I still have the front anti-roll bar attached. This is not an extreme setup by any means. I'd guess it is on-par with a standard Land Rover Defender. And must be offering more flex than the 40mm lift kits or the ones that retain the stock brake lines and crossmember position.

So I'm quite pleased really.

Putting to use...

 
 
 
 

It feels smoother and more "controlled" off road. It is less crashy than it was before. Making it nicer to use and when the TCS kicks in, making it less jolting if you have a wheel in the air that then comes down to the ground a bit quickly. On this terrain it was also very evident that it needed the traction control a lot less.

As with on road, I'm very pleased with how it performs off road. It is marked improvement over a standard vehicle, but it is no flex monster. The added ground clearance is also a massive benefit. While the diffs are still in the same place due to the tyres. The rest of the vehicle is now higher from the ground (as shown in the measurements above). This mean that it hasn't been sitting on the transfer box skid plate and is the first time I've driven round the test section without digging the front factory recovery point into the ground like a plough! It does just catch the radius arms mounts, although I have also fitted some guards here, so a slight trade off vs the lift. But overall the raise in ride height combined with more flexy suspension is a big win off road.

I imagine the vehicle now performs on and off road how the designers originally intended it to. The stock suspension is a cheap compromise likely done on the grounds margin. This is how a Jimny should be for normal on and off road use and is a perfect mix of handling, ride quality and flex to be a capable vehicle in all situations.

For a daily driven vehicle that needs to retain road manners with enhanced off road ability, I can personally vouch for the JimnyBits Black Raptor Premium kit.
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Last edit: 23 Mar 2024 16:44 by 300bhpton.

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01 Apr 2024 09:53 #255333 by 300bhpton
One thing I didn't complete on the suspension install was the caster correction bushes.

First jacked up and secured the vehicle and front axle and dropped the arms off: 
 
 

Getting the old bushes out could be a challenge, fortunately a friend pushed them out on his hydraulic press: 
 


New bushes are the Black Raptor poly ones, I pushed them in using a vice, then insert the off set drilled pin as per the diagrams supplied. 


Then refit the arms: 


Personally I didn't find the steering too affected prior to the bushes, it wanted to tram line a little more and felt a bit more twitchy around centre, but quite liveable. With the bushes fitted the steering feels just like a standard vehicle.
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01 Apr 2024 13:09 #255346 by fordem
Poly bushes are the last thing I would want in a radius arm suspension lift - it would have been nice to see "before & after" flex on an RTI ramp.

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17 May 2024 18:58 #255986 by Roger Fairclough
Soon after I bought my Gen.4 I became dissatisfied with the general ride and road holding so I purchased a Trailmaster 50mm kit from Martin. Yes it was a noticeable improvement in road holding, the Jimny was flat through the bends although the ride was harder and as the standard of roads local to me got worse this harder ride changed to being harsher.
So I decided to try something else.
As 300bhpton chose I went for the Black Raptor kit because, principally, because of the adjustable shocks made by GAZ.
I started with level 6 but this was similar to the Trailmaster shocks ie too hard, so after a week I changed to level 1.Now this was more like it. Don't get me wrong, a short wheelbase, beam axled, narrow and tall car will never ride like a limo, but this was a dramatic change for the better. Yes it does wallow on pitchy roads but I will tolerate that because the jarring has all but disappeared and it still corners well enough to see off most of the local drivers, so I consider it money well spent.
I bought the shocks and the springs. I didn't need the bracket or the hoses as these were in the Trailmaster kit. I might change the shock. rate over the coming weeks so i will advise on the results.

Roger

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18 May 2024 18:07 #255988 by 300bhpton
I'm currently still running 5 at the front, but I have softened the rear up to 3 now.

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