RangeRovers.net Forum banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
A few months ago, I put in new Arnott OEM style front air springs because one had developed a leak. Now, after 8 years and 113,000 miles on the rears, it is time for their replacement. The left rear had occasionally been dropping to the bump stops for a few months, and the trusty bottle of soap and water revealed an air leak from the bottom portion of the air spring where it doubles over. The spring would hold air at normal height well enough to drive, but when parked, sometimes it would sit a little lower, and then the split would open just enough to release air, and down it went. I had no leaks at the air line connections, so I decided not to disturb them and to replace the bellows on the truck without mount removal. Like the front, I went with Arnott OEM style air bellows since I had no reason to change the ride characteristics from stock.

I put the frame on jack stands, raised the rear axle with jacks to remove the wheels, and then let the axle drop to full extension. The air bags did not separate from either top or bottom mounts. Bummer. I was hoping my job would be made easier. My fronts popped off the tops when I let the axle drop, but not the rears.

Here’s where I placed jack stands.


I deflated the air bags by poking a hole in them with a pointed pick tool and began with removal from the lower spring mounts. With a fresh razor blade, I cut away a section of the air bag so I could access the bead from the inside. I jammed a small screwdriver between the bead and the bead seat taking as much care as I could to avoid scratching the bead seat and levered the bead up and off the mount.


I learned from when I did the front springs that the beads are reinforced with several wires and this would probably be the easiest way to remove them. It worked great for the lower mounts, but I had more trouble with the tops.

Here’s a pic of the “damage.” Nothing to worry about here, but I did smooth it with some 400 grit sandpaper to make myself feel better.


For the top beads, I cut away the rest of the air bag leaving just a ring of material around the bead.


This time because the upper mount is recessed into the frame crossmember, I couldn’t get enough levering with my one screwdriver to get the bead off the mount. The screwdriver hit the wall of the recess. So, I used a prybar on the outside of the bead right at the location where I was levering with the small screwdriver from inside the bead. Two handed job, so I couldn’t take any pics of this. It worked, but the pry bar had some sharp edges, and I managed to put some gouges in the bead seats. The driver side wasn’t so bad, but the passenger side was a really deep gouge. Here are a couple poor pics of it. None of them came out very well.



These pics were taken after I had begun my repair efforts. That’s what the abrasions are along the gouge. The best way to fix this, in my opinion, would be to lightly deburr the scratch with sand paper, fill the scratch with a sandable epoxy like JB weld, then sand smooth. But, JB Weld takes several hours to cure. It was already evening, and I needed the Range Rover fixed by the morning lest the boss get mad. I didn’t want to be out there at 2 am trying to get the truck back on its feet. So I decided to just grind it out and smooth and reshape as best as possible. I first used a small cone grinding stone on my dremel to bring the surface all the way down to the depth of the gouge and then feather the depth out over one half inch or so on either side of the scratch. The plastic is pretty soft, so you have to be careful not to overdo it. Then I used 150 then 400 grit sandpaper to smooth everything out. I thought it looked pretty decent when done. No pics because I couldn’t get them to show well due to too much reflection from the flash.

Next is installation of the new air bellows, which is a snap. I greased the top and bottom beads with some silicone stopcock grease borrowed from work.


First, I seated the upper bead on the mount. With the greased bead, it slips on without too much difficulty. Getting the bottom seated takes some wrestling with the bellows. The uninflated bellows are much longer than the space given them between the spring mounts. You have squeeze them flat in the middle and bend them into kind of a Z shape to line up the bottom bead with the mount. Here’s a pic of the newly mounted bellows before inflation.


Now, on to inflating the springs. I started the engine and let it run for a couple minutes to let the compressor top off the tank taking care to leave the door open, and then the engine is left running through the whole procedure. Leaving the door open, of course, disables the EAS and prevents it from trying to fill the springs just yet. I wanted to fill them slowly in stages while watching to make sure everything was going well. I pressed the suspension switch to max height position. If I didn’t do this, it didn’t inflate the airbags, which I suppose makes sense because the rear axle was already dropped down to max height, and it wouldn’t make sense to send air to the bags to achieve normal ride height. It should be releasing air. Anyway, selecting max height worked. I opened the rear driver’s side door and closed the driver’s door. I could reach and quickly open the rear door and stop inflation while I was watching the rear spring inflate. I simply closed the rear door, watched for inflation, and opened the door again to stop it. All looked good. Did it again, and the wrinkles were coming out of the bags nicely. One more time, and the bags were fully inflated with no issues visible or leaks audible. Here’s a pic of the fully inflated airbag.


I mounted the wheels, and dropped the truck back onto the ground. Perfect. Lowered down to access height to fully fold the bags over once, then brought it back to normal height and took a test drive. All good. I patted myself on the back and parked the Rover for the night. Next morning, it was down again in the rear. Uh oh, ****. Next night I disconnected the battery to disable the EAS and let it sit. It went down again mostly on the passenger rear where I had damaged the upper mount the worst. So, I figured I had buggered the upper bead mount too much even though I had smoothed it nicely. I tried spraying with soapy water, but I couldn’t see anything. It was such a slow leak and on top of the spring where you don’t have a view. I resigned myself to having a Range Rover that would drop nightly. We used to be in the habit of dropping it to access height every time we parked it because my wife liked the feature, (She’s short.) but for some reason, she stopped doing it. I figured we’d start again out of necessity. But, after a couple of weeks, the Rover is now maintaining height overnight. Sweet. I’m guessing the rubber slowly flowed a bit and better conformed to the bead seat, or maybe with the weight of the truck on the springs, it has formed a seal where the top of the spring is pressed against the upper flange of the top mount. Regardless, it seems good now, and it’s a job well done after all.

Hopefully this is useful to someone. Cheers,
Brett
 

·
FOUNDING MEMBER
Joined
·
4,509 Posts
nice write-up, and good pics.

couple additions:

Removing the top/bottom is INCREIDBLY easy, it's just an R clip top and bottom. clamp the rubber in a vice, use a crescent wrench to pry the ends away. no cutting involved.

when you start the engine, leave the setting on standard height and slowly jack up the axle, it will do the same as opening/closing the doors, when you've lifted the rover off the frame's jack-stands, you know it's good. keep the axle level to the frame to prevent a spring pushing out sideways (makes quite a bang if you do that....)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
894 Posts
Nice write-up.

As Shupack said, it's not too hard to take the top/bottom clips to get the entire airbag out, but I do see merits to doing the replacement this way.

From my experience, it's been hit or miss w/ the tube seating inside the collet, so If you're sure that you have a good airline seal, maybe your way is the way to go.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
shupack said:
Removing the top/bottom is INCREIDBLY easy, it's just an R clip top and bottom. clamp the rubber in a vice, use a crescent wrench to pry the ends away. no cutting involved.
Yeah. The only reason to swap the bellows in situ in this manner is to avoid disconnecting air lines. I should have mentioned that with a little more care and a duller pry bar, one could remove the top beads without damage. I gouged the one mount badly on my first try. I was much more successful on my second attempt on the top of the other spring.

when you start the engine, leave the setting on standard height and slowly jack up the axle, it will do the same as opening/closing the doors, when you've lifted the rover off the frame's jack-stands, you know it's good. keep the axle level to the frame to prevent a spring pushing out sideways (makes quite a bang if you do that....)
Good point. The only comment I would have is that jacking the axle to normal height deforms the uninflated bellows more which may make it more likely to blow a bag off the mount while they're inflating, but if you've done it, it works. I did blow one off when doing the front. You're right about the bang. Scared the crap out of me. LOL

Brett
 

·
Registered
1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
Joined
·
320 Posts
I always gasp at pics of the underside of (west-coast) American cars. It looks......dusty. :?
Where I live the underside looks (and is) rusty. Of my P38 anyway! :lol:

Good write-up, great pictures.
Especially the one with the two 911s :wink:

Cheers from Holland, where the aluminium pistons weld themselves to the steel of frame & axles, and R-clips simply dissipate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
BargePilot said:
I always gasp at pics of the underside of (west-coast) American cars. It looks......dusty. :?
Where I live the underside looks (and is) rusty. Of my P38 anyway! :lol:

Good write-up, great pictures.
Especially the one with the two 911s :wink:
LOL filthy isn't it. Right now, the paint is almost as dirty as the undercarriage. It's been so long that I've washed it. The orange one is a 78, and the white one is actually a 64 356C coupe project that I haven't started on yet.

Cheers from Holland, where the aluminium pistons weld themselves to the steel of frame & axles, and R-clips simply dissipate.
Another good case for replacement w/o mount removal.

Brett
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top