Ground Clearance - How much is enough?





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  1. #1
    new4x4 Guest

    Default Ground Clearance - How much is enough?

    Hi Guys,

    I wanted to get your views on this issue and I know its how long is a piece of string but for general (IE - overland, not Baboons Pass kind of stuff) how much ground clearance is enough? Without telling you what the vehicle is here are the numbers:

    Approach 34
    Departure 27
    Breakover 21

    Chassis lowest point 251mm
    Front Axel lowest point 228mm
    Rear Axel lowest point 218mm (under rear diff)

    I am trying to work out if I REALLY need a lift. All of the clearance numbers above can be increased by about 12mm by going up one tyre size which is easy.

    Cheers

  2. #2
    new4x4 Guest

    Default For comparison

    From Toyota's web site. No idea where they measure the clearance so its hard to compare but anyway...

    Fortuner LCPrado LC200
    Angle of approach 30 30° 32 Angle of departure 25 20° 24 Angle of approach 30 30° 32 Angle of departure 25 20° 24
    Clearance 220 225 220
    Approach 30 30 32
    Departure 25 20 24


    Cheers

  3. #3
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    New 4x4

    The sample vehicle seems to be fine on clearance, and other specs. A bakkie?

    However, I think weight carrying capacity is more important than to have the best specs on clearance/departure angle etc, when overlanding. Loads tend to get very heavy when overlanding.

    Weight will eventually determine whether you need a more serious suspension. So it all depends on personal needs. When I travel alone, any standard suspension is more than adequate, but if you are with four other boebpens adults, towing a heavy trailer or have a lot on the roof rack for a seven week trip, almost no standard suspension is up to the job.

    Bostoe
    Last edited by bostoe; 2010/01/18 at 08:31 PM.

  4. #4
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    This is a very wide area question to cover and I agree with Bostoe. You need to determine what you want to do and in which type of terrain (Sand,Mud,Rock etc) One must always ask one serious question. Will it compromise safety of my passengers and vehicle. The sky is the limit in some vehicles but be careful that you don't become top heavy on top as your centre of gravity will certainly be affected. A few things to take in mind
    Do you want approach and departure lift? Then go for body lift and suspension lift
    Do you want diff height then look at cutting arch's and bigger tyres/rims

    Etc,etc

    Altimately its your call

    Just be careful of power ratio's vs centre of gravity

    Personally I would go for approach and departure first then look at other mods if you like

    Good luck
    Morton the " BEAST " Berg
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  5. #5
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    So what Jeep do you drive ?
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  6. #6
    new4x4 Guest

    Default

    So what I dont get is this:

    Mystery Vehicle is lambasted for lack of ground clearance in press and mags. Guys want to seel me suspension lifts etc.

    Fortuner is accepted as having enough ground clearance and good departure angle etc.

    Lets look at it again:

    Mystery Vehicle:

    Approach 34
    Dep 27
    Breakover 21
    Lowest clearance point below diff 218

    Fortuner

    Approach 30 = Worse
    Departure 25 = Worse
    Breakover 23 = Better
    Clearance 220 = Better

    Does the 2 deg breakover and 2 mill ground clearance make such a difference? Does it make up for the worse approach and depart angle? What am I missing here?

    Cheers Guts

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    I believe that in the press it depends on what vehicle you drive. Toyota is always better than anything else I've seen the bumpers on a Toyota being ripped off due to lack of approach angle but still CAR magazine rates it as the best 4x4 bakkie of all. I suspect your mystery vehicle is anything but a Toyota.

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    I am definitely no expert but here is how I see it.

    Specifications give you some idea but does not tell the whole story.

    So the lowest point on the Fortuner is between the front two wheels. At the diff it is round about 240 mm. If you look under the rest of the car you would see that there is a lot more ground clearance everywhere else. I would say that about 80% of the vehicle underbody have a ground clearance of >280 mm. So when you climb under your vehicle how does the rest of the underbody look like? (Go to the mall and park next to a Fortuner lie on your back and see if you can see a significant difference )

    (My understanding is that the Fortuner has good ground clearance, but it is certainly not class leading. Look around, you will see Fortuners, Land Cruisers, and many other brands all doing a suspension lifts.)

    Then other thing that affects your ground clearance off road is the different suspension layouts, solid axle’s vs Independent suspension and etc.

    Softer suspensions will also cause you to lose more ground clearance especially once it is loaded.

    Good luck, hope you find the answers you are looking for .
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    Remember that if your minimum clearance is on your diff(solid axle), then you are off to good start. If the minimum clearance is measured on any other part that moves up and down idependently of the wheels, then your clearance can reduce significantly when loaded or `bottoming out´.

    That is why landrovers, 70,80 series landcruisers etc. are such awesome off road vehicles. They may not have significantly more clearance when you check their specs, but that clearance stays more or less constant because they have solid axles front and back.
    Kimball R. Pitcher

    Head - 2007 Toyota Fortuner, OME, extra tank, roof rack, bent running boards
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    Min height is the lowest point on your vehicle. That is axle exhaust or fuel tank.That point that will scrap the middelmannetjie or rocks the whole time and 80 % of vehicles is less than 220mm which create problems exploring Africa, Dubble cabs should be the benchmark going lower create problems.

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    And remember a suspension lift CANNOT increase ground clearance, only bigger wheels can achieve this.

    Unless you have independent suspension all round, in which case ground clearance will vary under load.
    camelman
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    Bigger wheel increase clearance, suspension lift increases breakover, entry and departure angles. Hi-clearance bumpers (and bodylift) increase entry and departure angles.

    Independant front suspension clearnace will increase with a lift.

    I find that the bit that catches the lost on my vehicle is the transfer case crossmemeber which is higher than the diff. The reason for this "break over angle" between the two front or rear wheels and the diff. You are more likely to drag the belly when tackling uneven ground than the diff.
    Talk softly, carry a big stick.

  13. #13
    new4x4 Guest

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    Thanks everyone. I think my first step will be fitting the largest tyres I can. I think this will give me 25mm more cleance. Then I guess its a budget lift of 25 to 50mm. BTW its a Commander.

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    Quote Originally Posted by new4x4 View Post
    thanks everyone. I think my first step will be fitting the largest tyres i can. I think this will give me 25mm more cleance. Then i guess its a budget lift of 25 to 50mm. Btw its a commander.
    ;d;d;d
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    Plenty of info on lifting commanders and commanders in general under the Jeep forum. Independent front so you will increase clearance by lifting. someone will be able to tell you how big a tyres you can fit before you get rubbing. There is a Zone lift with our very own onsite agent aswell as an OME suspension lift. I would suggest aiming to fit as big a tyres as you can get away without having to re-gear and putting in teh minimum amount of lift to achieve this. Unless you have heaps of cash then go for a re-gear 35inch wheels and a 4 inch lift see above

    The commander is very capable offroader in standard form. And apparently extremely comfortable on the road. The diesel is to die for, merc engine.
    Talk softly, carry a big stick.

  16. #16
    Neville Black Guest

    Default Morton, i own a terracan (spoken before), i had a lift done by hyundai, still i find

    Quote Originally Posted by Morton Berg View Post
    This is a very wide area question to cover and I agree with Bostoe. You need to determine what you want to do and in which type of terrain (Sand,Mud,Rock etc) One must always ask one serious question. Will it compromise safety of my passengers and vehicle. The sky is the limit in some vehicles but be careful that you don't become top heavy on top as your centre of gravity will certainly be affected. A few things to take in mind
    Do you want approach and departure lift? Then go for body lift and suspension lift
    Do you want diff height then look at cutting arch's and bigger tyres/rims

    Etc,etc

    Altimately its your call

    Just be careful of power ratio's vs centre of gravity

    Personally I would go for approach and departure first then look at other mods if you like

    Good luck
    Morton, i own a terracan (spoken before), i had a lift done by hyundai, still i find i sit on my bash plate, is there any thing i can do to lift it a little more??

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    new4x4

    i agree with you on the matter. When i was looking around for a 4x4 i heard a few times, no, don't take the vitara, take the fortuner, it has better ground clearence. One has 210mm other 225mm. What does 15mm give me? Sure the more the marrier and I understand all other advantages and variables but 5-10mm doesn't reaaaally say, oooo tahts terrible ground clearence. With 200mm you could go anywhere you like if you drive sensibly but if you want to measure clearences sizes with your mates then sure 215 is much better than 214! If you are looking at consistent off-road tracks graded 5, then sure, get the extra 20mm it will be awesome, but don't misguide the less experienced people into "that vehicle has no ground clearence"

    BTW: i drive teh mega ground clearence fortuner, lol

  18. #18
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    Default Tyre size and fuel economy

    I wanted to resurrect this discussion just to get views. Increasing tyre size increases ground clearance: does it have any beneficial effect on fuel economy?

  19. #19
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    Welcome to the forum.

    The increased tire size impacts on a number of items:
    - clock is "out" by the percentage the tire size changed (mostly this just makes the clock run true)
    - the odometer is out by this percentage - thus you THINK you fuel consumption changes.
    - Tourque REDUCES by this percentage - now if you put foot to compensate the fuel consumption WILL worsen
    - your brakes are LESS EFFECTIVE !!

    As such, the genral rule is to NOT change tire sizes by more than 3%

    If you search the forum you will many more threads regarding this.

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    New 4x4,

    This is what I did to my Commander, which worked pretty well.

    1. 2" Procomp spacer kit

    2. Longer OME shocks

    3. 1 size larger tyres

    4. Fit air helpers to the back coils.

    I used the vehicle for over-landing and 4x4 trails. The 2" lift and larger tyres was definately useful for driving in deep sand.

    Enjoy
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