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Terrafirma: Your Story

Posted on: February 20, 2011 by admin

Thunk … tink, bump, ker- thunk… Clunk…

Yes, I let the suspension pass its expiration date. Yes, I came to know each one of the unique sounds my Discovery made in the different scenarios I put it in. Should I have let it get this far?

Probably not, but knowing when a certain noise happened actually heightened my awareness, and when I focused on reducing its occurrence I was advancing my driving skills while off-pavement. The several (dozen) times I took it off road, I was getting to know the Rover inside and out, through its clunks and bumps. Wheeling on failing parts isn’t suggested nor advised though. Yet neither is chewing with your mouth open or running with scissors.

After I sank my daily driver Disco in mud up to the doors, which is an entirely different article altogether, I decided it was time for upgrades.

I was tired of being stock and the creaks and groans of the old hardware were really making me wince. And, by the looks of it on the forums, I was going to need a large stack of hard earned green paper to get rid of the past-due part’s complaints. “Suspension kits for an arm and a leg,” said one website. “For your first born child, you can make your truck look like this!” exclaimed another. My dreams started to dwindle. And then I found Terrafirma.

This was a very welcomed awakening: finding an affordable way to upgrade my Rover. The big burgundy beast would be wearing some shiny new silver shocks and springs someday soon. I had to wear sunglasses because the future looked so bright. This left me with some studying and research to do because my next hurdle was to decide exactly which spring/shock combo to pursue. After browsing spring rate tables and seriously

looking at my future goals for the truck, I found a U.S. vendor who carried a Pro Sport HD kit that fit perfectly into my budget.

“Add to cart” Click. “Checkout” Click.

While the suspension was in the mail, accompanied by new bushings and other miscellaneous replacement parts, new tires were mounted. 265/75/16s not too big, not too small: oh, Goldilocks would be proud.

I felt like a kid on Christmas morning when the packages arrived. Plastic wrappings and empty cardboard quickly littered the garage after I had laid out all my new toys. Shocks, springs, steering damper, bushings, brake pads, and turret rings were all patiently awaiting their new home. Since I had helped install a suspension lift on another ’97 Discovery, I knew what parts to put on and in what order they went. The only hitch in the system came from the rusty top shock bolts. Since I was replacing the shocks, it didn’t matter if the old ones were decapitated or not. A hacksaw with a new blade made light work of the stubborn stock hardware. It had been on the truck for 14 years and didn’t want to leave.

Before installation even began, we measured the height of the truck at the top arc of the driver side fender. It was around 33 ½ inches. After a flawless install, the same measurement point was tallied at 38 ¼. It was a very nice improvement. When we lowered the truck from the jack we were shocked and impressed at how tall it seemed. But what good is a huge truck if it just sits in the driveway? It was time for a test drive!

The HD suspension willingly devoured all the pavement obstacles I could throw at it. Tighter corners and more solid braking were among the most noticed improvements. Even with deleted sway bars, it handled better than ever with the massive shocks and springs. Pavement though, was getting annoying. Off road vehicles function best when dirt is under their feet. In this case however, gravel was all I had to work with. I climbed up, on, over, around, and through all the mounds that I could find in the construction area. There wasn’t a single suspension squawk, or bushing bicker. Now for once, my truck felt unstoppable.

Overall, I’m severely impressed by the Pro Sport HD kit. It definitely puts the FIRM in Terrafirma. Like previously mentioned, the on-road ride is firm, but not rigid like a tractor or log wagon. And, the off-road ride is noticeably stable: sure-footed, as some like to call it. I’ve ridden in rigs that have the “Arm and a leg” suspensions in them. Mine is practically identical, and thanks to Terrafirma, I’m still a full functioning biped.

brandon@teamtrec.com

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