If to treat Dacia Duster not as a parket car, but as an off-roader, the ground clearance put to it can be not enough. On the other hand, Duster has never been and cannot be the car for serious lack of roads, not Toyota Land Cruiser. First, it has no frame body design, second, transmission and engines are obviously not designed for high loads, and third, suspension parameters though allow making some changes in ground clearance parameters, but it has its limit. How to increase the ground clearance on the Dacia Duster, what it is at all and what the consequences can be with an illiterate approach to the issue – all this we will consider right now.
Ground clearance of the Dacia Duster. Measuring correctly
Even a schoolboy knows that the ground clearance is the distance from the road to the lowest point on the bottom of the car. On the Dacia Duster 4×4 it is stated within 210 mm, which is actually not bad for a crossover of such class. Approximately the same indicators at Nissan Terrano, on the basis of which the all-wheel-drive Duster is assembled. Is it necessary to say, that the geometrical cross-country ability depends strongly on a ground clearance.
As we see, with angles of approach and departure at Duster everything is excellent, the ramp angle of 23 degrees is not a God knows what indicator, but it is enough to cope with country roads or city curbs. Nominal ground clearance 210-205 millimeters depending on a drive type, also allows the car to feel itself safely both on snowy city streets, and on easy walk on a picnic.
In principle, it is enough. Only there is one nuance. Parameters of clearance measurement can be different. Here is a simple example.
Based on this simple scheme, it is clear that the ground clearance is counted differently and each manufacturer tries to maximize this sought-after indicator. In case of Duster, the history repeats itself. If to measure the distance from the ground to the resonator can, then 210 mm obviously will not pull.
As a rule, the difference between the declared and real ground clearance is about 25%. Well, let’s try to make a prediction, than we can see the increase of clearance on Duster by 25-30 mm, which is quite real. However, with the complex approach to the issue, with replacement of drives, complete reprocessing of suspension, change of wheel disks and tires, it is possible to achieve more convincing indicators.
As an example, the Polish dealer Dacia released a special version of Duster for impassability with 270 mm clearance. Here are its parameters.
What does it give and what is the risk of increasing the ground clearance
With a small lifting we will improve the geometric cross-country ability of our Duster and, perhaps, make it visually closer to its off-road brothers. All this is good, but it is necessary to understand that any change in the suspension will somehow affect the car’s behavior and comfort of driving. And, most likely, not for the better.
The point is that the stock suspension was developed only taking into account the nominal clearance. We mean characteristics of shock absorbers, angles of driveshafts, CV joints, load distribution when passing bumps and braking.
After lifting it is possible to forget about factory parameters, Duster will never become such, as we got used to see it. And besides:
- Aerodynamics. We understand that with each millimeter of clearance increase the drag area grows. And although at such speeds and such values of changing the car’s landing height there will be no radical changes in aerodynamics, but in any case the improvement will affect fuel consumption, aerodynamic noise and aerodynamic lift.
- Center of gravity. Here, it seems, everything is clear. The center of gravity also rises with each millimeter of clearance increase. Naturally, it will affect the stability of the body in turns, steerability and load on the suspension. The latter threatens with reduction of service life of all elements, starting from stabilizer bushings and finishing with support bearings.
- Suspension mode and its characteristics. Since we don’t do the elevator right after the dealers center, we understand that all the moving elements of the suspension are already used up, and now they will have to adapt to completely different working conditions for which they are simply not designed. This includes bend angles, cornering angles, and loads. Shock absorbers and springs can be totally unprepared for such changes.
Not so long ago, we dealt with characteristics of struts on all-wheel drive Duster and found out that the maximum travel of front shock absorbers makes 157mm, and for rear ones – 237mm. Hence, we will have to lengthen a rod to keep this parameter, otherwise a rod will be torn out of the cup at critical rebound loads. There is one more unpleasant scenario – with a large working amplitude there is a probability of tearing the strut out of the cup.
- The mode of operation of the CV joints and the transmission. The joints will also be affected by the changes, since the calculated angle will inevitably change. How the rolled CV joints will behave in the new conditions is unknown. Most likely, their service life will essentially decrease. There is one more danger for Duster 4×4 – desynchronization of work of a full drive that can lead to failure of a clutch.
This is only the tip of the iceberg of problems that can cause a mistake when increasing the clearance on the Duster, but we will try to avoid it, and do everything correctly.
For starters: wheel and tire diameters on the Duster, bolt fitment
Dacia Duster is factory-fitted with 215/65 R16 rubber, and depending on the assembly plant, the rubber supplier may vary. Most of the Dusters came out with rubber Viatti Bosco A/T or Continental ContiCrossContact LX 215/65 R16, however, in the second generation suppliers often changed, but the size, of course, remained the same. The factory recommends not changing the size of the tires and rims and offers the following options:
215/60R17 (689,8); 215/70R15 (682); 225/65R16 (698,90); 235/60R16 (688,40); 225/70R15 (696); 225/60R17 (701); 215/75R15 (703); 215/70R16 (707).
Regular rims’ size is 16 inches, bolt fitment 16×6.5 ET50 PSD 114.3×5 DIA 66.1. Considering the factory data, you can install smaller diameter rims, but with a higher profile tire. It is better to make sure that under load and during tilting the rubber will not be hampered by wheel arches and suspension elements.
But you should be prepared for the fact that by increasing the outside diameter of the wheel, though we will gain 5-10 mm of ground clearance, but lose the accuracy of speedometer and odometer readings, win in speed, but lose a little traction, probably increase fuel consumption by a small amount. Besides replacement of disks and tires costs money, and in this size it is quite a pretty penny, it also needs to be clearly realized.
Spacers for Dacia Duster
Almost the most common way to increase ground clearance on almost all small cars. The principle is simple – we install spacers between the strut and the body, as a result we get an increase in ground clearance up to 30 mm. It is strongly not recommended to exceed this limit, especially on the front struts. Kits of spacers for Duster are a lot of different materials – aluminum, polyurethane, different types of rubber.
For the rear suspension there are spacers with extensions of the shock absorber rod. For front-wheel drive versions of the Duster, in addition to spacers, it is necessary to install additional brackets on the rear beam to compensate for the working stroke of the shock absorber. In this case the shock absorber will work in its usual mode and there will be no harm from such tuning. With the help of spacers you can easily increase the clearance to 230-240 mm, and it’s already a decent figure.
Not the most budget-friendly option, because in this case you will still have to lengthen the shock absorber rods. And you may even have to change them completely for other struts with different characteristics. It is also considerable money. The body will become higher in any case and here everything depends on the pair of spring – shock absorber. And still it is necessary to remember about other elements of the suspension, which will work in extreme conditions.
Refinement of springs, buffers
As an option, you can make the regular springs a little bit stiffer by inter-scroll spacers, buffers. The meaning of this operation is that the spring will not work to its full capacity, but you do not need to change the parameters of the shock absorber. This variant is often used after the installation of spacers, to reduce the roll and excessive softness of suspension. Penny spacers are sold at every corner. By the way, they can help with installation of too soft springs of standard size.
If we do decide to modify the suspension and increase the ground clearance of the Dacia Duster, in any case, we must remember that the normal angle of the CV joints will not change, so the maximum that we can painlessly to the chassis and transmission to take – to apply one or more of the above methods, raising the body of Duster above the ground at most 20-30 mm.