New Bilstein Suspension by Mikem

CarloG
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New Bilstein Suspension by Mikem

Post by CarloG » 25 Jul 2018 20:29

For interest I'm sharing some photos of my 2005, 4.8 that I got back from Mikem Suspension today. I have had OME (2" lift) on a previous 4.8 and had the TJM XGS Gold that this one had on it. After much desktop research including looking at some options I saw in Australia I decided to go with the Bilstein, custom made by the guys at Mikem. "Custom" sounds larny but they dont have a 'kit as OME do so they make the reservoirs, mounts etc as required for the vehicle.

First up i must say that these are the first guys I have met in person that have actually been able to explain to me how suspension works. They spent some 90 minutes with me made and this probably made me lean towards them doing the work. Barend in particular deserves a mention.

I did get quotes on multiple options from 4" lifts to OME BP51 (that quote came in at R90k for a 2" lift) to the standard OME 2" lift that we often see. Overall I am delighted by the workmanship and attention to detail. I opted to stay with an approximately 50mm lift as I utilise the car mainly for touring with my young family, towing an overloaded conqueror companion and a roof rack that has always got too much on it.

I am mostly ignorant on suspensions but opted to install external reservoirs and not have adjustable shocks. I have overheated and 'blown' more than a handfull of shocks in my life hence the former option. On adjustability - I drove a cruiser fitted with BP51's for a month earlier this year in Australia and while I tend to think more options are better, I quickly realized that my understanding of how compression and rebound work in reality (versus the manual) fall short if utilising the option to its full extent. Further - I concluded that most of my driving is not done at the limit of any application - i don't race and i don't do extreme rock crawling that requires an Xlink or something similar.

Only drove it for about 90km today but it feels superb. Bumps, swerves and one pavement all elicited just one action from the suspension which is how I think suspension should work.

Oh yes - for R500 someone can have my outgoing TJM Coils (all four) + TJM XGS Gold Front and Rear shocks. They weren't poked/broken but are not new. 2" lift. Update: sold.
Last edited by CarloG on 26 Jul 2018 08:27, edited 2 times in total.
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CarloG
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Re: New Bilstein Suspension by Mikem

Post by CarloG » 25 Jul 2018 20:33

and the pics....
Front and Rear.jpeg
Front full articulation.jpeg
Front.jpeg
Right Front.jpeg
Rear -
Rear Droop.jpeg
Rear Droop.jpeg (146.62 KiB) Viewed 1148 times
While probably not necessary Mikem are going to install a "bashplate" of sorts for the reservoir.
Rear Reservoir.jpeg
Rear Reservoir.jpeg (137.82 KiB) Viewed 1148 times
and the side view - the tyres are 33" Mickey Thompsons.
Side View Left.jpeg
Side View Left.jpeg (127.99 KiB) Viewed 1148 times
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Re: New Bilstein Suspension by Mikem

Post by Mystical_Beast » 25 Jul 2018 20:55

Those look really nice..

Would you mind elaborating on cost?

I'm not clued up on suspension either, so what is the purpose of the reservoir?

You put new coils in too by the looks of things?

Where is the lift from, shocks or coils?

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Re: New Bilstein Suspension by Mikem

Post by Mystical_Beast » 25 Jul 2018 20:57

Ant idea why the rear reservoir isnt mounted near the top, similar to the front ones?

I'm afraid I'm ignorant here.

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Re: New Bilstein Suspension by Mikem

Post by CarloG » 25 Jul 2018 21:07

Mystical_Beast wrote:
25 Jul 2018 20:55
Those look really nice..

Would you mind elaborating on cost?
Less than the OME 2" quote mega World - under 25k. Happy to share the invoice on a PM. The OME dont have the reservoir and i don't think are serviceable. (not in SA at least)

I'm not clued up on suspension either, so what is the purpose of the reservoir?
My summarised understanding is that the additional volume of oil extends the time taken to heat the oil when under harsh working conditions (think 500km corrugations through Northern Kenya or the Serengeti. Additionally an added benefit is a little additional articulation as the stroke of the piston in the main chamber can be a little longer. This is marginal and wasn't my reason for the reservoir. I have blown 6 shocks through heat generation on fast corrugated roads as well as fact undulating roads - probably predisposes me to prioritise anything that may help on this front.

You put new coils in too by the looks of things?
Yup. And a new steering dampener. My aerial on the bumber doesn't even twitch any more.

Where is the lift from, shocks or coils?
I believe mainly from coils. I also have the air bags (deflated in these photos) which I use to keep her nose down when I tow and even out the left and right sometimes.
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CarloG
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Re: New Bilstein Suspension by Mikem

Post by CarloG » 25 Jul 2018 21:13

Mystical_Beast wrote:
25 Jul 2018 20:57
Ant idea why the rear reservoir isnt mounted near the top, similar to the front ones?

I'm afraid I'm ignorant here.
Stand to be corrected but the reservoir has to be at the end of the stroke when compressed. As to why the reservoir is not mounted elsewhere... not sure so wont speculate.
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Re: New Bilstein Suspension by Mikem

Post by Peter Connan » 26 Jul 2018 05:25

Just some general info:

1) Shocks do not determine the ride height of a vehicle at all.
2) However, on the Patrol (and most similar vehicles) the do determine the "droop", or how far the wheel can reach downwards.
3) The "bump" or upper travel limit should be determined by the bump stops, but incorrect springs or shocks can limit it. However, this is likely to cause vehicle damage in the long term.

Now specifically on shocks:
One basically gets three types of construction, namely mono-tube, double-tube and external reservoir.

As the shock strokes, the internal volume changes (because more or less of the piston rod is inside the shock). Thus there needs to be something inside the shock which can be compressed. This can be air (not great), nitrogen (So-called "Gas shocks") or foam (Iron Man's Foam Cell for example). Nitrogen is best, because it changes volume less with changes in temperature.

Most makes (including OME) are double-tube. They have a tube in which the piston moves, and a tube around that which houses the oil.
Mono-tube shocks only have one tube. Thus the piston and gas are housed in the same tube, and thus the maximum stroke is shorter. Around 50-60mm shorter.
The external-reservoir shock like these is a mono-tube, but with the gas reservoir seperate, thus re-gaining that stroke.

Typically air shocks and double-tube shocks are more likely to overheat, because as air heats up it expands, increasing the pressure in the shock and because the double-tube design has less exposure to cooling air.

External-reservoir shocks are even better in this regard, depending somewhat on the placement of the reservoir though.

I must be honest though, I don't like the placement of the reservoir on the rear shocks here. I think they are a bit vulnerable... But you said you don't do the extreme stuff, so you should be fine.
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Re: New Bilstein Suspension by Mikem

Post by TijmenvdS » 26 Jul 2018 06:27

:surprised: That is pretty :woo:

Did they also change the suspension bushes on the arms?
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Re: New Bilstein Suspension by Mikem

Post by CarloG » 26 Jul 2018 07:24

Peter Connan wrote:
26 Jul 2018 05:25


I must be honest though, I don't like the placement of the reservoir on the rear shocks here. I think they are a bit vulnerable... But you said you don't do the extreme stuff, so you should be fine.
Thanks Peter. Pretty much sums up what Mikem explained to me. I agree with your view on their vulnerability and in hindsight if i had briefed Mikem differently they would have moved them. hence why they are making some 'protection' for me.
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JHB to London '07, 16000km, 39 days, by Bike
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CarloG
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Re: New Bilstein Suspension by Mikem

Post by CarloG » 26 Jul 2018 07:26

TijmenvdS wrote:
26 Jul 2018 06:27
:surprised: That is pretty :woo:

Did they also change the suspension bushes on the arms?
The front bushed were changed last year by Gtech (Pathfinder) as they were poked. Mikem had to change the bump stops on the front as the one was cracked.
'05 Patrol 4.8L GRX
'13 Conqueror Companion
Specialsied Stumpjumper. Munga Trainee

JHB to London '07, 16000km, 39 days, by Bike
90days camping - JHB to Nairobi and back - 2014
"We travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us"

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