Beef up your Evoque

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16 June 2024
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Spacers provide the lift : credit: © Martin Domoney
A few small mods can really boost the baby Range Rover’s looks and capability. Martin Domoney visits MuddyMods to find out how

Need to know

Time: One day 
Cost: £559.99
Difficulty: 4 out of 5  
Models:
Range Rover Evoque 2011-2018.
Tools needed: Socket and spanner sets, screwdrivers, torque wrench, prybar, trim tool, T30 Torx bit, 11mm pipe spanner, wire brush, mole grips, penetrating oil, anti-seize compound, trolley jack, minimum 3-tonne axle stands or ramp, brake bleeding kit.
Parts and costs:
• Evoque 40/50mm lift kit with brake lines and drop-links, £330
• 30/25mm hubcentric wheel spacers, £229, Muddymods.com.
• Falken Wildpeak AT3WA 255/55R20 £189.95 each, Protyre.co.uk.
Work safely: Raise and support the vehicle securely on rated equipment. Wear the correct PPE at all times. Always disconnect the battery before commencing work.

 

For almost as long as Land Rovers have been around, people have come up with ways of lifting them, increasing ground clearance under the chassis and body and allowing extra space in the wheelarches for larger tyres.

There’s a bit more to take into consideration when lifting an independently-sprung Land Rover over a live-axled one, and the Evoque we’re working on here at MuddyMods is a great case in point.

The simplest and most effective method is to fit special spacers between the suspension struts’ mounting points on the body and the tops of the struts themselves, which incorporate the slight geometry changes needed to keep the suspension operating as closely to the factory settings as possible. This is especially important on the particular variant we’re working on today – a Dynamic – which uses electronically-controlled dampers to adjust the firmness of the ride depending on the mode the driver has selected. We’ve gone for a 40mm lift on the front end and a 50mm raise on the rear, for a useful increase in ground clearance without upsetting the driveshafts and suspension joints.

Also in the MuddyMods kit are new Meyle HD anti-roll bar links, which are both tougher and longer-lasting than the OE items and also a slightly revised length to compensate for the vehicle’s new height, ensuring the anti-roll bar is still effective at reducing body roll when cornering. You also get a set of four stainless steel braided flexible hoses, which are slightly extended over the standard brake lines to prevent any stress as the suspension cycles.

Land Rover recommends that the OE rubber brake flexis are replaced every six years due to degradation and the majority are years overdue, so this is a very sensible upgrade. We’re also going to bolt on a set of hubcentric wheel spacers to push the wheels out flush with the arches, to give a chunkier, more purposeful stance – the guys at MuddyMods have experimented and found that 30mm on the front and 25mm on the back hits the sweet spot.

As with any modifications, it’s important to inform your insurance of the changes.

Low standards: Here’s the Evoque as it left the factory – the wheels and tyres are a bit lost in the wheelarches and the low-slung ride height, especially with the deeper bumpers and skirts of this Dynamic model, leave the body and underside vulnerable to damage off-road.

Higher and wider: Here are the parts we’ll be fitting. A MuddyMods 40mm front and 50mm rear suspension lift kit with longer braided stainless brake lines and heavy-duty anti-roll bar links, and a set of wheel spacers; 30mm for the front and 25mm for the rear, to give the best stance.

Start at the back: We need access to the top mounts that secure the rear suspension struts to the body, so there’s a bit of stripping out to do. Lift the spare wheel cubby cover off, then use a trim tool to carefully unclip the boot closing panel and lift it away. Keep all trim pieces safe.

Seals and screws: Release the boot aperture seal around the boot trims, but leave the rest of the seal in place. Then use a 6mm Allen key or bit to unscrew the lashing points on either side. Now undo the single self-tapping screw on each side that secures the boot trims at the base.

Unclip boot trim: Fold the back seats forward as far as they will go, then open and remove the fusebox cover. Carefully pull the boot trims away from the inside of the body, using a trim tool to individually pop the clips where possible. Unplug the boot light and remove the trims.

Loosen top mount: With the boot trims removed, the upper strut mounts will be visible. We’ll now work on a side at a time, but the procedure is the same for each. Loosen and remove the two 13mm inner top mount nuts, then slide the metal dampener off the studs and away.

Leave one nut: We don’t want the strut to drop down just yet, so leave the single outer nut in place for now. You’ll notice that the three studs aren’t equally spaced – their positioning is important to remember when fitting the lift spacer to the top of the strut later on.

Loosen lower arms: To let the top of the strut drop away from the body further, making it easier to get the lift spacer in, the two lower arm and the single trailing arm nuts and bolts are loosened, so that the suspension bushes aren’t under tension. They’ll be retorqued at the new ride height.

Anti-roll bar off: To further let the tension off the struts and make it easier to slip the lift spacers into place and line them up, unbolt the anti-roll bar from the rear subframe. Soak the bolts in release spray and clean up the exposed threads with a wire brush, then undo the four 13mm bolts.

Remove arch liner: Undo the series of plastic scrivets, self-tapping screws and plastic nuts holding the inner wheelarch liner in place, then carefully pry it out from the arch’s inner lip and fold it to release it. They are made of a strange material and the edges are very sharp, so take care.

Now’s a good time... to scrape any muck out of the back of the Evoque’s sill panels and treat them with rust killer and a protective coating. As you can see, wet dirt and mulch collects behind the liner and holds moisture in, promoting rust, so being proactive will pay off in the long-run.

Release brake lines: Locate the rubber grommets that hold the flexible rubber brake line to the bracket, and wiggle them out of the holder. We’ll be replacing those hoses later, but best to leave them connected while fitting the lift kit to minimise brake fluid spillage while you’re working.

Lower the strut: Undo the final top mount nut from inside the boot area, then return to the wheel station and pull the suspension strut downwards; when shining a torch at the top of the strut, you should be able to see the three studs that pass through the body. The spacer sits on top.

Note orientation: Take one of the rear lift spacers and familiarise yourself with the way it fits on top of the strut, and sandwiches underneath the mounting point on the body. Also observe the uneven hole spacing; be sure to offer up the spacer the right way around when fitting.

Start all nuts: Pull down on the suspension strut and manoeuvre the spacer on top of the top mount, ensuring that the studs all slide through the holes in the spacer all the way. Fit the washers, then lift the nuts up onto the studs and start all three by hand to prevent cross-threading.

Tools for the job: Tightening the nuts up can be fiddly, due to the relatively confined space you have to work in. A combination of a 13mm flexible ratchet spanner and stubby spanner is used to wind all three nuts down and tighten them up. Take care not to turn the strut while doing so.

Align the studs: Locate the three holes that the studs on the top of the spacer need to pass through. Carefully ease the strut into position, and use a flat blade screwdriver to persuade the studs through the holes if needed. Once in, refit the metal dampener and tighten the three nuts.

Remove old links: The MuddyMods kit comes with new anti-roll bar links that are stronger and longer-lasting than the originals. Undo the two 15mm nuts that secure the OE links, then slide the threaded sections out of the strut and anti-roll bar, and remove. An impact gun helps here.

Spot the difference: With the old anti-roll bar link removed and compared directly to the new Meyle HD item, the difference in size and quality is immediate. The balljoints on the new link are bigger, making them more suited to arduous off-road use. They’ll last longer on-road, too.

Loosen pipe unions: Give the brake pipe union that connects the flexi to the hard line a good scrub with a wire brush, and treat it with release spray. Use a proper pipe spanner to undo the union, and have a tray ready to catch the spilling brake fluid. Undo the banjo bolt from the caliper.

Remove old lines: Use a pair of pliers or a large flat-blade screwdriver to remove the metal spring clip that holds the end of the rubber flexi to the bracket on the body. Note the way the brake line is routed, then pop the grommets out if you haven’t already, and remove the flexi.

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Longer and stronger: Not only are the new braided brake lines slightly longer than the standard ones, to make up for the larger distance between the caliper and the mounting bracket at full suspension droop, their stainless construction can improve pedal feel. They come in cool colours, too.

Route and secure: Connect the new brake flexi-hose to the top union first, then secure it to the mounting bracket with the grommets, working your way down and ensuring that the pipe is routed in the same way as the original, as shown. Refit the spring clip to the top union.

Connect them up: Fit a copper sealing washer either side of the banjo fitting, as shown above, then slide the banjo bolt through the middle and start it in the brake caliper. Tighten the upper union fully with the pipe spanner, then you can nip up the banjo bolt to compress the copper washers.

Finish and rebuild: With one side completed, fit the suspension lift spacer, upgraded anti-roll bar link and new flexible brake line to the other side of the Evoque, then refit the anti-roll bar and all the trims in the boot. Don’t fully tighten the lower suspension arm bolts just yet.

Torque the torque: Before the wheels go back on, we’re fitting hubcentric spacers to push the alloys out flush with the wheelarches, enhancing the Evoque’s looks even further. The 25mm ones go on the back; slide them onto the studs and torque the new nuts to 133Nm. Retorque periodically.

Now to the front: With the rear suspension all buttoned up, it’s time to crack on with the front lift. Start by opening the bonnet and unwinding the four scrivets that hold down the battery cover and the two that hold the cold air intake duct, then unclip and lift the plastic parts away.

Gaining access: Undo the two 13mms each side that hold the bracing bar between the front suspension struts, and unwind the scrivets that hold the scuttle panel down. Ease the strut brace out and lift it away; the front of the plastic scuttle will lift enough to access the top mounts.

Drop links first: In a similar fashion to the rear links, undo the 15mm nuts that hold the top of the front anti-roll bar links to the struts. If you aren’t using an impact gun, hold the stud with a T30 Torx bit and loosen the nut with a ring spanner. Remove the bracket and lever the link out.

Unclip arch trim: In order to remove the inner wheelarch liner, the outer wheelarch trim must first be unclipped from the wing. Use a plastic trim tool or spatula to ease it away, and unplug the distance sensor, if fitted. The clips are fragile, so having new ones on standby is wise.

Remove the liner: The front wheelarch liner is in two halves rather than one big one like the rear, but the removal process is similar. Undo the screws, remove the plastic scrivets and wind the plastic nuts off the studs, then untuck the liner halves and lift them out, unplugging the loom clip.

Undo the bolts: The lower suspension arm will be exerting an upward pressure on the strut, so there’s no problem with removing the three top mount bolts from inside the engine bay. Once unbolted, the lower suspension arm can be manipulated downwards to open the gap.

Lower wishbone: Remove the flexible brake line’s grommet from its bracket, then use a pry bar or large adjustable spanner on the end of the lower arm to get a feel for how the strut moves in the arch. Warren at MuddyMods has a special tool to wind the arm down and hold it in place.

Slide spacer on: Employing assistance if needed, open up enough of a gap between the top of the suspension strut and the inside of the turret to slot the spacer into position on top of the top mount, ensuring correct orientation. Line up the three holes in the spacer and mount.

Bolt spacer on: Attaching the spacer to the top of the strut is slightly fiddlier than the rear lift, because they bolt onto the top of the top mount rather than using studs and nuts. Feed the new bolts in by hand and make sure they’re started properly in the threads, then tighten all three.

Jack back up: Carefully allow the lower suspension arm to lift the strut back up into place, ensuring the holes in the top of the lift spacer align with the holes in the turrets – assistance is helpful at this point. Hold the strut with a jack under the arm if needed, then tighten the bolts.

Remove old link: Undo the nut securing the bottom of the anti-roll bar link to the end of the anti-roll bar – a pair of mole grips and a ratchet and socket are best for performing this task, as access for an impact gun is limited. Once the nut is undone, lift the old anti-roll bar link off.

The long and short: The new Meyle HD anti-roll bar links that are included in the MuddyMods kit are a few centimetres shorter than the OE ones, to account for the new ride height and prevent the anti-roll bar from over-extending when the suspension is at full droop. Bolt them on.

Trims back on: With the spacer in and the new anti-roll bar link fitted, the inner wheelarch liners, outer trims, battery tray, air intake and strut brace can be screwed and clipped back on. Take your time to ensure that the pieces are sitting properly and that the trims fit nice and flush.

Fit extended lines: In the same sequence to the rear brake lines, unwind the upper brake flexi-hose from the hard line using a pipe spanner, then release the metal spring clip and caliper fitting. Fit and route the new, longer brake flexi in its place, and plumb and clip it in place.

Front spacers: When the lift kit and extended brake flexis are fitted both sides, the front wheel spacers can be slid onto the hubs with the new nuts and torqued up, again to 133Nm. The fronts are slightly wider than the rears; 30mm spacers on the front as opposed to 25 on the back.

Bleed the brakes: Refill the brake fluid reservoir with fresh DOT 4 fluid, then ask an assistant to pump the brake pedal as you work from the nearside rear wheel station towards the offside front, ensuring all the air is expelled from each caliper. Keep the fluid level topped up at all times.

Chunkier rubber: To accentuate the higher and wider stance, the OE-spec 245/45R20 tyres have been replaced with chunkier 255/55R20 Falken Wildpeak all-terrains. This is, of course, optional and the tyre sizes will depend on your Evoque’s wheel size, so do your research before buying.

The finished result: With the wheels refitted and nuts torqued to 133Nm, and the rear suspension arm fixings tightened at ride height, the work is finished and the Evoque’s new, chunkier look can be admired. Not only do the spacers and links keep the ride as close to the factory setting as possible, but the uprated drop links will last longer than the originals and the stainless-steel braided lines will reduce pedal sponginess. Best of all, the little Range Rover’s road presence is boosted hugely, while its off-road clearance is improved for greenlaning and rough ground.

 


 

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