Suspension Upgrade - Kimberley/Tanami

Hi All,

I think I know the answer to this question already but here goes...

We are planning a trip to the Kimberley via the Tanami this June/July and I am looking for some thoughts/feedback on whether a suspension upgrade is needed?

We have a NT Pajero that will be towing a Challenge camper trailer. I have been quoted around the $2000 mark for shocks, springs and airbags but a few other costs are starting to add up (eg: fuel, accommodation, UHF, car fridge, major service ($1500) etc.) so I am just getting a feel for whether the suspension upgrade is a must or not.

Guy at the 4WD shop said I could save $500-$600 by not changing the springs but the labour cost is the same irrespective.

Thanks in advance.

Cheers, Lloyd
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Reply By: Member - Oldbaz. NSW. - Sunday, Feb 10, 2013 at 18:04

Sunday, Feb 10, 2013 at 18:04
I'm not sure what answer you are looking for, but IMHO the answer
I've done the Tanani & GRR twice in different vehicles with standard suspension with
no issues. Good shocks are a blessing & good tyres a neccessity. Save the bucks
for fuel..cheers....oldbaz.
AnswerID: 504473

Reply By: Member - Mike R2 - Sunday, Feb 10, 2013 at 18:22

Sunday, Feb 10, 2013 at 18:22
Gooday, Did the Tanami via the Simpson to the GRR up to Mitchell Falls, with a 2003 Landcruiser with a trayback camper and the only suspension assist we had were airbags to the rear, otherwise everything else stock standard. We did notice on that trip that a number of people were having trouble with shock absorbers, but I suspect that it was the way they may have driven that caused the problems. Take your time let things cool down and you should have no problems. Save your money for fuel etc....


AnswerID: 504476

Reply By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, Feb 10, 2013 at 18:33

Sunday, Feb 10, 2013 at 18:33
LLoyd it's not clear to me if you are referring to an upgrade to the Pajero or the trailer, but my experience is that if your downweight is over about 100kg then you will need stiffer springs, and a rear wheel alignment ont he Pajero as a minimum. Mine scrubbed the inside of the tyres something shocking and a friend had exactly the same issue. In my case the towball wieght was only about 120kg. 15,000kms out of a set of tyres was about normal.

Also watch the rear door on the tow hitch it you don't own the trailer already.
AnswerID: 504477

Reply By: Olsen's 4WD Tours and Training - Sunday, Feb 10, 2013 at 22:41

Sunday, Feb 10, 2013 at 22:41
My advice is always keep the load down, keep the speed down and until you notice sagging or deterioration, don't go changing the suspension for a single trip, better to make sure you have really good tyres in top condition and you know how to manage the pressures.
AnswerID: 504499

Follow Up By: Olsen's 4WD Tours and Training - Sunday, Feb 10, 2013 at 22:42

Sunday, Feb 10, 2013 at 22:42
Unless of course you have an unlimited budget :-)
FollowupID: 781331

Reply By: CSeaJay - Monday, Feb 11, 2013 at 22:30

Monday, Feb 11, 2013 at 22:30
Looks like I am the first to go upstream here ( and I can't believe I am) but i would definitely invest in a suspension upgrade. It is an investment not only for this trip but many more. And given this is possibly one of the big ones you are are going to do, I would do it now.

Advice above are all very valid. Yes watch your speed, keep your weight down and yes many people have done it without upgrade.

But fact is you will probably be very heavy. Beer for three or four weeks (no alcohol supplies on GRR) and whatever the others may drink, major food supplies (yes supplies are available but we did not count on it, good thing as it was patchy).
And yes many have done it without suspension upgrade without problems but many more have done it with the upgrade with less problems.

If budget is limited then at least get good LT tyres and follow the advice on speed, weight etc. it is a beautiful part of the world, enjoy it!
AnswerID: 504545

Reply By: Barry 2 - Tuesday, Feb 12, 2013 at 02:41

Tuesday, Feb 12, 2013 at 02:41
Hi Lloyd
I have to agree with CJ.
I can't speak about Pajero never had one.
But I have owned 5 4x4's Nissan & Toyota and have put good quality after market suspension on each vehicle. Manufacturers try to split the ride between comphy city driving and outback travel. In all my 4x4's they have been a far better vehicle with the
after market suspension.
It depends if this trip is a one off or you intend to do more outback travel.
But in my experience after market suspension has improved my vehicles for towing, outback travel & general overall ride.
Talk to a good quality suspension supplier about your needs and get a system that suits your vehicle and intended future driving trips.
As a matter of interest I have always used ARB - Old Man Emu Suspension - it has worked for me - " BUT " before anyone wants to shoot me down ??
There are other reputable suppliers out there.
Just my experience of 25yrs Outback travel.
Good luck with your decision and enjoy your trip.

Barry - Southern Cross Dreaming.
AnswerID: 504554

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