Suspension 75 series 1999 Troopy

Hi all,

I know this question has been asked many times and I've had a look through the Archives, however I'm looking for some specific advice. I'm considering whether to redo my suspension. Here's the background info:

It's 1999 75 Series Troopy with a bull bar, aluminium roof rack and a fridge in the back. Other than that it's pretty standard. It has the original suspension and when I bought it just over 2 years ago it had done 170 000 km. It was originally an SES vehicle in Perth, then was owned by a guy in Derby WA who did some beach stuff with it, nothing too serious. When I got it mechanically checked before I bought it, the guy said the suspension was getting pretty worn. It's now done 220 000km with no problems. However, it's getting pretty creaky in the front and needs new shackle bushes (approx $120). I don't plan on adding a winch to it, but may add drawers in the back at some stage. I may also get a camper trailer in the future.

I'm taking it from Victoria to a Sanctuary 350km NW of Alice Springs and then onto the Canning Stock Route up to Well 12.

I just got a quote from a guy at the local ARB for just under $3000! fitted for a new OME leaf spring suspension kit, front and rear, 400kg (medium duty) rated. He said that's custom-fitted to suit the vehicle and takes into account the accessories on my vehicle and where I plan to take it. This seems pretty extravagant to me.

My question is given my vehicle's history and where I plan to take it, is new suspension recommended? If so, can people recommend some good suspension places in Victoria anywhere between Melbourne and East Gippsland. I plan on ringing around and getting some more quotes, just need to know where to start. I don't mind paying for decent products, as I will be taking this remote. I just don't want to get ripped off!

Thanks in advance everyone.

Chantelle
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Reply By: Member - Joe n Mel n kids (FNQ - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 17:48

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 17:48
Hi Chantelle,
First thing i recommend is air bags on the rear and dont go to hard on the suspension as you will have a crap ride, unless you plan on very heavy loads, we have a ute and spent years getting the suspension right and went hatder for weight and went back to standard with air bags and the ride was heaps better and far more stable, i would avoid any "raised" suspension unless you really need it as it raises the center of gravity and those things roll quite easy..
Cost wise i dont know but shop around but just make sure you spec exactly what you want first and then get quotes and you will know where you stand, the $3000 grand is probally expected if they do it right and you get peace of mind, if you can drive in your troopy as is and drive out with everything done and no extras needed then it aint to bad, beware of cheap jobs as you will pay for it in the long run and it is harsh country out there, we used to live in Nyirripi up the Tanimi so we know first hand how reliable you need it to be..
Cheers
Joe
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Follow Up By: Chantelle J1 - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 22:30

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 22:30
Thanks Joe. I'll look into it.
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Reply By: Member - Brian A (QLD) - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 18:00

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 18:00
Hi
I know ARB are expensive but they are a good product. I had my suspension done by them some ten years ago on my series 80 Toyota. It is still working perfectly. I have towed an Ultimate Camper and lately a Kimberley Karavan into some fairly out of the way camps and never even had a minor problem with it. I also fitted air bags to the rear as well and they were certainly well worth doing. The cost of upgrading might appear expensive but it lasts the distance.
Regards
Brian
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 18:16

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 18:16
Chantelle,

Our Troopy is much older than yours and has done at least double your km. Like you, leaf springs all round. If I were in your position I would replace the bushes - no question about that - you NEED them! The advice you've got from the ARB distributor would be enough to ensure that I never go back there again.

Before embarking on your proposed trip, I'd have front and rear wheel bearings repacked with grease and ensure that the front hub assemblies are checked for wear. Much more important than replacing springs! For a big trip, I'd leave home having had a full all over lubrication - engine, diffs, gearbox and transfer case, and the tail shafts greased. It would be worth talking to a local 4WD club who should be able to point you to known good 4WD mechanics; you might even have a knowledgeable club member offer to cast a skilled eye over your vehicle!

Unless there is obvious failure, I would NOT replace shock absorbers, as some might encourage you to do. (Having leaf springs rather than coils, the springs do much of the work that would otherwise need to be done by the shocks.)

Important where you're going - you must know when to drop your tyre pressures and carry a good pressure gauge and a compressor to reinflate. On gravel we drop pressure by about 20% and on sand about 50% below bitumen pressures. This gives much better traction and a much smoother ride - better for the vehicle and for yourself. You MUST reduce speed when running at reduced pressures.

HTH

Cheers

John
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Follow Up By: Rockape - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 18:54

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 18:54
Very sound advise.
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Follow Up By: Chantelle J1 - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 22:39

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 22:39
Cheers John. Good advice. I was definitely going to replace the bushes. I'll think hard before doing anything else with the suspension unless it really needs it. Driving advice will also save me some trouble in the desert. Much appreciated.
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 at 08:26

Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 at 08:26
Forgot to mention - Our Troopy's springs and shocks were all original until the leader of a challenging remote trip insisted that all participants renew their shocks. Unnecessary really, but for peace and quiet... (If you do ever replace yours, keep the old ones as spares.) The springs were all originals too until Troopy broke a rear one on the Canning and we fitted a new pair, keeping the survivor as a spare.

I strongly believe in thorough maintenance but "if it's not broke, don't fix it"

Cheers

John
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Follow Up By: edwin - Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 at 13:48

Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 at 13:48
I have to agree with John and Allan B here, very good advice.Have the full service done inc oils and belts(save old belts as spares), make sure you get confirmation that the timing belt has been replaced before(IMPORTANT)
I spent some time as a mechanic up in Seisia(cape york)and have seen most things tested, tortured and broken up there, have your suspension checked by some one independant and reputable, if the springs are worn or sagged,replace them otherwise just do the bushes. take a couple of spare ubolts as have seen a few of them break and if not caught in time could be disasterous.A very common fault we had was the front swivel hub bearings collapsing causing the wheel to fall inward and if unlucky damaging the swivel housing and stub assembly(a lot of people forget about these hub bearings).save your money on springs and have the hubs overhauled ,as a bonus the front wheel bearings will form part of this process. (keep the oldies as spares if replaced) but get a quote first including parts,anywhere from 4-7 hours labour,depends on whose doing it as can vary greatly. cheaper to supply your own parts,but dont tell them that until you get the quote as sometimes the quote will be inflated if they dont supply you the parts,can get o/haul kits off ebay just make sure all bearings are japanese not chinese. ps- dont forget to take a few spare primary and secondary fuel filters with you. you may not know how to change them if you get bad fuel but someone around you will or ask your mechanic to show you how.
have a great trip
ed
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Reply By: Dust-Devil - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 19:31

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 19:31
Chantelle

I have a 1997 75series Troopy and have had a number of suspensions under it.

Approx 6 years ago I had a full Ironman suspension fitted front and back with Foamcell shockers, and the first time out I had an 'incident/meeting' with a 600mm deep (2ft) storm wash out channel on a Sheep Station near White Cliffs at night.

The impact bent the front diff housing like a banana, the spring packs at right angles at the rear mounts and the shock absorbers were crushed into the shock tower housings.

None of the Ironman suspension components broke and the shockers continued to work.

The Vehicle then drove 300 Kms to Broken Hill towing a 2.8t Caravan without any further drama.

I still have the aforementioned Ironman rear suspension in the vehicle which by the way weighs 3.2t fully loaded (GVM engineered to 3.5t) and the Broken Hill repairer supplied suspension in the front.

The Ironman suspension was substantially cheaper than ARB and was fitted at their Head Office workshop in Melbourne.

I would suggest that you give them a ring and see what they can do for you.

Regards

DD
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Follow Up By: Chantelle J1 - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 22:41

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 22:41
Thanks DD. If I decide to go the full suspension I'll check these guys out.
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 at 00:04

Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 at 00:04
Hi Chantelle,

I can understand the need to replace bushes etc. but is there a real need to replace springs unless they have sagged or have some broken leaves? I would get a second opinion from a good 4WD mechanic. ARB are a good company but they are in the business of selling parts and accessories.

Cheers
Allan

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AnswerID: 506141

Reply By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 at 02:01

Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 at 02:01
Hi Chantelle, I just replaced my entire suspension system on my 75s. New shocks, 11 leaf springs rear & 8 front and including all the brackets, hangers and whatever else. West Coast Suspension in Bassendean did the work on the recommendation of another EO member who is also happy with his set-up. Mine cost $2337. Mine has a few more K's on the clock than yours and it also creaked & groaned. We both went away on the long weekend and gave our suspensions a good workout and we are both very happy.

I also got quotes around the $3000 mark & upwards.

Contact details are below.

188 Railway Parade
Bassendean
Western Australia 6054

Phone: (08) 9378 2133
Fax: (08) 9378 2839

Freecall (within Australia)
1800 062 133
Dunc
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Follow Up By: ReCon - Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 at 02:21

Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 at 02:21
I too used this mob that Duncan has mentioned.

As well as being quality equipment, their delivery cost was $9.80. The other companies in town quoted in excess of $125.00 per set.

All the gear arrived the same day to my nominated mechanic, therefore cutting down 200 k's of travelling time to be fitted as well.

Money well saved.
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Reply By: Rod W - Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 at 10:20

Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 at 10:20
Three grand! You're being ripped off!Shop around. Also consider going with parabolic springs. I've had them on the rear my Troopy of over 12 months now and can't fault them, they cost $1,200 installed.

Good luck
Rod
AnswerID: 506164

Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 at 10:30

Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 at 10:30
I am at a total loss here! Why would you change a spring unless:


a) You want to change load rating or increase lift.
b) It has sagged.
c) It is broken.


Someone please enlighten me.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Chantelle J1 - Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 at 10:42

Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 at 10:42
It was one of the things that was reported as needing attention in my very first assessment of this vehicle. I'm also worried about the potential for old springs breaking on the trip I'm planning. At this stage I've decided to leave it as is, just get the bushes, which need doing. I guess the test of the vehicle will be in the NT and I'll book it in in Perth for assessment before I tackle the CSR.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 at 11:38

Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 at 11:38
Chantelle, Be wary of things that reportedly "need attention".



When I first got my Troopy I had it examined at a "reputable 4WD service centre". The rear springs were reported as "rusting and forcing the leaves apart" requiring replacement. Upon closer inspection it could clearly be seen as being the 'set' of the unladen springs producing a slight gap between the leaves. A neat way to get more income! There were other issues with their work too.
Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: andrew t - Thursday, Mar 07, 2013 at 15:57

Thursday, Mar 07, 2013 at 15:57
If you are in melbourne victoria i can highly reccomend jacobs springs in sunshine/tottenham they supplied my springs and shocks for my troopy and i was very happy with what i got and they are a great bunch of blokes to talk to and dont try to sell you anything, they let you the customer make the decisions they only give you what options they have.
AnswerID: 506258

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