Pathfinder suspension

Submitted: Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 19:07
ThreadID: 103251 Views:4541 Replies:10 FollowUps:11
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We have a 2011 Pathfinder R51 and tow a 2011 Jayco Eagle OB, ball weight 159kg.

Our dilemma is that we have a bit of sag (not much but enough to be noticeable). We have flipped the tow hitch which helped but still need a bit of help.

We were going to put air bags in but after talking to a few major retailers, no one can determine whether airbags or a full suspension upgrade is what we need.

We are OK to spend the money, but not prepared to spend the money and then have to spend more.

The attitude of these retailers seems to be "try this, and if it's doesn't work, try something else", Where's the science or their experience???????

Anyone out there in a similar situation? Do you have any good hints??????
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Reply By: Rockape - Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 19:51

Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 19:51
Meridith,
get onto Dobinson springs in Rocky, Qld. Tell them what you will be carrying in the back and your ball weight is, the will advise you on what you require. They are a well regarded spring manufacturer.

As for airbags. I am not a fan of them at all unless the vehicle is designed for them.

AnswerID: 514846

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 20:06

Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 20:06
X2, a properly designed suspension setup is the way to go using new springs and shockers.

Airbags are a cheap mans way of masking up a fault.

People use the excuse they don't want the hard ride or the extra height when unloaded... truth is specifically designed springs can offer you a smooth ride and no extra lift but can carry more weight without sagging.

Air bags cause more problems than they are worth and if one fails that is quite common whilst you're away you're left with nothing.

Do it properly the first time and be happy.

Our 200 series Landcruiser has had three different sets of springs fitted over the last 18 months to get it to do what we want .... we are very impressed with the way it performs on and off road.
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FollowupID: 793997

Follow Up By: Meridith D - Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 20:39

Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 20:39
Thanks guys,

Olcoolone, we are trying to avoid the experience you had by trying three sets of springs before we find the right set up. Surely there is someone (preferably in NSW) who can discuss and come up with the right setup?

We are happy to givethe airbags the flick if we can be sure we get the right springs etc.
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Follow Up By: Ross M - Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 21:21

Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 21:21
I agree with these two blokes, the retailers are just resellers and don't know much about "nuffink", the spring manufacturer as advised, does know about suspension as it is their equipment which the reseller sells, so they know what is needed and can accurately propose a solution where the reseller cannot.

Ross M
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FollowupID: 794005

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 17:51

Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 17:51
You don't have to try multiple spring sets, I'm probably a bit more serious and pedantic than most when doing suspension upgrades.

Give Lovells a call.... they do suspension kits and they make their own springs for everything from cars to trains and they export overseas.

02 9820 6800

http://www.lovellsauto.com.au/





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FollowupID: 794049

Reply By: kev.h - Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 20:32

Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 20:32
Had the same issue went to king springs they looked up their listings for the spring diameter and and coil size and picked a spring off the list they had, it was out of a some other vehicle can't remember what though, it was 40mm longer and good for an extra
200 kg ? plus longer heavier shocks, worked out well
Kev
AnswerID: 514851

Follow Up By: kev.h - Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 20:34

Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 20:34
Oop's should have read 200 kg for the pair ( 100 ea ) so the ride didn't change noticeably
Kev
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Reply By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 21:15

Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 21:15
Hi Meridith. I don't care what the other posters say. If you want your vehicle to ride the same as it does now UNLOADED, but is able to carry a few hundred kilo in the rear then Airbags are the only way to acheive this. I have over 50 customers that we have fitted airbags to their vehicles over the last five years and not one has had a failure. There are two 200 series vehicles, both on their tow limit which equals 350kg towball weight and one has done over 80000km TOWING full time. He has 120000km on the clock. Pressures run between 5lb unloaded and 30lb loaded and as I said, they are fitted correctly and not one failure.
My own vehicle, a 2012 has done around 8000k towing. I only need 10lb loaded and my towball weight is 250kg. You should be able to get them fitted for under $500. Google the Australian retailer, Airbag Man, and ask him to recommend a fitter in your area. I'm sure you will not be disappointed.
If you don't mind a harder ride when unloaded,then go the spring/shock way. Cheers,Bob
AnswerID: 514853

Reply By: Thinkin - Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 23:05

Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 23:05
Hi Meridith D,

I'll give you my 20 cents worth for air bags.

Airbags are another form of bump stop, the pressure inside them are raised to compensate for extra load carried, they are not designed for suspension travel, they may have some travel, but not to the degree of correct springs.
Any bumps or rough roads will be transmitted directly to the one point in the chassis just like a bump stop.

The problem is amplified if there is a weight on the towbar.
Springs are designed to carry weight and give suspension travel.

There has been quite a lot of feedback on the perils of vehicles towing with airbags resulting in bent chassis and cracked spring towers on this forum.

No doubt there are many users of airbags that have not had problems, especially if not towing.

It's all relative to how much you will be to maximum load capacity, speed, and known road conditions.

regards Alpero


AnswerID: 514855

Follow Up By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 06:22

Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 06:22
You are talking about LEAF rear springs. The OP is talking about COIL rear springs. Totally different dynamics.
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FollowupID: 794009

Follow Up By: Thinkin - Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 09:21

Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 09:21
I'm talking about both,

It's been documented and photo's supplied on this form that nissan patrol coil sprung models have had top's of their towers crack and bend.

Not an easy job to rectify on wagon bodied vehicles, coil sprung patrol utes are easier to work on.

All happened when fitted with stronger springs and air bags to carry exessive weight.
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FollowupID: 794013

Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 02:02

Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 02:02
Friends of mine have just added a Hayman Reese weight distribution hitch (WDH.) They are both towing large Future Systems vans with around 250 -270 kg ball loads. Their rigs tow perfectly well without any suspension mods.

Don't waste you money on suspension mods. A well set up WDH will beat suspension mods every time.
PeterD
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AnswerID: 514857

Follow Up By: Graeme - Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 09:19

Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 09:19
A WDH can mask a poor suspension setup.
A WDH should complement a properly set up suspension only to transfer some weight back to the front wheels.
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FollowupID: 794012

Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 13:56

Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 13:56
Well that is s new tack on the subject. Usually the masking effect of WDH is generally attributed to masking any instability of the van.

In this case there is nothing particularly poor about the suspension, that is provided you have not overloaded the tug (as suggested in a subsequent answer.)
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Reply By: Lyn W3 - Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 10:00

Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 10:00
Meridith,

Have you checked the GVM of the Pathfinder fully loaded, full of fuel, passengers, luggage etc without the van, Tare weight is around 2200kg and GVM is around 2880kg giving a carrying capacity of around 680kg which really isn't much (but typical of the newer 4WD's)

Then take off your ball weight of 150kg leaving a carry capacity of just 550kg.

It might be a simple fact that you are overloaded.

Not a simple answer as to what to do. Get a GVM engineered upgrade? Fit a suspension upgrade and still be overloaded, buy a smaller van or bigger tow.
AnswerID: 514862

Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 14:09

Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 14:09
Quote "Then take off your ball weight of 150kg leaving a carry capacity of just 550kg."
If you are not employing WDH you have to subtract more than the van ball weight. Your R51 handbook gives you the down rating of your vehicle load when you have different ball weights on the back of the vehicle when not using WDH(Nissan gives you the calculations, other manufacturers don't bother.)

The following demo shows how the ball weight of the van loads up the back axle.

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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 18:21

Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 18:21
"but typical of the newer 4WD's"...... if you call newer 4wd's anything after the 1980's.

All the four door Patrols and Landcruiser from the early 80's on could only carry between 520-660kg...... about the same as the ones of today.
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Reply By: Member - wicket - Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 10:08

Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 10:08
Meridith

If you really want the best answers then go to Ultimate Suspension
at Ingleburn.
Have only ever heard good things about them, I'm sure you'll be satisfied.
AnswerID: 514863

Reply By: Krooznalong - Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 13:29

Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 13:29
Isn't there a Pathfinder forum? I'd ask there where it is likely someone has already been throgh this before you.
AnswerID: 514872

Reply By: Sandman - Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 14:44

Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 14:44
Air Bags +1... when you dont need them, leave them at 5lb, when you have that heavy load then go up to 30lb. I have excellent aftermarket suspension that lets me travel unladen for 95% of the time, the airbags help that last 5+ of the time... Had it for 3+ years, never the slightest problem.....
AnswerID: 514875

Reply By: scoots68 - Monday, Jul 29, 2013 at 22:33

Monday, Jul 29, 2013 at 22:33
I have a 2008 pathfinder and tow a jayco expanda. We fitted poly air airbags before going on the big lap last year. Also had a hayman reece tow bar fitted to replace the Nissan tow bar and used a wdh. Had no suspension troubles at all in 20,000km and had a nice level ride.
AnswerID: 515579

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