BT50 Rear Suspension advice please

Submitted: Friday, Oct 18, 2013 at 23:10
ThreadID: 104779 Views:4292 Replies:9 FollowUps:7
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I have a 2013 BT50 twin cab with an ARB canopy. In the tray I have a 100Ah AGM auxiliary battery, a Waeco 47L fridge, shelving, few tools, some camping gear etc etc - hard to give exact weight but at least 200 - 300kgs at a guess. The battery is forward of the rear axle as is quite a bit of the heavier gear I carry. With this set up the ute sits quite level with no sign of a saggy bum.
My off road camper has a ball weight of around 200kg and when hooked up, the back end of the vehicle squats a bit and the front lifts a bit.
If I want to level everything I believe I have 3 options:
- install airbags
- install an extra rear leaf
- use a WDH
Option 3 is out (I think) due to the offroad articulation business.
I have read a lot of posts on different forums (fora??) that suggest using airbags can result in a bent chassis.
I have no idea about the implications of an extra leaf but suspect it would result in a harsher ride when the camper is not attached.
If anyone knows all about this kind of stuff and would care to share their knowledge it will be greatly appreciated. I would also appreciate some idea of the cost of fitting either option.
Cheers and thanks
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Reply By: Ron N - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 01:33

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 01:33
tg123 - Have you considered a set of air adjustable shock absorbers?
I think it could also pay to have a look at the possibility of reducing your camper towball weight, as 200kgs is a pretty substantial weight to be putting on a towbar if you're doing off-road work.

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 519952

Reply By: Member - cusheze1 - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 07:06

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 07:06
I have the twin sister of BT namely 'Ranger 2012'. I tow a 21 ft offroad Imperial van with a ball weight of approx 260/270 Kg. No problems at all. Although I do use a WDH. However, the only difference in sag with and without WDH is 20mm. (Measured ground to mudguard)
I put this down to a 50mm lift kit (OME). The mate has exactly the same vehicle as mine and he has a lot more sag with a similar sized van.(No lift kit) Maybe something to think about!
Cheers - Cusheze

AnswerID: 519955

Follow Up By: Mike S2 - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 12:57

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 12:57
Towball weight in some of the comments seems to be guess work,how to accurately measure this,is there a weight scale that is available to 300kg to get a good reading ?
FollowupID: 800313

Follow Up By: Member - Peter H1 (NSW) - Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 19:56

Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 19:56
I have a 2012 Ford Ranger XLT.
with tools and fuel and me the ute weighs 2860kg.
When I put the 5'er on the back it adds 500kg making 3360kg.

Specs are 3500kg. I have NO sag at all as the 5'er weight is over the back axle, no lift of front wheels.

FollowupID: 800448

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 09:47

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 09:47
I believe this is how you can measure jockey wheel load: get a human weight scale, put a board between that and a brick, drop the jockey wheel in the centre of the board and divide the result by 3.
FollowupID: 800474

Reply By: Member - Greg H (NT) - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 11:25

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 11:25

I have the current model brother Ford Ranger to you, about the same weight in the back and had the same problem, saggy bum when I put the caravan on.

I run standard suspension all round with a better set of rear shocks and Polyair airbags.

The bags I run between 8-12 psi, depending on load, for normal running around,when the van goes on I run up to 20 psi to level the ute.

I use the bags as they are intended, to assist the suspension not to replace.

I would also loose a bit of weight, if possible, on the front of the camper. Multiply the effect of 200kgs pushing down on the draw bar, plus extra weight in the tub, when you go through the whoopdy dooes will be a hell of lot more than just 200kgs.
This is where, I believe, people have come unstuck with airbags. They keep putting extra weight in the tub or trailer and keep pumping the bags up to overcome an exaggerated sag in the bum. By doing this the bags then become the "spring" which could lead to extra stress on the chassis-bent chassis.

I am happy with this set up so.


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AnswerID: 519964

Reply By: Cruiser . - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 13:44

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 13:44

Have you considered the coils over springs from Freds 4WD Conversions


AnswerID: 519975

Reply By: allein m - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 14:02

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 14:02
Another option an australian one is SAX suspension

they offer a another alternative

a single leveling device or a complete set up

I have no experience with them but they seem to have done there home work

do a search on utube

AnswerID: 519977

Reply By: tg123 - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 14:02

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 14:02
Thanks to those who have helped out so far - lots of suggestions - thank you!
I've just come across SAX suspension which looks interesting. Anybody got this fitted and is towing a van around 2000kg without a WDH??
Am a bit concerned about the cost of over $2000 - my missus reckons she could get her saggy bum fixed for less!!!!
Any other suggestions very welcome!
AnswerID: 519978

Follow Up By: Isuzumu - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 14:43

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 14:43
We have the 3 SDS Sax suspension and is worth every cent. Have now done around 30K towing our camper across the Gibb and the Gulf and now tow our Jayco Outback 2500Kg and do not need WDH. From the stand suspension in the D.Max done around 5K to the Sax was like going from a Commodore to a Ferrari. Go for it you will not be disappointed.
FollowupID: 800324

Follow Up By: tg123 - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 18:30

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 18:30
Bruce - sounds good! Did you do front & rear or rear only? Could you give me a ballpark figure on cost please
FollowupID: 800347

Follow Up By: Isuzumu - Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 13:41

Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 13:41
TG I did the lot, cost $2350, nice people to deal with to. I do not have any shares in this company.
FollowupID: 800418

Follow Up By: tg123 - Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 22:31

Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 22:31
Thanks Bruce but don't think the budget can stretch that far right now
FollowupID: 800463

Reply By: Sigmund - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 09:40

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 09:40
Collyn Rivers is something of a CT guru and has published a book on them. He argues that stiffening the rear suspension by uprating the coil or leaf springs makes no sense. The rear wheels just become a fulcrum to lift the front end up and that degrades the handling.
AnswerID: 520091

Reply By: coonick - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 18:02

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 18:02
I have the 2012 ranger, canopy, fridge, camping gear in back. Had the tough dog adjustable foam set up on about 6 months ago. Just recently did the innaminka to Birdsville loop back to adel. I also tow a 5.25 boat.....but not on this trip. The suspension was fantastic, the driving comfort was awesome and I honestly cant praise it enough. The tracks on this trip varied from sections of 100kmh to 30kmh, sand and bulldust holes to large rocks and corrugations which honestly were not bad. The ride was smooth, the back end held solid and did not skip at all.... We swagged the trip so no camper......more fun I think this way. anyway,The car was loaded considerably but the back end did not sag nor did it bounce... there are so many brands of suspension the comparison between all the higher level brands will be pretty much equal. After all it is a ute and really what do you expect......I thought at first when I bought this suspension...never used tough dog before, once I were due for replacements in a few years I would go another brand....Not a hope, I will go TD again and again.
AnswerID: 520118

Reply By: Maggsie - Friday, Nov 15, 2013 at 20:25

Friday, Nov 15, 2013 at 20:25
I have the 2013 Ranger,
with 2 batteries, drawers, fridge,canopy etc. Hooked up my van and couldn't fold up the jockey wheel. I ended up doing a 2" lift with an extra leaf and airbags in the rear. The upgrade included EFS shocks allround. no more problems, the van always sits level now.
all up cost was $2400.00. (Done by APE Springs in WA)

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AnswerID: 521518

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