Suspension upgrade

I will shortly be attempting the lap of Aus. in a 200 series landcruiser including the Gibb River road. I will be towing an off road camper trailer. Any thoughts on whether I should upgrade the suspension or is the standard OK ?

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Reply By: Member - John - Tuesday, Mar 04, 2014 at 02:06

Tuesday, Mar 04, 2014 at 02:06
Which suspension has it got on it?
John and Jan

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Follow Up By: Trecker4949 - Tuesday, Mar 04, 2014 at 07:45

Tuesday, Mar 04, 2014 at 07:45
Standard for 2012 200 series V8 Diesel Landcruiser. Not sure of specs
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Mar 04, 2014 at 07:18

Tuesday, Mar 04, 2014 at 07:18

I had a similar dilemma with my Colorado. My solution was to leave the suspension as standard.
We are driving to the Kimberley in May/June and will be traveling the GRR, also towing an off road camper.

The solution was based on the rig my mate has got (10 year old Pajero) and the conclusion that I would not be going anywhere he can't, so I saved myself $1800, leaving the suspension factory standard.

There are good reasons to upgrade, but when looking at the cost of doing so, is your current suspension all that bad?

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Reply By: Rustynails59 - Tuesday, Mar 04, 2014 at 07:24

Tuesday, Mar 04, 2014 at 07:24
The only change I would consider is a GVM upgrade if you are close to weights
Remember tow ball weight part of GVM
Landcruiser 200 2720kg base weight
GVM is 3300
So you have 580 kg to play with
Add fuel
Add people
Add contents
Add tow ball weight
Roof racks, bull bar, winch ??
AnswerID: 527615

Follow Up By: Member - Rosco from way back - Tuesday, Mar 04, 2014 at 08:42

Tuesday, Mar 04, 2014 at 08:42
But wouldn't that involve a major suspension upgrade regardless e.g. Lovells ??
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Reply By: Kris and Kev - Tuesday, Mar 04, 2014 at 08:51

Tuesday, Mar 04, 2014 at 08:51
We had a 2” lift put in (went with the 200 kg rear springs) at around the 90,000 km mark (have 176,000 now) and have really enjoyed the extra height. It all depends on where you intend on taking your 200. We like to be able to go anywhere. If we see a track then we will follow it. The extra height just gives us a bit more confidence. Prior to the lift we did hit bottom a few times. Beach driving has also been improved. Our 200 also sits a lot better with our camper attached. Like I said, it really depends on where you will be taking your 200. Kevin
AnswerID: 527619

Reply By: Member - Chris_K - Tuesday, Mar 04, 2014 at 10:31

Tuesday, Mar 04, 2014 at 10:31
Howdee Trecker

Our Diesel 200 V8 was stock standard suspension wise apart from Polyair bags in the rear springs, when we did Cape York about 18 months ago. Handled it well, and the air bags were great as you can adjust the height according to the load. On heavy corrugations, we just stopped for a break every hour or so to let things cool down a little...which is probably a good thing for the driver as well.

Since then, we've added some heavy duty shocks all round, and beefed up the front springs a little to level things out, as the air bags at the back did raise the back end a little, and it had a little "downward nose bias" when unloaded.

So if you take care, the standard set up should work fine - but at a minimum, you could add some airbags to level things out a little when towing & fully loaded.


AnswerID: 527624

Reply By: John and Regina M - Tuesday, Mar 04, 2014 at 13:30

Tuesday, Mar 04, 2014 at 13:30
Bog standard is all you need. Will get u everywhere u are likely to want to go in Australia.
AnswerID: 527630

Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Tuesday, Mar 04, 2014 at 14:25

Tuesday, Mar 04, 2014 at 14:25
On such trips, I think it is good general practice to carry one spare front and back shocker (one for the camper too). For careful drivers the risk of failure is low in my view (wearing out is another thing) but you could waste serious holiday time in some places waiting for an ordered shock to come in, if you 'luck out'. My choice some years back was to retire the existing aftermarket shocks on my 100 series and use two of them as field spares. As for the 'offroad' camper I had some years back - I bought a used hilux shock from a wrecker as a field spare for that. Given sensible rig loading, if you take it quite easy on roads like the Gibb and soften your tyres a little, you don't run much of a risk of suspension failures in my view. But the Tanami track, the Mitchell Falls road for example are a whole different story.
AnswerID: 527632

Reply By: Shaker - Tuesday, Mar 04, 2014 at 16:34

Tuesday, Mar 04, 2014 at 16:34
Are you asking about the vehicle or the camper trailer suspension, or both?
One is as important as the other!
What make/model is the camper?

AnswerID: 527638

Follow Up By: Trecker4949 - Tuesday, Mar 04, 2014 at 20:54

Tuesday, Mar 04, 2014 at 20:54
The vehicle suspension primarily. The camper is a "Complete campsite" off road with independent suspension. The only change being BFG AT tyres have recently been fitted. Haven't thought about suspension changes to the camper. The list goes on.
FollowupID: 810092

Reply By: John and Regina M - Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014 at 12:14

Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014 at 12:14
The list goes on only if u allow it to.

Many buy 'complete packages only to believe the rubbish on forums that tells you of all the things, and money required to complete the 'complete package'.

From absolutely required suspension replacement to winch fit outs, expensive solar systems, satellite TV, blah blah blah, the list is endless.

You can get everywhere in Australia on a bike. Camp under stars and cook in coals. All in comfort.

By all means spend a bleep load of money on mindless and 'absolutely essential' attachments and fit outs.
AnswerID: 527690

Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014 at 12:26

Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014 at 12:26
Trecker, we recently convinced my father to upgrade the suspension on his standard 200 series, after watching how much the tow ball bottomed out on our Maralinga trip last year. He tows an Ultimate off road camper. Here are pics before the suspension upgrade.

The Ultimate sits high and the 200 sits quite low and on the sand dunes and over any rocky terrain the jostling of vehicle-trailer was exaggerated by the un-level suspension between the two. Although they had no trouble in the terrain, the tow ball would leave gouge marks on every dune where it simply didn't have the clearance. This constant bashing and dragging isn't good and it isn't comfortable. It's unnecessary too.

I should point out however that he has towed this rig without a suspension lift across many outback tracks for a few years without incident, however now he's had it done, he confirms that he regrets not doing it sooner.

The case for a suspension upgrade is to improve vehicle handling and comfort which is compromised when towing a trailer and load is dragging down the rear end of the vehicle. The constant pitching on dunes etc when towing a rig that is not optimally setup will cause undue bouncing and you're more inclined to encounter breakages.

The Gibb River Road is heavily corrugated and you're going to simply enjoy the ride more with the improved suspension. So, I would say if you intend to use your vehicle for more offroad trips - get it done now. Hope this helps.
Michelle Martin
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I.T. Beyond Pty Ltd / ExplorOz

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