Advice please?? 07 RA Rodeo rear sag when loaded

Submitted: Sunday, Jul 06, 2014 at 19:23
ThreadID: 108624 Views:4067 Replies:8 FollowUps:11
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Hi everyone,

I did a dummy run on the weekend for our big trip and took the rig to the local quarry my dad works at to get weighed on there weighbridge.

Loading the back of the ute and the jayco camper with all the gear (except food and clothes). Noticed that the rear end of the rodeo is sagging. Looking at the leaf springs they are pretty much flat.

Not sure what I should do??? Any help or advice would be much appreciated.

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Reply By: Mudripper - Sunday, Jul 06, 2014 at 19:38

Sunday, Jul 06, 2014 at 19:38

Definitely upgrade the rear leaves. I'm considering doing an entire upgrade (torsion bars, heavier leaves and shocks, bushes, etc) on my 04 RA as the springs seem pretty ordinary from the factory.

I decided to steer away from airbags, as I don't believe that they are a proper (long term) solution. I'm sure others however will disagree with me on that one.

Go and see a 4WD suspension specialist (can't recommend any as I'm not sure of your location, I'm in Tas) and talk to them regarding your needs to see what spring packs are recommended.

If you're mechanically competent you can buy a suspension kit (around $1000-$1200 something like that) and fit it your self, as this is what I am going to do.


AnswerID: 535556

Follow Up By: Ado84 - Sunday, Jul 06, 2014 at 19:46

Sunday, Jul 06, 2014 at 19:46
Thanks. I think I better go and see someone about it for sure before we head off. Geez they definitely aren't cheap are they. Is that just for a rear set or is that for a whole suspension upgrade?. I think the guy that owned the ute before me must have had a set of airbags in it as I also noticed that the bump stops have been removed.
FollowupID: 819426

Follow Up By: Member - Rosss - Sunday, Jul 06, 2014 at 19:53

Sunday, Jul 06, 2014 at 19:53
I had a 2009 Colorado, bought it new and put nothing but about 20 kg of groceries in the back once a week for about the first 18 months, no off road and no towing, the suspension sagged to the bump stops, had a fight with Holden and eventually had the whole suspension replaced under warranty, within 12 months it was nearly as bad again, with all the other things that were wrong with it I got rid of it, nothing but a lemon.
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Follow Up By: Mudripper - Sunday, Jul 06, 2014 at 19:55

Sunday, Jul 06, 2014 at 19:55
Yeah sorry mate that's for a full suspension upgrade kit. You can buy the leaf packs separately of course, as with every other component.

FollowupID: 819430

Follow Up By: Mudripper - Sunday, Jul 06, 2014 at 19:57

Sunday, Jul 06, 2014 at 19:57
Have a look here mate: Ironman
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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Monday, Jul 07, 2014 at 07:36

Monday, Jul 07, 2014 at 07:36

I have a 2009 Colorado and have just completed a 10,500 kilometer journey to the Kimberley and back, towing a Campomatic camper with a 200kg ball weight.
No problems at all with suspension sag.

Guess mine is not a lemon:-)

What may assist you Ado84 is a set of Super Springs which are added to the standard suspension to provide assistance when loaded up.

Super Springs

However, first you should have a suspension specialist check your current leaf springs as they may be past their "use-by date" and the self adjusting override springs may not be sufficient.


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Reply By: Ross M - Sunday, Jul 06, 2014 at 20:00

Sunday, Jul 06, 2014 at 20:00
Most aftermarket 4WD places have suitable spring sets for the RA. You will need to upgrade.
The OE, same as Dmax up to 2011/12 are made for carrying a load of lunch boxes for the boys but not much else. If loaded the suspension will bottom easily and you then have no upward movement to absorb road undulations and bumps, therefore bottoming will occur with a towed weight as well. that stresses the chassis needlessly.
The bump rubber to chassis plate measurement should be 80mm when new, and if you can get that or near that when loaded with new suitable springs, you will have a good compliant ride and absorbing ability, if less, expect it to bottom in some circumstances. ie Dips.

If carrying weight in the tub AND towing where the towed weight is also having to be controlled by the rear suspension, make sure you fit very decent shocks. The originals when new would not be anywhere near good enough for your purpose.
The front shocks play a large part in for/aft pitch control, especially with a van behind so they must be better than OE, preferably far better than OE which are close to useless even when new.

Also make sure your towball tongue is positioned as close to the rear axle as possible, redrilling of square may be needed there. That makes less weight transferred to the rear springs as a rotation force around the rear axle and less lifting of the front when loaded with the towball weight.

New rear springs + 4 new decent shocks = new vehicle to drive.
AnswerID: 535559

Reply By: Member - RUK42 (QLD) - Sunday, Jul 06, 2014 at 20:40

Sunday, Jul 06, 2014 at 20:40
I have had an 07 Rodeo Crew Cab for the past 3 years. First thing I did when I bought it was to get new suspension - shock absorbers and springs - front and back. I got IFS heavy duty equipment but there are heaps of different brands. I tow a TVan (probably about 100kg ball weight) and have never had any problem - the suspension is a bit stiff unloaded but when I'm towing it's very good.
Would thoroughly recommend getting everything underneath replaced.
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Reply By: 671 - Sunday, Jul 06, 2014 at 22:09

Sunday, Jul 06, 2014 at 22:09

Do you know how much your camper and what you currently have in it weighs? If you keep adding weight to any spring, you will eventually flatten it. It may not be a bad idea to find out before you go any further. Don't forget the total carrying capacity of any ute includes the weight of any body or tray that you put on it (if it is a bare cab chassis) plus the weight of the occupants, a full tank of fuel and any accessories like bull bars etc. You can't put their entire maximum load in the back only.

Don't take it anywhere without replacing the missing bump rubbers. They are an essential set of springs except they are exponential instead of linear like your leaf springs. They become progressively harder the more you compress them and stop the chassis hitting the axle. Your leaf springs compress in proportion to the load i.e. double the load and you double the amount they compress. Air bags are also exponential and have been known to cause a lot of chassis damage. If you think your car has had air bags on it then have a close look at the chassis directly above the axle for any signs of cracks or metal fatigue.

Keep in mine that the section of your chassis and tray that is sticking out behind the rear axle is really a lever. If you put enough downward force on it, it will rock the car on the axle and try and lift the front. This is what causes bent or cracked chassis. All of the material that you put behind the axle will provide the force and it increases by the square of the distance each item is behind the axle.

To see what I mean, hold a brick in your hand then drop it about 300mm into your other hand. Take note of the force of impact then imagine the equivalent of a hundred or so bricks behind your rear axle suddenly falling as the wheels drop into a depression in the road. Lifting it up a couple of inches higher with heavier springs does not take it away.

Weigh your loaded camper then get some qualified technical advice before you do anything. It could save you a lot of expensive heartache out on the road.
AnswerID: 535566

Reply By: peterdre - Sunday, Jul 06, 2014 at 22:31

Sunday, Jul 06, 2014 at 22:31
I have a 2011 RC
I Tow a CUB Drover and a boat on the roof of the canopy. Same problem after 10,000km including Savannah Way.
Ironman rear end fixed it, don't worry about the front, but fit bigger shocks all round.
Nambour Exhausts & Towbars know what they are talking about.
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Follow Up By: 671 - Monday, Jul 07, 2014 at 11:18

Monday, Jul 07, 2014 at 11:18
I saw a car like yours at William Creek on the Oodnadatta Track last year. He had a pop top van, a boat on top of his canopy and heavier rear springs. He also had, just behind the cabin, a big crack across the top flange of his chassis that was spreading down each side. It was the same old problem again i.e. too much weight too far behind the axle. His heavier springs could not stop it.

Quote "don't worry about the front"

That is not a real good idea. The factory set up the front springs and sway bar so they would transfer the most weight to the outside front wheel during corners. That will make the front run out wider in corners. That is much easier for the average driver to handle than having the rear swing out first. Fitting heavier springs at the rear only has completely changed that. You now have a tail heavy car with a suspension that transfers the most weight to the outside rear wheel. That will make the car prone to going into sudden oversteer. You may not notice the difference until a sudden emergency occurs. You could then be in for a real white knuckle ride.
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Follow Up By: gbc - Monday, Jul 07, 2014 at 17:39

Monday, Jul 07, 2014 at 17:39
I had an 08, and as per peterdre, I too replaced the rears with ironman h.d. Springs and then just replaced the shocks all round with a quick front torsion wind to even the whole show up.
I have no clue what message 671 is trying to convey, but in 5 years of ownership the only oversteer I ever had was when reliving my youth on the odd dirt track......
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Follow Up By: 671 - Monday, Jul 07, 2014 at 19:10

Monday, Jul 07, 2014 at 19:10
"I have no clue what message 671 is trying to convey,"

Loading up a wheel with additional weight to make it slide in a corner has been standard practice when setting up a car's suspension for as long as anyone can remember. When you increase the weight on a tyre in a corner, you reduce its traction. If that did not happen, the tyre would keep hanging on until the car suddenly tipped over. If you want it to understeer you put more weight on the outside front wheel. You increase the weight on the rear wheel if you want oversteer. If you want to put heavier springs in your car then fine but do the same to both ends. You won't upset the original design that way.

Car suspension design has become a very exact science today that has developed over many decades.. It is the reason why cars today no longer ride and handle like T model Fords. It is always a good idea to find out exactly how it works before you start changing it.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Tuesday, Jul 08, 2014 at 00:22

Tuesday, Jul 08, 2014 at 00:22
gbc, this article may explain the effects a little more - Vehicle Dynamics

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Follow Up By: gbc - Tuesday, Jul 08, 2014 at 06:34

Tuesday, Jul 08, 2014 at 06:34
You do realise we are talking about a ute, designed to drive both empty and with a tonne in the back, that has torsion bars and a factory setup on the front end so weak it top out on the bump stops when hitting a normal speed bump, and nods down the highway like an old shorty cruiser - such is the unevenness of the oe setup? Mine lasted exactly one week on the oe setup it was that disastrous. I understand what you are saying, I disagree though that your context is well off in this case.
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Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Monday, Jul 07, 2014 at 15:52

Monday, Jul 07, 2014 at 15:52
Those that are advocating not to use air bags are on the ball, particularly 671. Air bags and carrying you load too far back is not conducive to long chassis life. The lighter weight twin cab ute chassis are very prone to bending if you don't load them correctly. All vehicles are meant to have their load distributed over the whole loading length including some of the load in the rear seat area..

Did you have both you and the navigator aboard when you weighed the rig? Other things you need to consider as part of your loading is fuel and the weight of the canopy (it could be upward of 100kg.)

When you weighed your rig did you get the individual axle loadings? If you have a reasonably flat run onto your weighbridge you should weigh the front axle with the van both coupled and uncoupled, you will be surprised at the difference the readings are for both cases. The following JPG will demonstrate how things change with the van coupled and uncoupled.

This shows the figures that HR obtained during a demonstration at a Melbourne caravan show and were published in Caravan World. You will notice the much lighter weight on the front wheels after the van is coupled. If you do some figuring you will see that the extra weight on the rear wheels is the ball weight of the van plus the weight removed from the front wheels after coupling.

The third line in the demo displays the action of installing a WDH (weight distribution hitch.) You will note that it redistributes some of the weight back on the front wheels thus restoring the original steering and braking traction that is otherwise lost if not using WDH. The effect also reduces the weight on the rear wheels allowing more load in the tray. If you are not going to use WDH then you have to de-rate the maximum loading severely. If you look at the towing limits of Nissan utes and 4WDs you will get an idea of the de-rating of the tugs GVM with different tow ball weights. Nissan work it out for you, the others don't.

Another advantage of using WDH is it removes some of the stress of heavy loading on the rear of the vehicle. I am yet to see any report of bent chassis when using WDH but I have seen plenty with air bags and no WDH.

WDH can be used on most roads. However when you are on off road conditions where sharp creek and drain crossings are involved the bars need to be removed. Replace the bars before increasing speeds after the crossings.
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Reply By: Ado84 - Monday, Jul 07, 2014 at 21:28

Monday, Jul 07, 2014 at 21:28
Thanks heaps everyone for your adv
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Reply By: Ado84 - Monday, Jul 07, 2014 at 21:31

Monday, Jul 07, 2014 at 21:31
Thanks heaps everyone for your advice. Heaps of great info and given me heaps to think about. Will post what I end up doing when I decide. I've ruled out going for airbags. Thinking more along the lines of replacing the rear springs and shocks for now as I can't really afford much more at the moment.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Tuesday, Jul 08, 2014 at 00:18

Tuesday, Jul 08, 2014 at 00:18
I would be fitting WDH in the first instance and see how much that fixed your problem. That will increase the stability of your rig much more than beefing up the suspension as well as raising the rear end a bit..
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