Yet another Suspension for the Troopy Thread

Submitted: Tuesday, Dec 02, 2014 at 22:18
ThreadID: 110327 Views:12174 Replies:12 FollowUps:3
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Hi All,

***Skip forward to the bottom half of the post if you don't want the intro blurb.

This is my first post in a while, although I used to post under another username here.

I have a '92 HZJ75 troop carrier (Bess). I have owned her for 5 years and simply love her. However, I have neglected her a little over the years (as I'm told troopies love), but I am finally in a position where I can start to give her the attention she deserves.

I am just about to drive up to Brisbane and then back down to Tassie for a 6 week holiday and thought I'd better get a few things fixed before I go. I'll change all the oils and do the service at home, but will take her to my local tyre store to get a balance and rotate etc..

*** For some time there has been a clunking in the front leaves when turning at low speeds. Particularly in car parks etc.. This is obviously the front leaves sliding in the pack and I have put up with it for a while. Last service I had with Toyota they said that the front leaves had sagged enough now to make it worthwhile replacing them. I redid the bushes earlier this year and replaced them with poly and greasable shackles (but not pins). This made the leaves clunk even worse as there was less play in the whole system.


It's time to replace the leaves and I figured why not do the whole suspension. For the most part the car is a town vehicle with corrugated dirt and a little 4WD thrown in. I did some research and pricing and found a deal that I am happy with. My local bloke will set me up with medium EFS leaves (2" lift) here and here, shackles and pins, and Raw 4x4 Nitro Max shocks for ~$1550. From my research this seems like a decent offer for what seems to be pretty reasonable kit. It has a steel bull bar and dual battery, and the back is set up with a bed and drawers that remain there all the time. I usually keep the rear tank half full. Does this seem like a reasonable set up? Is the medium spring the best selection for my vehicle? How have peoples experiences been with those products in particular?

However, (and here are the real questions) all suspension upgrades I have found seem to come with an automatic 2" suspension lift. I'm not opposed to the lift, it is legal, and I'm sure the vehicle will enjoy a fresh set of suspension, but I haven't found anywhere that comments on the experience of a suspension lift on a troop carrier. These vehicles are known for their high COG (though there is some discussion out there that seems to indicate that this is more a myth than truth), and I don't wan't to lift the vehicle if it's going to make the ride worse (read less comfortable). As I mentioned the vehicle is more of a tourer than a regular 4WDer. Will a 2" lift be a negative rather than a positive for a vehicle like this that does this kind of work? The springs on there are original and so will likely have sagged a fair amount. Will I end up with 4" of lift?

Any help, advice, suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Reply By: Life Member TourBoy, Bundaberg - Tuesday, Dec 02, 2014 at 22:44

Tuesday, Dec 02, 2014 at 22:44
Hi, The new kit will have better control of the vehicle and there will be less body roll so the extra height won't be more of an issue than you have now with worn suspension. Yow will have much better ride and handling on the corrugations once the springs settle in. Do not use poly bushes as they are too stiff and wear quicker and creak loudly at times. The rubber bushes take out some of the road shock.
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Dec 02, 2014 at 23:34

Tuesday, Dec 02, 2014 at 23:34
Hi John,

My 2002 Troopy had HD rear springs and I cracked a couple of leaves so had new identical springs fitted. This had the effect of lifting the rear end by about 40mm which I didn't need or like so I had them set down to be as before. It already had excellent clearance so I couldn't see a need to lift her.

Although the troopy cab is a little higher than the other Land Cruisers, there is not much weight in the roof in comparison with the weight down lower so I doubt that the COG is particularly high because of the cabin. However the exception arises when we start loading the roof rack with all manner of stuff. Now the COG would be heading upwards dramatically. The only answer to that is to be aware of it and drive accordingly.


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Reply By: Member - Markthemilko (WA) - Wednesday, Dec 03, 2014 at 01:08

Wednesday, Dec 03, 2014 at 01:08
Hi John,
If you need to change the suspension, then change it according to the weight you plan to carry in it. A good 4WD suspension place would be able to advise you accordingly.

I have a 2007 Toyo workmate ute (with rear leaf and front coil suspension) and upgraded the suspension to increase the GVM from 3.3t to 3.9t. (legal max in WA and valid Aus-wide). This raised vehicle 50ml.

When laden, does the chassis hit the axle bump rubbers? Re front end noise: are your 'U' bolts up tight, or is the noise from the CV joints?

I can also tell you from experience that nylon bushes don't last. A rear set lasted me 15,000ks. Toyota rubber ones are the best and need to be pressed into the spring leaves. And beware of greasable shackles as these have pins that have a hole down and then across the centre, for the grease feed, and this weakens the bolt quite considerably. I had one break on the Anne Beadell Hwy - with worn out poly bushes.
Toyota don't have them! I carried a grease gun and used it!
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Reply By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Wednesday, Dec 03, 2014 at 10:34

Wednesday, Dec 03, 2014 at 10:34
Hi John I've a 1999 75series Troopy and I replaced the OME suspension, (springs and shocks), a couple of years back and it was the best thing I did. I used West Coast suspension here in Perth. The extra 2" of lift is good for where I go and I've noticed no difference in the COG. Mind you I've got a lot of weight low down, (me and the car).

One thing I did get caught with though was that ordinary shackles were fitted and I managed to invert them crossing into a small dry creek bed. Fortunately we were able to fix the problem on the track with no detriment. Back home I questioned the suspension manufacturer about this and they said that anti inversion shackles could be fitted but as they are a bit dearer than the standard ones they don't fit them unless asked. Wished I'd known then.

I have mine set up for long distance remote travel so is often in the 3 tonne plus range when loaded. As such the suspension can be a bit lively when not loaded.


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Reply By: Wayne's 60 - Wednesday, Dec 03, 2014 at 13:32

Wednesday, Dec 03, 2014 at 13:32
Hi John,

I have read your post and some of the replies.

I am just off a 12 hour night shift and need sleep.

I will reply with relevant information, as soon as I can.

Wayne & Sally.
AnswerID: 542505

Reply By: exmouth1 - Thursday, Dec 04, 2014 at 00:42

Thursday, Dec 04, 2014 at 00:42
G, day john, I have a 2008 troopy and as the original suspension had sagged I upgraded to old man emu 2 inch lift. I went for 600kg rear spring first time round and found that I had to up them to 800 kg. The ride is very good with no sagging. I put it over the public weighbridge in Alice springs a couple of years ago and it came in at 3200 kgs
Cheers john
AnswerID: 542526

Reply By: Member - sdr00y (Beecroft,NSW) - Thursday, Dec 04, 2014 at 07:33

Thursday, Dec 04, 2014 at 07:33
John, the front end clunk in low speed may be another front end bush. Mine used to do the clunk till I replaced all the bushes with toyota ones then it stopped. Stupid mechanic has since replaced the good toyota ones with after market ones and the clunk returned.

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Reply By: Member - Trouper (NSW) - Thursday, Dec 04, 2014 at 18:43

Thursday, Dec 04, 2014 at 18:43
John, I've had a 2000 model Troopy for 12 years now and upgraded the suspension (50mm lift) which I think was the best thing I did to it. No issues with COG. Corners and rides better than previously The only time you'll have COG issues is when you load up the roof. and with all that space in the back you shouldn't need roof racks. My idea is that If i can't fit it inside it doesn't go...................Jeff
AnswerID: 542547

Reply By: John Smith - Friday, Dec 05, 2014 at 21:06

Friday, Dec 05, 2014 at 21:06
Thanks to all who replied. These reports are exactly what I wanted. When I spoke to the local ARB guy, he said I wouldn't even notice the lift and that seems to be the consensus I'm getting from people here. I never put anything on the racks as I don't need to carry that much gear.

The medium set up I mentioned earlier is for springs rated 70-100kg of load bearing accessories. As I mentioned up front I have a steel bullbar and dual battery. In the back it's just plywood drawers under a false floor with a mattress. Even when loaded I don't think there's all that much weight, but I might head out to the tip and see if they will weigh the vehicle to give me an idea of how much extra I'm carrying. At the end of the day, I don't want it to be too lively around town as that is the bulk of the driving.

I also saw mention that lifting the vehicle at all puts additional stress on the universal joints. Is this a real issue?

As for the shackles, pins, and bushes. I have greasables on there at the moment. Trying to chase down a shimmy in the vehicle (which I will discuss in a moment) I replaced all of the front end bushes about 6 months ago. The driver hanger appeared to be slightly skew and I managed to bend it totally when I had one face off and accidentally turned the fluid release on the jack. So I just replaced them with greasable ones from my local bloke. I have kept the grease up to them every 5000kms, but as I'm replacing the whole system at the moment am willing to change back. Does anyone else have these horror stories? When I replaced the stock shackles I was really impressed by how much more beefy they looked over the stock ones. When I took the Toyota rubber bushes out they looked to be in excellent condition, but the pivots on the shackles were a little rusted and pitted. I like the idea of using rubber ones for a little more shock absorption. Why is nolethane so popular if rubber is superior?

Now to the "clunk". Well I do have another issue that is probably worth raising. After changing my rims from stock splits to Sunraysia style rims (235/85R16 BFG ATs on 7X16 rims) the vehicle developed a death wobble situation. I read up heaps here on the forums and decided to tighten up the front end as much as I could as it had heaps of slack. So I put in a new steering damper, did the tie rod ends, and redid the bushes and shackles, wheel balance and rotate, rotate tyre on rim, wheel alignment yad yada yada. This mostly fixed it. It still happens between 90-110km/hr but comes and goes about 50% of the time. (My current solution has been not to drive faster than 85km/hr or if I do just deal with the wobble.) I also borrowed a set of new tyres from the tyre shop which did improve it some but still didn't completely fix the problem. I redid the front knuckles about 18months ago but have decided to give that another go too as they are a little notchy. I was sure I got the bearing preloads right on the trunion bearings but the Toyota mechanic reckons that the notchiness in their movement is probably the source of the wobble (I'm a little more sceptical). I was thinking that a complete new suspension system coupled with the swivel hub rebuild would also help me nail down the issue. Sometimes it feels like the wobble is coming through the steering and moving the body and other times through the body and affecting the steering. My other thoughts are that it could be a bent or unbalanced tail shaft, or perhaps a bung tyre or rim.

The "clunk". I'm reasonably sure it's the leaves as I've had a mate turn the wheel lock to lock as I watched and saw the leaves move. I also exchanged the rear diff 12months ago and checked for play in the universal joints then. However, that was only on the tail shaft. I don't think it would be the prop shaft as I don't have 4WD engaged. I reused the same U-bolts when I changed the bushes (I know this is a no no) but have made sure the torque is correct on them every few months. They haven't slackened off at all. I think the clunk really become noticeable when I tightened up the front end.

Again thank you for all the comments already.

AnswerID: 542623

Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Saturday, Dec 06, 2014 at 08:48

Saturday, Dec 06, 2014 at 08:48
The death wobble ...

There seems to be a direct relationship between the onset of this and your changing your rims. Do the new ones have the same offset as the old?

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Follow Up By: Steve in Kakadu - Saturday, Dec 06, 2014 at 17:55

Saturday, Dec 06, 2014 at 17:55
I guarantee the death wobble is the steering damper, check that out as well.
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Follow Up By: John Smith - Sunday, Dec 07, 2014 at 18:57

Sunday, Dec 07, 2014 at 18:57
Unfortunately there was a slight difference in the offset of the new rims. I still have them (7 of them in fact). I have read that this has been an issue for some other people with that particular vehicle, but thought that it wouldn't affect me. I didn't go up a tyre size so I figured it would be fine. I got the rims for a steal so wouldn't be opposed to going back ($45 each as a guy ordered a 6 bolt pattern but didn't realise his car was a 5 bolt.). Although I would get the old rims repainted.

Steve I did replace the steering damper (Raw 4X4 Big Bore) and that was the one thing that made the most difference. There is no play at all in the front end now.

Every now and then I jack up the front (off the chassis), put a wedge between a leaf and spray lube between them. It quietens it for a while.

I've had the tyres inspected but I did have a slow flat a few years back that may have heat damaged the tyre. As I said they were inspected but it may still be the issue.
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Reply By: Member - Trouper (NSW) - Saturday, Dec 06, 2014 at 17:31

Saturday, Dec 06, 2014 at 17:31
Re Nolethane -v-rubber I think it's an advertising thing. I replaced the front original sway bar bushes on the Troopy at 205000Ks got sucked into the advertising thing and put on nolathane. At 236000Ks on the Googs Track developed a terrible clunking noise and finally traced down to the guessed it, the swaybar bushes completely warn thru on the left side and just about gone on the driver or O/S. was able to replace the at Toyota Ceduna at $36 a set. Now that will be a good test to see how long they last. Only 7000ks so far.

As for that clunk I had that and remedied it by spraying fish oil throughout the spring pack on the rear(coils on the front) problem gone, re did it every 6 months or so. After I upgraded the suspension no further issues.

As for the wooble You've changed a lot of stuff under there maybe it's a combination of things, the wheel change seemed to be the glue, maybe send it to a real suspension/steering expert and and get them to solve it. The poor old Troopies are slow enough I'd hate to drive it around doing only 85

AnswerID: 542636

Reply By: Member - Keith B (QLD) - Thursday, Dec 11, 2014 at 09:17

Thursday, Dec 11, 2014 at 09:17
I have had two troopies and both have done the same. In both my cases it was the connection at the end of the steering relay rod. There is an easy adjustment on this - just removal of a pin and a screw adjustment. Others can comment if this affects alignment etc but in my case it didn't seem to have any effect except stop the clunk.
AnswerID: 542831

Reply By: John Smith - Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014 at 13:31

Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014 at 13:31
Well a few weeks on and I have finished putting in the new kit. Around $1800 all told. Many lessons learnt and a whole bucket full of swear words.

I ended up measuring the the vehicles mass at 2600kg constant weight. Fully loaded wouldn't be much more. Given that I had a steel bull bar, dual battery, cupboards, drawers, bed etc in the back I opted for the 70-100kg constant load springs. They seem a fair bit stiffer than my old leaves but they are also 22 years newer.

I put in EFS leaves, greasable shackles, pins, and U-bolts; superpro bushes; and Raw 4x4 Nitro Max shock absorbers. The reason for the new pins and shackles was due to a hammer error. I damaged the threads on the old pins and a shackle trying to get them out. Hopefully, if I keep them greased, it won't be so difficult next time. I had a go at putting on anti inversion shackles but couldn't figure out how you would actually get them on without a hoist, three mates, and some big pry bars.

After all that I took it in for a wheel alignment ( the steering wheel was now 90deg to the left) turns out they needed very little adjustment and all was good after that. When I replaced the tie-rod balls last year, I tightened the cups up a lot tighter than they were previously ( in an effort to fix the steering wobble) ( I even used the old $1 coin behind the spring or bolt to get them up properly). That effectively shortened the steering link and so the steering wheel was about 45deg off. All good now.

After driving on it for a bit I am so pleased with how it drives and handles. It feels much more controlled when cornering, the leaves don't clunk, and the shimmy seems to have gone ( more on that in a moment). I measured the heights from the ground to the top of the wheel arches as 900mm all round except for the rear driver which was 920mm. After the install it was 970mm in the front and 990mm in the rear. That means the old springs had sagged over an inch. I was told by EFS that I could expect it to settle around 10-15mm.

As I mentioned before, the shimmy seems to have gone. I couldn't ever tell if it was coming from the back or front. When I went to pull off the rear shocks I found that one was completely shagged and full of bubbles and the other was barely attached as the lower bolt was nearly completely undone. The bush rubber was all worn and I think this may have been the source of some of my problems.

Now for the alarming thing. As soon as I started driving it, I noticed that there was a big difference in braking. It didn't pull up nearly as well as it used to. So I thought maybe I'd somehow damaged brake lines. I checked for fluid leaks, all good. Maybe I got some grease on the rotors, all good. Maybe I've disturbed some bubbles of gas in the system, so I replaced the fluid. Just as I was getting to the last step of bleeding the brakes., the epiphany came... Ah it's gotta be the load sensing proportion valve. So I looked through the manuals and tried to find out how to adjust this but haven't had any luck yet.

So I turn to the forum again. The lever end of the LSPV has an adjustment ( I measured the distance between the centres of each of the pivots (75mm) and then reduced this 0.25" (69mm). I've only driven it once since then and it did seem a bit better. Is there a more accurate way for me to get this adjustment right? Do I go find some dirt and try to lock up the wheels and check that it's front first then back? What's the worst that can happen, I wear out a pair of rear pads at the back first?

Thank you everyone who gave me assistance and things to think about.

AnswerID: 543296

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