Landcruiser 200 - upgrade suspension?

I have recently purchased a new Landcruiser 200 series, and after connecting up my 2,4000 kg off- road caravan, the back of the vehicle dipped more than10 cms. Should I be looking at upgrading the suspension to cope with the towball weight of our van? Would appreciate any advice.
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Reply By: Member - 8111COLIN - Wednesday, Sep 16, 2015 at 18:51

Wednesday, Sep 16, 2015 at 18:51
Yes , you should take it to ARB and have rated coil springs fitted .

AnswerID: 590419

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Wednesday, Sep 16, 2015 at 20:16

Wednesday, Sep 16, 2015 at 20:16
Have you done this to a 200series Colin?
#1 ARB won't do coil replacements - they insist you get their shocks as well.
#2 ARB lift kits have a lot of front lift with the 200series - too much - often 60mm which makes the correct wheel alignment unobtainable without fitting aftermarket UCAs, and puts the CVs on too tight an angle - many owners fit a diff drop kit to save the CVs.

I'd suggest this is not what the OP wants to tow his van.
FollowupID: 858437

Follow Up By: Member - MARIC - Wednesday, Sep 16, 2015 at 20:24

Wednesday, Sep 16, 2015 at 20:24
Try this website they did mine for me and it works fantasticallywell

cheers Ric
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Reply By: Member - John - Wednesday, Sep 16, 2015 at 19:13

Wednesday, Sep 16, 2015 at 19:13
or many other suspension places for new springs, or you may want to investigate air bag assistance........ Maybe join LCOOL and ask the question or check the archives. Good luck
John and Jan

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AnswerID: 590422

Reply By: B1B2 - Wednesday, Sep 16, 2015 at 19:22

Wednesday, Sep 16, 2015 at 19:22
Have a look at LCOOL, Landcruiser Owners Online. Good information.

AnswerID: 590423

Reply By: Member - 8111COLIN - Wednesday, Sep 16, 2015 at 19:27

Wednesday, Sep 16, 2015 at 19:27
I agree any good suspension dealer should point you in the right direction , I say ARB because there are dealers in every major town in Australia .
As for air bags , don't get me started , iv'e just written about my experiences with airbags on this forum a couple of days ago .
You have a new car don't wreck it by using air bags .
Colin .
AnswerID: 590424

Reply By: mountainman - Wednesday, Sep 16, 2015 at 19:39

Wednesday, Sep 16, 2015 at 19:39
You want a GREAT ride and superior suspension
GO the ICON suspension
DAZ at AUTOCRAFT geelong will get your landruiser perfect offroad and on
AnswerID: 590425

Follow Up By: scottwittkopp - Wednesday, Sep 16, 2015 at 20:28

Wednesday, Sep 16, 2015 at 20:28
Or the boys at Carroll springs brizzy
FollowupID: 858439

Reply By: Stone Stomper - Wednesday, Sep 16, 2015 at 20:26

Wednesday, Sep 16, 2015 at 20:26
I had the same issue and went for the ARB 400Kg in the back, before and after below of a single axle Expanda.


AnswerID: 590427

Reply By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Wednesday, Sep 16, 2015 at 20:42

Wednesday, Sep 16, 2015 at 20:42
What about a good equaliser bar system between the A frame and hitch?? Michael
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AnswerID: 590429

Reply By: travlinon - Wednesday, Sep 16, 2015 at 22:12

Wednesday, Sep 16, 2015 at 22:12
Agree with Michael. Have a GXL LC200 since 2008, fitted weight distribution hitch with same weight van (230kg toe ball weight) which levels out vehicle and caravan beautifully ????
AnswerID: 590431

Reply By: Bobjl - Wednesday, Sep 16, 2015 at 22:17

Wednesday, Sep 16, 2015 at 22:17
I have a 2013 200 series LC. I tow a 3400kg Van. The tow ball weight is 340kg.

I previously had a 2009 200 series and quickly found that with the bull bar, drawers, waeco, tools, full fuel tank plus passengers and importantly when another 340kg [tow ball weight] was applied, that I was almost illegal and on cusp of exceeding the GVM of 3350kg. To acheive a safer towing situation I found that I needed to both raise the rear end [that went down when van attached], but critically to ensure that the weight removed from front wheels was transferred/redistributed back by way of a Weight Distibution Hitch.

I installed Lovells all round [front and rear] I also fitted Air Bags. I acheived a reasonable towing set up over tens of thousands of k's towing the Van.

When I purchased 2013 LC 200 I decided to get the GVM upgrade from new which gave me a second compliance plate that states new GVM 3850kg. I did not fit Air Bags as I could see no benefit for my rig - it is level, most of lost weight transferred back to front wheels [some also to Van wheels] and after 40,000k,s of vanning I feel that the set up is not just legal, but as safe reasonably as I can make it. I also used Lovells on this vehicle.

Whilst jacking up the rear end may make the vehicle level, the steering and dynamics of the vehicle will be compromised, unless you redistribute the weight using a WDHitch.

Some of the best advice you will find on safe towing is that by Collyn Rivers - search Vehicle Dynamics. You will likely find advice that says if rear suspension upgraded, then the front must also be upgraded lest you lose steering and handling capability.

I would establish the weight of the laden van as well as the tow ball mass/weight and talk with expert WDH fitters, I am not suggesting that you need a GVM upgrade, however you may, dependent upon weights involved.''

WDH are a pain and create work, however I am influenced they do increase vehicle safety - [assuming you dont have a small Van].
Good luck.
AnswerID: 590432

Reply By: Member - 8111COLIN - Thursday, Sep 17, 2015 at 07:32

Thursday, Sep 17, 2015 at 07:32
I agree with most of the last post , you definitely need to replace all of the springs its not safe for handling if the rear has been changed and the front remains standard .
as for Air bags , i've said all this before and having owned a panel shop for 28 years and been in that industry for 40 years all together , I've seen so many damaged chassis and bodies due to air bag suspension , I will say mainly leaf sprung vehicles however I've seen coil sprung cars with bent chassis as well , Prado Land Rover Discovery .

AnswerID: 590436

Follow Up By: fisho64 - Friday, Sep 18, 2015 at 01:35

Friday, Sep 18, 2015 at 01:35
what was the damage to the coil sprung ones?
FollowupID: 858474

Reply By: Glenn C5 - Thursday, Sep 17, 2015 at 09:24

Thursday, Sep 17, 2015 at 09:24
Most things will sag if you put 24000 kg on them !!
AnswerID: 590444

Follow Up By: OBJ - Thursday, Sep 17, 2015 at 10:52

Thursday, Sep 17, 2015 at 10:52
True. But with 24000 kg it doesn't matter because you won't be able to move it and it will stay where you left it. No dramas.
FollowupID: 858447

Follow Up By: Member - jb2211 - Thursday, Sep 17, 2015 at 15:39

Thursday, Sep 17, 2015 at 15:39
Ha ha! Just realised I I put an extra zero on that weight!
Definitely wouldn't travel far with that!
FollowupID: 858451

Follow Up By: aboutfivebucks (Pilbara) - Thursday, Sep 17, 2015 at 20:18

Thursday, Sep 17, 2015 at 20:18
At 24000 you may want to look at increasing traction not managing tow ball weight.

FollowupID: 858462

Reply By: GeeVee - Thursday, Sep 17, 2015 at 18:06

Thursday, Sep 17, 2015 at 18:06
Hi jb2211,

I have a 2013 200 Series Landcruiser and tow a 2400kg offroad van with a McHitch coupling. I left the original springs and shocks and fitted polyair bags. I don't use a WDH with the McHitch coupling. 13 psi levels the vehicle with van on (220kg ball weight). When not towing I drop the polyairs to 5 psi to retain the original subtle ride in the Cruiser. Works well for me without upsetting too much of the original vehicle dynamics.

Cheers GeeVee
AnswerID: 590453

Follow Up By: Bobjl - Thursday, Sep 17, 2015 at 19:54

Thursday, Sep 17, 2015 at 19:54
Gee Vee
Assuming you have established the tow ball mass by weighing your fully laden Van, then in your case the weight taken off the front wheels is low at 80kg approx, [subject to others influences such as a bull bar etc] and also how far rear of the tow bar, the McHitch Post/Universal point is located, another 100mm may take more weight off the front wheels.

In my case the loss of weight from front wheels on the 200 series is around 120kg, which is further increased to about 130kg because of the additional weight of the heavy WDH Coupling - [30kgs approx].

I appreciate that avoiding WDH is preferable so long as it is not at the expense of vehicle/vans ability to manage the roads and other factors that affect our ability to keep the rig upright and on track.

In my case having trialled towing the Van significant distances with and without WDH with 3400 kg and 340kg tow mass, I will not tow [other than off road at lower speeds] without the WDH attached.

I expect jb2211 will do as most of us do, establish exactly the weights etc and decide on which of the various options available he will use so as to feel comfortable with his approach in acheiving a safe rig.

The Collyn Rivers information provided is worthy of a read for those vanners who have not read and understand the undeniable facts of physics and how they apply to towing.

Happy Cruisering

FollowupID: 858460

Reply By: 671 - Friday, Sep 18, 2015 at 00:14

Friday, Sep 18, 2015 at 00:14
Member - jb2211

If you hook up a van that is around 1000kg under a new car's maximum capacity and the rear end is too low then you either have a warranty problem with the car or you have done something wrong.

Have you read the towing information in the owner's handbook? Mine(a Hilux) says a weight distribution hitch must be used for any ball weight above half the maximum. Your car may be the same. Heavier springs are not a substitute for a WDH. They lift the back of the car and leave the excess weight there. A WDH leavers the end of the chassis up taking weight off the rear axle. That weight is then redistributed between the front wheels of the car and the wheels of your van.

Before you rush off and try and fix the problem with somebody elses suspension, get on the phone to Toyota's customer information number and discuss it with them. The number should be on Toyota Australia's website.

I have called them twice during the eight years that I have owned my current car. On one occasion they even called me back the next day with more information.
AnswerID: 590462

Follow Up By: 671 - Friday, Sep 18, 2015 at 00:23

Friday, Sep 18, 2015 at 00:23
Member - jb2211

There is one other thing that you could look into and that is the off road towing capacity. I know that the Land Rover Defender has a maximum capacity of 3500 kg but that comes down to a maximum of 1500 kg off road. That is not something that I heard from a mate or read in a net forum, I have it in writing from Land Rover.

The maximum advertised towing capacity for most cars is usually for good sealed road conditions only.
FollowupID: 858473

Follow Up By: fisho64 - Friday, Sep 18, 2015 at 01:40

Friday, Sep 18, 2015 at 01:40
that seems a logical but I have never seen in Toyotas book a specified reduction if towing on gravel?
FollowupID: 858475

Follow Up By: 671 - Friday, Sep 18, 2015 at 21:01

Friday, Sep 18, 2015 at 21:01
fisho64 posted:

It is not in my Hilux book and I doubt if it is in the 200 series book either. There are so many variables involved in towing like different road surfaces and the types of things that can be towed that a book to cover the lot would be the size of a rural city phone book.

I got that information about the Defender in an email from Land Rover. I have another from Mitsubishi saying they do not recommend towing the maximum weight in off road or 4wd conditions with their Triton but they did not give any figures. I have no doubt they would go further into it if you asked them.

Part of the reasons for off road towing restrictions is the load on the rear axle. In Land Rover's specification sheet for the Defender it says a 150 kg load on the tow ball puts 206 kg onto the rear axle. That is because the ball weight is back over a metre behind the axle so leverage comes into it. Imagine putting over 300 kg onto the tow ball of a Land Cruiser then bouncing it up and down over a road like the Oodnadatta Track. That could explain why I have seen photos on the net of Cruiser rear axle housings broken in half.

A lot of people would save themselves a hell of a lot of trouble and expense if they looked beyond the specification sheet. You can't for example tow a 3500 kg trailer across the Simpson Desert with a 200 series yet the specifications say it can tow 3500 kg. That is a towing restriction but it is a very obvious one. There may be plenty more that are not so obvious. The information is there, you only have to ask for it.

FollowupID: 858493

Reply By: The Bantam - Saturday, Sep 19, 2015 at 23:17

Saturday, Sep 19, 2015 at 23:17
The realy simple fact is that alll too often people overestimate the towing capacity of their vehicle.

A vehicle may have a towing capacity of XXXXX, but that is far from the whole story.

It MUST be understood that ball weight has to be deducted from payload.

So .... GVM - curb weight = payload.

Payload includes pasengers, most of what is in the fuel tanks if full and all the accessories fitted after the vehicle left the facory.

Many vehicles will only achieve their full rated toawing capacity when pretty much unladen.

Consider that the 200 series landcruiser has GVM of 3350Kg and a curb weight of 2500Kg ( give or take 100Kg depending on model) of that leaves a total payload of arround 800KG.

by the time you add some accessories and fill the fuel tanks you'll be down to arround 500- 600 KG ....... that 240KG of ball weight becomes very significant .... put 2 average adults and a fridge in the back and you may well be overloaded ....and that 3500KG towing capacity becomes unachievable because of the ball weight.

YEH and remember..... all those towing ratings are for "smooth improved surfaces".

SO even though you may be a full tonne under the rated towing capacity ...... you may have to be very carefull how you set up and load that vehicle.

It has been said many times ...... a great many touring 4wds and caravan rigs would be declared overloaded and by quite a bit if diligently inspected.

Get friendly with ya local weighbridge.

AnswerID: 590498

Follow Up By: TomH - Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 10:35

Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 10:35
Kerb weight in a Toyota normally includes full fuel tanks

Tare weight is with only 10L of fuel

A 100ser when fully loaded couldnt tow the full 3500kg because it went over its GCVM by nearly 200kg
FollowupID: 858649

Reply By: Member - jb2211 - Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 09:02

Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 09:02
Thanks to everyone for your advice and helpful suggestions. I have a much better idea now of all the possibilities for the suspension. All that expert advice is much appreciated!
AnswerID: 590635

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