79 SERIES LANDCRUISER DUAL CAB: SUSPENSION UPGRADE

Hi

I couldn't find anything on this topic specific to this vehicle in the archives but that may be because I'm hopeless at searching!

I've just bought a 79 Series Landcruiser Dual Cab. I will be using it for some serious bushwork in the Pilbara and Kimberley: mainly in summer. The vehicles really do get knocked around.

I will be adding a canopy to the back and it will be carrying quite a bit of weight for much of the time.

I'm seeking advice on a suspension upgrade. What shocks? What springs? How much lift?

In years past with my vehicles I've always gone OME, but I'm interested in whether they are the best value for money in harsh terrain or whether there are better products out there in terms of value for money.

My current 80 Series had airbags in the back but they were almost a waste of time, getting regularly punctured by sticks and whatever else.

The other issue with each of my last two Cruisers was that they tended to wander a bit on the road. I'm wondering whether that might have had anything to do with the 2" lift I added which raises the question of whether there are any additional factors that need to be taken into account when doing these suspension upgrades.....?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

DQB
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Reply By: The Landy - Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 06:21

Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 06:21
I have a Lovell's GVM upgrade and suits my purposes, which includes off-track work in extreme conditions.


I have also done a modification to the rear axle assembly to have the rear wheels aligned to track the front wheels.

You can read more about it here.

Cheers, Baz - The Landy
AnswerID: 590627

Follow Up By: allein m - Thursday, Sep 24, 2015 at 15:43

Thursday, Sep 24, 2015 at 15:43
G_day mate sorry i have been busy not on line too much I hope all is well.

any way the hill is over flowing with visitors I thing half of oz is in town lol
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FollowupID: 858723

Reply By: Member - Stuart P (WA) - Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 07:50

Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 07:50
try westcoast suspension they have a gvm upgrade kit with lift
AnswerID: 590632

Reply By: AlbyNSW - Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 11:09

Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 11:09
Ultimate Suspension do a setup as well
Very happy with mine
AnswerID: 590637

Follow Up By: mountainman - Friday, Sep 25, 2015 at 18:33

Friday, Sep 25, 2015 at 18:33
They also do custom work !
They're leaf spring set up is far superior to the OME
ivd had 3 OME leaf springs fail in the same spot, both left and right side front !!
Superior's 2nd leaf wraps the main
and adds support to the main leaf.
on full stretch, it stops the leaf from dropping.
OME 2nd leaf doesn't wrap the main leaf

SUPERIOR runs thicker leafs
soo OME 8 LEAFS
SUPERIOR 7 LEAF

will never ever buy OME suspension EVER
didnt want to know me
at all
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FollowupID: 858763

Reply By: 671 - Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 11:23

Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 11:23
"The other issue with each of my last two Cruisers was that they tended to wander a bit on the road. I'm wondering whether that might have had anything to do with the 2" lift I added which raises the question of whether there are any additional factors that need to be taken into account when doing these suspension upgrades.....?".
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There will always be other factors involved when you take a multi million dollar factory suspension design and alter part of it with a couple of thousand dollars worth of non genuine parts to try and improve its off road performance then drive it on good roads. You can't end up with the best of both worlds.

People have lowered their cars to improve on road performance for about 100 years. You can't improve a large box like car that is already well up off the ground by lifting it and raising its centre of gravity.

If you take the time to carry out an in depth study into suspension design, you will soon see how complex it all is. If you change something you will affect something else.
AnswerID: 590639

Follow Up By: Notso - Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 14:29

Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 14:29
Cripes, you're not saying the 79 suspension is perfect are you? At least 3 people I know have had the suspension sag with very little load. Told by the dealer that "We could replace it under warranty but it'll only sag again, you'd be better off fitting airbags!"
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FollowupID: 858656

Follow Up By: 671 - Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 19:48

Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 19:48
Notso

First of all I was talking about vehicle handling after it had been lifted. As for load and sagging suspensions, has it every occured to you that it is supposed to sag? Do you think a company like Toyota that has made the biggest selling 4x4 ute in the country for the last fifty years does not know how to make a suspension that works?

This little extract below is a post from a bloke named Robi. It was posted on another forum recently during a discussion on bump steer.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Inspired by Peter of Peter n Margaret, I finally worked out how to post a photo.
I mentioned in my comments about the geometry & design of leaf springs the example of a Toyota Ute. With luck, here it is..
Recapping the key points, the front eye mounting point is way lower than the spring rear eye, and the spring is close on flat. When this thing has extra load, and the spring goes concave, it actually increases the roll understeer % which is highly desirable with increased load in the vehicle.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you look at this link you will see the post and a photo of a Cruiser ute at the bottom of the page. Two posts above it is a lot more on the subject, particularly in relation to caravans, from the same man. He also mentions his qualifications.

http://caravanersforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=22776&p=347673&hilit=bump+steering#p347673

As I said to DQB, learn how suspensions work before you start changing them. If the car has been designed to run with the suspension down when loaded and the owner brings it back up to standard height or higher, it is not surprising that it does not handle like it should.

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FollowupID: 858667

Follow Up By: Notso - Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 20:06

Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 20:06
Sorry if I appeared to make an unacceptable comment about a toyota! But I do think my friends are well aware of what a sagged suspension looks like. I am also pretty sure I do as well. So even though a toyota is perfect in every way, they do very occasionally have a little issue with a baggy A??se.
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FollowupID: 858674

Follow Up By: 671 - Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 21:38

Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 21:38
So even though a toyota is perfect in every way,


I am not trying to defend Toyotas. I am just trying to draw attention to a few facts about suspension design. Some people will take note and discuss it with suitably qualified people before doing anything to their car. Others will ignore it and, while I hope it never happens, maybe come unstuck in a big way one day.
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FollowupID: 858678

Follow Up By: Member - Rosco from way back - Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 21:43

Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 21:43
671 old mate.

I can tell you for sure Mr T can't make a decent suspension for the 70 series.

My 79 was brand spankers and looked like a dog with worms. Took it to the stealer who put it on the scales and it was 300kg under GVM. I got the same spiel .. "We could replace it but it will be the same" In my case the tyres were rubbing on the inside top of the guards so I have a tad of trouble with your assertion that they know what they're doing suspension wise. It still peeves me that I was forced to spend a significant amount of $ to get it where it was moderately acceptable.
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FollowupID: 858681

Follow Up By: Member - Kitbags - Thursday, Sep 24, 2015 at 19:40

Thursday, Sep 24, 2015 at 19:40
All 4x4 suspensions I know of will wander when raised even by only 40mm. The front wheel alignment needs to be altered from the factory caster and camber settings. You will need to find a wheel aligner who knows how to set-up the raised vehicle to new settings to correct this annoying problem. My previous Nissan patrol and my current Toyota Prado had this problem. After Accurate Suspension at Underwood Qld reset the alignment both vehicles steered perfectly. I get 70,000 km from a set of tyres so the wheel alignment is spot on.
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FollowupID: 858733

Reply By: Member - MARIC - Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 11:28

Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 11:28
http://www.climaxsuspension.com.au/

They sent all my bits to me to upgrade our dual cab, Bilstein Shockies and Kings springs
Just did the centre of Oz towing a 2.5t van along the Great Central Road Bimms Track (some of it) and the Plenty Hwy, and then down the Darling went fantastically well and doesn't bounce when not under load
cheers Ric
It is only when you see mosquito land on your testicles that you find another way to solve problems without violence

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AnswerID: 590640

Reply By: rumpig - Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 17:51

Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 17:51
Wouldn't it be a good idea to get the canopy done first, then find out it's weight and then get the correct rated springs for the lift after that. If you go ARB, they'll charge about $3200 to do the job your talking about, atleast that's what they quoted me last week for my 79 series....i'm looking at other options currently.
AnswerID: 590652

Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 18:55

Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 18:55
Agree that is the best way to do it.
I set mine up and then went to Ultimate Suspension who weighed my vehicle at each corner and then set the suspension up to suit
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FollowupID: 858666

Follow Up By: DQB - Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 20:42

Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 20:42
Have a pretty good idea of payload. Bloody heavy. My 80 Series was running about 3.6 to 3.7 tonne loaded so that should give some idea of the weights I'll be carrying. The vehicle is literally my house during the summer for months at a time.
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FollowupID: 858675

Follow Up By: The Landy - Thursday, Sep 24, 2015 at 06:32

Thursday, Sep 24, 2015 at 06:32
DQB

Here is something to bear in mind given the weights you will be carrying.

Most GVM upgrades will be limited to the combined axle weight which is 3,780kg - not too far off your estimated load.

Lovell's, oddly, have an approval to go to 3,900kg. Not selling Lovell's despite having it on mine, which I have had to limit to 3,780kg for GVM due to other modifications. But something to keep in mind, with Lovell's you get an extra 120kg in GVM.

cheers, Baz - The Landy
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FollowupID: 858695

Reply By: Whirlwinder - Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 19:48

Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 19:48
The wandering may be a result of loading up the dual cab tray as if it were a single cab. The axle is moved back as standard but is still not under the centre of the tray load thereby having the see-saw effect of lifting the front wheels. I have had that same experience with a semi-goverment Ford Ranger. No amount of spring upgrade will fix the problem. It may lift the rear but the weight distribution will still be the same.
The only answers are to either lengthen the wheel base or reduce the load behind the rear axle.
Get it packed with your normal camping load then check each axle load and compare it to recommended load. You might get a shock.
Having said all that, I have a 76 series and fitted airbags to carry the drawer bar load of our Kimberely.
Hurry slowly......
Ian
AnswerID: 590654

Follow Up By: 671 - Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 21:29

Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 21:29
Whirlwinder replied:
The wandering may be a result of loading up the dual cab tray as if it were a single cab. The axle is moved back as standard but is still not under the centre of the tray load thereby having the see-saw effect of lifting the front wheels.
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That is the reason for all the bent chassis in the bush and you are right, heavier springs won't fix it. The back still goes down, the chassis tilts on the rear axle and the front goes up. If the stress is too much for the chassis, it will crack or bend.

I noticed the bent chassis story in the April edition of 4x4 Australia magazine contained a photo of a dual cab Cruiser ute with a bent chassis. It was towing something but it does not matter if the weight is in the back of the car or sitting on the tow ball. If there is too much too far back, the result will be the same.
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FollowupID: 858677

Follow Up By: Whirlwinder - Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 22:07

Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015 at 22:07
671,
It is a common problem with all dual cabs but particularly the 1 tonne Hilux, Navara, Ranger Bt50 etc.
It costs about $6-7 K to have the chassis lengthened which removes the problem but makes ramp over worse.
Oh well, we can't have everything now can we.
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FollowupID: 858684

Follow Up By: 671 - Thursday, Sep 24, 2015 at 09:15

Thursday, Sep 24, 2015 at 09:15
Whirlwinder

A few years ago I initially thought it was confined to the Hilux size range of utes but I have since seen a bent dual cab Land Rover Defender and now this new looking Cruiser dual cab in that recent magazine.

Forty years ago I watched a Ford F100 tow truck bend as it was trying to pull a damaged car with its winch cable running from the top of its jib down to the car. The leverage from the cable being up so high pulled the back of the truck down and the front up. The chassis bent badly at the front hangers of the rear springs.

That magazine story, if you have not seen it, can be found on this link.
http://www.4x4australia.com.au/drive/1504/bent-utes/ Unfortunately the bent Cruiser dual cab photo was omitted from the web site copy.

In addition to bent chassis, I have also seen a lot more than just one broken front and rear axle housing on Cruisers and Patrols. They were all caused by carrying maximum or above maximum loads on rough roads. All of the cars had heavy duty modified aftermarket suspensions but the suspensions did not come with a heavier axle.

People tend to forget that all of this weight on their cars is fine when the car is sitting still. It is never going to break anything then. The problems start when you put it into motion. The chassis, axle housings, wheels and studs are constantly heaving it up suddenly or catching it as it falls and lifting it back up to its original position. The forces generated far exceed the static forces.

Of course all of this damage would not happen if owners followed the instructions of the car manufacturer. They will tell you their maximum towing and carrying capacities are for good sealed roads only and should be reduced in off road conditions. Even the editorial in that magazine said the load should be reduced by 30 to 40 percent in the bush.

If cars were designed to carry the maximum in all conditions, their price would be more than double.
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FollowupID: 858704

Reply By: Member - PhilD_NT - Thursday, Sep 24, 2015 at 13:23

Thursday, Sep 24, 2015 at 13:23
http://www.jmacx.com.au/products.html
Expensive but could go with this conversion. Bolt on coils, independant and fixes rear track difference. Story in 4x4 Australia magazine.

AnswerID: 590699

Follow Up By: DQB - Thursday, Sep 24, 2015 at 22:30

Thursday, Sep 24, 2015 at 22:30
Thanks PhilD. Have banged off an email to them to suss them out.
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FollowupID: 858736

Reply By: Member - Dave63 - Thursday, Sep 24, 2015 at 22:08

Thursday, Sep 24, 2015 at 22:08
I, have a double cab with canopy. Had the canopy built (steel) first and added Dobinson suspension later. OME did not go as high in kg upgrade as suspected. My 80 Series was OME and great suspension. I listened to my local 4x4 specialist who uses OME but for double cab (79's) has had good success with Dobinsons for that vehicle, and was his best option and for what I was adding. I purchased the car from new knowing I would be upgrading suspension in lift and weight. I had 2 inch lift and extra 800kg springs fitted and very happy with the upgrade and travelled well through outback/corrugations towing a heavy camper. Saying that, it tows better than my the 80 series in power, better braking and handling step tracks, not as comfortable and you need 40 acres to turn around, Stereo is crap, but I knew these things prior to purchase. A caster kit is definatley something I would recommend regardless of which brand you fit as they can fix wander. I believe there are offset bearings to assist with minor adjestment as well which can fix the wandering aspect but mine have always had a slight wander, but only minor, and just put it down to down to, trade offs from original specifications all have down sides. That's just one but worth it as only minor. I do not have airbags fitted as I carry a lot of weight all the time so just thought would get the springs rated to carry, the now normal weight. Can understand if weight changes the advantages of airbags. Hope that helps but asking which brand of suspension is like a cruiser/patrol, ford/holden argument. Speak with a suspension expert and they will sort it for you.

dave
AnswerID: 590719

Follow Up By: DQB - Thursday, Sep 24, 2015 at 22:39

Thursday, Sep 24, 2015 at 22:39
Thanks Dave63. Appreciate the advice. Am starting to hone in on things but the question is how far one goes.

At this stage, like the idea of the wheel space modification and talking with the guys from Multidrive in Geelong about their kit. I don't like the idea of the offset rims or wheel spacers for the long-term mechanical issues they entail and then the issue of voiding insurances. Thanks to Landy (can't get my head around his vehicle's name but you get that) and also to Mick O.

Particularly so far as offset rims are concerned, when you carry two spares, it's painful to carry one for the front and then one for the rear and then find you get two punctures in the rear. Too hard for what I do.

At this stage am leaning toward the Koni shocks, but only based on what the guys here have written.

Have so far got two different quotes back and the scope of work suggested by both varies enormously. One is suggesting just the basic spring/ shock replacement.

The other is going further and suggesting: "a 2 degree caster correction kit to maintain good caster angles post-lift (the 30mm front coils will achieve higher caster angles than the 50mm front coils), replacement pins and shackles, SuperPro polyurethane leaf spring bushes (Lifetime warranty) as well as high tensile u-bolts and rear brake spacer kits."

Has anyone got any thoughts on where to wind things up, at least initially? At what point do the costs start to outweigh the benefits here.....?

Would appreciate any further thoughts.

DQB.
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FollowupID: 858737

Follow Up By: The Landy - Friday, Sep 25, 2015 at 06:11

Friday, Sep 25, 2015 at 06:11
Hey DQB

Multi-drive did the rear axle modification on my vehicle, great people to deal with who know what they are doing/talking about.

And on "The Landy"

“The Landy” came about as a consequence of owning three Land Rover Defenders over the years, but as you can see it has morphed into a Toyota 79 Series Dual Cab, customised for long-range and remote area travel.

Yes, thank you, I've recovered fully from the ‘Fender era, although the bank balance remains in rehab after years of supporting the Land Rover specialist’s retirement fund…

And whilst I'm reluctant to refer to the new vehicle as “The Landy” that’s for sure; the owners’ of either brand would never forgive me, but “The Landy” reference has stuck, so “Baz – The Landy” it is…
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FollowupID: 858739

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