ironman Load Plus Helper Springs

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 12:39
ThreadID: 131754 Views:11759 Replies:7 FollowUps:7
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I have a 2010 Mazda BT50 single cab Ute - 3 ltr turbo. I am heading across the Gibb River road in July and looking to upgrade the springs and shockies for the trip. We do not tow anything but will be at full weight.
I was thinking of using OME shock absorbers and ironman support springs. Not fussed on air bags. Any thoughts?
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Reply By: Mick O - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 16:03

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 16:03

having been through suspension upgrades on my Navara (Ironman), Patrol (tried various) and the Tuck-truck (EFS/Toughdog) could I recommend you have a look at a comprehensive system rather than an add-on. I'm presuming you are looking at the Iron Man "Load-plus" system. Bear in mind this is an aid to handling while at the rated load limit. It's not something designed for extreme conditions as can be expected on many of our outback roads these days.

If you are likely to exceed your GVM (and that's pretty easy to do these days), or even come close to it, it would be a good idea to figure out exactly what weight you'll be carrying and look at beefing the entire system. It can be done fairly cheaply these days with ready to fit kits from companies like Ironman, EFS and others. I say this because travelling at or near GVM on the bitumen is a lot different to travelling at the same weight on outback roads where the conditions are a lot different and so are the strains and stresses placed on your vehicles suspension.

From my personal experience across three vehicles, steer clear of OME shocks. They do not rate and you will find many members on this site moving away from them. Konig 90mm Raid shocks are possibly one of the best on the market but come at a price. Personally I recommend the Toughdog Big Bore adjustable Shocks. This will give you a lot more flexibility in dealing with varying conditions.

Air bags can be a good thing. A set of convoluted bellows type bags on your vehicle would be a real asset for load and handling. Something like the Firestone Load-rite bags would be ideal. (I use a rolling sleeve type bag as it accommodates for a 4" lift). The problems come when people use these as the suspension rather than a leveling aid to a rated suspension system.

Food for thought. Hope it's been of some help.

Enjoy the trip

''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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AnswerID: 597026

Reply By: Member - Peter56 - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 20:12

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 20:12
Thanks Mick.
AnswerID: 597039

Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 20:28

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 20:28
Peter, is the GVM for your BT50 3019kg ?
That's what my 2010 PK Ranger is, and with full desert load (inc 205lt diesel, 80lt water, and all the usual camping kit), I come in at 2700kg.
Be careful with air bags, though not as bad with a single cab vs dual cab, with the wrong circumstances you can still risk chassis damage if pumped up too high.
If your GVM is as good as the PK, then I think the helper springs should be ok, as long as the OEM suspension isn't shot itself.
AnswerID: 597040

Reply By: Member Andys Adventures - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 21:51

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 21:51
Hi Peter,

I would use Ironman constant load springs rather than helpers... I have them (constant load) and I am loaded to my limit ....Have done the GRR, CSR, Tanami and the Savannah Way with no problem.....Would stay away from air bags I did have a set and only put 15 to 20psi but it was starting to show a small bend in the chassis, nothing that caused a problem but enough to take them off....I now run the constant load springs and they are great....
AnswerID: 597044

Reply By: Member - Murray R (VIC) - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 23:17

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 23:17
I have the same vechicle only a Ranger, I carry a slide on camper and when fully loaded for a trip I go just under GVM. I still run standard suspension except for the shocks that I have upgraded. The ute has done 4 trips in cenral Aust, Cape York last year, great central road and a few others. We drive to the road conditions when on dirt and drop the tyre pressures with 80 km the max speed.
So far I've had no problems with any suspension parts or any other mechanical but can see why people suggest to upgrade.
I did use the helper springs on my Bravo extra cab due to rear sag with the camper on but had to crank them right up. They did the job but were really only a patch up.

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AnswerID: 597046

Reply By: Member - Peter56 - Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 09:06

Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 09:06
Thank you. I'm thinking, after the feedback, that I will replace the shockies, which have now done 100,000klm and leave the rest as standard. It coped well with the load and the trip to the tip, and if we drive to the conditions and watch the weight we should be right.
Thanks everyone for the contribution.
AnswerID: 597055

Reply By: Phillipn - Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 21:59

Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 21:59
The safest place for air bags is leave them in the shop. Do not touch them.

I have a 2012 BT50. I had the rear springs retempered and an extra spring fitted. It is under the top spring and is the full length as the top one, they are cupped under the shackle eyes at front and back.

They lift the rear approx. 100mm.
When I connect the van [ ball weight 260 Kg] the rear only drop about 35mm.

The ride is firm but not rough.

I had the job done in South Grafton. These guys are masters at their work.
AnswerID: 597081

Follow Up By: noggins - Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 23:07

Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 23:07
There is another mod that can be done to the rear springs.

Get a second set of discarded rear springs and strip both them and your springs down.
Rebuild the stacks with the SECOND leaf from the spares doubling the second leaf on the originals.
You may have to grind a bit off the new leaf to get a better fit
Rebuild the rest of the stack as original except for the bottom leaf, turn it upside down.
(It now acts as an overload spring )
Use the wear shims on all leaves and use a new center bolt on the spring stack

Now you have a set of rear springs that will carry the extra load and still have a good unloaded performance.

I can remember doing this in my younger hot car daze when I lowered a ute and wanted a good ride as well

FollowupID: 866060

Follow Up By: Batt's - Thursday, Mar 10, 2016 at 12:50

Thursday, Mar 10, 2016 at 12:50
Absolutely nothing wrong with air bags or bellows it's how people use them which is the problem.

My neighbour has had Boss air bellows under his BT50 for over a year without any trouble use them sensibly, what they are "designed for", adjust them to suit the load, the road or track conditions and you'll have them for years.

If people plan on constantly carrying extra weight then they should get the correct springs and shocks to suit.
FollowupID: 866232

Follow Up By: Phillipn - Thursday, Mar 10, 2016 at 16:10

Thursday, Mar 10, 2016 at 16:10
The set up I have installed was less than half the price of air bags . [ air bags $950. springs $440]
I took the springs out and put them back in in myself.

I am not carrying extra weight, all 4 X 4`s have springs designed to give a ride like a car, their springs are too weak.
FollowupID: 866242

Follow Up By: Batt's - Saturday, Mar 12, 2016 at 01:10

Saturday, Mar 12, 2016 at 01:10
$950 for air bags that assist the leaf springs wow what sort of air bags were you looking at my neighbour paid $500 odd for his Boss air bellows which are better than air bags and the vehicle has a good ride when empty and still comfortable when he puts his slide on canopy on.

I recently replaced my rear coils on my GQ with Boss triple air bellows with an in cab inflation system as well for just over $1,000.
FollowupID: 866286

Follow Up By: Phillipn - Saturday, Mar 12, 2016 at 04:03

Saturday, Mar 12, 2016 at 04:03
The prices were quoted from both TJM and ARB.
FollowupID: 866287

Follow Up By: Batt's - Saturday, Mar 12, 2016 at 12:39

Saturday, Mar 12, 2016 at 12:39
I gather that would include fitting then
FollowupID: 866307

Follow Up By: Phillipn - Saturday, Mar 12, 2016 at 13:13

Saturday, Mar 12, 2016 at 13:13
That's correct, fitting included.
FollowupID: 866312

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