200 series VX or Sahara (KDSS) with GVM upgrade

Submitted: Tuesday, Jul 04, 2017 at 22:09
ThreadID: 135206 Views:9548 Replies:7 FollowUps:6
This Thread has been Archived
Hi all, considering a new VX or Sahara & wanting to hear from those who have had a gvm upgrade on their 200 either VX or Sahara (KDSS).

Not looking for stories of "I know a bloke who said" or "had a friend of a friend who had one done"...I would like real life personal experience regarding any effects on handling/capability etc. Would you do it again knowing now what you know?

Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Rob K (VIC) - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 08:24

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 08:24
Hi Stefandsal,

I've had an upgrade done on my 200 series GXL about six months ago and just recently did a trip into outback Australia towing a C/T (about 1.5 tonne).

Would be helpful if you explained a little bit more about why you are considering the GVM upgrade - you'll loose comfort and ride performance when unloaded for a start and feel every bump in the road with the upgrade. The back end gets very twitchy unloaded going over bumps.

Which GVM upgrade are you considering ARB or Lovell - they have different GVM increases (ARB is 200kg, Lovell is 500kg) or are you looking at another brand?

Provide some context and others will be able to respond more accurately to your query.


Rob K
AnswerID: 612347

Follow Up By: Stefandsal - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 19:45

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 19:45
Yes sorry Rob, I should have explained a bit more. I have a Troopy at the moment & I had a Lovells GVM upgrade on it before purchase in 2012. It was a hard ride but with all the extras (bullbar, winch, drawers, kaymar dual wheel carrier etc it was ok. I guess as I get older I am just concerned about loading the vehicle up & exceeding the GVM (which is easy to do with a few adults & gear) - occasionally towing a 2 tonne van.

I don't know, I'd probably drive it overloaded for all of it's life, no probs, insurance claims going through without any dramas, but I guess I'm just trying to do the right thing. Appreciate the info.
FollowupID: 882598

Reply By: Member - DOZER - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 08:42

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 08:42
Gday, my last cruiser was a vx, and had arb suspension. I modified it with bars and winches and tanks and drawers, and it weighed 3100kg with me out of it. So, if you want mods like these, you have no choice, if you just want to have more leway with weights, as stated above, you have to consider the repocussions, (choppy ride etc)
b4 you bag me out, walk a mile in my shoes, then your a mile away and have my shoes :)

My Profile  My Position  Send Message
Classifieds: landcuiser 200 vx/sahara 18x8 with grandtrek tyres

AnswerID: 612348

Follow Up By: Stefandsal - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 19:46

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 19:46
Yep, that's true re ride quality. I just want to do the right thing
FollowupID: 882599

Reply By: Athol W1 - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 10:28

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 10:28
Think very carefully about why you would want a GVM upgrade.

I purchased a 60th anniversary model in 2011 TTD with the KDSS and drove it in standard form for about 120k before fitting and ARB upgrade suspension (all the components that come with their GVM upgrade but without the certification), and the vehicle just was not so nice to drive as before the upgrade.

The ride was firmer which was a good thing on dirt and corrugations as the rear of the car did not 'bounce out' to the same extent as when standard, but the vehicle just did not steer as nicely on the highway and tended to not follow a straight line as nicely as when standard. Handling, as in cornering, did not appear to be significantly affected.

This straight line ability is in large part to do with the reduction that occurs in the Castor angles that happens as a result of raising the front ride height. This reduction, whilst not always sufficient to cause the vehicle to 'wander', does have an effect on the driving comfort when driving in a straight line. There can also be problems reducing the Camber to acceptable limits, in my case the camber adjustment was at its limits when camber adjusted to 0.30' (or 1/2 of a degree) which is the maximum camber recommended by Toyota, and the maximum castor angle that could be attained was just 50% of that recommended by Toyota.

As the front ride height is increased then, due to the geometry of the front suspension, the camber increases and the castor reduces.

It is Camber that gives you the self centre effect, Castor gives straight line stability particularly under heavy braking. Excessive camber will cause outside edge tyre wear.

There are replacement upper control arms available that claim to address these issues, some may be good but some do not have any dirt/dust sealing for the ball joint, it could be argued as to the legality of using some of these replacement arms and the life of these arms and joints could also be of concern.

Also of some concern is the change in the angle of the Panhard Rod fitted to the rear suspension. AS the rear ride height is increased so to is the angle of the panhard rod relative to the rear axle centreline. The greater this angle then the greater the sideways movement of the rear axle as the suspension raises and falls. This also becomes obvious when looking at the location of the rear wheels in relation to the vehicle's body work. Some will say that is easily corrected by fitting an adjustable panhard rod, this can be used to place the wheels back into a symmetrical position at ride height, but does nothing for the axle moving sideways with suspension rise and fall. This sideways movement causes the rear of the vehicle body/chassis to move sideways in relation to the road which effectively gives some rear end steering, further upsetting the overall balance of the vehicle.

Hope this helps.
AnswerID: 612354

Follow Up By: Stefandsal - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 19:46

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 19:46
Thanks heaps Athol, very informative.
FollowupID: 882600

Follow Up By: Rob K (VIC) - Thursday, Jul 06, 2017 at 09:08

Thursday, Jul 06, 2017 at 09:08
Athol, agree with what you have discussed above.

Regarding the upper control arm (UCA), there are DOT approved replacement UCA's available from Superior Engineering and these have the ball joint encased in a grease capsule (and a grease nipple) which allows for adjustment to the camber and castor. About $1500 fitted to a LC200. A mate of mine had it fitted earlier this year in Melbourne. It certainly improve the handling for his vehicle which was fitted with a Ironman 2" lift kit.


Rob K
FollowupID: 882610

Follow Up By: mountainman - Monday, Jul 10, 2017 at 01:02

Monday, Jul 10, 2017 at 01:02
you happen to live in Cardiff by chance? Newcastle
FollowupID: 882664

Follow Up By: Athol W1 - Monday, Jul 10, 2017 at 16:10

Monday, Jul 10, 2017 at 16:10
Negative, Gold Coast for me.

Rob K.
The issue I have with all of these suspension kits is that the suppliers do not inform the purchaser in any way that there could be an issue. Also those buying the GVM upgrades done PRIOR to first registration never get to know what the effect is, or how good the vehicle was to drive in standard form.

As this modification to the UCA's is required to attain the original steering/front end geometry then they should be included in the modification package, but that would put the kit in the too expensive bracket.

A GVM upgrade that retained the standard (or near to standard) ride height would be a good thing, but this would most likely result in a very harsh or pronounced ride, and that would be enough for most people to decide against such a modification.

There are also some kits that claim to only 'bring the front up so as to make the vehicle sit level'. These would obviously avoid the issues with the rear suspension moving sideways under the vehicle as the axle rises and falls, but would still introduce the front suspension geometry issues, but may be not to such a great extent as the general stance of the vehicle would help with the lack of castor.

Also there is the matter of DOT approved. Which DOT did approve such item and for what purpose/vehicle. Often DOT approval refers to the USA DOT and has nothing to do with any Australian DOT. At one stage in Qld you required approval on an individual vehicle basis for such a modification (UCA's), however the current situation in Qld is that it is up to the component manufacturer to ensure that his REPLACEMENT part meets all recognised engineering standards, and if so then no further approvals/certifications are required. This only applies to normal replacement parts and not to major alterations to the vehicle's design which still require certification either by written approval from DOT QLD or an Authorised Person under the Code of Practice fo Modifying Vehicles.

FollowupID: 882670

Reply By: 3ways - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 11:41

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 11:41
We had the ARB OME upgrade on our 2013 VX and very happy with the handling. We never found it harsh around town when not towing. It was also comfortable when towing offroad. Very happy with the upgrade.
AnswerID: 612357

Reply By: Member - Little Briney - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 13:22

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 13:22
I have a 2012 VX with bullbar, side rails, steps, winch and rear bar with twin spare carriers, so it is heavy and I needed the extra carrying capacity of a GVM upgrade to be able to tow my semi-offroad caravan. I had Kings springs and Koni shock absorbers fitted to lift the GVM to 3800 kgs and have had no problems with handling or ride quality, laden or unladen and no KDSS problems. RMS in NSW had no problems certifying the new GVM. I would recommend that you don't raise the rear height from standard and only bring the front up to level with the rear to avoid the issues raised in some of the responses.
Hope this helps.
Little Briney

Lifetime Member
My Profile  Send Message

AnswerID: 612358

Reply By: Legendts - Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 19:17

Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 at 19:17
Stefan, have you considered joining LCOOL (Landcruiser owners online) as there is a wealth of information there specifically related to your questions and many others.
AnswerID: 612366

Reply By: mountainman - Monday, Jul 10, 2017 at 01:10

Monday, Jul 10, 2017 at 01:10
Mate of a mate of a mate is selling his....
my best mate IS selling his.
but its a 2009 model
advertised on here.
almost fully decked out
save yourself 45k
and at least take a look at it......
Or ring the number
52grand is cheap.
Cheapest on carsales !!
no issues since his had ownership
owner is a pure landcruiser enthusiast
twin wheel carriers
35inch bfg km2 x6 with alloy wheels
theres $4grand just there
AnswerID: 612433

Sponsored Links