Unbiassed Shock Absorber Info Sought.

Submitted: Saturday, Feb 16, 2019 at 20:39
ThreadID: 137821 Views:1882 Replies:19 FollowUps:13
It seems an impossible task to get a straight answer on suspension modifications.

I have a 76 series Landcruiser V8 Turbo Diesel and I am going to do a Simpson Crossing via the Madigan Line this year, and hopefully a Canning Stock Route trip next year. I want to simply fit a set of good quality shock absorbers to my standard height car.

It seems that when one calls or visits the accepted 4WD outfits they can (or will) only recommend what they stock. Nobody can give a clear and unbiased response.

Most want me to do a 50-200mm lift which I do not want nor need. When I say that all I get are blank looks. I am not interested in ‘bogan-ising’ my car. I just want to toughen it up for these trips.

Who to talk to that will give an honest and unbiased opinion on what is best?

I am down to Koni and Bilstein at this time, although Monroe are an outside chance. I had thought OME BP51 might be good but they cannot fit their shocks unless I get (at least) a 50mm lift. Then it seems I can only get them through a well-known 4WD chain that I am happy not to deal with if it can be avoided.

Any unbiased suggestions and recommendations will give me somewhere to start. Thanks in advance.

OBJ
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Reply By: RMD - Saturday, Feb 16, 2019 at 20:58

Saturday, Feb 16, 2019 at 20:58
OBJ
I would prefer never to use Monroe shocks if at all possible. I had an HJ61 for many years and tried the OME a couple of times. They were made by Monroe and although they didn’t leak their performance degraded quickly, far too quickly.
I changed the OE shocks on my Dmax at 5,000km because they didn’t work and fitted Bilstein. They transformed the ride and handling. I would expect Konis to do the same but haven’t used them, so no definite opinion. I have an automotive background and very particular about shock performance.
AnswerID: 623896

Follow Up By: Batt's - Sunday, Feb 17, 2019 at 12:08

Sunday, Feb 17, 2019 at 12:08
I to had ome shocks, springs on a HJ60 in the early 90's they were great done a lot of hard km couln't fault them.

I currently have tough dog adjustables on my GQ find them good especially when you can change the ride comfort to suit not sure how they are with a 1990 Prado leaf sprung 4x4.
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Follow Up By: Member - Greg R (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 24, 2019 at 21:12

Sunday, Feb 24, 2019 at 21:12
I also have Tough Dog adjustables on my Hilux and they are great. If fully laden turn them up to 6, around town adjust them to 1. Great ride laden or empty. 120,000km later and still going fine.
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Reply By: batsy - Saturday, Feb 16, 2019 at 21:31

Saturday, Feb 16, 2019 at 21:31
OBJ, I have used Koni on my 80 series Cruiser for the last 250,000kms with standard height King springs over much of Australia including the CSR, Anne Beadell, Cape ,Simpson Desert, Great Australian Bight & much more, mostly towing our TVan. They were checked just recently as were the spring heights & all were in top working order. I chose Koni over Bilstein as Bilstein if I remember were a higher pressure gas damper which gave a harsher ride.
Cheers
Batsy
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AnswerID: 623897

Reply By: swampy - Saturday, Feb 16, 2019 at 21:31

Saturday, Feb 16, 2019 at 21:31
hi
Try Kings suspension . They make there own shocks . They are rebuildable and tunable. Cost much $$$$ but good product.
AnswerID: 623898

Reply By: Member -Pinko (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 16, 2019 at 22:10

Saturday, Feb 16, 2019 at 22:10
OBJ we have a 2007 79 series single cab towing an ultimate camper.
Have crossed the Simpson desert, Canning SR, Hay river and numerous other tracks. Standard height with Konis all round. Just had to carry replacement bushes for the camper.
Living is a journey,it depends on where you go !
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, Feb 16, 2019 at 23:05

Saturday, Feb 16, 2019 at 23:05
I've been using Ironman Foam Pro front shocks on a 79 series ute, and still getting good service out of the rears, which are the standard Ironman Foam. Will be fitting the Pro's to the rear before a Madigan crossing in May. Had this brand on a previous 79 series ute too.

In money's no object go Koni. Bilstein, when I used them years ago, were alright but the single wall shock didn't last long on gravel or stoney roads.

Bob

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Can't remember most of it.

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Reply By: OBJ - Sunday, Feb 17, 2019 at 07:22

Sunday, Feb 17, 2019 at 07:22
Thank you all for these excellent responses. Greatly appreciated. I also tow a Tvan (but won't be towing on these trips) and have thought that the Konis stood up to the treatment well. But I will look at the other options as well. thanks again.
OBJ
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Follow Up By: Jackolux - Sunday, Feb 17, 2019 at 09:35

Sunday, Feb 17, 2019 at 09:35
Can't go 2 far wrong with Koni
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Reply By: Member - nickb "boab" - Sunday, Feb 17, 2019 at 10:54

Sunday, Feb 17, 2019 at 10:54
Have you considered the Dobinson ? rebuildable and look like a very tough construction .
The Iron Man Pro Series that Bob y spoke of are another tough one to consider , I have just put a set on the front of my Ranger and am very surprised how cool they run . As heat is your enemy with shock absorbers
And there are all those big name American shock absorbers to also consider .
But it will come down to how you treat them if you are loading a vehicle up with tons of weight then you're going to need an exceptional shock absorber over a long distance of rough terrain . Bilstein and koni wouldn't be my 1st & only choice but that's just me.
To be continued !


Cheers Nick b

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Feb 17, 2019 at 11:05

Sunday, Feb 17, 2019 at 11:05
Hi Nick

I have just recently had a change of employment to a Mechanical Repair business here in Clare, that work on everything from the biggest of trucks, tractor, excavators, four wheel drives and conventional vehicles.

The guy that runs the business is one very smart and trusted man and to my surprise, of all the brands of shock absorbers that are on the market, he will only fit
Dobinson shocks as replacement shocks to all the four wheel drives.

Cheers


Stephen
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Follow Up By: Member - nickb "boab" - Sunday, Feb 17, 2019 at 11:13

Sunday, Feb 17, 2019 at 11:13
Thanks Stephen I would have put them on my ute if I could have got them locally at the time but needed them straight away and Iron Man were the next best thing .

Cheers Nick b

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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Sunday, Feb 17, 2019 at 12:02

Sunday, Feb 17, 2019 at 12:02
.
My Troopy gets a pretty severe hammering and following a major failure on new Tough Dog shockers I selected Koni.

Koni are more expensive but highly reliable and rebuildable.
Mick Hutton and Connie Beadell who operate Beadell Tours will use nothing else.
Mick's full Koni report here.
Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: Steve in Kakadu - Sunday, Feb 17, 2019 at 12:45

Sunday, Feb 17, 2019 at 12:45
I used this mob EFS 4wd when I needed new gear for my 200 series, they had kits to pick from and were really good when talking to them.

I received mine within a week to Kakadu, full set up with specs that I wanted $1600 with free postage.
AnswerID: 623914

Follow Up By: Member - nickb "boab" - Sunday, Feb 17, 2019 at 19:13

Sunday, Feb 17, 2019 at 19:13
We have them on our 100 series ifs LC , 4 shocks & front torsion bars & find then a very harsh ride , not nice.
But have done some big trips i.e cape york Kimberly with no problems .
Cheers Nick b

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Reply By: splits - Sunday, Feb 17, 2019 at 20:13

Sunday, Feb 17, 2019 at 20:13
OBJ
When you ask questions about shocks, just about every aftermarket brand gets mentioned. I have been driving around the Great Dividing Range and very remote parts of the Outback since 1967 on standard shocks and suspension without any problems at all. All I do is keep the vehicle weight well under the maximum and the speed well down.

I don't know if you have heard of Collyn Rivers or not. One of the vehicles that he owned when living in Broom was an OKA 4wd. He did a lot of trips around the Kimberlies and up and down the Tanami to Alice Springs in it.

He said on another forum that the OKA springs were fine but he replaced the shocks with larger Gabriel truck shocks after having them re-valved to the standard specifications of the original OKA shocks.

Few people would think of that but he does know a thing or two about suspensions and all driving conditions as you can see at the bottom of this page.Collyn

As for the popular aftermarket shocks, I have some of the DVDs from this companyDVDs Some of the cars on the desert trips broke them.
AnswerID: 623920

Reply By: ian - Sunday, Feb 17, 2019 at 23:59

Sunday, Feb 17, 2019 at 23:59
OBJ
Koni for me without doubt.
Current set on for 15 years of many rough trips. No problems and a great ride.
ian
AnswerID: 623929

Reply By: Mick O - Monday, Feb 18, 2019 at 10:24

Monday, Feb 18, 2019 at 10:24
I've had a good run our of the Toughdog Big Bore adjustables Jack, but on the selections you've provided, I go the Koni every time. Probably the Raid model given you're propensity to head into the wilderness grommet detecting :-).

Really solid shock, adjustable to compensate for any lost dampening over time, refurbishable (if you ever need to) and extremely good quality. (HUGE price tag but you get what you pay for).
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
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Follow Up By: OBJ - Monday, Feb 18, 2019 at 16:46

Monday, Feb 18, 2019 at 16:46
I've been back searching for that damn grommet and still can't find it. Have you had a thorough look through your toolbox to make sure it is not there?



PS: For Innocent bystanders .. this is a very "IN" joke. Don't be alarmed !!
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Reply By: mechpete - Monday, Feb 18, 2019 at 14:38

Monday, Feb 18, 2019 at 14:38
Konis
any day without a doubt
mechpete
AnswerID: 623942

Reply By: CSeaJay - Monday, Feb 18, 2019 at 17:06

Monday, Feb 18, 2019 at 17:06
OBJ

Just like a shop will tell you theirs are best, so will customers and most members on the forum, by advising what they have served them best.
I have done serious tracks over the last 20 years with several vehicles. Here are my experiences;
*Tough Dogs*: Foam cell. 2 shocks kaput on the CSR
*Stock*: I did Cape York with a 200 stock suspension. 5 people, not towing. The standard shocks started fading on the corrugations on the way back. Was ok after it cooled down but I changed them after that.
*OME* the very next CY trip. Shock failed, had to "limp" into Cairns. Great aftermarket service by ARB, but that did not help me on the OTL.
*OME Nitros* Got these as I was unhappy with the OME failing. I replaced them a year later with Koni's - I was after a better ride.
Koni/King Spring combo. Faultless. Including a 15,000 long service leave trip through most of Oz north of the tropic of capricorn, coast to coast.

The Koni's impressed me such that when I upgraded to a later model 200, I re-used my Koni's from the old car even after the long outback trip....
AnswerID: 623943

Reply By: Clifton H - Monday, Feb 18, 2019 at 18:05

Monday, Feb 18, 2019 at 18:05
I have had 3 100 series Landcruisers. The first 2 were solid front end and the third (current vehicle) IFS.

I put new suspension in all, springs were always Ridepro and always 50mm lift.
1st 100 - Ridepro shocks, 2nd Bilstiens and 3rd Koni 90's.

By far the best ride over all conditions was the Ridepro shock/spring combo - cheapest also!!



AnswerID: 623944

Reply By: Member - DOZER - Monday, Feb 18, 2019 at 21:01

Monday, Feb 18, 2019 at 21:01
Whatever shock you get will be flogged out by the time you finish your trips. If you buy a shock like a ralph, it will give you the best control, but your teeth will fall out and the rubbers will rip out in no time. If you buy toyota new shocks (they are about $100 each) they will pogo stick you from 10 minutes onwards each time you drive. My money is on Old Man Emu shocks, the compressed length of the shock doesnt change, the diff hits the bump stops and thats as far as the shock compresses the extended length of an aftermarket shock is different to std, but thats ok too, the spring wont fall out.....i wouldnt be concerned about reps saying you need to install their springs....the best advice i can give you is to minimise weight, and take breaks every 2 hours, to let the shocks cool down. My simo trip seen 1 triton broken chassis, 1 patrol ute broken chassis, 1 axle on an Okka :) slow and steady costs less......
b4 you bag me out, walk a mile in my shoes, then your a mile away and have my shoes :)

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Follow Up By: OBJ - Tuesday, Feb 19, 2019 at 20:17

Tuesday, Feb 19, 2019 at 20:17
You ae right about weight. we are scrutinising everything we are going to take on the trip. Only difficulty I am having is cutting down on water. But your advice is good. Thanks.
OBJ
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Follow Up By: splits - Wednesday, Feb 20, 2019 at 23:48

Wednesday, Feb 20, 2019 at 23:48
OBJ posted:
You ae right about weight. we are scrutinising everything we are going to take on the trip. Only difficulty I am having is cutting down on water.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Have you thought about towing a very small trailer? I have a 1600 x 1200 x .450 very light weight trailer with a tubular axle, single leaf springs, shocks and no brakes.

We use it when we stay close to home and camp for extended periods. It is divided into seven separate compartments and is used only for carrying a lot of small items like gas bottles, camp ovens, large folding chairs etc. that would take up too much room in the car and take its weight up to close to GVM.

If I intended driving over long roads like the Canning or Anne Beadell, I would make another one just to carry water and fuel and not much else.

Fuel would be carried in car fuel tanks. I have seen a few ute tanks in self serve wrecking yards that would sit nicely sideways across the trailer chassis in front of and behind the axle. Five jerries would fit across the chassis above the axle. Things like an extra spare wheel could be fitted easily.

You don't need a body or a lid on a trailer like that. Something like that should make it possible to take all that you need while keeping the car well under GVM and miles under its towing capacity.

It is excessive weight and speed that breaks cars in those rough and remote conditions. If drivers kept both down, none of them should have any trouble out there.

Getting back to shocks: I don't know the exact reason Collyn Rivers chose re-valved trucks shocks. My guess is it was to get more heat absorbiton by using a larger shock while bringing them back to the standard specifications of the originals was to avoid overstressing the standard shock mounts.

In my days in the motor industry I saw a lot more than just a few broken shock mounts as a result of stiffer aftermarket shocks. In two cases they ripped the top rear shock mounts out of the floor in 2wd station wagons.

Tha is just something else to keep in mind when altering the original design.
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Follow Up By: OBJ - Thursday, Feb 21, 2019 at 07:25

Thursday, Feb 21, 2019 at 07:25
Hi Splits.

I did not want to take a trailer. I have a Tvan which mechanically is capable of doing the trip, but I think I will enjoy the trip more if I leave it at Maree or elsewhere.

I also don't expect to get through it without something breaking, as it is with these types of trips. Part of the joy of remote travelling I think.

My only solution to the water thing is to see if someone can invent some form of dehydrated water that you can carry and just add water to it when you want to use it :) ... As I often say "rule nothing out".

Thanks

OBJ
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Follow Up By: Member - DOZER - Thursday, Feb 21, 2019 at 08:00

Thursday, Feb 21, 2019 at 08:00
We left the roofrack water containers empty and carried 20 litre water berries on the floor behind the seats. Where you pack is more important.
b4 you bag me out, walk a mile in my shoes, then your a mile away and have my shoes :)

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Follow Up By: OBJ - Thursday, Feb 21, 2019 at 14:58

Thursday, Feb 21, 2019 at 14:58
Dozer .. what is a water berry? Don't want to rule anything out but I am not aware of that terminology. I am sure it is a simple answer, but I have not come across it before.
Thanks.
OBJ
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Follow Up By: Member - DOZER - Thursday, Feb 21, 2019 at 18:48

Thursday, Feb 21, 2019 at 18:48
Sorry, typo, should have read jerries
b4 you bag me out, walk a mile in my shoes, then your a mile away and have my shoes :)

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Reply By: maurice b - Monday, Feb 18, 2019 at 22:39

Monday, Feb 18, 2019 at 22:39
I been using Koni's since 1985 in my 4wd's .They have been a very reliable shock ,long lasting in outback conditions.I have never had a problem . My last set are the 90 series to suit my 2.5 lift on my 105 series with a gvm upgrade. As far as I know the 82/88/and 90's a all twin tubes . The 90s have a built in bump stop to prevent damage that needs to be temporary remove to adjust damping.
AnswerID: 623957

Reply By: andrew t - Wednesday, Feb 20, 2019 at 11:54

Wednesday, Feb 20, 2019 at 11:54
I have a pair of lovells shocks fitted to my VDJ78R Troopy and they have been fantastic. they will fit standard height and also lifted up to 50mm they perform well and i had them delivered to my door for $250
http://www.4wddirect.com.au/cgi-bin/shoppingcart/cart.cgi?action=search&category=TL6
this is where i got them from.

Hope this helps
AnswerID: 623988

Reply By: nickyb - Saturday, Feb 23, 2019 at 06:46

Saturday, Feb 23, 2019 at 06:46
No one mentioned Rancho. This will be my 3rd set, 2nd none adjustable. Tried efs, tough dog, ironman, rancho last and give a good ride. Would like to try koni or bilstien but for the price are you really getting much more. Australia is bloody hard on anything
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