Advice on suspension upgrade and lift

Submitted: Thursday, Jul 07, 2005 at 10:32
ThreadID: 24517 Views:2579 Replies:3 FollowUps:7
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Never lifted or modified the suspension on a 4B before.
I have a new 05 Hilux that will carry a fair bit of weight and needs a bit of a lift in any case due to pretty average ramp over.
Normal load will be; Front - steel bar, aux battery and possibly a winch in the future. Rear - Canopy, drawer unit, fridge, and about 30 to 40KG of recovery equipment and bits and pieces that we always carry.

On trips we add about 200KG of stuff, plus when towing the CT, up to 190KG of ball weight (depending on whether I fill all the gerries).

Spoken to a couple of the 4B and suspension 'experts' and have narrowed to a couple of options, but not sure which will be best.

Option 1A ARB heavy duty OME kit. New heavy duty coils on front, new heavy duty leaf springs, shocks etc on back. Will handle the load, but probably give a very firm ride when not fully loaded. Cost about $1700.

Option 1B. ARB medium duty OME kit. Same as above, but with medium duty rear leaf springs, but add poly airs to back as well so I can adjust for the weight changes. Cost about $2100.

Option 2. Local Suspension Specialist. New heavy duty coils on front. Add a leaf to rear springs to firm up and get some height. Also add Firestone air bags to rear so I can adjust for weight variation. No change to shocks initially. He says new shocks will need to be developed for this vehicle, and it is better to wait a few months to let the bugs be ironed out. Also gives opportunity to test what I have before further changes. Cost approx $1,350.

Option 2 sounds like good advice and is initially cheaper. If I then fit new shocks in the future, total cost will get close to Option 1A, but should never get as high as 1B.

Any ideas to help me through this decision? Are there other options I should consider?
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Reply By: Leroy - Thursday, Jul 07, 2005 at 10:53

Thursday, Jul 07, 2005 at 10:53
If you're concerned about ride when unladen then adding a leaf is definitely not the way to go. I did this to my Rodeo and it gave the harshest ride. Fully laden it felt great. I would go with firestone air bags with the std suspension to begin with and then go from there. After you put your steel bar and 2nd batt. decide then if you need to do the front springs. If you've got heaps of cash go the medium ome with the firestone airbags.

AnswerID: 119252

Follow Up By: BenSpoon - Thursday, Jul 07, 2005 at 11:32

Thursday, Jul 07, 2005 at 11:32
Adding a leaf will also hinder your wheel travel. I'd agree with going for the OME medium and air bags. Just speak to anyone that tows with airbags and I recon you'll be sold on that option.

If you do carry a bit of weight often, then the heavy duty springs are a good choice, otherwise you'll be hopping the back axle over speedhumps. I got this often in my troopy with OME heavies on it.
FollowupID: 374382

Follow Up By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Thursday, Jul 07, 2005 at 13:48

Thursday, Jul 07, 2005 at 13:48
Leroy, any particular reason for suggesting the Firestone airbags over the Poly air? No I don't have heaps of cash, but I only want to spend what I've got once, so not looking to choose on price alone.

I understand the suggestion to try the airbags with current rear set up first, but can I get any lift this way? Or will it just stop sag caused by weight when I load up?
FollowupID: 374389

Follow Up By: Leroy - Thursday, Jul 07, 2005 at 17:01

Thursday, Jul 07, 2005 at 17:01
Saw the firestone setup on a hilux after I went the add a leaf route and this hilux was heavily loaded up for a cape trip and the owner was more than happy with the setup. I'm sure polyairs will do the same job. You won't get additional height - only new springs will do that. They will stop sag caused by the addition of weight.

FollowupID: 374404

Follow Up By: 120scruiser - Thursday, Jul 07, 2005 at 20:20

Thursday, Jul 07, 2005 at 20:20
Another reason to go firestone is for this reason Check out their prices. I get my new Prado tomorrow and will order their air bags about as quick as I can get the new lovells into it.
FollowupID: 374431

Follow Up By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Thursday, Jul 07, 2005 at 20:31

Thursday, Jul 07, 2005 at 20:31
Thanks for the link 120. My problem is, the Hilux is not sold in the USA. I understand the Tundra is close, but not certain.
Not confident that I know enough about it to be sure I order the right thing. I've read of a couple of people who have bought from the US, only to find they have the wrong kit and then have bought from Austrlalia (The Airbag Man) as well.

If I could be sure of what I'm getting, I'd probably give it a go.
FollowupID: 374434

Reply By: vitara - Thursday, Jul 07, 2005 at 10:57

Thursday, Jul 07, 2005 at 10:57
Ni Norm C, I have early mod 90 d/cab sr5 had old man emu fitted when vehilce was about 5 moths old has been around oz couple of times broken nothing (luck). Front springs(leaf) have only just started to sag shockies as well am about to replace but will fit ome again. Rear springs bushes etc still ok with 270,000 on the clock. Doing front in a couple of weeks time (doing myself).No doubt every one has there own opinion on all types of suspension (brands) but I will be sticking with ome Can't fault. I thought I would need a kidney belt with mine being fitted specially leaf front end but I was surprised not that bad. Your's shouldn't be too bad with ifs as you said maybe a bit bouncy in the rear end with out a load. I'll stick to the known brands.How will you go with warranty being a new vehicle, mine had a problem with center bearing on tail shaft they tried saying that is was due to the suspension lift. After much arguing and phone calls they agreed to fix it under warranty (in the first few months)Just a thought. Have fun in your new one Take Care Vitara
AnswerID: 119255

Reply By: owenia - Saturday, Jul 30, 2005 at 05:24

Saturday, Jul 30, 2005 at 05:24
G'day Norm.
My Dec 03 Hilux SR5 petrol engine was fitted with an OME kit and I have a few comments.
1) Rear increased height is 50mm; front increase is 25 mm. This is within 'specs' as ARB put it. It is also acceptable to NRMA insurance as, they almost interrogated me regarding the heights. So, my car is in fact insurable. Make sure yours is "within specs" for insurance purposes. Don't know what the other 4by insurers have in the way of concerns.

2) Having had ARB 'alter' the vehicle (from Toyota's POV), the work now becomes subject to a LOSS of warranty on anything that is affected by the altered angle of the drive line. THIS IS MOST IMPORTANT. If you alter the drive line angles near the centre links, the engine or the vehicle may seem to vibrate - like mine does.

Now, Toyota investigated the problem yesterday and stated that ARB's modifications are entirely responsible for the vibration. To find out whether it was the new suspension, they simply removed the back drive shaft and drove the car using the front (in other words, the put it into 4WD and still drove the vehicle). They claim that the vibration disappeared.

I have had the ARB technician speak to the senior Toyota service manager to discuss the problem in 'technical terms'. ARB have agreed to look at it on Monday. I was really annoyed with the service of the vehicle by Toyota as, from a service they conducted in early June (one month before ARB had touched my truck) to remove a metalic 'clunking' type noise apparent when moving off from a standing start as the clutch is released, they returned the vehicle to me with the vibration clearly apparent to me...not to them so it seemed.

I then returned the vehicle to them a couple of weeks later (still no ARB work yet) and had a technician test drive with me. He stated the vibration was the beginning of the end for the clutch...they replaced last week as a consequence.

Then, on the 4-7th July, ARB added their suspension and, I still noticed the vibration. Not realising the significance of ARB inteferring with the truck before Toyota assessed the clutch issue, I continued to drive the car before having the clutch replaced last week.

The truck was returned to me last friday with shudder - not a vibration - that was MANIFESTLY worse than that which they would have noticed prior to replacing the clutch. The senior manager, the original drive test technician and other assorted folks then tested the car yesterday and declared that the vibration the original test drive technician noticed was NOT evident and, that it was a DIFFERENT vibration - attributable to ARB's work.

I am now stuck with the nuisance of the vibration - which in my untrained mechanical opinion, is the physical evidence of poor engine performance and therefore I would urge you to do the following IMMEDIATELY if you have already had your truck modified: have the OME fitters check the 'spacer' to see if they have altered the angle to a point where there is ... even a very slight ... vibration - not noticeable on any of your model Hilux not modified with the suspension.

It is very important you do this as, the tussle between owner, ARB and Toyota is not a position enviable to anyone.

ARB and Toyota were very polite but adamant that - either the problem has never been reported before or, it's not their problem. I have a very keen sense of how my truck should sound and feel and, they really struggled to notice. The only trouble is that fuel consumption declined and I lost a great deal of power - especially going up hills.

" BUGGER !!! "

Please contact me via email on to discuss if you like...we could speak on the blower.



Owenia - a native rainforest cabinet timber with a grain better than red cedar.
AnswerID: 122825

Follow Up By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Saturday, Jul 30, 2005 at 08:37

Saturday, Jul 30, 2005 at 08:37
Thanks for the detailed response Dave. Haven't done the work yet.

I spoke to the workshop supervisor at the Toyota dealership where I bought the vehicle a couple of weeks ago. Told him what I planned. He said it will be OK and won't effect the warranty. But whether that will stand up later, who knows.

I'll drop you an e-mail to discuss in more detail.

Thanks for the info.
FollowupID: 378007

Follow Up By: owenia - Monday, Aug 01, 2005 at 16:52

Monday, Aug 01, 2005 at 16:52
G'day again Norm.

Just been to arb in the 'gong and they fixed up my 'vibration'. Toyota stated that they had placed everything about 15 - 20 mm too high and that the work needed to be modified by the arb folks.

I went to them this morning and they said that it will be a natural consequence of changing the angle of the rear shaft, it will make a wobble which translates into a 'vibration' at certain revs.

In fact, he said that they are meant to wobble anyway. He dragged me under the truck and showed me how the centre uni joint area has a certain amount of flex created by rubber seals. When the shaft is raised some more...say for instance if I was to go back to them and fit 250kg suspension rather than the 120kg I currently have, it will vibrate even more.

One thing I can tell you, the amount of fuel I use is now about 2 litres extra per 100 kms as indicated by my fuel stats. I can send you my spreadsheet if you like. They include EVERY SINGLE fuel receipt since the car was new except for the juice they put in to move it to and from the wharf.

the 05 Lux i saw was getting 250kg OME. So, it would appear that the 'SPECS' have already been relayed to ARB by Toyota.

The ARB folks were extremely helpful. They noticed that the drive shaft peices were slightly out of alignment (about 15 degrees) and so, they pulled them apart and re-aligned them such that each of the uni joint spindles were in a row. This appears to have reduced the vibration somewhat.

Hope you haven't been spooked too much as, ARB know their work and Toyota were very willing (in the end) to assist in resolving the issue.

I am due to return to ARB and have the vehicle placed on the dyno.

Going up to Cairns on Thurs to visit Tyrconnel Gold mine farm stay and am really looking forward to finally leaving Syd.

FollowupID: 378248

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