100 Series Sahara Auto Levelling suspension problems

Submitted: Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 12:13
ThreadID: 57033 Views:12022 Replies:5 FollowUps:7
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I posted here a month or so back about problems with my 12 month old Sahara and the auto levelling suspension dropping down on long trips under moderate load. Thought I would update those who gave me advice on Poly air springs etc to solve the problem.

I decided to take Toyota head on over the issue after yet another trip with the family to Fraser Island where all we had was the usual fridge and clothes in the back an no trailer. After 2 hours of driving and less than the handbook load on board, the suspension dropped to the low setting.

I took the car back to Toyota and told them to find the problem or not give the car back. They found a failure on their computer but could not find the physical cause when they conducted the tests. Hence, all they could do was bleed the system and go from there.

I told them that was not satisfactory after learning of others with the issue and that if they could not tell me that it was possible to take my camper trailer to the tip of Cape York in September without the suspension dropping down, then I would be seeking an economic exit strategy from them to get rid of the car. They agreed it was a blight on the Landcruiser brand if the trip I was proposing could not be done in their top of the range vehicle.

The Toyota dealer rang me back a few days later to inform me they have formally written to Toyota in relation to my vehicle to seek a solution as I was not the only customer who has reported this issue. They did refer to the handbook loads and I promptly told them that may be fine but to get a handbook, one must first hand over $80K+ for the vehicle and at no time in the sales process was the issue of load capacity mentioned.

I am due for a follow up and will get in touch with them this week and keep you all informed. I am sticking to my guns that if they cannot solve this problem, I will be seeking for them to help me get out of the vehicle that they sold me and perhaps into a new Sahara or VX (which funnily enough does not have the same suspension any more).

I would be interested to hear from other Sahara owners who have had this issue as I would like to hit Toyota over the head with a few more cases and if possible, force them legally to make a recall and fix the problem.


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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian (SA) - Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 14:44

Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 14:44
You sound very well organised Alan and seem to have have all bases covered re your facts - just a thought - have YOU formally written to Toyota laying out all the facts ? What the dealer says they are doing on your behalf and what could be achieved with additional direct contact may be quite different. And as you indicate, your rights as consumer say that you are entitled to a full refund if the goods do not match description............will be very interested in the outcome !
AnswerID: 300758

Reply By: Crackles - Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 20:12

Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 20:12
Allen check on the lcool web site as I seem to remember others having the same problem. They normally come up with fixes for Landcruisers well before Toyota even acknowledge there's an issue.
Cheers Craig.........
AnswerID: 300818

Reply By: Outbacktourer - Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 21:12

Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 21:12
Out of curiosity, have you tried the Polyairs?

AnswerID: 300830

Follow Up By: AllanH - Monday, Apr 28, 2008 at 00:11

Monday, Apr 28, 2008 at 00:11
I was about to have them fitted when I got a bit indignant at the fact that I have bought the top of the range cruiser and then have to add a set of polyairs just to put a fridge, clothes for the weekend and a couple of cartons of booze in the back for a trip to Fraser......without towing anything. Hence, I thought I would go through Toyota and ask them the simple question as to why my Sahara drops to the Low position with two adults and 3 kids under 10 (approx 260Kg) a 70L fridge, two cartons of beer and clothes. The manual says it should carry 4 people weighing 75Kg each (300Kg) plus another 280Kg of load. I am no-where close to this load limit and yet after two or more hours of operation, I drop into the Low posiiton.

They then tried to tell me that in the Low position, the car is the same height as a GXL. This is rubbish and when it is pointed out to them it is rubbish, they back down.

The manual also warns against driving the vehicle in the Low position especially on bumpy roads. Hence, my question to Toyota about taking a Sahara with AHC to Cape York towing a camper trailer in safety. Realistically, the car should be able to do it but it cannot even get to Gympie on the Highway without dropping down to Low.

they know there is a problem and I want them to find a solution or take my vehicle back. I do not care what is written in the manual as nothing was explained about the special load restraints for the Sahara and i only got to read the manual after taking posession of the vehicle.

I can smell they are concerned and am not going to let up until this gets solved and Polyairs will no doubt help but that is not solving the real problem.
FollowupID: 566958

Follow Up By: Outbacktourer - Tuesday, Apr 29, 2008 at 08:49

Tuesday, Apr 29, 2008 at 08:49
Reading your note in more detail I think you definitely have a problem with the AHC sensor. Mine required a full load of race car spares and tools in the back, rear seat full of personal gear, two blokes on board, full tanks and about 100Kg on the towball before it would give in.

FollowupID: 567192

Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Kath - Tuesday, Apr 29, 2008 at 12:41

Tuesday, Apr 29, 2008 at 12:41
OT, have you had yours adjusted?

I actually bought aluminium drawers to overcome issues. Have the Polyairs too as if I have them too low in pressure, the height settles back to Normal wth the weight in the back especially with the Karavan on the back.
FollowupID: 567213

Follow Up By: Outbacktourer - Tuesday, Apr 29, 2008 at 13:01

Tuesday, Apr 29, 2008 at 13:01
No, I just put the Polyairs in and run them about 12 PSI and the problem has been solved. I'm not sure how the sensor works but I assume it measures height after making sure the hydraulics have done their best to get it to "normal" height and have failed. Adjustment could be as simple as moving the pick up point on the sensor but I've not investigated it.

I have a mate with a LX470 and the dealer put Polyiars in for him when he told them he was going to the Kimberley with a T Van. The rationale, that makes sense to me, is that the Polyairs "assist" the hydraulics maintain normal height, thereby "fooling" the AHC sensor into thinking there is less weight on because the hydraulics are not yet maxed out.

FollowupID: 567219

Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Kath - Tuesday, Apr 29, 2008 at 13:39

Tuesday, Apr 29, 2008 at 13:39
I can agree with the comments OT. If you are carrying all the time, changing springs may make sense over the Polyairs. Having put in the drawers should be close to the the third row seats, but not with the contents and recovery gear.
FollowupID: 567227

Reply By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Kath - Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 21:39

Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 21:39
Allan, driving a 100 Sahara too with the same set up. As Cackles has said there is a bit of discussion on LCOOL about the AHC and also on the IH8MUD site too on them. The positive thing about the IH8MUD site is you don't have to register to read it as you do with LCOOL. IH8MUD actually has a fair catchment of owners multicontinent to get some knowledge.

Our Sahara has Polyairs and had them when we bought it. They certainly help to carry the load. Taking the rear seats out help the carrry too but they are apparently designed to not carry more than 280kgs above standard without going to the lowest setting. The rear seats probably give you about 60kg.

Some companies actually put in heavier springs to carry the load but like to keep any information close to their chest so competitors don't get their advantage, though there are plenty in the US that do.The springs in the rear of the 100 Sahara are pretty light in their capacity.
AnswerID: 300835

Follow Up By: AllanH - Monday, Apr 28, 2008 at 00:16

Monday, Apr 28, 2008 at 00:16
Thanks John. i am just a bit miffed that I have this issue and have loaded the car up with what I think is less than the handbook loads and yet I still drop down to the Low position. In addition, the handbook says to take care when driving in the low position and not to drive on bumpy roads in Low......not exactly what i would expect from a top of the range Landcruiser and definitely not suitable for heading up to Cape York.

At no stage during the sales process was any of this pointed out and it was not until I handed over my $80K+ that I got a chance to read about this for myself.

Toyota know there is a problem and they have taken the AHC off their 200 series vehicles and gone with a different style of suspension.

This is my 4th cruiser but first Sahara and to say i am dissappointed is an understatement.
FollowupID: 566959

Reply By: Member - Andrew (WA) - Monday, Apr 28, 2008 at 19:08

Monday, Apr 28, 2008 at 19:08
All the best Allan, I hope you have a win.

I have a 100TD GXL and thing really giving the S8its is the week front diff. I guess this effects yours as well.

Big $$$ on 'King Off The Road' but I am beginning to have my doubts!.
AnswerID: 301016

Follow Up By: Member - Andrew (WA) - Monday, Apr 28, 2008 at 19:10

Monday, Apr 28, 2008 at 19:10
I just read my reply...excuse the spelling and missing words, I was on the phone talking and typing at the same time!!!
FollowupID: 567097

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