Prado 120 Shock Absorbers?

Submitted: Sunday, Jun 08, 2008 at 14:56
ThreadID: 58512 Views:11779 Replies:6 FollowUps:7
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Long Story/Dumb Questions!!!
I have a Prado 120 with around 80,000Kms. Have towed a camper trailer for half of these Kms. Unit has always had a sag in the rear end when the camper has been conected. With a plan to go to the Cape this winter,so I thought I'd put some HD springs on the rear without any lift to help with the "Ducks disease".
Arranged to do this at my local springs works. So far so good. Don't need to change stock shockers recommends the spring works prop as they're a good unit he thinks. Day to fit rear HD's arrives and I turn up to get the swap done. Get to the spring works and he cant get "standard height" Lovell HD springs but have found Fireflex. Ok but they've got some lift. ["but they'll settle. Mmmm1!!!?"]
So I say go ahead.
So I need to put some coils with lift on the front to balance out the nose down effect. Don't need to change the shocks. he says!!
Have now done the front as well.
Now to my Questions!!!!
I expected the ride to be stiffer with the HD coils but this now seems harsh especially on corrugations/bumps [and they say that there are a few of them on the road up to the Cape].
Should I now have to go and change the stock shockers for the appropriate Fireflex units or are the Tojo ones OK?
Will the Fireflex Shockers soften out the ride again?
Any other advice /opinions welcome.



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Reply By: Member - Andrew L (WA) - Sunday, Jun 08, 2008 at 15:19

Sunday, Jun 08, 2008 at 15:19
OK, where to start....
HD springs in the rear of a 120 Prado will give a harsh ride and I would never advise their use unless you are going to be ALWAYS carrying a heavy load. HD springs are only required in the front once you have a bullbar/ winch/second battery otherwise standard duty is fine.
The best solution to your tail down issue when towing would have been the addition of airbags (Polyair or Firestone) inside the rear springs. This would allow you to correct the ride height when towing but retain a comfortable ride when not.
As for changing out the standard shocks to try a soften the ride, don't bother. The standard Toyota shocks are quite soft and chances are any after market shock will give an even harder ride. While ever you have the HD springs in the rear you ride will be harsh.
If you do decide to change shocks, do yourself a favour and get Bilstiens. But again, these will not fix the hard ride caused by the HD shocks.
Pleanty of info about suspension for Prado is available at Pradopoint
AnswerID: 308530

Follow Up By: Member - Kim M (VIC) - Sunday, Jun 08, 2008 at 15:57

Sunday, Jun 08, 2008 at 15:57
I agree with Leachy. Polyairs or similar, would have fixed your problem.


FollowupID: 574526

Reply By: Inland Sailor - Sunday, Jun 08, 2008 at 15:58

Sunday, Jun 08, 2008 at 15:58
Thought of airbags but many years ago had a bad experience with air shocks blowing a pipe and the whole rear end dropping to the axle/ mudgaurds of my HG wagon that I had at the time. I didn't want that to happen again when out in the back blocks, so went the springs way instead.

AnswerID: 308536

Reply By: donk - Sunday, Jun 08, 2008 at 18:27

Sunday, Jun 08, 2008 at 18:27
I am wondering if the additional length in the spring is causing the standard length shockabsorbers to top out (run out of upwards extension)

How high above standard ride height do you think it is ??

Regards on
AnswerID: 308571

Follow Up By: Inland Sailor - Sunday, Jun 08, 2008 at 19:27

Sunday, Jun 08, 2008 at 19:27
Its an extra 40-50 mm lift.
I actually dont mind the look of the lift but when you look at the shocker you can see that they are lifted/ extended by this 40/50 mm.
I guess they could they have run out of "give' in them, As I said, maybe my questions are dumb but if you dont know....?
Athat being said, what would I need to replace them with. ie which shocker would be best???
FollowupID: 574587

Reply By: donk - Sunday, Jun 08, 2008 at 20:20

Sunday, Jun 08, 2008 at 20:20
It would be interesting to put the thing on a 2 post hoist & lift the chassis & see how much down travel is left in the front & rear suspensions compared with a standard vehicle

Normally when a spring is changed in height or rate by a reasonable amount a matching shockabsorber would be fitted as well

I would contact fireflex direct & tell them what springs have been installed & ask them if the original shockabsorbers are able to be used with the springs

Regards Don
AnswerID: 308617

Follow Up By: Inland Sailor - Sunday, Jun 08, 2008 at 20:33

Sunday, Jun 08, 2008 at 20:33
Good Advice!!!
FollowupID: 574608

Reply By: donk - Sunday, Jun 08, 2008 at 20:55

Sunday, Jun 08, 2008 at 20:55
While you are talking to them i would tell them what you are trying to achieve suspension wise as far as what approx load you will be carrying,what you tow,what ride comfort you hope to achieve & see if the springs that have been fitted will give you this

It is a waste of time spending money on a spring kit (expecially if you have to pay extra money to fit compatable shockabsorbers) & not ending up with what what you want or need

Regards Don
AnswerID: 308627

Reply By: Member - Matt (Perth-WA) - Monday, Jun 09, 2008 at 10:48

Monday, Jun 09, 2008 at 10:48
You have some good suggestions but can I add one?

You contacted a suspension supplier and installer as an educated professional to solve a problem for you. Did they solve the problem you paid good money for and they promised to do?

I would be going back and dealing with the Spring Works before you look elsewhere in spending more money. As far as I see they didnt provide the service you required...they didnt/couldnt provide, they upselled and you are still not any closer to getting the service you required!

If you would like a suggestion on your setup from reading your post let me know otherwise I will stay in my box. A suspension setup suggestion requires a large amount of information input from the owner on what he realistically wants and what the limitations are in providing that.

All the best on you trip


AnswerID: 308737

Follow Up By: Inland Sailor - Monday, Jun 09, 2008 at 12:01

Monday, Jun 09, 2008 at 12:01
Thanks Matt,
I'm open to suggestions so that I can enjoy my trip and not come back with a shagged back and a destroyed vehicle!!!
FollowupID: 574751

Follow Up By: Member - Matt (Perth-WA) - Monday, Jun 09, 2008 at 12:39

Monday, Jun 09, 2008 at 12:39
OK, just a few pointers.

First the shocks are stuffed....80k km is most shocks economic life. Run these on corrogattions and they will fade for sure. Around town, apart from pitch when braking and rolling when cornering you might get away with them. For a cape trip...shocks!

Second from the little info you have require an adjustable load carrying capicty and are not concerned with increasing height. Just maintain level ride when loaded.

I would have suggested fitting Airbags with the original springs and new shocks. This would allow you to adjust the rear height dependant on load without the trouble of being too hard unloaded. Unless you have a steel bar or winch etc the front should be ok unless it too has sagged a few quick measurements would confirm if you NEED front springs.

For the cape trip and for general 4WDing a slight 40-50mm lift wouldnt hurt but its not mandatory.

AS for where you go now...well the rear springs sound unsuitable and I dont see what you can do apart from getting the guys to remove them. Fit Standard Duty with 40mm to match the front height or standard duty standard height if they are removing the fronts as well.
Do get some good Koni or Bilsens shocks (rebuildable) and fit some Firestone bags (expensive but the best) or polyairs (cheaper and fit in springs) to allow adjustment for the extra load when touring.

If you approach the Intallers then you might be able to come to an amicable arangement with them accepting they didnt provide what you needed and sort the rest of the system out at a substantialy reduced price but including shocks and airbags.

I hope this helps


FollowupID: 574765

Follow Up By: Inland Sailor - Monday, Jun 09, 2008 at 13:25

Monday, Jun 09, 2008 at 13:25
Sounds a sensable approach. Standard duty lifted rear springs would bo good because I've got a steel bar and dual batteries on the front so the extra springing here is ok.
You recommend new shocks all round? Which would be your preference out of the two you mentioned? Would they need to be longer than the standard setup? Who supplies Firestones airbags?
How are they fitted? etc

FollowupID: 574774

Follow Up By: Member - Matt (Perth-WA) - Monday, Jun 09, 2008 at 16:33

Monday, Jun 09, 2008 at 16:33
Air Bag Man has all the info you need in regards to the different options you have of Coil Rites and Ride Rites and a vehicle list too.

From memory I think the 120 with coils is only Coil Rites but they work well now and are very reliable.

Shocks are a very personal thing again....I like the Bilsen shock and they are usually matched to Lovels springs but nowdays...most companies supply a good set of shocks that are alot less expensive than the topshelf rebuildable ones. That way you give them a hiding but expect at 60-80k km you just dice them and fit new. Up to you!!

Even companies like Ironman now have lifted their game to a standard that for the price they are hard to pass up.

For shock length, standard usually match a slightly lifted vehicle because it is still in the old factory range of travel. Unless you go to a 3inch plus lift then you tell the supplier and they supply the shock length to suit.


FollowupID: 574807

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