Suspension Feedback

I am looking at upgrading my 200 series Landcruiser Sahara. Has anyone had experience with an upgrade on this model?
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Reply By: Member - Captain (WA) - Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 14:02

Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 14:02
Hi Graeme,

I changed my 200 suspension to ARB, but the need to all depends on what you want. I found the factory suspension to be very plush, but it had a tendency to nose-dive under brakes, had a nose down look and loading the vehicle up certainly droped the ride height. I was also after more ground clearance so went about with a nominal 2" lift (really ~3" front and ~1" rear).

I am very happy about the change, but you do lose that very plush, limousine type ride. It is now notably firmer, but I find that a good thing. It also has lost all that nosedive under brakes and has a level look to it. But best of all was the improvement in ground clearance, wheel travel and loading the vehicle has minimal change in height.

If you are after any of the above changes, then upgrading the suspension is worthwhile. However, the if you don't have any of the above issues with the standard suspension, it is otherwise quite good and there is no need to change the suspension just for the sake of it.


Its not what you drive, but how you drive it!
LC 200 + AOR Quantum

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Reply By:- Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 14:21

Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 14:21
Thanks for all this info much appreicated. My issue is not gorund clearance but GVM. I have fitted extra tank and with the bull bar I am about to fit my carrying capacity is limited. particulary going to the snow with the roof rack full of gear I am most likely over GVM. I am about to do a 5 months trip towing a 3T caravan. Up the middle and down the west coast back to Melb. Also I have very little clearanace between the vehicle roof and the garage door so I can affort to raise it too much. I can obviously manage with the current suspension but then I have the GVM problem. What are your thoughts.
Also where did you get the roof rack bars that are on your vehicle in the picture. I have a full roof rack but I don't want to bother with that on our big trip but the bars like yours would be useful.
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Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 15:28

Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 15:28
The suspension I have installed is the same as the GVM upgrade, but without the compliance plate. Apparently its much easier to get the GVM upgrade done prior to registration as they can use the Type Approval, however once registered you need to pay for engineering approval - $$$. Why the difference I don't know, but thats why mine hasn't been done. I figure that since mine is fitted with uprated GVM components, an insurance company will have a hard time arguing overloading was the cause of an accident (my suspension is listed with the insurance company). May not be correct but I am happy with my delusional beliefs :)

As for your circumstances, you can get the suspension upgrade without the lift, it would suit you especially as you don't need the increased clearance. IMHO I would not tow 3T plus the extras without the suspension upgrade, particularly the rear springs.

My roof bars are Rhino Heavy Duty Aero Bars, I got them fitted by the dealer but you can easily get them aftermarket. They work very well for me and I am happy I had them fitted. Rhino HD Aero Bars


Its not what you drive, but how you drive it!
LC 200 + AOR Quantum

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Follow Up By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 20:31

Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 20:31
Hi. My brother has an 07 200 Turbo Diesel Sahara towing a 3.5tonne van. Ball weight is around 300kg. He has I think a 70/75Ltr Aux tank in the rear with spare wheel in the original place. We fitted Polyair bags around 12 months ago and after 15000klms they have proved to be an excellent improvement. He recently had a draw set installed so is around the 600kg recomended load weight. The air bags require around 20Lb air pressure when loaded and with the van on. Around 5Lb without the van. He has a Hayman Reece WDH fitted when towing the van. Ride and articulation are standard and comfortable and he is still able to take to van into some pretty remote locations. Regards,Bob.

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Reply By: Member - Tony V (NSW) - Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 14:52

Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 14:52
I have just walked out of a tyre dealer after getting a couple of tyres on my daughters car, while waiting I was reading a 4WD magazine and the topic was GVM upgrades.

In that they said only 3 after market suspension companies can provide a GVM upgrade and a compliance plate.

ARB - Ironman - Lovells.

In looking at websites only Lovells has easy to find information.
Click here for Lovells GVM info

I found ARB info on another site but worth a read. Click here for ARB info.

The main thing to remember is that GCM remains the same, increase your GVM means the 3500 kg towing reduces....

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Reply By: oldfart1953 - Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 15:04

Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 15:04
Does your Sahara have self leveling suspension similar to the 100 series Sahara & LX470??? If it does I dont think there is to much that can be done to upgrade the ride height or GVM....I could be wrong

CU down the road
Insanity doesnt run in my family.... it gallops!

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Reply By: Navara Navvy - Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 21:38

Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 21:38
Not sure where you are but West Coast Suspensions are specialist suspension builders and manufacture their own components.
have a look at and see if they can assist you. From reading your post I conclude you need more than just another suspension tinkering..... you need a comprehensive modification.
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Reply By: Member - Carl- Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 21:40

Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 21:40
Hi Graeme,

I have done the ARB upgrade on suspension, ie HD springs, Old Man Emu shocks and Firestone airbags. I tow a 3.5 ton caravan and they work great.

As said earlier, the suspension becomes much more like a 100 series. If you are in Brisbane, Alan at the ARB Geebung store is great and knows answers to almost everything. Just give him the ball weight and he can recommend what to use.
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Reply By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 21:51

Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 21:51
Hi Graeme, chk out the LCOOL Forum - there is loads of stuff on GVMs etc.

You'll need to register - it's free.

AnswerID: 404366

Reply By: JAX W - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 09:58

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 09:58
Hullo Sahara Owner

I have upgraded both the GVM and towing capacity of our GXL TTD 200 Series.

I have the Lovells GVM upgrade to 3800kg, completed in May, 2009. In December, 2009 I had the towing capacity upgraded to 3850kg (the same as the 200 Series in USA).

Both upgrades are covered by separate Engineers Certificates, endorsed on our NSW Registration (RTA) and accepted by our Insurance Co.

If you add up the upgrades, then I have a maximum GCM of 7650kg.

We tow a heavy 7.15m caravan and I am having the ATM upgraded from the manufacturers 3500kg to probably 4300 or 4400kg. Before you ask why those figures, it is a very expensive and time consuming exercise and I only want to do it once. So I am aiming for the maximum ATM now.

The main drawback to completing the van ATM upgrade is getting the load carrying capacity of the Toyota 200 Series Alloy wheels, which is a requirement for the upgrade.

Regards, Jack
AnswerID: 404394

Follow Up By:- Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 12:25

Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 12:25
Hi Jack
Thanks for all this valuable information. Actually everyone has been helpful.
How did you get the upgrade approved? Did you engage some engineer and what was the cost? Did the Lovell kit lift the vehicle and by how much. I have a hight problem in my garage and have limited amount of lift that I can tolerate. I can understand that the lovell kit allowed you to have the GVM up grade but how do you get the towing upgrade? Yoiu seem to suggest you are going to do a further upgrade to a greater GVM. How, is this another kit that you are fitting? So what are you doing aobut the alloy wheels to get the upgrade?
I have an almost 8M caravan with a base weight of 3020 with a maximum load carrying 3460. As max towing capacity of the cruiser is 3500 I am just OK but it would be advantageous to have a greater legal towing capacity.
Appreciate any info as you seem to have been down that track on this and must know the subject well.
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Follow Up By: JAX W - Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 13:32

Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 13:32
Hullo Graeme

I will try and clarify the details for you here. There are three upgrades mentioned in my earlier post.

1. The GVM upgrade was completed through Lovells Springs. It increased GVM to 3800kg and involved replacement of front and rear springs and shock absorbers. The upgrade was certified by an approved Engineer and a Certificate issued. A copy of the Certificate must be carried in the vehicle at all times. The cost was approximately $3,000. The vehicle was raised 13mm in the front and 50mm in the rear. When I load it up now (caravan etc) it rides smoothly and level.

2. The towing upgrade had to be completed separately as Lovells would not entertain the idea. HOWEVER, John Burke at Specialised Vehicles can do BOTH!! This upgrade required the GVM upgrade to have been done (to 3800kg) and upgrade to the towing equipment. I have fitted a 5400kg Reese hitch and 70mm ball rated at 4500kg. All of this was inspected at John Burke's by a second Engineer. A second Certificate was issued indicating the approved TOWING capacity upgrade to 3850kg. This Certificate must be carried in the vehicle at all times. This upgrade cost approximately $2,200.

A new Compliance Plate has been fitted to the vehicle showing the GVM of 3800kg and the Towing capacity of 3850kg.

3. I am still working through the third upgrade (with a third Engineer) which is an increase in ATM of our caravan from 3500kg to 4300 or 4400kg. The upgrade is still unresolved because I fitted Toyota 200 Series Alloy rims and tyres to match the 200 Series GXL and we cannot find the load carrying capacity of the damn wheels!! The reason for fitting these rims and tyres was to have them interchangeable between van and Cruiser. I have a "spare spare" steel rim to suit the 200 Cruiser, but it doesn't have a load rating stamped on it and Toyota won't help there either.

We are hoping to have a final ATM for the van of say 4400kg. That would mean a towball weight of 440kg and an axle group capacity (dual axles on the van) of 3960kg OR 990kg per wheel. The tyres are rated at 1250kg - OK!! But Mr Toyoda won't tell us what the rims are rated at. We are still working on that.

The reason I am aiming for the highest possible ATM on the van is that it is quite a difficult and costly process to complete. The manufacturer of the van went bust, so I cannot go back there. So I have endeavoured to do it once and have it compliant for another buyer or myself to upgrade the tow vehicle.

Meanwhile, I will limit my loading of the van to 3850kg all up weight with 420kg towball weight (to suit the new Towing capacity of the 200 Series).

Our van started with a Tare of 3080kg and ATM of 3500kg. Filling the water tanks adds 320kg leaving just 100kg for everything else - it isn't going to work, is it?

I don't know how much the third upgrade (van ATM) is going to cost. The Engineer has had to do a lot more work, on chassis strength, axle and brake capacities etc. I have upgraded the tow coupling to a 6000kg 70mm unit on the front of the van. I have upgrade the disc brake calipers and the Actuator from a 1200psi unit to a 1600psi unit to increase brake rating from 3500kg to 4500kg. I have upgraded the safety chains and bow shackles to the 4500kg rating.

I hope this helps you understand what I have achieved so far.

Regards, Jack
FollowupID: 674415

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