Any suspension experts?

We are having a hard time finding out the best way to go with suspension.

We have a dual cab triton bought Sept 2009.
On the back we have put a metal canopy that has 2 fidges, water etc in it. So it is heavy! We will also be loading up with all the other camping stuff. We will not be towing.

Areas we will be going down are things like the Gibb River road and other high corregated areas. We are even going to try and get into the Bungle Bungles.

So far it seems we've been everywhere looking for advise on what to do about suspension. Nobody gives the same advise.

Apparently the current rear leaf suspension is already bowed. People have said everything from new shocks, new u bolts, new coils and new airboags. The next person we go to says no need for airbags just new coils. Then the next person says you need new front coild and shocks and blah blah blah.

Trouble is we have no idea so don't know who is taking us for a ride for our money and who is giving good advice.

A couple of people have said about CV joint and strut trouble if we get larger coils in the front.

So can somebody lay it out in laymans terms? All we want is something that will carry the weight without breaking and something that will give us a little more clearance. The rough ride can be handled if we get the other two things.
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Reply By: Member - John - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 10:00

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 10:00
G'day, first of all, you should have no trouble getting into the Bungles with your Triton. Great place to visit.

Secondly, the suspension, if you are happy with the ride height at the front and don't plan to fit bullbar, winch etc, leave it as is. Maybe look at fitting aftermarket shocks before your trip, more fade resistant on corrugations. The rear, there is a number of ways to solve your problem. Fit aftermarket leaf packs to restore the original ride height or have the original packs reset. Fit air bags.

Or as I would do, contact Outback Engineering in Lilydale Vic and see if they fit or do a kit for your vehicle.They fit auxiliary coils to leaf sprung vehicles, provides a much better ride than heavy duty leaf packs and uses your existing leaves as axle locators. Freds Suspension in Qld also does them.

Have had them to an MQ SWB wagon and also on a GU ute, amazing difference in ride quality.

No affiliation with either firm.

Hope this helps a little...........

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Reply By: Lex M (Brisbane) - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 10:15

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 10:15
Be careful with fitting airbags etc in the rear.
All dual cab utes are known for bending chassis when heavily loaded and any sort of suspension assistance that shifts the load point on the chassis is fitted.
Better to go for a leaf spring upgrade of some sort.
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Follow Up By: Member - Paul & Bill M (SA) - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 10:34

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 10:34
go ultimate suspension in minto nsw. they have recently sent out a kit to my nephew which he fitted to his 2010 mitsubishi dual cab and has since tested under xtreme conditions reasonably loaded with really good results.can reccomend them highly(no affiliation at all )
regards bill
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Follow Up By: Member - Paul S (VIC) - Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 09:12

Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 09:12
G'day Missy,

As well as the load point issue airbags produce, they actually interfere with suspension/wheel travel.

When you hit a flood diversion or speed hump, you want the wheel to travel up without unnecessary body rise. Airbags limit articulation and can make for a very uncomfortable ride on a rough road or track.... in my opinion only good for blacktop stability.

Removed my bags after being tossed around on the first track we tried with them.

Enjoy your travels,
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Reply By: Member - DW Lennox Head(NSW) - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 11:51

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 11:51
Another option for the rear springs is the fitting of Aussie Super Springs.

After a destructive run with air bags and towing a heavy off road Kimberley Karavan, I fitted these springs myself in about 1 hour. The ride has improved and the load is being carried in the correct places compared to having airbags. They are adjustable and they now carry the same load without the likely damage to the chassis.

I have used the Aussie Super Springs for about 10000 kms over a variety of roads surface from excellent to atrocious. So far I cannot fault them.

AnswerID: 415841

Reply By: Member - Doug T (NT) - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 12:06

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 12:06
Go into an ARB 4X4 shop and discuss it with an expert, I did and got the OME springs and Dampers, Noel K in Darwin did same, we are both happy with the way the vehicles have been transformed from a dog to a Stallion ,

still going strong with 836,179 K's

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Follow Up By: missy - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 12:19

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 12:19
This is one of the places we went first. ARB and a heap of other 4x4 shops.
Then we did a 4wd course and the instructor (who has lived outback and done much touring) said that we need to go to a proper suspension place not a 4x4 shop because they are not experts.

gah so many opinions. Why can't there be 1 answer!
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Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (NT) - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 13:31

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 13:31
You have been told. OME in big capitol letters, I went to ARB Rockhampton, they asked many questions on what I do with the 4x4, what I carry, tow etc, I was with Noel K when he did same at ARB Darwin, it's not cheap, but by hell it's good and mine has been in now for around 6 years, no sign of sagging, the vehicle take rough in it's stride and the handling and stabillity is fastastic, what more can I say,
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Follow Up By: Crackles - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 16:20

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 16:20
You'd be generalizing Doug to suggest ALL ARB shops are experts at suspension upgrades. From my experience that's certainly not the case with many being just resellers that bolt stuff onto cars. While they sell a reasonable product for an everage fit there are suspension experts that can customize to individual needs with better quality components. (Sometimes cheaper)
Places like Autocraft in Geelong for example aren't tied to a single brand so have more suppliers & products to choose from. Often a brand may work well for one model of car & not for another.
Missy you may like to include what town you live so poeple can recommend an expert in your area.
Cheers Craig............
FollowupID: 685928

Reply By: Member - Doug T (NT) - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 14:23

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 14:23
Have a browse through this website

Old Man Emu Suspension

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Reply By: Fatso - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 19:45

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 19:45
Hi Missy.
We had a similar issue some years ago with a Navara dual cab.
We went to a local spring maker here in Cairns (he is probably not much use to you) with our camping gear in the back. The springs had sagged even when empty.
He took a look at it & said he would put in 1 extra main leaf & reset the other mains & we would have 1 inch extra height over the standard unladen height with our gear in the back. That is exactly how it turned out.
We left the original shocks on until they were cactus. Before they were gone we had done several trips including the GRR, Savannah way, Tanami, Cape York Peninsular a few times & the easy short trip into the Bungle Bungles. I think those shocks did 80,000.
My son now has a Navara & has just had the rear main leaves reset to get a little extra height & had the front torsion bars wound up by the same bloke. He didn't get any extra leaves & it cost him $240 I think.
He is up on the old coach road from Maytown to Laura tonight & he has the original shocks with about 25,000 on them.
I am a bit of a cheapskate & can't see value in changing shocks when the ones you have work fine. When I put new springs under my Patrol (Kings Springs & they sagged 1" in 175,000k) I kept the original shocks.
They worked fine for dirt highways like the Tanami, Oodnadatta, Birdsville, Plenty, Savannah Way, Peninsular developmental Rd, Burke Developmental Rd, Kennedy Dev Rd.
At the moment I have a Hilux single cab & have put heavier coil springs in the front to handle the steel bar. I have kept the original shocks. The rear leaves have already sagged with 5000 on the clock & I will be going back to the local spring maker to have them reset.
I don't intend to do anything extreme with the car. Just dirt highway stuff like we did with the Patrol & Navara & a bit of 4 wheel driving.
Not only do you have to drive to the conditions of the road but you also have to drive to the abilities of your vehicle. I have never BLOWN A SHOCK & only know a few maniacs that have done so. But I can't keep up with them.
I suggest you go to a spring maker & talk to them about your springs. Some of these EXPERTS in these 4x4 shops don't know anything about springs.
At the end of the day they are only retail assistants
AnswerID: 415884

Follow Up By: Lex M (Brisbane) - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 21:27

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 21:27
All good advice from Fatso.
Did a similar thing with my Hilux Dualcab with a spring works in Brisbane that's been around for about 40 years. On their advice, 1 extra leave and reset springs with about 1 inch lift. New bushes, bolts etc. Drive in/drive out for about $350.
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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 20:26

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 20:26
Keep it simple! I'm assuming that you have a problem already - I'm guessing the rear end sags under the extra weight. If it doesn't then the answer is do nothing!

Your dual cab Triton has most of the canopy behind the rear axle - all heavy items need to be placed as far forward as you can.... because dual cabs can bend the chassis if all the weight is behind the rear wheels.

Secondly, your vehicle has leaf rear suspension - it is designed so that the weight is supported at two points on each side. You are better off upgrading the leaf springs than relying on airbags which support the vehicle in places where it was not supposed to be supported.

To upgrade the leaf springs, you can go to a spring shop and get an extra leaf fitted and maybe the springs reset. To do this, load the vehicle up to how you would travel and let the spring shop work it out! If you do the above, I would keep the original shocks because they are better quality and will last longer than many of the aftermarket brands that come from Brazil, Mexico or elsewhere.

If you wanted to lift the suspension (so you can go rockclimbing etc), then everything changes - you need to replace all shocks and springs with aftermarket ones to suit the weight your vehicle is carrying.
AnswerID: 415889

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 20:28

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 20:28
And the aftermarket poly bushes and the greasable shackles are a waste of money - they will not improve the leaf springs of a near new 4wd.
FollowupID: 685979

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