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4×4 Suspensions Debunked


Overlanders and off-road adventurers know and understand the paramount importance of their 4×4 suspension systems. Experienced overlanders understand the differences between quality aftermarket suspension systems and original suspension systems that come with your off-road vehicle when purchased new or second hand.


It is clear that in South Africa there are three main types of overlanding personalities. There are those who believe that if it isn’t broke … don’t fix it, those who only address problems when they arise, and finally those who are able to anticipate problems before they occur, thus circumventing emergency fixes while on the go, either locally or beyond our borders. It is usually the latter who have the correctly fitted robust aftermarket accessories, specifically designed for off-road adventure, that end up paying the least money on significant repairs. Why you might ask? Quite simply, the aftermarket accessories were correctly fitted prior to any of these problems occurring. It’s called, thinking ahead! If you end up cracking your chassis before choosing an adequate aftermarket suspension – you will have double the costs to bear.

After reading this article we hope to impress upon all you experienced and new overlanders the importance of keeping a watchful eye on the suspension systems nestled underneath your beloved rig. Does it need a service or has it been checked recently? Is it working as designed and most importantly, will it get you to your next destination?

Click on the video link below supplied by one of SA’s top overlanding video bloggers to see what problems were uncovered on his vehicle when taking a quick routine visit to Terrain Tamer SA:

It is interesting to note that in the above video, the leaf spring weight was reduced dramatically when the aftermarket suspension was fitted at Terrain Tamer SA. Less overall weight, with improved durability and load capacity, means a better functioning 4×4 experience all round and an improvement in fuel consumption.


The suspension of your 4×4 is often the biggest expense when doing upgrades on your vehicle. Vehicle manufacturers do not fit their vehicles with suspensions meant for serious overlanding or off-road usage. Most of these out-of-the-box vehicles are built with suspensions that are more suited to mild off-roading and gravel driving, rather than axle-twisting terrains where you bump your head on the roof lining and get the chassis moaning and creaking in protest. Vehicles used for overlanding and serious off-road excursions often tend carry heavier loads and their suspensions need to be able to handle terrain that is much more challenging than the OE (original equipment), supplied by the manufacturer.

Click on the video link below to see what occurs to your ball joints if they are not serviced properly:

So, what benefits do aftermarket suspensions offer? Well, they notably assist in raising the vehicle by 40 – 50mm, a much-needed benefit when driving off-road or through conditions that require improved ground clearance. Aftermarket suspension parts are usually designed stronger than their OE equivalent, with shock absorbers that have bigger volumes and thicker shafts. The spring rating or weight capacity that the aftermarket suspension can carry without sagging or drooping is also more than that of the manufacturer supplied OE suspension systems.


Aftermarket suspensions can be tailored to your specific vehicle needs and in fact a niche setup can be installed, easily as required. Not all 4x4s enjoy the same weight distribution as canopy weights, rooftop tent weights, fridges and battery bank weights differ from vehicle to vehicle.

This is the pinnacle reason as to why suspensions specialists tailor packages to suit your vehicle and overlanding needs. Most important of which…why aftermarket suspension is always highly recommended by accredited suspension specialists like Terrain Tamer.

In order to pair a suitable and safe suspension with a vehicle, all weight needs to be factored into the weight parabola of an overland trip. You certainly don’t want your 4×4 leaning precariously to one side on a steep mountain pass. In other words, aftermarket suspension systems can be perfectly aligned with the designated weight of the vehicle when loaded or unloaded, that’s one of their excellent trademarks.

Aftermarket suspension suppliers will typically ask you what the average permanent weight is in your vehicle and what you intend to do with the vehicle in your off-road endeavours. From your answers, they will be able to fit the correct setup for your particular needs, and consequently this will enable your vehicle to perform at its peak, better and safer than any standard factory fitted OEM (original equipment manufacturer) suspension.


Not all suspensions and their components are created equal. At Terrain Tamer SA, they supply and specialise in parabolic leaf springs on vehicles such as the Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger and Mitsubishi Triton, among others. Terrain Tamer SA have also developed a Smart Coil with the coil spring wire having a diameter that changes in the first few windings, ensuring a much more comfortable ride and reduced body roll. The Terrain Tamer suspension bushes are also manufactured from a synthetic elastomer and not polyurethane, thus further reducing the harshness of the ride. The standard issue polyurethane bushes have a predilection to cracking when exposed to moisture and often result in an increase in noise levels when on the road. The Terrain Tamer suspension bushes have a more subtle ride closer to that of rubber bushes.


Suspension kits are supplied with a variety of integral components in each kit, depending on your off-road requirements and overlanding journeys. These kits are supplied with all the required components. Terrain Tamer is certainly willing to back their products and this is evidenced by their suspension kits being covered with a 3 year/100 000 km warranty, with the additional support of an owner’s lifetime warranty on their coils. This is why their products are highly sought after by off-road and overlanding experts and a key reason for their success in Australian markets.


If you would like to get in touch with the knowledgeable Terrain Tamer SA team for a courtesy conversation on recommended types of suspension kits for your particular vehicle or simply enquire about their vast range of off-road and 4×4 products, please use the enquiry form below. A qualified Terrain Tamer SA representative will get in touch with you.

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