SUSPENSION MODS #1

Return to: Vehicles & Technical

Come chat with us in the forum. Click here to register an account or if you are already registered click here to log in.

  • Profile Photo
    Willy Pittner
    Participant

    I have just read Brian Jones’ suspension letter in the March edition. For what it’s worth, I started working in the field in my twenties and had a 3.0-litre Cortina bakkie which I used extensively, and later got a Datsun Safari. In this company vehicle, I did work in far-off places − putting up masts and towers. The only mod on this vehicle was wider wheels. When stuck, I used a “Tirfor” hand winch to pull myself out of the proverbial. This worked like a dream. When I started working for myself, I rebuilt a Datsun Safari for my own use. There were no Ironman 4×4 or Old Man Emu suspension upgrades around; to beef the springs, I took the vehicle to Van Zyl’s Spring Works and had an extra blade fitted all round. Gabriel Safari shocks were the order of the day, plus a set of wider wheels and tyres. That was it. I covered South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Moz and Botswana with this vehicle fully laden, and sometimes overloaded, and did what I needed to do.

    Later on, I replaced the Safari with a Toyota Land Cruiser. After the fitted tyres on split rims had done 35 000km, there was not much tread left. I reverted to wider rims and tyres, averaging 100 000km on a set – this being tar, gravel and rocky places with a fullyladen vehicle.

    By now, aftermarket suspension kits were starting to appear. I found them overpriced; and they still are, in my opinion. At 70 000km, my original front left shock started leaking, but when my vehicle went for service, Toyota turned a deaf ear. (So much for the 100 000km warranty). I opted for a set of Camil coilover shocks which added about 30mm lift to the Cruiser.

    Having travelled the land far and wide in both the above vehicles, I cannot say that I would ever opt for an aftermarket suspension. Since I sold the Cruiser and bought a Prado 120 for my travels, no mods to suspension have been made, and I landed on a bad road that turned even worse between Hogsback and Seymour in the Eastern Cape. I had to build up the road in places, and landed up with the Prado, and a Wilderness trailer in tow, doing a balancing act over boulders to get down the road. Needless to say, the Prado came out unscathed. I will be making my own rock sliders for the Prado and doubt that they will cost what fitment centres ask. As I have said previously in letters, “If it’s for a 4×4, then the price is 4x4x10 to the power of x”.

Come chat with us in the forum. Click here to register an account or if you are already registered click here to log in.