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    Danie Pienaar

    After almost 30 years of several overland travels to anywhere south of the Congo in three types of vehicles (Mitsubishi Colt, Land Cruiser and 4.0-litre Fortuner), I have experienced every type of terrain and nature imaginable. I have been deep and I have been steep, and, apart from very few shortcomings as far as far as the vehicles are concerned, I (and all of my seasoned travelling companions) have never required changes to the stock-standard suspensions.

    In my opinion, it is presumptuous to suggest that a vehicle manufacturer’s product is inferior to “the best” if such an original vehicle product has not been subjected to independent researchers – and certainly not by manufacturers of a similar product. Have you ever heard of a claim against any motor manufacturer regarding an accident or situation blamed on the suspension system? Have you ever heard of thousands of vehicles being recalled to have the suspension replaced?

    Christmas-tree-motor junkies will be found all over the continent. We see them in every shopping-mall parking lot. Fitting extra wide rims and scary-looking bonnets, and fitting six spot lights and yellow coloured shocks and red-painted suspension, does not make an overlander or true off-roader. It may make a wannabe tough guy out of a desk-sitter. It makes true adventurers smile when we find a seasoned family with their Marie-biscuit wheels and plain shocks somewhere in the bundu, far from the fitment shops where people try to tell you that your world-famous offroad vehicle is a piece of useless junk because 250mm of ground clearance is hopelessly too little… not realising that you can increase your diff height only by increasing the size of the tyre.

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    Ben Visagie
    Ben Visagie on

    Yes, I think you are making some valid points against the use of aftermarket suspensions, as you don’t need an aftermarket suspension to go off road. However I don’t think any manufacturer are always fitting the best suspensions. Remember the Fortuner tire scandal? Because Toyota fitted bad tires, as  they didn’t know that when they build the cars. I am not sure but I think they put bad tires to save costs. Whatever the reason, the point I am trying to make is that manufacturers due to various reasons don’t always fit the best to their cars or 4×4’s. I believe out of my own experience that about any 4×4 aftermarket suspension and shock absorber system improves the ride of your 4×4 over various road types. And make it much safer; the handling and possibility of damage to the underbody parts of the car. The rear end of about all Toyota’s are very loose on a gravel road, but it’s sorted easily with a gas shock.  The biggest shortcoming of  standard suspension systems is maybe the lack of gas shocks.  But that’s my view, and I know it’s not an essential thing to do, but it’s  very useful and a big improvement on the already competent suspension system of a Toyota. I can’t talk about other 4×4’s as I have tried one other manufacturer and won’t again.

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