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SA4x4 Clinic got a technical query

Hardbody, Hard Ride


Question by: Andre van Jaarsveldt Answer by: Ronald HairbottleI’m the proud owner of an ’04 Nissan Hardbody 3.3-litre petrol. However, I have a problem with my vehicle’s ride: it’s hard and bumpy on corrugated roads. I’m going to fit new shocks pretty soon – will they solve my Hardbody’s hard-ride problem?
Andre van Jaarsveldt

Yes, new shocks will make a noticeable difference, but only if a set of high-quality aftermarket units are installed, with preference to off-road specific brands like Old Man Emu. However, if your suspension system is worn it’ll put added stress on your new shocks and will quickly overwork them.
If you’re looking for a significant ride-quality improvement you should swap out the OE suspension system with a complete upgrade kit including new leaf and coil springs.
What’s more, if your vehicle’s permanently loaded with extra items like a bull-bar, winch and rooftop tent you should again consider a complete suspension upgrade. Extra weight on the front of a vehicle is particularly harmful on OE suspension systems which can’t handle the load, leading to torsion bar strain, diminished ride comfort and decreased front wheel articulation.
Lastly, tyre pressures are crucially important when driving on gravel. It may seem like a hindrance to air down / up every time you drive off-road but it’ll drastically improve your 4×4’s handling, stability and ride comfort.
Ronald Hairbottle
TAC 4×4 Traction
(015) 293 0736 / 082 376 5378 /