Up Grading Your 4 Wheel Drive Suspension In Australia - Did You Get It Right?
Your 4WD may be a daily driver picking up kids from school and doing the grocery shopping, it could be a tradesman’s vehicle carrying a variety of tools and equipment, or it could be a touring vehicle towing a camper, caravan or boat.
If you're an avid hunter as I am, then your 4WD is your best friend. You generally spend many weeks, or months and even years developing and testing ideas, packing and setting up your vehicle to go hunting and often in remote locations.
When I lived in the Albury Wodonga area in the 70's 80's and early 90's I planned many trips into then remote areas of the Victorian High Country to hunt or take my 4WD club to and explore.
Setting up your 4WD back then meant and Bull Bar, Winch, Roof Rack, Engle Fridge Freezer and some suspension upgrades to give better ground clearance, improved off road capabilities and carry the weight of that extra gear including extra fuel and your passengers and all the gear.
No one worried too much back then about weight, except for not over loading your roof rack as that was common sense. How things have changed no days! I am sure one will disagree with me there.
Most 4WD owners just run out and buy a suspension system based on social media reviews, price, brand loyalty or the salesmen said it would do this.
Now days you have to meet so many Government or State laws to comply and be legal and most 4WD owners try to do the right thing - well the right thing is way more complex. By that I mean most 4Wd owners seem to go about it the wrong way... how you ask?
Well, most 4WD owner go set up their car with a bull bar, maybe a winch, set of rear draws, fridge/freezer, roof rack or roof tent, long range tank and a host of tools and spare parts they may need.
4WD's are designed to carry up to the GVM (gross vehicle mass) of the vehicle, standard suspension can begin to sag the moment you start fitting accessories or carrying a load of any considerable weight. This can cause steering vagueness, effect cornering and braking performance, as well as issues with headlamp and driving light alignment and most likely your vehicle will be over weight and illegal.
I now find myself looking at every 4WD towing a van or camper trailer up and down the highway and wonder are they compliant or not. It's not whether you think you're ok or be able to talk your way out of a fine if you are pulled over, what happens if your involved in an accident? Will you be charged? Will you be Prosecuted? Will your insurance company not repair or replace your vehicle? These are the real facts to consider.
Lets say your 4Wd vehicle is set up well and compliant then you decided to go buy a 4WD camper trailer or a caravan. Covid stopped all my international travel so I decided to buy a Kimberley Kamper Trailer. I thought my car would be complaint with the KK, I was wrong, let me explain.
I have a 2019 Toyota Sahara 200 series V8 Diesel and I have fitted many accessories to enhance the touring life around Australia Hunting & Fishing. Here my list of accessories. ARB Sahara Winch Bar, Warn 10,000 winch, ARB Driving Lights & Light Bar, ARB Recovery Points, Kmar Dual Real Tyre Carrier, ARB Replacement Fuel Tank, OME BP51 Suspension GMV Upgrade, Toyota Towbar, ARB Rear Draw System, ARB Rear Cargo Barrier and Shelf System, ARM 60 lt Fridge/Freezer, ARB - Redarc Dual Battery System, Rhino Rack, Snorkel, GVM Upgraded Rims & Tyres (6).
I have a compliance plates for the fuel tank and suspension upgrades. My ARB BP 51 was rated at 4015 and I had been over the weight bridge at my local tip in my Toyota and new it complied with 4 people onboard full tank of fuel plus luggage and food so I was happy.
When I added my Kimberley Kamper to my Toyota I found it difficult to find somewhere to weight my whole set up and do it correctly, by that I meant mean axle, then rear axle, the total weight, then the Toyota with the Kimberly Kamper, Then the Kamper on its own and then the level ball weight. I researched online and found a caravan weight specialist on the Gold Coast. We set up a date and weighed my Toyota and Kimberley Kamper.
The Toyota was legal but the ball weight from the KK put it over. See discussed moving my gear from my the front storage box and emptying my water tank on the front of the axles of my KK to decrease the ball weight but iI felt this was not satisfactory way to resolve the problems. Plus when you add the food, water and 1KVA Honda generator I was way over.
I did more research and found DMW in Toowoomba offered an additional GVM upgrade to you existing GVM upgrade. Sounds a little confusing? I will explain...my ARB GVM is 4015, I am over that when you add the ball weight of my KK Trailer and my rear axle on the Toyota is also over.
DMW offers a diff strengthening kit that increasing the load carrying rating and the GVM is upgraded to 4495 which gives me safe and compliant capacity with my KK trailer and the equipment I need to tour around Australia in often remote locations.
More to come, stay tuned!