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Choosing the Right Suspension Kit for your 4WD

Posted by Wolf 4x4 on 23rd Jun 2019

Choosing the Right Suspension Kit for your 4WD

There are numerous aspects to think about when selecting the right suspension kit for your 4WD.

- Height Increase.

- Driving needs, On and Off Road.

- Load carrying requirements.

- Budget.

- Personal preferences.


Speak to one of our In-House Suspension Specialists to get a quote tailored to your specific requirements. With a large variety of brands under one roof, we can correct specify suspension components to suit your requirements.

Call us on 1300 028 942 or email sales@wolf4x4.com.au


Height Increase.

How high? Bigger is Better Right?

Image result for big 4wd lift kit texas

A Suspension Lift Kit for your 4WD allows you to increase your tyre size and gain additional ground clearance required to traverse various terrain. This can include deep ruts on fire trails or sand, deep water crossings, or even construction and mining sites.

Whilst gaining more height is very desirable from various viewpoints, you need to be aware of your own state legislation, and possible insurance impacts, as well as the inherent physical limitations of your vehicle.

A 2" lift (50mm) is legal in all states and territories of Australia. Depending on the vehicle you have, there may be additional requirements for a correctly set up kit, and this is where it pays to speak to qualified professionals such as the sales staff at Wolf 4x4 who thoroughly understand how suspension should be set up for various applications.

Just because something is advertised as a "kit", which should imply that it comes with everything you need, is not always the case. Suspension upgrades should always be treated on a case by case basis, as there are many aspects that can affect the final make-up of the "kit" to suit you!

A solid axle vehicle (think Jeep Wrangler, Nissan Patrol, Land Cruiser 70, Land Rover Defender, etc) may seem like an easy DIY install. After all, it’s just longer shocks and coil springs right? Each vehicle will have its own unique quirks (Wrangler Death Wobble anyone?), so you need to be very mindful of the additional parts required, and what other components are affected. Steering dampeners, front & rear panhards / trackbars, geometry correction is just as, if not more, important than the lift components.

Image result for solid axle vs ifs

On an IFS vehicle, things are a bit less complicated, however there are also more geometry restrictions. Outside of some serious fabrication works, your basic lift kit is going to include front struts and coils, rear shocks and a leaf spring kit (including bushes, shackles, pins, etc) or rear coils in the case of NP300 / X-Class / Ranger Raptor.
There are some absolutely important items missing from that list in our eyes.

- Upper Control Arms (fixed or adjustable). This allows for more adjustment of camber and castor to bring your alignment specs back in check. Not only will this give your tyres a longer life, but you'll experience a better ride too. Keep in mind that Most Adjustable UCA's are NOT ADR Compliant.

Whiteline Fixed Upper Control Arm - Toyota Prado 120 / 150 / FJ Cruiser (2003 - Current)

- Diff Drop. Some will say it is not necessary unless you go over 50mm. Whilst that's not entirely untrue, our view is that anything you can do to return your CV angles as close as possible back to factory, the less likely you are to bust a CV. Yes, CV's are relatively cheap to replace, but that doesn't help when you're up sh*t creek with no drive to your wheels.

Isuzu DMAX - CalOffroad Diff Drop Kit

- Upgraded Front Swaybars. You may be thinking, its a 4wd not a race car! That's true, but depending on your requirements, an upgraded Front Swaybar can make a world of difference. For example, if you're running compression adjustable shocks, you could run a “softer” setting without compromising for body roll. Of course there are off-road implications for this as well, it all comes down to your application.

click to enlarge


- Rear Swaybar. Yes, a Rear Swaybar! Ute's don't come with one at all. Fitting of a rear swaybar will have two primary effects. Better balance between oversteer or understeer, but most importantly (particularly for loaded vehicles) a vastly improved roll resistance.

click to enlarge


Driving needs, On and Off Road.


The Right Lift Kit for your Driving Needs.

There are a few things to consider when choosing the right suspension lift kit to suit your requirements.

Planning ahead will go a long way to ensuring you are correctly set up from day one, and at the same time, also save you money!

  1. What will your vehicle primarily be used for? Is it 95% road? If offroad, what type of 4wd usage? Do you carry regular loads, do you tow regularly?
  2. Your use will influence your height requirements: Do you want to maintain a 2" lift after spring sag comes into account? Do you need to ensure that you stay under a particular height limit (garage or car park height restrictions)
  3. What size tyre do you want to run?
  4. Do you need the ability to adjust compression and/or rebound on the fly? 
  5. Do you need remote reservoirs?
  6. Do you need to overcome a specific factory design failure (These are often replicated by "lazy" engineers, so you need to look for an aftermarket component that has addressed these issues)

Load Carrying Requirements.

Heavy Duty doesn't always mean Heavy Duty.

Just because a kit is listed as “Heavy Duty” does not necessarily mean that it is going to be a rough or firm ride. There is usually a fine balance between counter-acting heavy loads when they are there and being careful not to overcompensate when they aren’t there.

Most spring manufacturers (Coils and Leafs) will have different spring rates, different designs and different materials to achieve their desired target. Often this can lead to a scenario where the best spring to suit you isn’t actually the spring supplied in the “kit”.

Airbags are often overlooked due to photos on the internet of "Broken Back Syndrome". We've all seen then, maybe you know someone who it has happened to, however 99% of the time it has happened due to improper loading, which very often comes down to improper (or non-existant) education to the customer to understand how and when to use Airbags.


Budget.

This is where most of us get stuck, and not always for the reasons you may think.

Whilst the suspension industry certainly does ring true for “you get what you pay for”, there are ways to be clever about the way you go about choosing and installing your components.

Cheap and Nasty, is usually what you get when you are at the very entry level of the marketplace, so how can you compromise to get the best of your budget, without breaking the bank?

Well, first, it pays to speak to a specialist who can work around your suspension requirements whilst keeping the budget in check. Yes, there are payment options like Zip / AfterPay / etc, however you can also look at doing your suspension in stages.


For example, if you have just fitted a bulbar, and you need to bring the front back up, you can look at just upgrading the front to compensate instead of doing to whole kit at once, or if you tow a caravan once a month and the rest of the month the back is unladed, just fitting a set of airbags will get you by.

We always recommend installing the best that you can afford, however picking from the top shelf can also be unnecessary, with either features that you don’t need, or servicing requirements that can be mis-understood or ignored.


Personal Preferences.

This can be a hard one. Just because your mate loves the suspension kit under his D-Max, doesn’t mean that you will love the same brand under your Ranger.

Some people like it rough, some people like things smoother and more refined.
Some people prefer “set and forget”, and others like to tinker (shocks with compression adjusters)

Some people like Orange shocks, Some people like Blue shocks, and Some people like Silver shocks.

And with that, some suspension brands also absolutely nail it on some vehicles, and don’t quite hit the mark on others.

Again, this is where it pays to talk to a specialist that does not solely deal in one brand. Having experience with multiple brands gives us the insight to know what works best on which vehicles.


If you are considering a suspension upgrade to your 4WD,

Contact us on 1300 028 942, email sales@wolf4x4.com.au or hit us up on Facebook for a bespoke quote to suit your exact requirements, not just what the catalogue says.

Or simply browse our range here ---->

https://www.wolf4x4.com.au/suspension/

We can install your suspension lift kit at our North Lakes store, or we can send fully packaged kits Australia Wide.

Need help? We're available at1300 028 942 - Email us atsales@wolf4x4.com.au orlive help
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