Everything you need to know about 4x4 suspension
Attention all 4WD enthusiasts and weekend warriors! Are you looking to level up your off-road adventures with your trusty 4x4? Maybe you're a newbie to the world of off-roading and want to learn more about 4x4 suspension. Or maybe you've already got some experience under your belt, but you're looking to upgrade your current setup. Whatever your level of expertise, this blog is here to give you everything you need to know about 4x4 suspension.
Let's face it, there's just something about the power and performance of a 4x4 that gets our adrenaline pumping. There's nothing quite like conquering challenging terrain, leaving your mates in the dust, and feeling like a total boss behind the wheel. But to get the most out of your 4x4, you need a suspension system that can handle whatever the trail throws your way. From lift kits to shocks and everything in between, we'll cover it all.
So, buckle up and get ready to dive deep into the world of 4x4 suspension. Whether you're a seasoned off-roader or just starting out, you're in for an informative and entertaining ride. Let's get started!
GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass)
Alright, let's talk about something serious for a sec - GVM. Gross Vehicle Mass, or as we like to call it, the max weight your ride can handle without turning into a total disaster on the road. Now, every vehicle has its own GVM, and it's crucial to know what yours is before you start loading it up with all the stuff like bull bars, winches, and fuel tanks.
Here's the deal - if you go over your GVM, your ride is gonna struggle, and things could get dangerous real quick. But don't freak out just yet! If you need to upgrade your GVM, you can head to a pro who can beef up your suspension, reinforce your chassis, or upgrade your brakes. This way, you can load up all the essentials without sacrificing safety or performance. Let's make sure we're staying safe out there!
Leaf & Coil Springs
Let's talk about the rear end of your ride - specifically, the suspension. We've got two different types back there: leaf springs and coil springs. Leaf springs are the go-to for most utes since they can handle more weight. But if you're rollin' in an SUV, you're more likely to see coil springs in the front and back.
Now, coils may be a bit pricier than leafs, but they offer a smoother ride in most situations, which is why they're a fave among 4-wheelers. You'll find coil springs standard in the rear of NP300's, which have a multi-link suspension setup. So, whether you're towing heavy loads or just cruisin' on the road, you've got options for your rear suspension setup.
Independent Front & Rear Suspension
These days, most modern 4x4's are sporting IFS and IRS - that's independent front suspension and independent rear suspension, for those who don't know. In the past, solid axle suspension was the go-to for rides like LandCruisers. But, times have changed, and IFS and IRS have become the new kings of the road.
Why? Well, for starters, they offer better on-road handling and less unsprung weight. And let's be real, we all want to look like a boss when we're driving around town. So, while solid axles may have been the way to go back in the day, it's time to upgrade and roll with the latest and greatest.
Remote reservoirs allow for larger oil quantities in your shocks, which is a game-changer for vehicles that are constantly working their suspension at high speeds.
Why? Well, the larger oil quantity keeps things cool and running smoothly, meaning better performance and a longer lifespan for your shocks. And if you're into remote touring or spending time on rough, corrugated roads, remote res shocks can be a real game-changer. Just keep in mind, these bushings are gonna wear out faster than others, so make sure you're keepin' an eye on them and getting them replaced as needed.
Standard bump stops are usually made of solid rubber and they stop your suspension from travelling past its limit and causing damage to the rest of your 4x4. But here's the thing - they can make for a pretty harsh ride, especially when you're hittin' those bumps at high speeds. That's where progressive bump stops come in. They replace the solid rubber with a hollow piece that gives you a smoother, more gradual ride.
But wait, it gets even better. If you're really into performance and hittin' those bumps hard, you might wanna upgrade to hydraulic bump stops. These babies are used in high-performance vehicles and offer even more control and stability when you're pushin' it to the limit. So, next time you're out there bouncin' around, just remember - bump stops are your friend!
Alright, let's talk about shackles. These things are what connect your leaf suspension to your chassis. And let me tell you, they're pretty important if you wanna get the most outta your suspension.
One of the main reasons you might wanna mess around with your shackles is to get a little more height under your 4x4, without having to mess with your leaf springs. That way, you can get some more up travel in your suspension before you hit those bump stops. And who doesn't wanna hit bigger bumps, right? So, if you're lookin' to optimise your suspension set-up, don't forget about those shackles!
Sway bars are a pretty important part of your ride, since they help keep your vehicle stable and avoid that annoying body roll that makes you feel like you're on a boat. Nobody wants that, right?
But here's the thing, when you're out in the bush, those sway bars can really cramp your style. That's where less limiting sway bars come in, or even quick disconnects that let you pop those suckers off in no time flat. Some of you might even wanna go all-out and just remove the sway bars entirely, but let me tell you, that's not the best idea if you're going be driving on the road too. So, bottom line: sway bars are important, but sometimes you gotta get a little creative to make 'em work for you.
Camber & Castor
Caster and camber, they're like the yin and yang of suspension angles. Caster is all about the angle of your wheels leaning forward and backward, while camber is all about the up and down angle. These angles can have a major impact on your on-road handling and tyre wear, especially when it comes to off-roading with big lifts over 3 inches.
If you're rocking a solid front axle ride, castor can be a real pain in the butt. As your diff moves through its range of motion, it can push the caster too far in a positive or negative direction, causing some serious headaches for your suspension and tires. But fear not! You can slap on some caster correction plates and bushes to set things straight and take some of that strain off your rig.
Airbags are all the rage these days for a few good reasons. They're typically put in the rear suspension, either inside a coil or between the leaf spring and chassis. The main perk of airbags is that you can pump them up to a high PSI, which stiffens your suspension.
This is crucial when you're carrying massive loads or towing heavy stuff, so you don't scrape the bottom. And the best part is that you can run with lightweight leaf or coil springs most of the time, so you're not dragging your butt all the time.
In conclusion, modifying the suspension of your 4WD vehicle can provide a significant improvement in off-road performance and handling. There are many components that can be upgraded or replaced to improve the vehicle's capabilities, such as shocks, springs, sway bars, bump stops, and more.
When considering modifications to your vehicle, it's important to understand the purpose and function of each component, as well as how they interact with each other. It's also crucial to use high-quality, vehicle-specific parts and to consult with a professional if you're unsure about any aspect of the installation process.
With the right upgrades and modifications, your 4WD can tackle even the toughest terrain with ease and provide a comfortable and enjoyable ride on the road as well. From lifting kits to airbags, there's a wide range of options available to suit any budget and preference.
Above all, safety should always be the top priority when modifying your vehicle's suspension. By following proper installation procedures and using high-quality components, you can ensure that your 4WD is both safe and capable of handling any off-road challenge that comes your way. So get out there and start exploring!
Brixton 4x4 Adventure has a massive range of lift kits and suspension options for your 4x4. It's easy shop online! We offer fast despatch and delivery to almost every region in Australia including Gold Coast, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. Free shipping for all orders over $250 (exclude long, bulk or very heavy items). We also have numerous fitment and installation centres available. Plus you have the option of interest free payment option with Zip Pay. We also have AfterPay too.