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DRIVING/TOWING - TOWING

TOUGHENING UP A UTE REAR END FOR TOWING
A cure for rear end sag, while maintaining standard ride height.

 

Not everyone who needs uprated suspension wants the popular 50mm lift. Here’s Tough Dog’s solution for improving ride quality and taking the sag out of standard rear leaves.

 

 

Our OTA Team D-MAX ute gets to pull a Zone caravan on many bush jaunts, but its crew is somewhat vertically challenged and doesn’t need any increase in the vehicle’s ride height. However, the ute’s rear end was definitely suffering when 180kg of ball weight was imposed on the towbar.

 

 

Tough Dog’s engineering team inspected the D-MAX rear end and noted a ‘witness mark’ on the underside of each second main leaf spring. That showed that the main leaves were heavily contacting the helper leaves when the caravan nose weight was on the towbar, giving a harsh, bouncy response to road undulations.

 

 

The cure was a pair of standard-height air springs, sandwiched between the leaf packs and the chassis. That installation restored the unladen ride height, with only 5psi in the bags.

Obviously, more pressure is needed when the van is coupled, but 25psi seems about right. Extended testing will confirm the ideal pressure and we’ll report on that very soon.

 

 

The standard shock absorbers were replaced by a pair of Tough Dog nine-stage-adjustable foam-cell dampers. The twin tube casings had 60mm diameter, housing 40mm bore pistons.

These shocks are similar to the ones we have on our LandCruiser and have proved ideal for setting appropriate damping when the ‘Cruiser is being used as a ute, as well as when it has our half-tonne slide-on camper on board. We run ours at zero setting for light-load work and at ‘four’ when the camper is loaded on.

We’ll report on the D-MAX suspension in September 2024, following a Cape York trip.

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