Suspension upgrade for Toyota 100 TD

Submitted: Wednesday, Feb 15, 2006 at 08:15
ThreadID: 122489 Views:4009 Replies:7 FollowUps:5
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Hi guys,

I need some advice.

I have just had an ARB long range fuel tank fitted to my 2003 model Tojo.
It needed to be filled to check for leaks (OK but ouch!! on the wallet)

With some 270litres of diesel on board, the first thing I noticed was the change in handling. Tojo was wallowing like a waterbed on the back of a dray. Increasing the rear tyre pressure improved this a bit.

I have been advised to now upgrade the suspension with progressive ARB coils on the back fitted with air bags inside the coil springs, new torsion bars and braces on the front and new shock absorbers all round.

I guess many fellow BT owners have been down this track before as we will be seeing a lot of dirt & rough roads later this year.

If you are using the air bags, do you also need the suspension upgrade?

If you have the suspension upgrade, do you really need the air bags?

I’m looking for advice before I spend the money

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Reply By: MattandLana - Wednesday, Feb 15, 2006 at 11:27

Wednesday, Feb 15, 2006 at 11:27
Hi Neil,

We did the ARB/OME upgrade on an 80 series a few years back. Best upgrade investment I ever made on a car. It transformed it from a very poor handler (we were previously used to the luxury of a defender's long travel progressive springs) to well-above-average, for harsh dirt road work, forest trails, and also for highway. The car had a complete personality shift - it became taut and lively from being dead nd lumbering.

When we bought the 100 series we went straight to ARB and bought the OME upgrade front and back. We did no real k's with the factory gear so I can't compare, but it feels bloody good after the upgrade. We went the 200kg springs plus airbags but then when the bought the van we went the 400kg springs and so don't use the bags much.

We also have the ARB drawers and Kaymar rear step and double wheel hangers. Top dollar and heavy (hence the need for 400kg springs) but top quality and convenience. We leave the wheel hangers off around town. Even travelling light we don't find the ride too harsh on the 400kg springs.

I have not tried other kits but would unhesitatingly recommend the ARB/OME kit. The raised centre of gravity is easily offset by the improved responsiveness.

Incidentally I also agreed to pay for the welded "fix" to the independent front suspension. You can find this discussed elsewhere on the 'net.

AnswerID: 567996

Reply By: Bushtracker - Wednesday, Feb 15, 2006 at 19:42

Wednesday, Feb 15, 2006 at 19:42
Well Neil I have the same long range tanks, 100 Series, here is the answer with scientific background and experience......

The short answer to your question of airbags just added to the standard coils? NO... I am sorry but that is a half measure, coils inadequate, shocks inadequate, air compressing and still half wallow around... In the wrong conditions of a panic move at 100 km per hour, loss of control as you wallow around, and the consequences of a half measure could be disastrous... If it was economic in nature, better than nothing, but not good enough in my estimate...

Now keep in mind I have seen the results of hundreds of Toyota suspension upgrades, owned and upgrade 5 of my own since the 1980's... So put some weight on my answer:

Now ARB used to have a progressive coil that was lighter when empty and rode up on the heavier part of the coil when loaded... They have changed the name of the coils for the 100 Series and now have 400 and 600 kg as the Medium and Heavy Progressive Coils... Make sure it is Progressive if you go the 600 kg, make sure it rides on the lighter part of the coil when empty; if not it will be too hard of riding when the van is not hooked up. Ask them for their advise with regards to the loading described above. You really want the Toyota to handle firmly like a sports car, more than wallow around with a weak suspension... You also want the Nitrocharger Shocks... They are the best and have proven themselves over the years...

The expensive LTR or what ever it is called with the remote canister? It is really for Rally Vehicles at high speed in my experience, the Nitrochargers are half the money and are the go….

Now, in case you have a 100 Series like mine, you can always take the middle ground and get the "Medium" 400 kg Progressive coils, and add the poly-air bags to stiffen it up more... I did this to mine because my Wife has a bone spur in her neck, and I was afraid the "Heavy Progressive" (if that is the 600 kg increase spring) might be too much when it was not fully loaded and running around town... As the 100 Series is really her personal “car”…

Now, for general information to other Boggers, if you are getting a larger van, 20' and over, and you are traveling full time, not just part time travel, or tend to want a lot of toys on board, then get the Heavy Progressive. If you are loading your Landcruiser up, fridge, tools, long range tanks, and such, maybe a boat on top or spare tyre holder, and more, then get the Heavy Progressive that I am guessing the 600 kg increased spring is... If not then do the middle ground like I did. If you are loading your van up, boat motor on the a-frame, jerry can holders, larger van with everything on board, more than four water tanks and big on gear, and you are going to live it in and travel extensively, then get the larger springs for the better control... If you are in the middle ground, not too loaded, more like an 18', part time travel, not too much equipment on the van and Toyota, the middle range Medium Progressive 400kg will do.. And if you need more you can add the Poly-air bags in side the coils.. I keep mine running at about 5-10 lbs just to keep the bags in the coils running around town.. Big towing, you might have to put in 25-35 to get it firm and level depending on how much you load it up, and this would make it approximately equivalent to the 600kg coil upgrade…

Keep in mind the Ranger does this full time with the 1000... The accuracy of my answers on science of things like this will prove to be very high, not just a personal opinion of limited experience.. OK?
AnswerID: 567997

Reply By: Freewheelers - Wednesday, Feb 15, 2006 at 23:03

Wednesday, Feb 15, 2006 at 23:03
hi neil
we have 2002 td did they ome upgrade may last year placed order at the caravan show & got about 12% discount
we did heavy progressive springs rear
new heavy tortion bar to front ( some people will try to tell you they will just wind up the existing tortions bars to get the same performance dont believe them
the ome bars are much cheaper than the 4wd megastore ones but 4 wd mega stores they buy them off arb anyway)
new ome shocks all round (you probably dont need tough dog or other high end types)
we did the ifs strenghtening upgrade it bolts on around the tortion bars cost about $22 for parts they fitted it for $0 as they had the tortion bars off anyway normally around $350 as a single job
front clearance came up about 85 mm rear 75 mm
ride good
cornering noticable improvement
reccommended yes
with our 20 ft van on the vechicle we sitabout 30 mm below horzontal at the tow bar just about right
air bags i talked to a lot of people & read lots of threads came to the conclusion you dont need them if you do the upgrade & this is true
You can always fit them later if you think they may be of benefit at no cost penalty its a stand alone job
the air bags for leaf springs are tough but the ones for inside springs are poly & have been known to split along seams & for stones to lodge on top of one of the coils & wear a hole in the bag
if you do go for the bags i saw a very neat installation where the inflation points were locate in the fuel cap compartment well out of the way
give me a call if you need any more info
ps we are sydney based

Stephen & Deborah

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Reply By: Tellem Bugrem - Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 01:06

Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 01:06
G'day All,

This is all good stuff and I would like to contribute one other small thing. The six rear seats in the 100 series weigh just on 100kg. If you don't use them, take them out. We also replaced the front seats with Recaro's (for reasons of bad backs) and that saved another 20kg. How much does the long range tank weigh when full?

AnswerID: 567999

Follow Up By: Freewheelers - Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 02:40

Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 02:40
hi rob
very interested in your recaros for similar reasons how much $
how easy are they to get in & out of re bad back
we took our rear seats ( no 6 & 7 they weigh about 15-20 kg each ) out & replaced them with a draw set weighs about 50 kg at a guess so pretty neutral when empty cheers
Stephen & Deborah

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Reply By: Boystoy - Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 07:06

Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 07:06
Thanks Guys,

Will go for the ARB/OME 400kg option with poly air bags.

Rob, didn't weigh the new tank before it went in, but I would guess 30kg or so.
The tank replaces the auxilliary 50l tank and holds 180l. If we assume a specific gravity for diesel of 0.7, then the full new tank would weigh 126kg plus the difference of say 20kg for the new tank, plus the original 90l main tank. When both tanks are full, we would be looking at tolal weight around 209kg.

Thanks again for your input and help

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Follow Up By: Tristo - Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 at 08:12

Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 at 08:12
ring Frost engineering in launceston Tas and ask them what upgrades they have done for Tasmania police on their 100 series.

They have upgraded them to 4.5 tonne. they tow extremley heavy boats , from discussions with them they have gone for heavier springs (dont ask me weights) plated the chassis from the diffs back and fitted airbags I thinks ??

If you are to fit air bags I would recommed the firestones.
i had polairs in 2 f250's and regard the firestone as much superior. We run a large fleet of log trucks and use these exclusivley poliar are cheaper but not necessarily better ( jason frost is the guys name he would be more than willing to help you out)
FollowupID: 845512

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 01:17

Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 01:17
Even if it was possible for Civilians to accomplish 4.5 tonne for Cruisers??
Which I would bet money is not...

Even if it was possible, it would not be safe for that length of wheelbase to tow 4.5 tonnes on the highway... Dead dangerous... If it was a short run down to the water, maybe.... But on a trip, at 100kph? Killer on the road.

The Ranger know what he is talking about. I have both, upgraded 100 Series with airbags as well, and F--250 also upgraded and with air bags..

You need the wheelbase to do such a job at 100km per hour... When you have to make a sudden move to avoid an accident, you could not do it with the wheelbase of a Cruiser with that kind of weight on the back.

Regards to all, from the Ranger...
FollowupID: 845513

Follow Up By: Turist - Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 01:31

Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 01:31
These upgrade conversions for Toyotas, Chev engines, dual rear axles, re-inforced chassis sections, upgraded springs, heavier shocks and more and more.

Got to cost $$$$$$$$$$$, and even more.

And what do you have? A hybrid that will be difficult to sell, a vehicle that is trying to do a job it was never designed to do.

And the eventual cost usually exceeds the price a fully imported Ford, Dodge or Chev.
It would certainly exceed the price of a 2nd hand F truck.

Why bother, just buy a vehicle that is designed to do the job in the first place.

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Reply By: Tristo - Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 21:32

Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 21:32
Look I just pt the post in to say tere ae options. Not everyone wants to terow with a 250 , point taken on the wheelbase actually a hilux dl ca is longer in the WB than a 100series.

Just towing your normal 18 ft say at 3.5 tonne I would still look at the firestones and heavier springs.
Tas police spent around 5k to do the mods aparently so an average punter could shurley do it for half ( they love spending public money).

F 250 lariot s my dream machine just I refuse to pay the crazy price to import one and have no back up , I was in the states lasty year and had a spin in one they are awesome!

AnswerID: 568001

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 22:54

Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 22:54
Tristo, just a few things to help you along....

A Hilux? Sorry, they are illegal towing... An F-250 has a 4500 kg capcity, the Hilux is 2250? Something less than 2500 kg... You need to allow about 500 kg for cargo, water, food, etc..

F-250 Lariat, your dream machine? The Lariat, like the roping lariat, as in western work; the Lariat is just a dressed up F-250 or 350 and up with leather and a few more custom finish options... The ones you think are Brazilian, are only assembled in Brazil with U.S. manufactured major components. There is not a lot of difference, just more dollars. Hard to understand how you bag one and say the other is your "dream machine" as they are much this same components... Currently in the U.S. they have a 6 litre coming out, but that is just to lower the overall Fleet fuel economy rating. This over all average is mandated by the U.S. E.P.A. (Enviormental Protection Agency) and they are on a about a 10 schedule to lower overall the fleet averages for Ford, Chev, Dodge, all of the big ones... They have to average the fuel economy for their fleet on an average going down.. But there is nothing wrong with the 7.3 ... It is from the old 6.9 of the 80's, Turboed in the 90's... They just have to pjhase it out for overall fleet fuel economy averages...

Regards from the Ranger...

FollowupID: 845515

Reply By: Tristo - Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 23:11

Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 23:11
Just making the point that yes the 100 seres is horter in the wheelbase than some other vehicles.

I know only too much about Brazilian made 250's after owning more than a couple , an experience I have delved into before. ( dont wat to get into 250 discussion).

18ft van cruiser or patrol more than ample.
AnswerID: 568002

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