I read your recent post about increasing a Cruiser’s suspension flex; I personally drive a ’13 Hilux D4D with stock standard suspension. A lot of people have been telling me that I should upgrade my Hilux’s suspension, but I find it hard to believe that the aftermarket kits can be any better than a Toyota designed suspension setup.
What makes aftermarket suspension supposedly better than OEM, and is it really worth the upgrade?
Looking forward to your response.
R. van Wyk
ANSWER SUPPLIED BY: Mic van Zyl
(011) 634 7600
In response to your question regarding the OE suspension on your Hilux. There is nothing inherently wrong with your Hilux’s original suspension system. The engineer who designed the suspension had quite a difficult task engineering the springs and shocks so that they deliver the result required. Your Hilux has to provide a range of performances with the same suspension setup; in other words, it has to ride acceptably when empty with 1 passenger, as well as with a full load.
Bear in mind that the springs keep the vehicle at an acceptable ride height, isolate the vehicle cab from the terrain, and carry any additional load. The shock absorbers have the sole function of controlling the oscillation of the springs. It is thus important that they work well together.
When we start to use our 4WDs in specific off-road applications (where the suspension system is worked harder), we start finding the shortcomings of the standard system – that was designed to be good in all situations. This is where an uprated suspension system is required to perform better in that specific application.
These scenarios could include the requirement to raise the ride height (chassis ground clearance) to better traverse rough terrain. What’s more, the fitment of vehicle accessories, like bull-bars and winches, canopies, drawer systems, etc. can have an effect on your vehicle’s suspension performance (flexibility and comfort), as well as impacting on the standard ride height.
Aftermarket suspension better equips your vehicle for carrying heavy loads, while preventing possible suspension sag due to hefty accessories.
It is important to note that (inherently) the original suspension system is not bad, it is just not great in some applications – as mentioned above. While modern 4WD suspension systems are a lot better than they used to be back in the day, we do find the odd new vehicle where the manufacturer didn’t quite get things right. A better aftermarket shock and spring combo is sure to deliver an improvement in ride quality, ride height (clearance) and overall load-carrying abilities.
It is also important to note that ride quality is a subjective subject, and what is great and enjoyable for one vehicle owner, may not be so great for another.