What are the different types of 4x4 suspension and their applications?

Different cars have different standard suspensions according to the different applications they’re designed to deal with. A wagon such as a Prado suits a family for general use or touring. It has coil spring suspension front and back. Vehicles like Landcruisers or Utes are designed to carry heavier loads with the tradesman in mind. These vehicles use leaf spring suspension on the rear (and generally the front) axles. It is possible to modify the standard set up of your car’s suspension to extend its range of uses while at the same time improving the ride quality, handling and safety of the vehicle.

Modifying your family wagon

It is quite possible to take your family wagon off-road while retaining many of its comfortable features by modifying its suspension. The most common modification is to raise the suspension, providing more ground clearance (so helping to avoid damage when driving the car off-road), and better handling with a more comfortable ride over serious corrugations, pot-holes etc. in the road surface.

You can also make improvements to your car’s suspension if you are planning on towing heavy loads such as a large caravan. You don’t tow a van with your family wagon on a day-to-day basis, so you want to be able to retain the comfortable ride you’re used to when driving round town, while protecting your vehicle’s suspension when towing. This can be achieved by putting an airbag set up in the rear coil spring of your wagon. When you want to tow your van, you simply pump up the airbag and this helps the rear suspension to carry the extra load. When not required, the airbag is deflated.

Modifying a tradesman’s vehicle

A trademan’s ute is primarily used for carrying heavy loads during the week, but modifying the vehicle’s suspension will allow its use to be extended to other activities on the weekend.

Modifying the ute’s suspension can improve its ability to carry loads (such as heavy toolboxes, bricks, timber or plumbing equipment). An upgraded leaf spring can be installed in the rear and the suspension can be raised to provide better ground clearance.

On the weekend, the heavy tools and materials might be swapped for dirt bikes or camping equipment. To achieve a more comfortable ride, the vehicle’s suspension can be raised. Also, an airbag can be installed between the rear leaf springs and the vehicle chassis to achieve the dual purpose of carrying heavy loads in the week and enjoying a comfortable ride for the weekend camping trip.

Talk to us!

If you think your 4X4 could benefit from modified suspension, come into Macquarie 4X4 and pop into our showroom and talk to us, or give us a call. We have years of professional expertise in this area and love all things 4x4. For more expert advice, see our next blog on portable fridges.