Our recent Flinders Ranges trip last year showed that the existing suspension upgrade we put in ten years ago was desperately in need of replacing. The extra weight of towing a camper trailer along with a boot full of gear was harsh over the corrugations etc. The Bilstein shock absorbers were on their last legs, however the King Coil springs were still ok but the Polyair airbags were perforated.
The search started for a replacement suspension system. There are lots of kits on the market for the Pajero. Like a lot of aftermarket accessories the plethora of choice makes your head spin. The key is to match what is available to what you mainly use the vehicle for. Project Pajero is mainly used for outback touring while towing camper trailers.
Actually we didn’t have to look very far for the replacement. Back in 1987 we put in an upgrade into our Toyota Landcruiser 60 series Sahara. The choice then was simple as it is today. We chose to install an Ultimate Suspension system as we were travelling around Australia while towing a viscount caravan.
So to go full circle back to where we started we chose to install an Ultimate suspension upgrade into Project Pajero as well. The first thing we needed to do was complete the comprehensive questionnaire that Ultimate sent me through. This went into detail about what accessories are fitted, what the current suspension is , what load carrying is needed, what the measurements are from the centre of the wheel to the guard on each corner etc.
The suspension upgrade involved loading the vehicle as if you are travelling as you would in the outback or however you would normally travel. This way they can determine the strength of the springs and shocks needed. You see unlike other suspension kits the Ultimate Suspension system is individually tailored to your specific needs. That is like a bespoke suspension system designed especially for you.
So I delivered the Pajero to Ultimate Suspension loaded to the hilt with gear to simulate how we would be when travelling with a camper trailer on the back . Before they got to work replacing the shock absorbers, springs and air bags, the vehicle gets test driven over various road surfaces to see what the ride is like for a comparison to how the vehicle feels after the suspension kit is fitted, it also allows them to detect any abnormalities that the customer may not be aware of and may need to repair.
After that the vehicle is brought into the work shop for a weight test, shock test, wheel alignment measure and brake efficiency / proportioning test.
This gives them the base measurements for the vehicle when it came in and it will show any faults in the operation of the brakes and brake proportioning setup.
After this the vehicle has its heights measured both before and then after the suspension kit has been fitted, it then gets the brake check carried out again and another test drive to settle the suspension and check for possible noises or issues, after the road test they put it back on the hoist and carry out a tighten and check making sure the suspension is all functioning correctly.
The new system comprised high density shocks, specially designed progressive rate coils, heavy duty airbags with high pressure sleeves fitted to prevent a repeat of the airbags getting caught in-between the coils as before.
So we picked up the Pajero and took it for a drive. The first thing we noticed was how high the car was after the upgrade. The lift was back to where it was all those years ago. Clearance was substantial. The second thing we noticed was just how compliant the new suspension was. Before where the Pajero would clunk and bump over irregular roads it now was so smooth.
Over dirt roads and corrugations the new shock absorbers and springs were superb. We hooked up an Avida Caravan behind. This was the Avida caravan we recently took to Tasmania, and the Pajero barely noticed it was there all without load levelling assistance.
Once we have had the Ultimate Suspension system installed we have towed camper trailers, boats, bikes, gone to the arm, gone 4WDriving and used the car as a daily driver. The suspension is chalk and cheese with the old system. It doesn’t sag when hooked up to tow something, it is more compliant over all road surfaces and has more articulation when off road.
There are many aftermarket suspension systems you can choose from. However there are none better that a bespoke Ultimate Suspension system. As far as Project Pajero is concerned we absolutely made the right choice.
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