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HDJ100 upgrading suspension system

Marpey Apr 26, 2014

  1. Marpey

    Marpey New Member

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    Hello. New to LC Club, new to LC ownership (5 months), very new to overlanding (this month) have just completed a France-Italy-Slovenia-...Turkey-Iran- ... ferry Bandar Abbas to Sharjah ... -Dubai trip.
    My LC, in spite of its (or her? or his?) 240,000 km has performed beautifully. And the extra 50 lts tank has helped a lot in Iran. No problems with suspensions or otherwise.
    Now in Dubai, I would like to prepare for a more difficult travel with some off-road, some dune driving and in 2 months (with a lot more charge: 2nd spare wheel, maybe roof-tent, water reserve, fridge...) on the silk road all the way to Beijing (through Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Gobi desert...).
    I've read a lot about the 100's problems re AHC and suspensions systems. Considering the mileage accumulated, in spite of no problems experienced so far, I'm convinced that I better change the suspensions, before getting on the long trip which will take me trough less organised territories .
    Now, after all the reading, I am more confused than reassured on what to do:
    - change the suspension using original Toyota's?
    - go for Bilstein, Dobinsons, OME...?
    - take away the AHC? (I've found so comfortable the ride so far :icon-biggrin:, the car was pretty loaded, but it was all on tar ...)
    - installing are air bags? (what are they really, when talking of suspensions?)

    A) Is anyone ready to give me the ultimate comprehensive advice? (after some 15 years this model runs the highway a definite opinion must have been reached:icon-razz:!)
    B) Would anyone know of a good address in the Emirates to do this work?
    Thanks to all for the attention
    Marco
     
  2. yogi

    yogi Well-Known Member I am in ireland

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    I'm not well versed on the 100,and hopefully someone will come along that is shortly,but

    if your going to increase your weight,you need to upgrade your suspension. How you go about that seems to come down to choice and price. Old Man Emu are a respected brand, used the world over. But Dobinsons etc are a more high tech (and high price) product rated by many. Depending on how much offroad you intend on doing, you may also want a bit of a suspension lift as well. Only you know the answer to that.

    as regards airbags, personally I view them as introducing another potential failure point, but many will disagree with that view because they allow another degree of adjustment.

    Dubai is a good place to source any genuine Toyota parts you want as it has become a global parts hub because of the free trade zone, you couldn't be in a better place to source genuine parts at low prices.

    Sadly there is no 'comprehensive' answer to your question, beyond allowing for the extra weight you will be carrying. Everything else is a matter of choice, availability and budget constraints!!:icon-biggrin:
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2014
  3. uHu

    uHu Well-Known Member I am in sri_lanka

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    A bit more info on your car would be nice, HDJ or UZJ (or maybe HZ or FZ?), how many people travelling, mods, etc?

    I do like the AHC, and the comfort it gives, although I initially wanted a simpler setup.

    After looking a you planned route, counting in my experiences and what I've been reading on different forums, I see a few possibilities for failure of the AHC:
    (sorted in order of likeliness)
    1 - A height sensor might fail, making the system go bananas, unfortunately
    2 - A mechanical failure of the height sensors, linkage or cabling (branch, rock)
    3 - The springs (coils in particular) will be too weak to help the ahc lifting much extra weight, making you drop into Low
    4 - the spheres go flat, making the suspension very bumpy
    5 - The pump might give up.
    6 - electric or electronic failure

    All of this can be averted, #1 and 2 by knowing how to service the system and keeping a few lightweight spares. #3 by strenghtening the springs according to the added permanent weight. #4 by changing the spheres in advance, and keeping an eye on the graduations-count of the fluid-change.

    But, going your route, it might be safer/easier/cheaper to scrap the ahc and go for OME or another trusted supplier of reinforced suspension. Even the OEM conventional springs will be more durable in the long run, but the rear coils might be too weak for your use.

    Air bags is a possibility if you want to keep the ahc; or stronger rear coils - if you have added permanent weight. In any case, you have to have tech stream or the toyota tester for reading codes if you are keeping the ahc - no way around it. (Read up on TechStream on mud)
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2014
  4. Marpey

    Marpey New Member

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    Dear Yogi,
    dear uHu,
    thank you for your learned replies, which are assisting me in my decision making. I am leaning more and more towards voiding the ahc. I'm not well versed in servicing the car myself and travelling for a good part of my planned overland trip with a group, I'd want to avoid, as much as possible situations that may set me behind the group.
    With regards to your questions on weight, many decisions & alternatives are still open, but basically
    -we will be 2 travelling,
    - with 50 ltrs extra fuel tank,
    - 60 ltrs water tank,
    - a 2nd spare wheel (mounted on a swing-away carrier? Kaymar? Direct4x4?)
    - a roof-tent (a normal tent would be much lighter, but how many evenings of setting up camp will take me before regretting a roof pop-up?)
    and, finally, a boot full of all the parafernalia that a"debutant" in overlanding feels may be absolutely essential !
    so, as you see, as you rightly say "qui rogat, non errat", you will soon see me again on these pages!
    thanks again.

    PS: if anyone needs advice on the ferry from Bandar Abbas (Iran) to the UAE (Sharjah) I have some good information to pass on (and some savoury details!)
     
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