As a proud owner of a 4WD, you’ll undoubtedly understand the value of having a good suspension kit for 4×4 when you are out exploring the great outdoors in your vehicle. People often look to boost their 4×4 suspension system because they believe that having a higher clearance is better. However, bigger isn’t always better when it comes to 4×4 suspension. In fact, you might even find that lifting your suspension above the legal limit may result in a less than comfortable ride.
At the end of the day, choosing the right suspension system for your 4WD will really depend on your lifestyle preferences and where you’ll be using your vehicle. For instance, if your priority is an adventure on off-road tracks as opposed to fishing trips by the sea, you’ll require totally different types or 4×4 suspension systems.
In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about choosing the right 4×4 suspension kit for your car and provide you with some basic tips for installation. Hopefully, these insider insights will save you time and money when navigating the world of 4WD suspension systems.
Discover the Benefits of Investing in the Right 4×4 Suspension Kit
Just like any vehicle, the suspension on your 4×4 contributes to the quality of your drive and it’s on and off-road capabilities. Most 4WD suspension systems are designed specifically to increase handling over off-road terrain by absorbing shock while buffering vibrations felt inside the vehicle when you hit a bump or navigate rocky terrain.
Moreover, suspension systems also play a significant role regarding stability by making sure all your car’s wheels stay in contact with the ground to limit the chances of the vehicle rolling.
Investing in a specialist suspension kit for your 4×4 will provide several advantages, including the following:
- Increased comfort while driving
- Enhanced vehicle handling capacity
- Improved safety
- Increased towing capacity
- Increased load capacity
- Improved aesthetics
- Enhanced vehicle stability
- Higher ground clearance for off-road driving
However, as the driver, you’ll need to establish which of these factors are priorities for you. This will make it easier for you to select which type of 4×4 suspension is right for your vehicle and most appropriate for your lifestyle and driving needs.
Choosing a 4×4 Suspension Kit for You
First things first, you’ll need to start by understanding the types of 4×4 suspension kits that are available on the market. The two main options worth knowing about are the solid axle suspension system and independent front suspension system, or IFS.
Solid Axle Suspension Systems for a Solid Starter Kit
These will be located on both sides of a differential and relate to a single axle housing. This system is described as dependent because when one wheel moves up or down, it has an impact on the wheel on the other side. Solid axle suspension systems tend to be more durable than most independent front suspension systems and have greater traction, which makes them better equipped to tackle bumpy terrain.
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Despite being heavier, the solid-axle suspension provides more power from the differentials as there are fewer parts. This also means they are easier to change and repair.
Independent Front Suspension (IFS) Systems for Experienced Off-Roaders
In this case, the two sides aren’t connected by a single axle. At the center of an IFS system is the axle housing, which contains the ring gear and carrier life. Instead of having axle tubes running from each wheel, constant velocity axles are used.
So, when one-wheel moves, it doesn’t affect its counterpart on the other side. The advantage here is that it gives the driver greater control when manoeuvring over difficult tracks and offers higher levels of front-end clearance. Furthermore, they are said to provide a more comfortable ride and a lightweight when compared to solid axle suspension systems. They are, however, more expensive, so expect repairs and maintenance to be more complex and costly too.
Get to Know the Components of a Suspension Kit for 4x4s
When you are shopping for a suspension kit for your 4×4, it is important to be aware of the different types of each component it may contain.
Springs for Support
These are the most critical components of a 4×4 suspension system. This is because the springs are what support the weight of the vehicle and control the motion of the wheels as they contend with uneven terrain. Suspension kits are likely to contain different types of spring, so it is worth knowing a bit about each type to help determine whether a particular 4×4 suspension kit is suitable for your vehicle.
Coil Springs for Standard Suspension Upgrades
These improve handling and ride quality. If they have the proper support, these can also improve load capacity and are good on off-road terrain and over longer distances.
Leaf Springs for Heavy Loads & Long Treks
These are the best for carrying heavy loads as they are made from steel which is bolted to the axle.
Torsion Bars for Tougher Terrain & Top-Quality Driving
These helps boost the suspension on and off-road. They are also more streamlined than coil springs and will improve ride quality.
Shock Absorbers for Smoother Rides
The other important part of a 4×4 suspension kit is the shock absorbers. Although you might assume that the purpose of these is to absorb the impact of the bumps, this isn’t true. Their job is to reduce the movement of the spring, which is what absorbs the shock and gives you a more comfortable ride.
How to Install Your Suspension System Kit for Your 4×4
Once you’ve selected a suitable 4×4 suspension kit for your car, it’s time to get it installed so you can start enjoying a better ride. Due to the complex nature of automotive systems, it is always best to have a licensed mechanic install your new 4×4 system. However, if you are going to attempt the process yourself, here are some useful tips.
Start Things Off Right By Being Prepared
Each kit is different, so it is important to begin by reading the instruction manual. Before getting started, you should also ensure you have all the right tools to hand, such as a lug wrench, hammers, impact wrench, and extra nuts.
Make Sure You Understand the Legal Limitations
If you have sourced your 4×4 suspension kit from an overseas supplier, you need to start by ensuring that it is legal for use in Australia. If you exceed the limits set by the authorities in Australia and your state, you could end up with a fine or have your 4×4 impounded until it is fitted with a legal suspension system.
Carefully Lift Your 4×4 for Improved Access
To get started with the installation of your new 4×4 suspension kit, you’ll need to use a jack to get the car up to the right height. You’ll need to use separate jacks for each axle. In the interests of safety, use stands that can support the weight of your vehicle, rather than makeshift or improper stands.
Prepare Your Work Area By Removing the Existing Suspension System
Next up, you’ll need to remove the wheels and tires of the vehicle. You can then get to the old suspension system. It’s crucial to remove the existing suspension kit in the correct order. So, to begin, take out the shocks, followed by the U-bolts and then the springs.
The Big Moment: Installing Your New 4×4 Suspension Kit
When it comes to installing your new suspension kit for your 4×4, you’ll do it in the reverse order of how you removed the old suspension parts. Start by greasing the bushings and hammering them into the springs. Now bolt these into place and attach the new U-bolts. Finally, you’ll need to assemble the shocks. Using a torque wrench tighten all the fastenings and make sure everything is secured.
Finish With Plenty of Safety Checks
Once the installation is complete, you can lower your 4×4 back to the ground safely. Try to keep it as level as possible. It is time to take your 4×4 for a spin. Stick to quiet roads and take it easy to make sure everything feels right. If you have any concerns, have a professional mechanic look for peace of mind. Don’t be afraid to be picky about how your new suspension system handles — it could be a small issue that develops into a severe problem.
It’s Time to Get Your New 4WD Suspension Kit & Hit the Open Road
In short, drivers looking to improve the capacity and drive quality of their 4WD will benefit from the installation of a specialized 4×4 suspension kit. However, before taking the plunge and parting with your cash, it is vital to begin by considering your requirements and lifestyle priorities.
You’ll also need to consider the specifics of your 4×4 and choose a new suspension system accordingly. There are several types of 4×4 suspension kits, and the components within do differ depending on what you are hoping to achieve, so be sure to shop around before committing.
Since there are legal limits that apply to the suspension systems for 4WD vehicles in Australia, it is always best to shop online with local brands that adhere to the standards set by Australian automotive authorities. They stock all the best local brands when it comes to 4×4 suspension kits. Furthermore, they always welcome customers to discuss their requirements and ensure they find the best 4×4 suspension kit for their vehicle. So, get your suspension kit for your 4×4 today