I always thought lifting your 4WD was pretty straightforward. Pick a height, pick a brand and go for it. But there’s so much more to it than that. Getting the right load rating is more important than I ever would have thought. Something like load rating should be simple right? But it’s not always the case.
When we first built the Fortuner we had a good idea of what gear was going on it and how we wanted it. It was always going to be a touring 4WD with all the gear to get us there and back. So being able to carry a load was going to be important. What we didn’t take into consideration was the load in the Fortuner is changing depending on what we are doing.
What is Load Rating?
Load rating is the constant weight that your new suspension is designed to carry. When upgrading your suspension you will be able to get it to suit what load your 4WD will be carrying every day. Normally the load ratings on offer will be standard weight, 150kg constant load or 300kg constant load. When you change your suspension you will need to decide what you are going to need.
The perfect set up
The suspension was one of the first modifications we ordered. With our build idea, we thought it would be simple. Heavy duty coils in the front to take the weight of the bulbar, winch, bash plates, etc. and 300kg constant load coils for the rear. The plan was always to get a rear bar and set up a single drawer and fridge to make life on the road better.
Sounds simple right? But of course, not everything always goes to plan. I still haven’t gotten around to that rear bar.
Here we are two years later, the first plan has come and gone and has changed a thousand times. Finally, when we were getting organised to spend a week on Fraser Island, it hit me. I need to finally set the back up for touring. We installed a single draw and a fridge drop slide to make travelling a little more convenient.
The wrong load rating
This is when it dawned on me, we have been running these really harsh coils for no reason. I mean the ride was crap and rough in the back, and that was from the driver’s seat. I can only imagine how the kids felt getting thrown around back there. Even with this newly added weight, 300kg constant was too much.
The only time the back felt close to right was with the camper trailer hooked up. We have done 70,000km now in the Fortuner and I would say possibly only 10,000km with the camper. Easily 60,000km with the Dobinson suspension. That’s a lot of kilometres with a rough ride. And why? Because we got the load rating wrong for what we are doing.
How do we fix it?
We installed raised King Springs with a standard load rating from Auto Parts Co and a high-pressure Airbag Man kit to be able to adjust the load. It has taken us over two years but we have finally learnt there is never going to be a ‘one spring fits all’ for our scenario. So far the King Springs and Airbag Man combo have improved the ride 10 fold. In hindsight, it was stupid to run 300kg constant load coils for so long.
Getting your load rating right doesn’t need to be complicated. Be realistic and get the spring for what you are doing and carrying right now!
As part of our Fortuner suspension project we also changed:
HGT was gifted King Springs. All opinions are our own.