Getting our swerve on

One of the things we first noticed when driving the troopy what’s how rough the suspension is. Especially compared to the patrol which had good aftermarket shocks and springs. One thing that contributed to this is the fact that the troopy is leaf sprung all round. For me this was a massive step backward as I have never owned a vehicle with leaf sprung suspension. The thing is basically set up like a truck, leaf springs are better for carrying heavy loads with so the rough ride really is the nature of the beast.
Regardless of that it is still important that we have the best possible suspension and steering setup for the trip.

I set up the patrol with ARB’s Old Man Emu brand shocks and springs, with a conservative 2″ lift. This is really all you need for
touring. Any higher makes the car wallow around on the road to much especially if you have a fully loaded roof cage which makes the car top heavy. Further to that getting into the car from the wheel chair was already hard enough before the suspension lift with the drivers seat at about shoulder height for me.

I called ARB and and got a quote, a few weeks later I called back to make the order. I was told they had only a few bits and pieces of the entire kit at their warehouse, I could order the full kit but it would take a few weeks for them to make it up. The idea of this kind of turned me off because that means if we needed any spares on the road they would not be readily available.

So it was back to the drawing board and on the net for more research. I had heard a lot about tough dog suspension so looked into this a bit more. They had won some awards in various 4×4 magazines for their ‘big bore foam cell shocks’. They are also readily available and exported overseas (tough dog is an Australian company). They had a segment about a vehicle they sponsored in the Kazakhstan rally.
Apart from Tough Dog and ARB there weren’t really a whole lot of quality options, so Tough Dog it was.

There was a few different options for the troopy we chose the 41mm big bore foam cell shocks and leaf springs to suit the extra weight of the bullbar and winch in the front and 300kg constant load in the rear. This would give us a 50mm lift and included all new shackles and bushes. The troopy is already fitted with airbags to help assist with carrying extra load. So if we were to fill the two extra long range 90L diesel tanks we can just pump up the airbags to help assist carrying the extra weight.

So that’s the suspension sorted, now for the steering. Not much to modify here just rebuild. The only thing we modified was the steering dampener, we fitted a Tough Dog 4 way adjustable, return to centre dampener. This reduces the amount of movement in the steering over rough surfaces, especially corrugations, all for better control of the vehicle.

Next was replacing all the old components. since the troopy has 330,000km and there is no mention of any steering system repairs I thought it would be better off just rebuilding the lot. The list is pretty extensive so I’ll just go over all the main parts. Replaced all the steering rod linkages, all wheel bearings and seals, sway bar links and bushes, rebuilt the front steering knuckles including all bearings and seals, machined discs, changed brake pads and bled the system, replaced brake lines and rebuilt the power steer pump.

So that’s pretty much the whole steering and suspension system rebuilt, replaced or modified. Pretty confident it’s now all covered and ready to hit the notoriously rough and rugged African roads.

literally had to chip away years of grease and mud from all the steering/suspension components. Was a messy job!
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