*************************************************************************************************************************Suspension swap DIYBoring but important disclaimer: This is intended as a guide only, no liability or responsibility by the author is assumed and Newtriton.net (its employees, moderators or agents) accept no responsibility for damages or injury that may arise. Do NOT attempt this if you are not confident in your abilities or equipment. Working under your car is dangerous, please take necessary care at all times and always use car stands. Extra care should be taken with the coil springs when they are under pressure. Ensure all components are fit for use and that ALL nuts and bolts are re-installed and tensioned properly. Since you are dealing with suspension, stability and steering components, always DOUBLE-CHECK your work, and that everything has been installed properly.
--> In this guide we installed a complete Dobinson’s suspension kit. Other kits will be similar, but their components may differ from those pictured here, and assembly may be slightly different.
--> If you are installing raised suspension, you are going to need longer rear brake lines after installation, it is important to check the amount of tension on the lines with the new suspension fully extended.
--> In the notes below, I refer to the assembled spring/shock combination as the strut.
--> Pictures can be clicked to enlarge for extra detail** For comparitive purposes, please remember to measure your before and after ride heights (from centre of wheel to edge of wheel arch) and post them on the forum!! **
You will need;
Trolley jack(s), car stands, good quality spanners and sockets, hammer/mallet, jemmy & podger bar (or large old screw driver and piece of pipe (1m) to use as a lever), torque wrench, spring compressors (2 sets, or access to a mechanic/suspension place with hydraulic compressor), Allen key set, suitable grease for shackle rubbers and torque specs for all suspension components from Triton manual (can be dowloaded from my FTP space
). The Dobinson's tailshaft spacer requires longer bolts, which are not supplied – you will need to source some if you are installing this spacer.Front
Disconnect the front swaybar links on both sides (1 nut) TIP: there is an allen-key socket in the end of the thread to assist in removing the nut if the thread is tight.
You can work on one side, then the other, or jack both front wheels off the ground. Always have safety stands under the crossmember or chassis.
Remove the wheel(s).
With a jack under the lower control arm to support the weight, remove the 3 bolts holding the upper ball-joint to the upper control arm (you need to be careful the jack fully supports the downward pressure to avoid damaging the threads of the bolts, or the ball-joint housing as you undo the bolts)
Lower the jack to allow the lower control arm and strut to fully extend. Important note: make especially sure the hub cannot fall away from the car, as this may cause the inner CV joint to pop out – you REALLY don't want this to happen, so secure it to the strut tower with an occy strap.
Remove the bracket securing the ABS sensor cable from the front of the shock (1 bolt). Do the same for the bracket under the upper control arm (2 bolts).
Remove the upper control arm (two bolts) and move it out of the way
Remove the three nuts on top of the strut.
Make sure the strut is at full extension, if necessary force the lower control arm downwards carefully with a jemmy bar. Then, remove the bolt from the bottom of the strut.
The strut can now be removed from the car
In most cases, the strut top and dust boot need to be removed to be used on your new shock & spring combo. Take note of the orientation of the 3 studs on the strut top, relative to the bracket on the front of the shock - you will need to refit the top in the same way to ensure the strut orientation is correct (so the studs line up with the holes in the tower).
Before compressing the spring, loosen (but DO NOT
remove) the top nut, otherwise the shaft will most probably rotate and it will be hard to undo. SPECIAL WARNING: DO NOT
loosen the nut any distance past the end of the thread – the spring could become a projectile that will cause serious injury or even death (in this pic the top has already been removed, but you get the idea)
You need to compress the spring far enough to enable the top to be safely removed (1 nut). We were able to de-tension the spring and remove the top from the shock by using several spring compressors BUT I would highly recommend taking it all to a suspension place and having them dismantle the old, and assemble the new – it will save a lot of sweat and time! If doing it yourself it will be handy if you have a vice/clamp. We used a set of Triton woodwork Superjaws to hold the strut while we compressed the springs.
Compare your manky old springs and shocks with the shiny new ones. Heavy duty springs are VERY hard to compress compared to the stockers so take extra care if you are doing it by hand
For oil filled shocks, remember to compress and extend the shock to full length at least two times to get the fluid circulated properly. It is normal the first time you do this there is not much resistance in the compress/extend. Should firm up after the first time.
Once your new strut is assembled, installation is basically the reverse of the above steps. If you are installing raised suspension, it will be difficult to get the lower control arm down far enough to get the strut re-installed – extra help and a jemmy bar will probably be required. A podger bar will help locate the bottom of the shock properly. If you are on your own or having trouble, you can use two spring compressors to assist in compressing strut to make fitting easier. Be sure to fit them in spots so they can easily be removed once in!
Important note: Upper control arm bushes/bolts, and lower strut bolt should only be fully torqued when the wheels are re-installed and the car is resting on the ground. Just nip them lightly up initially.
The lower control arm can be jacked up to re-install the upper ball joint, but take care not to tip the car off the stands while jacking. Make sure you have reinstalled all the nuts & bolts removed in the steps above.
Do the other side and that should have the front sorted!
The rear springs are very easy in comparison to the front, but again made easier if you have an extra set of hands helping you.
Remove the spare tyre (thanks Greedy)
Jack up the car, place on stands (not under the diff or springs - we used the towbar) and remove the wheels.
Remove the shock absorbers.
Undo the handbrake cable where it is attached to the spring (1 bolt). Support the diff (we used the trolley jack in the centre to be able to lower it to allow for the bigger camber in the new leafs) and remove the u-bolts from one side. The leaf spring can then be removed (1 bolt at front, 2 on the rear hanger).
Grease your new bushes (and rub a little on the new shackles too) and install the new leaf spring, hangers, old bump-stops and u-bolts (u-bolt can be torqued now, but nothing else). The front (fixed) spring hanger may need some grease to help the new spring and bushes slip in (we even had to bend out the edges slightly to get the nolathane bushes to fit in). If your kit came with camber wedges, put them between the axle and spring.
Do the same for the other side, then install the shock absorbers. You may need to jack up the diff to assist lining up the lower shock absorber mount.
Reinstall the wheels, lower the car and torque all the spring, hanger and shock absorber bolts/nuts correctly. Don’t forget to grease your new greasable shackles after they are all torqued up ! If your kit came with a tailshaft spacer, that can be installed now.
Now you should be done! Double-check your work, tidy the shed and go for a drive (OK, we drove first and then tidied the shed). REMEMBER: Check the tension on the rear brake lines when the rear suspension is fully extended, you may need longer ones like me
Don’t forget to check and re-torque the U bolts (and good idea for rest of suspension) after 500km. Enjoy your new suspension!! Congratulations
Extra special thanks must go to Choady for his company, assistance, encouragement, additional tools (Superjaws FTW!!), workshop manual and memory when it came to writing this up!! Thanks heaps mate