4 x 4 Australia - - Contents -

As our crew ve­hi­cle, the 2008 Hilux in the shed has seen some of Aus­tralia’s most well-known back coun­try tracks. And, be­cause of this, it was re­cently in need of some love and at­ten­tion. One shock was blown, two re­quired new bushes and the fourth had outer cas­ing dam­age. We thought we had done a bit of hurt when we struck a washout in the Flin­ders on its last out­ing – we were right.

So we started do­ing some re­search for a set of Aussie-made re­place­ments that we could trust to get our rig and Echo 4x4 camper trailer safely through their next ma­jor out­ing. 5500km from the ACT through Mur­ray Sun­set coun­try, Kan­ga­roo Is­land, the Lime­stone Coast, Ot­ways and back through the Vic­to­rian and NSW Alps on ev­ery back road we could find was on the agenda.


We asked around a few trusted sources and dis­cussed our plans. We set­tled on the new Out­back Se­ries from Oztec Sus­pen­sion – Oztec is a trad­ing name un­der GSA Whole­sale Sus­pen­sion. GSA is owned and op­er­ated by Ge­orge Shep­heard, a former en­gi­neer and team man­ager to Peter Brock and Jim Richards. Over a num­ber of years, Ge­orge was team man­ager for the Holden Dealer Rally Team, Mit­subishi Ral­liart Aus­tralia and Volvo Rac­ing, so his pedi­gree is self-ev­i­dent.

Sup­port­ing Oztec’s 4WD and light com­mer­cial sus­pen­sion pro­gram, Jamie Macfarlane is the re­search and de­vel­op­ment man­ager. Jamie has more than 30 years of sus­pen­sion in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence and is a rally driver him­self. So he knows both the tech­ni­cal and de­liv­ery side of sus­pen­sion.

With this team, Oztec is able to re­search, de­velop, en­gi­neer and test its range of shock ab­sorbers en­tirely in Aus­tralia. Test­ing in­volves more than just com­puter stress eval­u­a­tions. Oztec phys­i­cally road-tests each model across a range of road con­di­tions prior to launch, which dif­fer­en­ti­ates Oztec from many for­eign im­ports.

The prod­uct it­self is made from a mix­ture of Australian-made and qual­ity im­ported com­po­nents. The im­ported el­e­ments come from re­puted com­pa­nies like Co­fap (Brazil) and ZF Sachs (Ger­many). Closer to home, Oztec Out­back bushes are Australian-made, owned and de­signed. They are made from polyurethane for longer life and pos­i­tive lo­ca­tion.

Key fea­tures of the Out­back shocks

in­clude a 64mm di­am­e­ter body, 40mm pis­ton and 20mm pis­ton rod, and be­cause the Hilux has a set of af­ter­mar­ket slave springs, in­stalling shock ab­sorbers of this size was a bit of a squeeze.

The U-bolt and flange of the slave spring in­ter­fered with in­stal­la­tion un­til it was moved 10mm (still within tol­er­ances). This process added only 10 min­utes to the in­stal­la­tion time and wouldn’t be an is­sue for ve­hi­cles with fac­tory or full-spring up­grades.


Since fit­ting the Oztecs, the ride has clearly im­proved – it’s firm but not at all un­com­fort­able. With a full load, the ve­hi­cle sits firmly on the road and han­dles well on both sealed and un­sealed sur­faces, in­clud­ing cor­ru­ga­tions, sand and back tracks.

No­tably, ev­ery time we have stopped the ve­hi­cle to check, we have been able to hold the Out­back shocks with bare hands. This is im­por­tant, as the prime thing a shock ab­sorber does is trans­fer ki­netic en­ergy to heat en­ergy and dis­perse it. With a ro­bust con­struc­tion and large oil vol­ume, the Out­back Se­ries stays cool, which prom­ises bet­ter damp­ing con­trol over a longer life span.

Oztec has mar­keted shock ab­sorbers in Queens­land since 2004 and went na­tion­wide with stock­ists in 2014. Un­til re­lease of its Out­back Se­ries in March, 2015, Oztec was known as a gen­eral pur­pose 4x4 and light com­mer­cial shock ab­sorber man­u­fac­turer. How­ever, with the in­tro­duc­tion of the Out­back model, Oztec has found it­self a broader po­si­tion within the recre­ational and pro­fes­sional four-wheel drive sec­tor.

The model of Oztec shocks fit­ted to the 2008 Hilux is good-to-go for fac­tory spec ve­hi­cles, as well as those with up to a 2in lift. Other mod­els are avail­able, so it’s best to check your lo­cal stock­ist for fit­ting op­tions for your spe­cific rig.

Oztec also of­fer com­plete sus­pen­sion kits for many ve­hi­cles, and pre­assem­bled front shock and coil units for Hilux, Chal­lenger, Colorado, BT-50, D-max, MU-X, Navara, Pa­jero, Tri­ton and Ranger. Oztec shock ab­sorbers come with a lim­ited life-time war­ranty (fair wear and tear).

We like the Out­back shock­ies and reckon the camper trailer will also get a set be­fore too long. As for those fac­tory-fit­ted springs on the Hilux, well they might be re­placed with some Oztec up­grades in the near fu­ture, too.


2 Af­ter­mar­ket helper springs caused a hic­cup dur­ing in­stal­la­tion, but just needed the U-bolts moved. 3 1. The Oztec shocks can come pre­assem­bled in the struts if re­quired.

2. Cap­i­tal Steer­ing & Sus­pen­sion is Can­berra’s sus­pen­sion spe­cial­ist.

3. A few years of bush use can leave your shocks look­ing worse for wear.

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