IT’S ALL well and good to throw money and parts at a 4x4, but it’s the results that matter. Recent improvements in shock and spring technology, combined with adjustable suspension links and tuneable sway-bars, means that ride and handling can be improved while suspension articulation can be dialled in to suit the driver’s needs perfectly.
Of course, this all pales in comparison to real-world experience, so we’ve enlisted the help of two owners of late-model, live axleconverted 4x4s to give their opinions. Ray Pisani is the owner of the pristine white Hilux on these pages, while Jarad Roberts is the owner of the tough-as-nails Triton featured in our July 2016 issue (page 64).
“The first set-up was radius arms, and that handled just as good as IFS considering it was three inches taller on 35s. Seldom Seen Engineering did a good job setting it up as an all-round 4x4 as if it was done by Toyota. After a year or two I wanted more travel and that’s when Automotive Etcellence 3-linked the front. It’s a bit looser on-road but still drives well. Off-road it flexes through the biggest ruts and sits so flat, a lot smoother than the radius arm set-up. If it was a dedicated tourer I’d run radius arms, but at the moment I’m having fun tackling the hard tracks and the 3link is perfect for that.”
“It’s a softer ride all around, but it does have a bit of body roll. The steering is a little heavier than it was originally, too. The front has a heavy spring rate, which helps keep it nice and stiff.
“Off-road it definitely shines. People get caught up with flex being the be all and end all, but having the strength in the front diff is the biggest advantage for me. I can run 37s and never worry about breakages, whereas with the IFS and 35s I was always snapping CV joints, even nursing it with custom-made, heavy-duty units.”