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  • Grande 2003 - Advice required

    Good Afternoon PP'ers,

    2003 Prado Grande, I purchased it with 148,000km on the clock off a soccer mum. Since purchase I've done the following:

    - Engine oil/filter (10W-40 Castrol Magnatec)
    - Front & Rear Diff (Castrol LS90)
    - Transfer (Nulon 75-90)
    - Wipers (Bosch Aerotwin)
    - Headlights (Philips Crystal vision)
    - 4x4 T2 Rotors Front + Bendix 4x4 brake pads

    The stock suspension is on its last legs, and the rear trailing arm bushes need to be replaced. After reading as much information as possible on the options granted to the Grande (courtesy of hours of lurking here) I am leaning towards replacing the shocks with Bilstein BE5-A712/A713 and using spacers for the standard airbags. I am however not 100% convinced on which front springs to use. The vehicle is my daily driver, and will fit a bull-bar in the future. I understand that the logical stepping stone would be to fit gear and select coils afterwards. However, the suspension can be quite worrisome on the third world roads here in Sydney, so safety and handling is my main concern. If I add the bullbar first, it will be a little while before I can save enough to fix the suspension.

    The front end weight will only see the addition of a bull-bar, with no requirements for a winch or second battery for my intended use. I will however tow the occasional boat and carry 150-200kg of gear (at most) + 4 passengers when life permits. As such, I am not seeking an extravagant lift but rather something that I can do cross country trips in without too much concern about clearance if the need arose and still enter parking lots with a 2.0-2.1m limit.

    I have read the information provided in the Suspension DB Thread, but am not sure in how the spring ratings and sizes transfer to real world driving and handling. Which springs would you recommend? and who in Sydney would you recommend to do the install? (Front shocks/coils + Rear shocks + Airbag adjustment/spacing)

    Any and all criticism and advice is appreciated. Eg. (playing devils advocate here) Am I better off replacing the TEMS with TEMS from partsouq and getting standard rate Dobinson springs, and will that suffice...
    Last edited by nikE; 07-12-2014, 10:41 AM.

  • #2
    The aftermarket shocks would be better than the TEMS shocks.

    With the Bilstein, the seats are adjustable. So you can reuse the stock springs but put the seat at its highest level for a mild lift. You can then changeout springs for more lift when you add the bullbar later on.
    Last edited by amts; 14-09-2014, 09:54 PM.
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    • #3
      I have a OME 2" lift. I have medium springs front and rear. I have a ARB steel bar on the front, no winch and no aux battery. I only carry my aux battery in the rear with the fridge when we do trips so around town it is generally empty. I find the OME medium springs a compromise with acceptable ride comfort. I know you have the Grande but with Med springs and polyair assist airbags in the rear again unladen it is an acceptable ride.

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      • #4
        @amts If I was to do as you advise, would I need to space the airbags in the rear? Or would the BE5-A713's in the rears be fine as the front springs are standard?


        @MDS69 Do you think the drive-ability would have suffered with a lesser than medium spring up front with the ARB bar? Because I also intend on fitting a steel bar down the line, just wondering how it would hold up under the standard springs if I do as advised by amts, and how long it would take before new front springs were required.

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        • #5
          No you don't need to space the airbags. It is good to do when you have a 2" lift.

          When you add the bullbar, the front will come down a touch. The handling is determined more by the shocks than the springs.
          Last edited by amts; 14-09-2014, 09:54 PM.
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          • #6
            Well that makes things a little easier. I've found the shocks (2 x front, 2 x Rear) for $860, I'll try get them installed this week and report back.

            Cheers for clearing things up

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            • #7
              We had the Arb bar fitted from new and didn't install the OME springs and shocks until about 65,000km or 4 years. The car sagged in the front noticably and also dived under brakes not from new but after time.

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              • #8
                Thanks for the info MDS69, knowing that, I shouldn't run into a 'must do' situation for a while yet.

                And a thank you to Wholesale Suspension for the great service and advice:-D

                amts, I've taken your input on board and placed the circlip on the highest setting with the standard springs for the front. The rears are done. And the front strut top mounting plate is stuck and refuses to drop. But I'll sort it out and report back.

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                • #9
                  My strut top plate was stuck too but you can still change out the suspension without it coming off. Just need to inspect it carefully to ensure that there are no cracks in it or wear in the hole where the stud of the shock goes through.
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                  • #10
                    I did read your thread about changing out the fronts, but I just had the springs compressed and fitted by a mechanic up the street. I re-used the plates as they were in good condition. But it does seem that I have levelled out the car. Measurements taken as per PP guide.

                    Fronts (Pre-upgrade) - 740mm
                    Fronts (Post-upgrade) 780mm (stock springs on highest circlip)

                    Rears (Pre-upgrade) - 770mm
                    Rears (Post-upgrade) - 780mm (roughly 1 1/2 tank)

                    The drive comfort and quality is worlds apart from what is was, like comparing apples and oranges.

                    Should I raise the rear to compensate for the rise at the front? or just leave it as is until the bull-bar goes on?



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                    • #11
                      Yes, the rears needs to go up by about 20-30mm to achieve some sort of rake.
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                      • #12
                        "What I used for spacing the sensor brackets HT bolts from SCA, packet of 4, 8mm X 30mm long if you use approx 10mm spacing Guard washers (panel washers) 8mm ID X 35-40mm OD X 1.5 thick, but any washers will do and use 222 loctite or similar on the bolts." -1coolbanana

                        Did a search and found that as an easy fix. Will this suffice or is there another method?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by nikE View Post
                          "What I used for spacing the sensor brackets HT bolts from SCA, packet of 4, 8mm X 30mm long if you use approx 10mm spacing Guard washers (panel washers) 8mm ID X 35-40mm OD X 1.5 thick, but any washers will do and use 222 loctite or similar on the bolts." -1coolbanana

                          Did a search and found that as an easy fix. Will this suffice or is there another method?
                          Yes, that's it.
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                          • #14
                            I have read the 'Grande Airbag Retaining after a Lift' thread but was unable to find any instructions, other than which I posted. This might sound stupid...but do I even need to jack up the rear in order to do this? or must it be done with rear wheels off the ground?

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                            • #15
                              If you're removing your airbags nikE, the easiest way is to jack up the rear and place stands under the chassis to let the diff drop down. you'll need the sst (special service tool) to safely remove the airline to allow the airbags to deflate. info about this tool is within the thread you mentioned.
                              2004 V6 Grande. BLACK -

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