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Kakadu suspension upgrade - any successes?

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  • Hi all. I’ve been reading with interest re GVM upgrades, and general suspension ideas. We recently completed a 5 week trip up the middle towing an off-road Cub camper, which was great! I noted a few issues, however, and would love some advice!
    The setup:
    - 2015 150 series VX (KDSS) Prado 3.0l diesel
    - Toyota towbar
    - Cub Escape camper - about 1600kg loaded

    As pictured, we have 3 big kids in back seat, and a boot full of bags. We need the rear extra 2 seats back home, so I don’t wanna take them out.
    The camper ball weight sits within proper limits - around 150kg.
    The camper normally sits quite tall (independent springs/shocks, big wheels).

    For the trip, I fitted a Hayman Reece tongue to lift the ball height on the car. This gave much less “head down” on the trailer, but 1)not enough and 2)didn’t allow barn door on Prado to open.

    I also noted that we came close to bottoming out on a lot of tracks, and indeed lost an Anderson plug at one point. I really noticed this crossing dry creek beds, even very slowly.

    I assume the answer is a GVM upgrade with a bit of lift and stiffer springs and adjustable airbags? I am considering adding a winch and Smartbar (lighter) on front, and maybe a second battery for trips without the trailer (fridge in the back) (which will add weight). I also want to change to a different full roof rack so I can move some items up there. We also plan to add bikes to trailer front (which may add to ball weight).

    Have a look at pic. I’d like to:
    - have a flat-riding trailer with a standard flat tongue (not a lifted one)
    - no or minimal sag in the car rear/lift in the front. Note that the missus still needs to drive it around town! Thus, something easily adjusted for empty city driving vs loaded car only vs loaded car and camper in tow.
    - some lift (despite careful lines, I scraped the side rails a few times)

    I also noted a fair bit of “porpoising” and “wallow” on undulating roads.....would be great to settle this down.

    I am in Melbourne. I’d love some ideas for a relative novice!

    Cheers, Mat

    Click image for larger version  Name:	C2E11D60-FA0F-4EFE-B681-E8BEA580DC8C.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	52.4 KB ID:	758860
    Last edited by mat-with-one-t; 19-07-2021, 03:47 PM.

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    • Everyone I've spoken with has told me that you can't do a GVM upgrade to a current model Kakadu. Yet there are suggestions in this thread that it's possible. Can anyone tell me, either in this thread or via PM, whom I might talk to about the possibility of doing an upgrade, by replacing the air bags with springs? Another 260kgs would be really useful.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by gunda View Post
        Everyone I've spoken with has told me that you can't do a GVM upgrade to a current model Kakadu. Yet there are suggestions in this thread that it's possible. Can anyone tell me, either in this thread or via PM, whom I might talk to about the possibility of doing an upgrade, by replacing the air bags with springs? Another 260kgs would be really useful.
        Found this with a quick Google as an example.....
        https://www.tjm4x4accessories.com.au...s-gvm-upgrade/
        https://www.lovellscampbellfield.com.au/gvm-gcm

        Comment


        • Originally posted by mat-with-one-t View Post
          From the first link: "(Excludes Kakadu model with Air Bag rear suspension)". Therein lies the problem. I think at the very least you'd need to remove the airbags and fit springs, and an engineers assessment for such a such a non-standard, one-off change not be a trivial exercise. Probably not cost-effective. Especially for only a 250kg increase, as has been suggested.

          (The seconk link doesn't mention the Kakadu exclusion, but I'm fairly sure that it would apply.)

          Comment


          • Gotcha. I have a kdss Vx 3.0 2015. It’s all very confusing!

            Comment


            • Yes, it's a little frustrating. The other three Prado variants can have GVM upgrades, and you'd think that it should be possible to revert the Kakadu rear suspension to the same style as those three, and thus make the Kakadu GVM upgrade eligible. There are some people here who seem to know about how it could be done, and I'd like to hear more from them.

              My understanding is that KDSS makes GVM upgrades tricky, as it can be hard to make the vehicle level afterwards. I believe that this can be fixed by bleeding and resetting the KDSS system, but it's a risk. I believe that the 300 series Cruiser has electronic KDSS rather than hydraulic, which should simplify GVM upgrades when they come available.

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