The refreshing of a low mileage 16 year old Nissan Patrol ute is continuing. And today was a big day...

New boxes, old springs

Suspension! Up until today, the Patrol handled like a ship at sea that was always bouncing in a reef. Cornering was an exercise in leaning, skipping and oversteering. Pursuing a straight line was more like accepting a constant random wobbling weave.

As the ute has a tipper conversion and a steel tray it runs with a constant heavy load. Combine that with a chronic pattern of overloading and the original springs were flat. The plan to fit a steel bullbar and winch (that were already in the shed) would only add to that.

So we made the decision to fit a heavy weight spring set (coils at the front, leaves at the back with greasable shackles) put together by Tough Dog along with a set of their 41 mm foam cell shocks and a return to centre steering damper. And it all turned up this morning.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t fit it. Too much of my gear is in storage and the rental has no feasible work area. So I had a local shop do it. And picked it up this arvo.

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Post installation height

The only issue is that the kit involved a 2" lift. Not entirely practical for a working vehicle. The actuality is even worse. The front came up 50 mm (2") but the back came up 90 mm (nearly 4"). This is a reflection of how truly buggered the old rear springs were. In fact they didn’t even rebound much when they were removed. The front will come down under the weight of the bar and winch but the back will take longer. But at least now it will safely carry a decent load.

Coil over!

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The new rear spring pack has three more leaves in it than the OE versions
The best it will ever look...

The best thing about all this is how it drives. Having driven a few of these when they were new...it’s much better than new. Despite the heavy duty nature of the setup, it’s not jiggly when unloaded. It steers straight, corners without leaning and is surprisingly comfortable for what it is.

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It wasn't cheap at just over three grand but I suspect it was worth it.