Tim lives in Weipa, on Cape York Peninsula (read the Yarn on Tim’s 100 series “Over The Top”) and it is therefore surrounded by roads that, in sections, are seldom lee than diabolical. Endless corrugations, deep sand drifts, heavy dust from on coming vehicles, unfenced cattle properties, and a feral pig population that presumes right of way, that are merely some of the colours that help paint a picture of what four-wheel driving on Cape York is like.
To cope with the mayhem, and in the justified belief of what can survive 5000km on Cape York, will easily survive 50,000km any where else. Tim built his Landcruiser to take a beating. He deliberately gave his Toyota soft suspension so it wouldn’t pound the Forsyth family into jelly when they hit the infamous corrugations of the Old Telegraph Bypass Road which, when we traversed its southern section, had corrugations that could vibrate the lettering off a brand-new all terrain tyre. The way Tim figured it, the same suspension would also help prevent stress loadings on the vast number of metal components that constitute the modern 4×4.
Tim can fix most things, but he doesn’t want to fix anything. His suspension rig is a long-travel, heavy duty system comprising King Spring coils, Rancho RS9000 shocks and coil-Rite airbags on the rear. To be utterly precise, he runs King Spring FTFR/69 coils up front and the FTRS/70C units on the back. This combination gives an extra 500mm of lift. The front of the car was sitting a bit high when we carried out the evaluation because the front coils are designed to carry the weight of a winch, however, Tim hadn’t installed one. The airbags are there so he can keep the vehicle level but maintain a comfy ride when the load in the tray changes.
We don’t want to give the impression that this set-up just fell into place. It didn’t. Tim went through several sets of springs on his way to this particular combination and , in doing so, discovered that not all spring manufacturers are equal. “One of them didn’t even have a basic spring measuring tool” he says. “The guy didn’t even have a clue how springs work.” What was learned during this tedious process was that testing a suspension is the only way you can determine if it will perform properly-even if that testing, and the replacement of sub-standard parts, leads to strained relations with the supplier.