The Paj - Tyres and suspension
Welcome back to our Pajero build series. We have rejigged the order we are posting in as the original order just didn't quite gel properly, it sort of jumped all over the place. So what we have decided to do is finish up talking about what's outside this week, before moving inside and under the bonnet over the next couple of posts.
When we initially bought the Paj we left the factory tyres and suspension as is for about 12 months. We acquired a bit of damage to the underside of the vehicle off-road over this time, which lead to us purchasing the bash plates we spoke about in first post of the build series.
After this we got in contact with Keiron at Bushskinz and set about selecting a suspension package that would suit our plans for the Pajero. We settled on a setup of Bilstein shock absorbers and Lovell springs at all corners, raising the vehicle 50mm all up. The choice to go heavy duty springs was made due to the weight we planned to carry at the the front (our bull bar, winch, dual batteries and bash plates) and at the back, our boot fills up quickly.
We have been using this setup for the past three years and love it, but due to our experiences on our Kimberley trip we will be fitting a pair of helper airbags in the rear springs, these will hopefully prevent the rear sagging down when fully loaded.
Moving to the Pajero's shoes, choosing tyres is always a difficult decision, for every good review you hear of a tyre you generally hear a bad one too. After having mud terrain tyres on our previous 4wd we opted for something a little less aggressive for the Paj. We were looking for a quieter, more comfortable tyre, plus we found the Pajero with it’s traction control was more capable even with the standard tyres. We went for a hybrid tread design, also known as an aggressive all terrain tyre in the Dick Cepek Fun Country. We chose to go up one size to a 265/70R17 or 32” in the old measurements and opted for a stronger Light Truck construction.
We have a bit of a love/hate relationship with these tyres, not their fault, more our expectations. They are a fantastic tyre off-road, we have full confidence in them across a wide range of terrain from the softest beach sand to the stickiest of mud. We have only once had to winch ourselves out a situation where these tyres ran out of traction.
The hate side comes down to the design of our Pajero and our expectations. The Pajero's design lends itself to increased road noise as a trade off for more car like handling and reduced weight. Thanks to this these tyres are noisier than we had hoped. Our other peeve is purely my fault, I chose the largest tyre I could fit (not all tyres are the same size even when advertised that way) meaning they are heavier and harder for the engine to turn, along with the aggressive pattern which also adds rolling resistance. An increase in fuel usage is the result, not a big drama around town or local treks and trips, but on longer distance trips the reduced range of each tank of fuel can be slightly concerning and we need to take it into account when planning.
The simplified list of what we covered today is:
- Shock absorbers – Bilstein B6
- Springs – Lovell HD +50mm
- Airbags - Firestone HD
- Tyres – Dick Cepek Fun Country 265/70R17LT