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Author Topic:   Vehicle Suspension Lift
KCarlsen posted 04-07-2002 12:25 PM ET (US)   Profile for KCarlsen   Send Email to KCarlsen  
This might have been discussed in the past but I couldn't find the thread. I have a Nissan Pathfinder, that bottoms out traveling down the highway with the truck loaded with family, gear, dog and BW boat attached to the trailer hitch. My two options are Air Shocks or Air Springs. Air shocks I'm considering are Hi Jacker that function normally when deflated and add up 1100 lbs capacity when inflated to 200psi. The Air Srings are polyurethane cylinders that fit inside the existing srings and add 1000 lb capacity when needed. Both options can be deflated when not in use. Has anybody used either method and is one method better then the other?? The price is the same for either option. Thx Kurt
JBCornwell posted 04-07-2002 01:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
Howdy, KC.

First, you need to verify that your trailer is correctly balanced and that you are not exceeding the GVW rating on your rear suspension.

Sounds to me like your tongue weight is too high or your trailed weight exceeds your vehicle rating.

Assuming the above is okay: I have used HiJackers and had good results.

Red sky at night. . .
JB :)

KCarlsen posted 04-07-2002 09:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for KCarlsen  Send Email to KCarlsen     
Thanks for the reply JB. I made a sp error in the first note, it should be springs, not srings. I have the trailer balanced correctly because I can lift the tongue and place it on the ball. The truck comes stock with 31.5 x 9.5 tires that doesn't leave much room in the wheel well for a heavy load. I don't exceed the GVW because I'm only pulling a 1969 sakonnet. I don't have this problem with my 1988 pathfinder, only the newer 1995. I truck was built with a softer ride. Do the Hijackers have a hard ride when deflated? Kurt
Eric posted 04-07-2002 10:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Eric  Send Email to Eric     
Both of these remedies are a "band-aid" approach to solving the problem. If you add the proper overload springs, with a graduated load rate, it might solve the problem without affecting ride too badly. The cost would be about the same.
If those are the only two options, go with the springs, then the supporting hardware will be sure to handle the load. The shock mounts are not intended to handle the load that you're thinking of adding. I've used air shocks in the past, but never in truck applications.
Salmon Tub posted 04-08-2002 12:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Salmon Tub  Send Email to Salmon Tub     
Eric is right, I have a nissan frontier (2x4) 4cyl XE. Suspension is way to soft for the tongue weight. Nissan's have a real soft cushiony suspension that does not like extra weight. I put on helper springs, stiffer shocks, and still have a problem. The Helper springs did help, but are too stiff, and tend to groan and creek. They also make the ride too stiff and after a while, you will notice vibration from loosening body parts. I am going to have my springs recurved and add a leaf or two. This will raise the rear end and at the same time give me a soft ride without the trailer while at the same time give support when the springs bottom out with the added weight. Now, only to find a good place where to do it.
Chap posted 04-08-2002 01:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chap  Send Email to Chap     
Hello,
I had some of these on my F150 with good results.

www.rough.roughcountry.com/helper_springs.htm

May be easier/cheaper to get new springs but these could go on your next vehicle.
Thanks
Chap

Chap posted 04-08-2002 01:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chap  Send Email to Chap     
Oops!
www.roughcountry.com/helper_springs.htm
TightPenny posted 04-08-2002 03:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for TightPenny  Send Email to TightPenny     
That is the problem with the yuppie trucks. Just no stamina. :)

Give me my K2500. It doesn't even notice the tongue weight of my Montauk which is probably about 200 pounds, since I use the jack to pick it up and let it down.

Trailer tracks perfectly.

triblet posted 04-09-2002 10:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Somethings wrong here. I towed my Montauk with
a '95 Pathfinder for almost four years, no
bottoming ever. I probably towed 20,000 miles.
This was with two passengers, and full scuba gear (a couple hundred pounds)in the truck. I had an SE with the big tires.

If you have an SE or LE model, have you flipped
the shock stiffness switch on the console?

It would also be worth measuring the tongue
weight. Some people can lift a LOT.

Chuck

KCarlsen posted 04-09-2002 10:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for KCarlsen  Send Email to KCarlsen     
Chuck, After reading the comments, I am tending to believe something is wrong. I don't have the shock stiffness switch on this model. I do on my older truck, which by the way, does not have this problem. With two kids, one adult and a 100 lb dog in the back, my tires rub on the wheeel well if I hit a good size dip in the road, even without the trailer attached. The truck has a soft ride, or to quote tightpenny, "No Stamina". I will recheck the trailer balance this weekend but I still beielve I will need either the air springs or stiffeners. I tried to buy the next size smaller tires at Costco to give me more wheel well room but the computer they use stated 31.5 tires and thats all they could install. :-)
triblet posted 04-09-2002 07:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Do you have the original Nissan alloy rims
on those big tires? Maybe you have rims with
the wrong offset?

Maybe your shocks are shot? My originals
were fine on both my '87 and '95 when I
traded them at 130,000, but ...

How many miles on it?

Are you the original owner? Maybe the
previous owner was a low-rider? (Don't
laugh, there's a low-rider Suburban here in
town. Maybe three inches of ground
clearance.)

Also (and this is from 7 years ago, so I
could be wrong), I thought the XEs were the
only ones that didn't have the adjustable
shocks, and they only came with the smaller
wheels and tires. The SEs had big tires and
adjustable shocks, and the LEs had small
tires and adjustable shocks. And the bare
bones E model (four banger, stick, no back
seat, and rubber floor mats) was only built
in '87, and only for a couple of months.

Anything bolted down through the fender
wells? I had a storage box on the right
fender well of the '87 and '95, and made sure
the bolts were real short. (The '01 has
built-in storage).

What's the tire rubbing on?

One final thing, this doesn't happen only
at full steering lock does it? Your
"travelling down the highway" comment makes
me think otherwise, but the first body style
PathPuppies ('87-'95) would made a horrible
grunching noise at full lock, low speed, and
a bump).

Chuck

kamml posted 04-11-2002 07:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for kamml  Send Email to kamml     
I tow my Montauk with a lowly Mazda (Ranger) B3000 P-up and have no problems concerning bottoming or tire rubbing. I would venture a guess that the total weight of the vehicle without the trailer tonque is probably close to maximum. As you know todays modern trucks and SUV's use progressive rate springs that allow for a plush ride empty and then increase in firmness during compression in a linear fashion becoming increasingly firmer over the total range of compression. If you exceed load rating and bottom the coils, thats its, period. On the otherside, a fully loaded out vehicle that is flat on the springs is very dangerous and prone to a potential roll-over during any emergency avoidance turn. Load it up and (roll over err) I mean take it to a scale to see if you are approaching your total axle rating without the trailer. If you aren't, maybe you just need a new set of stock springs to replace a tired old set to restore your ride. I hope it is that simple, BTW I sure am glad my old Montauk doesn't have springs. Ken

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