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Rock Crawler torsion bars and Tough Dog shocks - Experiences?

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  • Rock Crawler torsion bars and Tough Dog shocks - Experiences?

    Left my car with Pedders suspension today and as suspected there is a long list of parts to be replaced, among these shocks and torsion bars.

    The best Pedders shocks are 350 a pair and their torsion bars 396 per pair. has these options with free delivery:

    Rancho RS5000: 260 per pair
    Rancho RS9000X: 396 per pair
    Tough Dogs: 320 per pair
    Rock Crawler torsion bars: 535 per pair

    The cost difference between tough dogs / rock crawler and the pedders parts are really quite marginal so I'm thinking to use these "renowned" brands instead.

    Any experience with these on the NH? I have "Fireflex" springs at the back which I'm thinking to keep. They have a 50mm lift, so I was thinking the Rockcrawlers would be good as they'd happily let me lift the front up to the same level (it is currently quite saggy despite the bars being turned up to the max).

    Will they be painfully stiff or is that just the pedders man trying to talk me into pedders? The pedders torsion bars are apparently 2mm thicker than standard so he reckons they will happily stay above the standard height...

    Any opinions would be much appreciated! Also anyone thinking I should go for Rancho's rather than tough dogs (or any other brand for that matter!)


  • #2
    I would suggest a second opinion from a 4WD suspenion place. Pedders are notorious for their upselling. There are a number of horror stories which involve pedders selling unnecessary replacement parts etc. Also FWIW, Even when Pedders were running their own rally team, they didn't use their own products in the vehicles. They used Konis or Bilstiens!( cant remember which)

    There used to be a website put up by a disenchanted franchisee. was quite funny. I guess they may have many satisfied customers, but I have never been happy with anything they have done for me. In fact on one occasion, I took a car in for replacement shockers for a RWC, came back with a list of 25 odd things that needed replacing etc at a cost of approx $1500+. took it back to the road worthy dude, and even he said it was all bollocks!
    Hope it helps
    92 NH GLS Pirahna dual battery system, Lightforce Blitz240 hid spots, cibie spreads, Bilstiens each corner, Lovells rear coils, custom drawer system, ARB roofrack, side awning, ARB twin jerry holder, MSA drop slide, GME TX3440, custom wiring harness for second battery.


    • #3
      Ha ha,

      I thrust the faults they have found though - The car is really a disaster to drive and rattles and shakes all over and takes all my concentration to keep on the road. What they found was in line with what I suspected. And I wanna fix it sooner rather than later!

      But I also wanna make sure I make the best possible choices when it comes to shocks and torsion bars. In the end of the day i will probably use the car mainly to get to work, but also wanna be able to negotiate desert, mud and badly ridged gravel roads, if possible at high speed All without breaking the bank i suppose....

      Pedders seem very cluey about bushes and alignment and stuff, so am quite happy to let them do the job. My last mechanic couldn't really find anything wrong with the car... I'd rather use a specialist with high standards!

      But which shocks and torsion bars? I've heard that Rancho RS5000's fade quickly (but i love the price and the way they talk it up on the website :-). Can anyone confirm these fading rumours? Then again, I also read in some other forum about someone who experienced very quick fading with tough dogs....

      Koni and Bilstein seem to have some following but they are both "single skin" construction as I understand it...? I.e. not very rock proof?

      Not easy this. I wanna get it right the first time as I can't afford any second attempts...


      • #4
        I wouldn't stick Pedders in anything I own,

        If the other stuff is a little on the expensive side look into Ironman suspension, I have that in my NL, 40mm foam shocks, heavy duty torsion bars and rear springs, extemely happy with it and highly recommend if you don't want to spend big bucks
        NL 3.5, 2.5" Ironman suspension, 33" BF Muddies,


        • #5
          I have an NH with the rockcrawler torsion bars and Rancho RS5000 shocks. I originally wanted to only buy shocks and wind the bars. After a short while I was cursing the paj at every bump, the harshness was unbelievable. I actually got sick of driving the damn thing. So i bit the bullet and ordered the rockcrawler bars.
          It's a heafty investment on an old car where most might not see their worth.
          The bars made a considerable difference! mostly on cornering performance and speed humps. To me they still feel a bit stiffer then the oem bars, (though they were sagged to the shithouse). It's up to you, personally if I didn't experience the harshness over bumps and dirt roads I would not have changed them. To me, it put the NP 3.2 exceed $500 further away from reach.
          Though the rancho shocks are awesome! fully recommend

          anyone want an NH? - 2" suspension lift, King springs, Rancho RS 5000 Shocks, 27.5mm Rockcrawler Torsion Bars, 265/70 R 16" BF Goodridge All-Terrains, CIBIE Super Oscar 100 watt, UNIDEN UHF / scanner, Dual Battery, 140L Longrange fuel tank


          • #6
            took my paj into pedders knowing it needed work and with an eventual suspension upgrade in mind. They qouted $1260. Took it to fulcrum $740.
            The guy at ARB and another suspension distributor have recommended them.


            • #7
              I remember when I put my torsion bars in I had problems with finding the correct size bar. No NH - NL bar would fit! In the end it turns out the only bar that would fit was made for an NG. So I have NG suspension in an NH, from the factory none-the-less, to me that doesn't sound right. Bloody Mitsubishi and their cheap ways.
              Moral of the story! check your suspension before buying torsion bars incase mitsubishi slipped some old parts into your car and hoped noone would notice.

              NH - NL bar length is 1307mm long
              NF - NG bar length is 1283mm long

              anyone want an NH? - 2" suspension lift, King springs, Rancho RS 5000 Shocks, 27.5mm Rockcrawler Torsion Bars, 265/70 R 16" BF Goodridge All-Terrains, CIBIE Super Oscar 100 watt, UNIDEN UHF / scanner, Dual Battery, 140L Longrange fuel tank


              • #8
                Thanks for the replies!

                According to the Pedders quote I too seem to have 1283mm torsion bars. Will measure them to be sure though! Mine's a NH from june 93.

                I have been reading and reading... I think i'm leaning more and more towards bilstein as they also seem to have a large following within the Prado community (as i understand it the prado is more or less toyota's version of the pajero). And, from what i've found, they are about $170 each, ie still less than pedders foam cell 41mm shocks.

                But still need to decide on torsion bars. So many companies supply uprated torsion bars!! Surely they can't be all that different... It is annoying though, that while the coil springs are talked about in all kinds of technical terms the torsion bars are all simply described as "heavy duty", for increased load carrying capacity etc. After all it is just a rod made of premium steel i suppose, but still! How to tell the good from less good??

                I have a "Bocar" alloy bullbar which I can't imagine adds much weight compared to the standard bumper bar... No dual battery setup yet but maybe in the future?

                Is RockCrawler THE stiffest torsion bar available for the Pajero? Would it be much different to Lovell, OME, EFS, Ironman etc? Anyone using Pedders torsion bars?

                In the back I have the Fireflex springs as mentioned earlier (Now trucks only but previously sold alongside EFS). They may not be that great, hard to tell when the shocks are dead... I suspect they are of heavy rating as the car seems happier if I load it up a little. In the long run I may consider getting progressive springs as I'll be alone in the car for probably 90% of the time - at least! Still, this christmas I plan to load it up with seven people and put the luggage on the roof! (only sydney to melbourne though - no offroading to speak off!) I have no idea how it'll perform under these conditions.

                Any warnings against Bilstein?


                • #9
                  mate, much of a muchness
                  I'm happy with the rockcrawler because it allows me to increase the ride height and dramatically increases cornering performance while keeping the ride nice and soft unlike winding the original bars (which turns the car into a large piece of crap), though thats what all uprated torsion bars do.
                  It all depends what your planning to use the car for. If it's predominatly towing and heavy off-road use then go the rockcrawlers and a harder offroad performance shock. If it's more commuting and touring then I'd go for a softer, plusher all-round shock. Using a car done up for serious 4x4 as a daily driver can get very very tedious. It all depends what you want to use your paj for. I'm trying to get mine ready to cross the simpson desert in january (HOT), nearly there just a few little finishing touches (like a rear locker and snorkel, hehe)


                  anyone want an NH? - 2" suspension lift, King springs, Rancho RS 5000 Shocks, 27.5mm Rockcrawler Torsion Bars, 265/70 R 16" BF Goodridge All-Terrains, CIBIE Super Oscar 100 watt, UNIDEN UHF / scanner, Dual Battery, 140L Longrange fuel tank


                  • #10
                    Have been trying to measure the torsion bars without removing them... When I stick the end angle of my measuring tape under the anchor arm (end bracket bolted to the lower suspension arm) I get 1325mm to the rear extremity of the rear anchor arm. When viewing the rear anchor arm it looks like the torsion bar may be protruding right to the end (White paint line drawn across the end, as to mark alignment of the bar to the bracket...?).

                    1325 - 1282 = 43mm at the bottom of the front anchor arm = unlikely

                    1325 - 1308 = 17mm at the bottom of the front = more likely...

                    So I am assuming 1308mm, which should be the case for the NH right?

                    But on the quote from Pedders it has 1282 written next to the torsion bar price...

                    Or do I really have to dismantle a torsion bar to be sure? The thickness is definitely 25mm (which is also stamped on the bar). Hey, guess i could always google the part number stamped on the bar!

                    I also see from Ironman for instance that the 1308 mm bar is 27.5mm and the 1278mm bar is 26mm. If my bars are 25mm original i'd assume the uprated ones should be more than 26mm??

                    Also, am trying to estimate the amount of lift I have in the rear springs. The pedders guy said approximately 50mm but I suspect it's more. I tried jacking up the front till the upper bumpstops were touching and then let it sit on stands under that transverse beam thing between the suspension arms (to let the rear return to it's normal height). Even then it's not 100% level!

                    Does this still sound like 50mm? The rear shocks measure 425mm between the mounts. The distance between the hub centre and the lower edge of the top of the wheel arch (GLS plastic) is 560mm.


                    • #11
                      Hi kfet i have Tough Dog front torsion bars,rear springs & front & rear shocks & have been very happy with them it is a SWB & when unladen it can be a very firm ride but when loaded it is very nice to drive, i have the foam cell shocks in the front & 50mm lift springs in the rear i have lifted the front as far as it will go (the upper arms rest on the upper bump stops) so when the front wheels drop into pot holes it can be quite harsh, just came back from Fraser Island & didnt experience any fade in the shocks at all, i also had trouble getting the correct length torsion bars but it turns out the LWB bars are longer than the SWB bars (i think it is that way around) which was the suppliers fault for not listening to me when i ordered it all. But so far they have been in for just over a year & have been very happy with the set up. Stu.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by kfet View Post
                        I also see from Ironman for instance that the 1308 mm bar is 27.5mm and the 1278mm bar is 26mm. If my bars are 25mm original i'd assume the uprated ones should be more than 26mm??

                        1mm might not seem like a lot but the difference it makes it can make is huge, If you stick to thick a torsion bar in the front your ride will become to harsh and you have no suspension travel or droop as the bars will be holding the wheel up. So while 1mm seems very small it actually is all you need to have a heavy duty torsion bar.

                        In car terms it's like sticking a 2-3mm thicker sway bar on.
                        NL 3.5, 2.5" Ironman suspension, 33" BF Muddies,


                        • #13
                          Having been a pedders employee once, i can relate to them trying to get a big upsell out of you. They promote the opportunity to sell you bushes and such on the premise that your bushes and such maybe showing signs of deterioration which is inevitable, while the components in fact may have substantial life left, but hey they are only going to flog out eventually, so why not replace em while they change your shocks? thats how they work, quite right in some instances but you may be convinced to buy something you dont need sometimes, difficult for average joe to know what to believe, thats why 2nd opinions are handy.
                          I can attest to the fact that there foam cell shocks are quite a good unit, being quite a thick bore design and pretty tough design, also offering noticeable ride quality improvements over oem stuff (monroe sux),but they have quite a few warranties on there stuff, but whos products dont, thats why pedders offers a 2 year replacement guarantee, food for thought.
                          Id say their torsion bars are quite good, being thicker than oem, save ya bucks and go for their bars, shouldn't make a dif in the long run.
                          Just realise that polyurethane type bushes are firmer and will transfer more harshness into the vehicle, they are generally best suited to areas of wheel deflection control, ie; castor bars, sway bar points. They do not have the durability of rubber bushes either.
                          Hope this helps


                          • #14
                            That's good advice, thanks! The work was done about two weeks ago though, I ended up going for Bilstein shocks and using their torsion bars (which i measured to 27mm thick). Urethane bushes were put into the rear sway bar and the trailing arms. Also replaced all four ball joints and the rear tail shaft uni joint.

                            Overall the car handles a bit better but i still find it unacceptable on bad asphalted roads (still not been offroad yet). One such example is certain sections of Oxford street in Sydney, where it feels like the wheels loose traction when driving at 60... It could of course be the bumpstops hitting but the clearance is about 15mm off the top one.. would i risk damaging anything if i take off the bumpstops to see if this is the case?

                            There is also a new vibration which as far as i can tell comes from the drivetrain (tailshaft) but could also be affected by one of the front tyres having bad edgewear (will swap front and rear tyres on that side today if i get around to it). Or maybe the vibration was concealed by soft bushes previously...?

                            I did find that one of the uni joints on the steering linkage is quite worn. Replacing that should hopefully take care of some of the vibrations going through the steering wheel. I have another post regarding the possibility of the body mounts being responsible for some of this vibration but no replies yet..

                            The bullbar is mounted to the frame right? I can definitely see the right corner of the bullbar bounce relative to the bonnet. Will try to check the bullbar mounts to determine whether they would let it move like that!


                            • #15
                              I think my NL is lifted about 40mm and the measurement from centre of rear hub to the guard is 560mm.

                              The NL has a body lift though, so yours could be lifted about 70mm over a stock NH.
                              98 NL LWB with plenty on the wish list


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