How to Choose the Right Coilover for Your Overland Rig
Choosing the right coilover system for your Overland Vehicle can be very overwhelming, the options are endless. We will breakdown the options, simplify the explanation of how each works, and weigh out the benefits. The coilover system will be rewarding every time you take your vehicle onto a new adventure.
You will find coil and strut assemblies in the front suspension of most midsize and half ton trucks, Tacomas, 4Runners, FJ Cruisers, GX470s, Tundras, F150s, etc. In these configurations the coil will hold the weight of your front end and the shock internally will control the motion of your suspension. Hence the term “coil-over”, coil over strut, or coil over shock. The shock will be filled with pressurized oil, this oil travels through small orifices and valves to control the motion of your front suspension. Oil traveling through valves creates heat, remember that it will be important later.
The above photo shows a coil and strut assembly in the front suspension of a Toyota 4Runner.
Your OEM front strut assemblies are more than likely a monotube non-adjustable strut, those are big words... lets break them down. What do we mean by non-adjustable, there are two main ways to adjust a coil over, length and damping (switching from soft ride to firm ride to make it easy to understand). These struts will do neither of these, they will stay at an unadjustable height and fixed damping levels.
For a cost effective suspension upgrade non-adjustable aftermarket struts can be a great choice. The right strut can add lift height for larger off road tires and a better ride quality than OEM struts. Expedition Vehicle Outfitters will help choose a quality system then handle sales and installation.
-No Height Adjustment, add a heavy bumper and the front suspension sits low you will not have a height adjustment.
-No Damping Adjustment, Rides too soft and bouncy, rides too firm and rough. You will not be able to adjust any of this. (Usually not an issue with proper spring rates)
This is where things can get blurry... Look at the Coilover shocks above. At the top of the springs you can see a collar. That collar is threaded and designed to be adjustable. This gives us the ability to change the ride height of the front suspension by threading the collar down or upwards. Generally speaking most coilovers will be made out of aluminum and hold more oil that a monotube strut. The larger oil capacity will mean that the oil will stay cooler while off roading. Cooler oil reduces the chances of shock fade and overheating the shocks during hard off roading.
Coilovers are charged with nitrogen, part of maintaining a coilover properly is checking the charge levels and filling if necessary. Expedition Vehicle Outfitters is capable of both checking charge levels and recharging coilovers.
-Height Adjustability. Add a heavy bumper and we can adjust the ride height of your front suspension to get the height exactly where we want it.
-Better ride quality than OEM Style Struts
-Larger oil capacity than OEM Style Struts
-Aluminum Construction saves weight and reduces corrosion
-More expensive than non-adjustable strut
-No damping adjustments. Too soft and bouncy or too firm and rough, no adjustments. (This is rarely an issue with the proper coilover spring weights)
Coilover with Remote Reservoir or “Resi”
All the same features as the above coilovers with one added feature. Reservoirs, what a reservoir does is adds oil capacity. This is a great upgrade for when you are experiencing shock fade during heavy off roading. The added oil capacity will greatly reduce shock oil temperatures and in some cases the reservoirs will have built in oil coolers.
Expedition Vehicle Outfitters will help you choose a quality coilover and service them after installation.
-Same positives as Coilovers listed above
-Added shock oil capacity is great for fast off roading
-Cost more than non-reservoir coilovers
Coilover with Adjustable Remote Reservoirs
When we add adjustability to the remote reservoirs of the coilovers now we have full control. These coilovers have all the benefits of the two coilovers listed above with an added feature, full adjustability. This will allow you to fine tune your on road ride quality or off road ride quality and control. Quality adjustors will have a great feel when adjusting allowing you to either count clicks or see what setting the you are adjusted to. The reason this is so important is so you can easily adjust both side coilovers to the same setting to avoid strange ride characteristics.
-Full Adjustability, We can dial in your ride height and you will be able to dial in your ride quality both on and off road.
-Best ride quality available
-Most expensive option of those given in this article
Expedition Vehicle Outfitters sells and installs all these options of coilovers. We will take the time to help curate the right system for your specific needs and goals. We have multiple options from the industries top brands. Our certified technicians are experienced and ready to help, let’s get your suspension perfect for your adventures.
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