Jimny Suspension Upgrade or Air Bags?





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  1. #1
    heysoymilk Guest

    Default Jimny Suspension Upgrade or Air Bags?

    Proud owner of a Suzuki Jimny here. I use it primarily for camping/ basic overlanding. No rough 4x4 trails.

    I've got drawers and batteries installed in the back (probably about 70kg total) and am adding a fridge soon. The stock suspension is close to its limit and I can feel the difference in handling.

    I'm debating an upgraded suspension for around 15k (EFS or Tough Dog) or adding in airbags to assist the rear springs with the weight for about 5k. Should I get the airbags now or save up and upgrade the suspension later?

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    Default Re: Jimny Suspension Upgrade or Air Bags?

    Mmm it would be interesting to hear what everyone has to say about this topic.

    I replaced my original with gabriel gas riders.

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    Default Re: Jimny Suspension Upgrade or Air Bags?

    Question is do you want to keep ride height or gain some lift too. If happy with ride height as standard I would suggest air helpers and good set of aftermarket shocks. Air helpers are what the name states - they help your current suspension and level the car out again. They do not lift the vehicle and won't dampen like a shock absorber. They are basically adjustable coils (only stiffness not height).

    2011 Suzuki Jimny

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    Ex SJ410, 1984

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    Default Re: Jimny Suspension Upgrade or Air Bags?

    Hello,

    I faced this same decision last year. We use our Jimny for camping / over-landing and don't plan on doing more than grade 3 trails. For me the negatives associated with 'lifting' suspension were not things I wanted to compromise being that it's also my daily drive. But after adding a roof-rack it became obvious that something needed to be done as even under the lightest roof load handling, acceleration and fuel consumption were compromised.

    I decided to try the air-helpers and HD shocks combination. I have no experience with lifted suspensions as comparison but am extremely happy with the air-helpers / HD shocks - this is a great upgrade for camping / over-landing type use. Loaded or not, on or off road, wind, changing road surfaces, etc. handling, acceleration and consumption is better than standard. It now handles much more like a 'normal' car.

    One thing to take into account in making this decision - if you plan on regularly doing trips in places with high middle-mannetjie such as Kalagadi, you would benefit from the extra height a lift provides.

    Remember though, no matter what you decided, the Jimny legal load limit is around 360 or 380kgs which must include the 40l fuel in the tank, driver and passenger/s and everything else loaded into / onto it.

    Regards
    Last edited by Grise; 2017/03/14 at 12:23 AM.
    Janine
    2009 Jimny
    Transfer case and Radial cup protection
    VPU - rear wheel arches
    Packing System & Roofrack
    Geolander AT's,
    Airbags & EFS shocks

    2010 Ford Bantam XLT 1.6 - Sold
    1981 Ford Cortina - but it went forever! Until stolen

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    Default Re: Jimny Suspension Upgrade or Air Bags?

    Pre and post air-bag and shocks upgrade pics - note how low the rear suspension sits in the pre-upgrade pic (loaded for a 4 day trip) compared to the height in the post pic (loaded for a 16 day trip). The added suspension support completely changes handling. Driving all day is way less tiring now we're not needing to constantly counter-steer and fight wind.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Janine
    2009 Jimny
    Transfer case and Radial cup protection
    VPU - rear wheel arches
    Packing System & Roofrack
    Geolander AT's,
    Airbags & EFS shocks

    2010 Ford Bantam XLT 1.6 - Sold
    1981 Ford Cortina - but it went forever! Until stolen

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    Default Re: Jimny Suspension Upgrade or Air Bags?

    We were making the same decision earlier this year, we have drawer, fridge etc. And were finding we were hitting bump stops when fully loaded. Finally decided to go with tough dog with stiffer coils. We very happy, car is a daily driver too, dropped tire pressures a bit for daily commute. Have done a camp and a 4x4 trail since and very happy. Overall the cars all round handling and freeway handling at higher speed is improved. I also don't feel I'm being blown around in a gale force wind anymore.(which happens in PE)
    2011 Suzuki Jimny, Rocksliders (Bluerocket), Underbody protection (Stofpad), Roofrack (African Outback)
    Drawer System (self)

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    Default Re: Jimny Suspension Upgrade or Air Bags?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grise View Post
    Hello,

    I faced this same decision last year. We use our Jimny for camping / over-landing and don't plan on doing more than grade 3 trails. For me the negatives associated with 'lifting' suspension were not things I wanted to compromise being that it's also my daily drive.
    I am interested in what you thought would be negatives associated with a lifted (upgraded) suspension. My experience with a 50mm EFS lift was just the opposite. My road holding improved vastly, even when empty, as the car rolled much less in turns and under braking. On corrugated gravel the trampling was much less due to the bigger shocks as the OEM shock very quickly overheat if worked hard, severely reducing damping of the suspension.

    A lift also raise your viewpoint giving you a better view of your surroundings. OK, empty your ride is a little harder with the lift springs, specially if you have HD's in the back, but I find many Jimny drivers complain about a hard ride. Asking about tyre pressure one find they are running higher pressures that what Suzuki recommend on the door sticker.
    Cobus
    2010 Jimny

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    Default Re: Jimny Suspension Upgrade or Air Bags?

    [QUOTE=jab2;3518363]I am interested in what you thought would be negatives associated with a lifted (upgraded) suspension.

    Hi Jab2
    Yes, I do agree with you and didn't mean to infer that a lifted suspension would not provide similar handling results. I think with these kind of upgrades one has to research and consider all answers per own specific circumstances and needs.

    Per my research and considerations (excuse my terminology in places which may not be completely correct)

    Lifting exposes a larger area between road surface and undercarriage that negatively affects the aerodynamics of the vehicle which apparently will negatively affect power / fuel consumption. This might be slight - I didn't do calcs.
    My daily drive and our camping trips often include quite extreme winds. With the added roof-rack it was so underpowered in strong wind we felt we were a danger to other road users. Fuel consumption increased to 350km / tank - I wanted something that would have least additional impact in this regard.

    For interest our fuel consumption fully loaded no matter surface / head wind / loaded roof rack / 4x4 mode is now minimum 400km / tank. In the Jimny this is a big plus when doing longer trips or where fuel is an issue - we prefer to minimize the need to carry fuel.

    The 'gained' height (4-5cm) seemed insignificant to me (weighed against my other requirements) especially as it only relates to body and not axles and considering our use of the vehicle as camping overlanding and not extreme trails.

    The air-bag / HD combination is quite a bit cheaper than the lift. I planned to test the airbags/HD shock combo and if that did not meet the need I would re-consider adding stiffer coils. A 16 day Richtersveld / Namibia trip proved the air-bag/HD shock combo more than sufficient for our needs.

    The air-helpers / HD shocks do also give a harder ride so not really different there except that there might be some room for adjusting per preference with the air-bags for daily use. For everyday use (unloaded) I've found pumping the air-helpers so that the back is about 1cm higher than the front (slightly nose down stance) makes a significant improvement to power and fuel consumption. The air-helpers prevent wind /body roll from changing this stance which I think explains the improved fuel and pull-away power.

    Regards
    Janine
    2009 Jimny
    Transfer case and Radial cup protection
    VPU - rear wheel arches
    Packing System & Roofrack
    Geolander AT's,
    Airbags & EFS shocks

    2010 Ford Bantam XLT 1.6 - Sold
    1981 Ford Cortina - but it went forever! Until stolen

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    Default Re: Jimny Suspension Upgrade or Air Bags?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grise View Post
    Hi Jab2
    Yes, I do agree with you and didn't mean to infer that a lifted suspension would not provide similar handling results. I think with these kind of upgrades one has to research and consider all answers per own specific circumstances and needs.

    Per my research and considerations (excuse my terminology in places which may not be completely correct)

    Lifting exposes a larger area between road surface and undercarriage that negatively affects the aerodynamics of the vehicle which apparently will negatively affect power / fuel consumption. 100% Correct This might be slight - I didn't do calcs. Not so slight, in my experience. I would however say its even or less than the extra drag from a roofrack and the reason I went for a Thule box. Thule box construction also prevent you from loading heavy item high on the vehicle.
    My daily drive and our camping trips often include quite extreme winds. With the added roof-rack it was so underpowered in strong wind we felt we were a danger to other road users. Fuel consumption increased to 350km / tank - I wanted something that would have least additional impact in this regard. About what I get after the lift too.

    For interest our fuel consumption fully loaded no matter surface / head wind / loaded roof rack / 4x4 mode is now minimum 400km / tank. Never saw that, note even before the lift. I must have a heavy foot yet my cruise speed is 100-110 Km/h. In the Jimny this is a big plus when doing longer trips or where fuel is an issue - we prefer to minimize the need to carry fuel. I found wind resistance not to be an issue till about 80 Km/h, then it increases exponentially.

    The 'gained' height (4-5cm) seemed insignificant to me (weighed against my other requirements) especially as it only relates to body and not axles and considering our use of the vehicle as camping overlanding and not extreme trails. Good compromise for your use as approach and departure angle is fine with OEM suspension and bumpers up to moderate grade 3 trails.

    The air-bag / HD combination is quite a bit cheaper than the lift. I planned to test the airbags/HD shock combo and if that did not meet the need I would re-consider adding stiffer coils. A 16 day Richtersveld / Namibia trip proved the air-bag/HD shock combo more than sufficient for our needs. The EFS shocks over the OEM shocks will most definitely make a difference. They are after all the components that control the rate of suspension movement which can lead to bad handling if not working well.

    The air-helpers / HD shocks do also give a harder ride so not really different there except that there might be some room for adjusting per preference with the air-bags for daily use. For everyday use (unloaded) I've found pumping the air-helpers so that the back is about 1cm higher than the front (slightly nose down stance) makes a significant improvement to power and fuel consumption. The air-helpers prevent wind /body roll from changing this stance which I think explains the improved fuel and pull-away power. Interesting theory. Sounds plausible but a bit difficult to "scientifically" evaluate though.

    Regards
    Answer in red.

    It would be interesting to see your Jimny and a raised suspension one, loaded to approximately the same weight do a trip of a few days together and compare notes afterwards. (Fuel usage, easy of driving, handling, off road behavior and cautions) I include ease of driving as I find the Jimny very tiring to drive long distance on tar as one has much more steering input and need to concentrate more compare to my VW Caddy for instance.
    Last edited by jab2; 2017/03/14 at 03:53 PM.
    Cobus
    2010 Jimny

  10. #10
    heysoymilk Guest

    Default Re: Jimny Suspension Upgrade or Air Bags?

    Hi all,

    Thank you so much! Based on your very comprehensive answers, I'm leaning towards the air helpers for now, and possibly HD springs. Then in a year or two, if I still need to scratch the itch, upgrading to a lifted suspension kit.

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    Default Re: Jimny Suspension Upgrade or Air Bags?

    Jab2 I'm not refuting anything you say. As mentioned one needs to do the research and apply the result to own particular circumstance as I'm sure the OP will. He asked should he get air-bags (for his use) or wait and save.
    I gave my experience with air-bags (coupled with HD shocks) as being more than sufficient for what appears to be very similar use.

    Yes the roof rack adds significant drag but we chose it above the Thule box for our specific circumstances. Ease of driving was also a consideration especially when one is doing long distances on trips. Comparing the two set-ups would be interesting but as you say very difficult to evaluate scientifically.

    Regards
    Janine
    2009 Jimny
    Transfer case and Radial cup protection
    VPU - rear wheel arches
    Packing System & Roofrack
    Geolander AT's,
    Airbags & EFS shocks

    2010 Ford Bantam XLT 1.6 - Sold
    1981 Ford Cortina - but it went forever! Until stolen

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    Default Re: Jimny Suspension Upgrade or Air Bags?

    Daily runabout, once a year overlanding, never extreme 4x4. Why do you not do a few light trails first see how it behave when loaded simmilar to an expected overlanding trip (weekend trips)

    If you find it bottom out. Add air helpers. If you find you need extra 4cm lift add a 40mm coil spacer lift kit with hd shocks. if you find that still not doing it add full sus upgrade (many many ZA ronds).

    Going full suspension upgrade really is for the more serious offroader (extreme trails) and when operating maybe over legal weight restrictions or above normal operating practices.

    80% of normal overlanding trips can be done with stock standard vehicles and 95% with 4x4 vehicles.

    Maybe when you have done most standard overlanding and need to do the last 5% extreme overlanding sections then consider full suspension upgrade on jimny, but then I would have also opted for a much more appropriate 4x4.

    People underestimate their vehicles to a very large extend. That is why you need to regularly get off the tar road to learn your vehicle long before doing a overlanding trip. Inexperienced drivers think accesories make it more potent but the nut behind the wheel who know his vehicle a bit more intimate can do miracles with such a vehicle.

    So go explore first before you invest serious money like a full suspension upgrade. You will quickly find what work what does not work.

    I cannot advice you as my jimny does have not got a full suspention system but here are a few posts where people say they find the full suspension (eg tough dog) just way to hard for a daily runabout.

    So let your circumstances rather be the deciding factor.
    Last edited by johan65; 2017/03/14 at 08:07 PM.

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    Default Re: Jimny Suspension Upgrade or Air Bags?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grise View Post
    Hello,

    I faced this same decision last year. We use our Jimny for camping / over-landing and don't plan on doing more than grade 3 trails. For me the negatives associated with 'lifting' suspension were not things I wanted to compromise being that it's also my daily drive. But after adding a roof-rack it became obvious that something needed to be done as even under the lightest roof load handling, acceleration and fuel consumption were compromised.

    I decided to try the air-helpers and HD shocks combination. I have no experience with lifted suspensions as comparison but am extremely happy with the air-helpers / HD shocks - this is a great upgrade for camping / over-landing type use. Loaded or not, on or off road, wind, changing road surfaces, etc. handling, acceleration and consumption is better than standard. It now handles much more like a 'normal' car.

    One thing to take into account in making this decision - if you plan on regularly doing trips in places with high middle-mannetjie such as Kalagadi, you would benefit from the extra height a lift provides.

    Remember though, no matter what you decided, the Jimny legal load limit is around 360 or 380kgs which must include the 40l fuel in the tank, driver and passenger/s and everything else loaded into / onto it.

    Regards
    I like your setup. Would you mind sharing which shocks and airhelpers you had fitted?

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    Default Re: Jimny Suspension Upgrade or Air Bags?

    Hi Marius,

    The shocks are EFS for no specific reason other than that was what was in stock when I had it done.
    The air helpers are AirLift 1000 (GRA60739F1 Rear Suzuki Jimmy 2009) from Gremeltch.

    Regards
    Janine
    2009 Jimny
    Transfer case and Radial cup protection
    VPU - rear wheel arches
    Packing System & Roofrack
    Geolander AT's,
    Airbags & EFS shocks

    2010 Ford Bantam XLT 1.6 - Sold
    1981 Ford Cortina - but it went forever! Until stolen

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    Default Re: Jimny Suspension Upgrade or Air Bags?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grise View Post
    Hi Marius,

    The shocks are EFS for no specific reason other than that was what was in stock when I had it done.
    The air helpers are AirLift 1000 (GRA60739F1 Rear Suzuki Jimmy 2009) from Gremeltch.

    Regards
    Hi Grise. Still happy with your AirLift 1000? Considering getting it over a full suspension upgrade since we are only doing overlanding / camping trips.

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    Default Re: Jimny Suspension Upgrade or Air Bags?

    Quote Originally Posted by heysoymilk View Post
    Proud owner of a Suzuki Jimny here. I use it primarily for camping/ basic overlanding. No rough 4x4 trails.

    I've got drawers and batteries installed in the back (probably about 70kg total) and am adding a fridge soon. The stock suspension is close to its limit and I can feel the difference in handling.

    I'm debating an upgraded suspension for around 15k (EFS or Tough Dog) or adding in airbags to assist the rear springs with the weight for about 5k. Should I get the airbags now or save up and upgrade the suspension later?
    Hi heysoymilk. Did you end up getting the AirLift 1000 kit? If you did, are you happy with your choice? We're considering getting airbags for overlanding / camping.

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    Default Re: Jimny Suspension Upgrade or Air Bags?

    Hi Guys, i'm also thinking of getting some Air Helpers. I do moderate trails, usually maximum grade 3. In September i'm going to be doing the 4x4 trail at Gamkaberg Nature Reserve, which is apparently grade 3. I will be doing this with 4 people in the Jimny and a loaded roof rack. I think the benefits of air lifters sound like something I could use. I was just wondering though, can i install only 2 air-helpers in the rear, or will i need to install 4. Looking at the AirLift 1000 from Gremeltech. They currently go for R3800 for the full kit.
    "Though the road is rocky, it sure feels good to me" Bob Marley

    2016 Suzuki Jimny - Wrangler AT/SA+, Airlift 1000, Wizerd Bumper, Steel Undies, Rock Slider & Tow bar


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    Default Re: Jimny Suspension Upgrade or Air Bags?

    Quote Originally Posted by OD_1 View Post
    Hi Guys, i'm also thinking of getting some Air Helpers. I do moderate trails, usually maximum grade 3. In September i'm going to be doing the 4x4 trail at Gamkaberg Nature Reserve, which is apparently grade 3. I will be doing this with 4 people in the Jimny and a loaded roof rack. I think the benefits of air lifters sound like something I could use. I was just wondering though, can i install only 2 air-helpers in the rear, or will i need to install 4. Looking at the AirLift 1000 from Gremeltech. They currently go for R3800 for the full kit.

    Roam Overlanding, has done many of the mods discussed in this post

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSl...Ap4ZGJg/videos
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