The Badger gets a new Tough Dog suspension

Kleatus

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Since there doesn't seem to be a ton of info or end user reports yet out on there on the 60 series Tough Dog suspensions available from Trail Tailor ( @reevesci )I will post up, since I just installed one.

My 1989 FJ62 is my DD, and has a lot of miles. Rolled over 391k as of this morning to be more exact. I'm not sure what the original design life of the suspension was, but I'm pretty sure It has been exceeded several times over.

The truck takes me to work, gets wheeled, takes trips on the highway, goes camping and hauls stuff. It's got an ARB front bumper and 9500 lb winch up front as well. Without some creative assistance, the old suspension was nearly touching the bump stops all the way around.

Driving around town it wasn't that bad, but potholes or anything off the pavement required gritting your teeth and going at a snails pace.


I have been thinking about a new suspension for a bit, and decided to go for the Tough Dog. I got the bullbar+winch front springs, 0-660lb rears, 41mm foam cell shocks, steering damper, and greasable shackles. I got in touch with Jason on Thursday, and when I got home from work Saturday everything was at my door. That was quick!

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Everything was packaged well and arrived unscathed.

First thoughts-wow those shocks are beefy! Heavy too.
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Everything went on smoothly. I had the suspension apart about 2 years ago to replace the bushings with new OEM, so everything had been cleaned and anti-seized somewhat recently.

The front went on first:
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I need some sway bar extensions now.

Rear was next. I reused the OEM rubber spring isolated/locator pads as they were in good shape and fit the TD springs perfectly.
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I also built a bracket this morning to locate the axle end of the load sensing brake proportioning unit back to its original spot. That brought my brakes back to normal. I still need to re center my steering wheel as well.

I got out this morning and ran it down the highway to hit some forest service roads and see how it was going to perform. The first thing I really noticed was the immense improvement over drops, logs, rocks, etc. Before when I drove over a 5 or 6 inch log I would bottom out harshly no matter how slow I went. Now it is still a bump, but it's completely controlled and not harsh at all. I went over a handful of down trees like this, and not at a crawl.
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I ran the truck pretty hard and fast (well, for a '62 :D) down some forest roads for a couple miles and was very impressed with the shocks. They do a great job on big hits and those fast-appearing drainage cuts. I never bottomed out once.

I'm at my limit for pictures. Continued in the next post!
 

Kleatus

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Here is how it looks so far:
The truck is wearing 33x10.5 KO2's, has a 1" body lift from a previous owner, and I have the entire old suspension (~200+lbs) and my usual ~100 lbs of tools and other junk in the rear cargo area, as well as an 80 lb spare underneath.
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So far I am digging it.
Compared to the ride out, on the way back home after the quick beat down on the forest roads, I noticed a marked improvement in the highway ride; not that it was bad at all before but small bumps were getting soaked up a lot better. I've only got about 50 miles on it so I suspect it will improve even more as I get some more miles on it and get it all broken in.
 
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TRAIL TAILOR

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@reevesci

Any idea who makes the shocks for Tough Dog?


A,

This is what I will say for now...

Shocks are made in the US and Mexico by a US company. Adjustable shocks and components come out of Taiwan. Leaf springs are from Thailand. Coil springs from King Spring in Molendinar, QLD. The final quality control, assembly and checks are done in the Tough Dog facility in Blacktown, NSW.

J
 

TRAIL TAILOR

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Where did you get and how much for the set up. Very interested


Full kits range from 1450.00-2000.00 pending upgrade shock and steering stabilizer options.

Standard shock is the 41mm bore foam cell
Upgrade is a 40mm bore 9 stage adjustable foam cell

3 steering stabilizers

EXT- standard
RTC- return to center
SV- adjustable
 

Kleatus

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Ok, time for an update since it’s been a little over a year and 12,048 miles as of today since I installed this Tough Dog suspension kit (yeah, I drive it everyday ;)).

I am still very happy with my choice, no “cruiser lean” whatsoever, and it still rides great. Admittedly I don’t have very much seat time in other 60 series trucks to compare, but I have been in a handfull of other 60’s with some different setups. This suspension feels like it is happier the faster you go. I have driven it for long periods of time at the very high ends of highway speed and it is completely secure and stable. I have also yet to bottom it out off road. These shocks really are great.

Based on some quick measurements tonight it looks like it’s settled about 3/4” all the way around. I am sitting at 3” to the stock bumpstops up front and 5 1/4” in the rear.

I have loaded the back up with nearly 1,000 pounds of excavator track rollers and bucket cutting edges and driven at highway speeds and it didn’t feel wallowing at all. It was hunched down for sure, but not bottomed out and still handled fine.

I did have one minor issue early on when I noticed I was missing some of the plastic isolators from the leaf clips that @red66toy had on his springs in the back (determined to have been knocked off in shipping) but @reevesci sent me some new ones pronto and they have held up fine since. Thanks again!

Not much to see in the photos. Looks like before, but dirtier and with a little rust around the edges where they’ve been scraped and had gravel kicked up onto (they do put brine on the roads where I live in the winter, and I should have done a better job cleaning and hosing them down with some white lithium grease or something.)

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TRAIL TAILOR

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Thanks for the report. As a customer of mine, you may have the most miles on a complete Tough Dog suspension currently. I only have about 6600 on Poppy. I know of customers in Australia and South Africa with upwards of 60,000 miles on these and still going strong.

I'm still very pleased with the products and especially the customer service and interaction with the Tough Dog staff in Australia.

Once again thank you for the write up and follow up posting.

Jason
 

Kleatus

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We have a few trips planned this summer in addition to DD duties. So by this time next year I should be very close to 30k on the suspension (and 420k on the truck :D). I will report back then!
 

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