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Discussion Starter #1
We have OEM shocks/springs and are considering beefing up at least the rear suspension. There is too much squat when even moderately loaded.
Has anyone used Bilstein B6 shocks? Any aftermarket springs?
 

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What is your goal? I don't know about stiffer springs readily available but there are companies that will custom make springs for you.

Bilsteins are always a good choice, I'd look to use them if I were replacing our shocks.

Are you towing or hauling a lot? An airbag assist is always a good choice if that's what you plan to do, do some searching on the forum.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
We will be carrying a sizable load as we "convert" to a "micro rv". See our other post, looking for plans/photos of a sleeping platform with storage after removing 2nd and 3rd row seats. We had built a platform over the 3rd row for 2 Labradors with storage underneath, plus we have the biggest Thule attic and the largest gear cage on the hitch. The latter may or may not be used at any given time. That load is rather pushing it, although we did 7500 miles that way.
We may also consider a lift kit so we have better access on conservation corps roads.
 

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Payload capacity of the 2012 is 1340 lbs.

That is inclusive of all passengers, and gear. Anything over that and you create a safety risk.

If you just don't like how it sits when at capacity, then you can reduce tire wear, and level the vehicle using air bags inside your springs. This will NOT increase payload capacity. As far as I know, there is no safe method to exceed the manufacturer rating on payload cap.


If you lift the pilot, you will need to ensure your airbag solution can be compatible for a lift.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
We've never overloaded, but there is too much rear squat even moderately loaded. We'll be swapping out rear rows of seats and replacing with a platform and will be well within specs.
We are looking at better shocks because we often find ourselves on washboard roads, forest and conservation service roads. We'll look into the air bags as well.
 

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We've never overloaded, but there is too much rear squat even moderately loaded. We'll be swapping out rear rows of seats and replacing with a platform and will be well within specs.
We are looking at better shocks because we often find ourselves on washboard roads, forest and conservation service roads. We'll look into the air bags as well.
The Bilstein B6 is going to be your best possible option on shocks. Had they been available when we bought ours, I would have installed them. Shocks wont do anything for ride height, however, you need spring rate or airbags for that. The problem with spring rate changes is the ride can get rough, or it will sit too high when unloaded. Not a problem if you always plan to travel loaded.... but I'd rather have airbags to be able to adjust it.
 
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I concur, airbags are your best option IMO so you get the best of both worlds with your adjustability.

As far as I know your only options for lifting are spacers (preload the springs) or custom springs. There are no subframe drop kits or more extensive setups, you would have to custom fab something. If you go with a spacer kit, the Firestone airbags should still work but you may need to get them in your hands to validate. Sounds like you are pretty handy, I'm assuming you can make it work.

I think the second gen is well suited to soft roading, look underneath and there was genuine thought put into the design of keeping items tucked up close to the body. The VTM-4 system with a good set of tires should treat you well as long as you treat it well. Picking lines on the trails becomes most important.


Have fun and document your build... as the 2nd gens become cheaper they will become more popular for this type of thing.
 
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