After 125,000km and about about 6% of that something else other than bitumen tarred roads (gravel, sand, kaolin, mud, river beds, rivers, etc), it was time to swap out the factory installed shocks. They’ve grown rather soft and in the case of the rear pair, one side was definitely much softer resulting in a slight tilt. Must be all those crazy teenagers from our Church Youth ministry riding shotgun in the tray, singing, jumping and doing everything they can to fall off while I’m trying to do the opposite. Eight teenagers can weigh quite a bit and you’ve got to throw in 400 kilos of rice and supplies to boot.

Trawled the forums for suggestions but most came down to Rancho‘s. Remember that unlike many 4×4 drivers I see in my daily commute, my truck gets dirty regularly. It’s just so silly to see a 4×4 with solid rear axles, low-ratio 4×4 mode with 18-inch super polished rims and low-profiles. The forums also strongly recommended me to go to Off-road Equipment in Batu Caves. So off I went and a full set of Rancho RS9000XLs got installed in under fifty minutes. Great service, good people and well, I’ll be back for more upgrades later this year!


The RS9000XLs are heavy duty adjustable shocks which seemed like something I would need as an unloaded tray tends to bounce on KL potholes so I figured I can adjust the rear stiffness based on loading. Right now, my front is set to the mid-point which is 5 (it goes from super-soft 1 setting to hard at 9). My unloaded rear is set to 2. I just had them for two days and what a difference it makes to the handling. Ride quality is improved along with reduced bumpiness when the tray’s empty. Overall stickiness to the road’s also better, especially taking corners although I can’t quantify it. Well, the big test in coming in two weeks when we head off for some community service in conjunction with Sanofi-Aventis. The road’s pretty tough but don’t take my word for it — members from the Land Rover owner’s club in Malaysia who went with me once judged the trail at about 4 if following this scale here or about 7 to 8 (depending on wet weather) using this rating scale. Ok, let me go and look at some MT tires…