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I have just got back from a meeting with Paul Marsh at Footloose 4x4, regarding vehicle prep for Trans-Africa.

One of the most surprising things to come out of said meeting was my choice of suspension set-up on an expedition vehicle. I currently run De Carbon dampers on standard springs. I was only planning on changing the springs to 110 or 130's closer to leaving, when fully laden.

When the subject of suspension arose, I expected the obvious "Old Man Emu is the ONLY way to go" line to crop up; however Paul said that in an expedition scenario, OME dampers are not good enough.

He reckons Koni Heavy Track Raid dampers, matched to an appropriate OME spring once we have determined actual laden weights.

So, my question is: What experience have people had of Koni products, and where would I source these in the UK, if i DID decide to go down this route.

I have had my own experience of Koni, but that was on my old sports car.

Martin

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Martin

I have used my 110 to go from Somerset to Cape Town and the set up I had was double shocks at the back using De Carbon dampers with Hicap springs at the back. After 25000 miles across Africa the shocks where still good as new. I did have to replace one, but that was due to a rock bending it rather than it wearing out. I did meet quite a few South Africa in Kenya etc who had added the 130 helper spring that goes inside the main spring. This apparently is a progressive spring that becomes harder the more it is compressed.

I had put double shocks in the front which I would advise against as they almost tore off the spring hangers from the chassis. My front springs were standard CSW. I had these replaced with Bearmac heavy duty in Namibia when the mechanic had to weld the tears up on the spring hangers. My recommendation now would be to put heavy duty springs on the front.

In all getting back to the shocks question. I used the De Carbon's and found them very good. This was highlighted in Sudan where a joint expedition member went through two sets of standard shocks in less than 500 miles where I had no issues. In Khartoum he changed to Manroes and was very happy with them.

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mm disagree with that as i have OME's on n-both my touring trucks and did a mayor tour with OME and found them great. And it is important to remeber that is what OME's were made for and not winch challenging. They were made for thousand and thousand of miles of dirt tracks with corrigations , in a car heavyly loadedO

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Yeah, he did say that double shocks was the norm.

However, always up for a challenge me, I am doing it in a 90, so single shocks it is, which is why I would like to investigate more.

Ali, I KNOW that is how OME came about, which is also why I said I was very surprised at Paul saying they were not up to the job.

If it were just a random persons opinion, then I would shrug it off, and go with my heart. As Paul has an extraordinary amount of Overland experience, he must have a reason for saying it, hence my trying to gain another opinion.

Martin

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I have had a couple of meetings with Paul now, the first of which was more of me "interviewing" him to see if he is worthy of my business.

On both occassions, and today my partner was with me, I had the very distinct impression that he stocks/recommends products that he knows works in the field, NOT what he happens to have on his shelf at a given time.

Like I said, this is a guy with a shining reputation, he must have a reason for his opinion. I find it very hard to believe myself though to be honest.

To be fair to him, he DID insist on OME springs; and to further clarify, he only said OME were not up to scratch on African roads with very large vehicle weights, in conjunction with notorious African road corrugations. Apparently the dampers will be overworked in this situation.

Martin

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mm disagree with that as i have OME's on n-both my touring trucks and did a mayor tour with OME and found them great. And it is important to remeber that is what OME's were made for and not winch challenging. They were made for thousand and thousand of miles of dirt tracks with corrigations , in a car heavyly loadedO

People here doing the off road tourist runs (similar kind of use - roverload of fat American tourists over rough off road tracks) seem to break them more than you might expect, from what I have heard.

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I have just got back from a meeting with Paul Marsh at Footloose 4x4, regarding vehicle prep for Trans-Africa.

One of the most surprising things to come out of said meeting was my choice of suspension set-up on an expedition vehicle. I currently run De Carbon dampers on standard springs. I was only planning on changing the springs to 110 or 130's closer to leaving, when fully laden.

When the subject of suspension arose, I expected the obvious "Old Man Emu is the ONLY way to go" line to crop up; however Paul said that in an expedition scenario, OME dampers are not good enough.

He reckons Koni Heavy Track Raid dampers, matched to an appropriate OME spring once we have determined actual laden weights.

So, my question is: What experience have people had of Koni products, and where would I source these in the UK, if i DID decide to go down this route.

I have had my own experience of Koni, but that was on my old sports car.

Martin

Hi Martin, I can't really comment on the shocks, as I don't have experience of either brand, but I should just point out that you won't be able to fit 110 or 130 rear springs to your 90 very easily, as they are a larger diameter and so you would need to replace the rear spring mounts to fit them.

Regards,

Diff

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Koni shocks on a RR P38 are a no-no.

They are to stiff and lead to horrible ride quality, plus the pins are too long

so once the bushes start to wear, the shock can move about and you get a

clanking.

Not the car your using, but that is my and others expirience of KONI shocks.

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Personally, instead of buying a new set of shocks of a different make, I'd buy a spare pair of DeCarbon's (1 front, 1 rear). Less cash spent and you now have a spare set should anything happen to your existing setup. If you find you have more breakages have someone in uk source an extra pair next day and ship out to you. You can't guarantee that the Koni's won't break.

There's a lot made of suspension upgrades etc for overlanding, yet it's funny how many of standard NGO Defenders do ok when they spend all of their life overloaded on these roads/tracks.

If you fit OME springs you'll have to have a lift. I see no point in lifting suspension by 2" on a vehicle that is going to have a roof rack, roof tent to raise CoG already. Fit some HD springs by all means, but try and get itas close to standard height as possible.

Steve

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if you do go to the trouble of changing your shocks - look into changing the mounting eyes on the front (D2 shock towers perhaps) so that your front and rear shocks are the same. That way you only need to take one type of shock as a spare if you suffer a failure.

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Looks again as if I'm the odd one out.........

My 110 Defender, sorry I can't comment on a 90 really, runs standard springs and shocks. Single at the rear. loaded normally to 3.400kg when in southern Africa I've not had any problems. The shocks were replaced in 2004 for our first trip. They weren't changed for the next two trips. One of 20,000km and six monthes. In fact the shocks are still fitted.

My opinion on overland suspension should be well known. STANDARD components. These should be available reasonably easily in most places. Will other parts be as readily available ?

I do carry one front and one rear shocker, both the old ones that have been taken off .....

mike

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Hi, I have koni heavy track raid fitted to my 90. Have them for three years and love them. My mate has ome's and compared to these the koni's are

alot beefier. They have more oil in them so won't overheat as quick as others. If you have to use them in a heavy vehicle on bad roads I would buy them.

However for use on tarmac, play sites in England/Europe I would use normal heavy tracks or OME's wich are similar. You also have the ability to adjust them.

Time consuming, you have to unbolt the shock but you can personalise them a bit.

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Hi, I have koni heavy track raid fitted to my 90. Have them for three years and love them. My mate has ome's and compared to these the koni's are

alot beefier. They have more oil in them so won't overheat as quick as others. If you have to use them in a heavy vehicle on bad roads I would buy them.

However for use on tarmac, play sites in England/Europe I would use normal heavy tracks or OME's wich are similar. You also have the ability to adjust them.

Time consuming, you have to unbolt the shock but you can personalise them a bit.

Use the KONI HEAVY TRACK (softest setting) in combination with Kings HD Springs. Great stuff.

Use them for street, gravel and dunes here in UAE. never got disapointed.

Planning to try the next stiffer setup soon. Just because since I fixed a roof tent and I want to be on the safer side to avoid a roll...

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Koni shocks on a RR P38 are a no-no.

They are to stiff and lead to horrible ride quality, plus the pins are too long

so once the bushes start to wear, the shock can move about and you get a

clanking.

Not the car your using, but that is my and others expirience of KONI shocks.

I have used single koni's and been fairly happy with them but any twin shock set up will be uncomfortable its more really for comp use than cross country travel

a good quality shock with the correct spring set up should be more than enough to give you what you want.

I was out in Aus a little while ago and drove both of Reads trucks on outback roads be it for a short distance the car was still comfortable and smooth well as much as one can be on corrugations.

I can't see how two shocks working on one wheel can do anything less than over damp that wheel.

Don't get me wrong when competing you need that but you’re not beating the death out of a truck on a expedition.

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