WE’RE ALWAYS told an aftermarket upgrade to suspension and upping GVM is essential for any tourer with their eyes on the Red Centre or the tip of Cape York, but an upgrade also makes perfect sense for the runabout work ute loaded with tools and equipment for the daily grind. The problem is we rarely get the chance to see exactly how much improvement quality aftermarket kit actually makes to a vehicle.
Pedders Suspension saw fit to remedy this by holding the ‘Sandown Safety Week’ at Sandown Raceway in Springvale, Victoria, an event held to provide its sales staff and franchise owners – a couple of sales staff were even flown in from its European distributors – with first-hand experience of its new product, so that they could pass on the good news to clients.
To do this Pedders set up five different stations around Sandown racetrack: Emergency Braking, Slalom Stability, Double Lane Change, Corner Braking and Rough Track (a dirt track with sharp corrugations).
Three vehicles were at each station, all set up slightly differently: OE, OE laden and a laden vehicle equipped with Pedders gear. This gave those in attendance the opportunity to drive a bone-stock vehicle back-to-back with a bone-stock vehicle loaded with ballast to within 400kg of its GVM limit. Following these test runs, a Pedders-equipped vehicle loaded with the same weight was then let loose to highlight the benefits the equipment makes.
4x4 explained: 4x4 vehicle loading and GVM
OE: Standard ute with no load
OE Laden: Vehicle loaded with ballast to within 400kg of GVM limit
Pedders Laden: Vehicle loaded with ballast to within 400kg of GVM limit with Pedders modifications*
Vehicles loaded with tools and/or enough gear to last weeks and months beyond the black stump often infringe on a vehicle’s GVM capacity, with some punters even unaware of the weight they’re imposing on their vehicles. The Pedders GVM+ kit helps alleviate this issue.
Each Pedders vehicle was equipped with a Pedders GVM+ Kit, which comprises Pedders’ TrakRyder foam cell shock absorbers (front and rear), heavy-duty coil springs (front), TrakRyder rear leaf springs, upgraded shackles and U-bolts, and urethane bushes.
Let’s take a closer look at each station.
Emergency Braking Test
You all know the drill: Hit 60km/h and smash your brake foot to the floor like your life depends on it.
The OE Ford Ranger is already sufficiently succinct at pulling up when the brake pedal meets the footwell, so we were eager to note the difference once we jumped aboard the Pedders-equipped rig. The notable takeaway from the emergency braking test – other than confirming the impressive ability of the OE Ranger’s stoppers – is the added assurance of the Pedders front and rear brake kits.
Not only did ‘most’ people pull up quicker, there was also a noticeable increase in control and handling once severe braking was underway. Interestingly, it was at the emergency braking station rather than the slalom station where the suspension benefits were most noticeable.
4x4 product test: Pedders' disc brake conversion kit
Pedders Ford Ranger modifications
GVM+ kit: $2699 (Increases GVM rating by 300kg over standard)
Pedders Big Front Brake Kit: $2420
Pedders Rear Drum to Disc Brake Conversion Kit: $2370
Double Lane Change Test
The purpose of the emergency double lane change is to prove that a driver can maintain control of a vehicle under heavy braking – brake hard, steer out to avoid an imaginary vehicle backing out of a driveway, and then quickly steer back into the original lane.
This exercise exemplified the increased bite the Pedders brake conversion kit afforded the Toyota Hilux, while the GVM+ kit allowed the driver to maintain more body control under hard braking, with the Pedders vehicle maintaining a higher level of composure than its OE counterparts.
Pedders Toyota Hilux modifications
GVM+ kit: $2262 (Increases GVM rating by 450kg over standard)
Pedders Rear Drum to Disc Brake Conversion Kit: $2360
Slalom Stability Test
Arriving at the Slalom Stability station we weren’t surprised to see a trio of Amaroks as the vehicles of choice, and, if nothing else, this drill shone a light on the exemplary handling performance of the big German. Sans any changes other than the GVM+ kit, the Pedders-equipped Amarok was marginally surer and more stable through the slalom than its OE-laden counterpart.
4x4 review: Amarok Ultimate 580
Pedders Volkswagen Amarok modifications
GVM+ kit: $2793 (Increases GVM rating by 460kg over standard)
Corner Braking Test
This test involves hitting 60km/h, smashing the anchors as you approach a bend, and then turning into the bend, ensuring you don’t oversteer in the process. With just the GVM+ kit installed, the purpose of this test was to experience the notable difference in smoothness and composure under extreme braking.
For something a bit different, we also got to mash the brakes into the corner with a trio of Toyota HiAces – not something we expected to be doing. Also unexpected was that the HiAce had a higher level of body control and stability than the Holden Colorado. Put that down to its wheelbase and a lower centre of gravity. (The Pedders HiAce was fitted with a GVM+ kit; RRP $2357.)
Pedders Holden Colorado modifications
GVM+ kit: $2603 (Increases GVM rating by 300kg over standard)
Rough Track Test
The ‘rough track’ station comprised of a quick loop around a series of sharp corrugations – not quite an off-road track, but enough to shake a few vertebrae. While the unladen OE banged and jolted its way across the circuit, it was the laden OE Isuzu D-Max that was riding on its bump stops by the end of the day – a bit of give is to be expected, though, after four days of non-stop abuse.
A drive of the Pedders GVM+ equipped D-Max resulted in a more surefooted experience, with a hell of a lot less banging and crashing within the cabin.
Pedders Isuzu D-Max modifications
GVM+ kit: $2603 (Increases GVM rating by 600kg over standard)
Safe & Sound
Pedders offers its GVM upgrade kits to a wide range of vehicles, with all suspension components backed by a two-year/40,000km nationwide warranty. Pedders states that its gear is “great for serious four-wheel drives fitted with bullbars, winches, recovery equipment, drawer systems, camping gear and underbody protection looking for compliance to the federal and state GVM laws.”
All Pedders GVM+ kits are fully engineered and federally certified to ensure insurance and warranty compliance. So, if your rig is struggling with its current load or you have plans to load it up for an upcoming off-road adventure, head over to: www.pedders.com.au