A Guide To Upgrading The Suspension In Your Mitsubishi MQ/MR Triton & QE/QF Pajero Sport
There are some real benefits that come with upgrading the undercooked stock suspension that your Triton or Pajero Sport is born with, from ride and handling improvements, to improved load carrying ability. But there are choices to make and some basic physics to understand, before you throw your credit card at a new kit.
Grab a tape measure and use it to work out how your vehicle is sitting right now. If it’s brand new, it should be close to the figures quoted below. If it’s got a few kilometres under its belt, or you’ve added some weighty accessories, it’ll likely have sagged and be sitting lower. Regardless of the situation, measuring helps you determine the starting point for your suspension upgrade plans and shows up any issues.
Measurements are taken from the centre of the wheel to the bottom edge of the guard directly above. Measuring in this way avoids any variations introduced by wheel and tyre size or tyre inflation.
￼Measuring heights the correct way - wheel centre to bottom edge of the guard directly above.
Mitsubishi quotes the following for both the Triton and Pajero Sport, noting that they allow a +/-20mm variation.
We’re noticing that the different guard design on the QF Pajero adds around 10mm to the front height, but Mitsubishi hasn’t revised its figures.
Measuring is worth the effort involved. If you use the measurements above as the ideal scenario, you can determine if your vehicle has sagged. For example, if you’re planning on fitting a levelling kit to your Triton, then you’ll want to make sure that the rear springs are healthy and sitting around the stock height, otherwise the levelling kit will make the front sit higher than the rear.
Newly fitted aftermarket suspension ride heights should be compared back to the above measurements, and be correspondingly higher, depending on the size of the lift chosen. If you compare back to a sagged vehicle’s measurements, the lifted amount will obviously be higher than the ‘as advertised’ lift kit height.
It should also be noted that very few vehicles sit perfectly and that there will often be a variance from side to side. Additionally, your new suspension kit probably won’t give you exactly the lift it says on the box, simply because every vehicle is different (remember that +/-20mm variation Mitsubishi allows for), every vehicle setup is different and there will undoubtedly be minor variations in springs and other components. You should be looking for a lift that’s ‘around’ what was advertised, and with these particular vehicles, it’s better if it’s lower rather than higher.
If you want to lift a Triton or Pajero Sport more than 40mm up front, then you will need to add aftermarket upper control arms (UCAs) and realistically, a diff drop kit, to your budget. If you don’t, you’ll have issues getting the wheels correctly aligned, the stock UCAs may contact the strut body, droop stop clearance may be non-existent and the front constant velocity driveshafts will wear and eventually fail.
Lifting up to around 40mm is the sweet spot for these vehicles, and unless you’ve chosen some fashionably oversized or poorly designed front struts, the stock UCAs will fit, an alignment will be possible and the driveshafts will be safe. The caveat here is that a pair of reduced height front droop stops replace the factory droop stops to maintain suitable clearance and levels of suspension droop.
Raising the rear height of these vehicles can result in drivetrain vibrations due to the two-piece tailshaft design. The lift results in the rear section of the tailshaft extending, reducing contact along the splined section, which creates a slight vibration under some driving conditions.
There are a few modifications that can eliminate or reasonably reduce the vibration experienced in the Tritons, the most popular being a tailshaft spacer which pushes the splined section of the tailshaft back to where it was or a revised tailshaft centre bearing unit that lowers the centre bearing and/or is a redesign of the centre bearing unit that allows less movement.
Some Pajero Sports can develop a low speed rumble and there’s a Pinion Angle Correction Kit available that will fix or reduce this issue (it’s Superpro part# SPF3861K), but in our experience it’s either not a common issue, or most owners don’t notice it.
In summary, it’s easy to lift these vehicles by up to 40mm, without doing any damage or causing any long term issues and any driveline vibrations can for the most part, be cured or reduced to a level that isn’t intrusive.
Lifting beyond 40mm, i.e. that mythical 50mm lift you see advertised regularly, is going to cost a lot of dollars to do right and avoid a range of issues.
A tailshaft spacer is included in the price of all of our lift, levelling and Standard+ suspension kits.
When it comes to getting the right suspension setup in any 4WD vehicle, weight is where the buck stops.
If you're keeping your vehicle stock, then the process is easy, but if you're adding accessories or towing regularly, then the additional weight of those accessories and the tow ball download weight of the trailer/camper/caravan you might be planning on towing, need to be factored in.
This additional weight, over and above the stock weight of the vehicle, is called 'constant load'. This is why, when buying suspension from our website, you answer a few questions regarding accessories and towing, as that allows us to select the springs to suit.
Springs are rated to deal with constant load, so our 0-300kg rear leaf packs for the Triton are ideal for the stock vehicle with no constant load, and will handle up to 300kg of constant load. These are the leaf packs that we fit to the majority of vehicles.
The next step up is a 300-500kg rear leaf pack, and for these to work correctly and importantly, sit at the right height (around a 40mm lift), then they need to have 300kg+ of constant load present.
It's a similar situation with the Pajero Sport, although there is the option to run the lightest coil and airbags (more about airbags below).
Being very clear about your vehicle's intended use and the approximate weights involved, is a big part of getting the suspension setup just right.
We also recommend fitting suspension to suit the vehicle as it is configured now, not how it might be in a year or two's time. If you're waiting for that front bar to be delivered, then hold off fitting the new suspension until the bar has been fitted.
If your suspension is setup for a steel bull bar only and you add a winch down the track, then it will alter the ride height and potentially affect the ride, steering and wheel alignment.
Droop is the available downward travel of the suspension. When full droop has been reached and then slightly exceeded, the wheel will be hanging in the air. Without getting too technical, when you raise a vehicle with independent suspension, the extra height is gained via a corresponding reduction in available droop. Reducing droop can impact ride quality and traction off-road and could potentially lead to component failure.
Reduced height front droop stops are a must and return a workable level of droop to any lift of up to 40mm.
If you’re shopping for a suspension kit for your Triton or Pajero Sport, then make sure it includes a set of reduced height front droop stops. A popular brand is Superpro.
We supply reduced height front droop stops with all of our levelling kits and lift kits, including the Standard+ kits.
￼An IFS vehicle should never sit with it's front higher than its rear. This is our Triton fitted with our 40mm Levelling Kit.
Both the Triton and the Pajero Sport, which is based on the Triton platform, have independent front suspension (IFS) and a solid axle rear suspension arrangement. As such, they should be set up with some rake biased towards the front of the vehicle, or in other words, you want the front to sit lower than the rear.
These vehicles should not have the front sitting higher than the rear, and ideally shouldn’t sit dead level, although it’s a popular trend, probably inspired by vehicles with live axle front and rear suspension, and or Baja race trucks.
Setting them up level or nose up is detrimental to the way they steer, brake and handle. It also impacts their load carrying ability, as a load will exacerbate the situation.
You need some rake. The front being just 5mm lower than the rear is better than it being dead level.
￼MR Triton fitted with our Forty20 lift kit, providing a 40mm front lift and 20mm rear lift.
Our Forty20 lift kit is a great way to reduce the Triton's bum in the air stance, while keeping a healthy dose of rake. It provides a 40mm front lift and a 20mm rear lift.
Click here to for more information on the Loaded4X4 Forty20 suspension lift kit.
￼ A Pajero Sport QF fitted with our Dynamic Tune 40mm Lift Kit and rear airbags.
Airbags can be fitted to the rear of the Triton, but we don't recommend doing so, unless you fully understand the risks and how to operate the vehicle to avoid doing damage. Airbags fitted to a leaf sprung vehicle can transfer load through a section of the chassis not designed to deal with that load, which can result in chassis failure.
This has been quite a common issue across all makes of 'pick-up' and isn't restricted to just the Triton, nor is the only cause airbags, but often where there's a broken chassis, there's a pair of airbags, a swag of load either in the tray, being towed or both, and a driver that's not tuned into the conditions.
The Pajero Sport has a coil sprung rear suspension arrangement that will accept an in-coil airbag without any risk to the vehicle. The airbag replaces the stock vehicle's bump stops and must be run with a minimum of 4psi when unloaded to ensure that bump stop functionality is retained.
An in-coil airbag when inflated effectively increases the spring rate of the coil spring it sits in by expanding between the coils. They offer the ability to run a lighter rear coil, which generally results in a better quality of ride, with the ability to inflate them when a load, such as a camper or caravan, is added.
They are however a compromise, and even when running just 4psi, will have a slightly detrimental affect on ride quality.
Polyair air bags are an option when purchasing our Pajero Sport lift kit.
UPGRADING WITHOUT A LIFT
The 4WD aftermarket suspension industry is geared towards lifted vehicles and increased weight carrying capacity, and as such there is, unbelievably, no direct aftermarket replacement option for the stock coil springs in either the Triton or the Pajero Sport.
We offer two options for the person wanting to upgrade their suspension, without raising the vehicle.
1 - Retain the stock springs and fit our front struts and rear shocks. The stock springs are reasonable quality and this approach provides a cost effective upgrade that is suitable for anyone not looking to add much in the way of constant load. The catch is that you’d need to have the gear fitted by a workshop that has access to a suitable coil spring compressor, as they’ll need to swap the front coils and top hats from the stock struts to the new struts. Most workshops that fit suspension should have the gear required to do this.
2 - Our Standard+ suspension kits with fully assembled front struts, rear shocks and springs increase ride height by around 10-15mm.
The golden rule when fitting suspension, besides doing it safely, is to tighten any of the moving parts with bushes (UCA bolts, lower strut bolt, shackles, leaf springs etc) on the ground.
If they’re tightened in the air, then they’ll lock the suspension up at full droop and the result can be damaged bushes, a harsh ride and the whole caboose sitting too high.
Click here to read our guide to fitting a full lift kit to the MQ or MR Triton.
Newly fitted suspension will start off high, particularly up front, and settle over time. Sometimes it can take quite a few thousand kilometres to settle down to the height it will retain.
Give it time, and ideally get the wheel alignment re-done around 5,000kms after fitment, to allow for the changed ride height and the affect that will have had on the wheel alignment.
PRODUCT INFORMATION LINKS
Loaded 4X4 Triton suspension kits
Loaded 4X4 Pajero Sport suspension kits
Loaded 4X4 Customer Reviews