Mitsubishi MR Triton suspension, wheels/tyres and bash plates
Article by Ben Svikks
You can follow Ben's adventures over at Mitsi Mates on Instagram.
Our most recent visit to K’Gari (Fraser Island) in the Triton was our third in as many years and each successive visit has seen our Triton morph from completely stock, through to the far more capable and comfortable vehicle you can see in these most recent trip pics.
It’s what I consider a mild but intelligently modded touring 4WD. The build is now, for the most part complete, but you know how it goes with 4WDs…famous last words and all.
In my experience you can conquer Fraser Island in any old 4x4 and have an awesome time, but the right mods can and do add to the adventure, along with the chances of making it off the island unscathed. Shortly after buying the Triton, I set about turning it into the ultimate, for me, beach going vehicle, as the beach is where I like to spend my time wheeling. I wanted it to be lightweight, sensible and legal.
My friends, in real life and on social media, will tell you that I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time working out where my money was best spent, and just as much time and thought selecting the products to achieve the outcome I was seeking.
My Triton might be lacking black bar work, staino pipes, big spotties and huge tyres, but I tell you what, it works, it’s really comfortable, it’s a much nicer car to drive and most importantly, my wife has even noticed the improvement!
I know you all want nothing more than a happy wife, or girlfriend, and with that goal in mind, here are my three favourite mods.
Suspension - Loaded4X4 Dynamic Tune 40mm lift
That inordinate amount of time I mentioned above, was, as you’d expect, devoted largely to improving the Triton’s suspension. There are so many brands of kit on the market these days, and so many differing opinions on them, that picking the right one feels like an impossible challenge.
I spent months wading through Facebook posts where people raved about the brand they’d just had fitted, only to have someone else say the opposite a week later. Equal measures of buyer’s justification and buyer’s remorse, made it really difficult to get a good fix on any of the brands.
Then I came across Loaded4X4 and their gear. There’s a heap of info on their website that explains their suspension product, along with the effort they’ve put into creating a product that rides and handles well, in equal measure. My big fear was spending a bunch of money to end up with a 4WD I didn’t enjoy driving.
Anyway, I got onto Loaded4X4, talked Steane’s ear off for a while, thought about it all some more, and then pulled the trigger on their Dynamic Tune 40mm lift kit. The great thing about this product is that it doesn’t require aftermarket upper control arms and it comes with everything needed, like the shortened front droop stops and the tailshaft spacer, that other kits leave out. It’s high quality gear as well and has a great warranty, which was a major concern for me.
There’s well known, heavily marketed kits out there, that are made up of cheap components, in some cases the shocks aren’t even rebuildable, and I didn’t want to fall into the trap of going cheap. I plan on keeping my Triton for quite a few years, and I want confidence in the gear I fit to it. I also can’t be bothered mucking around with adjusters, which my research showed have a reputation for jamming up, particularly with regular beach use, and that wasn't going to work for me at all. Honestly, I just wanted suspension that was setup right and that I didn’t have to think about ever again!
The wash up is that the Loaded4x4 Dynamic Tune suspension is the mod in first place on this list of three, for a few reasons. Firstly, the 40mm lift allowed me to fit larger tyres, and as you’ll read below, a little increase in tyre size can make a big difference to off-road ability. On our most recent trip to K’Gari we came across a couple of bogged, mostly stock utes that had bellied out, and the Triton just cruised on by with ease…obviously after offering a hand!
The second reason is comfort. If you have been to Fraser Island before you will know that the inland tracks can be pretty wild at times but this time around, we were able to get through with ease and without hitting our heads on the hood lining. The Loaded4x4 Dynamic Tune suspension really soaks up the bumps, smoothing out the ride and giving you the ability to use momentum, without being bounced off the track. It’s surprising just how effective this suspension was in the rough stuff and on corrugations.
The third reason is how it drives when away from the beach, because you’ve got to drive it home eventually, right? Compared to the stock Triton it feels considerably more compliant, with handling and ride comfort both being improved. If this suspension was a bowl of porridge, it’s the one belonging to Baby Bear, because it's ‘just right’.
It turns out that those hours of agonising over which brand of suspension to buy, paid off. I’m super happy.
Wheels and Tyres
I’ve put these two together because I believe they go hand in hand. I’m running Falken Wildpeak 275/65/18s (32”) in a LT carcass, which seems to be a pretty popular tyre size for Triton owners. Everyone has an opinion on tyre sizes, and tyre pressures, and which brand of 4WD is best, but I think the 32” tyre is a good combination of width and height, giving you a good track and the ability to run lower tyre pressures.
As far as I can tell, this size hasn’t interfered with the gearing a whole lot either, although fuel consumption has increased a little, as you expect when adding larger and heavier tyres. Proof of this tyre’s ability and that the size is in a sweet spot for the Triton, is that throughout my recent K’Gari trip I ran 24psi and didn’t really feel the need to go any lower.
The most recent and aesthetically pleasing addition to the Triton are the CSA Raptors wheels. The right wheels lift any vehicle build to a new level but it’s not just about looks, the Raptors are load rated at 1250kg which means they’re up for carrying weight and dealing with rough tracks. They’re also beautifully finished and highly durable, which means they’re at home in a beach environment. I went with the 18x8 Pos25 rim giving the Triton a wider stance than stock but still keeping everything legal with no poke or need for flares.
You might think that upgraded bash plates aren’t needed for a visit to Fraser Island but I was surprised at how many times I gave them a hit on this trip.
The Triton’s stock bash plates are 1.5mm thick and only protect the radiator and front diff areas, although the level of protection is low as they crumple easily. I am regularly coming across social media posts from Triton and Pajero Sport owners that have stoved in their stock bash plates, and either smashed the radiator, or damaged the front diff actuator. One involves a tow home and both are really expensive to fix. It’s also not how I want my holidays to roll.
From the inland tracks to the beach there are many obstacles to get through at K’Gari. The inland tracks are littered with debris and there are numerous washouts along the beach runs. Hitting any of these a little too quickly can do some real damage.
I chose the Loaded4X4 4 Piece Bash Plate kit for a whole bunch of reasons. I loved the OEM look, it's the only kit I could find that doesn’t reduce airflow to the radiator and front diff areas, and it’s also the only kit I could find that includes bolt-in (not weld on) front mount strengthening as part of the kit. My research revealed that the Triton’s front mounts, the ones the rear of the front plate bolts to, are well known for breaking clean off, in fact, it’s almost guaranteed to happen at some stage.
The other features that got me over the line with the Loaded4X4 gear, was the standalone transfer case protection plate, again I think they’re the only brand to offer serious transfer case protection, and the way they’ve reduced reliance on captive nuts in the chassis cross-members and recessed the gearbox plate.
Decent bash plates are cheap insurance.
So, that’s my top three favourite mods, and what they allow me to do is drive down a beach, or up a track more comfortably, safely and confidently, which makes every trip way less stressful. I get to focus on the sights and enjoying the experience with my family, and that makes the mods, when you get them right, well worth the effort and money that goes into them.