Tough Dog Suspension
Step by step installation
Step 1: As my vehicle is fitted with KDSS, the first step was to remove the protective cover from the KDSS shutter control valve (located mid-vehicle on the left side, on the inside of the chassis rail), then loosen both hex screws 3 full turns (no more), to deactivate the KDSS system.
Step 2: I measured the height from the bottom of each rim up to the guard, then noted the measurements on the supplied sheet from Tough Dog Suspension.
Step 1: Jack up the front of the vehicle and support it on chassis stands with the rear wheels chocked, and removed the front wheels. Place the wheels under the chassis on each side as an additional safety precaution.
Step 2: Remove the steering rod ends from the steering knuckles using a ball joint removal tool.
Step 3: Remove the bolts connecting the sway bar to the lower suspension arms.
Step 4: Loosen the nuts retaining the upper ball joints, leaving about half the nut on the end of the thread, then give the tops of the steering knuckles a tap to allow them to drop down onto the nut. I did not remove the upper ball joints completely, to prevent the risk of damage to the CVs.
Step 5: Remove the 4 nuts holding the top of each strut and the single bolt holding the bottom of each strut.
Step 6: Remove the complete strut assemblies (bottom first) by gently levering them from the lower suspension arms. It's important to monitor the hydraulic brake lines and the ABS sensor wires to ensure they aren't placed under any load during this process.
Step 7: Install the new strut assemblies (top first), again levering carefully as required to get them into place.
Step 8: Tighten the 4 nuts on the top of each strut, and replace the lower bolts without tightening the nuts.
Step 9: I tightened the upper ball joints and installed new securing pins.
Step 11: Re-attach the steering arms to the steering knuckles and install new split pins.
Step 12: Replace the front wheels and lower the vehicle to the ground.
Step 1: Raise the rear of the vehicle then support it on chassis stands with the front wheels chocked, and removed the rear wheels. Place the rear wheels under the chassis as an additional safety precaution.
Step 2: Using a jack under the diff, raise the rear axle slightly to take the load off the shock absorbers.
Step 3: Remove the sway bar linkages on both sides.
Step 4: Remove the bolts securing the bottom of the shock absorbers to the rear axle, and remove the shocks from the bottom mounts.
Step 5: Lower the axle until the springs are no longer under load, ensuring that the brake lines (near the centre of the axle) do not become strained. If required, you can remove the brake line bracket from the diff housing for some additional drop.
Step 6: Remove both standard rear springs and their captive bump stop cones, bottom first.
Step 7: Undo the top shock mounts to remove the rear shock absorbers, and install the new ones. (Removing the standard shocks requires a 22mm ring spanner, and installing the Tough Dog shocks requires 1x 24mm ring spanner and 1x thin 24mm open end spanner.)
Step 8: Fit the bump stop cones to the new springs, then install the assemblies, top first. (The springs are marked Left and Right hand)
Step 9: Raise the rear axle with the jack and re-attached the sway bar linkages, handbrake cable retainers and the bottom bolts on the shock absorbers. Use Loctite 243 or 263 to ensure they don't come loose.
Step 10: Refit the rear wheels, remove the chassis stands and lowered the vehicle back on to the ground.
Step 1: Re-check all nuts, bolts and wheelnuts for tightness, and all retaining pins to ensure they are in place.
Step 2: With the vehicle back on the ground and having settled for several minutes, give it a solid bounce front and rear to stabilise the suspension.
Step 3: Measure the height from the bottom of each rim up to the guard, then note the measurements on the supplied sheet from Tough Dog Suspension.
Step 4: Tighten both KDSS shutter control valves, then replace the protective cover.
Step 5: After travelling a couple of hundred kilometres, recheck all nuts, bolts and pins, and take the vehicle for a wheel alignment.
In the weeks following the installation, my 200 developed a slight but noticeable lean to the right hand (driver's) side. After several unsuccessful attempts at re-balancing the KDSS system, I rang Tough Dog Suspension for some advice. The solution turned out to be simple and effective.
I have created a dedicated page (including a video) showing the simple steps to correcting a KDSS lean.