RAW 4X4 suspension upgrade…
Upgrading the factory shocks and springs had always been a high priority for this build, in order to get the ‘Lux ready for life offroad.
Since fitting a set of 265/70 R17 LT Firestone Destination muddies, upgrading the factory suspension became a top priority in order to get out and hit the tracks.
I was after a two-inch suspension lift to create a little more clearance for offroad driving, and needed a firm set of springs to support the added weight of the gear going into the canopy as well as a steel bullbar and barwork being fitted up front.
After doing some research on the options available, I got in touch with the guys at RAW 4X4. These guys have got a serious pedigree in building tough as guts suspension upgrades for just about every 4WD vehicle on the market and really know their stuff.
The company started as Powerdown Australia back in the early 80s and were originally designing shock absorbers for trucks and heavy vehicles driven in rough terrain specifically in Australian climates.
They expanded into the 4WD market soon after and launched the RAW 4X4 brand in 2005.
They do all their own R&D and design their products in-house from the ground up, so I was confident that fitting a RAW 4X4 suspension system was the right move.
RAW 4X4 BERESFIELD HQ
After making a booking to get a set of RAW Nitro Max shock absorbers plus coil and rear leaf springs fitted up, I made the trip out to RAW 4X4’s Beresfield HQ to see where the magic happens.
Engineering manager Adriaan van der Westhuizen gave me a tour of the facility, which is seriously impressive.
The engineering team tests all their shocks using their variable stroke dynometer. Data is fed from the high-powered machine to a computer to simulate corrugations and uneven terrain, in order to work the shock absorber to the max and find its limitations.
The data loop is replayed multiple times in order to determine seal life and shock absorber fade at specific temperatures. The results of these dyno tests help the engineers to tweak their designs and develop better shocks for all conditions.
RAW NITRO MAX SHOCK ABSORBERS
The RAW Nitro is a heavy-duty gas shock absorber and a big seller in the 4WD market, while the Predator series shocks are perfect for weekend warriors looking for a combination of comfort and control.
The RAW Nitro Max is the heavyweight shock absorber in the RAW 4X4 range and these things are built seriously tough.
Shock absorbers can ‘fade’ when the oil inside them heats up. To prevent fade, the Nitro Max shocks have a huge 45mm bore size with 60mm combination body size, allowing them to hold much more oil than the ‘Lux’s factory shocks.
The Nitro Max shocks use nitrogen gas to pressurise the oil in order to prevent it from overheating and foaming up. The oil that’s used is a special formulation that allows them to continue working perfectly under extremely high temperatures.
Under high temperatures the seals on less robust shocks can fail, allowing the oil to spill out. The Nitro Max shocks employ a multi-lipped seal that functions flawlessly even in extreme conditions and heat, keeping the oil in and dust out.
The Nitro Max shocks are build from sturdy, thick gauge steel and the mounts are welded 360° around. Long lasting, bonded rubber bushes are employed to ensure nothing breaks even when bouncing along the toughest of tracks.
They’re specifically designed for use on heavy, coil sprung vehicles and are ideal for tough, offroad use and towing.
The ‘Lux was put up on the ramp and all angles plus weight was measured before fitting up the RAW Nitro Max shocks plus upgraded springs.
The goal was for a 50mm lift, but because the steel TJM bullbar and sidesteps hadn’t been fitted up yet, the team calculated the additional weight and used a set of springs to provide about 70mm of lift, which would drop down to 50mm once the front bar was fitted.
Note – the guys impressed upon me that this is not the ideal situation, and that you’re much getting off upgrading your suspension after having all heavy accessories fitted.
Getting behind the wheel post fitment, the difference in ride quality was immediately obvious. On top of the additional clearance provided, the lack of body roll when hitting speed bumps and cornering was clearly evident.
The ride quality at highway speeds and around town is improved and handling is tight and responsive.
Full review of RAW 4X4 Nitro Max shock absorbers and suspension upgrade kit incoming once they’ve had the full offroad treatment.