Duncan Gay, the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight in NSW, has recently announced via Facebook, that the laws surrounding vehicle suspension lifts have changed.
VSB 14, the laws which control suspension modifications, and particularly 4X4 suspension lifts, has been the target of a working ground lately, because they were identified as being “too onerous, restrictive, impracticable to apply, or simply unsafe”.
Previously, there was a blanket 50mm ceiling on increasing the overall height of a vehicle, whether it was via changes with suspension or tyres.
Now, you can lift your 4X4 a total of 75mm: 50mm through the suspension, and 25mm through the tyres. Big, silly lifts are still out of the question, but many looking to subtly modify their 4X4 for better touring or off-road performance now have some nice scope for suspension and tyre modifications.
On top of this, you can also run through other detailed assessments before haivng to submit to a ‘potentially dangerous’ lane change manoeuvre test. It also gives some guidance on airbag and variable suspension, something that VSB 14 didnt really cover at all.
Importantly, one thing we like is that the VSB 14 update also gives you guidance on measuring your ride height, so you can actually have a baseline to work from for a 4X4 suspension lift. vehicle modification laws in Australia have always had the problem of being very strict, but also being unclear, unrealistic, or even some cases completely self- contradictory and oxymoronic.
Let’s look at a couple of case studies. You want to modify the suspension of your Toyota HiLux (or for that matter, 90% of 4WDs on the road (dual cab utes)? Let’s look at the nuts and bolts.
Your able now to fit, without needing to approach any problems of engineering or legality, 95% of suspension kits out there. Most cater for that basic 50mm (2 inch) lift, something that the respective sellers should be able to clarify you. If not, take your money somewhere else.
Let’s look at tyres. A HiLux SR5 sports 265/60 R18 rubber. That’s 775mm, 0r 30.5″ roughly (every tyre is a bit different). Increasing your ride height up 25mm means a 50mm increase in tyre diameter. So, that’s up to 825mm in total diameter, or 32.5 inches in the old money.
These laws are dependant on the actual, real-world diameter of the tyre, so depending on the actual size and tread depth, you could potentially go to something like a 285/65 R18. Online websites list this diameter at 827.7mm, 2mm over. But the real-world tyre size needs to be figured out for an actual answer.
At any stretch, it’s a good news story. Increasing your tyre diameter gives great benefits for off-road driving, but don’t forget the negatives: increasing your ride height affects your centre of gravity, which has many knock-on effects on and off-road. And going up a tyre size is bad for your braking and off-road gearing. A 4X4 suspension lift is a good modification to make, but make sure you walk down the path of modification with your eyes wide open.