We ran Dobinson MRR Remote Res shocks on two very different Nissan Patrols to come up with one solid verdict.
Scott Mason, our gun photographer and serial wanderer, was having issues with the suspension in his GU Patrol. As was I… truth be told. My GQ Patrol had just clocked over 320,000km and was still on what looked to be stock suspension; and yes, it was woeful. Scott on the other hand had spent a considerable amount of time and money customising and engineering a larger lift with aftermarket everything. After punting his truck around Australia 78.7 times in the last few months, things were starting to wear out. I had just installed Dobinson MRR shock absorbers and new 2in raised coils, and was quietly stunned at the transformation (which I’ll touch on later)… when Scott asked for a bit of advice.
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Recommending suspension to someone as thorough as Scott was a tough proposition, but he had a new 4in lift with MRR shocks installed while I casually called him every two or three hours to see if he was still happy with the purchase, or would I need to move interstate and change my name? After both running 10,000km on the odometers since, we thought it was time to share our findings.
WHAT’S THE DEAL?
Dobinson MRR shock absorbers are a monotube design, which also incorporates remote-reservoir technology. What this means is the shock has an extended external oil-filled can that increases the amount of oil available. Cool shock oil means a reduced chance of shock fade… a good thing. The Dobinson team mention that these shocks took four years to develop – and when you look at the MRR spec list it is easy to believe them. Now we won’t bore you with tech overload here – but if you would like to know more about the MRR range, visit: www.dobinsonsprings.com
A rusty bag of bolts is a nice way to describe my vehicle, but it has heart and soul – which makes me smile driving it. The suspension fitted when I bought it was decrepit though; it was leaking and rock solid. Good suspension is something you appreciate every time you turn the key, and the drive home from the Sydney workshop was one I’ll never forget. The windows in the doors no longer rattle (they used to), I could hit speed bumps at the signposted speed and not end up in the other lane, and I wasn’t dragging my knuckles on the road on sharp corners due to the boat-like body roll. My wife even commented, “Have you done something to the truck? It feels better.” Now, 10,000km on, I’ve reached a few more conclusions. The ride is firm… not jarring, but it is certainly on the hard side. However I did select coils rated to the weight I carry, so spring rate plays a large part in this. Also, the remote reservoir canisters have come loose on the front a few times, so I’ve had to check them every now and then. Otherwise, it feels like I could jump this truck over sand dunes for the rest of its life, and the suspension would be the only thing that would survive. The service team suggested I change the shock oil out every two years which is good advice, too. If the GQ has another two years in it, that is…
Over the years I have run a variety of different suspension setups in my Patrol. Not only that but I’m always pretty inquisitive when it comes to other people’s favoured setups because I’m a big believer in continual improvement. So three sets of shocks and five sets of coils later I have arrived at the Dobinson MRRs. At first I was dubious (who would trust Evan, after all) but as soon as they were installed I honestly had a big smile spread across the dial and this was just during the tarmac drive home from the workshop. I made a quick phone call to Ev and told him it was safe to stop running.
Reduced body roll while still maintaining a supple ride was the reason for this. I honestly did not believe it was possible to have a compliant ride without the body roll… tick!
Since then I have driven the Simpson, Hay River, Central Oz and Fraser Island and to say that I am happy is an understatement. Small and big hit compliance, corrugation smoothing and slow and steppy rock work are all handled with a level of confidence that I have not previously encountered. I have experienced zero shock fade in some punishing desert conditions at full touring weight (not an easy feat). I have hit unexpected washouts at speeds greater than I wished and the shock transfer has been pristine. I really cannot fault my new ride, I’m looking forward to many more off-road kays with these brilliant shocks.