Toyota Prado Suspension Issues Explained(+7 Troubleshooting Tips)

In this brief article we are going to discuss the different Toyota  Prado suspension issues including Air suspension, what the causes are, and how these issues can be effectively dealt with.

Top issues in a Toyota Prado Suspension

  • Rear air suspension sudden drop in height along with a hissing noise
  • Rear Air suspension does not lower
  • Front clunk/squeak on 4×4 prado
  • Rear Bump stop hitting often
  • KDSS system not properly functioning

What are the Toyota Prado Suspension problems?

Rear air suspension sudden drop in height

SYMPTOMS:

  • Usually happens in the ‘mid’ or ‘LO’ ride height settings
  • Drop in height along with a hissing Noise

CAUSE:

  • The Air Spring might have cracks and leaks due to age or nearing end-of-life. In the ‘top’ ride-height position, the air spring rubber is fully stretched and there are no folds and less cracks. But in the ‘Mid’ or ‘LO’ position, the air spring folds and opens up cracks and tears.
  • In case the Air Spring was not the issue, then the next  suspect could be that the ‘Height Sensor’ might not be functioning properly.

The Rear Air Suspension does not lower 

SYMPTOMS: 

  • When pressing the  “LO” (Manual lowering control), the dashboard “LO” lights start blinking, but there is no indication that air is being exhausted.
  • While driving, it feels as if there is no suspension in the rear, like it is almost rigid

CAUSE:

  • One easy suspect is that the ‘Height Sensor’ might not be functioning properly. The height sensor is a mechanism with a mechanical lever-arm connected to an electronic sensor.
  • Another probable suspect is the Air Compressor. At the time of system malfunction, the compressor could have been running without a break due to the faulty signal from the sensor. This mode of operation would easily Blown out the compressor

KDSS warning message turning on

SYMPTOMS: 

  • The yellow ‘KDSS’ warning light comes on. Sometimes other warnings also come on along with KDSS
  • ‘Clunking’ noises from the suspension while driving

CAUSES:

  • If all warning lights including ABS come on, then it could be a wiring issue. 
  • The external housing is designed for easy ventilation. It therefore also allows mud, salt and any other road debris to accumulate in the housing. This results in corrosion and then causes a Leakage in the stabilizer control housing assembly.
  • If the controller was not the issue, and you hear ‘Clunking’ noises from the suspension then it could be a case of low system pressure.

Front-end clunk/squeak noise

SYMPTOMS:

  • Usually seen on 4X4 vehicles
  • While normal driving, on slightly rough surfaces, there is a constant clunking Noise
  • Noise present in most of the driving conditions

CAUSES:

  • One probable cause is that the ARB Bushings might have worn out causing the ARB to rattle around, resulting in noise.
  • Second probable cause could be that the shock Absorber mounts might have worn out.

  • The third cause could be that the KDSS might have lost pressure and allowing the ARB to move

Rear Bump stop hitting often

SYMPTOMS:

  • During normal driving often, there is hitting Noises observed from the rear suspension

CAUSES:

  • Inspecting under-body it is observed that the axle bump stops contact often
  • The rear shock absorbers show oil over the shock tubes

How to Deal With Prado Suspension Problems? 

Rear air suspension sudden drop in height

SOLUTION:

  • Replacing the Air Spring if it has more than 50k miles on it.
  • Replacing the Height Sensor if the problem still persists

KDSS Warning Turning ON

SOLUTION:

  • If all the warning lights are on along with the KDSS warning, then Try replacing the Driver-side and see if the warning disappears. If not, you could also try replacing the passenger-side ABS wiring.
  • During regular maintenance, apart from cleaning the underbody, you need to also periodically flush out the housing to prevent mud and or salt from packing accumulating in the area around the control assembly.
  • If you observed ‘clunking’ noises from the suspension, then you need to get the KDSS system tested for pressure. It should be closer to 3MPa. Any drop from that pressure means that it allows the ARB to move resulting in clunking noise as well. was below 3 Mpa, then the pressure needs to be corrected.

Rear Bump stop hitting often

SOLUTION:

The best way to solve this issue is to change the rear shock absorbers

Front-end clunk/squeak noise

SOLUTION:

  • The best way to solve this issue is to change the front shock absorbers mounting bushings.
  • If the shock absorbs have crossed 50k miles, then they are due for replacement. So it would be wise to replace the shocks and bushings at the same time

Conclusion

In this brief article we have discussed the different Toyota Prado suspension issues including Air suspension, what the causes are, and how these issues can be effectively dealt with.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): 

Does the Toyota Prado have air suspension?

Yes, the Toyota Prado has, in the Rear suspension, adaptive air springs, whose ride height can be adjusted with an up/down switch by the driver manually. The system also has an automatic feature that ‘Lowers’ the vehicle when it exceeds a certain speed.

What suspension is Prado?

The Toyota Prado has double wishbone Coil Spring front suspension and a rear multi-link Air suspension. Apart from the basic set-up, there are 3 advanced systems available in Prado (Top Variants like Kakadu, Horizon) which are:

  • KDSS, which automatically controls and adjusts the suspension Anti-Roll Bar stiffness in different driving conditions so as to maximize comfort and stability.
  • Adaptive Variable Suspension which will adjust the Shock Absorber settings, offering 3 driving modes: Comfort, Normal and Sport
  • Rear Air-Suspension Ride-Height Control where Rear suspension Height can be selected in 3 modes: Hi, N and Lo

Is Prado cheap to maintain?

The answer is Yes and No. ‘Yes’ if you are comparing other SUV products like the Audi Q5, BMW X5, etc. The Prado offers almost all the luxury and comfort features offered by competing German SUV products. But the maintenance cost of around $4000 per year would seem cheap in comparison to the German products.

‘No’ the Prado is not cheap if you are comparing it against products like a ‘Fortuner’.

What is the difference between Prado and Landcruiser?

The Land Cruiser (picture on the right) is much older than the Prado (picture on the left), being almost 60 years into production (launched 1951). It comes with a choice of 4.0 V6, 4.6 V8 or 5.7Litre V8 engines which are more powerful than the powertrain in a Prado.

The Prado is also known in some markets as Land Cruiser LC70, LC90, LC120 and LC150 OR simply Toyota Prado. It was launched in 1984 and can be called a descendant of the Land Cruiser.

The Land Cruiser is therefore slightly bigger in size and price wise more expensive than the Prado (officially called Toyota Land Cruiser Prado). Prado is the model name used in Japan, whereas it is rebadged as a Lexus GX in the US market.

Is Prado AWD or 4wd?

The Prado comes with Full-time 4-wheel drive. It also has a feature called ‘Crawl Control’ which basically drives the vehicle in 5 speed either up-hill or downhill.

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