Stabilizer Disconnection Mechanism (SDM) Vs KDSS


Staff member

SDM Vs. KDSS - What's the Difference?​

Stabilizer Disconnection Mechanism (SDM) and Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) are both off-road focused technologies employed by Toyota to enhance off-road performance and stability. However, they function differently:

  1. Stabilizer Disconnection Mechanism (SDM):
    • SDM disconnects the stabilizer bars (also known as sway bars) for greater wheel articulation.
    • The purpose is to allow each wheel to move more independently over rough terrain, improving traction and comfort.
    • SDM can be engaged manually by the driver through a button in the cabin which triggers an electronic actuator at the disconnect housing.
    • SDM is only available on the front suspension.
  2. Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS):
    • KDSS is an interconnected series of hydraulic lines developed by Toyota that adjusts the stiffness of the stabilizer bars in response to driving conditions.
    • Unlike SDM, KDSS does not disconnect the stabilizer bars entirely. Instead, it adjusts their stiffness.
    • In off-road situations under 12mph, KDSS can increase wheel articulation by reducing the stiffness of the stabilizer bars.
    • In on-road situations over 12mph, KDSS automatically increases stabilizer bar stiffness to minimize body roll and improve handling.
    • KDSS is a system integrated on all four corners of the suspension whereas SDM is only offered on the front suspension.
SDM disconnects the sway bars entirely, while KDSS adjusts their stiffness to optimize performance both on and off-road.

Pros of SDM?
  • SDM can be easily deleted if you don't want front sway bars.
    • If you're looking to add a long-travel setup, for example, you might want to remove the system entirely.
  • SDM can be enabled at any speed (under or over 12mph - compared to KDSS)
  • There are no hydraulic lines on the frame rail, potentially making it easier to install rock sliders.
Cons of SDM?
  • The large hydraulic valve block with check valves connected to the bars can be challenging to design aftermarket skid plates around.
I had the electronic sway bar disconnect option on my 2022 Bronco and it really is a great feature. Much better than KDSS (which I've had on two previous 5th Gen 4Runners). The problem with KDSS is that it automatically turns on (stiffens the hydraulic pressure in the lines) above 12mph. That means if you're going over 12mph on rough roads, the ride is VERY ROUGH because the pressure in the KDSS system stiffens up. KDSS can also be a process to maintain in addition to geometry problems it presents after lifting a vehicle. There are workarounds for these challenges though. DR. KDSS makes some awesome products to combat these issues.

After owning vehicles with both of these systems, I would much rather have the SDM than KDSS.

What do you guys think? Any other pros and cons of SDM that you can think of?


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