Rough Country 3" lift install - Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
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Rough Country 3" lift install

Hey guys just installed my lift, wanted to let you guys know exactly what i did and how it went.

when i got my lift i looked for a post like this but couldn't find anything, it would have helped a lot so i hope it helps somebody else

Unfortunately didn't get any pictures.. I wanted to but didn't want to use my phone while my hands were black from oil and grease..

My buddy and I got this done in about 13 hours with just basic tools, nothing special other than i giant 4 foot pry bar and an air chisel.


We started with the rear end, then did the front end.

Okay so,


Rear end:

- lifted it up by the hitch with a forklift
- took the wheels off
- put blocks under the forklift and under the axle
- undid the sway bar at the top of the links, where it attaches to the frame
- tried taking the upper shock bolts off but they just wouldn't go, even with brake clean and penetrating oil, so we cut the tops off with a reciprocating saw
- undid the bottom bolt of the shocks
- we didn't have a spring compressor so we knew that we would have to undo the upper links
- lifted it even more with the forklift, keeping a close eye on all the lines coming up
- noticed the lined were getting tight before the springs were loose
- lowered it again, and took off the bracket just on the drivers side of the diff
- lifted it again
- took the springs out, came out really easy
- put the new springs in, with some pushing and shoving, it wasn't super hard but also wasn't easy...
- the passenger side shock came off easy
- the drivers side shock was being a *****. the lower end of it just wouldn't come loose, we tried hitting it, prying at it for about an hour, then got an air chisel and went at it, it then slowly went off.
- put the new shocks in (do not cut the wire holding the shock compressed before putting it in!!!!!
- lowered the car onto the springs without the shocks attached
- the top of the shock didn't quite line up with the mount
- 1 person pulled the shock so that it lined up with the mount
- 1 person cut the wire holding it compressed
- got the top of the shock in
- absolutely no way to get a torque wrench into there so we did it to what we thought was around 17ft.lb
- put the sway bar back in on 1 side
- on the other side, the bolt on the sway bar broke off while we were tightening it, so we just took it off completely, take it out of the drivers side, i was planning on doing a rear sway bar delete sometime anyways haha
- put the upper links back in place, took some effort, wasn't easy...
- rear end is done! doesn't look like much cause the rear end only gets lifted like 1.5"...

Front end:

- lift the front end with with the forklift, put blocks under the forklift (couldn't find a nice place under the car to put them...)
- took the wheels off
- tried to take the tie rod ends off, but couldn't get the cotter pin out, I've heard of people doing this before without undoing the tie rod end so i figured i would try that before spending hours trying to get the tie rod ends out
- took the sway bar mounts off
- took the brake line brackets off (all 3).
- took the 2 bolts on top of the strut off (left 1 on but very loose)
- spent way to much time on the back bolt. we couldn't get anything in behind there to loosen it. i used a long pry bar to bend the inner fender out to see if that would create enough space to get it out... it didn't
- watched a youtube video and got the answer.
- went into the engine bay with a shorter pry bar and bent the inner fender back out, and then some to reveal the bolt.
- got the bolt out with a long ass extension on the socket wrench, ratchet, whatever you wanna call it
- got the cotter pin of the ball joint off
- put blocks under the hub so it wouldn't drop too far
- on the passenger side, we just got the pry bar between the spindle (i think thats what its called) and the upper control arm and it just popped out (after applying brake clean and penetrating oil)
- on the drivers side. it just wouldn't come loose
- decided to work on the passenger side first, and let the drivers side soak in brake clean and penetrating oil
- took the lower bolt of the strut off
- we found out that if i stood on the hub, the lower control arm would drop enough to get the strut out, then had to wiggle it under the tie rod (which is a pain in the ass, should be much easier if you can get the tie rod off)
- put the spacer on top of the strut. it said to put the new bolts inside the spacer and the old bolts back on top of the strut mount, but the nylock wouldn't grab when we put them inside the spacer so we did it the other way around. i don't see how it would make any difference
- when tightening the bolts on the spacer, the strut twisted. this wasn't undoable by hand, spent lots of time trying to figure out how to get it to line up again. in the end, we put the bottom of the strut back in place and put the bolt in it (without the nut, theres no need) and put a bar between two of the bolts on top and twisted, its not easy but it worked) had to do this with both struts
- by the way, we used blue threadlock on everything.
- wiggled the strut under the tie rod again and got the top of the strut back in (1 bolt, then put a nut on that bolt so the strut couldn't drop out of place on us
- the bottom of the strut was also a pain in the ass to get back into place
- i had to push really hard on the lower control arm to get it to drop enough that my friend could wiggle it into place
- put all the bolts of the strut back into place
- by the way, the sway bar gets in the way A LOT, if you lift without a forklift. take the skid plate off and take the entire sway bar off, it will save you a lot of time and a lot of cussing.
- we couldn't get the ball joint back into the spindle without compressing the spring so we figured we would work on the drivers side then once getting to the same point, we would just lower it onto the blocks, compressing the spring.
- now to the damn drivers side ball joint.
- hit it, pry'd at it, used an air chisel.
- it would not come loose no matter what we did. We spent a total of 2-3 hours working at that ball joint
- called my friends dad, who was a mechanic for a few years before changing career path
- he came and got it loose in less than a minuit.
- he hit the side of the spindle with a hammer (up by the ball joint, on the drivers side, the right side extends a bit, the left side is short and has a flat side on it, hit it on the flat left side.)
- then we put pressure on it with the long pry bar, and hit it again, and it came right out.
- got the strut out same way as before, put the spacer on, twisted it back into line again
- this time to get the strut back in we found it was way easier to put the pry bar in above the lower control arm, inside the hole of the lower control arm, put the end of the pry bar against the frame, and pushed down. it gave us lots of leverage and let us get the bottom of the strut in very easily.
- to get the ball joint back into the spindle, we put blocks under the lower control arm, lowered the car onto those blocks very slowly, 1 person put the pry bar above the uca into the hole of the uca and against the frame, pushed down slowly while the other person manhandled the spindle back so that the ball joint would line up with the hole on the spindle, bolted it all together.
- we bolted everything back together then sprayed the **** out of everything with brake clean to make sure there wasn't any left over grease on anything
- put the wheels back on and 13 hours later, we were done!!!!!



hope this helps someone on here

Comment if something wasn't clear.

2007 FJ Cruiser
Diff lock mod
Trac control switch
PIAA headlights
high output led Mirrror lights, no diffuser
32" light bar in front bumper
4" pods on cowls
Mud flaps removed
2" wheel spacers all 4 corners
BMC
BFG A/T KO2 33x11.5x17 on TRD wheels
3" RC Lift
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 09:16 PM
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Re: Rough Country 3" lift install

Pictures or it never happened!

Just kidding man Good job on doing the install yourself
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Rough Country 3" lift install

Yeah I went to 3 shops to see how much it would cost to get it installed for me, but the cheapest was $1000 CAD. By doing it with my friend it only cost me a couple cases of beer haha... although my check engine light just turned on... i wonder if i maybe tugged on one of the wires too hard... another weekend project here i come :/

2007 FJ Cruiser
Diff lock mod
Trac control switch
PIAA headlights
high output led Mirrror lights, no diffuser
32" light bar in front bumper
4" pods on cowls
Mud flaps removed
2" wheel spacers all 4 corners
BMC
BFG A/T KO2 33x11.5x17 on TRD wheels
3" RC Lift
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 10:01 AM
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Re: Rough Country 3" lift install

Always good to see other people wrenching on their own stuff over having a shop do it. Didn't realize a spacer lift was so much work though!

I was able to do the rear springs with two ratchet straps only. take the tires off, block the truck, use the ratchet straps to compress the stock spring and stand on one side of the axle to get it a tad lower. Springs fall out on their own, no wrestling with them. Worked the same way in reverse for the new Metaltech +2 LT springs I put in, super easy.

I was able to do the front by simply unbolting the 3 top coil bolts, 1 lower coil bolt, and only separating the upper ball joint, everything else stayed attached. Upper control arms replaced at the same time, total job done in under 5 hours with two people. I added a full 3" lift replacement 2.5 coilover rather than just a spacer though, so maybe that's where the difference is, I didn't have to jam my suspension way down to fit the spacer.

Super detailed walkthrough for someone looking to do a spacer lift though, I like seeing where people struggled in their installs so I know what to look out for when I do it.
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