Looking for advice and answers regarding a complete 3" lift - Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 12:11 PM Thread Starter
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Looking for advice and answers regarding a complete 3" lift

I apologize in advance...this is going to get a bit lengthy, but I want to make sure I do this right. I was a pretty green automotive noob when I came to this forum a few years ago, but I’ve learned a lot since then. However suspension systems are a complex topic that I have a hard time fully understanding. I’ve spent the past few months reading new posts on the suspension forum even if they didn’t really apply to me, I just wanted to learn. I’m at the point now where I have a pretty decent idea of what I need, just looking for some help getting off the fence on a few things, and answers to a few questions.

I originally planned to at first simply get adjustable coilovers to handle extra front weight and hold off on a lift. But after getting my 33” tires I realized I have just over 3” of clearance into my garage, and since it’s cheaper, easier, and all around better to just do it all at once, that’s what I am going to do. So I’m going for a “3-inch” lift. By the time I get it leveled all around, I expect the actual lift height to be more like 2-2.5” depending on what corner of the FJ is getting measured.

General Plan:
What I am thinking here is pretty standard: adjustable coilovers and new UCAs up front, and for the back, shocks and springs, yank the sway bar, and maybe a spacer to level the driver side out. No long travel or anything fancy, and I don’t plan to do a diff drop as I would rather avoid altering my skid mounting. My overall budget is flexible. I'd love to get away with $1500 but that's probably not realistic for what I'm after, so I'm prepared to spend $2500, or even more, I'll just have to save a bit longer. The most important thing is I want to make sure it's worth it.

Intended Use:
My offroading currently consists of woodland trails, some rocks, and some mud (though I generally try to avoid that). Slow-paced, no dune racing or anything crazy like that. I’d like to get out west and do some overlanding here in the next couple years but for now I’m going to be mostly stuck with offroad parks. It is my daily driver and will be for probably another 3 years, but I don’t put a lot of miles on it (23k in 33 months) so I am not terribly concerned about road manners.

Anyhow, the details:

Current specs of possible importance (probably stock if not mentioned):
-285/70R17 Tires (~33”)
-OEM Steelies
-Metaltech adjustable LCAs
-Rear Rocktek link and shock armor (If shock fitting is an issue I can replace the armor)
-Ricochet skids
-Warn rear bumper (~75lbs.)
-FUTURE: Front steel full bar bumper and winch. Probably 150lbs. or more.

Up Front:

Coilovers:
I’m kind of going between 3 options (mostly because I don’t know any better): Icon, Toytec BOSS, and maybe Radflo. My understanding is that King, Fox, and Sway-a-way are more for crossing rough terrain at speed, which might be a misconception on my part. I’m just going by what people seem to pick and what I see on product literature. And heck, maybe I need that more for overlanding than I realize. I know there are other less-discussed manufacturers...I’m really interested in hearing about others that might be a good fit for me.

With suspension, I’ve heard everyone say that you get what you pay for. So one thing I am trying to understand is what do I get? To me, a Toytec BOSS coilover seems pretty comparable to an Icon one. Adjustable, rebuildable, known to be high quality, etc….is there some specific performance metric, metal type, or something that sets them apart and justifies the ~$400 difference? I’m willing to spend the extra cash, I just want to make sure it’s worth it.

Also, Icon and Radflo have ‘extended travel’ coilovers, something longer than standard, but not long travel. Is that something I should consider, and do other coilovers have similar travel but don’t mention it specifically?

UCAs: I’m thinking just go with Light Racing since they are adjustable. Unless someone can make a good argument for the extra cash to get a Uniball UCA...is the big benefit durability, ease of alignment, or something else?

Adjustments: To correct the lean, I believe I’ll need to have the driver side .25-.5” higher than the passenger side. When I get my front bumper next year, I’ll probably need to adjust them then as well to level it back off.

Misc: I’m just assuming I’ll need sway bar relocate brackets in any case, and I’m pretty sure I will use coilover covers if they fit the coilovers I end up getting. I hate salt and corrosion...

Rear:

Here is where I am really a blank slate. The only thing I am certain of is removing the rear sway bar unless someone can give me a really good reason to keep it around. Generally I was just planning to match manufacturers with the front, but I do see some combination setups.

My big question is what size of springs...2.0 or 2.5”? If I want to be nice and level will I be able to get enough lift from the coilovers to be level on 2.5” springs? And will I need a spacer in the drivers side to level it off side-to-side as well, or does adjusting the front driver coilover alone correct that lean?

With that said, does anyone have any specific spring or shock recommendations, or should I just stick with a matching kit all around?

Sorry again for this being so long, I really appreciate any advice you folks have. Thanks!


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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 12:23 PM
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Re: Looking for advice and answers regarding a complete 3" lift

Great set of questions! I'm subscribing to this thread so that I can learn me something.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 01:12 PM
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Re: Looking for advice and answers regarding a complete 3" lift

2.0 2.5 refers to the dia of the shock body. Most of the manufactures have a 2.5 coil over for the front. The larger dia allows for more oil which allows the shock to run cooler than a 2.0 in the same situation.
Remote resi will allow the shock to run even cooler in conditions where the shock is working hard - high speed runs. Cool reduces shock fade - in your case not needed so any of the manufactures you listed will work well.
Spring rates vary from 550 in/lb to 700in/lb. Depending on how much extra weight you are adding is going to spend on the spring rate.

For the rear: I would either go with a 2.0shock with a 5/8" shaft or a 2.5shock with a 3/4" or 7/8" shaft. I would steer clear from a 2.0shock with a 7/8" shaft - the performance is not there in this configuration for the FJ.

Coilover covers are a must - keep the coil overs clean and make adjustments very easy.

Another thing to consider IMO on the front coil over is the lower leg that attaches to the lower control arm. ICON, FOX, WE, SAW etc all have nice meaty hefty lower sections where as stock, Bilsteins, Toytech the lower section is skinny - kind of a tree trunk on a toothpick look. This has always made me a little uncomfortable - i prefer the beefy lower.

Removing the sway bars - yes you will notice it but than again the difference without is not nearly as drastic as some would like you to believe. Sure it leans a little more but no where near a dangerous level. Drive the FJ for what it is - a brick on wheels. Not a sports car.

You are on the right track to doing this right with research and questions.

Hope my ramblings help.

To make things a little harder - check out KINGS!
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 01:21 PM
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Re: Looking for advice and answers regarding a complete 3" lift

I'd second what Mikey said, and I can vouch for the Radflos. I'm running 2.5" 7/8" shafts extended travels on the Radflos (2.5" both front and rear). Springs are 650#. I don't currently have extra weight on the front, but they're rebuild-able and they're adjustable. For the price, the extended travel Radflos just seemed to make sense to me. I know a lot of people seem to run Icons, but for some reason I just gravitated toward the Radflos. I'm also running the LR UCAs, mostly because I didn't want to screw around with the uniball UCAs and the LRs were, in fact, easy to adjust. And I got the whole set for $2200.

I'm extremely happy with my decision. I've only gotten it off road once since I put them on two weekends ago, and it wasn't anything crazy, but both on-road and off-road manners have been way better coming from the stock off-road package.

On a side note, I highly recommend installing whatever suspension you choose yourself. Find someone who is knowledgeable about working with suspensions and work with them to do it on your own. You'll learn a great deal about how things are put together on your rig. Good luck.

2012 Quicksand AT/Offroad Pkg | BMC | Bajarack Utility Rack | All-Pro HREW Sliders | Springtail Solutions MPAC Straddle, Basket and Rear Door Racks| UltraGauge | 285/70r17 Duratracs | Hella Supertone Horns | OEM Hitch | Midland 75-822 Ex Cop Special CB package | 60" Hi-Lift X-treme mounted on Hi-Lift mounts| Spidertrax Wheel Spacers | Warn receiver shackle bracket | Avital remote starter | Radflo 2.5" extended travel coil-overs - 650 lb springs | Radflo 2.5" rear shocks with Eibach springs | Light Racing UCAs | H3R HalGuard Clean Agent fire extinguisher

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Looking for advice and answers regarding a complete 3" lift

Thanks a lot for the responses so far!

Quote:
mikey previously said: View Post
2.0 2.5 refers to the dia of the shock body
I was actually referring to rear springs and the amount of lift they are said to provide...when I look at the various springs on Toytec's website I see a lot of options saying they provide 2", 2.5" or 3" of lift. That may very well be more of a generalization and I need to focus on weight, not the stated lift amount.

I wasn't aware that there was such a range of diameters in the shafts and shock bodies, so your 'ramblings' have been very informative, thank you. I'll definitely consider the heavier lower mounts on the front coilovers as well. And your post on the coilover covers are what sold me on them.

Quote:
The Cardinal previously said: View Post
On a side note, I highly recommend installing whatever suspension you choose yourself. Find someone who is knowledgeable about working with suspensions and work with them to do it on your own. You'll learn a great deal about how things are put together on your rig. Good luck.
I'm definitely going to install it myself. My best learning experience so far has actually been cleaning the rust up and painting my frame....it's easy to see how everything goes together down there and spending that much time underneath was surprisingly educational. The only thing I haven't done myself so far is the BMC simply because I don't have the welding equipment or experience, and I know a guy with an offroad shop who did it pretty cheap (and well...beautiful welds).

Would you mind expanding on what kind of differences you get with the extended coilovers? Do they simply allow more down travel, does it affect how the shock responds? Any disadvantages?


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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 05:47 PM
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Re: Looking for advice and answers regarding a complete 3" lift

I cannot really tell you much more from a technical perspective except that the extended travel allows for more travel (obviously). What I can tell you is that I'll likely never put a long travel system on my rig given it's dual purpose and the expense (not to mention lack of need). For what I saw as a reasonable price, I could get the extended travel system from Radflo with aftermarket UCAs (required for the extended travel). I was like you... Buy once and be happy. So I got the most versatile system for my needs within my budget. I can add remote reservoirs later if I decide as well.

2012 Quicksand AT/Offroad Pkg | BMC | Bajarack Utility Rack | All-Pro HREW Sliders | Springtail Solutions MPAC Straddle, Basket and Rear Door Racks| UltraGauge | 285/70r17 Duratracs | Hella Supertone Horns | OEM Hitch | Midland 75-822 Ex Cop Special CB package | 60" Hi-Lift X-treme mounted on Hi-Lift mounts| Spidertrax Wheel Spacers | Warn receiver shackle bracket | Avital remote starter | Radflo 2.5" extended travel coil-overs - 650 lb springs | Radflo 2.5" rear shocks with Eibach springs | Light Racing UCAs | H3R HalGuard Clean Agent fire extinguisher

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 07:22 PM
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Re: Looking for advice and answers regarding a complete 3" lift

Extended travel is mostly a marketing deal, though you get an extra inch of travel in the front with most extended travel kits compared to the std travel kits. I wish I would have known more about coilovers before, but I have my eyes set on the radflo 2.5's CO's mostly because the bilsteins won't hold much abuse. They are nice for a street setup that sees slow wheeling. If you want to go a little bit fast in the rough, they need to go out. I'm keeping my OME long shocks in the back because they're tougher than the Billies and I won't sacrifice flex for a little more speed, this is why I hate kits, you gain some, but loose more sometimes in the intent , I'm not able to find the OME longs with res for the back, I'll call ARB directly to find out, if they still make that shock, but for know nothing is beaating the simplicity of a 11.25" travel shock with toytec springs in my case, so the rear is staying exactly the way I have it unless I can find those OME long shocks with reservoirs, the front would be Radflo 2.5 extended mated to LR UCA's, simple setup, and they way I want to run things out. No kits for me.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 07:35 PM
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Re: Looking for advice and answers regarding a complete 3" lift

There are some dang good setups out there that come as a kit thought, but you have to spend the dove on them. I wish I had some money to go Kings or Fox , but still I'll customize some items for the rear.

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2010 SFM, M6, URD Short Shifter, Radflo 2.5 Ext CO's/650lbs springs, Toytec RCC2.0 Springs/OME 60071L, Light Racing UCA's, Skyjacker SBE702 links, Metaltech Front Bumper, Badland 12k Winch, Metaltech LCA's, Trail Gear TC Skid, AllPro HD Sliders, Allpro IFS/Trans/Lower Link Skids, Ricochet LCA skids, Boztec Diff Skid, 16" TRD Wheels, 1.25 Spidertrax , Firestone Destination MT 285/75/16, PIA 520's, Hella 700's, 3" PODs, 42" Led Bar
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-03-2014, 05:53 AM
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Re: Looking for advice and answers regarding a complete 3" lift

Well you can certainly spend and go as exotic as you want.....however, for the type of wheeling that you are doing (which is exactly what I do) I would keep it as simple as possible.

My setup consists of OME shocks and OME springs up front (have the ARB bullbar), and OME shocks with ICON progressive "Expedition"springs in the rear (I tow an off road trailer). I originally ran OME rear springs and found that they worked very well too, but that was before I got the trailer. I also run 285's and the only other suspension mods are the front sway bar relocation kit, and the extended rear sway bar links.

I bought the Light Racing UCA's a couple of years ago, but have yet to install them. I'll get to them this year, but quite frankly, have not seen the need for them yet.

I find that the road (and off road) manners of this setup to be perfect for my needs and it subscribes to my principle of keeping it as simple as possible, and no simpler!

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-04-2014, 11:33 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Looking for advice and answers regarding a complete 3" lift

Thanks guys for all the responses.

I'm currently gravitating toward Icon or Radflo coilovers up front with LR UCA's.

In the rear I'm just going to probably do a bit more forum searching, aiming for 2.5" shocks with 7/8 or 3/4" shaft as Mikey suggested. I'm still a bit clueless on rear springs, so advice on specs to look for there would be appreciated. Thinking 2-inch springs now. Will I need to add a spacer on the driver side, or will adjusting the front coilover compensate for the driver side lean?


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