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.
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.
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”)
-Metaltech adjustable LCAs
-Rear Rocktek link and shock armor (If shock fitting is an issue I can replace the armor)
-Warn rear bumper (~75lbs.)
-FUTURE: Front steel full bar bumper and winch. Probably 150lbs. or more.
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?
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?
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.
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...
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!