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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I nearly T-boned an 80's Corolla yesterday as they ran their left turn red light and entered the intersection as I'm coming the opposite direction at 50mph (the posted limit). It was the first time I've had to do an emergency hard brake and steer my FJ to avoid a collision and has given me a couple of things to think about.

First, for a 5500 lb vehicle doing 50mph it handled it surprisingly well. I didn't experience any ABS lock up and the predictable brake response was what allowed me to make the steering corrections that helped to avoid a collision without risking a roll-over. Granted it didn't handle like a sports car but well enough to avoid a what most likely would have been a bad accident.

Second, braking hard and making those steering corrections convinced me that as I plan my upcoming lift/suspension mods I'll generally try to maintain (keeping the anti-sway bar in place) or improve the on-road handling characteristics. I'm still looking at doing a 3" lift but will be more mindful of any adverse impact on handling.

Putting this out here to share my experience and thoughts - I'm sure someone else has been in a similar situation with their FJ. Although I feel much safer driving it over less stout vehicles, I shudder to think what my FJ would have done to that old Corolla. I now place a greater value on on-road handling characteristics..this is still my daily driver.
 

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Glad that you were able to avoid the bad situation. :cheers:



A quality 3" lift will improve your handling. The stock suspension is really mushy and too soft.


Agreed.
 

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Good on you in the scenario you faced. Making contact with a small car in your FJ would of been nothing but bad (particularly for the other car)

My BFG AT's and an Icon lift have definitely improved my on/offroad handling across the board. Not to stiff, not to mushy. Win-win!
 

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A quality 3" lift will improve your handling. The stock suspension is really mushy and too soft.
So good-quality components will be able to cancel out the negative impact of raising the center of gravity? Not meant to be provoking here, just honestly curious. Not too many conversations here about the FJ's onroad handling. I have quite a bit of experience with aftermarket suspensions and performance from track events. Not sure I'd believe the Neuspeed suspension on my GTI could have overcome a higher center of gravity, even without increasing the curb weight like most do with an FJ. I guess my real question is do the FJ's stock suspension components suck that much?
:cheers:

EDIT: I do realize that a suspension lift by its very nature would need stiffer springs to overcome the COG issue, but then that flies in the face of flex and offroad capability, doesn't it?
 

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So good-quality components will be able to cancel out the negative impact of raising the center of gravity? Not meant to be provoking here, just honestly curious. Not too many conversations here about the FJ's onroad handling. I have quite a bit of experience with aftermarket suspensions and performance from track events. Not sure I'd believe the Neuspeed suspension on my GTI could have overcome a higher center of gravity, even without increasing the curb weight like most do with an FJ. I guess my real question is do the FJ's stock suspension components suck that much?
:cheers:

EDIT: I do realize that a suspension lift by its very nature would need stiffer springs to overcome the COG issue, but then that flies in the face of flex and offroad capability, doesn't it?
The stock springs are cheap and soft, because Toyota figures that the vast majority of FJC owners will never take it off-road, and instead want a soft cushy car-like ride. A quality modest (2-3") lift kit will have longer but also firmer-rate springs that will yield much less body roll in a fast turn and much less brake dive, even though the center of gravity is higher.

If you plan your lift well, for the loaded weight of your truck with all mods and accessories, then you can have firmer on-road handling and good flex off-road. If you don't, then yeah you can end up with a suspension that is so stiff that it won't flex with the weight of the truck.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
"do the FJ's stock suspension components suck that much?"

Not so much that they didn't get me through a life affirming pucker moment. I continue to be amazed at what a stock FJ can do. This was just another one of those occasions.
 

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This thread has convinced me that I will need to put a little more money into a lift than expected. Was planning on just leveling it so that I don't have to lean forward at stop-lights.

So, you guys that are talking about quality lifts...what is considered quality? I'm looking at an OME kit or possibly some adjustable shocks. Should I start looking at coilovers to get that improved on-road ride and the flex needed for off-road? I'm sure the OP would like to know as well. Thanks in advance.

-Pack
 

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This thread has convinced me that I will need to put a little more money into a lift than expected. Was planning on just leveling it so that I don't have to lean forward at stop-lights.

So, you guys that are talking about quality lifts...what is considered quality? I'm looking at an OME kit or possibly some adjustable shocks. Should I start looking at coilovers to get that improved on-road ride and the flex needed for off-road? I'm sure the OP would like to know as well. Thanks in advance.

-Pack
OME is excellent value for the money and an improvement over stock, on and off-road. You don't have to spend a fortune to improve the stock suspension in every way. If you want good flex, don't use heavier OME coils than you really need for your weight.

The better coilover systems (read more expensive) are an improvement over OME. You get more features like adjustability, re-buildability, and custom valving and spring rates. If you're going to spend the money on a top-tier coilover system, then do your homework and tailor them to the weight and use of your truck.

For the most part, you get what you pay for in FJC suspensions.
 

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The stock springs are cheap and soft, because Toyota figures that the vast majority of FJC owners will never take it off-road, and instead want a soft cushy car-like ride. A quality modest (2-3") lift kit will have longer but also firmer-rate springs that will yield much less body roll in a fast turn and much less brake dive, even though the center of gravity is higher.
Will the softer suspension actually keep the truck's wheels on the ground, with the stiffer ones lifting the wheels during lean?
 

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While I don't know all the details of your near miss, I can speak of a couple I've had with my FJ.
In my first incident, I was driving about 30 mph when a car cut in front of me. I didn't have any escape option and out of reflex applied the brakes. Even though I had noticed it soon enough to have room to stop, I was surprised to hear the ABS working hard. Brakes became full on immediatly. I decided to consult the manual again and read that it has electronic brake assist. This determines if you're applying the brakes rapidly or not. If you are it applies maximum braking power and ABS jumps in if necessary. It has since happened once more. Experimenting further with braking slowly but firmly, the old near lockup method is possible, but if you apply the brakes rapidly it EBA jumps in.
I'm not an mechanical engineer but I think the computer systems will accommodate many suspension modifications. There's electronic brake distribution for uneven loads and finally VSC to maintain steering capability while braking.
What will almost certainly reduce safety are things like oversize tires reducing the brake effectiveness, aggressive tires that will reduce traction on pavement, raising the center of gravity without widening the trac, and finally, increasing the weight of the wheel tire combo to the point of overwhelming the shocks and causing the tires to bounce and loose traction.
The braking system seems to get confused if tire bounce happens while braking causing ABS to jump in and reducing braking power. A quick release and reapplication of the brakes will restore full power. A search of this forum will give you many examples.
I'm glad you brought the subject up. It may cause people to think seriously when the modify Cruiser.
GREAT THREAD!
 

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Will the softer suspension actually keep the truck's wheels on the ground, with the stiffer ones lifting the wheels during lean?
Too stiff of springs will keep wheels off the ground in an off-camber situation, that is why you want to carefully match the total weight of the truck and all its contents with the spring rate of your lift.
 

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A real big plus to the original OP, is that you consider the sway bar a critical component, for on road handling. I do agree with this since I experienced a near death experience with a car coming the wrong way, down a 75 mph highway. The swaybar was more than just nice to have, it was the difference between me staying in control, or rolling .
 
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