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2012 TT, auto, 3” lift, 285/75/16
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I just bought the ICON Extended Travel Front Coilovers for my 2012 FJ (already had aftermarket UCAs). I HAVE NOT INSTALLED YET.

Here’s my dilemma:
I stretched the budget to be able to afford the icons (even at the discounted price I found them for from Metal Tech 4x4). I went with icon because
1. I thought getting adjustable would allow me to match height to my rear that has a 1.75” lift
2. I wanted to have the ability to at least lift to 3 full inches, as I didn’t want to be too far nose down, given I have a 1.75” rear lift and it looks like the most common is 1.5” rear lift. This is what made me apprehensive on the Bilstein that tops out at 2.5” (I didn’t want to purchase, install, and realize I was pretty far nose down at highest setting).
3. I thought the lower shock shaft being as heavy duty as it is would prevent me from breaking it (that is what happened with my current stock shock with spacer when I simply ran passenger front tire off black top and corrected back onto the road)
4. To find everything in points 1, 2, and 3 (adjustable that allows full 3” of lift and sock with larger diameter bottom shock shaft) the cheapest I was looking at was already around $950+. So, I thought, I might as well spend a couple hundred more and get the 2.5” shock body at that point, given the small-ish difference in price.

Anyway, so I purchased the ICON Extended Travel Front Suspension Coilovers (no remote resi as I don’t need that at all). Now that I’ve purchased, I’ve seen A LOT of reviews saying ICONS leak like crazy, fail prematurely via leaking and have to be rebuilt all the time.

When I purchased, I was excited about the rebuildable part, as over the long run I figured I would make back the extra money I paid by spending less to rebuild a shock than having to purchase all new parts the next go around. Speaking of the next go around, I expected that to be the normal 100k miles (had 133k miles on current fronts that failed and they were still dampening decently prior to breakage). Now, with the rebuildable I had done some research and learned I may have to rebuild a tad sooner, so I was thinking that, if I could get 100k miles out of a non-rebuilable, I’d probably get 75k or so before needing to rebuild the rebuildable ones.

Here’s the problem/concern:
I’ve seen many claims that people are having to rebuild their ICONS at 5k miles or so and almost none that say they are getting more than 40k miles before they rebuild. At that rate, I’ll not only not make back the extra I spent on the rebuildables by not having to fully replace the suspension, but if I have to get them rebuilt that often, they will be a money pit, causing me to spend FAR MORE in rebuilds that it would cost to just buy a new non-rebuildable suspension after the next 100k miles of use.

I purchased the adjustable, rebuildables, as I’ve said, so height would sit correctly and so the more robust build would be stronger and more reliable, not far less reliable, as reviews make it seem.

My FJ is used for 99% highway driving, with the only off-roading being going down a corrugated dirt road at low seed to reach a campsite or to drive down the long, but extremely well groomed gravel driveway to the house.

Did I make a mistake in my purchase?

Also and MAINLY, can you all weigh in on if ICON is as fragile as I’m reading or if I could expect the 75k type life out of them before leaking and rebuild that I originally expected, since they will mostly be pavement and groomed gravel driveway driven?

Thanks to all of you for your experienced expertise lended on this!
 

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Icons are fine, I’ve been running them for 50k miles. I have rebuilt them, but not because they leaked, but because I had them off to switch vehicles so I did it while they were off the vehicle anyway. They were a favorite on this forum years ago but so many other companies have entered the marked there are a lot of choices now. Most just pick based on looks and color anyway.

If you thought buying these would be cheaper overall, you were unfortunately mistaken, sorry. Rebuilding is not cheap. Like 500 dollars at least. That’s assuming you can oulo
Them off and on yourself and just mail them in. Your car has to be on blocks while you do it as well, unless you swap them out with other shocks you store. You could likely buy all new OEM shocks for the price of rebuilding your Icons, kings, Fox, whatever. Coilovers are more headache and more cost no matter what. More initial cost, more maintanence cost, more time spent, and more downtime for the car.

You’ve just purchased high performance, off road specific suspension. It requires service. Service intervals will vary depending on your usage. It is stated clearly in the instructions what the recommended service intervals are.

Since you don’t ever off road, why do you want the truck lifted?

Driving a lifted truck increases maintanence, decreases safety, and decreases street handling and performance in almost every regard. Aftermarket shocks are targeted at off road enthusiasts who are willing to spend the extra time and money to have increased performance and handling off road.

You gotta pay to play, adding aftermarket non-oem products designed for higher performance are always gonna cost more in the long run vs OEM.

If you don’t need it lifted, don’t need high performance suspension, and maintainance and cost are big concerns (which is absolutely reasonable) I’d return it to stock and lower it, get OEM shocks from wherever, and forget about it.

Dont let a fluke accident with your old shock getting broken after running off the road taint your idea of what you need. That was an unusual failure and unlikely to happen again, especially if you keep it on the pavement 😉
 

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2012 TT, auto, 3” lift, 285/75/16
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your reply and insight. Much appreciated!

As far as returning to stock height, I purchased the vehicle already lifted and it does have 285/75/16 tires so returning to stock would also cost. I also like the mild lift, as almost any vehicle I’ve owned has had a mild (2-3”) lift. I’ve gotten used to it. However, I’ve never had a shock break and never had to replace the front suspension at a different time than the rear. All the variables made me lean toward something adjustable so I could “get it right”. However, I have no need for a crazy performance system with crazy performance system costs. I want a very smooth and comfy on road ride that also has the ability to be capable off road in mild and moderate terrain and not be a “just for show” lift.

As always, any help is appreciated!

Icons are fine, I’ve been running them for 50k miles. I have rebuilt them, but not because they leaked, but because I had them off to switch vehicles so I did it while they were off the vehicle anyway. They were a favorite on this forum years ago but so many other companies have entered the marked there are a lot of choices now. Most just pick based on looks and color anyway.

If you thought buying these would be cheaper overall, you were unfortunately mistaken, sorry. Rebuilding is not cheap. Like 500 dollars at least. That’s assuming you can oulo
Them off and on yourself and just mail them in. Your car has to be on blocks while you do it as well, unless you swap them out with other shocks you store. You could likely buy all new OEM shocks for the price of rebuilding your Icons, kings, Fox, whatever. Coilovers are more headache and more cost no matter what. More initial cost, more maintanence cost, more time spent, and more downtime for the car.

You’ve just purchased high performance, off road specific suspension. It requires service. Service intervals will vary depending on your usage. It is stated clearly in the instructions what the recommended service intervals are.

Since you don’t ever off road, why do you want the truck lifted?

Driving a lifted truck increases maintanence, decreases safety, and decreases street handling and performance in almost every regard. Aftermarket shocks are targeted at off road enthusiasts who are willing to spend the extra time and money to have increased performance and handling off road.

You gotta pay to play, adding aftermarket non-oem products designed for higher performance are always gonna cost more in the long run vs OEM.

If you don’t need it lifted, don’t need high performance suspension, and maintainance and cost are big concerns (which is absolutely reasonable) I’d return it to stock and lower it, get OEM shocks from wherever, and forget about it.

Dont let a fluke accident with your old shock getting broken after running off the road taint your idea of what you need. That was an unusual failure and unlikely to happen again, especially if you keep it on the pavement 😉
 

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2007 Sun Fusion FJ Cruiser - 6 sp MT
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I have about about 75K miles on my Icon setup. I have the 2.5s with the resi. all the way around. One leaked and I had it rebuilt about 30K mile. The seal kit cost about $50 at the time, I think I payed someone else $125 labor to rebuild it. There is a how-to video on youtube for rebuilding them. I think it is a reasonable diy project.

In addition to the shocks, I have the billet UCAs, the billet upper rear links, the tubular lower rear links, and the HD springs for loaded down overlanding.

I just did a full rebuild on my 54100 rear upper links. Icon customer service has been FANTASTIC for me. Call support, and you can get just about any part sent to you (even if it is not listed on the website).

After the initial investment, you have have a high-performance suspension product that will last for life, and with regular care, should cost you less than OEM to keep it working properly.

So, anyway, that's my personal experience working with Icon. Best of luck.
 
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How is your rear end lifted? With spacers or lift springs? Maybe both?

If it has a spacer lift, you have more options for adjusting the rear to match the front, they make spacers in lots of different heights for fine tuning. And a 1/4” might be barely noticeable as far as rake is concerned.

Overall, I think keeping the icons would be easy enough. You should not have to worry about rebuilding them for 23 years depending on your mileage, and by then who knows how things will be different…lots of local shops can rebuild them to without as much downtime as mailing them if you decide to not do it yourself.

I love my Coilovers, they handle way better on and off road than OEM, and look cool! Plus the adjustable lift is great as your needs change. I originally had a 3” lift on the FJ with 33’s, then took them off to mount on my 4runner and reduced them down to 1” just enough to level the 4runner with OEM rear springs and a small (25mm) spacer.
 

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Areyno,
I've previous ran Icons and only changed to another brand because they didn't meet my goals but they are a rugged build. With your driving habits of 99% highway, the Icons should last you many years. My concern for you is that if you crank them up to full height to level your FJ, you may not be satisfied with ride quality. Why is the rear of your Cruiser lifted so high? You should investigate this before proceeding further and If possible lower the rear to roughly 1 inch of height over stock, set the icons at 2.5 inches which would then level your Cruiser. This would give you better highway handling characteristics and ride comfort.

Icon provides detailed instructions with their products but here are a few extra tips:
-When making height adjustments, jack up the front of the vehicle to take the weight off the coils.
-Using a spray lubricant on the threads will make turning the adjustment collar much easier.
-If you don't have Icon's adjustment wrench use a steel rod 5 or 6 inches long that fits snugly onto the holes of the adjustment collar.

Here are a few items to inspect after installation:
-Clearance between the swaybar ends and the Icons.
-Clearance between the springs and your aftermarket upper control arms.
-Clearance between the sidewalls of your tires and the upper control arms.

After installation and the vehicle is sitting on the ground, check the angle of your CV shafts. If the angles appear extreme you might want to consider a Diff drip kit.

Good luck and let us know the outcome.
 

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I have well over 40K on my front ICONS. Still running strong with steel bumper and winch weight on the front end.
I had Extended Travel ICONS in the rear. One started leaking around 40K. I replaced it with KINGS w/reservoirs to get my up travel back.
I have done a good bit of wheeling. Did not have boots on the rear to protect the shafts from rock damage. I do now.
I would definitely get the ICON boots for the fronts, and daystar boots for the rear.

I think you are over thinking it a bit. You've got them. Put them on and enjoy them. I think the ride is great.

2.0 SHOCK BOOT KIT (EACH) 2.0 SHOCK BOOT KIT (EACH) - Icon Vehicle Dynamics

For 2.5" rear shocks.
Daystar MX00402BK Motorcycle Fork Boot - Daystar Auto Parts/Truck Accessories (svcustoms.com)
 
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2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser Trail Teams Special Edition
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Bought my FJ with front Icon coilovers already installed and ran them for unknown amounts of miles and years before I finally had them rebuilt a few years ago, and that was really only because the top mounting plate was an old design that had cracked. So that was of course replaced with the new better one for free. Had them rebuilt at the same time that was being done and they were able to convert them from standard travel to extended travel which was cool too! And they haven't given me issues since. I did get Icon rear long travel shocks too, also through Metal Tech, and one of them started leaking not too long after installation. Luckily I was able to send it in and get it either rebuilt/repaired or they gave me a new one. So they have a good warranty on them.

So I say just run them and you'll get a nice long life out of them. I think those rebuild times are for folks who really use/abuse their stuff anyways. So for most people it could last them the rest of the time they own the car usually.
 

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2012 TT, auto, 3” lift, 285/75/16
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You guys rock! Thank you all for the input. Going to run the icons. Now to find a shop to install them. Would love to do it myself, but a little apprehensive.

Thanks again, guys! 😎
 
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