Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum banner
1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not a new FJ owner, bought my 07 FJC used in 08, and finally have the bug to upgrade a bit. I have been a forum member since 2009, but never posted anything until this week, but dig all the info available here. Hopefully one day I will have the experience to help others here, but for now I'm just trying to get any info I can.

My FJ is my daily ride and I do most of my time on city streets, but get off road when I can. My stock tires are ready for replacement, so what I want to do is mount some Nitto Terra Grapplers (285/70/17) and lift the front end to level the ride. I need to lift the front only so the FJ will still fit in the garage.

The 2 options I was looking at were;
1) have a local shop install a pro-comp 2.25 front end level kit for $580-590ish including alignment or
2) buy the Toytec pre-assmbled coilover bilstein kit and install it myself. The cost of this option would require me to do the labor myself.

Is the coilover/bilstein option a better choice and how difficult would you rate the install? I'm not a mechanic, but fairly mechanically inclined.

Thanks for any advice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,760 Posts
On a 1-5 scale, 5 being the hardest i would give a the FJ a suspension a 3 but thats only because it can be a pain in the ass to get the coils into place. Only 4 bolts hold each side in place, however, moving the coils in and out can be very troublesome. I doubt you will have any problems doing it yourself if you have a decent tool set.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
427 Posts
I'm not a new FJ owner, bought my 07 FJC used in 08, and finally have the bug to upgrade a bit. I have been a forum member since 2009, but never posted anything until this week, but dig all the info available here. Hopefully one day I will have the experience to help others here, but for now I'm just trying to get any info I can.

My FJ is my daily ride and I do most of my time on city streets, but get off road when I can. My stock tires are ready for replacement, so what I want to do is mount some Nitto Terra Grapplers (285/70/17) and lift the front end to level the ride. I need to lift the front only so the FJ will still fit in the garage.

The 2 options I was looking at were;
1) have a local shop install a pro-comp 2.25 front end level kit for $580-590ish including alignment or
2) buy the Toytec pre-assmbled coilover bilstein kit and install it myself. The cost of this option would require me to do the labor myself.

Is the coilover/bilstein option a better choice and how difficult would you rate the install? I'm not a mechanic, but fairly mechanically inclined.

Thanks for any advice.
Yes the toytec would be a better option. If your willing to tackle the coilover install yourself, why would you not be willing to do the pro-comp lift yourself? All it is is a spacer above the coil. Either way its not a hard thing to do. I would imagine most anything you buy would come with install instructions, but in case they dont there is a good writeup on here where the guy installed an ome lift. Like I say its pretty straight forward stuff, I installed my sway-a-ways by myself with no installation instructions (and I had never done it before, nor would I consider myself a "big mechanic").
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes the toytec would be a better option. If your willing to tackle the coilover install yourself, why would you not be willing to do the pro-comp lift yourself? All it is is a spacer above the coil. Either way its not a hard thing to do. I would imagine most anything you buy would come with install instructions, but in case they dont there is a good writeup on here where the guy installed an ome lift. Like I say its pretty straight forward stuff, I installed my sway-a-ways by myself with no installation instructions (and I had never done it before, nor would I consider myself a "big mechanic").
I would most likely tackle the pro-comp install as well. The price quote only can up after we mounted the drivers side tire and did not have the required clearance. The tire shop said that would provide me with the clearance I needed and quoted the install. I like the looks of the coilover setup and the adjustabilty seem like a plus.

Thanks for the input.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
671 Posts
I just swapped out my shocks for 5100s last night and man was it a PITA. It only took bout 30 mins total to pull everything apart and put it back together, but we spent a good 2 hours getting the shocks out and new ones in. We pulled off the top nut and bottom bolt off of the shock, then compressed the spring and then used a porta-power to push the suspension down to allow removal of the shock. I think it would have been much easier if we had compressed the spring, disconnected the ball joints and then removed the shock. Now that I know how the FJ suspension comes apart, it will be much easier next time, when I install the Toytec kit.

If you are mechanically inclined, I would do it yourself and save some coin.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,250 Posts
I did the same thing OK FJ did and it is a pain in the butt. If you're getting preassembled units though, that would be pretty easy. I'm just west of Greensboro, if you're somewhere around here, I'd be happy to help for the standard fee of beer.
 

·
Formerly FJ_Marine
Joined
·
6,237 Posts
All depends on your mechanical ability and tools at your disposal. If either are lacking, it could become a nightmare.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
778 Posts
It's not that hard but like Gunny said, you'll need the right tools and the right knowledge. The tools are all pretty basic ones you should have if you do much wrenching or plan to in the future. As far as knowledge goes, you need to know some basic mechanic's tricks like how to get your tie rod ends loose. The best thing to do is read the service manual in advance and refer to it during the job. If you get stuck, Google is your friend.

As far as tools go, here are some things I found very useful:
- Gear Wrenches (metric) - the inside bolt that holds the top of the strut on has no clearance for a ratchet and not much room to swing a regular wrench.
- Hammer - A fairly heavy ball-peen (or claw will work in a pinch). A dead-blow will not work for getting the tie-rod ends loose.
- Drift punch - you'll need it for getting the bottom strut bolt out and aligning the holes to get it back in.
- 2 pry bars - I used one to hold down the lower A-arm with my knee and the other to lever the bottom of the strut back into its seat.
- You'll also need some obvious stuff like a jack, jackstands, metric socket set, pliers

I probably forgot a thing or two. Hopefully someone will add them if they notice it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It's not that hard but like Gunny said, you'll need the right tools and the right knowledge. The tools are all pretty basic ones you should have if you do much wrenching or plan to in the future. As far as knowledge goes, you need to know some basic mechanic's tricks like how to get your tie rod ends loose. The best thing to do is read the service manual in advance and refer to it during the job. If you get stuck, Google is your friend.

As far as tools go, here are some things I found very useful:
- Gear Wrenches (metric) - the inside bolt that holds the top of the strut on has no clearance for a ratchet and not much room to swing a regular wrench.
- Hammer - A fairly heavy ball-peen (or claw will work in a pinch). A dead-blow will not work for getting the tie-rod ends loose.
- Drift punch - you'll need it for getting the bottom strut bolt out and aligning the holes to get it back in.
- 2 pry bars - I used one to hold down the lower A-arm with my knee and the other to lever the bottom of the strut back into its seat.
- You'll also need some obvious stuff like a jack, jackstands, metric socket set, pliers

I probably forgot a thing or two. Hopefully someone will add them if they notice it.
Thanks for the tool list. I'm decent with the wrenches. Done some top in rebuilds on my dirtbikes and junk like that. Doing some brakes on the FJ today, etc. Just never have screwed around with suspension stuff that much, so it's new, but I've lived my life tearing things apart and putting them back together, and yes I have had to pay someone to repair my damage before.

The pre-assembled coilovers seem like and easier route, but I would really rather not do the pre-assembled, just because I cheap like that. I don't have spring compessors and have no experience disassembling struts, etc. and with 3 kids, job and a honey do list the length of the Government budget, time is sometimes a factor.

I do have a shop with some worn out impact wrenchs and hydralic lift available to me, so that should help.

My logic is this, if I don't do the preassembled coilovers and put in a little sweat equity I can spend the savings on something else, or use it to pay down the wifes credit card.

Thank to everyone for the replies.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
778 Posts
You can borrow a spring compressor set from AutoZone for free if you want to do that. Even if you buy a compressor it's cheaper overall than buying the coilovers preassembled. I really recommend having an impact gun if you go that route though. It's takes a long time and it's hard work to compress the springs with a ratchet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
You can borrow a spring compressor set from AutoZone for free if you want to do that. Even if you buy a compressor it's cheaper overall than buying the coilovers preassembled. I really recommend having an impact gun if you go that route though. It's takes a long time and it's hard work to compress the springs with a ratchet.
I do have some impact stuff. I think I make take the plung and give it a shot. I like the change and the satisfaction that comes with learning something new.

I sent you a PM, just asking if you knew someone in the Las Vegas area that does some FJing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,384 Posts
I vote for Toytech. Having the right tools will make the biggest difference. Add penetrating oil to your tool list.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
778 Posts
I highly recommend PB Blaster
Good call. I'm spoiled living in the desert. Corrosion is not much of a problem here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,250 Posts
I've messed with spring compressors before and don't care for them that much since they're dangerous if you're not used to them. I just stopped at a local shop with my stock struts and Toytec parts, spent the $20 to have them swap my parts and was done with it. I still saved a good amount over preassembled and didn't have to worry about the dangers of spring compressors. I like doing things myself, but I don't like the idea of used spring compressors from the auto parts store and to buy new ones wouldn't have saved me much over just paying someone to do it for me in this case.
Either way, it sounds like you've got more than enough wrenching experience to handle doing the job.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I've messed with spring compressors before and don't care for them that much since they're dangerous if you're not used to them. I just stopped at a local shop with my stock struts and Toytec parts, spent the $20 to have them swap my parts and was done with it. I still saved a good amount over preassembled and didn't have to worry about the dangers of spring compressors. I like doing things myself, but I don't like the idea of used spring compressors from the auto parts store and to buy new ones wouldn't have saved me much over just paying someone to do it for me in this case.
Either way, it sounds like you've got more than enough wrenching experience to handle doing the job.
Avoiding injury is a plus, my health insurance sucks...shock right. I drive right through your area all the time. I'm south of Raleigh, but 40W to 421 heading to Glendale Springs/New River.
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top