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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all, this post is all about sharing your true EXPERIENCES, not so much opinions and thoughts. Mostly about your different suspension setups you've started with upgraded from no matter how many times.
Starting from stock and all the way up to custom long travel suspension! The reason I make this post is hopefully to shed some true light on the topic of suspension upgrades. As a young, newly married man, with a champagne taste and a beer budget I hope this will reveal not only to me, but hopefully help others avoid buying suspension products they probably don't need, because we really don't know unless we try them. What kind of suspensions have you had? where are you using them and what did that feel like?
P.s. I am particularly curious about remaining as close to stock height as possible. (Bp51s? Kings? 6112/5160? Radflo? Fox? Etc.)
Items to include
-tire size/wheel size/offset
-net vehicle lift acheived before or after upgrades
-weight
-differnt things you've fiddled with
-problems and learning experiences

My own experience is very limited and so far with the stock suspension and 140,000 miles on an 07 fj cruiser I was able to achieve quite a bit. But now that I'm running a bull bar with an 8000lb winch and larger tires the story is changing.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/3oNbnQyfABjTcUht2
Calling all gurus!
 

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My previous off roader('74 Ford Bronco) had a 6" lift, 36" tires and every mod I could bolt to it essentially. It went everywhere I wanted it to and it looked great.


My '14 FJ has slightly undersized tires (BFG KO2), and suspension is completely stock. I can't lift an inch due to height restrictions on where it parks at my work but I'm constantly amazed at just how capable it is every time I get it off the road.
 

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Nice, what kind of offroading have you been doing?
Put it through a bunch of old of logging trails in Big South Fork National Recreation Area last weekend getting in and out of my favorite old logging camp. Also explored most of land between the lakes a few months back with some friends. And then the occasional jaunt on the golf course where I work. Amazing that the FJ all locked up and aired down is even gentler on the fairways turf under load than the tractor purpose built for it when hauling generators around for our big event.
 

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I have Ironman Foamcell Pro shocks with matching springs.
They are a mid-price option, and the shocks and springs have performed well, however the bushings are awful.
The rubber bush between the bottom of the spring and the shock split and fell out pretty quickly, then recently the lower eyelet bush has disintegrated...
Poor / cheap rubber would be my guess. I"m looking for full replacement bushes now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Nice, what kind of offroading have you been doing?
Put it through a bunch of old of logging trails in Big South Fork National Recreation Area last weekend getting in and out of my favorite old logging camp. Also explored most of land between the lakes a few months back with some friends. And then the occasional jaunt on the golf course where I work. Amazing that the FJ all locked up and aired down is even gentler on the fairways turf under load than the tractor purpose built for it when hauling generators around for our big event.
Nice! Driving on a golf course sounds like a blast!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have Ironman Foamcell Pro shocks with matching springs.
They are a mid-price option, and the shocks and springs have performed well, however the bushings are awful.
The rubber bush between the bottom of the spring and the shock split and fell out pretty quickly, then recently the lower eyelet bush has disintegrated...
Poor / cheap rubber would be my guess. I"m looking for full replacement bushes now.
so you're out in UAE? where do you go offroading the most. What kind of abuse does your suspension take?
 

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I started with Bilstein 5100's, Toytec Eibach 620lb springs, Light Racing UCA's, rear 2" lift Coil Spring Spec 25% Firmer spring rate, 5100 Rear shocks. broke the passenger rear and the passenger front was leaking. they had over 80000 miles on them. i have lived in Arizona since 2013 play in the rocks a lot worked very well for the cost.
current set up is Bilstein 6112's set on 4th notch, Eibach 650lbs springs, Light Racing UCA'S, Wheeler Ext bump stops, Sway bar relocate,
Rear 2" lift Coil Spring Spec 25% Firmer spring rate, Bilstein 5160'S Reservoir shocks, Wheelers Ext bump stops. very happy with this set up but thinking about Changing rear springs to the Icon overland springs. when the truck has the Roof top tent and packed for camping get some sag. was thinking about adding air bags but worried they may affect articulation. the Wheelers bump stops work great no more hard hits front or rear.
with the tent off i can still get in the garage but that is because i have a Baja flat roof rack if i change the rear springs will not get in garage.
Tires are 285 75R/16 Goodyear Duratrac
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@JKFJ08 awesome reply, thanks man. So what rear springs are you running out of curiosity. With or without accessories have you had problems bottoming out? If you could do it all over, what would you change? Did you notice a big difference between the 5100s and the 5160's in the back?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sorry if I'm bombing you with questions @JKFJ08 but just too much good info not to ask. Also wondering about your thoughts and decisions on your front suspension setup why the fourth notch? And I hadn't heard of these bump stops before they sound awesome. How heavy is your front end? What's your overall net lift
 

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FJ#2

the rear springs are made by a company called Coil Spring Specialties they build custom springs 2" of lift 25% firmer. i like them they flex very well and ride great. the FJ has continued to get heavy with time the tent adds 130 lbs. the 5160'S are nice big difference on wash boarded roads. the only thing i would change is maybe the rear springs would like to see how the dual rate springs work. most reviews of them are good.
i may put Metal Tech upper and lower rear links on it other than that would not change anything. as far as the bottoming out out it happens when you play in the rocks. the factory bump stop are very hard. look in my garage thread i have some photos of the bump stops the Wheelers bump stops are much larger and they are softer just do a much better job but are very affordable.
 

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FJ#2

i am roughly 2-2 1/2 inches of lift. front of the truck has some weight with the bumper, steel skids. went with the Light Racing UCAS because they are adjustable also the ball joint is easy to replace on these. went with the 6112'S because they are 2 1/2" shock body larger shaft and larger spring but they are still affordable.
 

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so you're out in UAE? where do you go offroading the most. What kind of abuse does your suspension take?
Mostly sandy desert type terrain, but there are plenty of mountain tracks as well, and of course wadis (riverbeds).
I mostly drive in soft sand (dunes) but there's a mix of small technical dunes and big dunes and massive dunes that have smaller dunes on them. There's a fair amount of high speed sand tracks through the desert which are useful for accessing the bits that you really want to drive, or just to take a shortcut between paved roads.
Suspension takes it's biggest punishment on the high speed stuff - there's some corrugations, but also whoops to contend with. On the big dunes you have to hit them pretty fast to carry enough momentum to make it up some of the faces, so suspension has to be pliable enough to keep the wheels on the ground to maintain traction.
Overall lifts don't tend to be extreme, bull bars are pretty unnecessary, winches not super common, and skid plates only really needed from the bumper to the back of the sump.
Cooling (especially of the exhaust components) is more important than any additional protection elsewhere, and it slides nicely on the plastic fuel tank skid when cresting :)
 

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I started stock and jumped right into taking it offroad everywhere. Around here the rocks can be pretty nasty and I started punching holes in my stock tires.
I got it stuck just once in a spot where a but more knowhow and a spotter (solo run) would have gotten me out without calling for help.
On my last run before getting upgrades I punch two holes in two tires in Death Valley :O
After that I got an OME 3" (2.5?) light duty lift. I think it is the light one... it isn't heavy duty but it might be medium? And also BFG KO2 tires in 33" (285/75/17, E rated) (no body chop). The lift is nice. The extra clearance is a great margin of safety for not having up on stuff. My wheeling is mostly rocky desert in NV. I also commute 35 miles each way on freeway so I rack up the miles. The KO2s have good highway noise levels. I run them at 42-45 PSI on the highway and air them down to between 20 and 30 offroad. After the first year airing down I upgraded to a better air compressor. Money well spent. Tread wise the tires are holding up ok. I will probably replace them later this year and I estimate I will have 70-80k miles on them at that point, mostly highway but lots of wheeling too.
I have put plugs in my tires twice since going to the BFGs. Both times it was a nail or screw and it had gotten me home without me noticing it. They roll over some really nasty pointy rocks with no problems.
Height wise I am probably 3.5-4 inches over stuck when aired up. Maybe less now that my tread is worn down a bit. I have a highlift mounted on the roofrack along with other stuff a and parking garages can be a problem. Just last month I was unable to park in the Marriott garage in down town Provo. The sign said 6'6". The public lot across the street said 7" and that worked. if I had no gear bolted on my roofrack I probably could have squeaked into the 6'6".
 

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What kind of suspensions have you had? Bilstein 6112 series coilovers (front), Bilstein 5100 rear shocks, Old Man Emu 895E 1.5" rear coil springs. where are you using them 95% on-road (highway, mountain roads, suburbs) 5% off-road (off-camber trail riding, loose sand, inclimate weather). and what did that feel like? Relatively stiff, but smooth.
P.s. I am particularly curious about remaining as close to stock height as possible. (Bp51s? Kings? 6112/5160? Radflo? Fox? Etc.) Get the 6112's, you will not be disappointed. They can be set to stock height, 1", 2", 2.5" of lift. Probably the best bang-for-buck quality front suspension option on the market.
Items to include
-tire size/wheel size/offset 285/75R16, stock TRD wheels.
-net vehicle lift acheived before or after upgrades 2.5" in front, including bumper weight, 1.75" rear, it sits level.
-weight Not sure what weight specifically you are asking for here.
-differnt things you've fiddled with Check signature.
-problems and learning experiences No problems, would recommend buying aftermarket front UCA's if you plan on lifting, leveling you probably will not need them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
To clarify if things were confusing at all earlier, where the category weight is a factor in ADDED WEIGHT (LIKE. bull bar and winch, just a winch, roof top tent, rear bumper w/swing out. Etc.)
FURTHER-curious about spring rates and actual results for different folks who may have had different springs? For example, if Amazon shipping weights are correct I'm running appx 267 lbs of front bumper and winch. And from what I've read. Ome 886(660lb) coils are way too stiff no matter how much weight you have up front? And as far as I can tell that's really the only spring you can buy at the high load rating. I think there might be some Moog coils out there too but I'm skeptical
 

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There are plenty of companies that have 700 lb/in coils in their lineup as a stock spring (Sway-A-Way) and others offer it as an option (KING).

As for the shocks, from personal experience:

A 2.5" OD shock body with a 7/8" dia shaft is the best option for the FJ. It gives you max dia for internals and max dia for the shaft - IMO the more beef you can have on these the better.

I was running a 2.0" OD shock with a 7/8" shaft - the price was right and the performance was good - or so I thought. When I replaced them I went with a 2.5" OD shock and 7/8" shaft and the difference in performance was noticeable immediately.

Could it have been a brand to brand difference - maybe but both were top tier brands.
Could it have been one has a resi and the other didn't - maybe but doubtful.

Reservoirs - Although they are being promoted to keep the oil cooler, prevent fade etc the truth is 99% of us who have them.....don't need them.
Why do we have them - because they look cool mounted in the wheel well.


The one thing I will preach about....**stands up on soap box**

Get coilover covers! They work.

**Steps Off**

Have a plan, be patient, buy once cry once.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Nice, thats good to know about the 2.5 inch shock bodies! Isnt it true that with a remote reservoir we get More up travel?

Just a reminder to replys, we're trying to learn about everyone's FIRST HAND EXPERIENCES. Hopefully those who come for info in the future won't have to look far for info.

- so right now with beefy 33" tires, 16"wheels, 5100's up front on the fourth notch, with stock springs shocks in the back. Smittybiltx20 and warn bull bar, a hangglider rack and me and my 210lb butt.
I bounce off my seat rebounding after large dips. Which is to be expected with 140,000 Mile rear shocks and springs. I also have quite a bit of overall body roll forward and back, side to side, but not enough to scare me, the fj still feels planted because its low to the ground. This is coming from a guy who has been t-boned(in an fj60 with 35's) mid swerve at about 30mph and rolled one and a half times. It does have some pretty excessive understeer most likely from the tall tires but I can still manage to flick the rear end out in loose gravel if I try. This happened easily when things were completely stock. I notice when I'm accelerating, most of the time my headlights reveal how much the car leans back then forward with every gear change (6mt.)
I've collected quite a few dents and have had to reposition my little factory t-case skid, and exhaust crossover from after high centering.
I've noticed my changing steering wheel angle after bottoming out my front suspension and control arm while flexing,Which I'll soon be fixing with a set of tc cam bolt gussets I ordered.
And I notice the constant slight steering efforts I put in the bring the car straight, also Still some slight rubbing up but front. which should improve with adjustable front ucas.
Overall, I've bombed the sand dunes at little Sahara and made it to the top of sand mountain with some bald tsl boogers(pre bullbar).
I've done some pretty gnarly stuff out in little Moab Utah(post bull bar) , spun some good donuts out in the salt flats and carresed up some pretty gnarly dowhill bike courses.
I know there is so much more potential for this thing. between being in school, working full-time, getting a Prius for my wife and more life altering changes soon to come a lot is more important than a sweet fine suspension. However my wife and I love it and play hard with it.
!This post has been very helpful so far in making sure I get it right!
WHAT ELSE HAVE YOU GUYS FELT AS YOUVE MODIFIED YOUR STEERING AND SUSPENSION??
 
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