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Forums › Technical Discussion › 4x4 Tech › Input on Suspension Upgrade
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Input on Suspension Upgrade
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Splagg
Trail Runner
Trail Runner


Joined: May 19, 2015
Posts: 362
Location: Cottonwood

PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:33 pm    Post subject: Input on Suspension Upgrade Reply with quote

I've got a $1750 shopping cart at Total Automotive filled with the following suspension components:
- Bilstein 6112 front shocks & coilovers
- ProComp UniBall Upper Control Arms
- Bilstein 5160 rear remote reservoir shocks
- ICON 527 Rear coil springs (2")

I can't pull the trigger on it just yet but I do enjoy looking at it. I'd love to hear feedback on any of these components if there are non-members familiar with them. I feel like I've read a few book's worth of posts in the blue room; these selections come primarily from that...

Also, please let me know if I am missing any critical parts...

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CeeFish
Obstacle Crusher
Obstacle Crusher


Joined: Aug 14, 2010
Posts: 2083
Location: Flagstaff

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:09 am    Post subject: Re: Input on Suspension Upgrade Reply with quote

Save your money and do it right once. You're about a grand light right now.

Ditch the components you have and go with the proven winners.
Icon (my preference)
King
Radflo

Stay away from ProCrap altogether.
Camburg makes good UCA's, so does Total Chaos.

My .02
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progolfer_20
Obstacle Crusher
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Joined: Dec 04, 2011
Posts: 2088
Location: Fort Worth, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:33 am    Post subject: Re: Input on Suspension Upgrade Reply with quote

ARB BP-51s look good. I just ordered a set - they don't require UCAs.

I finally decided on upgrading after driving my wife's LX470 then driving the FJ with Toytec Front and OME Heavy Rear.

But if I was getting UCAs look at Rokmen Off Road for their pro series UCAs...about $750.

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calichaos
Obstacle Crusher
Obstacle Crusher


Joined: Feb 08, 2011
Posts: 1882

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:51 am    Post subject: Re: Input on Suspension Upgrade Reply with quote

progolfer_20 wrote:
ARB BP-51s look good. I just ordered a set - they don't require UCAs.

I'm confused by this. It is my understanding that if the installed items modifies the suspension geometry (ride height specifically) then an aftermarket UCA would be required for proper alignment specifications.

I think a "mild" or "limited" 1" - 1.5" lift would surely be "close" for factory alignment specs but not quite exact.

Am I totally confused on this one?
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glideraz
Baja Champ
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Joined: Jan 18, 2010
Posts: 3951
Location: avondale

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:03 am    Post subject: Re: Input on Suspension Upgrade Reply with quote

CeeFish wrote:
Save your money and do it right once. You're about a grand light right now.

Ditch the components you have and go with the proven winners.
Icon (my preference)
King
Radflo

Stay away from ProCrap altogether.
Camburg makes good UCA's, so does Total Chaos.

My .02
Totally agree with this statement.
I personally have taken out alot of suspensions to replace with the good ones.
Spend your money once and do it right.

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BmblBFJ
Dusty Truck
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Joined: Jun 05, 2016
Posts: 25
Location: Tucson

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:46 am    Post subject: Re: Input on Suspension Upgrade Reply with quote

MetalTech4x4 also makes an awesome Long Travel rear-suspension kit with either Radflo or Icon shocks.

Again, you should tailor your choices to what you want to get out of the suspension. Leisurely offroading (your usual back-road trail) or getting into some rock crawling should help influence what you decide.

What everyone's mentioned above is true, Icon, King, etc. all have great reputations and have proven performance that's tough to beat, but if you're using the FJ for something lesser-so like taking a dirt road to go fishing or camping the Old Man Emu kits are a great option.

Top of the line means paying out but if you'll never use it (like people buying shocks with reservoirs even though they'll never go 70mph on dirt for 2-3 hours at a time) it isn't worth your money.

What are your end goals? What do you want out of the suspension?

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"You see, in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig."
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FJFEVER
Obstacle Crusher
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Joined: Oct 08, 2008
Posts: 2571
Location: White Tanks, Arizona

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:43 am    Post subject: Re: Input on Suspension Upgrade Reply with quote

You are correct on the uca'so, to get proper alignment you need them. Also on the icons to be able to utilize the extend travel feature you need them. I vote camburg with uniball.

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Splagg
Trail Runner
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Joined: May 19, 2015
Posts: 362
Location: Cottonwood

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:43 am    Post subject: Re: Input on Suspension Upgrade Reply with quote

CeeFish wrote:
Save your money and do it right once. You're about a grand light right now.

Ditch the components you have and go with the proven winners.
Icon (my preference)
King
Radflo

Stay away from ProCrap altogether.
Camburg makes good UCA's, so does Total Chaos.

My .02

Thank you CeeFish. I get the impression that Icon's are great but also that I might be forking over bucketloads of cash for the brand - definitely hoping to be a little more cost effective. Until the powerball hits anyway, then it's Stage 7 for everyone.

glideraz wrote:
Totally agree with this statement.
I personally have taken out alot of suspensions to replace with the good ones.
Spend your money once and do it right.

Thanks Glider. Do you have a go-to? Or even better, a budget go-to vs a fat wallet go-to?

BmblBFJ wrote:
MetalTech4x4 also makes an awesome Long Travel rear-suspension kit with either Radflo or Icon shocks.

Again, you should tailor your choices to what you want to get out of the suspension. Leisurely offroading (your usual back-road trail) or getting into some rock crawling should help influence what you decide.

What everyone's mentioned above is true, Icon, King, etc. all have great reputations and have proven performance that's tough to beat, but if you're using the FJ for something lesser-so like taking a dirt road to go fishing or camping the Old Man Emu kits are a great option.

Top of the line means paying out but if you'll never use it (like people buying shocks with reservoirs even though they'll never go 70mph on dirt for 2-3 hours at a time) it isn't worth your money.

What are your end goals? What do you want out of the suspension?

Excellent points, thanks BmblBFJ. I'm interested in long travel set ups but I think the price point is out of my range. I love the challenges that come with crawling and lots of the trails in my area lean towards this flavor of wheeling. I'm pretty conservative when it comes to speed on the trails that don't offer that type of challenge - mostly due to fear of breakage.

One huge aspect of a suspension upgrade that I can't seem to find much of any feedback on is longevity. I suppose that's a hard characteristic to review, though, because it all depends on the individual. What do I want out of the suspension? I want to not have to fix it or replace it again for as long as possible. The rest of what I want from it seems like it can be accomplished with just about any option (larger tires, bit of a lift, level the FJ).

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Jimbolio
Master Wheeler
Master Wheeler


Joined: Oct 19, 2008
Posts: 11583
Location: Tucson

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:07 am    Post subject: Re: Input on Suspension Upgrade Reply with quote

My old man EMU's lasted 55K miles. (Although they were all 4 blown and leaking when i took em off). I still have the heavy OME springs on the rear, with my ICON 2.5-resevoirs.
The ride with Icons is very noticeable different than the OME heavys (And get heavys, you will eventually need them).

I don't drive 70 on dirt, ever, but I DO not like to be too bouncy on mountain shelf roads with 1,000 drops and no chance of survival.

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BmblBFJ
Dusty Truck
Dusty Truck


Joined: Jun 05, 2016
Posts: 25
Location: Tucson

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 12:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Input on Suspension Upgrade Reply with quote

Perhaps a good option for you is to go higher end on the front of the truck (Icons, sway-aways, radflos, etc.) and more budget friendly rear of the truck with OME Springs/shocks or some other alternative. It'd give you the ability to easily install the front (Pulling apart strut assemblies without proper tools is a disaster, I've tried) and able to upgrade later on for the rear. Most people will appreciate the better upfront ride than the rear because IFS setups are notoriously painful offroad in the wrong conditions.

Light racing Upper Control Arms are also a good budget option. Sealed ball joints and adjustable camber make them a great value.

I have Icon shocks front and rear and love them, but they came at a price. If you want to use your truck to its fullest capabilities, continue to save your pennies and pull the trigger on a full suspension setup.

From what I can tell, everyone's shock life varies. I blew the front icons for the FJ in less than a month because there's a dry lake-bed north of Kingman that we couldn't resist going out to every weekend. They still work great and aren't bouncy at all. Hind-sight is 20-20 in everything that you do. The money you spend upgrading your suspension could go towards an awesome week enjoying your budget lift. $1000 more pays for a lot of great places to go and people to see.

If longevity is what you crave, drive the vehicle like you want it to last. No suspension is perfect, but every experience is one that you'll remember!

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"You see, in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig."
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CeeFish
Obstacle Crusher
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Joined: Aug 14, 2010
Posts: 2083
Location: Flagstaff

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 12:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Input on Suspension Upgrade Reply with quote

BmblBFJ wrote:
Perhaps a good option for you is to go higher end on the front of the truck (Icons, sway-aways, radflos, etc.) and more budget friendly rear of the truck with OME Springs/shocks or some other alternative.

This is good info!
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Splagg
Trail Runner
Trail Runner


Joined: May 19, 2015
Posts: 362
Location: Cottonwood

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Input on Suspension Upgrade Reply with quote

Been reading a bit about weight and the concern of adding a heavy ass bumper and a set of skids this weekend made me a bit more trigger happy for suspension.

Went with Radflo Stage 2 Kit from MetalTech.
2.5" Extended Travel Coilovers
2.0" Smooth Body Rear Shocks w/ IFP
2" Rear Lift Springs
Total Chaos UCAs

Whew, I've got goosebumps.

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BmblBFJ
Dusty Truck
Dusty Truck


Joined: Jun 05, 2016
Posts: 25
Location: Tucson

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Input on Suspension Upgrade Reply with quote

Splagg wrote:
Been reading a bit about weight and the concern of adding a heavy ass bumper and a set of skids this weekend made me a bit more trigger happy for suspension.

Went with Radflo Stage 2 Kit from MetalTech.
2.5" Extended Travel Coilovers
2.0" Smooth Body Rear Shocks w/ IFP
2" Rear Lift Springs
Total Chaos UCAs

Whew, I've got goosebumps.

Awesome! I'm sure that you won't be disappointed. Although I don't have direct experience with Radflo I've heard great things about their ride quality and overall performance. Hope to see pictures when it's all said and done!

Build thread incoming?

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"You see, in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig."
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BmblBFJ
Dusty Truck
Dusty Truck


Joined: Jun 05, 2016
Posts: 25
Location: Tucson

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 6:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Input on Suspension Upgrade Reply with quote

Also here is this. Not sure if you can cancel the order and do it again tomorrow to save some $$$



Worth a shot anyways!

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"You see, in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig."
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progolfer_20
Obstacle Crusher
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Joined: Dec 04, 2011
Posts: 2088
Location: Fort Worth, Texas

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 6:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Input on Suspension Upgrade Reply with quote

calichaos wrote:
progolfer_20 wrote:
ARB BP-51s look good. I just ordered a set - they don't require UCAs.

I'm confused by this. It is my understanding that if the installed items modifies the suspension geometry (ride height specifically) then an aftermarket UCA would be required for proper alignment specifications.

I think a "mild" or "limited" 1" - 1.5" lift would surely be "close" for factory alignment specs but not quite exact.

Am I totally confused on this one?

ARB has done tons of testing and they say UCAs are not required. They are 2.5" lift

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