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Thread: Good news! My shocks are leaking!

  1. #1

    Good news! My shocks are leaking!

    And that means I now have an excuse to get new suspension and lift it...all while paying for it from the maintenance fund rather than the hobby fund! I'm not sure if the wife has caught on that new suspension means a lift, though...

    So the question is, what should I get? Bilsteins, Old Man Emu, Toyotec, something else? I only want a mild lift, whatever I can do with only shocks and springs.
    1993 4runner, SAS, 3.0L, Auto Tranny
    2007 4runner, stock. For now.

  2. #2
    I would take a look at Sonoran steel or Toytec. Ome is great for bumpers and such but technically it really doesn't lift....but support.

    stamped and snail mailed
    98 3rz 4x4 5spd- Monstalined, 99 Talls, 4.30 E-locker, Extra Lights
    In Progress:
    Tundra/Rear Disc Brakes w/parking brake
    Roof Rack/Rear Ladder
    1st Gen Rollbar Shelf

  3. #3
    I'm not fully versed on the 4th gens but you can only really do a small lift before having to make many different changes. I do know a lot of guys use the Bilstein 5100's which yield a lift with your stock coils (front).

    I have a friend that has a 4th gen with KDSS. He went with a nice coil spacer lift. It was inexpensive and gave a nice lift. He ended up wanting larger tires so in the end he added a 1" body lift and wheel spacers. The tires still rub so a body mount chop will be needed as well as some pinch seam reshaping.

  4. #4
    If it was my vehicle, I would choose between these two:


    Probably leaning toward the latter.

    I know you can also pick up FJCruiser coils for a lift, JD is running those.

    I'm sure there are tons of others, but those would be my pick.
    2005 Lexus LX470 - Stock for now...

    1998 Toyota 4Runner SR5 V6 4x4 + a bunch of goodies. Lifted, Locked, Illuminated and Armored. Winner,"Best Offroad Truck" - 2010 Pismo Jamboree. It's been upside down and still drives me to work.

  5. #5
    Yeah, I definitely haven't done any research on this at all yet, since I just found this out yesterday when I was rotating my tires. My buddy lifted his 2wd 4runner with bilsteins and OMG does it ride soooo much smoother than mine.

    So FJ and Tacoma suspension...I've always wondered why, in stock form, those are so much taller than the 4runner, plus on top of that, they can lift the same 2.5-3.0". Are they not the same suspension like in the old days?

    I did run across that cheaper toytec 3" lift yesterday, and thought that would fit the bill nicely. Whatever I do, I need to research this fast and install it soon because summer is coming and I ain't working in 110 deg weather.
    1993 4runner, SAS, 3.0L, Auto Tranny
    2007 4runner, stock. For now.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Robinhood4x4 View Post
    Whatever I do, I need to research this fast and install it soon because summer is coming and I ain't working in 110 deg weather.
    Lol I hear you on that! I have to get my projects done before the summer sets in. Too hot to work outside during the day.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I727 using Tapatalk
    98 3rz 4x4 5spd- Monstalined, 99 Talls, 4.30 E-locker, Extra Lights
    In Progress:
    Tundra/Rear Disc Brakes w/parking brake
    Roof Rack/Rear Ladder
    1st Gen Rollbar Shelf

  7. #7
    Just my .02, the second link Sean posted is a really good set up.

    But to help with the $$$ aspect of things, getting the Bilstein's in the front with your stock coils putting the seat at a higher spot, and the FJ coils in the rear with Bilstein shocks.

    What's the final purpose of the Runner gonna be? Just mild trails or back to some crawling?

    Its been a while since some of our other 4th gen owners have been on here, hopefully someone else with one chimes in
    Avdian (Avy, Avi, Av, Eddie are some nicknames)
    Tess - 97' 4Runner "Project Something Or Another"
    Natascha - 99' GTI 2.0 N/A Auto - SOLD!!
    Swordfish - 05' Camry 2.4 Auto

  8. #8
    I just bought the first toytec option...bilstein 5100's all around with their lift springs.

    Purpose is going to be mild to moderate trails, though probably not up to the scale of Slick Rock or Deer Valley trail in CA. Eventually it'll get sliders, front and rear bumpers, and undercarriage armor, but probably not for a while.

    Anyway, stay tuned...
    1993 4runner, SAS, 3.0L, Auto Tranny
    2007 4runner, stock. For now.

  9. #9
    I am now a self proclaimed expert at changing out front coilovers. The job was actually pretty easy where the front took me about 4 hours to complete and the rear took about 3 hours to complete. Keep in mind, this was by myself, while taking numerous pictures and meticulous measurements of everything. If I didn't take pictures and measurements, I probably could have gotten it done in half the time. Also keep in mind that I'm no stranger around vehicle suspension so for any newbies looking at this, I wouldn't be surprised if this takes a whole weekend to complete, or at least a whole frustrating day.

    To start out, I bought the ToyTech 3" lift bilstein 5100 lift kit.

    I would have liked to have gotten the Boss or Ultimate, but I didn't want to spend the money, although that would have saved me from doing the install twice (more on that later).

    So this is what I got. The front shocks come pre-assembled at 3" of lift.

    The first thing I did was measure the stock ride height, 3 different ways: 1) ground to fender 2) fender to center of wheel 3) ground to frame. Here are my measurement locations at the frame.

    I also took CV axle angle measurements too. Yes, the CV's are at what I'm calling a negative angle.

    What I've done in the past for 3rd gen 4runners and my friend's 2wd 4th gen is use a bottle jack to push the suspension down to gain clearance for the shock to come out. This didn't work this time.

    So per the instructions on the Toytec website, I unbolted the lower ball joint. The anti sway bar also has to be removed, which was pretty easy. The instructions warn about not hyper extending the CV so I used a floor jack to support the spindle assembly.

    The shocks themselves are held in place by 3 studs at the top and one large bolt at the bottom A-arm.

    In this picture, you can also see the big solid bar of steel that I used as a pry bar to help persuade the lower A-arm to move out of the way. Keep in mind, I was alone so I used my butt to push the pry bar down while maneuvering the shock down and out. Also notice the abundance of safety I had going on to prevent the truck from killing me. The big jack stands were the primary holder uppers, the smaller jack stands were there just in case the primary holder uppers failed, and the tires were the last line of defense.

    Here, you can see how the shocks make there way in and out between the lower A-arm and the tie-rod. By pushing down on the pry bar, I could rotate the A-arm out of the way.

    And viola, here it is all finished.

    Now on to the back.

    I wanted to measure any side to side shift in the axle because of the lift. From simple geometry that we all took in high school, we know that it won't shift much at all at ride height. So I threw the jack stands under the axle so that it would be at the correct ride height, removed the tires, and measured from the disk brake surface to a couple places on the truck. One was to the frame and the other was to the body.

    Here's the location to the frame, which was actually the least accurate way because the frame is sloped out there so I had to be in exactly the same location for the before and after measurements.

    The second way was to the body where the door crack is. This gave me a very repeatable place to measure.

    Anyway, the back shocks and springs are also a piece of cake. The first thing I did was disconnect the sway bar. Then I used the floor jack to support the axle under the pumpkin and then removed the shocks. Once those were removed, the springs popped out with a quick shove on the axle.

    Here's a comparison of the old shocks and springs.

    Now, getting the new springs in, wasn't quite as easy as getting the old ones out. If I had help, I probably could have gotten them in without a spring compressor, but since I was alone I went the easy route. A few days before, I went to autozone to rent their spring compressor. I have to say if you ever have to use a spring compressor, forget the harbor freight pieces of junk, get the good ones from autozone. They're beefier and even though they still bend like the HF ones, they look less likely to kill you. One trick I use to help lower one side of the axle is use a floor jack to raise the other side of the axle. I also got a little worried about the ABS wires and the brake lines so I unbolted the brackets that strain relieve them to give them a littler more wiggle room.

    Anyway, I got the rears done and bolted everything back together.
    1993 4runner, SAS, 3.0L, Auto Tranny
    2007 4runner, stock. For now.

  10. #10
    But we're not done yet...remember when I said I did the fronts twice? Well I actually didn't like how much lift I got from the front and I didn't like the CV angles and some people were saying at 3 inches of lift, it's questionable whether new upper A-arms would be needed to get proper alignment. So, I decided to drop the front one notch down and that meant taking out the coilovers completely. The front shocks are adjustable by moving a snap ring from one groove to another so I dropped about 0.5" which should result in about a 1" drop in height. Even though the autozone spring compressors are much better than the HF ones, they're still scary so I ended up wrapping them in a blanket while I compressed them.

    Here are the pictures of my CV and how I measured the angles. Unfortunately, I only got pictures of them at 3 of the 4 conditions.

    Condition 1: stock.

    Condition 2: 3 inch lift, no diff drop installed.
    No picture

    Condition 3: 3 inch lift, with diff drop installed.

    Condition 4: 2 inch lift(?), with diff drop installed.

    And here's the finished product.

    Stock with 5 year old sagging springs

    Lift installed at 3" in the front.

    Lift installed at 2" in the front.

    Here you can see the bad camber I have now. I have an appointment on Friday to get that fixed.

    Now here comes the technical part. I measured the height at 3 different locations. The yellow cells below are the average amount of lift I got from my baseline measurements. I can only guess that my stock springs were sagging about an inch already, thus the reason I got 4 inches of lift in the front and almost 3 inches in the rear. The 3.33" is where I am now.

    Here are my CV angles. Notice the diff drop got the CV angles basically back to their stock angles, just in the positive direction. Since the axle rotates, it shouldn't care whether it's at a negative angle or a positive angle. However, I like the angles on the right the best. By the way, I did get grease leaking out of the inner boots until I installed the diff drop and lowered the shocks to the 1st groove.

    Here are the measurements of the rear axle side to side location. Notice, there is no change in location post lift.

    And finally, here's some info on the rear shocks and springs.

    The ride is soooo much better now. No more bottoming out over speed bumps and no more wallowing around corners. The wife did finally notice it was higher than before when she tried getting in. Overall, I am very happy with this mod.
    1993 4runner, SAS, 3.0L, Auto Tranny
    2007 4runner, stock. For now.

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