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Old 10-18-2019, 11:29 PM
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MAST4R MAST4R is offline
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Suspension Review: Stock vs Upgraded Springs vs 6112/Icon 2.0

I have now completed 105 trails (roughly half/half between designated 4x4 trails and dirt roads) and 132 runs in the 4Runner with three different suspension setups, so a review is in order.

Desired performance: no crazy speeds, but good tempo is appreciated, especially on dirt roads and easy trails. Comfort, especially for the rear seat with a lightly loaded cargo area.

Hardest terrain for the suspension: Cinder Hills OHV near Flagstaff (stock and 6112/Icon 2.0), various rough dirt roads and easy trails that allow some speed but that also feature lots of challenges for the suspension.

Highest rated trails driven in each setup:

Fully stock: Broken Arrow, Backaway to CK, Red Rock Powerline, Fins and Things (both loops), Tower Arch, Rainbow Rocks.

Stock shocks and aftermarket springs: Broken Arrow, Elephant Hill, Bobby's Hole, Boxcar.

6112/Icon 2.0: nothing rated difficult. The hardest was Grand Bench, which is an upper-end easy trail with one moderate hill. We met there forum member @darenwelsh which was super cool because that is one of the most remote trails one can drive in Utah. Oh, and then we also met someone in a 4th gen!

My take on the stock setup. Unlike what aftermarket ads tell you, the stock setup can go anywhere. There is zero need to upgrade anything to go wherever. The problem is not WHERE. The problem is HOW. The stock springs and shocks underpeform terribly in even mildly undulating terrain, bottom out for no good reason, and are uncomfortable to booth. Unlike the stock GX suspension, the stock non-Pro suspension is just not at the level of the rest of the vehicle. Contrary to popular opinion, there is a direct relationship between performance and ride quality. TOO SOFT IS NOT COMFORTABLE OFFROAD. It makes for constant gas-brake action and bottoming out is practically unavoidable on a long day.

Stock shocks with aftermarket springs (Dobs front at 1.25 and Eibach rear for 1.0 lift). Without question, this setup provided the BEST RIDE QUALITY by a very wide margin. Ride quality on trails like Boxcar was superb. There was absolutely no bottoming out with this setup. So why then did I not just keep it? Well, first, there is the theoretical issue of how long would the shocks survive with this setup. More importantly, while there was no bottoming out, lateral control remained an issue and the vehicle continued to be easily unsettled when going faster over imperfections. It was a great trail and very rough dirt road setup but I felt it was marginally subpar on paved and smooth dirt roads in terms of control. Third, but far from least, the 1.25" lift on a stock shock costs 1.25" of downtravel which most people here don't care about but is a big deal in certain offroad situations.

6112s with Icon 2.0
Yes, this is the reason for the entire review.

First, ignore the whole digressive/linear/progressive talk. The 6112 are digressive and yet super comfortable so the supposed main drawback of a fully digressive setup is nonexistent here. The Icon 2.0 are linear on compression and only mildly digressive on rebound per the Accutune website.
Icon Vehicle Dynamics - 2.0 Digressive Piston Review | AccuTune Off-Road .

6112 with 600lb:

Pros: superb comfort everywhere. Fantastic control everywhere. Great cornering and handling on any roads. Down travel is increased vs the fully stock setup (just as with the stock Pro setup) rather than decreased. With the same lift, I now have 1.5" extra down travel vs Dobs springs and stock shocks.

Cons: The excessively soft valving results in a front end prone to bottoming out when pushed just a little bit on anything beyond a smooth dirt road. For the same reason, I hit rocks again when rock crawling that I would have never hit with the Dobs springs and stock shocks. Lift is the same but the propensity of the 6112s to mimic the stock diving motions is awful.

So, there you have it. The 6112 on 600lb is a love-hate proposition. It does allow much higher speeds than the fully stock setup but only in a lateral plain. If there are any real bumps on the road, dips, etc, it is only marginally better. It corners great and provides great control over any terrain but it is still prone to bottoming out easily or, and this is far more common, it bounces you like a whale watching boat without bottoming out. That said, I did severely bottom out the pax front side on Grand Bench driving ahead of @darenwelsh towards the end of a super remote trail.

Therefore, I am already plotting replacing the springs with the 650lb ones. I know I am supposed to have soft springs with powerful shocks but I do want to stay 6112 for the OEM-like components and absence of maintenance.

On to the rear Icon 2.0.

First of all, in spite of this being a very common combo, the 2.0 Icons are not a perfect fit for the 600lb 6112s. Unlike the 6112s, the Icon 2.0 excels everywhere. There have been zero bottoming out events with the Icon 2.0 and control has been superb both laterally and vertically.

Where there is a price to pay for this--and by price I only mean pennies--it is with respect to the ride quality on the rear seat with little cargo. Again, it is by no means uncomfortable, coupled with the Eibach 1" spring it is AT PAR WITH STOCK, stock ride quality in the rear being good, not great. It is, however, not Cadillac-like the way the Eibach 1" springs with stock shocks were. And it is not Cadillac-like the way the 6112s on 600lb springs are.

All in all, the Icon 2.0 which cost only about 150-170 per shock are an unbelievable value. They perform extremely well everywhere. I will see how long they last, but rear shocks are so easy to remove and deal with that maintenance is not a concern for me. Heck, at this price I can easily add a second set and alternate when lazy to rebuild immediately.

Otoh, the 6112s at 570 are a good buy and they do deliver on the adventure style marketing Bilstein has for them. But they are by no means a performance shock when coupled with the 600lb springs, which makes me question the whole idea of having 2.65 body and so much oil if the valving will not really allow them to be pushed anyway.
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Last edited by MAST4R; 10-18-2019 at 11:33 PM.
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