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Old 11-20-2021, 08:33 PM #1
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springs/shocks

Hi everyone - I know this has been hashed out multiple times and I've read lots of threads on the topic.

I have a completely stock 99 limited and the ride is total crap. I just bought it a year ago and I'm 95% the springs are original and shocks might be as well. (300k miles) it rides very rough. I am going to do shocks for sure and have pretty much settled on bilstein 5100s but I also want to do springs. I've heard good things on OME springs however Bilstein also makes springs for it.

Then come the questions. Do I want to lift it? Well, the answer is ...maybe. Above all else I want to have the best ride quality possible. That is the ultimate goal. If I can do that while adding an inch or two lift then great but I don't want to go any higher than that for sure. Maybe I would be happy just doing a leveling kit? I do trail run it a little bit, nothing extreme as it's my daily driver and I have a rock crawler for the fun stuff. I did scrape a little underneath last trip so an inch or two taller would be nice. I'm just worried I won't like the ride quality. Would the Bilstein 5160s be better with the extra cooling? Would Fox or Kings be better?

I've talked to a couple of shops including a local shop and 4wheel parts. The conversation devolves into going way over my head unfortunately, so I'm hoping y'all can help out. Just feeling lost among a sea of endless choices when I really only want to do this in one shot as I'm going to be paying for labor.

Thanks for any and all help, cheers

EDIT: This is the link I've been mostly referencing: 3rd Gen 4Runner Lift Information and FAQ's - Toyota 4Runner Forum - Largest 4Runner Forum

Last edited by Simmer; 11-20-2021 at 09:22 PM.
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Old 11-20-2021, 10:15 PM #2
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Call Toytech and tell them exactly what you want to do and they will set you up with the right stuff.
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Old 11-20-2021, 11:33 PM #3
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Lots of choices these days. King is about a year out so………

There’s reasons for every setup. I’m happy with my Bilstein 6112 up front and 5160 rear on ome 2906. I wanted an OEM quality level, and these were the farthest I could go without shortening up long term durability. Would buy again for sure. The icon stage 5 interests me, but it’s a large jump in cost.

Real question is how much $ and how fancy you want to go. Digressive or progressive depending on which philosophy makes sense to you. Life cycle might matter to you. The custom ones tend to need more maintenance.

Lastly is availability. Some are over a year out right now. One other thing I noticed in my research, is that some of the custom options had less than desirable results with leaks and valving.

After listening to one of the Bilstein engineers on a podcast, I knew that I made the right choice as their philosophy lines up with mine. Premium products, lots of engineering and experience, and longevity. I’d be super unhappy if I spent 4-5$k and had to have a set of backups to send them in to the manufacturer or shop.

Good news is you have many options.
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Old 11-21-2021, 12:37 AM #4
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Call Toytech and tell them exactly what you want to do and they will set you up with the right stuff.
Thank you, I will check them out!
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Old 11-21-2021, 12:58 AM #5
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Originally Posted by Romeo1 View Post
Lots of choices these days. King is about a year out so………

There’s reasons for every setup. I’m happy with my Bilstein 6112 up front and 5160 rear on ome 2906. I wanted an OEM quality level, and these were the farthest I could go without shortening up long term durability. Would buy again for sure. The icon stage 5 interests me, but it’s a large jump in cost.

Real question is how much $ and how fancy you want to go. Digressive or progressive depending on which philosophy makes sense to you. Life cycle might matter to you. The custom ones tend to need more maintenance.

Lastly is availability. Some are over a year out right now. One other thing I noticed in my research, is that some of the custom options had less than desirable results with leaks and valving.

After listening to one of the Bilstein engineers on a podcast, I knew that I made the right choice as their philosophy lines up with mine. Premium products, lots of engineering and experience, and longevity. I’d be super unhappy if I spent 4-5$k and had to have a set of backups to send them in to the manufacturer or shop.

Good news is you have many options.
Honestly I did not even consider availability. That is definitely a factor to consider...

I was looking at the 6112, you'd recommend it? I definitely want as close to OEM quality of a ride as possible. I figured this was the simplest kit as it's adjustable and I've known/heard bilstein to be pretty good quality.

With the rears you mention an OME 2906 which looks to be a 2 inch. Would you mind maybe posting a pic of your rig? I kind of want to see how it sits. I don't know that I want to go that high for my daily, but am not opposed to it. What tires do you run with that? I was going to just run a tad wider 75 vs 70 but that's about it. With a 2" lift it might not fill out very well with stock tires.

You mentioned icon, I'm not familiar with the stages but I am planning on doing the upper/lower control arms, ball joints, etc. at the same time. Might as well. Along with that, all the steering bushings.

I do kind of want something low maintenance and long-term life, but ride quality is my goal for sure. As far as budget, I'm not opposed to spending a decent amount as long as I get a good quality ride honestly.
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Old 11-21-2021, 09:53 AM #6
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springs/shocks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simmer View Post
Honestly I did not even consider availability. That is definitely a factor to consider...

I was looking at the 6112, you'd recommend it? I definitely want as close to OEM quality of a ride as possible. I figured this was the simplest kit as it's adjustable and I've known/heard bilstein to be pretty good quality.

With the rears you mention an OME 2906 which looks to be a 2 inch. Would you mind maybe posting a pic of your rig? I kind of want to see how it sits. I don't know that I want to go that high for my daily, but am not opposed to it. What tires do you run with that? I was going to just run a tad wider 75 vs 70 but that's about it. With a 2" lift it might not fill out very well with stock tires.

You mentioned icon, I'm not familiar with the stages but I am planning on doing the upper/lower control arms, ball joints, etc. at the same time. Might as well. Along with that, all the steering bushings.

I do kind of want something low maintenance and long-term life, but ride quality is my goal for sure. As far as budget, I'm not opposed to spending a decent amount as long as I get a good quality ride honestly.

You wanted to see 906s: here’s my 2000 with Bilstein 5100s, OME 880 / 906 (often listed as 2880 and 2906 when sold as pairs, the 906s are side-specific to mitigate driver side lean), and 265/75/16 tires. I also replaced nearly all my bushings with poly and have @eimkeith ‘s Panhard correction kit.

Not sure if it’s my oversized fender flares or my color combo or factory wheels, but visually the 2” lift really doesn’t seem too high. It looks pretty balanced to my eye. Rides nice. Fine for daily.

Of course, if you’re replacing original shocks, springs, and bushings, then virtually anything you decide on will be an improvement.

(Oh, and obligatory PSA: replace your LBJs and bolts with OEM parts, and replace your radiator (or bypass with external ATF cooler) if you have an automatic.)


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Last edited by cl4Rk; 11-21-2021 at 01:52 PM.
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Old 11-21-2021, 02:54 PM #7
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Ride quality is 100% subjective, with ZERO ability for one person to relate to another person over the internet. All the vehicles are different weights, driven on different roads, with different tires and states of repair (or disrepair as the case my be).

Generally speaking, most will say that if comfort/ride quality is your primary goal, buy OEM, directly from Toyota. Looks like about $500 from my local dealer.

My OEM was trash at 20 years and 190k miles, had zero damping left in the LONG since degraded oil inside. No clue how well, or not well, it rode before that. I opted for the Bils 6112/5160 combo and don't feel that it rides poorly (for the body-on-frame style truck is really is), even with every bushing being replaced with poly (major improvement over the worn-to-death original rubber). Gives you the option of a lift, or not, in quarter inch increments. Doesn't really have anything negative to say about these shocks/struts past the price, they aren't cheap at about $1000 (or that was the price when I bought).

I'm on an otherwise stock '99, it's used as a commuter vehicle for my wife and occasional dog hauler to go hiking. My wife has no complaints about the ride quality either, and I've Specifically asked her about it... it certainly rides better than our 77 Ford farm truck, or her dads '92 Dodge work truck... maybe better than a 2012 Dodge truck we've borrowed in the past, but the experiences are too far apart to say. New tires (from some generics I've never heard of to Continental TerrainContact) made an improvement on ride quality as well. Outside of the Vehicles comfort limitations (small for a 6'4" 220lb guy), I don't think we'd have any issues doing a multi-thousand mile roadtrip in it.

But what's my perspective worth? And how do you relate it to yours?
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Old 11-21-2021, 04:47 PM #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cl4Rk View Post
You wanted to see 906s: here’s my 2000 with Bilstein 5100s, OME 880 / 906 (often listed as 2880 and 2906 when sold as pairs, the 906s are side-specific to mitigate driver side lean), and 265/75/16 tires. I also replaced nearly all my bushings with poly and have @eimkeith ‘s Panhard correction kit.

Not sure if it’s my oversized fender flares or my color combo or factory wheels, but visually the 2” lift really doesn’t seem too high. It looks pretty balanced to my eye. Rides nice. Fine for daily.

Of course, if you’re replacing original shocks, springs, and bushings, then virtually anything you decide on will be an improvement.

(Oh, and obligatory PSA: replace your LBJs and bolts with OEM parts, and replace your radiator (or bypass with external ATF cooler) if you have an automatic.)



Thank you for posting these, this looks great and I could totally see doing this. I wouldn't want it any higher but I like the way it sits/looks. Did you have to do a diff drop for the CV angle or anything fancy? I see the panhard kit you mentioned I will definitely be purchasing that for sure.

Why do you recommend OEM LBJ vs something like icon or whatnot? I've had people tell me leave as is, replace with OEM, and replace with aftermarket.

I do have an automatic, I just replaced the radiator but did the OEM where it's separated with the transmission cooler section at the base. I actually just did an entire motor/tranny swap with refurb so I did all the coolant lines, radiator, etc. I've heard of the bad stuff that can happen there with the strawberry milkshake but I think since it's all new stuff I'm good for a while on that. I appreciate the PSA though no doubt. I like hearing about these known important things that I may or may not know of to do.
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Old 11-21-2021, 04:52 PM #9
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Ride quality is 100% subjective, with ZERO ability for one person to relate to another person over the internet. All the vehicles are different weights, driven on different roads, with different tires and states of repair (or disrepair as the case my be).

Generally speaking, most will say that if comfort/ride quality is your primary goal, buy OEM, directly from Toyota. Looks like about $500 from my local dealer.

My OEM was trash at 20 years and 190k miles, had zero damping left in the LONG since degraded oil inside. No clue how well, or not well, it rode before that. I opted for the Bils 6112/5160 combo and don't feel that it rides poorly (for the body-on-frame style truck is really is), even with every bushing being replaced with poly (major improvement over the worn-to-death original rubber). Gives you the option of a lift, or not, in quarter inch increments. Doesn't really have anything negative to say about these shocks/struts past the price, they aren't cheap at about $1000 (or that was the price when I bought).

I'm on an otherwise stock '99, it's used as a commuter vehicle for my wife and occasional dog hauler to go hiking. My wife has no complaints about the ride quality either, and I've Specifically asked her about it... it certainly rides better than our 77 Ford farm truck, or her dads '92 Dodge work truck... maybe better than a 2012 Dodge truck we've borrowed in the past, but the experiences are too far apart to say. New tires (from some generics I've never heard of to Continental TerrainContact) made an improvement on ride quality as well. Outside of the Vehicles comfort limitations (small for a 6'4" 220lb guy), I don't think we'd have any issues doing a multi-thousand mile roadtrip in it.

But what's my perspective worth? And how do you relate it to yours?
Yeah, you're completely spot on ride quality is definitely subjective. I do really appreciate your input though, it's valuable to me! I can relate it pretty well as we have the same truck 99 limited, and I'm 6' 190 so not as big but still decent sized.

I like that you say that about your original shocks... I called and spoke with someone at Les Schwab who told me that shocks don't go bad like that, they either leak and lose fluid or they're fine and just like new. I.....didn't think this was correct at all. It seemed fishy.

What springs did you run for the rear? Are they adjustable? Why did you opt for the extra reservoir in the rear but not the front?

I definitely want to do poly bushings everywhere - I wish there was a place that just sold a poly bushing kit for the 3rd gen and that be that. Not hunting for each individual haha.
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Old 11-21-2021, 06:47 PM #10
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I like that you say that about your original shocks... I called and spoke with someone at Les Schwab who told me that shocks don't go bad like that, they either leak and lose fluid or they're fine and just like new. I.....didn't think this was correct at all. It seemed fishy.

What springs did you run for the rear? Are they adjustable? Why did you opt for the extra reservoir in the rear but not the front?

I definitely want to do poly bushings everywhere - I wish there was a place that just sold a poly bushing kit for the 3rd gen and that be that. Not hunting for each individual haha.

I was actually a paid (Penske, Ohlins and Fox certified) suspension tech back about 20 years ago... motorcycles, but shocks are shocks. Oil degrades from heat and time, so even unused shocks that are 20 years old won't perform the same as week old new units.

Anyway, OME 906 springs in the back, rear shocks are non-adjustable and the 5160 is the matching set to the 6112. Ask Bilstein why they didn't do a front external reservoir. Lack of compression and/or rebound damping is a function of cost, no problems there for a non-performance vehicle.

As for the poly bushings, I bought everything from Whiteline (oh, nope... I see on my maintenance page I used some Energy Suspension stuff) ~ yeah, all different part numbers but not that big of a deal.

FWIW, those bushings were Easily the single biggest change/improvement in my '99. Way above shocks or tires. Put them high on the list, like right after the lower ball joints/bolts and radiator.
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Old 11-21-2021, 06:58 PM #11
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I was actually a paid (Penske, Ohlins and Fox certified) suspension tech back about 20 years ago... motorcycles, but shocks are shocks. Oil degrades from heat and time, so even unused shocks that are 20 years old won't perform the same as week old new units.

Anyway, OME 906 springs in the back, rear shocks are non-adjustable and the 5160 is the matching set to the 6112. Ask Bilstein why they didn't do a front external reservoir. Lack of compression and/or rebound damping is a function of cost, no problems there for a non-performance vehicle.

As for the poly bushings, I bought everything from Whiteline (oh, nope... I see on my maintenance page I used some Energy Suspension stuff) ~ yeah, all different part numbers but not that big of a deal.

FWIW, those bushings were Easily the single biggest change/improvement in my '99. Way above shocks or tires. Put them high on the list, like right after the lower ball joints/bolts and radiator.
Awesome, thank you. This is the kind of info I wanted. I really appreciate you taking the time to chat with me and detail all this out. I will definitely prioritize bushings. I figured I'd just do everything all in one shot - new suspension, bushings, upper and lower ball joints and control arms, etc.

So in your opinion (professional, even!) I don't at all need a separate reservoir if I'm daily-ing this rig + some mild trail wheeling? Just wasting money at that point, won't notice a difference since it's not a high performance application?

I am looking at maybe just doing the Icon stage 2 kit - adjustable coil overs for the front, springs and struts for rear with no separate reservoirs. It's either that or basically your exact setup with the 6112s up front and probably 5100s in the rear. I like that the Icon's rear springs are only 1" whereas the OME smallest is 2" I believe.

Besides steering bushings, what other bushings can I/should I replace?
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Old 11-21-2021, 09:00 PM #12
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So in your opinion (professional, even!) I don't at all need a separate reservoir if I'm daily-ing this rig + some mild trail wheeling? Just wasting money at that point, won't notice a difference since it's not a high performance application?


Besides steering bushings, what other bushings can I/should I replace?
External reservoirs (and larger shock bodies like the 6112) main benefits are more oil and/or oil cooling which directly impact how Long the shock can be pushed hard before it fades (from heat). Might also get a little longer usable lifespan, but I doubt it the more I think about it. Wheeling doesn't heat shocks, it's a slow and methodical thing (usually). Think more like extended washboard roads on the normal human side of things, and Baja style whoops on the superhuman side. I drive a fair bit of washboard, it was the main reason I opted for the 6112/5160 over the 5100's.

As for bushings, front and rear upper and lower control arms, swaybars/end links front and rear, steering rack, and panhard are, I think, the majority. Then there's the body bushings, which I haven't done yet but they're on the "want to get done" list.
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Old 11-22-2021, 10:27 AM #13
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If you don’t want it to be too tall, don’t lift it.

Sounds to me like your a candidate for new OEM 99 tall springs and some Bilstein 5100s all the way around if you have no plans to go larger than stock on tires.
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Old 11-22-2021, 11:34 AM #14
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Another, less expensive option is 5th Gen rear springs.

They provide about the same height as the 99 talls, but much higher initial load capacity. They are actually shorter than the sagging 2001 Springs I replaced them with.

I paired them with the Airlift Helper bags and it's pretty much perfect. I wheeled all weekend with 50psi in my bags to give me some extra height and it was great. I didn't even lift a tire in sections that my friends in lifted 5th Gen did.
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Old 11-22-2021, 01:40 PM #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cl4Rk View Post
You wanted to see 906s: here’s my 2000 with Bilstein 5100s, OME 880 / 906 (often listed as 2880 and 2906 when sold as pairs, the 906s are side-specific to mitigate driver side lean), and 265/75/16 tires.
With 880 not being side specific, how much of a ride height difference do you have in your front driver & front passenger sides?

What are your center hub to fender measurements front & rear?
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