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Old 10-18-2019, 11:29 PM #1
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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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Old 10-19-2019, 01:17 PM #2
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I have 6112s up front

set @2.13"s and Dob 325 coils and shocks in back. great ride.
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Old 10-20-2019, 01:15 AM #3
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Old 10-24-2019, 02:49 PM #4
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I can agree with some of what @MAST4R says about going anywhere with stock suspension. As he says, I did the same Grand Bench trail as he did with my stock TEP + KDSS. But I was bottoming out a bunch trying to keep the same pace as him on the faster parts. And in the slow crawling parts, I was very glad to have my skids since I scraped several times. I don't know if you can say that stock will get you anywhere that a modified suspension can, since I would expect that my travel is not as extensive as some mods would provide. So I would think there could be some even rockier terrain where I'd high center or lose tire contact. I'll continue testing this theory until I am ready to spend money on my suspension I'm considering this (don't mean to derail this thread, just mentioning it).
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Old 10-26-2019, 12:08 PM #5
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My stock T4R on trial

I have been kinda curious about when and how I would upgrade my suspension when the time comes. First of all I'm just going to wait till my stock suspension needs replacing. Till then I have been on a few trails only one rated as hard and as much as I wanted to continue on the path it would not have been as fun going as slow as I had to roll to negotiate the terrain. Still I had full confidence that my T4R off road would have made the the trail, so going anywhere is still something I believe, just seems like it requires more patience and maybe a navigator help out in some of the rockier spots.
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Old 12-01-2019, 10:20 PM #6
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Originally Posted by 19toyrunner View Post
I have been kinda curious about when and how I would upgrade my suspension when the time comes. First of all I'm just going to wait till my stock suspension needs replacing. Till then I have been on a few trails only one rated as hard and as much as I wanted to continue on the path it would not have been as fun going as slow as I had to roll to negotiate the terrain. Still I had full confidence that my T4R off road would have made the the trail, so going anywhere is still something I believe, just seems like it requires more patience and maybe a navigator help out in some of the rockier spots.
I am as big of a fan of stock as anyone, but the reality is that the 4R's stock suspension is really not made for frequent off-roading. It forces excruciatingly slow speeds when it is not necessary and causes more hits when crawling than needed. It gets the job done but leaves too much to be desired, on road as well.

I just replaced the 600lb springs with 650lb. The plush feel is gone as is much of the nose dive. All this bodes well for offroading. I felt the 600lb were too soft the moment I got off my curb sideways (it is kinda steep). There was too much movement in the front. Not so now. Cornering on road went from great with the 600lb Bilsteins to amazing for a vehicle of this type.

I have to say that maybe I am partly at fault for not realizing I need the 650lb from the get go. Maybe the Bilstein springs are build to super tight specs. My 3/16 skid plates did not faze the Dobinsons springs but they do add 60lb extra weight in the front half. Add some weight from the sliders, too, and maybe I am beyond the lower threshold of the 650lb springs, which is 80lb over stock.

At least replacing the springs was a quick job though I always work alone. Hope I am done though as this is the 4th set of front coils on my 4R in 20 months. Consider that just 3 years ago I would not touch a suspension on my own, lol.
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Old 12-24-2019, 07:01 PM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAST4R View Post
I am as big of a fan of stock as anyone, but the reality is that the 4R's stock suspension is really not made for frequent off-roading. It forces excruciatingly slow speeds when it is not necessary and causes more hits when crawling than needed. It gets the job done...
Quick Q: I ordered the KYB top plates, and just got them back from PepBoys who assembled them for me (so I didn’t have to use a spring compressor). However they didn’t use the rod adapter - said it wouldn’t fit. I pointed out the Bilstein instructions and that a TON of folks have put these shocks together, but he insisted there wasn’t enough thread with the rod adapter installed... could it be the KYB inner bushing is taller than factory, or the top plate overall is longer? I was gonna install the 6112s this week but now I’m concerned... if the rod adapter is missing is this a critical component or just a way to extend the washer/bushing high enough for threads?
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Old 12-24-2019, 07:18 PM #8
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Quick Q: I ordered the KYB top plates, and just got them back from PepBoys who assembled them for me (so I didn’t have to use a spring compressor). However they didn’t use the rod adapter - said it wouldn’t fit. I pointed out the Bilstein instructions and that a TON of folks have put these shocks together, but he insisted there wasn’t enough thread with the rod adapter installed... could it be the KYB inner bushing is taller than factory, or the top plate overall is longer? I was gonna install the 6112s this week but now I’m concerned... if the rod adapter is missing is this a critical component or just a way to extend the washer/bushing high enough for threads?
I would not use it assembled incorrectly, it is a critical component doing hard work. Not sure if it is KYB or PepBoys' fault.... I had no issues with either the 600 or the 650lb springs.
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Old 12-25-2019, 03:54 AM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAST4R View Post
I am as big of a fan of stock as anyone, but the reality is that the 4R's stock suspension is really not made for frequent off-roading. It forces excruciatingly slow speeds when it is not necessary and causes more hits when crawling than needed. It gets the job done but leaves too much to be desired, on road as well.

I just replaced the 600lb springs with 650lb. The plush feel is gone as is much of the nose dive. All this bodes well for offroading. I felt the 600lb were too soft the moment I got off my curb sideways (it is kinda steep). There was too much movement in the front. Not so now. Cornering on road went from great with the 600lb Bilsteins to amazing for a vehicle of this type.

I have to say that maybe I am partly at fault for not realizing I need the 650lb from the get go. Maybe the Bilstein springs are build to super tight specs. My 3/16 skid plates did not faze the Dobinsons springs but they do add 60lb extra weight in the front half. Add some weight from the sliders, too, and maybe I am beyond the lower threshold of the 650lb springs, which is 80lb over stock.

At least replacing the springs was a quick job though I always work alone. Hope I am done though as this is the 4th set of front coils on my 4R in 20 months. Consider that just 3 years ago I would not touch a suspension on my own, lol.
Thanks for the great info. I am on my 2nd spring in 12 months - learning the hard way here. I initially ran a 660lbs springs on eibach shocks without any hardware upfront. We subjectively found the ride to be too stiff for DD and was too bouncy offroad. As I am now generally happy with the 600lbs springs on the 6112, I am wondering if skids or sliders will negatively affect the ride. I am also curious if KDSS with the 660lbs spring without any front weight was overboard out the gate.
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Old 12-25-2019, 03:22 PM #10
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Thanks for the great info. I am on my 2nd spring in 12 months - learning the hard way here. I initially ran a 660lbs springs on eibach shocks without any hardware upfront. We subjectively found the ride to be too stiff for DD and was too bouncy offroad. As I am now generally happy with the 600lbs springs on the 6112, I am wondering if skids or sliders will negatively affect the ride. I am also curious if KDSS with the 660lbs spring without any front weight was overboard out the gate.
Thanks for this info. It may well be that 650+KDSS and no additional weight was too much.

Mine is surely not bouncy off-road. In my case, on the contrary, it was somewhat bouncy with the 600lb springs and my total of nearly 300lb worth of steel protection in the form of skids and sliders. It was fantastic on smooth dirt roads but the front was too soft for any real dips and bumps or for rock crawling.

I think the front is just right for me right now. I am not yet to the point of trying to see how it would work without a front sway bar.

The rear, however, is a little stiff since installing the Icon 2.0. My little one loves offroad yet he does not like the change in the ride there.

I have three options to deal with that:

1/ I may go back to LT tires so that I can air down to smooth things out offroad.

and/or

2a/ I am also mulling going to the Bilstein 1" spring to soften the ride over the 206lb Eibach 1" spring.

OR

2b/ I can try out the Eibach rear shocks. Rear shocks take no time to replace so I can actually have 2 sets of rear shocks. I could use the Icons for trips when we are loaded (2-3 times per year) and I could use the Eibach shocks for DD and day trips, when we are fairly light.


The reality is that since starting to do all the suspension work on my own--and I have no one to help me--I feel 100 times better than I ever felt before. The parts I am talking about are cheap so I can experiment and enjoy all the while keeping my costs very low.

(Now, if only I could DIY the implant and crown that I need...those things ain't cheap!)
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Old 01-05-2020, 11:25 PM #11
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Got to drive a short but very eroded trail today. We drove it a year ago with the Dobinsons front springs and the rest stock. It is not a challenging trail but Subarus and most trucks will leave their bumpers on it.

We got the suspension to stretch very nicely. It worked extremely well with the vehicle staying flatter than I thought it would. We did lift a rear wheel once, but only barely, while descending a very eroded short hill.

The difference vs aftermarket springs on stock shocks was easily felt. Whereas I had 1.25" front lift before and the same now, my front travel had decreased to 2.75" whereas now I have the lift AND extra travel over stock WITHOUT aftermarket UCAs, just as advertised by Toyota back when they first introduced the Bilstein TRD. Similarly, the Icon rear shocks with Eibach 1" springs, increased the travel in the back nearly 1.5" (front is +0.75"). HUGE difference when driving eroded desert trails or rock crawling though we have not been back into rocks with the new suspension.

In addition, the springs kept the vehicle nicely suspended above all the undulations, no sudden drops and hits like those that can be experienced with a softer suspension.

So the 650lb springs work great around here. But for most states, the 6112 with 600lb springs would be better because of the plush, on-a-cloud like ride on road.
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Old 01-09-2020, 02:04 PM #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAST4R View Post
Got to drive a short but very eroded trail today. We drove it a year ago with the Dobinsons front springs and the rest stock. It is not a challenging trail but Subarus and most trucks will leave their bumpers on it.

We got the suspension to stretch very nicely. It worked extremely well with the vehicle staying flatter than I thought it would. We did lift a rear wheel once, but only barely, while descending a very eroded short hill.

The difference vs aftermarket springs on stock shocks was easily felt. Whereas I had 1.25" front lift before and the same now, my front travel had decreased to 2.75" whereas now I have the lift AND extra travel over stock WITHOUT aftermarket UCAs, just as advertised by Toyota back when they first introduced the Bilstein TRD. Similarly, the Icon rear shocks with Eibach 1" springs, increased the travel in the back nearly 1.5" (front is +0.75"). HUGE difference when driving eroded desert trails or rock crawling though we have not been back into rocks with the new suspension.

In addition, the springs kept the vehicle nicely suspended above all the undulations, no sudden drops and hits like those that can be experienced with a softer suspension.

So the 650lb springs work great around here. But for most states, the 6112 with 600lb springs would be better because of the plush, on-a-cloud like ride on road.
More travel in the front?? Do tell!
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Old 01-09-2020, 09:22 PM #13
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More travel in the front?? Do tell!
There may be a mistake somewhere in what follows below but I am reasonably sure about it.

The common wisdom is that front travel gain is impossible without aftermarket UCAs. Especially if you ask those who make and/or sell aftermarket UCAs. This may be true in most cases.
BUT, when Toyota released the first TRD Bilstein, they advertised--you can find these via google search--a gain of 0.75" in the front (as well as 1.5" in the rear, which I also got via my Icons there). They said nothing of UCAs.

SO...what is the standard IFS travel on non-Pro 5th gen and FJ? From what I have found, it is 7.8" total travel. You would expect it to be evenly split or slightly privileging down travel. Unfortunately, I never measured mine stock.
BUT: I did measure with stock shocks and Dobinsons springs. The lift I got was a bit over 1.25" and the travel was a bit less than 2.75". This suggests that stock down travel is indeed around 4".

When I installed 6112s with 600 springs, I had 1" of actual lift and downtravel of 4.5". This suggests that the stock TRD version is somewhere around 4.5-4.75" of down travel.

It will be less with 650lb springs.

Unfortunately, I was not as pedantic as I could have been and it is possible that I am making a mistake somewhere. However, statements like "you must have UCAs for extra travel" have zero merit when discussing the PRo and the 6112s.

Btw, forget racing and extreme rock crawling, front wheel travel of 2.75" was really dangerous even on moderate trails. So long as you are always straight up/down and going over rocks it is fine but the moment you must go around something on a tilted slope, it makes for a harrowing experience. Similarly, it makes you lift wheels on any undulating enough terrain. I drove difficult terrain with that setup but it is really more suited to the mall I came from Subarus so I initially underestimated the importance of travel in non-racing use on these rigs. Lifting wheels on the Subaru was something that happened all the time and never caused me any sweating. Not so with the high-center of gravity 4R.
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Old 01-09-2020, 09:26 PM #14
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MAST4R is a glorious beacon of light MAST4R is a glorious beacon of light MAST4R is a glorious beacon of light MAST4R is a glorious beacon of light MAST4R is a glorious beacon of light MAST4R is a glorious beacon of light
On a separate note, I put 99 desert miles on the suspension with the 650lb springs in an afternoon a few days ago and the results were fantastic:

With 250lb extra constant weight from skids and sliders, the performance was great and so was the comfort with my Wildpeak, P metric, at 29 psi.

Basically, I am starting to isolate the comfort issues to where I originally thought they might be: at maybe 7/8 to 12/15 mph, neither crawling, nor moving at a decent speed AND over specific types of terrain, especially trails with embedded rock.
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2018 TRD OP non-kdss, well armored, well used

Last edited by MAST4R; 01-10-2020 at 12:30 AM.
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