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ARK_SWAMP_RIDER 11-17-2011 04:33 AM

4th Gen Suspension Options/FAQ
1 Attachment(s)
**************************INTRO******************* *******

I've noticed a lot of threads asking about the various lift options for the 4th Gen 4runner. I've seen this done on other sites, but never saw anything here. I'm no expert, actually knew nothing when I bought my 4runner and joined about 2 years ago. My knowledge is from personal experience and info gathered on this and other sites. I've put together a list of the most common lift types along with common choices for each time. With this I also tried to include enough information to answer most of the basic questions regarding each lift setup. I'll admit that I don't know as much about coilovers as I've not had them, so that section is quite a bit shorter than the others. If you guys have anything to add or see anything that is incorrect, please let me know so I can get it added/changed. I just got this idea and started typing at about 12 am, so it's very possible that I may have gotten some details wrong or left something important out. I hope some of you will find this information helpful and maybe this will help reduce a lot of the same questions being asked over and over again.

**************************Factory Suspension Info**************************

The first thing to consider when searching for a new lift is whether or not your 4runner has XREAS and/or the rear air suspension (RAS). XREAS comes standard on all Sport Editions, and it is an option on the Limited. RAS is paired with XREAS and was only an option on the Limited. It’s possible to have a Limited with XREAS and not RAS, but not possible to have RAS and not XREAS (unless it has been removed). The easiest way to determine if you have XREAS is to look at the shocks. If you have it, you’ll see a line attached to the shock. If you have RAS, you’ll have a height indicator on the dash and a height adjustment/off switch on the center console. If you have the base suspension, you can easily choose any of the options. If you have XREAS and would like to keep it, you are limited to using a spacer lift. If it needs replaced or if you’d just like to replace it, you can pull the stock system, you’ll just need to use the proper disconnect points for the shocks. The proper disconnect points are 6-12 inches down the line from the shock, not at the shock. It is advised to have all four wheels in the air prior to disconnecting the shocks.

If you have RAS, you are limited to a spacer lift in the front only; there are currently no lift kits available for the rear that will work with the factory air bags. It is possible to adjust the height of the “normal” position; this gives you the option of lifting the rear utilizing the air bags. However, as more air is added, you will sacrifice ride quality. Instructions for adjusting the RAS can be found on the last page of the PDF attached to this post.

More information on XREAS can be found here.
Once you have determined which suspension options are installed on your 4runner and if you’d like to keep/replace them, you can start choosing your lift setup based on your needs/budget. None of these lists are inclusive. This is meant more as a guide than a complete list of available options. I’m listing the most popular options I’ve seen.

**************************Aftermarket Lift Options**************************

Spacer lifts:
Spacer lifts are designed to work with your factory suspension components. This type of lift is great for those looking to keep the stock XREAS. Spacer lifts provide added clearance for off road, but they provide no other benefits. If you spend a lot of time off road, or even occasional off road that’s at a moderate level, this probably isn’t the best option for you. Spacer lifts are not made to handle added weight, such as front/rear bumpers. Spacer lifts have very little effect on ride quality. All spacer lifts are essentially created equal. About the only difference between them is the material they’re made of, all end up with the ame results.

Lift amounts range from ” to 3”. With spacer lifts, it’s important to determine you want. Some people use these to simply get rid of the factory rake. This is accomplished by raising the front 1”-1.5” (most common, some have used different amounts). Others choose to lift both the front and rear. It is common for the kits to be sold in unequal sizes. The front is typically 1” higher than the rear, which also helps to get rid of the factory rake. It is important to note that you will gain double the spacer thickness in lift in the front ONLY. For example, a 1” thick spacer will provide 2” lift. A 1.5” rear spacer would net 1.5” lift.
Here are common choices for spacer lifts, listed by manufacturer.

• Front: 1” net lift spacer
• Kits: 2” front & 1” rear net lift, 3” front & 2” rear net lift

• Front: 1” thick Budget Boost spacer, 2.5” net spacer
• Rear: 1.5” thick spacer
• Kit: 2.5” front & 1.5” rear

• Front: 1/4” thick spacer, ” thick spacer, 2” net lift spacer, 2.5” net lift spacer, 3” net lift spacer
• Rear: 1.5” thick spacer
• Kit: 3” front & 2” rear net lift

Lift Coils and Shocks:
Lift coils and aftermarket shocks come at a higher price than spacer lifts, but also offer a variety of benefits. These are great for mild to moderate off road use and still have excellent on road characteristics. Unlike spacer lifts, these vary greatly depending on which ones you go with. Lift amounts tend to vary as well, depending on how worn your factory springs are. There’s a little more guess work involved to determine how much lift you will gain. Lift numbers are approximate.

OEM FJ Springs:
• Springs from a 2007+ FJ Cruiser are a direct swap to the 4th Gen 4runner.
• Shocks from a 2007-2009 FJ are a direct swap. Shocks from a 2010+ require some minor modification to fit. Details on the modifications can be found in this thread.
• These provide on average ”-1” lift on the front, ”- ” lift on the rear, depending on if you have a v6 or v8 engine and 2wd or 4wd.
• Most people buy them used from FJ owners who’ve upgraded
• More information can be found on the following pages

Bilstein 5100 Shocks
• Unlike most shocks, the Bilstein 5100 front shocks are adjustable for various amounts of lift.
• Lift settings are 0”, .85”, 1.75”, and 2.5”
• These offer great ride quality and are a good choice for a stock replacement.
• It is very common to pair these with FJ, OME, and Toytec Coils for added lift/performance

OME (Old Man EMU, not to be confused with stock, OEM)
• OME offers different coil options for v6/v8 4runners and also for those at stock or with added weight.
• Provide lift by using more wraps of coils and higher spring rate
- Higher spring rate = stiffer ride
• Front coils-should provide 2.5”-3” lift for listed application
- 883-Good for leveling the front with stock rear-approx 1.5" lift
- 884-For use on stock weight v6
- 885-For use on stock weigh v8, or v6 with added weight
- 886-For use on v8 with added weight
- Front coils often combined with ” thick spacer for a full 3” lift
• Rear coils
- 895e-stock weight, 1” lift
- 895-stock weight, 2” lift, over 40% stiffer than stock
- 896-weight added, 2” lift

• Superflex rear coils
- Great option for stock weight , 2” lift, 10% stiffer than stock

This thread shows specs (such as length and spring rate) on most of the coils listed above.

These are some of the best suspension systems available. Coilovers refer to the front shocks only. Most are sold in kits with rear shocks/coils that are matched to the fronts. These are best suited for more hardcore off-road use, but they are also excellent on road. The front coilovers are adjustable for lift, typically up to 3”-3.5” lift. This is a huge benefit of coilovers, you can adjust for added weight. In addition, unlike ordinary shocks, most can be rebuilt in case of failure, and also revalved to dial in the ride.
• Offer a variety of kits to suit your needs
Overland Warehouse
• Kits are designed specifically for the 4runner, unlike other kits which are universal to this platform
• Offer both a 2.0 kit for stock weight vehicles and a 2.5 kit for those with added weight.
• Extended travel kits include an extension bracket for the rear brake lines, info on this in a moment.
• Their coilovers are more of a cross between standard shocks and coilovers
• They use Bilstein 5100’s and an added coilover conversion kit.
• Cheaper than other coilover options
• More difficult to adjust once on the vehicle
• Shocks are not rebuildable/revalvable

**************************Misc Lift Info**************************

As you get closer to 3" lift, you can begin to run into other issues. Three things come to mind.
First, at 3" and higher, you begin running out of caster adjustment on the stock upper control arms (UCA's). Aftermarket UCAs may be required to get the front end alignment back into spec. Here's a great thread discussing various options and benefits of the different UCA's offered.
Second, it's fairly common for there to be contact between the swaybar and front coils. To resolve this, you need to install swaybar relocates. There's no definite way to know you'll need these. My suggestion is that if you're going for 3"+ of lift, you probably should go ahead and invest in the relocates.
A third thing is a diff drop, which is intended to reduce the angle on the CV's. It's the general opinion that these do very little to improve the angle and are not worth installing.

Info courtesy of Mark at OW
Just as a notice of warning for many who install lift kits on 4th and 5th Gens...

Please be aware that when lifting your rig in the back you can stretch the rear brake line if you are not careful.

Check by raising your truck off the ground and allowing full droop. Check your brake line where it changes from hard line to rubber line (look for it roughly the left side of the rear axle as it comes down from the body).

Now you also need to confirm that your are at full flex! Get someone to stand on the left tire to make sure.

At Overland Warehouse we include a brakeline extension bracket with our extended travel kits to alleviate this problem. You can also change to longer braided lines but then, beyond the cost of the lines, you also have to drain and bleed the brake system.

**************************Suspension Lift Installation**************************

I used Galactic_04's write-up as a basis for installing my OME front coils. I found it very helpful. If you loosen the eccentric bolts, you've got tons of room for installing the shock, definitely a much easier method. Another benefit of this method is that you do not have to separate the ball joint.
Other write-ups I've used/referenced (these are more targeted towards spacers, but process is very similar for lift coils):
Toytec Lift Install
JA's Lift Install
Daystar Lift Install
Daystar Install By Bulldog
Overland Warehouse Installation Guides
OME Install-no spring compressor method

UCA Installation

**************************Vendor Links**************************

Good sources for lift parts in addition to the manufacturer sites listed above:
Metal Tech 4x4
DownSouth Motorsports
Slee Off Road
Wheelers Off Road

**************************Suspension vs Body Lifts**************************

Everything mentioned above would be considered a suspension lift. Suspension lifts are preferred over body lifts. Suspension lifts are generally considered "safer" and allow you to get a larger amount of lift than with a body lift. Suspension lifts lift the whole vehicle off the ground. Body lifts only lift the body off the frame, which does not provide any additional under belly clearance. Suspension lifts (spacer lifts excluded) give you greater flex off road, which is a huge benefit. Body lifts are best used when you are already running the max amount of suspension lift you can (3"-3.5" is considered the max). Body lifts will allow you to fit a slightly larger tire.

**************************Body Lifts**************************

By far the most common body lift is 4crawler. These can be purchased in heights up to 1.5". Toytec also offers a 1" body lift.
Up to 1", all you need are the lift blocks. At 1", you'll need the radiator drop brackets and the steering extension is recommended but not required. Anything over 1" requires both the radiator drop brackets and the steering extension. If you're interested in a body lift, here's a great thread detailing the installation process.

**************************Tire Size/Fitment**************************

Thanks to gaterose for providing the following information.
What does it take to fit x tire with x lift?
Front/Rear Lift Tire Size
Stock -
265/70R17* (except BFG A/T)

265/70R17* (31.6x10.4)
255/75R17 (32 x 10)


275/70R17 (32.2 x 10.8)
285/70R17† (32.6 x 11.2)
255/80R17* (33 x 10)

3/2 + 1-1.5" Body Lift
255/85R17† (34 x 10)
305/65R17† (32.6 x 12)

* requires removal of mud flaps and probably minor trimming
† requires trimming and may require body mount chop (click here for details on body mount chop), upper control arms, and/or increased backspacing.

Add 5 to the middle number for 16" wheels, subtract 5 for 18" wheels (265/75R16=265/70R17=265/65R18)

The above assumes you're using stock wheels and no wheel spacers. Aftermarket wheels or wheel spacers will increase rubbing, more trimming will need to be done in order to fit the listed size.

**35's on a 4th Gen - The Fitment Guide**

TheTuckerTaxi 11-17-2011 06:25 AM

AWESOME INFO :thumb3:!!

Mods, please sticky!!!!!

deedst4r 11-17-2011 07:26 AM

yes, Sticky this!:nicethread:

JET4 11-17-2011 08:59 AM

very good info, thanks

8086bruce 11-17-2011 10:37 AM

X3 on the sticky!!! Great work A_S_R_!:thanks:

gaterose 11-17-2011 11:12 AM

Good idea, maybe stickying this will lower the number threads with lift questions posted.

It might be a good idea to throw some common tire size numbers in so people can see what size others are running with different lift numbers.

edit - additional info added to original post by A_S_R

Casper421 11-17-2011 12:35 PM

:bravo: ARK!! First the FJ swap sticky, now this?! You the man!

ARK_SWAMP_RIDER 11-17-2011 05:33 PM

Thanks guys! I added the info gaterose posted to the original post. I've added a couple more links to places that sell the various lifts mentioned. Also added info on diff drops and swaybar reloactes. If you've got anything you'd like to add, let me know.

snowbrdr033 11-17-2011 06:29 PM

Hey ARK,
First off, thanks for taking the time to write this up, this will answer alot of questions for many people!!! :banana:

You may want to clarify in the spacer section of your post in regards to the front lifts. You mention that you actually get double the lift in the front when a spacer is installed and the rear stays the same. When I first read it through, I was even a little confused with the information on the "front spacers", more specifically the net lift that you would get.
I don't think that with a 2.5" spacer, you will get double, i.e. 5" in the front, if that makes sense. I know that you will get double in the front if you installed a 1/4", 1/2", 1", or maybe even the 1.5", but not a 2.5". Hopefully what I'm trying to say makes sense. If I'm wrong, please correct me! Only trying to help make the post as clear as possible and provide constructive help! :zoom:

Also, what about adding more information about tire size fitting with Body Lifts? I see that's on there with both a spacer & body, but what about doing one for only body lifts? Just a thought!

Great post!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :keyboard:

ARK_SWAMP_RIDER 11-17-2011 07:20 PM

The issue with spacers is that each company, and sometimes even within the same company, advertises differently. Some advertise spacer thickness, other's advertise net lift. Some of those that advertise net lift don't realize there's a 2:1 ratio. I tried to list out which it was, i.e. 1/2" thick or 2.5" net lift. The ones listed at net lift reflect the total lift gained.

Body lifts are strictly mean to allow clearance for larger tires. I see no reason to install a body lift without some sort of suspension lift. All the above options are considered suspension lifts. A body lift offers no benefit other than tire clearance. A suspension lift not only allows tire clearance, but also gives you more clearance underneath. IMO even a spacer lift would be better than a body lift. The primary issue with fitting larger tires is in the front. If you were to run a body lift, use the info gaterose posted and reference the front lift amount. If you clear in the front, you'll clear in the rear. That said, I will add body lifts to the original post.

If you still feel this is unclear, let me know and I'll see if I can clarify it.

surfmobile 11-17-2011 09:18 PM

Just save the money and go with a coilover. I ran a 3" spacer for about 6 months, and last week installed my Fox 2.5 Adjustable Coilovers. What a difference!

stanleybb50 11-17-2011 10:53 PM

Fantastic thread! Thanks for consolidating all the info.

- Sent via Tapatalk for Android

cmoney 11-18-2011 06:11 PM

ARK - whats the difference between installing aftermarket front coils and shocks like the OME setup from the "coilovers"? You separated them into two categories, I was under the impression they are the same.

Casper421 11-18-2011 06:19 PM


Originally Posted by cmoney (Post 913159)
ARK - whats the difference between installing aftermarket front coils and shocks like the OME setup from the "coilovers"? You separated them into two categories, I was under the impression they are the same.


The front coilovers are adjustable for lift, typically up to 3-3.5 lift. This is a huge benefit of coilovers, you can adjust for added weight. In addition, unlike ordinary shocks, most can be rebuilt in case of failure, and also revalved to dial in the ride.
OME arn't adjustable.

ARK_SWAMP_RIDER 11-18-2011 10:19 PM

I've thought of one more thing I'd like to add. I'd like to gather a list of helpful installation guides to include in the original post. Do any of you guys have links that you found useful? If so, post them up and I'll add to the first post for easy reference. Thanks!

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