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From Basic Equipment to Well Equipped.  An extensive list guide to help you prepare your vehicle for the offroad.





FJ Cruiser 3" Suspension Lift Post Install Review and Observations


The 3" Rough Country Suspension kits
for the Toyota FJ Cruiser comes in two variations:

The lower priced version Kit includes:

  • Front strut extensions

  • Rear coil spring spacers

  • Rear RC Nitro 9000 shocks with jounce bumpers


The higher priced version Kit includes:

  • Front strut extensions

  • Rear luxury ride coil springs

  • Rear RC Nitro 9000 shocks with jounce bumpers


RC Kit with Coil Springs

RC Kit with Coil Springs Spacers


FJ Cruiser 3" Suspension Lift Post Install Review and Observations

Here's a little insight that I came to realize after installing my Rough Country 3" Suspension Lift on my 2010 FJ Cruiser.  Take it for what it's worth.  Note, I'm not an expert but I am willing to experiment and think through problems.  If you find this info useful, let me know and happy wheeling!

I have a 2010 Toyota FJ Cruiser.  I put the 3" RC lift with the rear springs on my FJ and shortly after during a long highway drive, I noticed a degraded difference in the handling of the FJ Cruiser.  I did plenty of research into what may be causing this and came up with a few theories.  One theory I put to the test with some NASCAR derived suspension adjustments. 

What I discovered was that the stock front springs are not the same spring rate as the new Rough Country rear springs. It is possible that the shocks may be stiffer and that is what I am feeling but the result is an effect on handling and tracking straight. For instance, driving straight, hit a dip or a bump in the road on one side and the FJ will wander one way or the other. Or sometimes when steering, it's easier to over-steer. I felt like I was constantly correcting. Braking hard, the front would dip or dive as some people call it.  Overall it now tended to wander and occasionally pull to one side or the other on un-even roads or if I encountered mild bumps or dips in the road.  Not exactly what I expected or really desired.

I thought about this for a while. I know a little something about suspensions, angles, spring rates and shocks. There were two possibilities. One possibly reason is when the A-arm suspension is raised on the FJ, the castor changes. Look at the plane that the upper A-arm rotates in and as that arm moves down, the upper ball joint moves forward, thus reducing the castor angle by a few degrees. This would affect handling. A few companies sell replacement upper control arms that adjust castor and add a few degrees of negative castor, tilting the axis rearward at the top again, closer to the stock position.

Another possible reason is spring rates and shocks. For springs there is a difference in spring rates from stock to after market. With shocks there is a difference in new Rough Country rear shocks to OEM rear shocks. This sets up an imbalance between rear shocks and the stock front struts. When I drove fast over a speed bump is when I noticed the distinct difference. The front springs / struts were soft. The rear springs / shocks were stiff. Having been a NASCAR fan years ago, I knew of ways to quickly make an adjustment that would affect spring rates. So I used something called a spring rubber, which in my case was a small rubber cylinder foot or post used for supporting machines. I used wire ties to hold this rubber piece in between the coils of the front strut. This stiffened the strut's spring rate. There was an immediate improvement in handling.

What does this tell me? The Rough Country 3" lift that replaces the rear OEM spring sets up an imbalance in the suspension from front to rear. The rear suspension is stiffer than the front. This in turn affects handling. By placing a spring rubber in the front strut spring and stiffening the spring rate, it became more "balanced" from front to rear and handling improved.

So what's my suggestion? If you intend to go with Rough Country or any other suspension system that is similar (there are several of this style out there), then keep the OEM rear springs and go with the spacer in the rear.  The fact that you may keep the rear OEM springs may mean for a better balance suspension, but I'm not sure about that.  Alternately, buy a lift that replaces the strut springs, such as Old Man Emu. But do your research and ask others about the springs they chose based on the setup of their FJ Cruisers (type of terrain they travel on, weight distribution, winch bumpers, winches, etc). Old Man Emu sells several different spring rates that lift the FJ a maximum of 3".  This is not an endorsement for Old Man Emu, I just know they sell springs of varying rates. By the way, 3" is about the maximum you can raise the A-arm type suspension without over arching the stock a-arm angles. Otherwise for a taller lift, a sub-frame lift is necessary. The key is to match the rear spring rate with the front spring rate to balance the suspension. This is also dependent on how much weight the FJ carries up front and at the rear and what type of ride quality you want (stiffer, softer). Personally I like a slightly stiffer ride on the road with tighter cornering stability. But not too stiff that I jam my backbone.

As far as shocks and struts go, a lifted FJ will usually get a new rear shock to add more shock travel. If this rear shock is built for offroad as most lift kit shocks are, it will be stiffer than stock and the rear shock will be stiffer than the OEM front strut. Softer front, stiffer rear will cause handling changes. For instance the front may feel like it dives during braking, or the front corners may dip in a sharp turns causing a "loose" feeling and over-steer. How do you address this? Stiffer strut springs will help. So will completely new after-market struts built for offroad. In my case, a simple test using a spring rubber that stiffened the spring rate helped, though I don't want to make that a permanent solution. Ultimately I'll probably buy Old Man Emu springs after I buy a new front winch bumper and a new winch since that added weight will call for a stronger front spring.  Well, live and learn.  The least I can do is share my thinking.

  Ralph Hassel


Rough Country
Contact Information:
Toll Free: 800-222-7023
Rough Country Suspension Systems
1400 Morgan Rd.
Dyersburg, TN 38024



Project FJ Cruiser

Toyota FJ Cruiser Related Articles

Toyota FJ Cruiser Articles Directory

Toyota Mud Tire Reviews

FJ Cruiser Product Reviews

About the Toyota FJ Cruiser

FJ Cruiser Product Reviews

Toyota FJ Cruiser Video Gallery

FJ Cruiser Engine and Drivetrain Specifications

Tuffy Security Console Install

Building an FJ 28"x42" Cargo Box with a
Collapsible 72"x42" Sleeping Platform

Body Mount CHOP in front wheelwells

Mud Flap Mod after the Body Mount Chop

Team Trails Black Door Handles Swap

Team Trails Black Grill Swap

FJ Cruisers Winter Offroading Pics

Toyota FJ Cruiser Photo Gallery

FJ Cruiser Press Release & Specifications

FJ Cruiser Reviews

FJ Cruiser Tires

FJ Cruiser Overview

FJ Cruiser Capacities

FJ Cruiser Dimensions

FJ Cruiser Suspension Lifts

ALL-PRO OFFROAD Suspension Lifts

Rough Country Suspension Lifts

Donahoe FJ Cruiser Suspension Lift

Revtek FJ Cruiser Suspension Lift


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Yokohama Geolandar
Mud Tire Reviews


Off-Road Lights
by LightForce Product Review / Installation.
from Off-Road Lights