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Unread 04-22-2014, 09:09 PM   #1
Robinhood4x4
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Default Toytec bilstein 5100 3" lift installed on 2007 4runner

I am now a self proclaimed expert at changing out front coilovers. The job was actually pretty easy where the front took me about 4 hours to complete and the rear took about 3 hours to complete. Keep in mind, this was by myself, while taking numerous pictures and meticulous measurements of everything. If I didn't take pictures and measurements, I probably could have gotten it done in half the time. Also keep in mind that I'm no stranger around vehicle suspension so for any newbies looking at this, I wouldn't be surprised if this takes a whole weekend to complete, or at least a whole frustrating day.

To start out, I bought the ToyTech 3" lift bilstein 5100 lift kit. http://toyteclifts.3dcartstores.com/...ner_p_365.html

I would have liked to have gotten the Boss or Ultimate, but I didn't want to spend the money, although that would have saved me from doing the install twice (more on that later).

So this is what I got. The front shocks come pre-assembled at 3" of lift.


The first thing I did was measure the stock ride height, 3 different ways: 1) ground to fender 2) fender to center of wheel 3) ground to frame. Here are my measurement locations at the frame.


I also took CV axle angle measurements too. Yes, the CV's are at what I'm calling a negative angle.



What I've done in the past for 3rd gen 4runners and my friend's 2wd 4th gen is use a bottle jack to push the suspension down to gain clearance for the shock to come out. This didn't work this time.


So per the instructions on the Toytec website, I unbolted the lower ball joint. The anti sway bar also has to be removed, which was pretty easy. The instructions warn about not hyper extending the CV so I used a floor jack to support the spindle assembly.


The shocks themselves are held in place by 3 studs at the top and one large bolt at the bottom A-arm.

In this picture, you can also see the big solid bar of steel that I used as a pry bar to help persuade the lower A-arm to move out of the way. Keep in mind, I was alone so I used my butt to push the pry bar down while maneuvering the shock down and out. Also notice the abundance of safety I had going on to prevent the truck from killing me. The big jack stands were the primary holder uppers, the smaller jack stands were there just in case the primary holder uppers failed, and the tires were the last line of defense.


Here, you can see how the shocks make there way in and out between the lower A-arm and the tie-rod. By pushing down on the pry bar, I could rotate the A-arm out of the way.


And viola, here it is all finished.


Now on to the back.

I wanted to measure any side to side shift in the axle because of the lift. From simple geometry that we all took in high school, we know that it won't shift much at all at ride height. So I threw the jack stands under the axle so that it would be at the correct ride height, removed the tires, and measured from the disk brake surface to a couple places on the truck. One was to the frame and the other was to the body.

Here's the location to the frame, which was actually the least accurate way because the frame is sloped out there so I had to be in exactly the same location for the before and after measurements.


The second way was to the body where the door crack is. This gave me a very repeatable place to measure.


Anyway, the back shocks and springs are also a piece of cake. The first thing I did was disconnect the sway bar. Then I used the floor jack to support the axle under the pumpkin and then removed the shocks. Once those were removed, the springs popped out with a quick shove on the axle.


Here's a comparison of the old shocks and springs.


Now, getting the new springs in, wasn't quite as easy as getting the old ones out. If I had help, I probably could have gotten them in without a spring compressor, but since I was alone I went the easy route. A few days before, I went to autozone to rent their spring compressor. I have to say if you ever have to use a spring compressor, forget the harbor freight pieces of junk, get the good ones from autozone. They're beefier and even though they still bend like the HF ones, they look less likely to kill you. One trick I use to help lower one side of the axle is use a floor jack to raise the other side of the axle. I also got a little worried about the ABS wires and the brake lines so I unbolted the brackets that strain relieve them to give them a littler more wiggle room.


Anyway, I got the rears done and bolted everything back together.
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Unread 04-22-2014, 09:09 PM   #2
Robinhood4x4
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But we're not done yet...remember when I said I did the fronts twice? Well I actually didn't like how much lift I got from the front and I didn't like the CV angles and some people were saying at 3 inches of lift, it's questionable whether new upper A-arms would be needed to get proper alignment. So, I decided to drop the front one notch down and that meant taking out the coilovers completely. The front shocks are adjustable by moving a snap ring from one groove to another so I dropped about 0.5" which should result in about a 1" drop in height. Even though the autozone spring compressors are much better than the HF ones, they're still scary so I ended up wrapping them in a blanket while I compressed them.

Here are the pictures of my CV and how I measured the angles. Unfortunately, I only got pictures of them at 3 of the 4 conditions.

Condition 1: stock.


Condition 2: 3 inch lift, no diff drop installed.
No picture

Condition 3: 3 inch lift, with diff drop installed.


Condition 4: 2 inch lift(?), with diff drop installed.


And here's the finished product.

Stock with 5 year old sagging springs


Lift installed at 3" in the front.


Lift installed at 2" in the front.


Here you can see the bad camber I have now. I have an appointment on Friday to get that fixed.


Now here comes the technical part. I measured the height at 3 different locations. The yellow cells below are the average amount of lift I got from my baseline measurements. I can only guess that my stock springs were sagging about an inch already, thus the reason I got 4 inches of lift in the front and almost 3 inches in the rear. The 3.33" is where I am now.


Here are my CV angles. Notice the diff drop got the CV angles basically back to their stock angles, just in the positive direction. Since the axle rotates, it shouldn't care whether it's at a negative angle or a positive angle. However, I like the angles on the right the best. By the way, I did get grease leaking out of the inner boots until I installed the diff drop and lowered the shocks to the 1st groove.


Here are the measurements of the rear axle side to side location. Notice, there is no change in location post lift.


And finally, here's some info on the rear shocks and springs.


The ride is soooo much better now. No more bottoming out over speed bumps and no more wallowing around corners. The wife did finally notice it was higher than before when she tried getting in. Overall, I am very happy with this mod.

Edit 5-6-2014:

Here's the alignment specs. The camber certainly looks better now, but the caster is still off a little. I'm still trying to decide if I care about it or not. The last few days have been unusually windy so it's been hard to tell how straight it tracks.

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1993 4Runner, V6, Auto Tranny, SAS.
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Last edited by Robinhood4x4; 05-06-2014 at 09:44 PM.
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Unread 04-22-2014, 09:56 PM   #3
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Looks great, and nice documentation!

So are you riding at 2", or 3"?
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Unread 04-23-2014, 06:43 AM   #4
Robinhood4x4
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Thanks. Well, according to Toytec, I should be at 2" above stock, all around. However, I assume they mean based on when it was new, not after sagging for 7 years.

So if you measure from now, the sagging height, I'm over 3" of lift.
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Unread 04-23-2014, 08:34 AM   #5
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Nice transformation.
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Unread 04-24-2014, 10:44 PM   #6
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Nice work! I'm very curious if the alignment works out for you or if you need different UCA's?
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Unread 04-25-2014, 06:04 AM   #7
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Yeah, I'll update this after the alignment. Because of work, I had to cancel my appointment so it won't be until next week sometime.
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Unread 04-25-2014, 08:02 AM   #8
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Just did this to my wires 06 and she loves it.
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Unread 04-25-2014, 06:59 PM   #9
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Looks nice, great info.

When I went from a 3/2 spacer lift to Sonoran Steel's 5100, I could not be happier I requested the 5100's set to 2" up front. I did not compared the alignment specs, but the steering feels better, CV angles look better. I also installed by dropping the lower control arm, and not a bottle jack pushing up top. I've seen a bottle jack pop loose, it leaves a mark.
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Unread 05-06-2014, 07:39 AM   #10
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I appreciate the OP's effort.

I'm in the process of trying to determine what lift kit would be best for my rig. She's up to 8 years on stock parts now, and I've never done anything like this to a vehicle, so every bit of information helps.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared stiff of trying something like this...
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Unread 05-06-2014, 12:31 PM   #11
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Looks, great. Nice write up. Interesting info, I hadn't seen anybody else make the effort to measure the CV angles.
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Unread 05-06-2014, 01:37 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaphod View Post
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared stiff of trying something like this...
If you can operate a wrench you can do this.
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Unread 05-06-2014, 01:59 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikestang View Post
If you can operate a wrench you can do this.
If you say so! I see him using prybars and stuff!

Anyway, a somewhat related question... I notice that a number of guys have gone with, say, Radflos in the front and Bilsteins in the rear. Is this done for cost savings, or is there a functional reason?
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Last edited by Zaphod; 05-06-2014 at 02:04 PM.
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Unread 05-06-2014, 02:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robinhood4x4 View Post
Thanks. Well, according to Toytec, I should be at 2" above stock, all around. However, I assume they mean based on when it was new, not after sagging for 7 years.

So if you measure from now, the sagging height, I'm over 3" of lift.
What size tires are you running?
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Unread 05-06-2014, 10:04 PM   #15
Robinhood4x4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minnesotayota View Post
Nice work! I'm very curious if the alignment works out for you or if you need different UCA's?
I've updated my original post to show the alignment number. I kinda wonder if they could have given me a little more caster while sacrificing a little camber, but still stay within tolerances.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryanmb21 View Post
Looks, great. Nice write up. Interesting info, I hadn't seen anybody else make the effort to measure the CV angles.
I wanted to see what effect the diff drop spacers have on the CV angles and the only way to do that is with data. They may not look like much, but it seems like they're worth it since they drop the angles back to factory angles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaphod View Post
If you say so! I see him using prybars and stuff!
That was just because I was alone. If I had another person around, I'd just have them push down on the lower A-arm. It actually is a pretty straight forward job. But my brothers did a similar job with their older tundras and it took them all day with some cussing thrown in. The difference between them and me, is that I've done this before and I'm used to improvising to get things done. Thus the reason I say an inexperience person might take much longer than I did. It's kinda like changing out CV axles on my old 4runner before the SAS. The first one took me all day to do it. By the third time, I could do it in about 45 minutes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by efree View Post
What size tires are you running?
Duratrac 265/70-17, but the tire size doesn't matter in the amount of lift since the amount of lift was calculated as the difference in the before and after heights.
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Last edited by Robinhood4x4; 05-06-2014 at 10:06 PM.
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Unread 05-08-2014, 05:45 PM   #16
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Thanks for the great write up!

I have the same lift installed, with 3" in the front. I also gained well over the 3" mark due to sag in the stock setup. I had an alignment done, but couldn't get it within specs (with 3" in the front).

It's a little out of my knowledge spectrum, so I wanted to ask - Is this because of the UCA limitations? The shop took a look and they mentioned that the LCA bushings needed replaced (and I agree), and that that could be part of the issue with the alignment? If new Uppers are recommended, any suggestions? I may look into a budget for new Uppers and Lowers all together, but would want to keep it "budget friendly".
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Unread 05-12-2014, 01:51 PM   #17
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Ok I just completed a 750 mile round trip journey to San Diego and have officially decided the out of spec caster doesn't affect handling enough for me to care. I think that it does wander a little more than usual, but it's so little that it could all be in my head too. That's how little it affects handling. If I didn't know something had been done to the suspension, I probably wouldn't have noticed it.
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Unread 05-20-2014, 09:45 PM   #18
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I'm close to following your lead on this lift but I have one question; what is your opinion on the ride quality before and after? all of your data is identical to mine in the "pre-lift" condition so I'm very curious what you have to say about day to day driving, cornering, speed bumps, etc... Aside from money was there a reason you went with the Bilstein's over the Radflo's?
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Unread 05-21-2014, 06:53 AM   #19
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Oh I think the ride is waaaay better than stock. It's a little bit stiffer which makes the ride around town a little more bumpy, but it more than makes up for it by not bottoming out on the bump stops anymore.

Hitting the bump stops was down right jarring when driving over speed bumps. They help at freeway speeds too. I tow a small camper sometimes and there's a couple bridges on the way to the mountains that were always bad. Now I just float over them.

Yes, the only reason I didn't go with something more expensive is money. I'm cheap!
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Unread 05-02-2015, 03:43 PM   #20
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My first post on this forum! I recently purchased a 2007 4Runner Limited V8 and I just installed this lift on it. Thanks, Robinhood4x4, for carefully documenting and writing up your installation. Your info was extremely helpful.

I wanted to add a few comments on the installation.

Each coilover is secured at the top by three nuts. Two of the three are easy to access, but the third, in the back, is difficult. I eventually was able to loosen them with a long open-ended wrench, but for a while I didn't think I'd be able to get them. You can access these nuts from the engine compartment as well as from the wheel well, but access is not great from either route.

My lower A-arm was really really tight. Even with a 2x4, I couldn't move it down enough to gain clearance to install the coilovers until I loosened the arm-frame mounting bolts. When you do this, you might disrupt the camber adjustment, but the vehicle will needed to be aligned anyway after the installation, so I didn't worry about this too much.

In the rear, the shock absorber upper mounting nuts were difficult to remove. The problem is that the shock body rotates when you rotate the nut. I tried using a strap wrench to hold the shock body, but that didn't quite do it. I finally just cut the nuts using a Dremel tool with a cutoff wheel, which worked great.

Fitting the new rear springs was a little tricky since they are significantly longer than the stock ones. To gain enough clearance, I used the Autozone spring compressors AND used a bottle jack to help push the axle down.

The kit gave me a full 3" of lift in the rear and 4" in front (!!). I guess the stock springs were sagging. The frame is level front to rear. I installed the differential drop spacers, and the front CV angles look fine, so I'm thinking I'll stick with the full amount of lift in the front.

I also replaced the UCA's with the adjustable ones from Light Racing. Removing the UCA mounting bolts is kind of a pain, and reinstalling them requires an extra hand. I really like the UCA's, though- the caster/camber adjustment is simple and well-designed.

The ride quality has greatly improved with new kit. I think the (original) shocks were in bad shape.
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