Candido Tapia (CTapia)
Toyota Tech: Toyota SUV Suspension Lift Collaboration
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1999 Toyota 4Runner Limited, 4WD, 3.4 Liter, 6 Cylinder, Automatic

Front:
Sway-A-Way RaceRunner Coilovers
Rear:
OME (Old Man Emu) Heavy Duty Coils/Comfort shocks

First impression:

The first thing that I noticed about the Sway-A-Way coilovers was that they are nicely machined and then power-coated for a lasting finish. They came with replacement hardware for the top mount, spanner wrench (to adjust the amount of lift), installation instructions, but no torque measurements. Refer to the Toyota factory manual for this. The Old Man Emu (OME) coil springs are just as impressive as the Sway-A-Way coilovers. In comparison to the factory Toyota springs they are thicker in diameter and have more windings, thus resulting in a lift and a more controlled ride. The shock shafts are also thicker in diameter and simply appear better made than the factory ones. I guess any aftermarket shocks are better than the stock ones.

Installation:

I would like to say that I did the entire install by myself but I didnt. I had one of my mechanically inclined buddies give me a hand. This was my first time doing any suspension work, but the help of my bud and general help from the forum this job went pretty smooth. The job took (2) guys around 7 hours. We worked slowly on the vehicle and one run to the auto parts to get the coil/spring compressors. Ill start by saying that the front was a lot easier than the rear. The rear took some manipulating of the rear axle and a few %@##@ words to get the rear springs to come out. We used a pair of jacks on the rear axle and some stands to support the rear. Coil compressors to remove the old factory coils and install the new OME coils. Finally, we disconnected the sway bar end links, as this provided extra movement of the axle. The upper mounts for the rear shocks on the 96-02 4Runner are tucked up high and are a pain to access. A combination of pliers and socket set was used to remove/install the shocks. Aside from this, everything else is pretty straightforward. The Sway-A-Way RaceRunner coilovers dropped right in. We jacked up the front end and supported it with some stands and a jack. We removed the tires and unbolted the hardware holding the factory coilovers. *Tip* The factory bottle jack inserted upside down between the top tire firewall and the upper A-arm helps align the coilovers., which helps with installing the hardware.

Fine Tweaking:

Adjusting the initial front height took us some time, we adjusted the collar, lowered the truck, measured and repeated this until the desired lift was achieved. Constantly jacking up the truck and bringing it back down to take measurements.

My original measurements were the following:

(Measurements were taken from the lower plastic lip of the flares to the top center of the rim.)

Before lift:

Front 11.75
Rear 11.00

After the lift:

Front 13.00
Rear 14.00

If my math is correct, my front is currently set to 1.25 of lift and the rear gained 3 of lift. I speculate that I will need to adjust the front further to accommodate my replacement tires, which will be a set Goodyear MT/R's in a 285/75R/16.

Ride:

Like everyone would do, immediately after the install I jumped on the truck and took it for a test spin. The difference was noted immediately! In my case, the improvement came from the fact that the truck felt stiffer, but not overly stiff. It took me a long 10 minutes to get use to it! My biggest complaint with the stock suspension was that it was too soft for my taste and I couldnt really carry any weight without having the rear sag.

Day in Day out:

Shortly after the install, my family and I went on road trip. Like a typical road trip, you end up with a fully loaded truck/car. In our case, it was no exception. (4) adults, (1) baby and a fully loaded 4Runner with luggage in the back and on the rack. We managed to rack up over 5K miles during this road trip. The ride was great and we did not bottom out at all. I dont believe I could have carried this much cargo weight plus the passengers on the stock suspension. Even without any weight, the truck does not feel overly stiff plus the truck feels stable at 80 M.P.H+ on the freeway. The rear has now settled around 13.75. The front has performed flawlessly, however in certain occasions I feel more body movement in the front than the rear. Couple people from the forum have reported good results with a Tundra valving on the Sway-A-Way Coilovers. This should result in stiffer front to match the rear OME suspension. This will be done in the near future.

Rear OME Front SAW SAW installed

SAW Coil Over Front Stance Rear Stance

Front Profile Rear Profile

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