FJC - Stock Front Spring Query

Discussion in 'FJ Cruiser' started by GWcruiser, Dec 18, 2015.

  1. GWcruiser

    GWcruiser

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    I'm trying to explain why my FJ sags driver side after swapping shocks (kept the OEM springs). A person just informed me of the stiffer driver side spring ... and I'm trying to confirm and learn how to figure out if indeed the dealer swaped sides on me.

    Anyone have personal experience with OEM front springs on an FJC? Specifically, the Off-Road Package and whether the driver vs passenger springs are actually different (they have different Toyota part numbers and different color codes).

    Thanks!!
     
  2. Mtbcoach

    Mtbcoach Moderator

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    To understand...you "replaced" the OEM shocks with something else (presume new), noticed the driver side "lean", checking to see if the OEM springs have a different spring rate on the driver side as compared to the passenger side.

    The OEM part numbers are different, that would indicate that there could be a different spring rate side to side. Yet, looking at aftermarket springs, (OME), they don't differentiate, giving the same spring for both coilovers. I only have direct experience with '07's, not observed differences other than adding "trim packs" to help compensate for the OEM driver side lean.

    I'd ask if you checked/measured before the shock swap, many don't notice the factory lean until they scrutinize their new install. I'd also check to see if the spring is seated properly in the spring cup. Lastly, I'd propose that the swapped shocks may not be giving the same pre-load, allowing the driver lean to be more pronounced.

    I'd put a tape measure to your rig, measure from the center of the hub straight up to the fender and compare side to side, front and rear as well as front to rear. Having a full tank of gas one day makes the factory lean more significant than when it's empty, I'd go as far as making sure tire pressure is the same, just to eliminate any variables.
     
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  3. GWcruiser

    GWcruiser

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    The springs are different -- trust me on that. Even though some Toyota parts guys try to argue they are the same (they have different part numbers), its hard to argue with the fact one has 7 twists and the other has 8.

    And yes, I have measurements before and after ... the 1.5" difference came after.

    [​IMG]

    Color codes as posted on an FJC forum (but I can't confirm through Toyota). My truck has them swapped...

    [​IMG]


    I wanted a bit more front end clearance. The OEM off-road shocks are Bilstein 5100 equivalents, non-adjustable; I installed Bilstein 5100 adjustables, with the ring at the lowest/minimal lift notch (#2 of 4 notches).
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2015
  4. Mtbcoach

    Mtbcoach Moderator

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    The rear OEM springs have different part numbers also yet I can't find evidence that they are different. Is that a picture of your coilovers or just a reference picture. Did you buy them used from someone else, take them somewhere to have your springs put together with the 5100 adjustables?

    Sorry, don't mean to question, just confused as to what you had before this upgrade took place, the picture you posted appears to be different springs. I've not seen different springs side to side, I'm no Toyota mechanic either. If you have guys on the FJCforum saying it's opposite, seems like an easy fix, swap the coilovers side to side. My experience is that installation error is the greatest reason for such issues, springs not proper seated in the cups, cups rotated, installed upside down...you could have someone putting the wrong spring in when building the coilovers.

    Just for reference, I spent some time researching after market kits and couldn't find any that offer different spring rates between driver and passenger sides, doesn't mean they don't exist. The OME kits have the most information and have been making them for the longest time, selecting kits for your year specific vehicle, I find:

    OLD MAN EMU COMPLETE SUSPENSION KIT 2.5" LIFT FOR TOYOTA FJ CRUISER (OMEFJC10HKS)

    Here is the spring rate chart for all OME springs:

    http://www.sleeoffroad.com/installation/ome_spring_specs.pdf

    You can see that they don't offer separate spring specifications for left/right.

    One more reference, I dug deep into my cave, found my OEM take-off front springs from my '07 (03/06 build date) and find the same markings you noted above...
    [​IMG]
     
  5. GWcruiser

    GWcruiser

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    People also said I was crazy about the front end shimmy until Toyota admitted there was an issue with the rack preload spring on some trucks and issued a TSB for it. As a result, I am used to denier logic. :p

    My FJ is a 2012 with the off-road kit (17" wheels with 32" tires, Bilsteins, rear locker, ATRAC, and compass doo-dad). All factory to start, I bought it new. I changed shocks all around, nothing else up front; and added 1.5" spacers in the rear to keep the body rake. The tilt happened at this mod. I've inspected the spacer install, and nothing is off there. Also, nothing seems off in the struts. The only unknown I am concerned with is the front spring rates.

    Parts books list a different spring for late 2006 ... yours may be the early model.
    SPRING, FRONT COIL, RH
    Front Right. Spring. From 10/2006; To 10/2006.​

    The photos above are off the web; they aren't Bilstein shocks, but more or less match what I have and what I looked at today (five different FJ's). I haven't compiled the photos I took, but first glance the one FJ with a shim lift seems to have had swapped springs, just like mine (a mechanic thing??); the two factory models with Bilsteins (off-road package) matched the above 'side' color codes; and the last two had different spring sets over-painted by a detail shop (also not Bilsteins, perhaps not the off road model or aftermarket struts). But I was rushed for time when I glanced at the images ... and I could have it wrong.

    Here is what is on my truck today...

    Driver Side: 7 twists
    [​IMG]

    Passenger Side: 8 twists
    - paint far right lower 2 twists
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Mtbcoach

    Mtbcoach Moderator

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    Interesting set up you have, sorry you are having an issue with this. I can only speak from my personal experience and I have no experience with the Bilstein/spacer set up you have.

    Here is the set up to give you the best I could do in providing the most precision measuring springs from my OEM take-off springs...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Looks like 14" to me
    [​IMG]

    Looks like 14" as the other side
    [​IMG]

    I don't recall during installation on my FJC that a left/right spring are designated, the install on my FZJ80 do have an "A" and "B" spring, designated to go on the driver side (B).

    Hope you get it sorted out, seems a bit odd to me that there is such a significant difference you have.
     
  7. BirdManzFJ

    BirdManzFJ

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    I have to question, you say it was all factory. But I doubt Toyota factory built anything with Bilstein shocks. More than likely what you have is a Dealer installed package on a new truck. Just like on the FJ80's, the "Gold Emblem" package.
    So , that being said, I wonder if your lean was built in when the dealer did what ever they did to make your "off road package".
    (built in)* meaning mismatched parts, or whatever...
     
  8. GWcruiser

    GWcruiser

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    Bird,

    I repeat what I said with regard to deniers ... :(

    First off - the lean was NOT there prior to the new front shocks. Second, I could show the factory sticker that has the words Bilsteins on it... but it's buried in a box somewhere; but here's a link to a bunch of sticker images: 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser 4WD Window Sticker Photo #66256844 | GTCarLot.com

    And this from a Toyota Brochure:
    OFF-ROAD PACKAGE1, 2, 3 Floating-ball Multi-Information Display with inclinometer, compass and outside temperature; Active Traction Control (A-TRAC), Crawl Control (CRAWL),4 electronically controlled locking rear differential5 and Trail-tuned Bilstein® shock absorbers

    Mtb,

    Thanks for the measurements and related effort. I've done some reading and it does appear ealry FJ's were subject to the lean, then somewhere down the line Toyota addressed it. Mine is late enough model that it didn't noticeably lean until the shock swap.

    At the time I looked the rear end over with a fine tooth comb expecting to see a problem there. 2 years later, a guy who read my review of the 1.5" rear spacers informed me the front shocks are different, I should look there. And thus this thread trying for more info, and my conclusion my front springs are indeed on the wrong sides.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2015
  9. GWcruiser

    GWcruiser

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    Another followup - seems the rear springs are also color code by side; and mine are swapped there, too. At least the mechanic was consistant in making the errors. I always wondered why the broken weld tacks didn't seem to line up right when I was looking at the rear spring assemblies... wondered at the time if they had been swapped ... but at the time I wrote it off as a don't care because of my naive "springs are all the same" logic.

    My repair bill just jumped $250...


    Yes, Toyota factory tack welds the lower end of the spring to the axle. The mechanic hammered on the spring and tower rather than use a chisel to break the weld <sigh>.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2015
  10. BirdManzFJ

    BirdManzFJ

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    Guess old vs new...
    I'll take my June 06 FJC and slink back into the shadows.
    GL with your issue
     
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  11. Mtbcoach

    Mtbcoach Moderator

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    I'm glad you have it sorted out, sorry your mechanic got it wrong for you. Don't know that I helped, just know most all FJC and FZJ 80's have the driver side lean off the showroom, well documented, why OME ,sells "trim pack" and have "A" and "B" springs for the 80's but the springs do not have any additional coils as you've shown. It appears like newer models have a different spring, something I've not been aware of, again, I'm no expert.

    Seeing the tack welds also surprised me for I can say with great confidence that mine had no such thing. Never heard of such installation technique nor believe it's sound advice to do so, curious indeed.
     
  12. GWcruiser

    GWcruiser

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    I'm sure the weld helped Toyota save a step during assembly. Maybe allows one guy to throw the rear together and eliminates a job. That'd be big bucks in a production line. Not sure why the mechanic had to break it loose... all he did was lower the axle to add spacers. More mystery.
     
  13. BigSwede

    BigSwede

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    My 2010 came with a factory "off-road" package that included Bilstein shocks.
     
  14. Mtbcoach

    Mtbcoach Moderator

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    Yes, I do know that all the springs are marked though I don't know why Toyota has been doing such for at least 20+ years (at least with my observations in the 80 series. Examples from my FZJ80:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Ummm, actually, that tack weld, the process to perform it and the equipment necessary on the assembly line is a major cost/efficiency negative. I don't believe that is an OEM job. I've only worked on FJC's older than yours, maybe 5 different suspension upgrades, never encountered a spring welded to the cup. Rear spring removal has always been an easy and simple process, pulling them out by hand (in fact, most fall out using the best technique) with little effort, let alone breaking off a tack weld to do so.

    In fact, the nature of the assembly requires some movement between the spring and cup during compression and rebound. Fixing the spring in place will cause binding, creaking and compromise the material by introducing heat. Additionally, paint would need to be applied to the weld sight, adding more time to perform and wait for the paint to dry, highly compromising the renowned efficiency of a Toyota assembly line. If this were the case, one would expect this across platforms in Toyota assembly lines, not exclusively the FJC. If Toyota is so smart to save time and efficiency during the assembly process, one would expect other manufacturers to adopt similar processes. Yet...

    Further, installing a new spring on top of that tack weld will create a "stress riser" for the new spring, creating a point where the new spring will be compromised. For the installer to put a spring on top of that weld is creating a future problem for you. To have not ground that weld down, smoothed the surface and resprayed will ruin the spring, invite rust and create a nice squeak, creak, annoying noise for your future enjoyment.

    Lastly, one would see thread after thread, aftermarket instructions and much whining and complaining across boards regarding this issue. Every manufacturer would give instructions how to remedy this production anomaly, how to fix and avoid their own future issues by having a tack weld in the spring cup.

    If I were in your shoes, I'd find another mechanic/installer, have those tack welds removed, the area smoothed and painted, check the spring to see if it's worn and repaint it also. I still have no opinion regarding the difference in front springs, don't find it impossible but highly questionable, yet, without any firm evidence, I have to do more research.
     
  15. GWcruiser

    GWcruiser

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    Jerry - all one needs do is count the number of twists on the two springs. Given the same spring steel and diameters, a coil spring with more twists is 'softer' than a spring with fewer twists. The stock springs on newer FJ's have different twist counts (from my limited sample of my 2012 and three other Bilstein equipped late model FJC's I looked at this past weekend).
     
  16. Mtbcoach

    Mtbcoach Moderator

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    Spring rate has many factors, material make-up, diameter of material, coil diameter, overall length and turns/coils. One can only know for sure if one were to load test it. Regardless, one would expect items that are specific to one side or the other on a vehicle would be labeled such that they are easily identifiable so that they can be installed correctly, avoiding the circumstance you find yourself in.
     
  17. GWcruiser

    GWcruiser

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    Didn't I say given the same materials? But why would Toyota go to the expense of having matched spring rates using two different wires? The springs are marked, they look different, and the parts book says they aren't the same. So yeah, why would a mechanic notice? :confused:

    How can the bright color code be mistaken? I can see a mechanic rushing and missing the obvious-to-me visual difference in twists. The problem, I am guessing, arose when the mechanic ignored the color red flag and continued on with the notion all the springs were the same, and installed them haphazardly without worrying about which side they came off of - regardless of the bright 2" paint markings.

    Early on in my mechanic history, I learned that when you take something apart, you remember where pieces went. Especially important in things like brake parts, cams, rods, pistons, bearings, steering racks, transmissions, forks, etc. But also important in things like nuts and bolts and the torque that binds them. You don't just dump everything into a pile and guess where they go later. But sadly, that seems to be the case here.

    It's like having factory chrome valve stem caps and having a tire shop rotate the tires and later finding a plastic cap on one of the wheels. Why? For one, it didn't cost the mechanic $5 to lose it.


    It's just plain frustrating that Toyota mechanics don't know enough about what they are working on; and Toyota engineers didn't write the R&R manual clearly enough (perhaps the service manual does mention to not swap parts side to side); and that even the obvious color splashes were missed; and now it's going to cost me money to undo the needless damage done during the earlier work I paid for.

    Unless I take the easy way out and let the next owner worry about it.
     
  18. Mtbcoach

    Mtbcoach Moderator

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    Sorry to try and help, good bye...
     
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  19. BirdManzFJ

    BirdManzFJ

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    you forgot the MUD hello and goodbye salute!!!

    :flipoff2:
     
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  20. GWcruiser

    GWcruiser

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    Must be a mechanic thing ... sorry I didn't ask a question you could answer.
     
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