Lift Kit that feels most like Factory? (2 Viewers)

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Hey Guys!

So my wife and I just purchased a 2013 Cruiser to be used as her daily driver for a few years. The original plan was to do the small modifications (drawers, roof rack,...) while she drives it, then once its handed off to me I planned to lift it and do some larger modifications. Well, we purchased it sight unseen and it arrived with a serious driver side lean. I've researched and chased the KDSS lean down, and its actually currently sitting somewhat level. I fear though that it will go back to a lean in the near future, and we are going to just change out the suspension anyway. I do however hate the idea of spending all of the money on factory suspension, then replacing it 3 years later with a lift. Especially because the wife likes the look of a mild 1" lift anyway, and I could be happy with only a 1" for quite a while as well.

All that said to ask if what peoples opinions are on the every day ride quality of the various lifts. I've looked through the lift thread, the picture threads, and talked to some individual members directly, and it doesn't seem that there are any real good options to retain a nice factory feel while the wife drives it. This is what I've found so far, so please confirm or refute any of these!

I should also note that the factory option will be about $1,200, so I'm not looking to compare to any $3,000+ systems at the moment.
  • Dobinsons - Found 2 posts that say it rides as nice as factory, but then also talked to a few people that have very different opinions. E rated tires could have been the issue with one set up, but the lift was still credited with some ride stiffness.
  • Ironman Foam Cell - Seems to be across the board everyone says this one is much stiffer.
  • OME/Bilstein - Seems across the board to be much stiffer
  • Tough Dog - Sounds like the only possible option, but I want to get more feedback on these. What do you guys think of them?

I guess I should also ask if anyone has any knowledge of the factory shocks being able to accommodate a .5-1" lift? It seems that maybe this could be an option if they have the travel.

Thanks in advance!
 

CharlieS

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I don’t suspect you’ll find any aftermarket setup that is as soft as the stock setup.

I wouldn’t worry about kdss lean as a chronic issue. If you normally park on a level surface, I doubt this will be a recurring issue.

Worn out rear springs could play a factor in a lean, but I’d be surprised if that were an issue unless you have very high mileage.

My suggestion is to just drive it. Put some miles on it before you do any suspension mods.
 

FerrisBueller

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Bilstein 6112 / 5160 is actually a pretty similar feel to stock, but improves (reduces) body roll on turns and nose dive when braking. Exactly at the price point you're considering. I recommend it.

I'd also suggest be open to anywhere between 1" - 2" lift, as it will look great but will not look too obvious to the uninitiated.

 

CharlieS

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Bilstein 6112 / 5160 is actually a pretty similar feel to stock, but improves (reduces) body roll on turns and nose dive when braking. Exactly at the price point you're considering. I recommend it.

I'd also suggest be open to anywhere between 1" - 2" lift, as it will look great but will not look too obvious to the uninitiated.

I love Bilstein. I’ve run them on too many cars and trucks to mention, from daily drivers to full race vehicles. If making a recommendation to someone who is looking for a tried and true setup for the 200, this would not be in my list YET.

Not because Bilstein is bad or anything remotely like that, they make amazing products. The issue is that not many people have used them on the 200 series yet, so they’re still being dialed in for this application. I don’t think of them as a tried and true, easy, throw them in and they’re good to go setup like other options available.

They’re great for those of us that don’t mind tinkering a bit until we get it sorted. This poster doesn’t read to me like that kind of person in this thread. It sounds like he needs a plug and play reliable solution that will keep his wife happy (comfortable) and maybe give him a tiny bit of lift.

OP, If you build this rig up later, I can almost guarantee you are going to be redoing suspension parts again later (even if it is only springs). I’d reduce the importance of getting it ideal for both the comfortable wife ride use case and the build for play use case.
 

TLC2013

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I now have over 10,000 miles on my 45mm tough dog lift. I went with this setup primarily for the ease of adjustability and positive reviews. I often switch between settings 1-4 (lower number = softer ride) for daily driving and wheeling. Currently using either 3 or 4 around town which results in a Comfortable ride with LT E rated tires. Anything above 5 is a little too firm for my taste, it really Stiffens up the suspension and eliminates any body roll.
One thing to consider with any lift is tire and wheels. Stock wheels With their offset will looked tucked in especially the fronts with a lift. Wheel Spacers will solve this or a lower offset wheel like between 25-45mm. I have used LT285/65/18 and LT275/70/18 with the lift and wouldn’t want to go any smaller from an aesthetic Standpoint.
 
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I planned for an OME lift but wound up with Dobinsons due to OME shipping delays. Very pleased with the Dobinsons - the ride is factory plush but it corners better and the nose doesn’t dive under hard braking anymore. My wife is also happy with the ride FWIW.
 
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I’ve had my 200 for about 6-7 months now. Stock suspension until about 3weeks ago. I have since installed the tough dog 45mms on all 4 corners. We just drove from PA to Co on the new suspension towing about 4500lbs with a fully loaded truck. With that being said, the ability to make adjustments quickly and easily has been priceless. Especially when dealing with such contrast in terrain across the country.

it’s firmer for sure, even when adjusted from 1-5. But it is by no means harsh. My wife and kids are with me and have had nothing but great things to say about the overal comfort of the vehicle during such long days driving. Ride quality and versatility were my two biggest considerations when searching for a suspension upgrade. I’ve had stage 6 icons and kings on previous vehicles and I’m still very pleased overall with the TD kit at a significantly lower price point. To be honest, other than my wife being annoyed with her new found difficulty getting in the truck (she’s 5’2”). She says she doesn’t feel and difference, validating my decision.

we have put down almost 3000 miles on the kit so far. Highway, around small towns and moderate to aggressive wheeling. We are very pleased with our decision. I can go from slightly stiffer than stock (eliminating body roll and braking nose dives) to incredibly stiff and planted for high speed interstate driving in a matter of minutes. Plus Jason was a pleasure to work with and provided an impressive turn around from purchase to delivery.

The suspension had settled a bit now netting about 2 inches up front and 1.5 in the rear. Maintains some preferred rake. I have 33.3 in tires on. I wouldn’t go any smaller. I’m actually eager to install a proper 34 when we get back home in May.

I would suggest 33-34 in tires and the factory front spacer if your looking to add some aggression to your look and aren’t quite ready for all new suspension. A good set of E rated AT tires at 33 inches make these vehicles incredibly capable. More so than most would need.

In my experience, it’s all in the valving and purchasing from someone who can translate YOUR needs into building YOUR shocks. However, all of the above mentioned options won’t be built to your specific requests. They come off a shelf given the price point they fall in. Custom Valving will easily double your costs. I just figured if I can have some adjustability within the lower price point options, the likelihood of getting what I want would be greater.

Here is our truck after about 2k miles on the lift.

Good luck with the search, It can be endless. Try not to overthink it. Regardless of what company people choose, if it’s reputable....the majority tend to praise their decision.

0A367749-08A3-4116-8FE0-87CD6FA5812B.jpeg
 
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Any of the lifts you mentioned use coil springs that have higher springer rates, meaning they are stiffer. If your wife is sensitive to that, I can guarantee you shes not going to like the ride after its lifted without drawers etc.

Want 100% of the factory ride? Then look no other, get coil spacer.
Front is lifted with p/n 43136-60020. This cost $70 for both sides. 1 inch lift
Rear is lifted by 15mm coil spacer. You can also choose 30mm. Cost $71 for the set. SuperPro SPF3287-15K Rear Spring 15mm Spacer Bushing Kit Lexus LX570 and Toyota Land Cruiser - https://www.achtuning.com/superpro-spf3287-15k-rear-spring-15mm-spacer-bushing-kit-lexus-lx570-and-toyota-land-cruiser/

There. $140 1 inch lift kit that rides exactly like factory. The KDSS lean, you can adjust. Try that first.

When you really want to upgrade to a more serious offroad suspension, and add on the drawers, rack. Do it all at once then. Don't stage it because you'll compromise the ride.
 

CharlieS

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Also, wives can be recalibrated. When we got our latest land cruiser, mine hated the stock setup and harassed me to to install Kings on the new one. I kid you not! She much prefers the way the land cruiser handles and rides on the Kings suspension.
 
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Any of the lifts you mentioned use coil springs that have higher springer rates, meaning they are stiffer. If your wife is sensitive to that, I can guarantee you shes not going to like the ride after its lifted without drawers etc.

Want 100% of the factory ride? Then look no other, get coil spacer.
Front is lifted with p/n 43136-60020. This cost $70 for both sides. 1 inch lift
Rear is lifted by 15mm coil spacer. You can also choose 30mm. Cost $71 for the set. SuperPro SPF3287-15K Rear Spring 15mm Spacer Bushing Kit Lexus LX570 and Toyota Land Cruiser - https://www.achtuning.com/superpro-spf3287-15k-rear-spring-15mm-spacer-bushing-kit-lexus-lx570-and-toyota-land-cruiser/

There. $140 1 inch lift kit that rides exactly like factory. The KDSS lean, you can adjust. Try that first.

When you really want to upgrade to a more serious offroad suspension, and add on the drawers, rack. Do it all at once then. Don't stage it because you'll compromise the ride.
This is exactly what I'm looking for. I have the OEM front spacers and just ordered 10MM for rear. Hoping for a modest lift and retention of factory ride. I plan to add 285-65-18 tires.
 
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Have the fully adjustable TD system - you can set it anywhere from very mushy to really stiff - I usually have my fronts set at 6 and rears at 5 - not much nose dive when stopping/turning but the rear still doesn't hit hard on bumps. You can adjust it to basically ride nearly like stock, but it lifts it so much that I fell more comfortable running it a little stiffer since I don't drive like grandma. I haven't driven any other system on a 200 but I'm very happy with what it costs compared to what I got and have no plans to change it. I have a few pics on here of it before and after if you're looking for what it stands like now.
 

TeCKis300

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I second @hickuptruck suggestions as the best strategy to maintain a factory ride while getting additional lift and clearance.

Comment on adjustability as some have suggested - understand that spring rate is the primary variable to ride quality. Sure damping can be adjusted somewhat, but not to the degree that some are suggesting. There's a correctness range for damping based on spring rate. Just because damper has say 10 positions of damping, doesn't mean they are 10 positions of usefulness. It's generally the middling settings that are relevant, because it's tailored to the spring rate that they are designed for. If one fits a different spring, that adjustability helps to dial in the shock for the new spring rate if it's compatible within its range of adjustment.

Long way to say a stiffer spring is going to result in a stiffer ride. Damping can tailor it somewhat, but it fundamentally, will still be a stiffer ride.
 
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I have about 10,000 miles on a Dobinson's lift (heavy springs in front, medium in rear.) (I put on SPC UCAs too, but I found varying views as to whether you could go without it.) With stock tires and wheels, it is a little bit stiffer, but I came to the LC from a Tundra and hated the floaty feel of the stock LC anyway. Now it doesn't have as much body roll, and doesn't dive when braking. I have been very happy with the lift over all, and consider the way it rides a definite improvement. Would definitely do it again. If you wanted it to be softer you could go with a milder spring up front.
 

Whiskerz

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There is a TRD lift available in the middle east that only lifts the truck about an inch and is reasonably priced. It does not appear to exist in any other markets. I would be curious to see it in the wild. I am cautious about lifting mine as I am close to running out of garage headroom.
 
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If you fixed the lean by partially opening KDSS valves then the lean is not likely to come back, and if it did it’s an easy fix.

Front coil spacers plus a slightly taller tire will keep your factory ride until you actually need a lift, and it will be a noticeable improvement over stock.
 

bloc

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Get cheap low mile take-offs from one of the people buying and modding a new rig, add factory spacers, done. Won’t even need to mess with spring compressors.
 
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Thank you all for your input, I do appreciate it all.

I actually have already purchased the front spacers, as my research compelled me to buy them before I even received the truck. I didn't want to go through the trouble of installing them until I have decided how we were going to remedy the lean issue. It seems that the lean has come back some, though much less pronounced. My wife however can't live with it the way it is. I now ordered the rear 10mm shim to see if shimming the rear alone will remove the lean.

Its funny how every single option available has people on both sides of the argument. Personal preference is such a strong contributor to suspension performance. Its just so expensive to try it out and see.

Get cheap low mile take-offs from one of the people buying and modding a new rig, add factory spacers, done. Won’t even need to mess with spring compressors.
Thanks @bloc I hadn't thought about this option. It may take some time to find some, but it would be a much cheaper alternative for the meantime. Can anyone confirm if the 2016+ suspension will fit the 2013. I will obviously look into this more myself, but figured I would ask.

Also, wives can be recalibrated. When we got our latest land cruiser, mine hated the stock setup and harassed me to to install Kings on the new one. I kid you not! She much prefers the way the land cruiser handles and rides on the Kings suspension.
@CharlieS I actually let my wife read through this thread, and she is more open to the idea of a stiffer suspension now. She wants to find someone local that we could maybe ride in to see exactly what is being described. Its so hard to gauge one persons "Stiffer but Better" to another's. Is there anyone in the Tampa/Central Florida area that wants to meet up?
 

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