Who Installed Your Suspension?

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Sep 22, 2016
san diego
To the folks with a lift or new a suspension installed while owning their 200, who put it in?

Following that I wanted to see costs of time and money. How much did you (roughly) pay to have someone put it in? How much time did you spend installing it yourself? Was the install harder or easier than expected? Would you do anything differently?

Thought it would be fun to gather peoples experiences.
I had a local reputable mechanic do the work. Bolt on suspensions for LCs are simple installs. A lift helps and a torque wrench is nice, so just about any mechanic can cover it. The mechanic I used specializes in air-cooled Porsches so I am sure I paid a premium. It cost me $1,400 including an alignment by a third party. I had Exit Offroad set up the front coils ahead of time so they were just bolt on (no spring compressor required). I originally though it was DIY for me, but was intimidated by the SPC UCA and getting them secured - not sure why. Having gone back to install rear airbags in my driveway after the fact, the rear at least is simple if you have a long enough wrench to catch the top shock nut. In the end, I only spent the time ferrying the car back and forth to the shop so I consider it money well spent.
I installed my own lift and I would say it was substantially more difficult than I was expecting. I also installed the 6" lift on the 80 and the 3" lift on the 3rd gen 4Runner for reference. The 200 was by far more difficult than either of those. At the time, there weren't a lot of tips and tricks available, so the learning curve was mostly on me. That said, I learned a lot and can R&R front and rear suspension components relatively quickly now.

At the time FWIR it took me a Friday evening after work, pretty much all day Saturday and a Sunday morning to complete F&R...

I've posted this before, but here's what I need now to R&R the front coilovers (not shown are my torque wrenches):

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I installed my King's myself. Relatively easy, I have a 4 post lift and rolling jack which helps, but could have done it otherwise. I had a Big O do the SPC upper control arms. Then I had to have them do it again. Then I took it to another shop to do it right.
I wish there was an easy way to adjust C Clips (Bilstein) without removing...
I did my lift at a local off-road shop and made the mistake of doing the front first once the springs went in, the rake was more than I expected so had to go back and pay some extra to adjust... (3rd perch to 4th and if I am being honest I wish I had gone to 5th, my progressive 2721 don't sag much when loaded)
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Did them myself (3x on 200 series). First one took longest, as expected a weekend in the shop. Next two were quick and easy less than a day. Biggest PITA was KDSS shutter valve screws - make sure they move before doing anything else, one took welding and one took a week of kroil, pb blaster, heat, broken sockets, etc. Second biggest PITA was seized nuts on top of rear shocks. Third dealing with LCAs to get the longer shocks bottoms into the cradle without damaging the fancy anodizing. Fourth is aligning the front sway bar links (especially if you can't get the bolt in easily). Rear top nuts = Sawzall and metal blade to the rescue. I wouldn't want to tackle this without a well equipped shop and a good collection of tools. I have a lift (had two up until last summer) which may not be essential, but sure makes it a lot nicer to do the work. Other than cutting off the top nuts, the rears are easy. Removing the four nuts on top of the front strut mounts on the last one tested every spanner, socket and ratcheting spanner in my collection (12mm?), but I'm dealing with Northeast corrosion. I paid a shop to do the alignments. I don't think it's measurably worse than any other suspension job. Some of the nut/bolts need large wrenches and sockets that are outside of what a typical enthusiast kit has. 19mm/21mm sockets and spanners, IIRC. It's worth having some ratcheting spanners, with flex heads for the rear suspension.
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Definitely want a big ass pry bar like pictured above for the front assemblies.
Did my kings myself. Ive lifted every truck/suv I've owned. Cruiser was easily the most difficult. They truly are built like tractors.
I had a local reputable Toyota shop do mine--I did my last suspension install myself on my 4Runner and frankly just didn't want to deal with the hassle of KDSS or UCA bolts this time around. Total cost was around $1500 all said and done; broken down in flat labor rates for each item: $525 UCAs, $322.50 front coilovers, $300 rear springs/shocks, $150 panhard, $150 alignment

Could I have saved money doing some or all of it myself? Absolutely. Instead I dropped it off, had a mini vacation, and picked it up a day and a half later done. A lot would probably consider it a waste of money, I enjoyed the low stress and ability to do other stuff while it was down.
To add - the only area that was harder, really more of a PAIN IN THE ASS, was the rear shock bolt. You need the right angle to get at it and IIRC had to use flex head as well as a crows foot to get it. There's just not a lot of room there.
If you are close to someone like Slee or Cruiser Outfitters that specialize in Landcruisers, I would have them do it (unless you want to do it yourself).
I had a Toyota dealer install mine when new. I spent quite a bit of time researching and fixing a lean that presented itself, turned out the installer put the springs on the wrong side. I hate paying for an install or mod, then having to fix it myself afterward. And I agree with @fos373 rear shock bolts, pain in the butt.
I lifted my IFS GMC, as well as a 1972 Blazer and 2002 Cummins. I didn't have access to a lift and paid a local Toyota shop to lift my LC - cost was 1300 which included UCA, Panhard and alignment.
The motion pro 50mm atv axle wrench and a 21mm flex head ratcheting wrench make removing the rear shocks an easy job.

Be sure to get another ratcheting wrench for whatever size the new shock nuts are.. most likely not 21, often 19.

Hardest part for me was aligning the sway bar links in front. I felt like the dad in a Christmas story “fixing” the furnace. But even that wasn’t bad once I took the time to think through the problem.

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