I live in New York City (pothole and generally bad road surface capital of the world). I own a 2000 Toyota 4Runner, SR5 model, with a V6 engine (97,549 miles). My ride quality is driving me and my fiance crazy (she get?s car sick when we drive at highway speeds). I want to upgrade my suspension to improve my ride?s comfort and stability (yes, I know they can be opposing options on my truck). After researching for months on various boards, I am probably more confused than before.
In the past, I upgraded to Billstiens shocks & struts. Cornering was great, but I found the ride very jarring. So, about 30,000 miles ago I switched over to KYB shocks and struts and replaced just the rear Coils (Toyota OEM). Ride was a bit better but handling wasn?t as tight. Now it seems that my ride has deteriorated and feels pr .
Note: I recently replaced the anti-sway bar bushings with polyurethane (front/back) and, as hoped, I notice a slight improvement in cornering.
Here are some upgrade options I?m considering:
ADDECO ANTI-SWAY BARS: Replace front and rear anti-sway bars with ADDECO anti-sway bars to reduce sway at highway speeds. However, I have seen some posts stating that this reduces traction, suspension articulation and steering control. Plus, a number of folks mention annoying squeaking noises when turning after doing this upgrade.
OLD MAN EMU (from ARB) SUSPENSION UPGRADE & Slight lift: Replace Struts, Shocks, AND coils all around.
MONROE: Monroe, Sensa-Trac Quick-Strut Suspension Strut & Coil Assembly for Front and Sensa-Trac Shock Absorber for rear.
RANCHO R9000XL: valve adjustable Struts & Shock Absorbers with replacement factory springs in front
Any suggestions YOU may have
Can you give me your opinion(s) on these or any other options from a balanced comfort/stability perspective.
Other than the suspension issues, I am very happy with my 4Runner and I?d like to try and keep her for another couple of years or 30-40,000 miles.
Your help is much appreciated.
If you want a good ride in NY, sell the 4Runner and buy somthing more like a car. A Toyota Matrix has lots of space and rides a great deal better. If space is not a requirement, any CAR will do. Your 4Runner belongs in the Australian Outback, not on the streets of New York.
Thanks for the reply. I am hoping to sell it in another year or two when I can afford to replace with something newer and smaller. Possibly a Honda CR-V. But for now, it’s cheaper (cash-flow wise) to keep her.
You’ve probably tried this already, but does it help if she drives instead of you?
Unfortunately, suspension modifications that reduce understeer and lean are the same ones that improve stability, and they do so at the expense of ride quality.
Sway bars are the best option normally, because they only come into play when one wheel is moving in a different direction vertically that the opposing wheel. They’re “unloaded” when static or when going over waves in the road. As a matter of fact, when you install sway bars it’s important to adjust the end links on a level surface such that when the car is stable and the wheels loaded there’s no strain on the bar. Sway bars WILL transfer energy from a wheel moving independently to its opposite suspension components. On beat up bombed out roads it WILL make the ride harder.
Squeaking noises are common for people who don’t lube the bushings. I guess they figure that the manufacturers don’t (which I’ve never understood) so they don’t either.
Yuo won’t improve the ride with suspension upgrades. My recommendation is that you get the chassis checked out by a good shop, get a proper alignment, and either live with the ride or trade the vehicle.
Most aftermarket suspension upgrades are made to improve performance and most often result in a “tighter” ride, which is also a stiffer and more jarring ride.
What you need are much softer springs, and much mushier shocks (or struts). Less beefy sway bars might also help. Unfortunately your truck will corner worse than ever, but the ride would be less jarring. The impact on car sickness is TBD.
All this is a lot of work, degrades the handling of the truck, and might not help the car sickness at all. My suggestion is to rent some different cars for some weekend trips. See if the car sickness issue is better in a traditional car, a newer mid sized SUV, or even a full sized SUV. When you find a vehicle that works, you’ll have to decide if you can keep 2 cars or if the 4Runner has to go.
When the fiance becomes the wife, there will be changes.
I just thought of an idea. Perhaps a wider rim with a wider but comparable diameter tire (like going from a 7" rim with 215x60 to am 8" rim with a 235x50 for example) would span some of those smaller holes and smooth the ride out a bit. It’s a crap shoot, because it might intrudce rubbing in the fenders or something like that and you won’t know how much of an improvement it’ll make until you do it, but it’s an idea to consider.
Thank you all very much for your suggestions. It looks like there is significant consensus regarding balancing suspension/handling issues. And, it looks like I have the largest tire available (P256/70/R16) without raising the truck slightly. Plus, from what I’m told, raising would only make things worse regarding handling.
So, for now, I’m going to switch my KYB shocks to Monroe Sense-a-tracs. Hopefully this will give me a less jarring ride in the city. Step two may be replace the sway-bars, but I’m going to do this one step at a time.
If all goes as planned, we’ll be able to keep her for another year and trade her in for something like a Highlander or a CR-V. 'Course, those FJ-Cruisers look pretty nice… “what’s that honey, I didn’t say anything…”