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Choosing Shocks for your Toyota FJ Cruiser

So you need to replace the shocks on your Toyota FJ Cruiser, but are not sure where to start? There are a lot of options out there; we'll do our best to guide you along so you can make the best choice.

How Do You Ride?

Choose your type of shock upgrade to see our expert advice:

How to check for worn or failing shocks and struts

  • Oil leaking from the shock shaft / rod, onto the body of the shock or strut. If it’s too dirty to tell, grab a rag and wipe off the shocks in question, and check again in 50-100 miles to see if there's liquid or noticeable moisture around the shaft / body area.
  • Bouncing up and down on the front or rear bumper, if the truck continues to bounce (after you stop of course), then the truck is riding solely on the leaf springs or front coil springs with no dampening provided by the shock.
  • Bushings / mounts cracked or broken, duh.

Questions to ask yourself

What is your primary and secondary use of your FJ Cruiser?

  • Commuting and / or normal highway and street driving
  • Offroad / Trail / Sand Dune riding?
  • Carrying heavy loads for work, camping, dirt bikes, sport equipment?
  • Towing campers / trailers / other vehicles
  • Do you plan on keeping the vehicle for another few years, or are you replacing the shocks to get it on the road again and get through your current situation? (budget level shock vs high end shock that performs well)
  • Budget, typically strut and shock sets start in the $300-400 range, and can go all the way up to $1000 or more depending on quality and performance

icon daily driver commuting Commuting / Highway / Street

For the daily driver and general commute, a high quality shock or strut can last the life of your vehicle without issue. Potholes and speed bumps may compromise a factory shock, and especially a budget shock, but a quality monotube shock or strut will eat them up day after day, mile after mile. A thicker shock body will be better for longevity as well, providing better cooling capacity and lower internal shock pressure, leading to longer component life.

Bilstein 4600 Shock

Bilstein 4600

Toyota did their homework when equipping most of these trucks with Bilstein shocks and struts straight from the factory (later models), they ride excellent in most conditions. The 4600 is a monotube gas shock, and you’ll be hard pressed to find something that rides nicer for a similar price, Bilstein is the gold standard in the shock industry.

Bilstein 5100

Bilstein’s 5100 line of shocks are a good replacement for factory shocks as well, they provide additional support for the weekend warrior that ventures offroad.

KYB Shock

KYB or Monroe

For normal driving behavior, either of these shock brands ride well and are inexpensive. Both brands have , which ride slightly less consistent compared to monotube shocks, but entirely fine if there aren’t lots of rough roads, or potholes.

icon towing and hauling Tow / Haul / Heavy Duty

Before doing anything else, research Weight Distribution Systems that better allow your vehicle to tow the maximum allowable weight. When towing long or heavy trailers, it’s imperative to keep the ride steady and stable, shocks cannot always accomplish this alone.

Most higher end gas pressurized shocks will handle trailer loads and the increased oscillation that is present. Our most popular option, according to customer feedback, are the Rancho Suspension RS9000XL Adjustable shock. These have 9 settings of compression adjustment through an easy-turning red knob on the bottom of the shock, accessible any time while on the vehicle for on the go adjustment. Bilstein or Old Man Emu shocks handle tow loads very well because of the firmer valving over factory ride, and are a great option if towing is second or third behind normal commuting and highway driving.

icon off-road truck Offroad Trails

Lots of options are available for offroad focused rigs, or your weekend trail runner, we outline them below.

Bilstein 5100

Developed by Bilstein specifically for applications that do more than commuting, these shocks provide incredible ride characteristics for both the highway and light offroading situations (don’t jump em!). These are amongst our most popular sellers, for good reason. Bilstein carries replacement struts that offer ride height adjustment, meaning that using factory coil springs you are able to lift the front of your FJ Cruiser by up to 2.5” (inches). This allows for factory ride height, or a little higher to accommodate for larger wheel and tire combinations, also known as leveling struts or leveling kits. You can read more about adjustable height struts.

Old Man Emu Nitrocharger Sport Shock

Old Man Emu

Tried and true offroad shocks straight from the outback of Australia. Old Man Emu tests all of their shocks in the rugged terrains of Australia, making numerous adjustments during the vehicle application testing. If your vehicle is a true work horse, overlanding, or just want a super solid all around shock, Old Man Emu shocks are a fantastic choice. Old Man Emu covers only a handful of U.S Domestic applications, so consider yourself lucky to have them as a choice, they’re tough.

Fox 2.0 Performance with CD

FOX Racing Shocks

Fox Racing Shocks are derived from true offroad racing experience, manufacturing, and shock technologies. These parts are made from aircraft quality 6061 aluminum, providing exceptional heat dissipation, and heavily resistant to the elements. All aluminum bodied Fox shocks are rebuildable, and nitrogen gas rechargeable, extending the life of the shocks dramatically (next vehicle owner will love you). Fox has a huge range of shocks, coilovers, and reservoir options, all with optional compression / rebound adjustability. Shock Surplus staff currently runs Fox on their vehicle(s).

King Off-road Shocks

King Offroad Shocks

King Offroad Shocks are like the Air-Jordans of Baja Trophy Trucks. Proven offroad technology success outfits these shocks with some of the best materials available. King shocks are adjustable, rebuildable, nitrogen gas rechargeable, and will handle anything you throw at them. King carries full coilovers and shocks for OEM replacement applications, but their bread and butter is outfitting some of the most badass offroad rigs out there.