Updated: Jul 10
Pictured is a 1985 FJ60 lifted with a 2.5" Old Man Emu suspension kit.
Can't decide whether to keep your Cruiser stock or give it a small lift? This post is devoted to helping you pick.
I'm running 33" 10.5 R15 BF Goodrich K02 All Terrain tires, with an Old Man Emu front steering dampener. A steering dampener is a must when upgrading to a 2.5" lift. This is because when any vehicle is lifted, the factory suspension geometry changes. This can result in some instability at highway speeds as well as shaking in the steering wheel (commonly known as "death-wobble").
A 2.5" lift kit is a very valuable upgrade for your Cruiser. Aside from just looks, a 2.5" lift gives you more ground clearance when off in the sticks as well as the ability to run a larger tire for a bigger contact patch and more axel-to-ground clearance.
Part numbers for Old Man Emu
Front Shocks 60009
Rear Shocks 60032 (60062 post 1986)
Leaf Springs -- Front Cs003F Rear Cs017RA or B (Shorter 2” spring)
Bushing kit OMESB1 (x4)
Front U bolts OMEU51 (x4)
Rear OMEU59B (x4)
Anti inversion kit FK08 (x2) (Amazon)
Front greasable shackle kit (x1) OMEGS2
Rear greasable shackle kit (x1) OMEGS1
Above is a 1983 FJ60 with a stock suspension upgrade that doesn't break your bank. I kept the factory leaf springs and upgraded the shocks to units from Old Man Emu. I also put on an Old Man Emu steering dampener because of the larger tires*. I'm running 31" 10.5 R15 BF Goodrich K02 All Terrain tires. For someone who just wants their Cruiser to be a daily driver and doesn't plan on monthly trips to Moab, a stock suspension setup is the way to go, as these vehicles are extremely capable off-road from the factory. The benefits of retaining your stock setup are that your geometry remains as it was from the factory and your vehicles center of mass remains low compared to the lifted setup. The lower center of mass is what contributes most to on-road manners in addition to behavior on the highway.
*All part numbers are for 1981-1987 FJ60 Series
**It should be noted that a steering dampener is a recommended upgrade on any front leaf sprung vehicle, as leaf springs are prone to lots of deflection and instability *** To save money use Bilstein shocks. Make sure you use the below part numbers for the FJ60. Nothing else will fit! Bilstein Part Numbers: Front Shocks: BIL24-002479 Rear Shocks: BIL24-002561
1990 FJ62 with a 2.5 OME suspension kit on 33" 10.5 R15 BF Goodrich All Terrain Tires.
1990 FJ62 using stock leaf springs and OME shocks riding on 31" 10.5 R15 BF Goodrich All Terrain Tires.