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FJ Cruiser Rear Link Repair + Upgrade

Written by  Kayla Kotash
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Rear links/control arms are commonly upgraded or simply replaced on vehicles, as it is a crucial component of the suspension system. Link replacement is beneficial for those who may want a smoother ride and a stronger suspension, or those of us who have damaged our link systems. Link damage may become apparent from an accident, trail damage, worn out bushings or ball joints, improper use or stress from other synchronized parts in disrepair. This can be a pricey repair, upgrade or both, so it is important to research the quality of different parts and brand while also ensuring the modification is done right the first time. Alternatively, if you do not plan to upgrade your suspension system, the rear links/control arms should not be overlooked when maintaining and improving your vehicle. It is important to pay attention to irregular sounds and feels, and look over your vehicle and undercarriage for signs of damaged parts during regular maintenance.

 

component is formulated to work together to ensure your axle stays where it should be and moving appropriately throughout the cycling process.  If this system is damaged or in disrepair, you may encounter some symptoms that include but are not limited to: poor handling, a clunk type noise or feel when shifting, or a clunk type noise or feel when letting on or off the gas. It is important to note that most unusual noises and feels are not standard, and should be properly diagnosed by your mechanic and not put off. If parts such as upper and lower links are not seen and repaired timely, the vehicle maybe rendered as unsafe for travel.  

Soon after we experienced the eerie “clunk” when shifting, accompanied by an abnormal feel with gas acceleration and deceleration on the 2007 FJ Cruiser SE, we decided to take the FJ on a trip to InSain Fabrication in Thornton Colorado for a closer look. With the vehicle lifted off the ground and the suspension system extended down, the diagnosis and picture was evident.

With the four-link suspension, each link is designed with a specific purpose. Each link We pinpointed wallowed out bolt holes which grew over time on the rear mounts which needed to be a tight fit. With the bolts unsecured to the mount, it permitted movement of the link system and create our infamous “clunk.” The repair was then converted into a two-stage upgrade.  Do not replace the link components with new parts while leaving the mounting holes in disrepair. Without repair and construction to the irregular holes, the suspension will continue to shift, the sound and feel of the abrasive “clunk” will still be evident and the vehicle may be deemed unsafe for travel.

InSain Fab constructed washers, which were then welded over the existing holes to create a precise round bolt hole, all while strengthening the mount.

After problem number one was fixed, we were able to move onto the fun upgrade!When we purchased the 2007 FJ, it already contained aftermarket links, since stock links on the Toyota FJ Cruiser and 4Runners tend to be restrictive and delicate. We steered away from the old aftermarket link system and replaced them with a set of aluminum links from Toytec Lifts by Rokmen Off Road.  These links created by Rokmen Off Road are made from solid 7075 aluminum, topped off with dual Johnny Joints for maximum bind free articulation.

Rokmen Off Road is known for providing exceptional quality and strength in their products and the Toytec links by Rokmen are no different.  Their design allows the components to be completely adjustable to set correct pinion angle for lifted vehicles. Unlike typical heim joints, the Johnny Joints are cushioned with internal bushings to provide a comfortable ride on and off road.  Each end is re-buildable and greasable for easy service and maintenance.  The fully adjustable panhard bar allows you to center your axle under your rig to restore proper rear axle alignment and eliminate uneven and accelerated tire wear problems.

First step is obvious, out with the old to make way for the new.  Sometimes bolts can be stubborn and you might need some persuasive measures to make way for the new parts. Sometimes a little heat can be applied to free stubborn bolts, other times a cutoff wheel is needed.  If the latter is used, be careful not to damage the mounts.

The good news is, link replacement for the normal upgrade, can be done by the owner themselves with capable tools, a jack and stands as well as accurate research. An alignment may be all that you need after the work is completed. Because of the extensive hole repair, welding and the need for a precise diagnosis, we were lucky to be able to work with the InSain Fab shop in the case of the 2007 FJ Cruiser.

As a good starting point for adjustments, use a long bolt to match up the old ends to the new link ends.  Final adjustments will need to be made after to get the most out of the upgrade, but this will get specs close enough to drive to get a proper alignment.

Upper and lower links should be adjusted to their final lengths with the vehicle on the ground.  This allows for proper measurement of pinion angles at ride height.  When lengths are final, the arms are tightened down at both ends using a jam nut to prevent unwanted adjustments.  While the panhard bar utilizes a Pinch Lock system to prevent movement after adjustments are made.

Final alignment and pinion angle adjustments are recommended to be performed by a qualified technician with knowledge on adjustable linked suspension. 

Rokmen kits available for purchase at:

http://www.rokmen.com/toyota/fj-cruiser-07-09/suspension-components.html

Toytec kits available for purchase at:

https://toyteclifts.3dcartstores.com/Other-Suspension-Parts_c_71.html

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