The days of multiple off-road vehicles cluttering your driveway are behind us. These days, most people have one off-road-worthy toy that is often also their daily driver. Creating a vehicle that will drive you to work, take you on high-speed terrain in the desert, and crawl through canyons in the mountains used to be unheard of. Suspension systems like what you see here from ICON Vehicle Dynamics and Total Chaos can accomplish all of this and still keep your ride nice and smooth for Friday night dates.
Over the past six months, I have put more than 20,000 hard miles on my ’10 Toyota FJ Cruiser running the ICON Stage 6 suspension combined with Total Chaos lower control arms and secondary shock hoops. The FJ Cruiser shares the same frontend as Tacomas and 4Runners. It is not just one of our daily drivers; it has also been all over the SoCal deserts, mountains in Big Bear, Arizona valleys, Glamis dunes, and it’s traveled far too many bumper-to-bumper miles on the Interstate 5 Freeway. Although the FJ in stock form is extremely capable, we are off-road guys, so of course I wanted more.
Creating a solid prerunner typically means fiberglass fenders, wide long-travel suspension, extended steering links and axles and a dramatically changed rearend setup and shock hoop. Assembling a vehicle to crawl through the mountains usually means big articulation and large tires while hoping to keep overall length and width down. This setup allowed us to take the performance from both worlds and combine them into one without compromising the integrity of our vehicle.
After a ton of miles, our suspension is still going strong. I have gotten under the truck a dozen times to fiddle with the bypass shocks just to see how far I could push them. From wide open to closed shut, I found a place for nearly all the settings. Considering this truck is driven daily, I found one setting that works for everything. On occasion, I may click open the rear bypass shocks for a little more float in the desert, or close them shut a touch in the mountains, but for the majority of time I don’t ever need to touch them. The TC arms have smashed against the ground a few times during some hard landings and thankfully to the integrated skid plate, have never failed. This truly is a bullet-proof suspension setup for Toyota truck owners. Every single person that I have given rides to off-road has come away impressed and typically says, “Wait, you’re telling me you did all that and this isn’t long travel?”