Falcon Shocks Suspension Overview
2/1″ Falcon Shocks Suspension for 5th Gen 4Runner
Meet Falcon Shocks – A Towing/Hauling Suspension built and designed by TeraFlex
For those that are unfamiliar with TeraFlex, they manufacture performance off-road products, including t-cases, gearing, complete suspensions and shocks, primarily for the Jeep community.
TeraFlex has experience in the off-road industry dating back to the 1950s. Needless to say, the engineering experts at TeraFlex invested countless hours in shock tuning before they released Falcon Shocks, their in-house line of performance shocks.
Falcon Shocks were designed by the engineering team at TeraFlex to add significant performance to any suspension system.
Their shocks are designed to provide predictable handling by improving both compression and rebound. All of their shocks are tested and literally felt by a ‘seat-of-the-pants’ experience.
2″/1″ Lift Kit – Tow/Haul Options:
So why buy a set of shocks from a primarily Jeep-focused company?
Why Falcon Shocks?
After researching alternatives to the Bilstein 6112/5100 suspension we installed on our last 4Runner, we wanted to find something similar for this next project, but something with even more functionality. Our goal with this 4Runner (Jade – 2016 TEP MGM) is not to create a rock crawling beast. Nor were we looking to spend over $3000 on another suspension like the Icon or KING. In reality, we wanted to keep this truck as an ultra clean daily driver with the occasional camping trip here and there.
This truck will see easy to moderate trails but nothing too severe where we start ripping off valances or causing body damage.
Falcon Shocks offers a dynamic suspension that will be comfortable as a daily driver, but function when we need it off-road. This is also the Falcon Shocks Tow/Haul suspension, which features three different levels of adjustments on the piggyback shocks.
Whether we are towing a trailer or loading down the 4Runner for a camping trip, we can adjust the piggyback shock dial to our desired comfort. This is something you will not be able to achieve with a set of 5100 or 5160 Bilsteins.
With the Bilstiens, you somewhat control your level of comfort with your chosen compatible rear spring in relation to the shocks. This is all relative though and can be debated, leave your comments below.
The Falcon Shocks utilizes the factory tuned spring, then pairs that with a 1″ spacer and then shock dampening adjustability for a wider range of applications; daily, off-road, towing, loaded, etc.
To me, I felt like Falcon Shocks may have nailed a great “all-around” suspension for the 5th Gen, but that is too be discovered over time.
Falcon Shocks 5th Generation 4Runner Lift Kit
Falcon Shocks designed this kit for the 2010-current 5th Generation 4Runner. The kit is compatible with earlier generations of the 5th Gen.
Front Suspension – 2″
For the front, Falcon pairs their monotube shock absorbers with the factory 4Runner spring, then they add an inline bump stop. Their shocks are shipped with fixed-rate damping that is tuned for both on and off-road performance. The factory spring sits on an injection molded squeak-free spring isolator and just below that, their billet coil spring carrier (the coil seat).
Falcon’s proprietary Volume Optimized Damping (VOD) features a digressive linear valve that produces quicker ramp up for increased damping volume, which improves vehicle feedback and control during low-speed driving. VOD also improves the shock absorber’s ability to reduce bottoming out at full compression during faster speeds or over uneven terrain.
- Leveling monotube shock absorbers
- Progressive microcellular “foam” bump stops
- Billet coil spring carriers
- Injection molded squeak-free spring isolator
- All necessary hardware
Rear Suspension – 1″
For the rear, Falcon pairs their adjustable long-travel piggyback rear shock absorbers. The rear shocks feature three settings that allow for Comfort & Control, Moderate Tow/Haul, and Heavy Tow/Haul settings. They quote “long-travel” however, there is much to be debated here, I know.
The rear shocks get branded plastic guards and the spring gets topped with a 1″ rear coil spring spacer. Then to top off the rear, progressive microcellular foam bump stops (similar to front inline stops) and then bump stop pads that mount to the axle.
- 1” lift rear coil spring spacers
- Adjustable piggyback shock absorbers
- Progressive microcellular “foam” bump stops
- Bump stop pads Roost guards
- All necessary hardware
A NOTE FROM FALCON: Never exceed your factory tow/haul ratings. Do not use tow/haul modes while unladen as the increased rear stiffness could upset the balance between the front and rear of the vehicle, which could lead to loss of vehicle control.
A true all-in-one lift kit from Falcon?
From the outside looking in with an 80% on-road and 20% off-road vision, how does the Falcon kit stack up?
At first glance, the suspension stacks up pretty damn well compared to its comparable counterpart, the incredibly popular Bilstein 6112/5100.
With three levels of comfort/adjustments to choose from and leveraging the factory tuned springs, I would say Falcon did pretty well in the engineering department with this kit. Their focus was on keeping the vehicle factory-comfortable while offering an immense amount of actual usability and functionality, both on and off-road.
For a mid-level lift kit, I think this is a candidate for many owners to consider. For the driver who is looking for extreme articulation, you may want to look another direction.
This Falcon Shocks lift kit will offer mild off-road performance, but don’t expect to push it through Fordyce or the Rubicon any time soon. For reference, I am not sure if I would take this suspension through Long Canyon in Kyburz, CA or Strawberry Pass on a remaining stock 4Runner.
What about tire size?
Factory tires on the 4Runner are 265/70/17 (31.6″). With this kit, you are going up 2″ in the front. That doesn’t buy you a ton of room for tire size.
- Small: Comfortably, you may jump to 255/75/17 (32.1″) or 275/70/17 (32.2″) with likely no rubbing or issues at all.
- Medium: The 285/70/17 (32.7″) is a very common tire on the 4Runner. The Falcon lift kit running this tire will likely need to push your outer fender liners back along with a BMC (Body Mount Chop).
- Large: You can take things a step further and go with 255/80R17 (33.1″), a skinnier/taller tire. The same applies here with trimming, but you may have more issues. Rocker panel caps and inner fender liners may need trimming. Again, same applies if you take it to the bigger 33″ tires. Moving to a set of 285/75/17 (33.8″) will cause all of the requirements above plus trimming your actual body and maybe more.
Everyone has different goals with their 4Runner so its hard to say. This kit offers extreme versatility and can tackle most terrains thrown at it with 2″ of extended clearance in the front and 1″ in the rear.
- For drivers who spend most time on-road, both city and freeway, this is a great kit.
- For drivers whose main purpose is towing, I would say absolutely.
- For drivers who tow often or wheel occasionally on light terrain, this kit is also a great option.
- For drivers who are looking to wheel moderately hard or severe, you may want to look another direction.
This kit may work for many of us but for the owners who want to seriously push their limits off-road, at least 3″ kits with aftermarket upper control arms (UCAs) will be wanted.
With the 4Runner that this kit went on, it was perfect. Our goals for this project matched up perfect with Falcon Shocks. We will have a follow-up post on the installation and then another on the on-road/off-road review.
Questions or Comments? Leave them below!