Every one loves their mod the first week. The real test is how you feel after a year or more. Would you do it differently, would you spend the money, is it a still worth it? Does it improve your off-road adventure?
Jumping into the way-back-machine, it was in 2007 that we asked Metal Tech to add a Sway-A-Way (SAW) suspension lift giving us a three inch lift. Our setup is mild as far as racing suspension go, 2.5″ diameter coil-overs up front and 2″ shocks and springs in the rear. No auxiliary oil reserves or exotic bypasses just a straight coil-over. Built by hand and tuned for the FJ Cruiser at the factory this is a great all-around setup.
After a number of off-road adventures with thousands of miles of bombing down washboard riddled dirt roads, local 4×4 trails and more than a year of daily driving, the Sway-A-Way suspension continues to prove its worth. Born from a tradition of desert racing, the setup excels at smoothing out the bumps. The ability to smooth out the terrain is clear when cruising on the dirt/gravel roads as well as torn-up city streets.
Although Sway-A-Way says the factory sway bar fits without modification, we had a significant amount of rubbing and squeaking as we sped down Alaska’s Haul Road. When I say squeaking, think putting a loudspeaker next to the black board and Sister Mary Knuckle Buster drags her fingernails down its length. Not a pretty sound.
Although annoying there are two simple fixes for this problem. First you can take a grinder to the factory sway bar until there is a 1/4″ or so of clearance. This will allow your front springs and factory sway bar to pass each other unmolested.
The second option is to remove the factory sway bar altogether. Desert racers are build to go fast over bumps with suspensions designed to keep the wheels on the ground through the ruts and turns. As a result, Sway-A-Ways can manage the FJ Cruiser’s sway and roll on their own without a factory sway bar. In addition, removing the factory sway bar gives you more flex when slowly picking your way through 4×4 trails.
While a set of SAWs will empty your wallet more then some other options, their reliability, ride, travel and flawless performance have been well worth the extra cost for our style of off-road adventures.