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Old 06-27-2011, 10:22 AM   #1
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Air Bags for Towing

Hello there, this is my first visit to the forums, after owning my '05 since it was new. It's paid off now, so I'm looking to make some changes

My '05 Prerunner sags in the rear while towing my tent trailer, so I considered adding air bags to improve the ride while towing.

I was wondering if there are any brands in particular to stay away from (as far as being known for being garbage). I've looked at some Firestone sets, along with Air Lift, but unsure which is a better set (quality wise, price not too much of an issue).

I was also thinking that, in order to keep it stock looking, I could use a stock switch in one of the blank spots on the dash (there is a panel that contains switches for the fog lamps, and the electronically locking rear diff, and it also has 3 blank spots, one of which I'd like to use to control the air compressor for the bags). Does anyone know what those three blanks would be used for on a more option-filled truck? I'm just curious, so I can purchase a stock type switch for it.

Thanks in advance for any insight!
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Old 06-27-2011, 11:02 AM   #2
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Well, I managed to find a switch that would fit the stock blank locations, and it is lit by an amber light, so that is knocked out.

I suppose I am now just wondering if I should avoid any particular brand of air bags.
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Old 06-27-2011, 11:24 AM   #3
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I think in newer Off Road models those are used for the bed outlet, VSC and ATRAC I believe. Don't quote on those exactly, I don't have any of those fancy buttons, just fogs .

I've heard good things about firestone air bags (mostly through reading member's reviews on here).

I think Carling makes switches that fit the factory blanks.
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Old 06-27-2011, 11:29 AM   #4
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Before you get air bags, have you done the rear TSB yet? One of my buddies got air bags BEFORE the rear TSB and winded up not needing them once he got the upgraded leaf pack. Just something to consider.
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Old 06-27-2011, 11:30 AM   #5
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Thanks for the Carling reference. I didn't run across those in all of my searching.

I am looking at some Firestone bags now, and an air compressor kit. I really expected more cost to be involved. I'm not sure if that's a good sign or bad...
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Old 06-27-2011, 11:30 AM   #6
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Rear TSB?? Uh oh... Looks like I have some reading to do Thanks for that!
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Old 06-27-2011, 11:34 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vwgtiturbo View Post
Rear TSB?? Uh oh... Looks like I have some reading to do Thanks for that!
Where are you with your warranty? The TSB is a tougher rear leaf pack for towing and hauling. I didn't think you'd qualify because you have a 2005 but if you have the extended warranty, you might be in luck!
http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/2nd...ta-tacoma.html
One of them is "Rear Spring Harsh Ride".
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Old 06-27-2011, 11:39 AM   #8
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Darn... I am out of warranty, by far. I did get the extended, but it was 6 year/75k, and I passed both a while ago (bought it new with 23 miles on it in the spring of 2005).

So, it looks like TSBs aren't taken care of unless under warranty (or you pay them to do it?). I wish I would have been paying attention sooner... It looks like a few of my issues could have been resolved on Toyota's dime.

Lesson learned...
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Old 06-27-2011, 11:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vwgtiturbo View Post
Darn... I am out of warranty, by far. I did get the extended, but it was 6 year/75k, and I passed both a while ago (bought it new with 23 miles on it in the spring of 2005).

So, it looks like TSBs aren't taken care of unless under warranty (or you pay them to do it?). I wish I would have been paying attention sooner... It looks like a few of my issues could have been resolved on Toyota's dime.

Lesson learned...
A few have had some luck getting TSB's done outside of the warranty but those success stories seem to be few and far between.
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Old 06-27-2011, 12:12 PM   #10
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So, in regards to the rear spring TSB (assuming that I won't get lucky and have the dealer take care of it), what option would be the best? Is an 'add a leaf' any better than SuperSprings? I do haul loads quite a bit (beyond my camper) and I'm surprised I never really noticed the issue before...
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Old 06-27-2011, 12:18 PM   #11
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I haul things frequently and off-road. Off roading tears air bags. I went with Timbrens. They work well while towing/hauling, but leave the rear riding a little stiffer while unloaded.
The Timbrens are cheaper and easier to install than the air bags. I've had mine on for 40k miles. No problems.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do when I get a lift. Maybe air-adjustable shocks.
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Old 06-27-2011, 12:25 PM   #12
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Toytec makes an AAL that seems to do well for most people on this site. I've got Icon's 3 leaf progressive AAL and it's great! Wheeler's Off Road makes their own version also. The AAL's are sort of a band aid and will eventually flatten out like your stock leaf pack. Skytower is correct about air bags, they're great for on road but can tear if you like to off road. I've always been weary of air-filled shocks since stock shocks and mounts don't carry any weight and you're essentially loading a point that was not intended to be loaded. Timbrens are basically a taller bump stop but they're designed to carry weight. No personal experience with Timbrens though.
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Old 06-27-2011, 12:31 PM   #13
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Thanks for all of the input! There are just too many options I don't off-road at all (I don't have too much faith in the electronic locking rear on the 2WD Taco), so I suppose my choice will have to revolve around the on-road, load carrying options. The SuperSprings could add some height (which is good) and help with the load carrying, but I'm curious how painless the installation is. I have been tearing apart cars since I was 10, but have yet to do any leaf spring suspension work...
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Old 06-27-2011, 12:44 PM   #14
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Where did you find the Icon 3 leaf? I must not be using Google correctly today...
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Old 06-27-2011, 12:47 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vwgtiturbo View Post
Where did you find the Icon 3 leaf? I must not be using Google correctly today...
Downsouth Motorsports
http://downsouthmotorsports.com/i-47...-leaf-kit.html
It's a little pricier but comes with new U-bolts and centering pins.

I don't think the install is terrible while the leafs are still on the truck (I installed them on a new leaf pack off the truck and then swapped out the entire leaf pack). They ride nice in my opinion and handle weight pretty good also. I'm remodeling a house and just moved so my truck's been fully loaded for a couple months straight and I've been very happy with this set-up. I've got a base TSB pack that I added these to so my results would be a little different.
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Old 06-27-2011, 12:50 PM   #16
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Yep, I was not using Google very efficiently. I found it. Thanks again for adding this option to my list!
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Old 06-27-2011, 12:52 PM   #17
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I would try the three leaf option first but ultimately if you haul loads on a consistent basis you'll want the airbags. I just added an aal to my 4 leaf pack and I already want airbags.
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Old 06-27-2011, 12:53 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Yep, I was not using Google very efficiently. I found it. Thanks again for adding this option to my list!
It will lift your back end though. It's designed to provide 1.5" of lift. I put mine on when I lifted the front also. The air bags would be adjustable, put more air in when you need it, deflate them when you don't. The AAL would be there all the time whether you want it or not.
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Old 06-27-2011, 12:54 PM   #19
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That's not a bad price at all. So, would it be advisable for me to add this spring set and new shocks (I'm sure my stockers are shot, after doubling the load-capacity twice...ooops), THEN seeing how the truck handles loads/the trailer before going the air bag route? I am just curious if I will need both, I guess... In the end, I guess I'll just do it in stages and see what happens.

Thanks for all of the input guys/girls. I haven't really had to mess with my Taco since I bought it (knock on wood), but I actually miss tinkering with 'used' cars (this was my first new vehicle purchase).
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Old 06-27-2011, 01:01 PM   #20
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If you're upwards of 75,000 miles, new shocks probably couldn't hurt regardless of what you choose. As far as the AAL vs air bags, it's sort of your call. If you tow/haul frequently, the air bags would be a great option and they don't wear out and are adjustable. An AAL would regain some of the height I'm sure you've lost over the years but ultimately would be a band aid since they will eventually flatten out also. When hauling, if you have air bags, that AAL won't really be doing much, the air bag would be carrying the majority of the load.
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