I've been putting off adding a thread to the dead horse of suspension questions, but I've read a lot of stuff over the last few months and haven't found answers to some questions I have. Sorry if these answers are out there and I didn't see them.
I've been wanting to give my 2001 Doublecab a lift just for looks--I don't do any serious offroading--all I do is some dirt roads for work and maybe some rough trails in the mountains. But my shocks are completely gone and my leafs are frowning. The truck has 285,000 miles on it, it resides in salty New England, and I want to get away with the bare minimum due to the high mileage. I bought the Bilstein ride-height adjustables from DownSouth and now I'm looking at getting an AAL to give a little life to the spring pack.
1. In reading some threads, it sounds like frowning leaf packs may be too far gone to reconstitute with an AAL. I know nothing about installing these--is it going to be a bitch putting an AAL into my leaf pack? I really can't afford two new leaf packs. Is an AAL a waste of time with bad leafs? When they say an AAL gives between XX and XX inches of lift--do you get more lift from an AAL if your leafs are in bad shape, or if they are in good shape (I assume if they are in bad shape)?
2. From what I gather, an AAL will make the ride a lot stiffer? Longer AALs give a better ride than shorter ones? Is the Wheelers AAL a good length? Do people have a favorite AAL? Any to stay away from ($40 eBay ones?)? 2" AAL much stiffer than 1.5"?
3. I looked at my U bolts and they look surprisingly good for the mileage and the salty roads. I'm thinking of not ordering a new kit and hoping the stock ones work. Bad idea? Are there hidden problems like thread stretch that would make someone say "just spend the $30 on the new kit."?
4. Do you put the AAL in first and figure out how much lift the rear gets from it and then do the front so you know what setting to put the struts on to get the truck level?
5. When people say that Bilsteins and AALs are relatively stiff, is it going to be 100% better than my clapped out suspension? Hoping so!