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Air Bag Causing Harsh Ride?

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Old 11-08-2009, 09:11 PM   #1
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Air Bag Causing Harsh Ride?

Hi everybody. First post. Longtime lurker.

I bought a 2000 xtra cab 4x4 non-TRD from a guy who put air bags in the rear for heavier loads. I think they are Firestone. He said to set it up anywhere from 4-100psi. Currently I have them set at 10psi with a SnugTop camper shell I just threw in the back (~130lbs). Just looking at it it looks a little high in the back. I can't really figure a good way to measure anything less than 10psi.

I feel like going over anything the size of a speed bump is pretty harsh when the rear wheels go over.

I was reading up some online and I found that you are supposed to remove the overload leaf spring if you are going to put airbags in. Taking a look underneath I see I have three regular leaves and an overload still under there. The guy never took them off.

I really never plan to put anything more than the SnugTop shell and maybe a 50lbs hitch mounted bike rack in the back, and was figuring I could try and just take the air bags off and sell them.

Would doing so reduce the harshness of the ride in your opinion?

I don't have experience monkeying with suspension, would this be pretty easy? Anyone able to walk me through it, assuming it's the problem?
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Old 11-09-2009, 04:14 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ERCI6 View Post
Hi everybody. First post. Longtime lurker.

I bought a 2000 xtra cab 4x4 non-TRD from a guy who put air bags in the rear for heavier loads. I think they are Firestone. He said to set it up anywhere from 4-100psi. Currently I have them set at 10psi with a SnugTop camper shell I just threw in the back (~130lbs). Just looking at it it looks a little high in the back. I can't really figure a good way to measure anything less than 10psi.

I feel like going over anything the size of a speed bump is pretty harsh when the rear wheels go over.

I was reading up some online and I found that you are supposed to remove the overload leaf spring if you are going to put airbags in. Taking a look underneath I see I have three regular leaves and an overload still under there. The guy never took them off.

I really never plan to put anything more than the SnugTop shell and maybe a 50lbs hitch mounted bike rack in the back, and was figuring I could try and just take the air bags off and sell them.

Would doing so reduce the harshness of the ride in your opinion?

I don't have experience monkeying with suspension, would this be pretty easy? Anyone able to walk me through it, assuming it's the problem?
Did you try lowering the air pressure to see how it looks & rides?

Try it at 8psi, 4psi and no air pressure at all. See what you like best and go from there.

I don't think the overload spring has anything to do with the airbags - although I don't know for sure. The overload spring is just that - to prevent you from overloading the springs(it's a support mechanism for the leafs).
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Old 11-09-2009, 10:18 AM   #3
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I can't really find an accurate way to measure below 10 psi. I'm currently using my bike pump, which doesn't read very well at low pressure.

I've tried 10psi, 20psi, and 50 psi. 10 and 20 felt pretty harsh, and 50 had the back end oscillating ridiculously.

When the bags are totally empty it looks like the back end sags a little with just the camper shell. Didn't drive it in this state as it is supposed to damage the bags.

Read up on installation instructions at the Firestone website (http://www.fsip.com/riderite/) and part of the procedure says to remove something called the "joust bumpers." I'm certain the guy I bought the truck from never gave me these and he's a couple states away. Am I going to need to find replacements for the bumpers? What function do they serve?
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Old 11-11-2009, 10:10 PM   #4
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Get a quality tire gauge and run them at 5-6 psi, you mite have to play with it to get the best ride out of them. Yes you have to cut off the joist bumpers to get the airbag in. If you take them off (air bags) you will need to replace them. You also do NOT want to jack the truck up in the rear and let the suspension hang from the air bags, it will rip/tear them. If you do jack it up, do it from the diffrential. When I haul my dirt bikes I put about 25 psi in them. It dont take much, you always want to keep at least 5 psi in them to keep them from distorting.
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Old 11-25-2009, 12:58 AM   #5
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Okay so I've decided to take them off and just get a heavier spring kit down the line.

After I remove the bags, the first order of business is to replace the bump stops that I was calling "joust bumpers" in my previous post.

I'm going to follow the ehow leaf spring replacement instructions (http://www.ehow.com/how_4521294_repl...ta-tacoma.html) up to the beginning of step 3 to replace the bumpers.

I have a question regarding relieving the tension on the leaf springs with the stands. Do you just throw the stands under the axle at whatever height you had the frame supported? Or do actually have to jack the axel up further to relieve tension? If you need to jack it up further can I just use a bottle jack under the differential to relieve the tension. And how will I know when they are sufficiently slack?

Can anyone recommend me a heavier spring kit that would be good for a camper shell canopy and roughly 50-150lbs of gear?
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Old 11-25-2009, 06:33 AM   #6
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IMO you are heading the wrong way with this, you already have the rite set up for hauling more weight right now. You just need to fine tune the bags with a quality gauge. The heavy leaf springs will ride stiff with no weight on them, and you will have no ajustment if you add too much weight, as in blinding people with your headlights at nite. Why spend money when your already set up? How old are the rear shocks on it? Bad shocks will make it hop as well. I have had bags on both my Tacomas and love them. Just my two cents. PM me your number if you want to discuss it more.
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Old 11-25-2009, 07:00 PM   #7
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Well, after educating myself some I realize the "harshness" I was describing initially was, in fact, the bottoming out of my suspension. I don't mind if the rear end is a little firm, but bottoming out is something that I want to avoid. And pumping the air bags up to avoid bottoming out really screws up the rake of the truck from my experimentation.

I noticed that the guy had actually welded the top mounting bracket to the frame, as opposed to bolting it. Pretty irritating.
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Old 11-25-2009, 08:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ERCI6 View Post
Well, after educating myself some I realize the "harshness" I was describing initially was, in fact, the bottoming out of my suspension. I don't mind if the rear end is a little firm, but bottoming out is something that I want to avoid. And pumping the air bags up to avoid bottoming out really screws up the rake of the truck from my experimentation.

I noticed that the guy had actually welded the top mounting bracket to the frame, as opposed to bolting it. Pretty irritating.
You will have to gring them off, Good luck with your venture, post up when you get it done on what you did. Happy Turkey!
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