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1995 Tacaoma - suspension airbags worth it? If so which one?

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by RysiuM, Nov 16, 2019.

  1. Nov 16, 2019 at 1:39 PM
    #1
    RysiuM

    RysiuM [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Rysiu
    Was Golden State, now Poland EU
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    1995 4x4 LX Ext Cab, I4 2.7, MT, 320K miles
    DD Deck+backup camera, LED DRL, All LED except H4 Hella
    Hello,

    I'll be in USA for the next three weeks and I will have opportunity for some shopping. The story is, I have a camper and with that my 1995 stock leaf springs are already flat. The camper weight is around 150lb. That gives me max payload inside the camper around 300-400 lb. I'd love to get more - close to 1000 lb or so.

    Getting new leafs is not an option - aftermarket does not exist in Poland, bringing them on a plane not possible due to weight and size, shipping from USA is cost prohibitive, new OEM from local dealer is very much $$$. So I guess my only option is to get airbags. I saw two of them:

    AIR LIFT 59537 Ride Control Rear Air Spring Kit - $241.08 on Amazon
    Firestone 2304 "Ride-Rite" Air Bag Helper Springs - $330.99 on Amazon

    Which one would better fit (with less modification to the truck) - 1995 Tacoma 4x4 Xtended cab?
    Or are they worth the trouble? Are there any better options?
     
  2. Nov 16, 2019 at 1:57 PM
    #2
    exminnesotaboy

    exminnesotaboy Well-Known Member

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    Maple Grove, MN
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    Bilstein 5100's / OME 881's / Wheelers 5 leaf pack / Level8 MK6/ 265/75-16 Bridgestone Dueler tires
    I have the Firestone’s. I don’t carry very heavy loads, but pull a small camper several times per year with some camp firewood in the bed. My springs are fine but I got sick of driving at night and my headlights looking like I have my brights on. Very happy with them and install wasn’t bad.
     
  3. Nov 16, 2019 at 5:43 PM
    #3
    nzbrock

    nzbrock Well-Known Member

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    I don't have any input on the airbags, but have you thought about an AAL?
    Would an AAL fit in your luggage on the plane?
     
  4. Nov 17, 2019 at 1:19 AM
    #4
    RysiuM

    RysiuM [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Was Golden State, now Poland EU
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    1995 4x4 LX Ext Cab, I4 2.7, MT, 320K miles
    DD Deck+backup camera, LED DRL, All LED except H4 Hella
    It is close to the weight limit but the whole concept of beafing up suspension and lifting the rear does not talk to me. Any add-on to leafs (leaf or spring) changes the load geometry and puts unpredicted stress on the existing leafs that might exceed breaking point.

    Airbags on the other hand puts all load from the third member directly to the frame. It is at different than factory points (shackles mounting poins) but still the frame here should be strong enough to sustain the load and not fatigue fast.

    I'm looking at keeping the same unloaded ride quality and zero lift. Any opinions about airbags quality and durability? Warranty alone is not good if it is not served outside USA.
     
  5. Nov 17, 2019 at 1:28 AM
    #5
    Wyoming09

    Wyoming09 Well-Known Member

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    Super Springs
    They have gotten much better as far as quality

    The down side is if you don`t have on board Air having a Air source to adjust things .

    Will that work in your case ?
     
  6. Nov 17, 2019 at 1:42 AM
    #6
    RysiuM

    RysiuM [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Was Golden State, now Poland EU
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    1995 4x4 LX Ext Cab, I4 2.7, MT, 320K miles
    DD Deck+backup camera, LED DRL, All LED except H4 Hella
    I'm sure 10 dollars Walmart compressor will handle inflation with no problem. Any cons/pro about either brand? I saw Firestone requires to cut original stop bumps (I don't like cutting off OEM parts). AirLift I heard may interfere with shocks unless mounted asymmetrical. AirLift is cheaper but Firestone is in business of airbags for many vehicles including commercial trucks. Tough choice. So my decision point is the quality and durability.
     
  7. Nov 17, 2019 at 1:52 AM
    #7
    Wyoming09

    Wyoming09 Well-Known Member

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    Question are any systems sold at home for you.

    In this day so easy to get poorly packed parts or mislabeled .

    Sorting problems from across the pond would be interesting.

    I would go with Firestone !

    In theory the Air Bags are taking the place of the bump stops .

    Would you ever remove the air bags and go back to stock ??
     
  8. Nov 17, 2019 at 3:06 AM
    #8
    RysiuM

    RysiuM [OP] Well-Known Member

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    DD Deck+backup camera, LED DRL, All LED except H4 Hella
    If they break (puncture or leak) can they still be used as a bump stops? In that case I would not remove them. Thinking only on removing them when they break.
     
  9. Nov 17, 2019 at 9:30 AM
    #9
    Boone Wesley

    Boone Wesley Well-Known Member

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    You can say goodbye to your ride quality. I had the Firestone's
     
  10. Nov 17, 2019 at 6:30 PM
    #10
    exminnesotaboy

    exminnesotaboy Well-Known Member

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    Bilstein 5100's / OME 881's / Wheelers 5 leaf pack / Level8 MK6/ 265/75-16 Bridgestone Dueler tires
    I am curious as to why this happened for you. I have the Firestone’s and don’t have this issue as long as I (easily) regulate the air volume according to the bed load.
     
  11. Nov 17, 2019 at 11:08 PM
    #11
    RysiuM

    RysiuM [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Was Golden State, now Poland EU
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    DD Deck+backup camera, LED DRL, All LED except H4 Hella
    I red airbags have to be inflated to at least minimum pressure, but because I have 150 lb camper that minimum pressure should not change the softness of my suspension. 95% of my driving is empty but occasionally I would pack the bed with heavy building materials like bags of cement or packs of ceramic tiles. I understand that for heavy load I will inflate airbags accordingly and for driving empty deflate them to minimum pressure.

    So I see you guys got Firestone and recommend that over AirLift?
     
  12. Nov 18, 2019 at 3:05 AM
    #12
    exminnesotaboy

    exminnesotaboy Well-Known Member

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    Bilstein 5100's / OME 881's / Wheelers 5 leaf pack / Level8 MK6/ 265/75-16 Bridgestone Dueler tires
    The minimum pressure I leave mine at is about 3-4 lbs. I do like my Firestones, but can't tell you if better than the airlift as I have never used that brand.
     
  13. Nov 18, 2019 at 4:08 AM
    #13
    Clearwater Bill

    Clearwater Bill Sometimes when I close my eyes, I can't see.

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    I had a lowered S10 with a mono-leaf spring. Short shocks and Firestone bags made the ride pleasant in my case.

    I even plumbed the bags with individual lines so I could compensate for an imbalanced load.

    IIRC 5# was the minimum air recommended, and that is to protect the bag.
     
    Hamer95USA likes this.
  14. Nov 18, 2019 at 10:29 AM
    #14
    Hamer95USA

    Hamer95USA Well-Known Member

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    Complete OME suspension kit, Used low mileage V6 engine swap, black powder coated Chou Seiki T15x7JJ, ARB deluxe bumper, Smitty Bilt nerf bars, Weathertech floor liners, Torklift tiedowns
    That's too bad that you can't upgrade your leaf springs or go with the add a leaf option to your stock leaf springs which I think would be the best solution. I have a hard side truck camper that I will be installing soon and I'm considering the Firestone Ride Rite air bags, but already have the OME Dakar leaf springs and D43XL add a leaf installed on my truck. I'll have to wait and see how the truck handles with the camper loaded in the bed. If you plan on buying the air bags, I would recommend the Daystar air bag cradles to be installed with the air bags as well.
     
  15. Nov 18, 2019 at 11:32 AM
    #15
    RysiuM

    RysiuM [OP] Well-Known Member

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    DD Deck+backup camera, LED DRL, All LED except H4 Hella
    I have stock shocks and stock leafs. I thought Firestone will work for the full stock travel without any upgrades or changes into airbags. Is it correct?
     
  16. Nov 18, 2019 at 11:39 AM
    #16
    Hamer95USA

    Hamer95USA Well-Known Member

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    I don't have any real world experience with air bags since I don't own a set of air bags myself. I've seen pictures of air bags that have punctured due to the air bag shifting around with no place to sit correctly to avoid being punctured. The cradles are helpful in preventing that scenario. That being said, how much weight do you intend to carry in your truck bed?
     
  17. Nov 18, 2019 at 12:45 PM
    #17
    Boone Wesley

    Boone Wesley Well-Known Member

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    If you're strictly onroad you won't need cradles. Those are for offroad flexing
     
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  18. Nov 18, 2019 at 2:35 PM
    #18
    RysiuM

    RysiuM [OP] Well-Known Member

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    DD Deck+backup camera, LED DRL, All LED except H4 Hella
    Airbags (at least these mentioned above) are bolted from both ends so I don't see the reason for them to shift. These cradles are to keep one unbolted end in place. Keeping one end not bolted makes sense if suspension travel up is more than airbag length. I have stock travel so I hope with the frame all up (wheels hanging down) these airbags will not be stretched beyond capabilities.

    I'd like to be able to load at least 1/2 ton (or 1000 lb) without bottoming out. I don't want to exceed or extend my truck load, just to be able to use what was factory available 24 years ago.
     
  19. Nov 18, 2019 at 4:51 PM
    #19
    Bolsado

    Bolsado Active Member

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    IMG_20190927_174150.jpg PO had them installed but rubbed a hole. Replaced them and had no issues other than slow leak. Along with heavy duty rear leaf springs my 98 across truck scaled on return trip from TX to Yellowstone and did the Alpine loop including Lower Engineer pass on the Ouray side in the dark total at 5300lbs no problem gonna get the weld on frame brackets though.

    I think either brand is fine and I bet Firestone makes all the bags as the do for semis.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
    Hamer95USA likes this.
  20. Nov 19, 2019 at 3:58 PM
    #20
    RysiuM

    RysiuM [OP] Well-Known Member

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    1995 4x4 LX Ext Cab, I4 2.7, MT, 320K miles
    DD Deck+backup camera, LED DRL, All LED except H4 Hella
    After reading more about this I'm leaning towards Firestone system. I like the airbags mounting better (over the axle instead of bumps) and the fact that they use nut plates instead of cutting the threads in the frame. I think they put more thinking into the design.

    Now regarding to place where to buy them (time is the essence): I understand that I need model 2304. I am confused about the pictures from different sources and installation instruction - they show different brackets. What is I supposed to get? For example http://www.lowrangeoffroad.com/fire...g-kit-for-1995-5-2004-toyota-tacoma-2304.html

    upload_2019-11-19_15-45-47.jpg

    or
    upload_2019-11-19_15-47-40.jpg


    The upper bracket is different from https://www.truckspring.com/products/firestone/ride-rite-air-spring-kit-2304.aspx

    upload_2019-11-19_15-50-38.jpg

    which is the same as in the installation manual:

    upload_2019-11-19_15-54-6.jpg

    and Amazon prime

    upload_2019-11-19_15-54-59.jpg


    Are they different versions or some websites have the pictures messed up?
     

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