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1st Gen Leaf Spring Question

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by catskill.joe, Jul 31, 2022.

  1. Jul 31, 2022 at 8:54 AM
    #1
    catskill.joe

    catskill.joe [OP] Member

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    Hi all,
    I've lurked the forum for about 6 months before joining. Thanks to all who post such detailed and helpful information. I've searched for Leaf Spring questions and found some solid answers (such as this one about leaf spring sizes and this one).

    I have a 04 Tacoma TRD Off Road with 172k miles. I bought it about a year ago after I sold my Tundra. I was driving the other day and heard a pop on the rear passenger side. Took a look and the leaf spring on that side is broken off of the shackle. I'm going to have the local shop replace it but their parts are more expensive than what I've found online.

    I'm going back and forth between these heavy duty leaf springs or these standard springs (recommended by the AdventureTaco blog).
    My goals are to just get these replaced. I don't need more lift - this is primarily a hunting and carpentry truck.

    My questions:
    • Will both of these fit an 04 TRD Off Road?
    • If I get the heavy duty springs - will that require an extended rear break line, tailpipe relocation bracket, and new bump stops? I know the u-bolts should be replaced regardless.
    • I plan on replacing the rear shocks at the same time. Considering I don't want to lift the truck more, are there any recommendations other than the OEM?
    Thanks
     
  2. Jul 31, 2022 at 9:12 AM
    #2
    Andy01DblCabTacoma

    Andy01DblCabTacoma Well-Known Member

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    I'd avoid the HD springs unless you carry constant weight in the bed or have a shell. The general springs are probably what you're looking for as far as a stock height replacement pack.

    You don't need an extended brake line and all that for an HD pack. The HD pack is just going to have a higher spring rate to support more weight.
     
    catskill.joe [OP] likes this.
  3. Jul 31, 2022 at 9:21 AM
    #3
    catskill.joe

    catskill.joe [OP] Member

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    I do have a shell. Forgot to mention that. Is that constant +/- 200lbs enough to go for HD?

    EDIT: I researched my question and it seems that a shell will wreck regular springs.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2022
  4. Aug 1, 2022 at 5:45 AM
    #4
    Bivouac

    Bivouac Well-Known Member

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    Remains to be seen I bought the tires and wheels the rest came along
    It depends just what type of Cap you have some are feather lite I can carry myself some you need 4 people to move.

    I use my Truck as a truck so I went with the General Springs Heavy Duty Springs .
     
    Kwikvette and catskill.joe [OP] like this.
  5. Aug 1, 2022 at 6:02 AM
    #5
    Kwikvette

    Kwikvette Woke up and chose violence

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    General Springs HD pack.

    One and done.
     
    catskill.joe [OP] likes this.
  6. Aug 1, 2022 at 6:18 AM
    #6
    Kevins60

    Kevins60 axle wrap tells me my rear brakes are working

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    I had a fiberglass shell on mine when I bought it. I’m guessing it weighed well over 100 lbs. It completely destroyed the OEM rear shocks but the springs seem OK. They aren’t frowning or broken.
     
    catskill.joe [OP] likes this.
  7. Aug 1, 2022 at 6:27 AM
    #7
    Bivouac

    Bivouac Well-Known Member

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    Remains to be seen I bought the tires and wheels the rest came along
    Strange as it seems just buying a new to you truck can cause your rear springs to fail.

    The very first time I loaded about 500 pounds in the bed both rear springs broke.

    Had the truck a few days.
     
    catskill.joe [OP] likes this.
  8. Aug 1, 2022 at 8:45 AM
    #8
    catskill.joe

    catskill.joe [OP] Member

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    I rode around with a few hundred pounds and a topper on for a few months. No problem. Two weeks ago I hear a pop...

    My topper is fiberglass and I'm guessing it is heavy. I'll do the HD springs and get some new 4600s for the rear.

    Last question - 04 Taco TRD OR requires a different spring on each side, correct? I only see one type of HD spring on GeneralSprings
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2022 at 9:47 PM
  9. Aug 1, 2022 at 9:09 AM
    #9
    Kwikvette

    Kwikvette Woke up and chose violence

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    The shocks are slightly different lengths in the rear.

    Some manufacturers offer a "hair stiffer" leaf pack for one side than the other to account for driver lean IE battery, steering column, gas tank, etc.

    But it's no big deal really. Most other companies just offer the same for both sides.
     
    catskill.joe [OP] likes this.
  10. Aug 1, 2022 at 9:52 AM
    #10
    catskill.joe

    catskill.joe [OP] Member

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    First, thanks for the advice everyone. Much appreciated. I'm clearly ignorant about changing leaf springs out (first time for everything).

    @Kwikvette Just talked to General Spring before I read this last post. GeneralSpring said the exact same thing.

    I just took a look at the springs on my car and the U-bolt plate isn't raised like this one. It looks flat and rusted out. Do I need to include this U-bolt plate?
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2022
    Kwikvette likes this.
  11. Aug 1, 2022 at 10:00 AM
    #11
    Kwikvette

    Kwikvette Woke up and chose violence

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    If you have rusted parts, you may as well get yourself a sawzall to cut rusted parts and bolts.

    Otherwise, replacing your leaf pack is fairly easy. A first timer should be able to knock it out in 3-4 hours.

    2 sets of jackstands is a must, both for holding up the frame and holding the axle housing. I've posted a quick walk through many times (will have to look for it) going over the whole process.

    You'll want to replace your U bolts, and if they're rusted, your shackles. Get new bushings for said shackles, and new bolts that tie in your leaf pack to your truck.

    Seeing as how you're not lifting your truck, you should easily be able to move the leaf pack by hand and get everything lined up. It's only with a taller than stock leaf pack that a ratchet strap will aid in pulling the axle housing into position.
     
    catskill.joe [OP] likes this.
  12. Aug 1, 2022 at 10:06 AM
    #12
    catskill.joe

    catskill.joe [OP] Member

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    Thanks @Kwikvette. I'm having a shop do it. I'm a musician and f-ing my hands up is a non-starter. I do small engine repairs for myself but thats where I limit myself - despite the curiosity and desire to work on my truck. I've watched the process, seems totally possible for a DIY job.

    The reason I'm buyin the parts instead of the shop...their supplier is crazy expensive. They wanted a lot ($300+) for one used leaf spring. I can dig it being expensive if it is new and of very high quality...but used? gtfo. So I'm going to supply the shop with all the parts. They already agreed to it. They are good people.

    I got the u-bolts with washers/nuts, the ubolt top plate, new shackles, and bushings plus bolts. And the GS HD leafs.

    I think I'm set to order this up and get it done.
     
  13. Aug 2, 2022 at 1:25 PM
    #13
    nptesta16

    nptesta16 Active Member

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    I had a shell on my 300k mile taco and leaf springs were frowning bad even without it. I replaced them with the standard duty springs from general spring but they still sag with the shell. I put a pair of adjustable helwig helper springs on it and not only has it improved the sag but it’s eliminated any axle wrap and made the driveline less clunky. They’re also easy to take off if I’m not using the shell or am going off road. Highly recommend.
     
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  14. Aug 2, 2022 at 1:29 PM
    #14
    catskill.joe

    catskill.joe [OP] Member

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    Just ordered the HD springs from General Spring (from my hometown of KC too boot - lets go chiefs).

    I also ordered new Bilstein 4600s for the rear.
    I'm not going to replace shocks on the front, but if I decide to in the future, is it cheaper/easier to just replace the entire coil over?
     
    Bivouac likes this.
  15. Aug 2, 2022 at 1:29 PM
    #15
    catskill.joe

    catskill.joe [OP] Member

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    Mine are basically flattened out. I don't really go too far off road with the truck - mostly a 1/4 mile up a trail to stop and go hunting. I think the HD springs will work
     
  16. Aug 2, 2022 at 1:51 PM
    #16
    nptesta16

    nptesta16 Active Member

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    it is cheaper and easier upfront to install a pre-assembled strut assembly if your springs need replacing. They don’t have the best reputation for reliability though. It’s worth your time and money loan a spring compressor kit from O’reiley and replace the shocks in an hour or less. I just installed the OME 880s with bilstein 4600s for about $350 but you’ll save about $200 if your springs are okay and you’re not looking to lift it.
     
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  17. Aug 2, 2022 at 2:04 PM
    #17
    catskill.joe

    catskill.joe [OP] Member

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    Awesome. Great info. Thanks for sharing
     
  18. Aug 2, 2022 at 6:13 PM
    #18
    DarrenM

    DarrenM Member

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    Hi guys, been a minute since I posted - mostly about frame rust. But I just replaced the rear springs on my 1999 2.7 standard with General Springs (not HD), thinking they would do the trick to fix axle wrap. Nope. I should have gone with the HD as I believe that is what the original springs were.

    I'm now looking at Add-A-Leaf to bring the spring height up to what the HD would have been. Note I also have installed Tuff Country traction bars. I do need to adjust things since I've gone a couple hundy miles since the install. But FWIW. I'd go HD springs as that may be what was orig. My orig springs are as flat as a pancake.
     
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  19. Aug 2, 2022 at 6:22 PM
    #19
    catskill.joe

    catskill.joe [OP] Member

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    Do you carry a lot of weight or have a cap in/on the bed?
     
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  20. Aug 2, 2022 at 6:32 PM
    #20
    DarrenM

    DarrenM Member

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    No, I have a tool chest that isn't too heavy. Although occasionally I will haul plywood or such. I have yet to go to the local quarry and carry a bed full of gravel. Something I don't think I would do w/o the add-a-leaf.
     
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