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2nd Gen 4WD Tacoma Rear Air Spring Options

Discussion in 'Suspension' started by Bill2008, Jan 20, 2016.

  1. Jan 20, 2016 at 7:44 PM
    #1
    Bill2008

    Bill2008 [OP] Active Member

    Joined:
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    First Name:
    Bill
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    2008 Tacoma Access Cab 4WD V6 SR5
    Hello,

    First time Tacoma owner with a 2008 access cab 4WD V6 SR5 that I bought used. I must say this is the first truck that I have ever owned that rides like a car and since this is my daily driver, that is not a bad thing! However, I will also be hauling soil, mulch, cement and eventually a 16-17ft 3000lb travel trailer (yet to purchase). I do go off road but nothing severe anymore, I got that out of my system years ago. After a bunch of reading on the Tacoma World forum and others, it seems the air helper springs would be the best fit for my rear suspension needs.

    It appears that there are a few options available and after watching videos, reading reviews and installation guides I have come away with initial impressions of each. So in no particular order, here are the offerings I found with average pricing and some pros and cons of each IMHO.

    Firestone Tacoma Rear Air Spring Kit W217602407 - $322
    Firestone Replacement Air Spring W21-760-6766 - $150
    Est. 5yr cost of ownership - $472 (1 bag failure, no labor)
    Pros:
    - Excellent reputation for quality durable air spring bags
    - Excellent parts availability
    - Exhaust heat shield included in kit
    Cons:
    - Bolt-on kit steel parts are poorly designed, cheaply made and do not properly accommodate pre and post TSB spring packs.
    - Most expensive in this group


    Air Lift Tacoma Rear Air Spring Kit 59561 - $240
    Air Lift Replacement Air Spring 50254 - $70
    Est. 5yr cost of ownership - $380 (2 bag failures, no labor)
    Pros:
    - Least expensive in this group
    - Decent hardware kit design
    - Excellent parts availability
    Cons:
    - Air spring bags have a reputation of wearing prematurely


    Pacbrake Tacoma Rear Air Spring Kit HP10165 - $310
    Pacbrake Replacement Air Spring HP10001 - $130
    Est. 5yr cost of ownership - $440 (1 bag failure, no labor)
    Pros:
    - Good air spring bag reputation
    - Simple, hardware kit design that looks sturdy
    Cons:
    - 10psi minimum air pressure may cause harsher ride unloaded than other solutions at 5psi minimum.


    Hellwig Tacoma Rear Air Spring Kit 6305 - $300
    Hellwig Replacement Air Spring 60102505 - $86
    Est. 5yr cost of ownership - $386 (1 bag failure, no labor)
    Pros:
    - Simple and stout hardware kit design that accommodates different stock spring thicknesses.
    Cons:
    - Air fitting exits bottom of bag so air line needs dressed along E-brake cable with greater chance of damage.


    Boss Air Suspension Tacoma Rear Air Spring Kit LA-38 $325
    Boss Air Suspension Replacement Air Spring Bellow 2600BARE $45 (Rebuildable)
    Est. 5yr cost of ownership - $370 (1 bag or other failure, no labor)
    Pros:
    - Simplest and probably stoutest hardware kit design (6mm thick brackets)
    - Claims of zero bag failures with this kit
    - Bags are rebuildable by just replacing the bellows
    - Plated parts, no paint
    Cons:
    - Air fitting exits bottom of bag so air line needs dressed along hydraulic brake line
    - Instructions may be very sparse, plan in advance


    There are basically two flavors of installation, over axle support (Firestone, Hellwig & Boss Air) and forward of axle support (Air Lift & Pacbrake). I have read a few postings that claim over the axle support is the best but IMHO, having it forward of the axle on the leaf spring may help reduce axle counter torque under heavy load acceleration. So I feel that both have certain advantages and personally don't have a problem with either approach. Warranties appear to be about even as well, air spring bag warranties seem very hard to get and the process, tedious.

    I have not pulled the trigger on a air spring kit yet but I'm leaning towards Hellwig or Boss Air Suspension at the moment. I would be very interested in hearing how many years you guys have been getting on your air spring bags and any other maintenance headaches you've had with the kit hardware.

    Thanks!
    -Bill
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2016
  2. Jan 22, 2016 at 6:12 PM
    #2
    Bill2008

    Bill2008 [OP] Active Member

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    2008 Tacoma Access Cab 4WD V6 SR5
    I just found Boss Air Suspension today but could not locate any installation directions. I sent an Email via the Canadian distributor and received a reply almost immediately with a diagram of how it installs. Later I found this forum post with a picture of the Air spring installed, https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads...oma-today-3rd-gen.399305/page-4#post-11097834 what a simple and rugged looking design! I also asked what the minimum air pressure was for the bellows and was told "zero". If that is truly the case, this is the only one that can run this low... Anyways I updated my original post to include this kit...

    As an update, I just ordered the Boss Air Suspension kit LA-38 for $325 including shipping. Looking forward to seeing the build quality and how it fits!

    -Bill
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2016
  3. Jan 27, 2016 at 8:59 AM
    #3
    R09ster

    R09ster Well-Known Member

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    Josh
    OK
    Vehicle:
    06 SSM DCSB TRD Sport
    debadged, Bilstein 5100 all around (fronts at 1.75" sport coils), Skyjacker softride 1.5" AAL, Firestone Ride Right Airbags, 17X8.5 Method NVs, 285/70/r17 Falken Wildpeak AT3W, US Offroad hidden winch mount, grillcraft grill, Sypder Auto projector headlights, blackedout LED taillights, bed extender, bedrack w/CVT Mt Shasta tent,
    Liking this post
     
  4. Feb 12, 2016 at 2:21 PM
    #4
    lenny1987

    lenny1987 Member

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    Alberta Canada
    Vehicle:
    08 SR5 access cab 4WD
    Hi Bill, any update on the Boss air suspension?
    -Was it an easy install?
    -is it a no drill kit??

    Thanks and Great write up!
     
  5. Mar 6, 2016 at 8:58 PM
    #5
    Bill2008

    Bill2008 [OP] Active Member

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    Hi Lenny,

    I did a review on the LA-38 kit here. The installation could have been much easier if the darn thing fit correctly. I would not classify the LA-38 as a no drill kit unless you are referring to drilling holes in your truck! The only hole I drilled in my truck was for the Schrader valve. The air-bag kit itself on the other hand required a fair amount of drilling!

    -Bill
     
  6. Mar 15, 2016 at 8:05 AM
    #6
    scubacraig

    scubacraig New Member

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    Craig
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    2009 Tacoma 4x4 TRD Off Road
    3" leveling kit, super springs, led lights, radio, speakers, truck bed light
    How did this end up working for you? I regularly carry 1000+ lbs in my bed as well as tow my boat short distances. I debated about the air kit but decided on super springs and eventually new rear heavy duty rear springs with super springs. makes for a bouncyer ride with no load but works well.
     
  7. Mar 19, 2016 at 10:42 AM
    #7
    Bill2008

    Bill2008 [OP] Active Member

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    The air bag suspension works just fine so far but to be honest I have not really given it a good load test yet (hauling dirt). I can say that I'm running about 2-3 psi in the bags and it is only slightly stiffer than stock when running empty. At 40psi, the rear of the truck raises about 3 inches empty. I opted to go with a single Schrader valve and a tee fitting in the air lines. The loads I haul are pretty balanced so I don't see the need for individual valves. Plus if there is a leak, both bags will end up with the same pressure...

    -Bill
     
  8. Apr 24, 2016 at 9:48 AM
    #8
    Bill2008

    Bill2008 [OP] Active Member

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    Well I put about 600 lbs of garden supplies in the back of the truck and maybe 8psi in the bags (gauge is really inaccurate below 10psi). The truck rides so much better loaded than empty and the rear end had no squatting at all. Now that the ass end of the truck is working well, time to do something about the front end as it bottoms out with ease...
     

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