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AAL or New leaf pack needed?

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by Blaine Suque, May 26, 2020.

  1. May 26, 2020 at 7:24 PM
    #1
    Blaine Suque

    Blaine Suque [OP] Member

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    Blaine
    Long Beach Ca
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    So i read a ton of posts on AAL and Leaf packs, I have called 4 wheel parts but they dont seem to be too much of a help over the phone. I am in need of some advice on my rear leaf springs.

    I have a 2010 TRD sport Double Cab

    2 years ago I installed Bilstein 5100's all aorund. I set the front struts at the 1in adjustable plate, with the original trd sport springs.
    I did it to level out the slight rake from stock suspension.

    that worked fine for some time but now i have a taller camper shell, still not that much more weight (maybe 250lbs), a dual battery system (about 60lbs), and some small gear at all times.

    When i go camping i fill it more with gear and sometimes take a small motorcycle.

    Now it sags a tad bit, maybe about a inch lower than the front. The front seems to be at about 21in and rear is at about 20in from center hub to fender.

    Should i get a new leaf pack or add an AAL.

    My leaf springs seem to be pretty flat if not bending the opposite way. They are the original TRD sport leaf pack (3 leafs + 1 overload). I would love to get a new leaf pack like the OME EL095R, i have heard great things and you have a more stable controlled truck, but it seems that will give me way too much lift in the rear (2.75in) . is that too much rake ? I guess i could level it out in the front by stepping up to a higher ring on the 5100's but again i heard the higgher you go on the 5100s with stock springs the worst the ride gets. I like to have decent smooth ride. I dont do too much off-roading, just camping trails, beaches and highway mostly.

    Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you all

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  2. May 26, 2020 at 8:02 PM
    #2
    ryfox0276

    ryfox0276 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah 4 Wheel Parts has never been helpful to me either. They more specialize in Jeeps. Contact one of the vendors on here. I've only gone thru @Wheeler's Off-Road Inc and @HeadStrong Off-Road for my suspension needs. Both spectacular vendors and will help you with everything.

    As to answering your question it really depends on budget. Always recommend a new leaf pack over an AAL, especially if you're going to put it on worn out springs.

    And as for the rake it's your truck, so it's up to you. I have the HD dakars and 884 springs in the front. Unloaded I've got maybe 2.5" of rake, but I think it looks good. Loaded down it's more like 1.5"
     
    HeadStrong Off-Road likes this.
  3. May 29, 2020 at 8:15 AM
    #3
    OldManTacoFeels

    OldManTacoFeels The bells of tacos

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    Billy Jr.
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    Bilstein 5100s, AFE dry intake, Icon AAL pack, Bed stiffeners, and ideally some UCAs soon
    you could do airbags, but if you want a better ride a progressive AAL or a full pack is a better choice. I installed a progressive AAL and I'm happy
     
  4. May 29, 2020 at 2:19 PM
    #4
    Estephe21

    Estephe21 Well-Known Member

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    Stephen
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    5100 @2.5 +AAL Camper set up and surfing ready
    I have a DCLB with aal/firestone ride-rite air bags. I am happy with the way this works. I have the same shell as you, carry a drawer system full-time, and pack it down with camping gear often.

    I like the ride, but probably should have just replaced the leaf pack when I upgraded to 5100's. Don't know if I would need the airbags in that case, but really am happy with their adjustability.

    Hope that helps!

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    OldManTacoFeels likes this.
  5. May 29, 2020 at 6:06 PM
    #5
    OldManTacoFeels

    OldManTacoFeels The bells of tacos

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    Bilstein 5100s, AFE dry intake, Icon AAL pack, Bed stiffeners, and ideally some UCAs soon
    Someone else on the forum mentioned the bags don't ride as nice as the aal but they are more effective for towing
     
  6. May 29, 2020 at 6:43 PM
    #6
    Musubi3

    Musubi3 Well-Known Member

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    To me it would seem like you could just do an AAL. My Headstrong progressive AAL netted me 2" with the overload springs, which I'd recommend you leave in. https://www.headstrongoffroad.com/s..._AAL_with_u-bolts_(PAIR)_-_HS-TOY516-3AL.html
    That would be the cost effective route. Otherwise, if you want the Dakars in the rear, you'll probably want OME 885 or 887 coils in the front to raise the front and reduce the rake. You can keep the 5100 and set the settings to 0. Personally I prefer have some rake to the truck.
     
    FJ to Taco likes this.
  7. May 29, 2020 at 7:58 PM
    #7
    07tacomatoy

    07tacomatoy Wears slippahs and boardshorts mostly

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    If you have the $ to spend I’d at least get a progressive leaf pack. Your stock leafs are probably tired.. ~10yrs.

    Do you know about the TSB for leaf pack? You might want to see if you qualify. I have an 07 and got new (TSB) leafs then just threw on a single AAL and it’s worlds better than my old leafs. I got 2” rear lift and it only cost me $60 lol. Lots of ppl here hate the stock leafs but for me it saved me a ton of $ and I’m stoked.

    And yes whether you do a AAL or a whole leaf pack you need to figure out some sort of lift for the front. Whether that’s changing the setting on your shocks or upgrading your springs. I’d say springs since they’re not too pricey and your stockies probably tired? Not familiar with Bilstein maybe you can up the setting on the shocks first and see if you like it or not then upgrade the springs if you don’t??

    I had a stock 07 just upgraded my entire suspension running the eibach kit maxed out at 3-3.5” I love it doesn’t seem harsh at all love it

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    Last edited: May 29, 2020
    Estephe21 likes this.
  8. May 30, 2020 at 7:34 AM
    #8
    09TRDSport4x4

    09TRDSport4x4 OCD Approved!

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    285/70/17 Nitto | SCS F5s | Elka 2.5 | Elka 2.0 | ICON AAL
    I have an Icon 3 leaf progressive AAL (same design and style as the HS kit) in my 2009 TRD sport. It’s been on there for about four years with the Toyota TSB replacement 3+1 leaf pack. I left the overload leaf in place and also gained about 2” of lift. I’d recommend this setup to anyone wanting a mild rear lift on a budget. However, I would highly recommend removing the overload leaf if you decide to go with a progressive AAL kit.

    What I’ve learned in the almost four years I’ve had my AAL with overload kit installed is that sure, you’ll get the extra 1/2” of lift leaving the overload and it will ride great (better than stock), most of the time. I don’t haul much extra weight or tow very often, and the Icon kit has handled moderate weight in the bed and/or towing without a problem. But over time, especially with excess weight applied, you’ll find that retaining the overload leaf poses a big ride comfort issue.

    I’m actually in the process of removing my overload leaf right now. While doing some work on the rear of my truck, I noticed a round indentation on the top of the overload on both sides. This is because the metal rivet head on the AAL clamp has been sitting on, or making contact with, the overload for a while. This means, I’ve basically been riding on the overload leaf a lot more often than intended, which has resulted in a rougher ride. I’ve also noticed that over the course of the last year or so, the truck has been much more harsh over bumps in the rear. The progressive AAL has a relatively small third leaf that is not intended to make contact with anything, specifically an overload leaf. And while my leaf springs are no where near “flat” I guarantee with 200-300 pounds in the bed or a loaded trailer hooked up, the AAL clamps are both making contact with and digging into the overload.

    If you want ~1.5” of rear lift, install a progressive AAL kit (without the overload) and call it a day. If you want or need 2” of lift then consider a replacement leaf pack or what I’m doing, add a 1/2” flat shim under the entire leaf pack, instead of the overload leaf. As long as the AAL kit doesn’t make contact with anything, it will give you the lift you want and ride better than the stock pack alone (or blocks). But again, I wouldn’t recommend installing a progressive AAL kit with the overload as it’s not intended to be used that way and your ride quality will suffer.
     
  9. May 31, 2020 at 7:03 AM
    #9
    Blaine Suque

    Blaine Suque [OP] Member

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    Blaine
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    Ok thanks everyone for help and responses. It really helped a lot.

    So I ended up finding a used but fairly new pair of 2019 factory tacoma springs with an Icon progressive 1.5 AAL already installed. The owner was kind enough to let me take them for $100. I figured it was worth the test project even if it didnt work out.

    I figured my current leafs were so tired that a new stock set and an progressive AAL would do the job for me with minimal bed weight use.

    I decided to do the install myself after watching a couple youtube videos. Ive never done leaf springs so the first side took me about 2.5 hours. I was working very slow and by myself, I went and got a decent jack from harbor freight that cost me $100 and had 4 jack stands total. The second side was a breeze once i figured out the process, it took me about 1 hour. In fact, after doing the first side i realized i didnt even half to remove the shock to swap a leaf pack. It took a little bit more muscle but saved me the time i would have spent struggling with that spinning top screw.

    After my install, it sits perfect now with a slight rake which is what i wanted. I measured hub to fender, passenger side was sitting at 23" and driver was sitting at just over 22". curious if this is normal, or if the springs are dedicated per side. The + sings were identical on both springs. by driveway isnt perfectly level nor is the street, not sure if that would matter.

    Maybe I need to install the taco lean spacer? where would that be if it was already installed on my truck ? front driver strut?

    I am going to drive it around for a couple days and check my torque again.

    Thanks again everyone!

    PS. I work in media, mostly action sports and commercial. Looking to possibly get into the auto / off road scene. If anyone has any ideas or is interested in doing some work let me know.
    My reel and portfolio below
    blainesuque.com

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    b_r_o and Musubi3 like this.
  10. Aug 16, 2020 at 8:47 PM
    #10
    bttrbsch

    bttrbsch Well-Known Member

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    Kicker speaker upgrade Rockford Sub TRD Grill Raptor Lights Oedro Running Boards Seat Covers Black Emblems MBRP Exhaust Sound dampened doors Blacked out turn signals Pro comp 7069 wheels BFG KO2 285/70/17 Ram mount Joying Head Unit Fogs Soft topper canopy Eibach Lift 2.5" front HS AAL 1.5" rear plus overload (2" total) Center console divider Axe/Shovel Mount Traction boards 32" light bar Shift sense pro v2 iDrive throttle controller Xentec 35W HIDs

    Your post is exactly what I’m looking for. My progressive AAL rivers are digging into the overload as well. I still want that extra 1/2” of lift, and am thinking of cutting the overload shorter so it acts as a shim without contacting the rivets. Did you consider this?
     
  11. Aug 17, 2020 at 9:16 AM
    #11
    09TRDSport4x4

    09TRDSport4x4 OCD Approved!

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    I did consider that as an option. But, the shims were less than $50 shipped and I didn’t have to worry about cutting straight or grinding down sharp edges. And here are some pictures after I removed the overload and replaced it with the 1/2” shim.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I hit everything with a coat of Rustoleum Rust Reformer after reassembly, so the shim is there in the second picture, just painted black now. And the truck is still “under construction” so I haven’t driven on the new suspension yet, but once it’s back on the road, I’m excited to no longer be riding on the overload leaf!
     
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  12. Aug 17, 2020 at 12:25 PM
    #12
    Hikerbox

    Hikerbox Well-Known Member

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    How do you like those Elka's? Been thinking about a set of the 2.0's from Headstrong, mostly for slower speed rocky trails in CO and daily driving.
     
  13. Aug 18, 2020 at 5:26 AM
    #13
    09TRDSport4x4

    09TRDSport4x4 OCD Approved!

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    Haven’t driven on them yet, but can’t wait!

    I drove on 5100s all around for about three years, and am hopeful the valving (and larger shock bodies) from Elka will produce a softer, more comfortable ride. I went with the 2.0 IFP shocks in the back and have a set of extended travel 2.5 IFP coilovers with 650# springs I’ll be installing in the front, as soon as I finish swapping the power steering rack. I’ve been slowly working on the truck in my spare time and hopefully will have it back on the road soon.
     
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  14. Aug 18, 2020 at 1:42 PM
    #14
    bttrbsch

    bttrbsch Well-Known Member

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    I decided to go ahead and cut my overload down on both ends, shortening it to about the length of the shortest leaf. Essentially creating a 1/2” block. Your way is much cleaner, but this way I didn’t have to take the leafs apart!
     
  15. Aug 18, 2020 at 1:56 PM
    #15
    09TRDSport4x4

    09TRDSport4x4 OCD Approved!

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    Not a terrible idea on a truck nine years newer than mine. Lol.

    You’ll have to let me know how it rides now compared to before. It’s gonna be another 2-3 weeks before my truck is ready to leave the garage...
     
  16. Aug 18, 2020 at 2:01 PM
    #16
    bttrbsch

    bttrbsch Well-Known Member

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    I'll have to let you know! I may not notice a difference honestly as put the 3 leaf AAL in just last week.

    I'm curious why the rivet contacting the overload isn't a more common issue. I searched all over TW and only found your post and one other post. My guess is that I'm using the re-designed HS 3 leaf AAL, which is recommended for use without an overload. Nonetheless, glad we both caught that rivet contact point- not a good thing to have rubbing constantly in the leaf pack.
     
  17. Aug 18, 2020 at 2:13 PM
    #17
    09TRDSport4x4

    09TRDSport4x4 OCD Approved!

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    [​IMG]

    Three plus years of use. You can see the rivet head indentation clearly. The one on the right (passenger side) was making contact far worse than the one on the left. Kind of odd considering the truck has more weight on the driver’s side of the frame.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2020
  18. Aug 19, 2020 at 9:02 PM
    #18
    bttrbsch

    bttrbsch Well-Known Member

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    That's wild! My rivet was contacting the pads near the ends of the overload, but had already started to peel that pad back. I can't say I've noticed a difference in ride quality driving around today, but then again, my new 3 leaf AAL has been installed for less than a week.
     

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