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Add-a-leaf advice request

Discussion in '3rd Gen. Tacomas (2016+)' started by BarryWestVirginia, Oct 4, 2020.

  1. Oct 4, 2020 at 8:41 AM
    #1
    BarryWestVirginia

    BarryWestVirginia [OP] Member

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    So after I added a camper shell and my tools to my truck's bed, it's evident that I want/need an add-a-leaf. I watched 4 install videos and saw a half-dozen-or-so kits on Amazon and Ebay. It appears I have enough thread-length on my existing U-bolts, but I know enough to know I might know enough. I have moderate mechanical-skill...and a friend has several big C-clamps to lend me. How can I screw this up or hurt myself? The vids warn to watch out getting whacked when releasing tension but don't seem to show exactly what the just-before-Oh-Fudge moment looks like. The vids also give advice on leaf-realignment hassles. Which brands might be best to avoid or best to purchase?
     
  2. Oct 4, 2020 at 8:55 AM
    #2
    GoldenBrew

    GoldenBrew Insufficient Privilege

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    not sure if they are in stock but @Headstrong has their version - 3 leaf progressive. Easier to install but still have to go through same steps with oem arch release. JMO.
     
    Gen3TacomaOBX likes this.
  3. Oct 4, 2020 at 8:58 AM
    #3
    BalutTaco

    BalutTaco Moja_Przygoda

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    Just do an whole leaf pack way easier than AAL. Will last longer too
     
  4. Oct 4, 2020 at 9:12 AM
    #4
    JaCado

    JaCado I make bad choices

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    Once the c clamp is on and you take the pin out, slowly undo the clamp to release the tension. It's not difficult and only surprises you'll get is, if you use a defective or broken clamp.
    It's a bitch to put in when the pack is on the truck.... do one side at a time and when you remove the center pin, replace it with a screwdriver to keep them in line.
    Much easier, if you have 2 people and you pull the leaves from the hangers. The leaf will slides right in as the pack can be laid on its side, then tighten clamp, insert center pin and put back on the truck.
     
    71tattooguy and G8R_Taco like this.
  5. Oct 4, 2020 at 9:13 AM
    #5
    skierd

    skierd Well-Known Member

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    You’ve got three options: a single aal, a 3 leaf progressive aal, or a replacement leaf pack.

    With a single AAL you can reuse the stock u-bolts. They are supposed to handle constant heavy loads better than a 3 leaf. I’m happy with my Tuff Country single 2” aal, the Deaver single is great too.

    With a 3 leaf you should get a smoother ride but they don’t add as much spring rate so they don’t handle the weight as well as a single. You’ll need new u bolts, should come with the kit. Most folks go with @HeadStrong Off-Road or Icon or Wheelers, they’re all comparable and good.

    A replacement leaf pack is best of all because it’s built for both extra weight and better ride, and replaces the OE springs instead of supplementing them.

    The only “oh shit” moments I can think of are when you take the clamps off after removing the centering bolt, and when you release tension after clamping it all back together. Just go slow and you’ll be fine, don’t undo the clamps with an impact wrench or something too fast so the release is controlled.
     
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  6. Oct 4, 2020 at 9:15 AM
    #6
    Ronzio

    Ronzio Well-Known Member

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    1.5 AAL, 9 inch U-bolts and 3 degree shims with longer center pins and you’ll be good to go...I would replace the factory u-bolts with new as the threads on factory are cold rolled.

    A8724CFC-A04A-4424-8DC9-9E439231AE7E.jpg 6905A86D-324E-4736-AD0F-FF1BF2E5A693.jpg
     
  7. Oct 4, 2020 at 9:28 AM
    #7
    DLRIII

    DLRIII Well-Known Member

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    The important thing is that you remove the leaf retaining nut while the leaves are clamped, and open the clamps slowly afterwards. When reinstalling, line pin up and clamp leaves before reinstalling the retaining nut, and after tightening the nut bolt the U bolts down. I think the safest option is to get new U bolts because I've read that after they've been tightened down the threads flex a little from the tension, making it harder for them to hold tightly after repeated uses.
     
  8. Oct 18, 2020 at 3:21 PM
    #8
    6Thick

    6Thick Well-Known Member

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    Cold rolled?
     
    whatstcp likes this.
  9. Oct 19, 2020 at 11:35 PM
    #9
    The_Devil

    The_Devil Well-Known Member

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    Installed the Icon 51100 this weekend.

    Some great videos out there, but the Icons I received no longer require cutting off the factory clip.

    You will need to cut off the excess pin bolt to get the rubber bumper on.

    Here is some advice.

    1x floor jack for truck
    1x floor jack for the diff
    14MM socket.
    14MM ratcheting wrench
    Deep 7/8 or 22MM socket for Ubolts
    Angle grinder or cut off wheel to cut pin bolt.
    2x C-clamps
    Discard overload springs.
    Get 2.5" wide 3 degree shims.

    Good video, but again the version I received appears to be updated to no longer require the cutting of the clip.

    https://youtu.be/EIAcQEMDtx8
     
  10. Oct 20, 2020 at 12:47 AM
    #10
    Rainoffire

    Rainoffire Well-Known Member

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    So the new icon aal no longer need cutting off the factory leaf clip? This is great news, been waiting for headstrong's aal for so long now.
     
  11. Oct 20, 2020 at 7:59 AM
    #11
    CoyoteCalling

    CoyoteCalling Well-Known Member

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    When I upgraded my OME leaf pack to HD, I was surprised by how nonviolent the c-clamp release was. I kept waiting for it to "pop" and it never did, just slowly came apart. Hardest part for me was getting the holes realigned, and the heavy lifting to get the new pack in place. I highly recommend removing them from the vehicle to install, despite the weight.
     
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  12. Oct 20, 2020 at 9:45 AM
    #12
    The_Devil

    The_Devil Well-Known Member

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    It was a happy surprise for sure. Not sure when it started.
     
  13. Oct 20, 2020 at 10:25 AM
    #13
    Vlady

    Vlady Well-Known Member

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    Watch out for the axle walking away.
    I took me some time to push it back in place to align. It was like 1 inch off , but it was a royal pain in the ass. So when I started other side, I put a strap and ratcheted just about tight to hold it in place and the installation went pretty fast.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
  14. Oct 20, 2020 at 10:37 AM
    #14
    slomaro

    slomaro Well-Known Member

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    Depending on your location you might be able to go to a spring shop. I had a custom AAL made and they reshaped my existing leafs. The price was very comparable to the off the shelf options and they added in a long spring in the middle of the pack so it rides great. I was in a similar boat with my shell + decked system.
     
    Big tall dave likes this.
  15. Jan 21, 2021 at 12:14 PM
    #15
    Sand Dog

    Sand Dog Well-Known Member

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    Thank you - this explains a lot.

    Quick question. Can you recommend a specific replacement leaf pack for a stock 2018 SR DCSB 4x4; one that would not raise it up? Ideally, i would like to retain existing height and be able to handle the extra weight while keeping ride comfortable. Is that all even possible?
    Thanks much in advance.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021

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