1. Welcome to Tacoma World!

    You are currently viewing as a guest! To get full-access, you need to register for a FREE account.

    As a registered member, you’ll be able to:
    • Participate in all Tacoma discussion topics
    • Communicate privately with other Tacoma owners from around the world
    • Post your own photos in our Members Gallery
    • Access all special features of the site

Air springs

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by 99tacosupreme, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. Oct 8, 2010 at 2:49 PM
    #1
    99tacosupreme

    99tacosupreme [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2010
    Member:
    #33079
    Messages:
    232
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Kyle
    Southern California
    Vehicle:
    1999 Black V6 PreRunner TRD
    Pioneer Headunit, Infinity Kappa 6.5" speakers, Alpine Type R sub with Alpine M500 amp, 15% Tint up front 5% in the back, Deckplate mod, Debadged, Bilstien 5100s, Wheelers 1.5"AAL, DDM 55w 6k Lights
    Ive been doing alot of research on how to stiffen up my back springs a bit and not loose ride quality and I have come to Air springs or "air bags". Instead of getting an AAL which is stiff all the time, I can have air bags which are fully adjustable from 5 psi to 100psi for a little more dough but half the price of getting new leaf packs. So far I've come across two brands Firestone "Ride Rite" or the Ride Control air bags. Has anyone had any expirence with either of these? Ive seen a couple second gens on here with them but no First Gens. Let me know what you think.

    http://www.suspensionconnection.com/cgi-bin/suscon/2213.html

    http://www.suspensionconnection.com/cgi-bin/suscon/59561-tacoma-air-springs.html
     
  2. Oct 8, 2010 at 3:08 PM
    #2
    STLharry

    STLharry Lube: It's the key to penetration.

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2008
    Member:
    #9899
    Messages:
    1,911
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Harry
    VT
    Vehicle:
    Yeti Rescue Package with 240k miles
    '95-'97 camouflaged, ARB bull bar, RAT Products skid plate kit, sliders, Green Mountain Customs rear tube bumper and overland bed rack, King coilovers with Icon neoprene covers, defenestrated sway bar, OME Rear Suspension: CS046R leafs + AAL/5125 shocks/NWOR greasable hardware/U-bolt flip kit; S13WL Tundra calipers/pads/rotors, IPF H4 lenses and bulbs, IPF 968 DCG 100W lights, clapped out CB radio, Aussie-spec FJ60 inclinometer, ARB CKMA12 compressor, Superwinch S9000 with 12V Guy clock switch, 4' Hi-Lift, deckplate mod/grey wire mod/dif breather extensions, Duratrac tires, Sockmonkey bedside decals, boat cupholder, Dakine bike pad
    I will take new OME leafs over that stuff ANY day of the week, even if OME is 150/spring.
     
  3. Oct 8, 2010 at 3:32 PM
    #3
    99tacosupreme

    99tacosupreme [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2010
    Member:
    #33079
    Messages:
    232
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Kyle
    Southern California
    Vehicle:
    1999 Black V6 PreRunner TRD
    Pioneer Headunit, Infinity Kappa 6.5" speakers, Alpine Type R sub with Alpine M500 amp, 15% Tint up front 5% in the back, Deckplate mod, Debadged, Bilstien 5100s, Wheelers 1.5"AAL, DDM 55w 6k Lights
    Why would you need an onboard compressor? You can just set them and then leave them and then if your going to carry something then just fill them up at home. or fill them up with the small compressor that I already have.

    I was looking at OME springs but they are more like $200+ per spring for the 5 leaf pack.
     
  4. Oct 8, 2010 at 3:43 PM
    #4
    goldenbear926

    goldenbear926 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    Member:
    #18507
    Messages:
    7
    Gender:
    Male
    Alaska
    Vehicle:
    05 Tacoma DC TRD O/R SR5
    You can easily fill the airbags with just a little bicycle pump also.

    I love my Firestones on my 2nd Gen. and even with 1500 lbs or so in the bed you never really need more than 30 psi in the bags. I leave them around 5-10 psi when I don't have a load and it feels like a factory ride.
     
  5. Oct 8, 2010 at 4:14 PM
    #5
    MowTaco

    MowTaco Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Member:
    #22530
    Messages:
    3,820
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Matt
    South Dakota
    Vehicle:
    03 GMC Sierra
    I've also considered these for lift... goldenbear if you leave yours aired up while empty to they provide much lift? I've seen a Volkswagen Toureg with air ride that can vary about 6 inches from stock height at the press of a button... pretty cool.
     
  6. Oct 8, 2010 at 4:37 PM
    #6
    goldenbear926

    goldenbear926 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    Member:
    #18507
    Messages:
    7
    Gender:
    Male
    Alaska
    Vehicle:
    05 Tacoma DC TRD O/R SR5
    With 5 psi (which is the mfrs. suggested miniumum setting) they will ride at stock height. However, with 10 psi or more you will be raising the rearend if you have no load in the bed. I did fill them to 50 psi when i first installed them and i would guess it raised the rearend approx. 5-6".
     
  7. Oct 8, 2010 at 8:46 PM
    #7
    99tacosupreme

    99tacosupreme [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2010
    Member:
    #33079
    Messages:
    232
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Kyle
    Southern California
    Vehicle:
    1999 Black V6 PreRunner TRD
    Pioneer Headunit, Infinity Kappa 6.5" speakers, Alpine Type R sub with Alpine M500 amp, 15% Tint up front 5% in the back, Deckplate mod, Debadged, Bilstien 5100s, Wheelers 1.5"AAL, DDM 55w 6k Lights
    Yea im kinda leaning towards the Firestones aswell, the lifetime warrenty might just be the decideing factor. but it says you have to drill to install so idk... but I was trying to see if anyone with a first gen had tried them out.
     
  8. Oct 8, 2010 at 10:15 PM
    #8
    MowTaco

    MowTaco Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Member:
    #22530
    Messages:
    3,820
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Matt
    South Dakota
    Vehicle:
    03 GMC Sierra
    I've been trying to get my dad to get the coil ones for the Suburban for the last few years... still not sure why he won't. For like $70 is there really that much to lose?

    OP... someone's gotta be first at everything :)
     
  9. Oct 9, 2010 at 12:57 AM
    #9
    99tacosupreme

    99tacosupreme [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2010
    Member:
    #33079
    Messages:
    232
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Kyle
    Southern California
    Vehicle:
    1999 Black V6 PreRunner TRD
    Pioneer Headunit, Infinity Kappa 6.5" speakers, Alpine Type R sub with Alpine M500 amp, 15% Tint up front 5% in the back, Deckplate mod, Debadged, Bilstien 5100s, Wheelers 1.5"AAL, DDM 55w 6k Lights
    OP... someone's gotta be first at everything [​IMG]

    haha I guess so. I mean i cant figure out why not. They will give me the little lift i was looking for to raise the back. They will keep my truck level under a load, They are completely adjustable and if i dont have anything in the back of my truck then i can air them down like they wheren't even there. and life time warrenty.
    Unless anyone wants to chime in with any problems they've had???
     
  10. Oct 12, 2010 at 11:32 PM
    #10
    arizonataco

    arizonataco Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Member:
    #44589
    Messages:
    82
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Mike
    Phoenix Arizona
    Firestone Airbags ARE Camper Shell
    New member here and first post (go easy on me) at least once !

    I haul about 500#plus every day on my 2005 taco plus a steel cab high commercial shell and I have a set of Firestones ( #2407 ) Airbags and they are great for me.Bear in mind that 99 % is on Rd driving. I also will haul a 2000 # pop up camper flipped axle and 4 inch sub frame lift.It is very usefull that I can maintain proper level with the airbags. BUT I dont wheel like most off roaders here.I handle forest roads with no problem and light trails.
    My last truck was 1997 4X4 Taco with airbags and I had that setup for 175,000 miles with no problems.Hope this helps.......
     
  11. Oct 13, 2010 at 12:05 AM
    #11
    David K

    David K Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Member:
    #18969
    Messages:
    9,946
    Gender:
    Male
    San Marcos, Alta California
    Vehicle:
    2010 4WD Off Road DC
    Differential Breather Mod Light Bar: 2 Hella 4000 HID, 1 Cibie Halogen. Bilstein 5100s Ride Rite Air Bags
    Ride Rites worked awesome on my 2005 DC with the bottoming out rear end (didn't know about TSB and dealer said that was normal, so I fixed it myself)... by going to Off Road Warehouse for the install.

    Ran mine at 15 psi for normal loads and up to 30 psi with heavy camping load, ice chests, etc. Totally solved the problem and I kept them when I traded the '05 for the '10 (in case the '10 was too soft)... The 2010 has better springs, so I don't need the air bags on it.

    You don't need a compressor onboard... you can add air from any tire air source or an electric tire pump, like we all have for off roading!

    I also changed the back shocks for 5100's and they were great!

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Oct 13, 2010 at 8:30 AM
    #12
    phidauex

    phidauex Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Member:
    #20114
    Messages:
    104
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Sam
    Boulder, CO
    Vehicle:
    '96 4x4 V6, manual, 201k
    Small lift and a topper!
    I use the Air-Lift ride control springs on my 96, and like them quite a bit. While having good springs is important, even brand new springs can't offer any adjustability. They are either too low while loaded, or too high while unloaded. I think for people doing real hauling or towing, the air springs are a great way to keep things balanced.

    I have the basic bags, no onboard air (though I do have a MV50 in the cab, mostly for tires). Typically I'm loading up at my workshop, and set the pressure there, or I'm pulling a trailer a long distance and adjust at the first gas station. Because the bags hold so little air, they can be tricky to set at the right pressure. I'd recommend getting a good dial gauge with a push-button bleeder valve. I find it easier to slightly overfill the bags, then use the bleeder to slowly drop down to the right height. I find myself running between 10psi unloaded (I have a shell) to 50psi fully loaded.

    I have both bags setup with separate schraeder valves so they can be different pressures - which comes in handy if you have offset loads.

    I've had mine over a year now, and had no problems at all - they look good as new. I don't do a lot of hardcore wheeling, but I do go up old jeep and fire roads, and have drooped the rear springs pretty darn far without damaging the bags.

    And having been able to experiment with the leveling of the bed while heavily loaded, I can say that it really changes the handling (for the better). You don't notice how bad the handling is with your nose in the air until you correct the problem and realize how out of control you were. Same with a heavy trailer. I used to tow regularly with my old Mercedes that had self-leveling hydraulic suspension which taught me how important a level ride is when loaded.

    Don't use the springs to "lift" your truck, they aren't designed for it. While it can push you above stock height, you should really just use them to return the truck to it's normal unloaded height. I'll probably be upgrading to OME dakar springs sometime soon, but I expect to keep the air bags as well.

    Let me know if you have any other questions.

    -Sam

    PS - When I did my research, I didn't find much difference between the Air Lift and the Ride Rites - they both seem like quality products with good reviews. Ultimately I picked the Air Lifts just because I got a better price on them. The install was very easy - you just need some basic hand tools, a good socket set, and a good drill.
     
  13. Oct 13, 2010 at 9:08 AM
    #13
    arizonataco

    arizonataco Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Member:
    #44589
    Messages:
    82
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Mike
    Phoenix Arizona
    Firestone Airbags ARE Camper Shell
    Forgot to add:

    My Firestones Airbags bolted on with no drilling
    An onboard compresser is over kill unless loads are changing frequently

    There is now steel spacers
    (2"-6") available for those applications when you have installed "add a leafs" or blocks to your rear suspension.These spacers go between the bottom of the airbags and the top of axle.I am not running spacers at this time though.
    Heres the link
    http://www.suspensionconnection.com...to=x/tf=veh_make/to=x/tf=description/to=r.htm
     
  14. Oct 13, 2010 at 12:03 PM
    #14
    phidauex

    phidauex Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Member:
    #20114
    Messages:
    104
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Sam
    Boulder, CO
    Vehicle:
    '96 4x4 V6, manual, 201k
    Small lift and a topper!
    I think the drilling/no drilling thing is probably a difference between the 1st Gen and 2nd Gen tacomas. Both the Air Lift and Firestone bags require drilling on the 1st gens (nothing in that area to bolt to), but neither brand seems to require frame drilling on the 2nd gens. On the 1st Gens, the air lift uses a thread-forming screw (different from a "self tapping" screw - thread forming screws are very heavy duty), the Firestones use a back nut that you fish into place.

    Thanks for the heads up on the spacers - I'll have to look into that if I put a little lift on.

    One change I've considered making is adding a valve between the two bags so I can link them for easier adjusting and filling with even loads, or separate them for independent operation on offset loads.

    -Sam
     
  15. Oct 13, 2010 at 11:26 PM
    #15
    99tacosupreme

    99tacosupreme [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2010
    Member:
    #33079
    Messages:
    232
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Kyle
    Southern California
    Vehicle:
    1999 Black V6 PreRunner TRD
    Pioneer Headunit, Infinity Kappa 6.5" speakers, Alpine Type R sub with Alpine M500 amp, 15% Tint up front 5% in the back, Deckplate mod, Debadged, Bilstien 5100s, Wheelers 1.5"AAL, DDM 55w 6k Lights

    Thanks for the responses, and all the info. But I still cant decide what to do.This has been bothering me since I bought the truck and changed my mind countless times on how i was going to fix my soft leaf springs. My delema is that I am going with 5100s all around and OME 881 coils up front so that will give me about 2-2.5" lift up front, but I dont know what to do for the back end. as it sits right now according to Toyota specs, my leafs are sagging a little over half an inch from stock. and I can almost bottom them out if i jump on the back bumper.

    So my big question... Do I buy the airbags and save $250 but have no lift in the rear end, but have all the adjustability in the world.
    Or ... do I just sack up and save for another couple months and spend $500 on a set of Wheelers 5 pack????
    I probably only tow about 5 or 6 times a year and thats just one or two dirtbikes or a jetski. but as is my back suspension cant handle it.
    I dont really wheel that hard either probably about 5 or 6 times a year just jeep trails and such.
    Maybe I should make a poll, and see what people think, This decision is killing me.
     
  16. Oct 14, 2010 at 7:41 AM
    #16
    TacomaJack09

    TacomaJack09 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Member:
    #29796
    Messages:
    1,404
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Jackson
    Montana!
    Vehicle:
    06 Access Cab 4x4
    Billie 5100's, Ride Rite Airbags, Tech Deck
  17. Oct 14, 2010 at 7:56 AM
    #17
    TacomaJack09

    TacomaJack09 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Member:
    #29796
    Messages:
    1,404
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Jackson
    Montana!
    Vehicle:
    06 Access Cab 4x4
    Billie 5100's, Ride Rite Airbags, Tech Deck

    If I were you I'd save for the new leaf packs. I bought the wheelers 5 pack during a group buy, and I'm glad that I did. The ride quality 1000x better, especially paired with Billies.
    If your leafs are already sagging, and you put the air ride on, your making up for the weak leafs plus whatever is in your bed. Which would cause the air ride to grow weaker a lot faster than normal. But if they have a lifetime warranty I guess its all good. But you have to remember the downtime of taking them off, shipping them in, and then waiting on the new ones.
     
  18. Oct 14, 2010 at 8:28 AM
    #18
    Zac808

    Zac808 Custom User Title

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Member:
    #22040
    Messages:
    2,816
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Zac
    Viva Las Vegas
    Vehicle:
    08 TRD DC SB 4x4
    In my sig
    I like this idea but am worried about body roll. At least with the bags seperated body roll is more controlled. But then again, we aren't rally racing with these trucks:D.
     
  19. Oct 14, 2010 at 10:11 PM
    #19
    99tacosupreme

    99tacosupreme [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2010
    Member:
    #33079
    Messages:
    232
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Kyle
    Southern California
    Vehicle:
    1999 Black V6 PreRunner TRD
    Pioneer Headunit, Infinity Kappa 6.5" speakers, Alpine Type R sub with Alpine M500 amp, 15% Tint up front 5% in the back, Deckplate mod, Debadged, Bilstien 5100s, Wheelers 1.5"AAL, DDM 55w 6k Lights
    yea i have looked at these but for the same price I might as well get the adjustability.
     
  20. Oct 14, 2010 at 11:28 PM
    #20
    arizonataco

    arizonataco Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Member:
    #44589
    Messages:
    82
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Mike
    Phoenix Arizona
    Firestone Airbags ARE Camper Shell
    Well, you have some good info here. I was happy that I was not the only one using airbags.
    You have got a lot of info to sort out.
    Write a list out with pros & cons.
    With the prices Etc.Make a decision and go with it.I sometimes get indecisive and I have to do this.
    There are different ways to skin a cat and there will always be.


    Good Luck


    Mike
     
To Top