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alternative suspension assist to helper leafs

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by keakar, Oct 22, 2014.

  1. Oct 22, 2014 at 7:55 AM
    #1
    keakar

    keakar [OP] Well-Known Member

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    karl
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    used to have - 99 2.4L I4 5 lug & 04 prerunner v6
    im just not a big fan of helper leaf springs, I just don't like the look or design of them and I don't want to replace the leafs so I was looking at these:

    http://www.amazon.com/Superior-12-0750-Design-Helper-Capacity/dp/B000CPINNO

    I used these on my chevy 1500 truck and they worked great up until I smooshed them by overloading the truck with 2000 lbs of sand :rolleyes:
    after that they still worked but were a little shorter then they started off at lol.

    anyways I wanted to ask if anyone sees any reason this would not be something to work well on a taco?

    I just want a little something extra to help reduce the spring sag when I hook the boat to the truck adding about 100 lbs tongue weight.

    plus I think it wouldn't hurt to have a little extra 1" or so of rear lift it would provide

    thanks for your thoughts and coments
     
  2. Oct 22, 2014 at 8:03 AM
    #2
    StAndrew

    StAndrew Wait for it...

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    Looks like a cheap air bag... Why not AAL?

    But to answer your question, yes they should work ok for a little while. Don't expect it to last and be prepared to find a new solution sometime later down the road.

    The price and your experience leads me to believe the material of the spring is very cheap and probably fatigues quickly. Even if you overload it to the point its compressed fully, a good spring should rebound back.
     
  3. Oct 22, 2014 at 8:06 AM
    #3
    TenBeers

    TenBeers Well-Known Member

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    Why not Firestone RideRites? I love my airbags -- I can pump them up when I have my RTT and camping gear loaded for the summer, and let air out when not carrying a load.
     
  4. Oct 22, 2014 at 11:56 AM
    #4
    keakar

    keakar [OP] Well-Known Member

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    well to answer both questions simply, airbags need AIR and they need to be maintained.

    I want something to bolt on install and have no wires or uses or pumps involved so I never have to touch, adjust, or think about it again.

    the reason the ones I had sank was because I had a sand pit front end loader put about 5 yards of sand in the truck and just about blew out the tires and drove with the axle bottomed out to the frame a few miles to get it unloaded, after that the springs were about an inch shorter then when new and the truck suspension itself never returned to its preloaded height so I think I bent the leaf springs too lol.

    after being completely compressed and held that way for hours I cant say they were lacking in quality or strength, I just overloaded them. in truth it softened the rider because they only engaged after I had a load so the empty ride wasn't as stiff as when they were fully touching
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014
  5. Oct 22, 2014 at 12:21 PM
    #5
    TenBeers

    TenBeers Well-Known Member

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    But AIR is FREE! And there's tons of it all around us!

    Yeah, I guess if you never want to mess with anything, air bags may not be for you. I put the valves through the bumper by the license plate, so I didn't mess with an onboard pump. I just use a bicycle pump, and I really only have to change the pressure a little when the load changes significantly.

    What about an add-a-leaf?
     
  6. Oct 22, 2014 at 12:36 PM
    #6
    StAndrew

    StAndrew Wait for it...

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    You can pump air bags up with a soccer ball pump and no maintenance needed afaik... An add-a-leaf would be a good option, airbags would be better. These are cheap for a reason. Do what you want, but if you really don't want to never "touch, adjust, or think about it again" I would suggest doing it right the first time :notsure:
     
  7. Oct 22, 2014 at 12:52 PM
    #7
    yota243

    yota243 Well-Known Member

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    that is freaking cheap, mine was free but several hours of trial and error and cut and weld time, and i hear welding spring metal is not the greatest. this seems like a much better solution. i picked up about 2" after everything settled out and its kinda stiff when empty but rides very nice with over 100# in the bed or when pulling a boat [​IMG]
    here is a pic under moderate flex and i did replace my stock shocks for those concerned about the first pic
    [​IMG]
    for that pice, id give it a shot if i didnt already have a similar set up
     
  8. Oct 22, 2014 at 1:11 PM
    #8
    keakar

    keakar [OP] Well-Known Member

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    well that's just it, I know me and im never going to remember to put air in em and anything with air needs to be pumped back up from time to time even if it is just 3 or 4 lbs of air

    I don't consider mechanical springs as doing it "wrong" in fact that's how they were made fort years and years.

    as to the helper leafs they just flex the springs to put more tension or pre-load them and that is doing things the wrong way in my opinion, I want to add more rebound and not add more bend to the weak springs I already have.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014
  9. Oct 22, 2014 at 1:19 PM
    #9
    keakar

    keakar [OP] Well-Known Member

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    that looks fantastic but sadly I think this might not work for my truck, its a 2wd 5 lugger with axle over so I don't have the clearance there to be able to put the springs in that space.

    mine starts out looking like the clearance gap of your compressed springs so if I did this I would have to make a flat l shaped bracket that bolts or clamps onto the frame for the top of the spring to be able to rest onto and push against. if I just cut the spring down it would only have 3 or 4 rings left.

    I really don't want the expense or permanent stiff ride of new stronger leafs so I will have to find some way to make the spring work, maybe I can mount it just in front or behind the axle instead of on top of it? just have to figure a way to replace the rounded base bracket made to fit over the axle with something that will work with a flat u-bolt to clamp it directly onto the leafs
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014
  10. Oct 22, 2014 at 1:30 PM
    #10
    yota243

    yota243 Well-Known Member

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    i had to disconnect my rear shock and put a bottle jack in between my leaves and frame to get enough separation for my coils to fit, so u may have a little more room than u think. at full droop before i had right at 10" o gap, but under its own weight that narrowed to about 7" on level ground. my "coil assembly" measured right at 13" before installation, so i was able to almost double the work space from normal ride position


    obviously i had the rear of the truck jack up as well during this entire process, as u can see by the lack of tire in picture 1
     
  11. Oct 22, 2014 at 1:41 PM
    #11
    neverstuck

    neverstuck Well-Known Member

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    Timbren hd bumpstops. I use them because I have a slide-in camper. They're great.
     
  12. Oct 22, 2014 at 1:48 PM
    #12
    keakar

    keakar [OP] Well-Known Member

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    well I just removed 3" rear lowering kit spacers to get the truck riding normal again (it was a tail dragger) so I understand what you mean about that extra lift once you jack the frame and not the rear end but with my axle over setup, I have 3" less room then you do on yours plus mine is like car height so your prerunner has a semi lift from factory that i don't have, not sure if that's just the axle under thing or not but probably so. that's why im thinking to offset it just to the side of the axle so then im working with the same clearances as you have on yours. I just need a big enough bracket for the flat square u-bolts that I can clamp the spring onto the leafs with.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014
  13. Oct 22, 2014 at 1:57 PM
    #13
    keakar

    keakar [OP] Well-Known Member

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    thanks but im not looking to stop suspension travel, I want to add some extra suspension support by adding spring recoil assist to the stock leafs
     
  14. Oct 22, 2014 at 2:31 PM
    #14
    n0ms

    n0ms Well-Known Member

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    A member on here from South America set up his rear with coils like that. His build was pretty legit.
     
  15. Oct 22, 2014 at 2:45 PM
    #15
    keakar

    keakar [OP] Well-Known Member

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    as I mentioned several times already both those options are not what I want

    aal are jerry rigged leaf springs that put unnatural stress on your suspension and remove its ability to work properly even though it still functions ok

    and bags require regular maint and care to function properly
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014
  16. Oct 22, 2014 at 2:48 PM
    #16
    keakar

    keakar [OP] Well-Known Member

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    do you remember where it was? do you think you can find it
     
  17. Oct 22, 2014 at 2:58 PM
    #17
    JLink

    JLink Well-Known Member

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    An add a leaf or a heavier duty leaf pack are the best options. That coil idea is retarted.

    The fact that you think "air bags are too much work" and "an aal is doing it wrong" show that you already have your mind made up about trying this stupid $18 generic helper spring. You want something "you'll never have to think about again" but you're using a product that will require you to think about I again.
     
  18. Oct 22, 2014 at 3:31 PM
    #18
    keakar

    keakar [OP] Well-Known Member

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    no, I said im too forgetful and lazy to remember to service the air bags.

    as for aal kits its the design that is the problem, all it does is prebend the leaf pack to "load" the springs. this means when you add a load onto them they will actually prevent the spring from fully flexing as it was designed to do and it puts undo stress on it in ways it was not designed for. all aal does is stiffen your ride and work as a poor mans lift kit but that is all a lot of people want so they are happy with them. I on the other hand am actually looking for something to add more support to the suspension and not restrict its movement so they (by design) cannot do this.

    as to the coil spring, you better not look under your front end because that's what you are riding on and cars have been riding on coil springs for 100 years so its a tried and true method for supporting the suspension. why you act as though its some sort of cave man technology I don't understand.

    before aal showed up a few years ago all you could buy were coil spring helper springs, they didn't just invent them.

    also the name of the thread is "alternative to aal helper leafs" so naturally you should have already known that wasn't what I want on my truck.

    of what you list all are decent options except the aal which is a jerry rig, like it or not.

    so there are really only 3 options for me

    1 new leaf packs made a little heavier then stock (very expensive but the #1 best solution)
    2 air bag helper suspension kit (a great solution but requires regular maint and upkeep)
    3 a spring coil helper spring (bolt it on and never have to look at it or touch it again)

    its not about making my mind up ahead of time, although I didn't think I would find anything that fit my needs better then #3.

    its just about what is the best solution that fits my budget and my needs.

    I would love new leafs and be done and not need help springs but my leafs are in great shape and its not in my budget even if they were bad, so I am only left with option #3 the coil spring
     
  19. Oct 22, 2014 at 3:56 PM
    #19
    JLink

    JLink Well-Known Member

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    Coilovers are not the same as bolting a coil spring in place of a bumpstop on a leaf spring. Nothing wrong with coils... I hope to link my rear and ditch the leaf springs for coilovers.

    Add a leafs bend with the leaf pack. They don't cause undue stress or whatever you said. They are not a poor mans lift. A lift block is a poor mans lift. Add a leafs are designed to add strength to a leaf pack while still being able to flex. Why do you think there's even a leaf spring tsb where Toyota installs an aal?
     
  20. Oct 22, 2014 at 4:15 PM
    #20
    StAndrew

    StAndrew Wait for it...

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    Ok, real quick: AAL does not equal helper spring.

    Those "springs" you posted are cheap because its just cheap metal made to look like a spring. This is how you make a spring correctly:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZMuMvpgKFs

    The cheap ones will fatigue and flatten out pretty quick leaving you back at square one.

    Air bags are the best option. I don't know where your fear of air bags comes from but they are pretty easy and will pay you back ten fold if you haul/tow heavy.

    Anyways, it looks like you've made your decision well before posting this thread and just needed validation. Just do what you want but not many ppl on here will validate the purchase of crap :notsure:


    Edit: Ok, that post came across as supper dickish, sorry. Just trying to help a brother out.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014

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