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Are my leaf springs shot?

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by 99tacosupreme, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. Jul 23, 2010 at 12:00 AM
    #1
    99tacosupreme

    99tacosupreme [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I bought my truck about a year ago with 79k miles, I never noticed anything until a couple months ago when I hit bump stops over a bump in the freeway with a dirtbike in the back. Later i jumped in the bed and it seemed quite soft and my leaf springs almost look like they are put on upside down they are frowning so much. Can they be fixed with an AAL or do I need new leaf packs. I am a fulltime college student so money is definatly an issue.

    [​IMG]
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  2. Jul 23, 2010 at 1:07 AM
    #2
    PRBulldog36

    PRBulldog36 Well-Known Member

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    If money is an issue find a shop that will re-heat and arch them to factory specs. An AAL alone will not do the trick.
     
  3. Jul 23, 2010 at 1:11 AM
    #3
    99tacosupreme

    99tacosupreme [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Do you think rearching with an AAL will keep it from flattening out quickly? I am looking for a firmer ride and more carrying capacity. at least enough for a bike and a gear bag without hitting bump stops.
     
  4. Jul 23, 2010 at 9:17 AM
    #4
    tacoman101

    tacoman101 Well-Known Member

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    Mine are starting to do that, but Im not to concerned, I'd just go until one breaks
     
  5. Jul 23, 2010 at 9:21 AM
    #5
    scocar

    scocar Scouting the perimeter for weakness

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    Hey, man, seriously, there are about 9 million posts under the suspension forum with this exact same topic. I am not trying to be obnoxious, but there is a wealth of info already on this site.

    Search for leaf springs or leaf replacement, and you should find more than you need quite quickly. :D Use the search, Luke.

    Also check the Group Buy threads for Wheeler's Leaf Replacement that I put together earlier this year (it is long over). Hundreds of great posts from lots of great people trying to figure this out.

    By the way, the answer is yes, they are shot. The OEM spring suck. If you haul bikes, look into Timbrens as an option, per Dan at Wheeler's Offroad.
     
  6. Jul 23, 2010 at 9:29 AM
    #6
    krimson

    krimson Nothin

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    Yes, they are starting to bend. If money wasn't an issue, you should get a new leaf pack.
     
  7. Jul 23, 2010 at 11:28 AM
    #7
    MTgirl

    MTgirl too many frogs, not enough princes... Moderator

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    x2

    Not sure there's any benefit from an AAL once the leaf packs are frowning. replacement is your best option especially if you're hauling anything.
     
  8. Jul 23, 2010 at 1:10 PM
    #8
    chmura

    chmura Well-Known Member

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    The leaks look pretty normal to me.

    I went to the Toyota Dealership a few weeks ago and I was looking at the new 2011 4x4 Tundras with the TRD off Road package. Reading lots of posts on here people telling other members to replace their "bad" flat packs.

    So i was curious and I looked under the brand new 2011 Tundra to look at the leaf packs and they were FLAT!

    So members on here got me all paranoid and said my leaf packs were bad.

    After I left that dealership I felt releaved.

    If they are not frowning they are fine.
     
  9. Jul 23, 2010 at 2:06 PM
    #9
    Manlaan

    Manlaan Well-Known Member

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    I kinda agree with you about the flat springs. Pretty much all the Tacoma factory springs look pretty close to flat.


    But as for the OP, the front half of that spring does look to be drooping pretty bad, so I would consider a replacement set. Personally, I'd also think about some replacement shocks at the same time, specially if everything is really bouncy now and they're original.

    Another cheap option for springs is a junk yard. Gotta be careful with those though, as they may be in the same condition, or worse.

    Re-arching is an ok solution, but from what I've read about our rear springs, they really aren't that fantastic to begin with and you'll have to get it redone every couple years.

    As mentioned above, AAL is a bad solution, as the AAL is meant to strengthen and support your current springs, not take the entire load. They'll be flat sooner than a re-arching, and cost more. Something like http://www.jcwhitney.com/performance-traction-control-springs/p2005971.jcwx?filterid=c11307o20j1 may help a bit, but again, you're just spending money on a partial patch that isn't solving the problem.

    Overall though, if you dont haul anything, are ok with the bouncing, bottoming out, swaying, and poor ride, I really dont think you'll be hurting anything more so than whats already done. People have ridden on a lot worse.
     
  10. Jul 23, 2010 at 2:11 PM
    #10
    scocar

    scocar Scouting the perimeter for weakness

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    1. Is comparing them to a new, totally different truck a valid comparison? (rhetorical question).

    2. Look is not nearly as importantant ride quality, handling, and safety. Yes, even new, they are relatively flat. However, mine were crap at 101k miles. I was puzzled why the truck always needed my full attention to stay in my lane, even after new tires and alignment. The new aftermarket springs (and shocks) are a REMARKABLE improvement. It is a different truck, with greatly reduced body roll and tendency to bounce into adjacent lanes if left unattended. And axle wrap is vastly diminished, greatly improving shifting and braking behavior. Oh, and the front coils and shocks were worse than I imagined, too. But other than that, it wasn't worth it...
     
  11. Jul 24, 2010 at 12:54 AM
    #11
    99tacosupreme

    99tacosupreme [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Hey thanks for answering my question and no I am not lazy and I have researched this problem extensivly. I have read the majority of your posts as well as MTgirls' thread, the wheelers group buy thread and almost every other leaf spring thread I have found on this site including a couple other sites. The main reason I was posting this was to get a separate opinion other than my own about my own leafs and hopefully to seek every solution possibility. I would love to be able to plop down five bills tonight for a wheelers leaf pack but as I said in the original post, I am going to school full time and only working part time. so I was just wondering if anyone else had similar problems and was able to find a cheeper solution that worked for them? Any help is appreciated.

    and who is Luke?
     
  12. Jul 24, 2010 at 9:04 AM
    #12
    scocar

    scocar Scouting the perimeter for weakness

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    Oh, yeah, sorry, I didn't really focus on your going to school full time and only working part time issue. Yes, I know, it's a lot of money. It is hard to correct this stuff on the cheap.

    Did you check out the Timbrens? $195 at Wheeler's

    http://www.wheelersoffroad.com/9504tacotimbren.htm

    Give Dan a call there. Those and new shocks might get you by just fine.

    Oh, and Luke...as in Skywalker...The Force..The search....a joke....:D

    Good luck , man.
     
  13. Jul 24, 2010 at 9:57 AM
    #13
    99tacosupreme

    99tacosupreme [OP] Well-Known Member

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    oh ok, ha i was gunna say, my name is by my info but now i get it. I will look into those timbrens. I think probably my biggest problem right now with my handleing is my shocks, one or two of them seem to be leaking a bit so i am assuming they are blown. I was planning on going with 5100s but will I be ok to put them on with the saggy leaf springs? just until I can adress the leaf springs or will that damage the shock?
     
  14. Jul 24, 2010 at 7:49 PM
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    Digiratus

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    Kyle,
    Unfortunately there is no way to easily answer that question. Whether your setup can damage the new 5100s depends on how much it compresses the shock. If the suspension compresses further that the shock is designed for, the shock will get damaged. This is also true for extension. If the suspension extends further that the shock is designed for, the shock will get damaged.

    The only way to be certain you wont damage new shocks is to measure between the top shock mount and the bottom shock mount. You'll need two measurements for each side (right rear, left rear).

    One measurement will be when the two points are as far apart as possible (full extension). Next measure when they are as close together as they will go (full compression). The only way to get an accurate reading is to do this with no shocks mounted. Also, the results will vary from side to side so you can't assume the lefts side results will be the same as the right side results.

    Once you've made your measurements contact one of the shock resellers (Wheelers, Downsouth, etc.). They will be able to interpret the results you got and find the correct 5100 for your situation.
     
  15. Jul 25, 2010 at 1:46 AM
    #15
    99tacosupreme

    99tacosupreme [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Ok so I have to take my rear shocks off to accurately measurement? and by full compression do you mean when one side is on the bump stops?
     
  16. Jul 25, 2010 at 3:03 AM
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    Manlaan

    Manlaan Well-Known Member

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    Well, its not like you have a 20" lift of anything, so you'll be fine with some standard Billies for your year.

    Personally, I think I'd be more concerned about excessive wear on the new shocks due to the weak springs. Shocks only dampen/slow down the spring compression and recoil, so if the springs are weak, you haul things, or even take speed bumps fast, you're going to be giving your shocks a pretty heavy workout. New shocks wont change how much your spring compresses or even remotely change the drooping, just how much extra bounce it has, so its kinda a package deal. If I had to guess, I would speculate that your springs caused your shocks to fail sooner.

    There's no doubt that if your shocks are gone that new ones will help on the bounciness, but by doing it in this order, I really dont know if you're putting excessive use on your shocks, causing them to fail sooner than they should.

    Its all up to you, as we dont have a clue how bad it really is.

    I believe you're at the point that you cant do any more damage than whats already been done. If the truck drives stable and safely, save up and do both the shocks and springs at the same time.
     
  17. Jul 25, 2010 at 7:50 AM
    #17
    humtaco

    humtaco Well-Known Member

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    With your current setup the 5100s will compress too far and bottom out with the stock bumpstops. A set of Timbrens and 5100s would work good together, the increased height of the Timbrens will prevent the shocks from bottoming out.

    Since your truck is still under 100K miles (?) and you don't haul loads very much Timbrens and 5100s should get you by just fine. But if you do have an axle wrap issue new leaf packs can help with that.

    When I got my 96 the sequence I did was 5100s then leafpacks then Timbrens. If I had it to do over I would do 5100s and Timbrens and then maybe leafpacks later. It took me quite a while to decide on the Timbrens, at $200 they are on the expensive side and I had no idea of how they would effect the truck but I have to say that if someone stole them off my truck tonight I would immediately order a new pair.
     
  18. Jul 25, 2010 at 11:12 AM
    #18
    99tacosupreme

    99tacosupreme [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Yes my truck has under a 100K and yes recently I havent carried really anything in the back of my truck but come winter time I usually carry my dirtbike.

    I was considering some timbrens, but there site suggests that there should be some gap in between the timbrens and the frame, but with my saggy spring i dont know if there would even be a gap? and so could I still use Timbrens?

    Also I do have some axle wrap, its not too bad but its definatley there and so I am convinced that I will be getting new leafs its just a matter of when, but if I spend the $200 on timberens that will set me back further and will the even come into use when I get the wheelers 5 leaf pack since they are stiffer and higher?
    again thanks for the help and suggestions
     
  19. Jul 25, 2010 at 12:24 PM
    #19
    scocar

    scocar Scouting the perimeter for weakness

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    OK, if you want to get into nitty gritty, I suggest first figuring out exactly how much your current ride height differs from stock unloaded. To determine these measurements, refer to FSM page SA-10 (attached) for the measurement locations, then determine your specific truck spec for comparison according to the code on your driver side doorframe sticker, Big-ass number that looks like a VIN, but is shorter:

    VZN170L–CRMDKAB (just an example)

    Find that, then look it up on FSM page SA-63 and following (also attached). This will give you a basline to figure out where you truck really is right now. Really, the 5100s are designed for 0-3 inches lift. I can't imagine that they didn't design them for full compression down to the bump stops, which should stop the actual shocks from bottoming out. Humtaco, maybe I am wrong, but really, the bump stops are there for a reason. Granted, excessive cycling won't be great for them, but in terms of outright mechanical function or breakage, seesm like it would be OK for a while. Has anyone actually had this problem? :notsure:

    Next, weigh your bike or better load the damn thing in there, and retake those measurements. Hell, take pics, too. Take them looking down the length of the leafs so we can see the overall arc. Measure the distance to the frame where the Timbrens would intsall and compare them to the Timbren spec for your truck. Again, I am sure Dan (or anyone) at Wheeler's would be happy to help.

    Regarding your long-term plan for a 5-leaf pack. You do realize this will raise the trucks rear end about 1.5 inches from stock height, right? And you'll likely want to raise the front end accordingly. Maybe you plan to do this with the Billies set to 2.5. Just checking on your plan there. This thread is getting pretty long and has lots of those word thingies in it, and I am getting a little dizzy...:goingcrazy:

    Regarding spending dough on the Timbrens as a short term-solution. I imagine that between this site and craigslist you could resell them when you are ready for the leafs, to recoup some cost. Just a thought if that works for you.

    Also, a lot of people seem to be interested again, so, you could consider (gulp) attempting to lead a group buy for them. Dan offered us 15% off if we got 15 committed people. Not sure if he could still do this, but the savings really helped, especially with shipping and all the other crap we ended up buying...

    I can appreciate that this is driving you bat-shit. It did the same to me...
     

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  20. Jul 25, 2010 at 8:56 PM
    #20
    99tacosupreme

    99tacosupreme [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Your right this is getting pretty long but I really do appreciate the help and suggestions.

    As far as my plan for my truck, I plan to eventually go with 5100s with the wheeler 5 pack and OME 881s in the front when money permits. And hopefully this will be alot sooner because I make my final car payment on the 6th of next month!:D

    So now I guess I am going to take some measurments and then get back to you on what I find. also I like the idea of possibly reselling the timbrens if I need to, idk why I didnt think of that.
     
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