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Fixing sagging leaf springs....?

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by wee, Oct 22, 2018.

  1. Oct 22, 2018 at 6:54 PM
    #1
    wee

    wee [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Stock height - 99 single cab 4x4 - 2.7 - 272,000 miles with original springs and they sag. I have a camper top but only haul maybe an additional 50 lbs or so. If I put any more weight in it and go over a speed bump it bottoms out on the bump stops. I'm not sure if add-a-leafs would fix my problem or I just need new ones.

    I'm located about 50 miles north of Atlanta Ga if anyone has a good stock set they have pulled off or know of a place in the area to pick them up to avoid shipping charges.

    Is there a good youtube How-To on this project....?

    Brian
     
  2. Oct 22, 2018 at 8:05 PM
    #2
    jbrandt

    jbrandt Well-Known Member

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    You can get them re-arched, but with that many miles, I think you just need to go ahead and replace them. Fronts too, really...

    Unfortunately there aren't a lot of good quality options for non-OEM stock height leaf springs for our trucks. If you're considering a mild lift, the OME kit is a great choice. $1200 for ALL new springs and shocks. General Spring makes some OEM replacement springs, as do a few others, however from what I've heard they tend to sag relatively quickly, but for the price, they're really not that bad. I honestly wouldn't bother with used ones off another Tacoma. Mine were (are) worn out at ~100k miles. You'd be hard pressed to find a compatible Tacoma with springs that aren't worn out...

    An add-a-leaf *can* help, however, in your case it would be more of a bandaid fix, as your springs would still be worn out. I would suggest, given the added weight of your camper shell, considering an add-a-leaf with your new springs. Maybe a new set of stock height Generals and an add-a-leaf might work well for you.

    This thread might help you as well:
    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/wheelers-vs-general-spring-hd-upgrade.246196/
     
    TRVLR500 likes this.
  3. Oct 23, 2018 at 5:03 AM
    #3
    Blue92

    Blue92 Well-Known Member

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    Dont buy cheap leaf springs. I did, and I regret it. I shouldve bought a wheelers 5 pack which wouldve given me 1.5" of lift. Instead, I cheaped out and bought stock replacements from SD springs. They took 3 times of removing them to fix their squeaking issue.

    Once you decide on a pack to buy, invest in some good tools. A sawzall and around 4 carbide blades is an absolute must if you have any rust within 10 feet of the leaf bolts. An impact gun "may" help, but dont waste your time. Cut the u-bolts, and front main eye bolt for each. The shackle should unbolt, if you have to cut that, you have to replace it. Regrease all the bolts/bushings for shackles with a synthetic grease such as SuperLube with PTFE to reduce squeaking.

    An extended rear brake line makes this job a lot easier as you can drop the axle more without stretching anything.

    Check with your dealer for new hardware. You can get Ubolts from an online vendor such as ToyTec, Low Range, Wheelers etc. Also, may as well replace the shocks too. I ended up destroying mine trying to get them off in the process of getting to my leafs. Rust sucks, plain and simple.
     
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  4. Oct 23, 2018 at 12:09 PM
    #4
    Glamisman

    Glamisman Well-Known Member

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    the AAL's I got at 4 wheel parts cost me $35 and took maybe an hour to install. Inexpensive enough in both $ and time to try to see if you like it.
     
  5. Oct 23, 2018 at 1:22 PM
    #5
    Russianman92

    Russianman92 Well-Known Member

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    1995 White Tacoma 3RZ 4x4 5 speed
    bilstein shocks/struts Add-a-leaf Mostly stock. Running 31x10.5 r15

    What sucks is I need leaf springs. The ones i got are 5 leaf 1.5" lift. So I would need to buy stock and add a leaf.

    OR Buy the ones below....BUT these are not available anymore......whyy???? These guys suck.

    https://wheelersoffroad.com/i-25490...nd-prerunner-595l-r.html?ref=category:1387343
     
  6. Oct 23, 2018 at 1:31 PM
    #6
    eon_blue

    eon_blue Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't put AALs (add a leafs) on old, tired and sagging stock leafs...that's just a temporary band aid and likely won't help much.

    General makes stock size spring options for our trucks, or if you want a lifted spring pack there are tons of options. Could always buy something for lift like Dakars or All Pro standards and remove a leaf or two if you don't want the height, and then have the option of putting them in later if you decide that you do.

    Leaf springs are pretty easy to do yourself, just basic tools needed and some strength. It's all just nuts and bolts. I'd be sure to replace the u-bolts when you do since your stock ones are probably not going to be in good condition to re-use once you take them off. Or call someplace like Alcan or Deaver and have them make you a custom leaf pack for your truck.

    When I did mine, I used a few different youtube videos on how to replace the leafs...if you just search 'Tacoma leaf spring replacement' or something similar there are a lot of videos on it.
     
  7. Oct 23, 2018 at 6:37 PM
    #7
    Danno1985

    Danno1985 Well-Known Member

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    Usually I'm all about OEM whenever possible, but this is one place where it's just not worth it. The OEM springs are notorious for flattening out pretty quickly, and good luck finding ones in a junkyard that aren't frowning at this point, given that the newest 1st gen is almost 15 years old.

    I put the General HDs on mine earlier this spring. I was a little apprehensive about going with those over the "stock height" ones, because I'd seen mixed reviews on how much lift I'd be dealing with, but in retrospect I'm glad I went with the HDs, and feel like going with the standard ones would've been a waste of time. Yeah, the back of the truck sits higher, but it doesn't really look obviously "lifted". I recently put some Rancho Quicklift struts up front, and it's nice and level now - probably sits about 2" higher than stock but isn't really obvious unless I park next to another Taco.

    F58FBB12-DD7F-46D6-9779-9364F12B9B0B.jpg

    Because I run a fiberglass cap and haul stuff frequently, I put some of these Hellwig Helpers on as well. With healthy springs, they're supposed to only kick in when the leaves start to flatten from heavy loads. With worn-out springs, they'd probably give you a bit of a boost when torqued all the way down, but again, it's a band-aid fix and if you're down there anyways, might as well replace the leafs.

    https://www.amazon.com/Hellwig-1515...sr=8-5&keywords=hellwig+helper+springs+tacoma
     
    Bangini likes this.
  8. Oct 24, 2018 at 3:07 AM
    #8
    wee

    wee [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thank Ya'll for the advice....I'm not looking to lift the truck at all other than the amount it is already sagging. I may try the add-a-leaf and see if that helps if not it looks like I'm in for a new set of springs.

    Brian
     
  9. Oct 25, 2018 at 10:33 AM
    #9
    Bangini

    Bangini Well-Known Member

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    Bilstein 5100s General HD springs 215/85r16 AT3
    +1 on this. I installed the HD General leaf springs last March and love them. it added a 1.5 inch lift, but I installed Bilstein 5100s all around and raised the front 1.25 inches (i like having a little rake). Better ride. When loaded with all my camping gear its great. I didn't have to get anything else aftermarket. If you plan on hauling ANY weight, get these. I'm all about Stock OEM too, and this was the best option IMHO.

    Dont add a leaf, you'll waste time and money. It won't fix the problem.

    https://www.generalspringkc.com/product_p/90-203hd.htm

    truck.jpg
     
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  10. Oct 25, 2018 at 11:25 AM
    #10
    Danno1985

    Danno1985 Well-Known Member

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    Yup, gotta pull the leafs out to add a leaf anyways, might as well do it right the first time since you’re either paying for the labor or putting in the time anyways.
     
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  11. Oct 26, 2018 at 12:12 PM
    #11
    2002Tacoma4x4

    2002Tacoma4x4 Limited edition TRD 4x4 double cab TX truck

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    Did you also got to purchase these ?
    upload_2018-10-26_14-11-59.jpg
     
  12. Oct 26, 2018 at 7:25 PM
    #12
    Bangini

    Bangini Well-Known Member

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    Yes I got all new hardware for the leafs but not from general. I picked up the parts from a local shop.

    Anytime you replace the leafs you should always replace the shackles, bolts, and u bolts.
     
    2002Tacoma4x4 likes this.
  13. Oct 27, 2018 at 6:35 AM
    #13
    RysiuM

    RysiuM Well-Known Member

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    It looks like at some point I will have to do the same and General Spring looks promising. I have 1995 4x4 and I see three different springs for my truck:

    "Rear Leaf Spring, 4(3/1) Leaves",
    "Rear Leaf Spring, 3(2/1) Leaves",
    "Heavy Duty Rear Leaf Spring, 4(3/1) Leaves"

    What is the difference? I have camper shell all the time and don want any lift (I mean keep is zero lift - you guys write that HD will give 1.5" lift), but I's like to be able to put few hundred pounds on the back without dragging its ass. I have my original springs made by Toyota in 1995 and they already look flat (with just camper shell on).

    And the quite important question, how much do they weight (shipping to Poland sucks)?
     
  14. Oct 30, 2018 at 7:35 PM
    #14
    CSC

    CSC Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone changed the bushing in the frame for the upper shackle bolt? Looking for advice in removing the original bushing and also wondering if there is a steel sleeve in the original bushing? Have a set of Wheelers poly bushings ready to go with my 5100’s and General HD leaf packs. The wheeler bushings don’t have a steel sleeve so assuming I’ll need to reuse the existing.
     
  15. Oct 31, 2018 at 9:00 AM
    #15
    Danno1985

    Danno1985 Well-Known Member

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    Not sure why there are 3 and 4 leaf springs listed for the 95-97 4x4, maybe the 3 leaf is meant for the regular cab? Someone with an older truck can probably chime in here. As I alluded to earlier, though, if you put anything other than the HD springs in, and add a camper and several hundred pounds of weight, it will probably be sagging before long, and you'll regret it. If you're hauling weight around, you want the truck to have some rake when unloaded so that it sits level when loaded, otherwise you'll get the dreaded butt-dragging look that not only looks goofy, but causes adverse handling issues as well. Just my $.02, obviously, but go with the HDs, man.
     
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  16. Oct 31, 2018 at 9:24 AM
    #16
    RysiuM

    RysiuM Well-Known Member

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    I don't know what is the difference - all three are for 4x4 by the website info.

    upload_2018-10-31_9-8-20.jpg

    The main issue with HD would be if it requires different shocks from what I have which are the stock size. I do not haul stuff all the time, only camper shell. With that this is how the leaf spring looks like - practically flat.

    upload_2018-10-31_9-18-4.jpg

    So the goal is to be able to load 500-600lb ocassionally on the back inside that camper and bot bottom up. Majority of driving is still empty or neglected weight inside the camper.

    The other question is how much these springs weight? More than 25lb each? General Springs does not list Poland as a destination country, but shipping to neighbor Germany still more than doubles the price. Need to figure out how to get Tacoma springs to Poland without breaking the bank.
     
  17. Oct 31, 2018 at 10:06 AM
    #17
    Holy schmidt

    Holy schmidt Well-Known Member

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    Are your shocks original? If so they will likely need replacing and are probably doing nothing now.
     
  18. Oct 31, 2018 at 10:31 AM
    #18
    Danno1985

    Danno1985 Well-Known Member

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    X2. Don't be basing your decisions around a pair of worn out shocks. And yeah, those leaves are beyond flat. Any replacement spring is going to appear to give you a "lift", because you're probably used to how low the truck sits now. These trucks sat pretty high from the factory originally, and if you can get the money together to do the shocks and the springs at the same time, I know you'll be way happier in the long run.

    A pair of those leaves should weigh about 60-70lbs. In that ballpark.
     
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  19. Oct 31, 2018 at 10:55 AM
    #19
    Russianman92

    Russianman92 Well-Known Member

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    My 1995 Tacoma Regular Cab 4x4 had 3+1 leaf springs factory. (total of 4 leafs)

    So, what you want is the 3/1 HD springs.
     
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  20. Oct 31, 2018 at 2:47 PM
    #20
    RysiuM

    RysiuM Well-Known Member

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    Thank you guys for the info - good stuff. No, shock are not original. I replaced all shocks (all four of them) few years ago (front was completely gone - bouncing like a basket ball, the rear I replaced just because I wanted to have all new) so they are good for many years to come. There is a very tight annual inspection in Poland that includes checking shocks - this is no "visual inspection", but fully automated test like you can see on this video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gz2srLzLFMQ

    From my count looks like my truck came from the factory with 2+1. Few times I drove with full bed of oak firewood (all the way up to the top of camper) and driving 35-40 mph I did not bottom up but it was close. I would like a little more margin than I have now.

    I don't judge the leaf spring selection just to keep my old shocks. I do not mind getting a bit stronger (stiffer) rear suspension but I just want to keep the rear on the same height as it came from the factory and not to introduce any modifications. If I have to replace shocks, it will be the same size anyway. I would buy OEM leafs but the price is insane - two springs would cost more than the whole engine.

    60-70 lb you say, that's tight but still probably doable to take them as check in bag - I mean additional check in bag and put one spring in a bag each. That 100 dollars for the additional bag beats the cost and speed of any shipping companies. Unless General Springs have some better option for shipping to Poland. When I know what I need I can always ask :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018

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