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Leaf springs.

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by Mytacoma01, Apr 30, 2017.

  1. Apr 30, 2017 at 1:21 PM
    #1
    Mytacoma01

    Mytacoma01 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I just purchased a new camper with a hitch weight of about 430lbs Loaded and am interested in adding a leaf to reduce the sag when the camper is hooked up. In looking at my leaf springs, I can't for the life of me figure out the purpose of the leaf on the bottom of the leaf spring assembly that points in the opposite direction of the two springs that attach to the frame. Can that bottom leaf be flipped over to add more support to the suspension?
     
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  2. Apr 30, 2017 at 1:27 PM
    #2
    Penten

    Penten Well-Known Member

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    Your overload leaf on the bottom will bend the other way as weight is added I believe
     
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  3. Apr 30, 2017 at 1:31 PM
    #3
    Bishop84

    Bishop84 Well-Known Member

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    Progressive OEM springs like our tacomas have an overload spring on the bottom that when the spring is flat helps support extra weight.

    Add a leaf is a great idea, just make sure the rest of the spring pack is in overall good condition before modifying it.
     
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  4. Apr 30, 2017 at 1:40 PM
    #4
    3rYODA

    3rYODA Don’t sell to me, I don’t pay.

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    Santa Clarita, CA
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    Fox 2.5’s up front, icon 2.0 rear shocks, stock leafs, !Meso map and dome lights make all the difference in the world!
    the answer to your question is NO that's the way it's made you can't flip it for more weight or everyone would do it,

    Buy a AAL it will be a rough ride after you add a leaf though
     
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  5. Apr 30, 2017 at 2:04 PM
    #5
    Mytacoma01

    Mytacoma01 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    You're responses answer my questions perfectly. So is there a way to reduce the sag without making the ride so rough?
     
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  6. Apr 30, 2017 at 2:35 PM
    #6
    3rYODA

    3rYODA Don’t sell to me, I don’t pay.

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    Fox 2.5’s up front, icon 2.0 rear shocks, stock leafs, !Meso map and dome lights make all the difference in the world!
    No not really,maybe just get a 1inch leaf it wouldent be so rough but I think it'll still be a bit bumpy
     
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  7. Apr 30, 2017 at 2:40 PM
    #7
    Bishop84

    Bishop84 Well-Known Member

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    The other solution is an air ride system that you adjust pressure based on load.

    They do require a minimum pressure and if flat will not reinflate when its time to hook up the trailer.

    Some guys run automatic pressure sensing compressors, others mount a gauge in the cab, most simply check the pressures manually from time to time.

    http://www.truckspring.com/products...-Spring-Kit-Toyota-Tacoma-Rear-4WD__2304.aspx
     
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  8. Apr 30, 2017 at 2:40 PM
    #8
    Mytacoma01

    Mytacoma01 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like my best option is since I'm still under the max hitch weight rating I should just put up with the sag and not stiffen the ride.
     
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  9. Apr 30, 2017 at 3:03 PM
    #9
    Mytacoma01

    Mytacoma01 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Well I guess I should ask if the add a leaf reduces enough of the sag to make the stiffness of the ride even worth it.
     
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  10. Apr 30, 2017 at 3:46 PM
    #10
    arifleman

    arifleman Well-Known Member

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    MyTacoma1: I had the same issues when I stuff my canopy with camp gear - rear end drooping, and I ended up going with an Add-A-Leaf kit (Hellwig 1515 LP-15 was the unit I went with). It reduced my sag, stiffened the rear ever so slightly. You do have an adjustment on the add-a-leaf, depending on how far down you torque the nut. I left mine so the leafs are just slightly under pressure so not much stiffer of a ride. Works for me.

    That kit had two leafs - one forward and one behind the axle. If you do add a leaf I recommend using both forward and rear leafs. Rear end suspensions are a funny thing when you start messing with them and you can screw up traction and stability in a hurry.

    I did look at two other suspension options (can't remember the names); one was an airbag on top of the rear axle, the other was essentially a coil spring on top of axle. They engaged when the suspension sagged at all. Those seemed to me like they would be harsh on road dips and bumps when truck was not loaded. I thought the add-leaf offered a little more progressive engagement. That's my opinion though and you know what they say about those!
    Luck on whatever you choose. Let us know what you end up going with and how you like it.
     
  11. May 1, 2017 at 6:32 AM
    #11
    Mytacoma01

    Mytacoma01 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks arifleman even though we do view opinions as something that everyone has one of, and other things as well, the opinions of those who have been there are precisely the ones I'm after. Again as I approach the max safe hitch weight on the truck that I dearly love, I'm looking to do the best by it I can by it. I viewed the other options that you mentioned and I'm gonna stick with the leaf option from a price standpoint as well as I'm going to do the install myself. Your opinions help me quite a bit. Thank you.
     
  12. May 1, 2017 at 6:34 AM
    #12
    ChadsPride

    ChadsPride Tacoma Owner & Enthusiast

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    Air Bags or Sumo Springs​
     
  13. May 1, 2017 at 1:37 PM
    #13
    arifleman

    arifleman Well-Known Member

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    P1030074.jpg P1030081.jpg Here's a couple pictures of my Hellwig add-a-leafs. I would add one caveat: the springs install easily, but I found the front leaf pack u-clamp had a bit too much forward lean to my liking because of the shackle position on the factory leafs. I didn't want to take any chances with losing that clamp under load bounce, especially with the gasoline tank in proximity on the driver's side, so I took a hack saw to the axle end end of the leaf. I attached two pictures. One is the forward clamp on the driver's side as it appears now (almost vertical = good); the other photo is at the passenger side axle and you can see where I cut maybe a half inch or so off the lower add-a-leaf spring and that allows the spring pack to slide just a bit closer to the rear axle allowing for a near vertical clamp position on the forward leaf.

    Also, in the picture notice there are dual nuts on the clamps with lots of threads so you can engage those add-a-leafs a lot or a little as you need. I only wantP1030074.jpg P1030081.jpg ed a little extra oomph so I am at minimal engagement and used some loctite on the nuts so they don't back out under vibration.
     
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  14. May 1, 2017 at 2:46 PM
    #14
    mountainman38

    mountainman38 Member

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    Bridgestone airbags, and a lot of miles.
    Years ago, I put an add-a-leaf on my '99 Tacoma. The rear end stuck up like a stink bug unless loaded heavily, and one of the leaves ended up breaking within a year or so.

    I was tired of the sagging rear end, so installed Bridgestone airbags in the rear, with manual valves through the license plate holder. Love it! I've carried massive loads of green firewood in the truck, with even more in a trailer, and the ride is great.
     
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  15. May 1, 2017 at 2:51 PM
    #15
    ChadsPride

    ChadsPride Tacoma Owner & Enthusiast

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    Thats really interesting. I havnt seen that style yet.
     
  16. May 1, 2017 at 9:55 PM
    #16
    frizzman

    frizzman Well-Known Member

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    this is not an "add a leaf (AAL)" but they are "Helper springs"

    an AAL fits into the leaf pack itself to help strengthen or stiffen the pack. These helper springs leave the original pack alone and only assist when the weight goes above what the original can handle. helper springs are way easier to install and will suffice for occasional heavier duties but if you will continuously carry more weight, the AAL is a more viable option :)
     
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  17. Jun 13, 2017 at 10:04 AM
    #17
    Arctic Taco

    Arctic Taco Serenity-the Arctic Taco, another slow build

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    I'm thinking airbags or new springs, maybe OME, they give a decent ride although they do go negative with alot of weight in the back. I have the exp AAL as well, last town trip was the first time since I bought the truck that it hasn't had >500# in the back. I went that way after going low budget (lack of funds) with a Daystar AAL and exist hill country shackle. Like previously mentioned, the AAL only lasted 2 yrs before each one broke in 2 places.
    Maybe Timbrens might help, haven't tried them.... yet.
     
  18. Jun 13, 2017 at 10:08 AM
    #18
    jbrandt

    jbrandt ......LOADING

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  19. Jun 13, 2017 at 10:41 AM
    #19
    OneWheelPeel

    OneWheelPeel Well-Known Member

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