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New Leafs or Airbags

Discussion in 'Suspension' started by urchim, Sep 5, 2018.

  1. Sep 5, 2018 at 11:31 AM
    #1
    urchim

    urchim [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Have a question to all the guru's here or anyone who ran into this and maybe can chime in, i upgraded my suspension to icon stage 3 with additional leaf to stock leafs and happy with setup initially and been running it for about 2 years now, however with alot of overland or long trips and heavy loads i do notice that even with additional leaf truck sags down not bad as it did with stock. To those wondering what i carry, i roughly calculated with 10 gal of water, RTT, bumpers etc, gear and so on i roughly come load on back to about 550 pounds fully loaded, empty i carry about 220 pounds.

    so i been researching and came cross two options one is airbags, and install seems easy and seems to help with load, can adjust as needed or to update to new leaf spring with heavier capacity. So i seem to be now stuck as i do like option for airbags to adjust if no load so i can maintain soft ride if need to and stiffen if i need to with simply turning switch and pump up bags, however my question boils down to is:

    with airbags installed do you loose ur offroading capability or is there negative impact on articulation and geometry of suspension with them installed? Most of my offroading is not hard core, lots of forest roads, occasional travel on moab trails like Maze/canyonlands trips etc where flexing does come into play usually with full load, is there down side for airbags, or should i go with stiffer leafs and not do airbags?

    would greatly appreciate any feedback on this, also if anyone has experience with airbags, which vendor/setup is better etc.
     
  2. Sep 5, 2018 at 11:41 AM
    #2
    freeriderchad108

    freeriderchad108 Well-Known Member

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    A few minor things...
    So I am in a different situation, but I have some experience with what you're asking. Take my advice for what it's worth... not a whole lot...

    I installed the firestone airbag kit and the airlift 72000 control/compressor to help with rear end sag while towing. Being able to change the height of the rear or add some more spring with airbags is AWESOME while towing. It keeps the back of the truck from dipping too low and having the "trailer bob" feeling.

    With airbags, the actual airbag is bolted between the frame (bracket) and the top of the leafspring. If there is too much travel, you run the risk of tearing a bag. which is no bueno.

    With a stock height truck you don't have this problem until you go off-road. Articulating/flexing can cause a wheel to come off the ground and potentially damaging the airbag by pulling too hard on it. Two simple ways around this. Limiting straps or airbag cradles.

    Limiting straps will limit your travel, so unless you're running super long travel I wouldn't do it.

    Cradles are great because it catches the bottom of the airbag when under load, and releases it when its no longer under load (flexing to the other side).

    I've run the cradles for 6 months now with no problem. I know firestone tells you to not use them because you can damage your bags (which is true but unlikely...), and that they didn't make them so they don't approve of their use. I've had no problems, but I don't offroad.

    The airbag is basically an adjustable add-a-leaf (AAL). If you run them deflated (no lower than 5psi) you barely feel them, and I mean barely. If you air them up all you're doing is putting a little height on your rear end. On a stock height truck this shouldn't be a problem, but if you're already running a lift you might need to extend some wires, cables, and maybe even do a transmission drop if you haven't done one already.

    I know there are some people on here that run airbags and go off-roading, and they can probably chime in with more specific details but the principles behind an airbag are pretty simple.

    I run mine independently, meaning no hose between them. this acts more like an anti-roll bar. If you're offroading you'll want them hooked in parallel so they can let you articulate more.

    Sorry for the wall of text...

    TL;DR: They're great for my needs (towing a boat). Do an Add-a-leaf or a new set of leafs if you're going to be offroading. Springs rarely snap or take damage, airbags are not invincible.
     
  3. Sep 5, 2018 at 1:14 PM
    #3
    urchim

    urchim [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, this is awesome info, that one thing i didn't consider is the flexing and connecting them via link didn't even know you could do something like that though they are supposed to be independent. I dont think have any long travel on back its pretty much stock leafs with AAL from ICON and thats about it, did max out flex on those few times in Maze but not generally let that happen to often.

    sorry for ignorant question but what are cradles?
     
  4. Sep 5, 2018 at 5:40 PM
    #4
    freeriderchad108

    freeriderchad108 Well-Known Member

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    A few minor things...
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MH4rE7GB_Q

    That's a good video of the cradles in action. The normal mounting is bolting the bag on both ends, but that can lead to stretching. The cradle replaces the bottom bolt.
     
  5. Sep 6, 2018 at 10:26 AM
    #5
    urchim

    urchim [OP] Well-Known Member

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    awesome, that helps alot, one more question if you have it installed do you have a picture of it specifically above wheel the mounting part that i am curiuos, i have my icons setup and they cross over the part that looks like this attaches to.
     
  6. Sep 6, 2018 at 10:44 AM
    #6
    freeriderchad108

    freeriderchad108 Well-Known Member

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    A few minor things...
    I don't have an pictures of my setup but there are plenty online. Just look for something like 2016 tacoma firestone airbags with cradles on google and you should find some. The cradle shouldn't interfere with your shocks unless you're running a front (shouldn't do that...) mounted reservoir.
     
  7. Sep 9, 2018 at 2:07 AM
    #7
    buckhuntin-tacoma

    buckhuntin-tacoma Shed hunter

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    4 inch lift - complete blackout, n-fab step bars, Black Horse bull bar, 20 inch light bar, anytime fog lights, added led day running lights, Fuel wheels and Falken Wildpeak tires ,custom fit seat covers, Gatorback mud gaurds
    Here’s a picture of mine! No cradle’s on mine.6151203F-4E14-40E1-821D-FE3B764DB2A3.jpg5E0E76C7-B7C8-43F8-B5FD-1EAFC190EA3F.jpg
     
  8. Sep 11, 2018 at 10:04 AM
    #8
    urchim

    urchim [OP] Well-Known Member

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    thanks looks awesome. who did you buy this from? i am definitely going to go router for cradles though i think :)
     
  9. Sep 11, 2018 at 12:33 PM
    #9
    freeriderchad108

    freeriderchad108 Well-Known Member

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    A few minor things...
  10. Sep 11, 2018 at 1:10 PM
    #10
    buckhuntin-tacoma

    buckhuntin-tacoma Shed hunter

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    4 inch lift - complete blackout, n-fab step bars, Black Horse bull bar, 20 inch light bar, anytime fog lights, added led day running lights, Fuel wheels and Falken Wildpeak tires ,custom fit seat covers, Gatorback mud gaurds
    Bought mine from SDTRUCK Springs $560 out the door. Bag kit 2407 and compressor kit 2156 I think. I’m very pleased with the setup!
     
  11. Sep 13, 2018 at 7:29 AM
    #11
    urchim

    urchim [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Awesome, thanks Guys for info.
     
  12. Sep 13, 2018 at 7:47 AM
    #12
    YF_Ryan

    YF_Ryan Well-Known Member

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    AT Habitat. Icon Coil Overs. Deaver U402 Stage 3 Leafs w/ Bilstein 5160s. Wet Okole seat covers. ARB Deluxe Bull Bar. Fuel Boost wheels with Wrangler Duratracs.
    I decided to go with an entire new leaf pack, rather than bags. Deaver U402 Stage 3, for 2.5-3 inch lift at 700lbs load. I consistently have close to that in the bed (without my camping gear), and I tow quite a bit. I didn't want to worry about an airbag failure (even if extremely unlikely) when I was loaded down.

    I believe the pack I received was 11 leaves in total. The extra/thinner leaves seem to give it a much less stiff ride when running with less weight. Before I installed my fridge and extra batteries, I only had the 350lb Habitat on my truck and it didn't feel stiff at all.

    The Stage 1 or Stage 2 would probably fit the bill for you, if you decided to go that route instead of bags. And there are other brands than Deaver that would give you something similar I'm betting. I'm very glad my friend talked me into these, though. I don't see how I could be happier.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Sep 13, 2018 at 8:30 AM
    #13
    urchim

    urchim [OP] Well-Known Member

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    my concern is that if i am empty the bed would be to stiff.
     
  14. Sep 13, 2018 at 9:10 AM
    #14
    YF_Ryan

    YF_Ryan Well-Known Member

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    AT Habitat. Icon Coil Overs. Deaver U402 Stage 3 Leafs w/ Bilstein 5160s. Wet Okole seat covers. ARB Deluxe Bull Bar. Fuel Boost wheels with Wrangler Duratracs.
    That's where my wife and I were surprised though, running 300lbs less than the suggested load and it road better than the stock/TSB leaf springs empty. I will say the Bilstein shocks I installed at the same time helped too, but you have Icons which are prolly even better.

    The Standard Expedition Deavers are for 3-400lbs constant load, which would prolly be just right for you. You'd be running a lil light with your constant 220, and with full ride height after you load up your 550.

    Both options are good ones, just my 2 cents!!
     
  15. Sep 13, 2018 at 9:31 AM
    #15
    urchim

    urchim [OP] Well-Known Member

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    what was rough cost of these, i see them online for about 800 that bit pricey, i have icon 2.0 on my rear.
     
  16. Sep 13, 2018 at 9:39 AM
    #16
    YF_Ryan

    YF_Ryan Well-Known Member

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    That's about right. Mine were right around 1000 shipped I think.

    They are pricey, but airbags can be too. Just buying the airbags and using a bicycle pump or already installed on board air will probably be 500 or less, for sure. But if you add in those cradles, a new onboard system with cab mounted controls for the bags and the price climbs fast. One of the posts above mentions hooking both bags together for better articulation, and I know a lot of people who have hooked them up this way, but I would much prefer to run them individually (again, more expensive). Really helps with a load that is heavier on one side, or if you have a RTT or something and want to level the truck at a campsite.
     
  17. Sep 13, 2018 at 12:11 PM
    #17
    freeriderchad108

    freeriderchad108 Well-Known Member

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    A few minor things...
    Just for reference I'll list the cost of what I did to the best of my ability!

    Airbags: 2407 kit $280 on ebay through 4wheelparts or partsgeek

    Airlift 72000 controller: $325 (coupon on ebay). Independent control. Run the bags individually which acts like a swaybar during everyday use.

    Cradles: $55 on Amazon

    DIY install: a small steak bomb sub, 16 oz coke, about half a gallon of tap water, 3 bloody knuckles, and a new stain on my work pants.

    So all in all I spent around $650. For my use I love them. I'll be upgrading my rear leafs soon due to my shocks leaking. I'll start from scratch and get new leafs, rear shocks, front coilovers, and all new hardware/bushings.
     
    YF_Ryan likes this.
  18. Sep 13, 2018 at 12:13 PM
    #18
    YF_Ryan

    YF_Ryan Well-Known Member

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    AT Habitat. Icon Coil Overs. Deaver U402 Stage 3 Leafs w/ Bilstein 5160s. Wet Okole seat covers. ARB Deluxe Bull Bar. Fuel Boost wheels with Wrangler Duratracs.
    Will you be keeping your bags with your new leafs?
     
  19. Sep 13, 2018 at 12:14 PM
    #19
    freeriderchad108

    freeriderchad108 Well-Known Member

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    A few minor things...
    Yeah I think so. I tow my 24' pontoon boat a lot and it has about 350 lbs tongue weight when it's all loaded up. When I go out I usually bring people with me so being able to stiffen up the rear end a bit helps a lot in driveability. It's better with the bags even with all stock suspension. If you do the servicing on your truck I'd advise against the cradles. if you bring your truck to a dealership or have long(er) travel than they are a must have. Cradles kill about 1/2"-3/4" of travel due to their thickness.
     
  20. Sep 17, 2018 at 9:12 PM
    #20
    urchim

    urchim [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I havent been able to find extended version of the bags, and what i saw on video cradle seems to work well. not sure what u mean it kills 3/4 of travel i assume u mean during compression stage?
     

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