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Suspension Upgrade Necessary?

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by dgshelto, Sep 1, 2017.

  1. Sep 1, 2017 at 8:22 AM
    #1
    dgshelto

    dgshelto [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Howdy doodie :turtleride:

    I'm throwing a topper on my beloved truck and filling her up with a sleeping platform + 2 bodies + a handful of gear. Will my stock suspension handle the rear loads without too much sag or is it time for an upgrade?
     
  2. Sep 1, 2017 at 8:24 AM
    #2
    eccracer104

    eccracer104 O.G. Member

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    It would make the ride better with an upgrade. You can do it on stock leafs but you'll be sagging pretty bad and on the bump stops frequently.

    Either a new set of leafs springs, or some of those air bag helper springs would do the trick.
     
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  3. Sep 1, 2017 at 8:41 AM
    #3
    03 NIGHT TACO

    03 NIGHT TACO Well-Known Member

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    I'll second what's been said above. You could either make do with what you have, buy new leaf springs ($$), or get either airbags or something like sumo springs. I'd avoid an add a leaf since your old leafs will only wear it out faster.
     
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  4. Sep 1, 2017 at 9:01 AM
    #4
    jbrandt

    jbrandt ......LOADING

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    If you are going to *always* have your heavier load in the back, then a new set of springs or an add-a-leaf is a great idea (if your stock springs are still okay). Lot of companies out there make heavy duty springs. Seeing as how your truck is almost 20 years old, I would bet they're due for replacement. I have a 2004, and I know mine are worn out...

    But if you intend to have the heavy stuff in there only when you're camping in it, and take the load out when driving around the streets, by far your best option is airbags. They can be a little more difficult to install (unless you have a shop do it, lol) if only because you need an air compressor and to plum the lines, etc... There are airbag and/or compressor kits where you can get all fancy with switches and pressure gauges installed on the dash, or you could probably just use a portable compressor and manually inflate the bags as needed - though IMO it's a good idea to at least have a pressure gauge inside to keep an eye on the bag pressures.

    With airbags, you can adjust the ride height to the *exact* amount of weight you're carrying, so it's perfectly level. With springs or helper/add-a-leafs, you get what you get...
     
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  5. Sep 1, 2017 at 9:09 AM
    #5
    dgshelto

    dgshelto [OP] Well-Known Member

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    What does a mid-tier airbag setup go for? Recommended vendor?
     
  6. Sep 1, 2017 at 9:13 AM
    #6
    ElBlancoTaco

    ElBlancoTaco Well-Known Member

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  7. Sep 1, 2017 at 9:15 AM
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    eccracer104

    eccracer104 O.G. Member

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  8. Sep 1, 2017 at 9:21 AM
    #8
    jbrandt

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    Having never done airbags myself, I can't speak from personal experience, but I've seen the Firestone ones get tossed around here. Try searching this site a bit.

    Found this, it's for the 3rd gens, but might give you some good info.
    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads...e-ride-rite-air-bag-kit.504340/#post-15915210

    You're probably looking at $300 for the airbags. The sky is the limit depending on what compressor setup you go with... Anything from a $25 Harbor freight portable compressor to a $1000 ARB system. I was looking at a Viair kit (~$300) that is a pump, 5 gallon tank and "all" (more like most...) the plumbing/electrical parts to install it. The tank is totally not necessary for just airbags, but I was looking an an on-board air system for inflating tires, running air tools, etc...
     
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  9. Sep 1, 2017 at 9:29 AM
    #9
    jbrandt

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    One *potential* problem that you should think about with airbags is that they could potentially limit suspension travel/articulation. If the airbags are bolted to the top and bottom (frame and spring) which is pretty typical I think, if you are constantly maxing out the articulation/susp travel, that could wear them out and eventually tear them.

    Just something to keep in mind...
     
  10. Sep 1, 2017 at 9:51 AM
    #10
    eccracer104

    eccracer104 O.G. Member

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    Simple solution to that one fortunately :) - http://www.autoanything.com/suspension-systems/69A6611A0A0.aspx
     
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  11. Sep 1, 2017 at 9:56 AM
    #11
    dgshelto

    dgshelto [OP] Well-Known Member

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  12. Sep 1, 2017 at 9:57 AM
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    jbrandt

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    I read somewhere that voids the warranty of the Firestone kits, and maybe others(?). That those (2) reviews aren't encouraging...

    That's certainly the way to go to get full articulation, though.
     
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  13. Sep 1, 2017 at 10:12 AM
    #13
    eccracer104

    eccracer104 O.G. Member

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    :thumbsup:
    It would be a solid pair and support the added weight without needing new leaf springs. You can adjust the air pressure to make the ride firmer or softer. The cradles will allow the bag to lift off the axle when you're articulating the rear suspension.

    Hmmm... possibly. I haven't looked into the warranty with the addition of those cradles.

    There's one 5 star review and one 1 star. Neither on a Tacoma and the 1 star is because they didn't work with the larger 5,000 bags.

    IMG_3746.jpg

    Lot's of threads on the topic as well for some extra reading and research - https://www.google.com/search?q=day...WAhVC62MKHdThBG8QrQIIMygEMAA&biw=1351&bih=687
     
  14. Sep 1, 2017 at 10:28 AM
    #14
    dgshelto

    dgshelto [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Out of curiosity, and a little off topic, I'm considering Billy's 5100s all around since my shocks could use some TLC and I'd like the extra 1-2" ride clearance. Would this affect the implementation of the airbags?
     
  15. Sep 1, 2017 at 10:34 AM
    #15
    eccracer104

    eccracer104 O.G. Member

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    The Bilstein 5100s will lift the front, but to lift the rear you'd need either an add a leaf or a new leaf pack. They're great shocks and a nice improvement in ride over stock.
    You could still use the air bags and the cradles, however you may also need a spacer for the cradle.
     
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  16. Sep 1, 2017 at 10:54 AM
    #16
    dgshelto

    dgshelto [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Recommended vendor(s)?
     
  17. Sep 1, 2017 at 11:08 AM
    #17
    eccracer104

    eccracer104 O.G. Member

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    @HeadStrong Off-Road call and talk to Marie, she can go over all the available options :thumbsup:
     
  18. Sep 12, 2017 at 4:49 PM
    #18
    HeadStrong Off-Road

    HeadStrong Off-Road Well-Known Member Vendor

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    Thank you so much for the recommendation sorry it took me awhile to get around to thanking you. We were closed last week :D
     
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  19. Sep 12, 2017 at 4:55 PM
    #19
    eccracer104

    eccracer104 O.G. Member

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    No worries Marie, you all are busy! :thumbsup:

    Will we see you at San G this year? @YotaGurlIAm still has a gift for you :cheers:
     
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  20. Sep 12, 2017 at 6:01 PM
    #20
    HeadStrong Off-Road

    HeadStrong Off-Road Well-Known Member Vendor

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    I am hoping so. I might not be able to bring the Tacoma though :(
     
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