OT: Air bag helper springs for the truck


12 replies to this topic
  • sirthumpalot

Posted December 27, 2004 - 05:07 PM

#1

This is to help carry the bikes so hopefully it's not too off topic. :cry:

I've got a 99' Tacoma 4x4 with the offroad package (read: the rear suspension is SSSOOOFFTTTTT). On my last trip out to the track we had one bike in the back plus one on a hitch-mount bike carrier plus gear, and that left me about 1" of travel in the rear before it bottomed. And bottom we did, many times on the rough roads out to the track. So I'm considering the Firestone air bags. (Ride-Rite air bags installation, pdf document). Has anyone else used these or something similar? What were your results? Did you ever have damage from the suspension topping out while the bags were inflated, such as when driving over a whooped-out road? Any info appreciated!

  • mxmancr250

Posted December 27, 2004 - 05:24 PM

#2

I have a hitch mounted carrier on my pathfinder and with the bike on it the suspension sucked big time. I looked at the air bag thing but it looked kind of spendy and not too reliable, I could be wrong though. What I did do was get a set of air shocks. I can't remember the brand of them but they were 100 bux. The one thing that concerned me on the air shocks was that they use small plastic lines that go into a plastic T fitting that I mounted under my seat. What I did was fitted rubber hose over the exposed plastic lines under the truck to eliminate the possiblity of any road debris damage and tied them up to the frame really well with stainless steel wire. The shocks have been on for almost 2 years now with no problems to speak of. :cry:

  • grayracer513

Posted December 27, 2004 - 06:12 PM

#3

Thump,

You would be best off by having a spring shop beef the leaf springs a bit. It's usually done by adding to the stack. Sometimes the mainleaf is replaced, and sometimes you can just get a set from a heavier model truck installed. If done right, it need not "ride like a tank" when empty.

The bags will work, just not as well.

  • YZFan

Posted December 27, 2004 - 06:54 PM

#4

I have a hitch mounted carrier on my pathfinder and with the bike on it the suspension sucked big time. I looked at the air bag thing but it looked kind of spendy and not too reliable, I could be wrong though. What I did do was get a set of air shocks. I can't remember the brand of them but they were 100 bux. :


The problem with air shocks and hauling a load it that the mounts for the shocks were never ment to carry a load just mount the shocks. Sir Thump one of the guys I work with has them on this Ford Lightning like mine and they work great. Maybe we talked about that when we went riding last.

  • sirthumpalot

Posted December 28, 2004 - 07:19 PM

#5

Thanks everyone. Springs were a thought, but I won't want it stiffer all the time, only when I have an extra load and that is why I'm leaning towards air bags instead of helper leafs or new leafs. I haven't seen anything bad about the air bags yet so maybe this is the way to go?

  • Mike_socal

Posted December 28, 2004 - 08:51 PM

#6

I was thinking of the same thing for my Frontier. Check out these. They supposedly don't change the ride quality.

http://www.activesuspension.com/

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  • sigepmock

Posted December 29, 2004 - 07:52 AM

#7

I have had Air Lift and Firestone air bags on my last two trucks and love them. They are great, especially if you get an on-board compressor with it. I can air the bags up for hauling loads and pulling the trailer and air them down when empty so I don't get rattled to death on the freeway and with the on-board compressor I can air up tires, blow the dust of the bikes before loading them, etc. I have never had a problem with the bags tearing or anything, they have been great and they attach directly to the frame and the axle so they don't have the same issues air shocks have. Just my .02 Check out Summit Racing.com they have the best prices around on the air bag kits.

Chris

  • mcarp

Posted December 29, 2004 - 05:44 PM

#8

I had the same problem with my '02 Pathfinder and moto jack rack. Soft springs for sure. It uses IFS coil springs, so I installed Air-Lift airbags with onboard compressor.

Works wonders, highly recommend it!! I believe the tacoma has traditional leaf spring suspension, so the airbags will not work.

I agree about the air shock comment. Shocks are designed to damper movement, not support the load (that's what springs are for). With that said, airshocks will lift your truck and probably support a dirt bike, but you would risk damage and possible mount failure over rough pavement or off-road.

Definitely

  • Brandon Meidam

Posted December 30, 2004 - 09:27 PM

#9

Airlift airbags are the way to go. I sell and have installed them on many trucks for towing and truck camper applications. I even have them on my 1 ton daully work truck and they make the truck ride better with or without a load. There is no better way to keep a smooth unloaded truck and have over 2,000 pounds of carrying capacity. Shop around and they should cost you about the same as a good set of overloads. Just my personal experience.

Brandon

  • 250Thumpher

Posted December 30, 2004 - 09:30 PM

#10

My friend has airbags on his truck and they have blown 3 times.

  • sirthumpalot

Posted December 31, 2004 - 07:26 AM

#11

My friend has airbags on his truck and they have blown 3 times.


Does he go wheeling often or let the pressure get too high or too low? I only ask because the more I look into these the more I am surprised by how few reports of problems I have seen so I'm curious why he's having such a problem?

I ended up ordering a set of the Firestone bags. Good for up to 5000# of additional support if you're crazy enough to put that much in a little truck, which I am not. But hopefully this will do the trick, I'm keeping my fingers crossed. :cry:

  • Brandon Meidam

Posted January 02, 2005 - 06:19 PM

#12

Must not be installed correctly or the air bag alignment is off. You also should run at least 10 psi at all times or the bags can be pinched or blowout. I have seen airbags on older trucks that are 10 years old.

Brandon

  • Mack_10

Posted January 02, 2005 - 10:14 PM

#13

I have firestone bags on my lifted chevy 1500, on 38's.. i use the bags all the time when I tow my boat and when i put 3 bikes and gear in the back, they are awsome, just remember to keep 10 psi in them at all times! :cry:





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