SUSPENSION Leaf Spring Comparison: All-Pro, Allcan, Icon, Dobinsons, Deavers, Archive, Dakars

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Tyler

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T3G vendor ARCHIVE dropped some unbiased leaf spring knowledge in another post and I feel this information is valuable enough to warrant its own sticky thread.
Archive Garage designs and builds popular suspension upgrades for our Toyota Tacomas, such as their "Hammer Hangers" shackles, U-bolt flip, shock relocation towers.

The following information is something you should consider when deciding what manufacturer to go with, however, depending on how you use your truck, all of these options might have their place, and should not be completely disregarded. If you were set on a certain leaf spring due to personal preference, a good sale, etc, please feel free to ask further questions regarding the subsequent issues mentioned, either in this thread or in a new thread.

All-Pro: low quality import that is designed with narrower than stock junk bushings(!), with low arch, really long and often goes flat on a Double Cab with minimal weight. You will often see the shackle rotated way back. Also it doesn't have a spot to bolt the parking brake cable tab to. No overload

Alcan: Stupidly long design, requires Archive Hammer hangers to work properly, because with stock hangers, the leaves will rub the shackles, and has MAJOR design flaw that the 2nd leaf extends inside the shackle, which when driven offroad has caused dangerous binding, and shackle damage. No overload

Icon: This has been pretty decent I would say, but I have gotten some negative feedback, mainly its just underwhelming. No major design flaws, no shackle interference. Doesn't seem to be a very tough design, or enough lift. My biggest nitpick is they took a 10 leaf pack design, took a couple leaves out, and screwed up by making the stepping from leaf to leaf too wide, which seems like some customers report a lot of axle wrap, which exhibits as driveshaft vibration on take off and deceleration. Stage 1 and 2 are total of 7 thin leaves

Dobinsons: Newer but I like the design, it is affordable, and anyone considering an affordable option should investigate these. Has overload

Deavers: The U402 expo series is currently the best on the market, for now. With 3 stages to choose from. Note that the stage 2 & 3 have less arch due to being heavier duty. Has overload. The price is up there. (Don't buy their J66 lame wrap-central pack)

Archive: Archive Garage will be testing our own design leaf pack in the next few weeks. (Potentially available by summer) Archive set out to build a leaf spring that just plain works, high quality material, built in USA and has a full military wrap, bolted spring clips, tip inserts on all leave ends, correct bushing sleeve width. It will not have the issues like shackle scraping or jamming leaf into shackle, won't take an 'M' shape, isn't too long, issues which are so common.

Dakars: Pretty lame design overall, doesn't have a full military wrap, and has MAJOR design flaw that the 2nd/3rd leaves extend inside the shackle, which when driven offroad causes awful noises, dangerous binding, and shackle damage. Numerous customers have complained, I have contacted them and explained the issue, and it seems they purposely have done nothing to avoid serious warranty burden. They were just plain lazy, took their Hilux design and tossed in the Tacoma, called it good. Has overload. Also very short spring
Source post: https://tacoma3g.com/threads/rear-leaf-suggestions.9460/post-47384

To add to the thread, I am going to gather the various load ratings and prices and add them to this post as well.
 

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Reminds me of Iowa Taco threads which were super helpful for choosing armor and sliders
I know. I need to get all of those up to date as well. It's great info to have here, it just takes some upkeep.

Also, I like your signature.
 

mgmyota

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Ooh I didn’t know archive was coming out with a leaf pack. Those would pair perfectly with all the archive goodies I’ll be buying in the near future 😏

Also I love no bullshit non bias comparisons like this. Makes choosing a lot easier.
 

Tyler

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Ooh I didn’t know archive was coming out with a leaf pack. Those would pair perfectly with all the archive goodies I’ll be buying in the near future 😏

Also I love no bullshit non bias comparisons like this. Makes choosing a lot easier.
For real! Too many resources are biased nowadays.
 

Trudog

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I have had Deavers stage 3 on for a year now with no complaints. In addition a huge fan of anything Archive!
 

Jake Zigtek

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T3G vendor ARCHIVE dropped some unbiased leaf spring knowledge in another post and I feel this information is valuable enough to warrant its own sticky thread.
Archive Garage designs and builds popular suspension upgrades for our Toyota Tacomas, such as their "Hammer Hangers" shackles, U-bolt flip, shock relocation towers.

The following information is something you should consider when deciding what manufacturer to go with, however, depending on how you use your truck, all of these options might have their place, and should not be completely disregarded. If you were set on a certain leaf spring due to personal preference, a good sale, etc, please feel free to ask further questions regarding the subsequent issues mentioned, either in this thread or in a new thread.

All-Pro: low quality import that is designed with narrower than stock junk bushings(!), with low arch, really long and often goes flat on a Double Cab with minimal weight. You will often see the shackle rotated way back. Also it doesn't have a spot to bolt the parking brake cable tab to. No overload

Alcan: Stupidly long design, requires Archive Hammer hangers to work properly, because with stock hangers, the leaves will rub the shackles, and has MAJOR design flaw that the 2nd leaf extends inside the shackle, which when driven offroad has caused dangerous binding, and shackle damage. No overload

Icon: This has been pretty decent I would say, but I have gotten some negative feedback, mainly its just underwhelming. No major design flaws, no shackle interference. Doesn't seem to be a very tough design, or enough lift. My biggest nitpick is they took a 10 leaf pack design, took a couple leaves out, and screwed up by making the stepping from leaf to leaf too wide, which seems like some customers report a lot of axle wrap, which exhibits as driveshaft vibration on take off and deceleration. Stage 1 and 2 are total of 7 thin leaves

Dobinsons: Newer but I like the design, it is affordable, and anyone considering an affordable option should investigate these. Has overload

Deavers: The U402 expo series is currently the best on the market, for now. With 3 stages to choose from. Note that the stage 2 & 3 have less arch due to being heavier duty. Has overload. The price is up there. (Don't buy their J66 lame wrap-central pack)

Archive: Archive Garage will be testing our own design leaf pack in the next few weeks. (Potentially available by summer) Archive set out to build a leaf spring that just plain works, high quality material, built in USA and has a full military wrap, bolted spring clips, tip inserts on all leave ends, correct bushing sleeve width. It will not have the issues like shackle scraping or jamming leaf into shackle, won't take an 'M' shape, isn't too long, issues which are so common.

Dakars: Pretty lame design overall, doesn't have a full military wrap, and has MAJOR design flaw that the 2nd/3rd leaves extend inside the shackle, which when driven offroad causes awful noises, dangerous binding, and shackle damage. Numerous customers have complained, I have contacted them and explained the issue, and it seems they purposely have done nothing to avoid serious warranty burden. They were just plain lazy, took their Hilux design and tossed in the Tacoma, called it good. Has overload. Also very short spring
Source post: https://tacoma3g.com/threads/rear-leaf-suggestions.9460/post-47384

To add to the thread, I am going to gather the various load ratings and prices and add them to this post as well.
Good stuff , thanks for the info !
 

ARCHIVE

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I purchased my truck with a 6" pro comp lift. Total height of the rear is actually 5". Alcan seems to be the only company that I have contacted that will actually make the custom leafs for me.

To find your actual lift height, measure from the top of the axle tube to bottom of frame rail (near bump bracket), stock is ~8.25 on numerous 2nd/3rd gen Tacomas I have personally measured. A 3" lift would then be about 11.25"
 

ARCHIVE

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Add-a-leaf:
This is not an attack on anyone, this is an explanation, and you can choose to use this info if you like. The picture is borrowed from a member, not picking on personally, many people have done this beforehand, I just haven't tripped over pics until now.
Inked3-leaf with overload_LI.jpg


So here is something that someone started, thought was "OK", and a bunch of people are following, but this really isn't OK without modifications.

AFAIK, all the 3-leaf AALs on the market are designed to replace the thick leaf/overload, not be used in conjunction with it.
It really isn't a smart thing to ignore a manufacturers instructions, and definitely not in this case. Notice that the clip (and its rivet head) on the 3-leaf pack on right of pic will be first point of contact with the overload. This will mean the overload is contacted as spring is compressed, perhaps even at normal ride height. This will quickly ramp up the spring rate and since there is only 1 clip on 3-leaf, it will wrap your axle down on whichever side of axle clip is installed, to front or rear.

Eric
 
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CBrob

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I was hoping to see better review for Alcan. They are close to me and shipping is free when you can pick them up.
I suppose I could request changes to length and second leaf, but I bet they don't like people asking them to change things.

Who's got the best AAL setup?
 

nickyreno

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Add-a-leaf:
This is not an attack on anyone, this is an explanation, and you can choose to use this info if you like. The picture is borrowed from a member, not picking on personally, many people have done this beforehand, I just haven't tripped over pics until now.
Inked3-leaf with overload_LI.jpg


So here is something that someone started, thought was "OK", and a bunch of people are following, but this really isn't OK without modifications.

AFAIK, all the 3-leaf AALs on the market are designed to replace the thick leaf/overload, not be used in conjunction with it.
It really isn't a smart thing to ignore a manufacturers instructions, and definitely not in this case. Notice that the clip (and its rivet head) on the 3-leaf pack on right of pic will be first point of contact with the overload. This will mean the overload is contacted as spring is compressed, perhaps even at normal ride height. This will quickly ramp up the spring rate and since there is only 1 clip on 3-leaf, it will wrap your axle down on whichever side of axle clip is installed, to front or rear.

Eric

Hey Eric, any news on when you guys will have your Tacoma leaf pack available?
 

CBrob

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I was looking at the archive site, saw some tundra springs but nothing for tacos
 

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I was hoping to see better review for Alcan. They are close to me and shipping is free when you can pick them up.
I suppose I could request changes to length and second leaf, but I bet they don't like people asking them to change things.

Who's got the best AAL setup?

Alcan are pretty good but historically they have been so long (fine with Hammer hangers) and they extend the 2nd leaf into the shackle

Hey Eric, any news on when you guys will have your Tacoma leaf pack available?

I am working on it, pretty hard finding a good US supplier and definitely slowed down by Covid even on Tundra offering

How heavy a set of springs do you want?
 

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Alcan are pretty good but historically they have been so long (fine with Hammer hangers) and they extend the 2nd leaf into the shackle



I am working on it, pretty hard finding a good US supplier and definitely slowed down by Covid even on Tundra offering

How heavy a set of springs do you want?
I would also be interested in some custom heavy duty springs.
 

nickyreno

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Alcan are pretty good but historically they have been so long (fine with Hammer hangers) and they extend the 2nd leaf into the shackle



I am working on it, pretty hard finding a good US supplier and definitely slowed down by Covid even on Tundra offering

How heavy a set of springs do you want?

I’m not even sure man. All I know is I went to bumpstops a little too easy picking up a load of sod a few weeks ago.

How do I calculate what I need?
 

markiemcg

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I see the Dakar springs bind causing terrible noises. I just came off a pretty long trip and had a terrible popping noise when the truck would flex. So bad I thought a body mount or cross member broke. I even heard it once when I jacked my left front tire up while rotating tires in the garage. Could it have just been the leaf springs binding up??
 

ARCHIVE

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I see the Dakar springs bind causing terrible noises. I just came off a pretty long trip and had a terrible popping noise when the truck would flex. So bad I thought a body mount or cross member broke. I even heard it once when I jacked my left front tire up while rotating tires in the garage. Could it have just been the leaf springs binding up??

Very likely the cause of that noise
 

ARCHIVE

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I’m not even sure man. All I know is I went to bumpstops a little too easy picking up a load of sod a few weeks ago.

How do I calculate what I need?

Simply add up everything you have added to rear axle weight or go weigh rear axle on a scale. Everything you put on your truck can add or subtract weight from rear.
Mfrs list the added weight range, such as Deaver U402 series and Dobinsons
 
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