SUSPENSION School me on air spring options

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Tyler

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The next big chapter of my truck is definitely going to require some air bags in addition to the Dakar HD squeak packs I already have. I never really did my air spring research because I never expected to need them. However, my spontaneous change of plans recently means it's time to learn.

I'm looking at the Firestone Ride-Rite kit right now: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001FEOSJY/?tag=tacoma3g-20
Anyone have any pros/cons with this kit or know of a better option?

I also heard that because adding these will shorten your travel, there is a small mod you can do to allow you to have them installed without your travel/stuff numbers changing. I don't actually remember where I was reading about that though, so maybe someone will know what I'm talking about and can point me in the right direction.

Bonus thought: I do want to also add a leaf to my Dakar squeakers. I have an add-a-leaf set in my garage for a 1986 Chevy K30. I haven't went out there and looked at it yet, but I wonder if they'd fit? I imagine they're too long, but maybe...
 

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The next big chapter of my truck is definitely going to require some air bags in addition to the Dakar HD squeak packs I already have. I never really did my air spring research because I never expected to need them. However, my spontaneous change of plans recently means it's time to learn.

I'm looking at the Firestone Ride-Rite kit right now: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001FEOSJY/?tag=tacoma3g-20
Anyone have any pros/cons with this kit or know of a better option?

I also heard that because adding these will shorten your travel, there is a small mod you can do to allow you to have them installed without your travel/stuff numbers changing. I don't actually remember where I was reading about that though, so maybe someone will know what I'm talking about and can point me in the right direction.

Bonus thought: I do want to also add a leaf to my Dakar squeakers. I have an add-a-leaf set in my garage for a 1986 Chevy K30. I haven't went out there and looked at it yet, but I wonder if they'd fit? I imagine they're too long, but maybe...
If I remember correctly I believe daystar makes a a cradle kit for Firestone bags for lifted trucks to minimize losses of travel
I would go Firestone ibuavent Howard anything bad and I would connect to a compressor withere there auto fill computer makes things easy . I run airlift and one bag has a leak that can be found and they also touch the gas tank .
 

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If I remember correctly I believe daystar makes a a cradle kit for Firestone bags for lifted trucks to minimize losses of travel
I would go Firestone ibuavent Howard anything bad and I would connect to a compressor withere there auto fill computer makes things easy . I run airlift and one bag has a leak that can be found and they also touch the gas tank .
Ah, yes: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0084ROJBM/?tag=tacoma3g-20
The Firestone kit plus these cradles appear to be perfect. I wonder if adding the cradles also passively gives a little extra height to the air bag setup due to the added thickness of the cradles. I feel like I'm going to need all I can get.

Yours touch your gas tank? I assume the Firestones would too then? I actually don't plan on having onboard air at this time as it's just too low on my priority list of other things I need to get done, but I do have a portable compressor that'll be with me.
 

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Ah, yes: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0084ROJBM/?tag=tacoma3g-20
The Firestone kit plus these cradles appear to be perfect. I wonder if adding the cradles also passively gives a little extra height to the air bag setup due to the added thickness of the cradles. I feel like I'm going to need all I can get.

Yours touch your gas tank? I assume the Firestones would too then? I actually don't plan on having onboard air at this time as it's just too low on my priority list of other things I need to get done, but I do have a portable compressor that'll be with me.
You might get some extra height with the cradle ! And I did some research found this as well https://www.etrailer.com/Accessories-and-Parts/Firestone/F2366.html
Various sizes available
The fire stone kit mounts on the shackle plate or behind , so no problem with the tank , my airlift mounts in front of shackles should've known better
 

WarFabArmor

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Definitely get a small compressor that runs to the bags. The ability to be driving and adjust the firmness or softness of the bags is awesome. I hate the idea of not having that control on a bag setup.
If the old chevy springs don't work, get some free stock take offs and build a little bastard pack. That's how our rears are built. Flex well, but haven't flattened out after over 2 years of pretty heavy wheeling. Just build to the needs you have. (lots of online tech for which springs to use etc etc)
Another topic you haven't mentioned is the rear axle. It sounds like you will be putting a substantial amount of weight on the rear of the truck, any plans to toughen that thing up? Guys that have done a lot of heavy weight on the rears have run into some premature bearing failures, so something to look into. Its not enough to say its a huge issue, but its common enough of an increase happening to point out and take note of as you continue on.
 

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I've been running the daystar cradles and Firestone ride rites for a few years. I really like the combo since I don't always carry allot of weight but do occasionally load the truck up or pull a camper. I recently hauled home about 1300lbs of porcelain tile and was able to level the truck with ease.

I do reccomend you don't run the air lines together with a T fitting and have 2 separate fill ports. The popular t fittings will allow air to transfer from bag to bag when cornering causing your load to shift. Not a big deal as far as trailer tounge weight but more important when your bed is loaded up.

One down side of the cradle is it can be a little noisy since the bag is not actually secured to the axle and will occasionally cause the bags to slap against the cradle at higher speeds offroading. Nothing obnoxious just something to be aware of if that kind of stuff bothers you.

I've been using an ARB CKMA12 compressor to fill the bags. I installed that thinking it would serve dual role for filling bags and tires but found it way to slow for filling tires and just built a CO2 system. If I were to buy another compressor I'd get the airlift compressor with the wireless remote for on the fly adjustments and ease of install.

20160605_121626 (2).jpg
 

Tyler

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You might get some extra height with the cradle ! And I did some research found this as well https://www.etrailer.com/Accessories-and-Parts/Firestone/F2366.html
Various sizes available
The fire stone kit mounts on the shackle plate or behind , so no problem with the tank , my airlift mounts in front of shackles should've known better
Those spacers are interesting, though I think it would be too much while also having the cradles installed. Unless these spacers would function the way the cradle does? Good to know that the Firestones won't touch the tank, thanks.
Definitely get a small compressor that runs to the bags. The ability to be driving and adjust the firmness or softness of the bags is awesome. I hate the idea of not having that control on a bag setup.
If the old chevy springs don't work, get some free stock take offs and build a little bastard pack. That's how our rears are built. Flex well, but haven't flattened out after over 2 years of pretty heavy wheeling. Just build to the needs you have. (lots of online tech for which springs to use etc etc)
Another topic you haven't mentioned is the rear axle. It sounds like you will be putting a substantial amount of weight on the rear of the truck, any plans to toughen that thing up? Guys that have done a lot of heavy weight on the rears have run into some premature bearing failures, so something to look into. Its not enough to say its a huge issue, but its common enough of an increase happening to point out and take note of as you continue on.
Good point on the compressor. Although at that point I think I'd go with a full compressor to use on the tires and whatever else. Spoiler: I ordered a Four Wheel Camper shell that I'll be picking up February 2020, then I'll DIY build the inside of it, then I'll be hitting the road with my wife and two dogs to travel all of North America (and maybe South too) for 2-3+ years. I'm going to make a thread about all of that later. I haven't really considered the rear axle in this based off my lack of hearing about anyone else beefing it up when running a similar setup. I am aware that bearings and other common failure areas in the drivetrain will be prone to failure sooner than later, so I will be prepared for that. I know this new "van life" will put over 100,000 miles on the truck and I also know I will be needing a tow truck once or twice and every typical maintenance component will be replaced a few times. My concern is that unlike other Four Wheel Campers on a Tacoma, I also have heavy steel bumpers, 35s, and a spare 35 hanging off the swing gate, making my setup heavier than normal. And I'll be doing a rear seat delete to build some drawers/shelving in its place. I expect to be over GVWR by some amount.

The Chevy springs look like they will fit in there just fine. They do have more arc in them than my worn out Dakars do at this point, so I hope it won't be too hard to actually squeeze them in. I also wonder if they are heavier duty than a Tacoma add-a-leaf would be.
I've been running the daystar cradles and Firestone ride rites for a few years. I really like the combo since I don't always carry allot of weight but do occasionally load the truck up or pull a camper. I recently hauled home about 1300lbs of porcelain tile and was able to level the truck with ease.

I do reccomend you don't run the air lines together with a T fitting and have 2 separate fill ports. The popular t fittings will allow air to transfer from bag to bag when cornering causing your load to shift. Not a big deal as far as trailer tounge weight but more important when your bed is loaded up.

One down side of the cradle is it can be a little noisy since the bag is not actually secured to the axle and will occasionally cause the bags to slap against the cradle at higher speeds offroading. Nothing obnoxious just something to be aware of if that kind of stuff bothers you.

I've been using an ARB CKMA12 compressor to fill the bags. I installed that thinking it would serve dual role for filling bags and tires but found it way to slow for filling tires and just built a CO2 system. If I were to buy another compressor I'd get the airlift compressor with the wireless remote for on the fly adjustments and ease of install.

View attachment 16580
I think I will go with your Firestone/cradle setup. Thanks for the tip on the T-fittings; I will definitely want to avoid load shifting like that. The noise of the cradles are not an issue since I'll never be able to get my Dakar squeakers to shut the hell up anyway. I also have a lot of wind and tire noise already.
 

Tyler

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Ordered the bags and cradles. Can't wait to see what this does for the truck!
 

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Goodies came in the mail today!

23184608-E60F-4FC4-8E39-68F2F0CF533D.jpeg
 

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Where did you get them from? Part numbers would be sweet as well. I was thinking about bags and had no idea something like this exists. This site of yours is going to be expensive.??
 

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