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Air bags for rear suspension

Discussion in '1st Gen Tundras (2000-2006)' started by Kimosabe, Mar 23, 2023.

  1. Mar 23, 2023 at 8:54 AM
    #1
    Kimosabe

    Kimosabe [OP] Slacker

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    I got a couple questions here that I'm looking for some support on. I bought a pop-up camper for the truck and was advised to get airbags for the rear. I was thinking sumosprings, but dealer said that airbags can be more dialed for the weight and can let the air out when not in use. I currently have u-bolt flip in the rear and was wondering if anyone has installed airbags with one?
    I haven't seen anything about it and so in anticipation of not being able to I ordered some new u-bolt shackles from ATS and wondered if anyone has used those before? They seem decent quality, but always love some feedback.
     
  2. Mar 23, 2023 at 8:59 AM
    #2
    Hbjeff

    Hbjeff New Member

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    Sumos ride like crap unloaded. I would do bags over sumos if i were to do it again
     
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  3. Mar 23, 2023 at 9:05 AM
    #3
    Kimosabe

    Kimosabe [OP] Slacker

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    Thanks @Hbjeff I got the bags and even the daystar cradles. I'm just wondering if there's a way to install them with my current u-bolt flip. I've seen some custom plates used but nothing readily available.
     
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  4. Mar 23, 2023 at 9:09 AM
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    Chuy!

    Chuy! New Member

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  5. Mar 23, 2023 at 9:41 AM
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    Kimosabe

    Kimosabe [OP] Slacker

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    Shoot. I bet that would work if they were still being produced/sold. It looks like I'm going to have to revert back to the regular u-bolt and shackle.
     
  6. Mar 23, 2023 at 10:14 AM
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    Chuy!

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  7. Mar 23, 2023 at 10:52 AM
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    Kimosabe

    Kimosabe [OP] Slacker

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  8. Mar 23, 2023 at 11:10 AM
    #8
    Marvthehamster

    Marvthehamster New Member

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    unloaded air bags ride like crap, too. There's no way around a compromised unloaded ride if you're gonna put bags on. You're sticking something in between the leaf spring and upper travel limit of the rear suspension that will increase resistance and reduce the amount of available travel. Just the nature of the beast.

    Using cradles with the air bags will untether one end of the system and allow more travel and articulation of the rear suspension. Maybe consider that as an option.

    You're best to get a new leaf pack thats rated for the extra weight you want to carry. Deaver or Alcan spring are good resources for this.
     
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  9. Mar 23, 2023 at 2:19 PM
    #9
    Aerindel

    Aerindel New Member

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    I use Air Lift airbags on mine. Love them I can't tell they are there when un-inflated, but they make a big difference when filled. I regularly haul 1000 lbs in the back of my truck.
     
  10. Mar 23, 2023 at 2:48 PM
    #10
    shifty`

    shifty` Our private little trip to hell

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    This is only true if you're ignorant enough to connect the bags together instead of running them independently, and you're stuck in an inferior generation of truck with no added support. Fortunately for all of us here in the 1st Gen forum, we've got our leaf springs and shocks behaving as prior to install.

    This is flatly not true for 1st Gen trucks.
     
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  11. Mar 23, 2023 at 2:53 PM
    #11
    Hbjeff

    Hbjeff New Member

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    @shifty`

    can you please elaborate on the theory of them riding better being independent? Im curious ive seen it mentioned that running their airlines together is bad for weight handling, but interesting that the empty ride is better too?
     
  12. Mar 23, 2023 at 2:59 PM
    #12
    shifty`

    shifty` Our private little trip to hell

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    I'm coming more from a world of air ride, where setting up a system with bags connected and no spring or strut means hitting a corner is pushing air between bags and giving a sloshy, floaty feel. The same translates to helper bags on a truck, if you tee the two bags together, you defeat the purpose; when you turn, the bag compresses the air out of one side and straight to the other. This is, IMO, a common oversight or mistake people make.

    If you want bags on your truck, whether helper, or for dragging frame, you always plumb independently for best possible outcome. Unless you're expressly looking for a squishy ride. You want to have a base-level PSI in your bag, under which you'll never drop.
     
  13. Mar 23, 2023 at 3:03 PM
    #13
    Aerindel

    Aerindel New Member

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    This^^^^^

    I did my research before putting in mine and ran them independently. Plumbed separately, they act like a sway bar, plumbed separately, they do the opposite, enhancing sway. Connected airbags are very likely worse than no bags at all.

    Also, not all airbags limit travel. The one's I got are long enough to give full travel, which also makes them safe to let the axle droop without damage to the bags, which is not true of all kinds.
     
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  14. Mar 23, 2023 at 3:08 PM
    #14
    shifty`

    shifty` Our private little trip to hell

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    Totally.

    It's a simple concept. The whole point of a bag is to provide support. It can't provide support if it has some way to easily push air out to another location.

    I'm not being completely fair on my description, though. You'll get a little bit of resistance because you can only fit so much air volume through your hose. But that's why it'll feel like you're driving on a cloud versus driving on a waterbed.
     
  15. Mar 23, 2023 at 5:21 PM
    #15
    Aerindel

    Aerindel New Member

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    Its even worse when that other location....is the other side of the truck.

    You get a delay in how fast it happens, because of the narrowness of the tubing, but you get that same delay when leveling out too...connected airbag are really just the worst of both worlds.
     
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  16. Mar 23, 2023 at 8:50 PM
    #16
    Kimosabe

    Kimosabe [OP] Slacker

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    The benefit of the cradle is not having the bottom of the bag connected which won't limit down travel and I think they can be run with no minimum air to limit upward travel.
    I’m considering new upgraded leafs in the future but still think I’ll need airbags unless I get springs that will ride like shit when unloaded.
    The big problem is I can’t keep the u-bolt flip kit with airbags unless I can fabricate a new mount for the cradle. I was hoping someone here had done my work for me… maybe they just don’t feel like sharing.
     
  17. Mar 23, 2023 at 9:09 PM
    #17
    Hbjeff

    Hbjeff New Member

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    Probably too much hardware trying to fit in a tiny space
     
  18. Mar 24, 2023 at 4:43 AM
    #18
    Marvthehamster

    Marvthehamster New Member

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    Okey dokey dilly o.
     
  19. Mar 26, 2023 at 9:47 PM
    #19
    Kimosabe

    Kimosabe [OP] Slacker

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    Well I tried just going for it. I reversed the bottom bracket and wedged the cradle on it. It looks like it should work and seems solid and in place. I’ll try and get some pics of the setup and will probably get to test it out in the next week or so and will update again.
     
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  20. Mar 28, 2023 at 10:02 AM
    #20
    thxcolm

    thxcolm New Member

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    Jumping into this debate about Sumo Springs. I bought some SS blacks for my 01 AC Tundra and i'm looking forward to installing them myself.

    My question is that I can't quite find the answer to is do they increase payload capacity? I believe my config supports around 1450 lbs payload.

    Mostly bought them for supporting going to the rockyard/dump and when I load up the truck in the summer with the shell and the truck bed camping stuff. I know that just one yard of DG or road base can be crazy heavy and then it just looks like my truck is draggin'. Hoping that they'll at least help a little bit with that. Airbags seemed great, but just too $$ and complicated.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2023
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  21. Mar 28, 2023 at 10:17 AM
    #21
    Kimosabe

    Kimosabe [OP] Slacker

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    Sadly, nothing can increase the rated payload for the truck. The amount of weight the springs can handle can always go up, but not the amount of weight the frame can handle. If Toyota had boxed the frame like they did on other models it could have been higher.
    Sumo springs seem like a great option, and was the way I was leaning, but with a truck camper was told that being able to adjust the airbag pressure for highway or dirt road would be more preferable. So that's why I went that way.
     
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  22. Mar 28, 2023 at 10:22 AM
    #22
    thxcolm

    thxcolm New Member

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    Good call, I think if I were in your boat i'd go airbags as well.

    One day the goal is to do more than just the shell for camping, maybe picking up a used 4 Wheel Camper or similar. But even those used are $$$ now (but coming down just a little from the crazy pandemic pricing. I've seen a lot for sale that are 2020+ models. Everyone must be ditching them, but not sure why :crazy:.
     
  23. Mar 28, 2023 at 1:19 PM
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    Aerindel

    Aerindel New Member

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    No, they do not, that is mostly based on brakes, engine power, frame, etc.
    What they do, is greatly improve handleing, while heavily loaded, within the max capacity.
     
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  24. Mar 29, 2023 at 9:54 AM
    #24
    Kimosabe

    Kimosabe [OP] Slacker

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    I've heard that due to the supply shortages that the quality of some 2020+ inventory was pretty terrible compared to the norm (specifically the camper/RV market). I looked at 4wheel camper but went with a northstar 600ss. The northstar is affordable and the quality is good and they are pretty cushy without being over the weight. The 4WC are light, but they are a little limited in storage and they get just as heavy when you add in the sink, fridge, and everything else.
     
  25. Mar 29, 2023 at 10:19 AM
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    Brendanimals

    Brendanimals New Member

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    I have sumos in the back but I'm also lifted 2.5" on blocks. The sumos don't contact the frame unless I'm loaded down so I never have any issues with ride quality loaded or unloaded. I did have sumos on my old tacoma and they actually lifted the frame a bit and shot the ass end to the moon on bumps, so I get what you're saying. I'd say sumos work well depending on application. If lifted with blocks i.e. no extra leafs, sumos are probably fine. If using add-a-leafs plus the springs, you might have too much spring in the back.
     
  26. Mar 29, 2023 at 10:35 AM
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    sflips

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    I had always understood that with sumos. If they touch the frame when empty, you can cut some off the end and make them shorter. I really have no idea if that is true, that's what I've read, never owned a set.
     
  27. Mar 29, 2023 at 11:11 AM
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    Hbjeff

    Hbjeff New Member

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    The challenge with sumos, in order for them to work with a load, you need them tall enough to basically touch the frame unloaded. Unless you have 2-3 inches of space between the sumo/frame, you will be hitting it consistently unloaded. However, it you have a big gap, you will be sagging down before you even hit your helper spring

    as a helper spring, sumos are progressive. I have the lightest ones, they help more the more they are compressed
     
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  28. Mar 29, 2023 at 11:33 AM
    #28
    PenderBen

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    I also have Sumo Springs, the blue ones, they lightly touch the frame unloaded. Otherwise stock suspension with Bilstein 4600s.

    I really like them, they do exactly what I wanted, which is reduce the droop and improve handling with heavy loads and towing. They did change the empty ride a little, just a little stiffer in the back and hitting a good bump going around the corner feels a little odd, makes things torque around differently than without- not a problem, just different.

    That being said, with a camper airbags might make better sense since you could adjust with and without the camper on.

    Here are a couple pics with full heavy loads:
    E38229E0-C1F0-40FD-AA85-0F9DD7F0FE7C.jpg
    A053048A-1453-444E-81C4-2129A16AE76E.jpg
     
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  29. Mar 29, 2023 at 11:41 AM
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    mountaingroan

    mountaingroan New Member

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    Grab some Firestone ride-rites and be done with it.


    UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_1c7d.jpg
     
  30. Mar 29, 2023 at 12:20 PM
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    Kimosabe

    Kimosabe [OP] Slacker

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    I will say that an AAL make a difference. Here is a shot with just an AAL and not hitting the bumps. It did great, but for longer drives I'm going to be glad I went with the airbags. Once the camper is finally ready for me to pickup I'll report back.
    The camper is in Montana and is being transported to Boise for me to pickup. It's been a couple weeks, but I haven't been in a hurry since we keep getting dumped on with snow.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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