Installing air bags on leaf springs

Submitted: Friday, Jul 08, 2005 at 16:58
ThreadID: 24560 Views:12369 Replies:7 FollowUps:12
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Via advice received on another thread, I've decided to look into buying a Firestone Ride Rite kit from truckspring.com in USA for installation on the back of my '05 Hilux. I figure I can land them in Australia for under $400, even if I have to pay GST. The Airbag Man will charge $825.

Problem is ensuring I get the right kit, as the Hilux is not sold in USA.

I have measured from top of leaf to underside of bumper stop plate welded to chassis. I'm assuming I remove the current rubber bumper stop and fit the air bag where it currently is. The distance is about 130mm (maybe a touch less) with canopy, drawer unit, firdge, 20ltr water container and bits and pieces in the back. I'm guessing that unladen, it would be about 150mm. I can probably check this more accurately if necessary by finding someone with an unmodified vehicle.

If I specify this distance to truckspring.com, is this enough to get the right kit? Are all the fittings standard, so that length is the only critical issue?

If I can not be certain that I'm getting the right thing, I'm better to buy locally so that I have a warranty.

Thanks in advance for any help I can get on this.

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Reply By: mfewster - Friday, Jul 08, 2005 at 18:13

Friday, Jul 08, 2005 at 18:13
I tried going down this path to import airsprings for a raised 60 series. Trucksprings just couldn'ttell me whether I would lose articulation or not. I talked to TJM in Adelaide and they suggested not using air bellows with leafsprings for the same reason, but convinced me to try Aussie Super Spring helper. This adds another spring suspended over the top of the leafs and it is free to move at one end. sort of hard to describe how it works - but it seems to work very well. My cruiser now corners flat and very fully laden deals wih corrugations with ease. Probably not quite as smooth empty as air bag solution would be. Still rides well however. $499.00 fitted.
AnswerID: 119472

Follow Up By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Friday, Jul 08, 2005 at 18:52

Friday, Jul 08, 2005 at 18:52
Tried to Google 'Aussie Super Spring Helper'. Got nothing. Do you have a web site?
Problem with this system is it doesn't sound like I can adjust it. Although I always carry a bit of a load, on trips we really load up. Probably another 200 KG or more in the back, plus up to 190KG of ball weight from CT, depending on how many of the four gerries on the drawer bar I fill. This is in additio to the aprox 150KG I always carry.
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Follow Up By: mfewster - Saturday, Jul 09, 2005 at 09:12

Saturday, Jul 09, 2005 at 09:12
Norm, re the aussie super springs,
try emailing Andrew Dick or Greg Moore at info@tjmsa.com.au
I bought mine from them in Adelaide
or ring 0883446444
I laso tried a google search and got nothing.
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Follow Up By: GraemeD - Wednesday, Jul 13, 2005 at 19:05

Wednesday, Jul 13, 2005 at 19:05
Not Australian, but have a look here
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Follow Up By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Wednesday, Jul 13, 2005 at 19:23

Wednesday, Jul 13, 2005 at 19:23
Where's that Graeme???
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Follow Up By: GraemeD - Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 17:12

Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 17:12
Oops, sorry - www.macsspring.com/website/superspring.htm
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Reply By: angler - Friday, Jul 08, 2005 at 20:14

Friday, Jul 08, 2005 at 20:14
I had something like this installed on my old HJ75. They were enclosed in a coil spring that mounted on the leaf. They were red polyairs and as far as I know they are still on the car. They certainly improved the load handling as with most jap cars mine had suffered from saggy bum syndrome. I could load the thing up much more and never had it hit the stops.
I did try a couple of the blue ones in one of my disco's and they failed shortly after fitting and I was told by oppsoite lock they were failing badly and they offered me a set of polyairs for not much more. I was about to return the blue ones and bought a patrol. Opposite lock change them over for a set to suit the patrol.
Dunno who made the blue ones, they were cheaper and had a different hose fitting to the polyairs.

www.bycompass.com
AnswerID: 119488

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Friday, Jul 08, 2005 at 20:17

Friday, Jul 08, 2005 at 20:17
Had a similar issue with the 79series with the ARB leaf rear springs, as I wanted it to sit a bit higher when laden.

Airbags would have been $700, but the reason I didn't go with them was I was concerned that the axle bump stop is removed. I'd guess that if the bag was damaged, then no bump stop is not good.

In the end, purchased an extra leaf for each side, installed them myself and got exactly the result I wanted. Cost was $90.

Cheers
Phil
AnswerID: 119489

Follow Up By: Horacehighroller - Friday, Jul 08, 2005 at 20:36

Friday, Jul 08, 2005 at 20:36
Some air bags have an internal bump stop to overcome that issue.

Peter L
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Follow Up By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Friday, Jul 08, 2005 at 20:47

Friday, Jul 08, 2005 at 20:47
So how hard is the ride with no load on Phil?
I've had comments that this is a good solution under load, but when unladen it is a hard ride.

My understanding is the Firestones I am considering have an internal bump stop.
Anyone confirm that?
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Friday, Jul 08, 2005 at 20:56

Friday, Jul 08, 2005 at 20:56
Hi Norm,

Most utes/traytops have a hard ride with zero load.

Mine is never really no load, because of the weight of the canopy, and I keep the fuel tanks full, so I've not had an issue with that. One extra leaf is not a huge difference - pushed the rear of mine up about 15mm.

I'm not sure about the internal bump stop - will be interested to know for sure. I just looked at them in the shop, and they looked just like bellows.

Cheers
phil
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Follow Up By: angler - Saturday, Jul 09, 2005 at 20:45

Saturday, Jul 09, 2005 at 20:45
The bump stops on my 75 were never removed the coils went in slightly to the rear fo the leaf spring centre. They had new U bolts with the kit and the top was screwed into an existing bolt hole using a special fitting in the kit.
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Reply By: stubby - Friday, Jul 08, 2005 at 21:24

Friday, Jul 08, 2005 at 21:24
I have a 2001 d.c. hilux which i fitted polyair bellows.Cost me $800 at fulcrum suspension.Its rated at over 2 tonne and gives a great ride.
stubby

AnswerID: 119500

Follow Up By: angler - Saturday, Jul 09, 2005 at 20:48

Saturday, Jul 09, 2005 at 20:48
Polyiars state quite catagoricly that the load carrying capacity is not increased above the manufacturers specs. The load carried should not be above the maximum stated for the standard vehicle suspension.
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Reply By: Harry - Friday, Jul 08, 2005 at 23:03

Friday, Jul 08, 2005 at 23:03
G'daye Norm,
I have fitted Firestone air bags to my '78 series Troopy and the Hi-lux wouldn't be much different.
I went down the Canning last year and never bottomed out once.
Just came back from the Flinders Ranges last week and smooth sailing over some very rugged terrain, no problems.
My mate Bill has a 75 series Troopy and on the Canning complained a few times about the rough tracks, but I had none of those complaints with the air-bags fitted.
I wasn't all that sure how they would perform, but comparing the vehicles on the same trip, convinced me I had definitely made the right choice. They work together with the leaf springs, and nothing is straining itself, I would doubt if I would ever break a spring with this system in place.
THERE IS AN INBUILT BUMP STOP .End of story.
What is a bonus with it is, being able to level the vehicle no matter what the load.
I picked mine up for $660 from Air Ride Suspension Supplies in Bayswater, Melb.
Ph. (03) 9729-5556.
AnswerID: 119510

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Saturday, Jul 09, 2005 at 11:21

Saturday, Jul 09, 2005 at 11:21
"THERE IS AN INBUILT BUMP STOP .End of story. "

Hi Harry,

Thanks for resolving that.
Is your suspension otherwise standard ?? Just wondered because I am a fan of the reliability of the Toyota shocks and springs.

Cheers
Phil
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Saturday, Jul 09, 2005 at 21:29

Saturday, Jul 09, 2005 at 21:29
I got the them also Col, agree with all you say, very very good without any bottoming issues at all to date.

Phil my 78 series has stock suspension.
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FollowupID: 374687

Reply By: Harry - Sunday, Jul 10, 2005 at 22:37

Sunday, Jul 10, 2005 at 22:37
Phil,
I am a fan of original equipment only if you think it can do the job.
I always leave the original springs on my vehicle, reason being, you don't hear about Toyota springs breaking ( you might, if they're totally overloaded or doing something the vehicle 's not designed for ).
I haven't damaged 1 in 20 yrs.with Toyotas.
I alwaya run Koni shocks, even after 300,000 tested and come up trumps.

Good on ya Big John, level running from now on mate.I use a hand pump to adjust mine, quicker than fiddling around getting air hoses out, and besides only need 5 or 6 pumps.

H
AnswerID: 119710

Reply By: mfewster - Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 17:32

Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 17:32
I finally found a site with info on the Aussie super springs, with pictures and explanation of what they do
http://www.aussiesupersprings.com/
I have found that there are a couple of setting to control hardness of ride on them as well, although this isn't something you canquickly adjust.
Still very happy with mine. No messing around with airpumps or risk of punctures
AnswerID: 120373

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