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1st Gen Tundra Air Bags...?

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#1 dashboardburrito


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Posted 12 March 2019 - 11:44 PM

I recently got a slightly heavier truck camper for my 1st generation Tundra and decided to replace my Timbrens with Firestone air bags.


Ordered up the kit and had my local shop do the swap. The mechanic said that with the truck on the lift, there was about a 6 inch space between the top of the air bag and the truck frame (before he connected the upper air bag bracket to the frame). 


He finished the install, although he had concerns about what will happen if I take the truck off road and the bags need to flex with the suspension- and too, what about when I get my truck tires rotated and its on a lift- won't the weight of the rear axel pull the bags apart...?


Please chime in. Who has done this before and can offer some advice. My truck has an add-a-leaf and Rancho RS9000s. I'm the 2nd owner- I don't think it was lifted, but it sits a tad higher because of the beefed up suspension...


Am I overreacting?  Do I need to get an extension mounting bracket for the Firestone air bags, or pucks to raise them up?


It seems to me that the top of the airbags should not be connected, but should have some kind of a cradle that they nest into when the camper is on the truck....?


Please advise

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#2 Mighty Dodge Ram

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 03:29 PM

There are many examples where the airbags are attached at the top and not the bottom, using instead locating cups from Daystar. Search this site and Expedition Portal for pics and the debate.

Edit: I have the same concerns with the older Firestone’s on my 3/4-ton Chevy which appear to be overstretched with a phantom slow leak, probably at the fittings somewhere. I’ve considered the Daystars and am now looking at Hellwig bags which are attached top & bottom but claim up to 12” of travel.

Edited by Mighty Dodge Ram, 13 March 2019 - 03:33 PM.

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1996 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4, lightly lifted, ARB bumper/Warn winch, BFG AT/KO2, Snugtop shell. SOLD! But not forgotten!
2002 Chevy 2500HD XC LB 6.0L 4X4, Leer Hi-Rise shell, completely stock...for now!

#3 jimjxsn


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Posted 13 March 2019 - 08:08 PM

I ran the firestone air bags with a Gen 1 Tundra for at least 10 years with no issues.  I had the TRD with stock suspension.


Well, other than a slow leak in one bad since new  :unsure:


My guess is that it is the taller suspension.  The daystar cradles may be in order.  Keep in mind that they void the Riderite warranty. 


Another option would be the Firestone Lift Spacers for the ride rite air bags.  It looks like they come in various heights depending on your lift.  The 1 1/2 inch spacers indicate:


  • Allow air springs to be installed on vehicles with 1-1/2" lift
    • Distance between upper and lower brackets must be between 6-1/2" and 7-1/2"
  • Spacer must be same size as lift kit rise
  • Include 2 lift spacers and all hardware necessary for installation
    • Lift spacer fits axle-mounted air springs

Edited by jimjxsn, 13 March 2019 - 08:31 PM.

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#4 sourdough


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Posted 13 March 2019 - 10:53 PM

dashboardburrito,  thanks for the PM inquiry.

I had a '04 Tundra 4x4 and a Hawk shell that loaded, always max'd out my GVW at 1,500 lbs.. I installed Firestone bags and cradles. Blew a bag and shock and stranded me in Montrose,Co. until repairs could be made. $800 or so later I had dumped the bags and had a horizontal coil spring helper on top of the rear leaf springs installed. For the life of me I do not remember the manufacturer of the product but I ran with it and never had anymore issues in 50,000 miles. I do remember a couple of postings on this site about it but haven't searched. I've moved on to a hard-sided Tiger RV/ Ram3500 diesel 4x4 but fully enjoyed myt ime in the Hawk and this site. 

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#5 dashboardburrito


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Posted 14 March 2019 - 01:57 AM

Thanks for the feedback on this topic. 


I've decided to go with the Daystar airbag cradles.  From all the research I've done, for anything other than pavement, this kind of mod is needed for running airbags on a truck.


The concept makes a lot of sense. I'm surprised that Firestone doesn't include some kind of cradle system with their bags- or at least, as an aftermarket part for rough road conditions. 

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