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First Gen tundra airbags and airbag spacers (articulation)


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#1 Huckleberry

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Posted 18 February 2021 - 07:15 PM

Hello!! First timer here. I recently bought a Four Wheel camper to go on the back of my 2003 tundra access cab. The camper is a 1996 hawk model. At first my truck sagged beyond belief even with the blue sumo springs, which worked great for my previous set up. So after debating the black 2500# sumo springs, archive garage leaf springs, and Firestone airbags I finally made a decision and went with the airbags paired with day star cradles. On my first outing I experienced airbag failure due to improper instal ;) after that I decided to add a skyjacker add a leaf from firstgenoffroad to help support the weight of failure ever happened again and to add a little lift. The skyjacker add a leaf claims 2 inch lift. After that to gain the lift and support the load I was running pretty high psi in the airbags close to 60psi. Next step I added two inch spacers underneath the cradles which in turn allowed me to run 20 to 30psi to support the load. Now finally to my question.


Does having the
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#2 Huckleberry

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Posted 18 February 2021 - 07:16 PM

Sorry my phone glitched and posted before I finished.


Does adding the spacers to the airbags reduce up travel of your rear suspension?

Would it be better to run the airbags at a higher psi with no spacer?
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#3 JHanson

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Posted 18 February 2021 - 07:54 PM

Welcome!

 

My answer would depend on whether or not you intend to leave the camper on all the time. If so, there's no substitute for a properly specced leaf spring pack in terms of both support and articulation.

 

If you're removing the camper between trips, then air bags represent the best compromise. However, they certainly don't help compliance, and I'd expect adding spacers would reduce it even more.

 

I'm surprised you're having this much trouble with an add-a-leaf and air bags installed. Sixty psi is a lot of pressure. If you're certain you received the correct air bags, I'd be very tempted to look at a new spring pack, even if you're going to remove the camper between trips. You could get one specced so you'd only need 20 or so psi in the air bags, so that with the camper off and the air bags deflated you'd retain a decent ride.


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#4 Huckleberry

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Posted 18 February 2021 - 08:32 PM

Welcome!

My answer would depend on whether or not you intend to leave the camper on all the time. If so, there's no substitute for a properly specced leaf spring pack in terms of both support and articulation.

If you're removing the camper between trips, then air bags represent the best compromise. However, they certainly don't help compliance, and I'd expect adding spacers would reduce it even more.

I'm surprised you're having this much trouble with an add-a-leaf and air bags installed. Sixty psi is a lot of pressure. If you're certain you received the correct air bags, I'd be very tempted to look at a new spring pack, even if you're going to remove the camper between trips. You could get one specced so you'd only need 20 or so psi in the air bags, so that with the camper off and the air bags deflated you'd retain a decent ride.



Yes, the camper stays on 99% of the time. Originally I didn’t go with the new leaf pack in order to save money but after buying sumo springs, air bags, an add a leaf, and airbag spacers , I’ve probably spent more than the leaf pack.

Do you think at this point it would make sense to remove the airbag spacers until I purchase a new leaf pack or upgrade to a 3/4 ton. :)

I don’t take many technical 4wd trials but I spend a lot of time on dirt roads that sometimes require a bit of flex.
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#5 Casa Escarlata Robles Too

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Posted 18 February 2021 - 08:47 PM

Huckleberry,welcome to the cult.

 

I also have a 1st gen Tundra AC cab 2002. It has the TRD options.

I installed air bags and run them at about 25/30# left and

about 20# right. My camper is on the truck100% of the time.

 

The air pressure I use keeps the truck level and hasn't been an issue.

 

I don't understand why you had a bag blow out

 

Several members have 1st gen Tundras  with Hawks.

I have a ATC Bobcat only a little bit lighter then the Hawk.

We have driven over 35K with this combo.

 

If you go to a spring helper have you searched  SuperSprings?

 

Frank


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#6 Wandering Sagebrush

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Posted 18 February 2021 - 08:52 PM

Hi Huckleberry, 

 

Welcome to WTW!  I can’t add anything meaningful to the suspension conversation, but I can help you with issues when your phone posts for you.  You do have the ability to edit a post.  There is a faint “Edit” along the bottom of the box around your comment.  Click on it and fix or add as needed.  If you have any problems, feel free to send any of us on the site team a message.  We can figure it out together.


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#7 Huckleberry

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Posted 18 February 2021 - 09:33 PM

Huckleberry,welcome to the cult.

I also have a 1st gen Tundra AC cab 2002. It has the TRD options.
I installed air bags and run them at about 25/30# left and
about 20# right. My camper is on the truck100% of the time.

The air pressure I use keeps the truck level and hasn't been an issue.

I don't understand why you had a bag blow out

Several members have 1st gen Tundras with Hawks.
I have a ATC Bobcat only a little bit lighter then the Hawk.
We have driven over 35K with this combo.

If you go to a spring helper have you searched SuperSprings?

Frank


Hey Frank,

Do you have any lift on the rear or does that 25/30# just keep you at factory ride height?

And my bag blowout came from improper instal of my daystar airbag cradle. Which was 100% my fault.

I have not looked into super springs but I will now

Thank you,
Jason
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#8 Huckleberry

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Posted 18 February 2021 - 09:36 PM

Hi Huckleberry,

Welcome to WTW! I can’t add anything meaningful to the suspension conversation, but I can help you with issues when your phone posts for you. You do have the ability to edit a post. There is a faint “Edit” along the bottom of the box around your comment. Click on it and fix or add as needed. If you have any problems, feel free to send any of us on the site team a message. We can figure it out together.


Awesome! Thank you very much for the info! What a great site!
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#9 JHanson

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Posted 18 February 2021 - 09:55 PM

Yes, the camper stays on 99% of the time. Originally I didn’t go with the new leaf pack in order to save money but after buying sumo springs, air bags, an add a leaf, and airbag spacers , I’ve probably spent more than the leaf pack.

Do you think at this point it would make sense to remove the airbag spacers until I purchase a new leaf pack or upgrade to a 3/4 ton. :)

I don’t take many technical 4wd trials but I spend a lot of time on dirt roads that sometimes require a bit of flex.

 

Yes. Give up and buy an F350. :-)

 

I've been down that road of "saving money." I'd leave the spacers on for now to improve the ride, and seriously consider a new set of springs given that the camper is essentially permanent. You'll be much happier. I've often thought (and written) that the ideal setup for a permanently mounted camper would be a set of springs that exactly leveled the truck with the camper empty—as you might drive it around town or on day excursions—with a set of air bags to fine-tune the attitude when you load up with water, food, etc. for a long trip.


Edited by JHanson, 19 February 2021 - 03:39 AM.

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#10 Casa Escarlata Robles Too

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Posted 18 February 2021 - 11:24 PM

Jason,the air bags take the truck up to the non camper height.

 

The truck is level. I like the ride.

Frank


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