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custom springs questions

suspension springs ATC Tacoma

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#1 Grvlrdr

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Posted 23 February 2023 - 02:41 AM

Hi all, I'm in the queue to get an ATC Bobcat on my Toyota Tacoma in a couple months, and am looking at suspension upgrades. I'm thinking about going with custom springs from Alcan Springs. If you have any experience with using Alcan springs or other custom springs, I'd like to hear from you. When I talked with Lew at Alcan, he recommended adding shackles and hangers, which does add to the cost. Is this something others have done and something you recommend or just an upsell? 

 

I am not mechanically inclined, so I'm looking for a set it and forget it option rather than airbags. Plus it looks like airbags may not help with the additional weight of the camper.

 

Thanks in advance for any help or recommendations.


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#2 57Pan

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Posted 23 February 2023 - 04:01 PM

I have old man emu mild (ARB) lift with their heavier than stock springs on the rear of my Tacoma. I’m also using airbags. It feels a little mushy without airbags when camper is on, and when camper is off I lower airbag pressure to minimum, for a better ride. I also have a fully equipped Bobcat camper.
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#3 JHanson

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Posted 24 February 2023 - 03:26 AM

If you're planning to leave the camper on all the time, custom springs are the best approach, and Alcan makes very good springs. Not sure why they would recommend changing shackles, and not sure what you mean by "hangers."

 

Air bags can easily compensate for the weight of a camper, but you lose some compliance and add complexity. They're really best if you plan to remove the camper between trips.


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#4 Grvlrdr

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Posted 25 February 2023 - 02:05 AM

57Pan and JHanson, I starting to rethink the custom springs as I'm not positive I want to leave the camper on full time. Any recommendations for air bags? 

 

I didn't know what the hangers were either, but I found them online.


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#5 Cpt Davenport

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Posted 25 February 2023 - 02:46 AM

I have super springs on my Chevy 1/2 ton and they carry the load of the camper. They only engage when the camper is on. Nice ride with it off. I do also have FS ride rite bags to level the load and they help when fully loaded for a trip. They make super springs for Tacomas. Just another option.
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#6 57Pan

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Posted 25 February 2023 - 03:15 PM

I have Firestone airbags. They have been trouble free for about five years.
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#7 Grvlrdr

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Posted 25 February 2023 - 03:39 PM

I have old man emu mild (ARB) lift with their heavier than stock springs on the rear of my Tacoma. I’m also using airbags. It feels a little mushy without airbags when camper is on, and when camper is off I lower airbag pressure to minimum, for a better ride. I also have a fully equipped Bobcat camper.

Did you do the lift with extra springs to carry the Bobcat, or because you wanted extra lift? I'm trying to figure out if airbags are enough, or should I beef up the leaf springs as well?


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#8 Cpt Davenport

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Posted 25 February 2023 - 03:56 PM

If adding air bags, it is a good idea to also instal Daystar cradles. These allow the truck to maintain maximum wheel travel without ripping the bag off its mount. For a complete system slap a sway bar back there as well. Hellwig makes a good one. 

 

Air bags are also great for leveling the truck when you park to camp. Just make sure to leave at least 5 psi in each bag and don't forget to re-inflate before you get back on the road.

 

I prefer the belt and suspender approach of springs AND airbags combo. If for some reason an airbag fails, my super springs can carry the load until the bag gets replaced. 


Edited by Cpt Davenport, 25 February 2023 - 04:12 PM.

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#9 57Pan

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Posted 25 February 2023 - 05:09 PM

I originally did the lift first, before I had my Bobcat camper. I have to believe that the stock springs would be too lite. I definitely feel the weight of the camper on my truck, but with the set up I have it does handle good.
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#10 bajaphile

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Posted 01 March 2023 - 02:55 PM

With a Tacoma, I would most definitely get some custom springs to handle the extra weight. You don't have to go full extra HD or anything, but should get some with more spring rate to offset the weight. 

 

Airbags are a nice to have, and recommended. However, relying on only airbags is probably not wise. 

 

I too have had the Firestone bags in combination of HD springs and it is awesome. I usually only add about 10-15 psi when fully loaded and 5 psi (minimum recommended) when unloaded. I have yet to have a failure or have any other failures on the Firestone bags on my fathers truck and 2 friends trucks that I have installed them on. People are weary of bags from the AirLift days - they were notorious for leaking. 


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