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Air Helper Springs

Discussion in '40- & 55-Series Tech' started by ducktapeguy, Feb 27, 2007.

  1. ducktapeguy

    ducktapeguy

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    Has anyone used the Air Helper springs in combination with the stock leaf springs in the rear? Something similar to this

    http://www.qualitybumper.com/suspension/ride_rite.asp#model_selection

    Right now, my cruiser rides almost level without the top and unloaded. Once I add the top, auxilliary tank, camping gear, etc., that will add another 600-900 lbs, and will make the rear end squat. I don't really want to add lift springs or heavier springs because that would affect the unloaded ride. I was just looking for something to help support the weight for the few times a year I will have it fully loaded.

    Also, I've only found applications for 79+ land cruisers. How different are they from a 75 FJ40? Seems like it would be pretty similar, any problems that I might encounter?

    I thought this had been covered before, but I've tried searching every combination of air spring, air shocks, air suspension, air bag, etc, and can't find anything related specifically to the 40. A few threads on the coil air bags, and some threads in the hardcore corner relating to swapping out the springs with air springs, but I can't seem to find anything specifically on helper springs.
     
  2. dgangle

    dgangle total rice SILVER Star

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    I have not used but am familiar with these for some other applications. I have the same situation as you describe with the weight differences.

    I can think of some potential problems with a SUA axle Fj40, namely the relative small amount of space available between the axle and the frame rail. I guess anything can be fabricated with the right plans and tools but one would have to design their own mounting system, I would think inboard of the frame on each side. This could necessitate some real creativity, especially on the passenger side with the offset diff housing... Just some thoughts.

    But then again, nothing ever seems to bolt right on to our +30 year old vehicles!
     
  3. Fast Eddy

    Fast Eddy

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    I was thinking right under the frame rail on each side to get furter from the diff and brake line 'T'.

    I think the bag might limit your articulation on anything more than stock height.
     
  4. greenmonster304

    greenmonster304

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    I have those very air bags on my 05 tacoma and they work very well to level off the truck when it has a load on but they make it ride a little rough. one thing i might change on mine is to put both air bags on one shrader valve so they inflate together. i think fast eddie might be right about the articulation if you are going to wheel the thing. my tacoma stays on the road most of the time so that hasn't been a problem for me
     
  5. theo

    theo

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    I have 2 sets - 1 on a 1/2 ton '84 F150 and a lighter version on an '04 Dakota. They work great for onroad load leveling. I put 2.1 tons in the Ford and the air bags handled it. (Hard to steer with the front end off the ground though, and I suppose I shortened the life of my axles by a few years.) The Dakota carries a slide-in camper part time and the light version is fine for that.

    But like these guys have said, I think you may kill your articulation. Also, there are subtle differences from year to year, mostly because of clearance issues. If they don't list the '79+ to fit earlier FJ40s there may be a good reason.

    Also, plumbing them together is a bad idea in my opinion; the air will "slosh" from left to right on corners and the truck will wallow like a cabin cruiser.
     
  6. ducktapeguy

    ducktapeguy

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    Thanks for all the help. Spent some time looking under my FJ, and it is a lot more complicated than I first thought, I guess that's why you don't hear about more people running this setup. I just realized that these air bags are meant to be mounted outside the frame, so the leaf springs have to be mounted outboard of the frame also. Unfortunately our land cruisers have that tapered frame where the springs aren't directly underneath, but not exactly outside either. There's also not enough room between the tire and the frame make custom mounts, and like you guys mentioned, the offset diff creates other problems. It does look possible to mount it inside the frame, but it's still going to require quite a bit of modification to make it work.

    Guess I'll be looking into a full length add-a-leaf or heavier rear springs.

    Also, a lot of people say the air springs will kill the articulation, but is it because of the added spring rate or because of clearance issues that prevent full travel? Because it shouldn't be any worse than heavier springs or add-a-leaf, right? at least you can lower the air pressure and get the springs rates back to normal when you need it. There was some suggestions about plumbing a solenoid in between the two sides to help with the articulation off road only, but I don't know if anyone has actually tried it.
     
  7. theo

    theo

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    My guess about articulation is based on this: The ones you're looking at appear to be what I have on my older truck. It's been a few years since I installed them, but it seems to me they have a limited range of travel - only as much as the two sections of the bag can expand and contract.

    The lighter duty ones I have on my newer truck can collapse into themselves - something like telescoping - and I think they have longer travel. They're also smaller diameter.

    Both come with warnings that state damage can occur if you don't keep at least 5 psi in them. I think this keeps them from compressing completely flat and damaging the top or bottom plate where the rubber is bonded. You could avoid this with bump stops maybe.

    I looked at the Firestone site and I'm confused now about exactly which sets I own! Pretty sure I have Ride-Rite and Sport-Rite. I can double check tonight if you like. Not sure I can help you with actual travel since my trucks will have different spring rates. I could try I guess.
     
  8. theo

    theo

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    Also, Firestone lists an air shock on their website too. Bilstein with air. You might look into that but I'm betting you won't find much travel there either. These are on-road products me thinks. Good luck.
     
  9. Mal64

    Mal64

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    Just thought i would let you know, i have A bj42 in Australia, I have those or simillar fitted to the rear. I got the kit from a company here called the Air Bag Man. You remove the bump stops and they fit fine. Then you adjust the top plate so that on articulation they dont stop the articulation. I haven't done serious off road but where I have been I have no problems. I have the gear to fit an open close tap in the system to allow the transfer of air fron side to side, but have found no need so far. The ride is good as well, I have a 2" lift ARB old man Emu springs and a lok right lokka in the back as well.

    Hope this helps

    Mal

    Cheers
     
  10. ducktapeguy

    ducktapeguy

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    Hey Mal,

    Do you have pictures of your setup, and a part number from the company? I'd really be interested in seeing your setup. I googled airbag man, it looks like they're a distributor for Firestone products, but they don't have a part number for the land cruisers. Did you have it installed, or did you do it yourself?

    Thanks

    Theo,

    I looked at the airshocks, I think they'd probably fit on the land cruisers, but I was worried that the shock mounts (especially the ones attached to the crossmember) might not be strong enough. If all else fails I might go that route though.
     
  11. Mal64

    Mal64

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    Hi Theo

    Unfortunately I have moved states recently so I might have some trouble finding the receipt. I did fit them myself, but had to do some mods to the top bracket, at present I havent really finished it the way I want it, but shall endevour to get you some pics soon. I am busy at present so please be patient

    Mal
     
  12. Benjitis1

    Benjitis1

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    I have a set of Rancho airshocks for sale in the classifieds. 14.5" compressed, 23.5" extended.
     
  13. Mal64

    Mal64

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    My Cruiser and the Airbags

    Unfortunately I have little idea of what I am doing on this sight, But I think I have posted one pic of the Airbag setup. I might try setting up a web Album and posting all my pics on that, then posting a link for you to look at

    cheers

    Mal
    P1000258-1.jpg
     
  14. ducktapeguy

    ducktapeguy

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    Hi Mal,

    Thanks for the pic. Can't wait to see the rest of them. How is that top mount attached to the frame?
     
  15. Mal64

    Mal64

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    I have to admit, I have been slack, The kit came with the plate you see at the top and 2 square U bolts and a top plate for above the chassis. Now I haven't lifted my body so I couldn't fit the top plate so I could fit the front U bolt without the top plate , but then I used a small piece of square square tube and a bolt hole from the bump stop mount, Ultimately I will be welding a couple plates attached only to the plate you see there now and running a 2 bolts to pull the plates togetheraround the chassis rail. You might notice the plate below the chassis has a curve in it at the front I had to do this so as to get the plate to fit to the chassis curve. Maybe if you have raised your body you can use the supplied plates and only have to worry about that curve and a means of packing the rear as I have done. The bags do stretch quite a bit but you fit them so the limit of your travel is about the same as your bags. I only really run more than 10 lbs air pressure when I have the old girl fully loaded and then it rides flat. 10 lbs is the min recomended at any time. I might try reducing the some more images further so I can post them on here, so this one will either go or be down sized. I sent a PM with other contact details for where I got the kit, did you get it?

    Cheers

    Mal