Am I too heavy? - Rear Airbags needed?

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Feb 2, 2007

I need some advice. I am sure that a lot of you have seen the pictures of my truck in this thread:

I have had a couple people express concerns about the load. I have the BDS lift kit and I don't intend to replace it as I know that it offers excellent on-road manners and it is quite new. I am looking for feedback on whether I am too heavy and what I can do about it.

I will be carrying two spares (one in factory location, one on the kaymar), 3 - 5 gal fuel cans on the kaymar bumper, Two 20 L bladders in the quarter panels filled with water, ARB roof rack with Roof top tent, the inflatable and motor on the roof rack (240# total), the ARB fridge and a cooler in the cargo area along with tools, fluids, clothes, snorkling gear, etc.

In general, I am not concerned about the load, but apparently this is pushing the capacity of the BDS springs. What do you guys think? Are airbags an option?

That is a huge load! Good on ya!

Air bags would definetely be an option for you but I think cheaper would be a set of helper springs like are used on full size rigs for towing. They've got a U-bolt on each end that tightens it to the factory spring pack. Just a suggestion. You might PM Bob Bancroft, who I believe is BlueHZJ or something similar, I know he has dealt with a saggin' wagon plenty.
I know this isn't constructive but...

I was unaware that Baja was conducive to looks like you could save about 250lbs by leaving the boat and associated gear at home.
Boat is going.. It is mainly for island exploring, not just snorkling. But, the Sea of Cortez has some fantastic snorkling. We will be driving all the way to Cabo and will have six weeks to find the best spots.

There's a helper spring, and for the life of me right now I can't recall the name, but it basically strengthens the existing spring as weight is needed. When there's no additional weight, there's no input by the helper and no lift or deterioration of the ride. It basically just sits there.

I'll see if I can get the name of it and post back unless someone else knows what I'm talking about?

I read all the info about air shocks. I read several things indicating that coil-over lift on the front was a bad idea, but noone giving opinions about the rear. I really like the tunability of air shocks or air bags. I don't want to increase lift, only level the truck for the trip. That said with a lot of bad roads in our future, the air shocks will definately take a beating. And, a lot of off roading gives me concern on the air bags because they limit articulation.

The AALs concern me because they aren't tunable. The rear is already higher that the front. I don't want to make that worse by adding a leaf. Anybody know what Code Red is refering to? It sounds like a rugged solution that is also tunable!

Thanks for the input!
After a little more research, I found several articles about the Hellwig helper springs. I have looked at the Hellwig Application Catalogue an it doesn't look like they support the FJ60 application. But, it does appear that SOR sells a similar type for the FJ60. The price is very reasonalble and I like that they are adjustable. Now I am just trying to figure out if they will work with a 2.5" spring lift such as the BDS on my truck. I like that they can be installed and taken off without messing with the U-bolts.

Any experience with these?

Totally off topic, what's the story on you quarter panel water bladders? Are they totally custom, or available in the aftermarket?

Thanks in advance for the details!

I looked at the Hellwig option. I did buy a set and found that they will not work with aftermarket lifted springs. I would go with air bags. Sounds like a cool trip. Where did you get the 20L water bladders? Mike
If you want so spend a little scrill and get exactly what you want, get your truck wieghed, front and rear, call ALCAN, and tell them what you carry in the back. I know you've heard of em, so I won't go too far but they design the spring to what you need. Ironman springs could hold up the earth, I'll tell you that much. I've had the shocks with the helper coils on them, great for about 10k miles, not so fun after that and a terrible ride without a load. I have installed airbags on a couple vehicles and they help immensely as long as they aren't cheap ones.
This is the spring I was talking about. When not under load, it doesn't effect height or ride.

Doesn't seem to be a direct application to our rigs but I'm going to call the manufacturer on Monday and see whats available?

I really want to go this route with my OME's.

I'll let you know what I find out.

Have a great Easter!:cheers:
Thanks CodeRed, let me know what you hear when you call. I have also emailed Hellwig about their springs for this application.

The water bladders can be seen at:

They are normally not available in the US. If you are interested, let me know and I will see if I can order more along with my shipment!

These days air bag suspension has come a long way, there are several guys that run air bags, some in Alberta. There are units available that will give you as much articulation as your shocks and are adjustible. The only thing is that you need an air compressor and a tank.
Designed right I don't think that airbags will give you any lack of articulation. In fact I think they're tough to beat flex-wise especially with individual controls for each bag. Here's a 'bagged rig W built:

W also runs them on this 55 buggy and I've seen that flex first hand. Of course these are linked rigs. The air over leafs might not flex as well but articulation's not a big deal for me. I'm putting bags on mine for comfort. I want to run soft when unloaded and add air when loaded up for a trip. If I find that they're getting in the way of flex I'll just dump a little air from them when I need to flex. Hopefully I'll get my truck back in the next month or so and able to report on how they work.

What kit did you use?

x3 on the water bladders! how much do they cost? thanx!
I don't have pricing, but I can check into whether or not I can get ARB to import some for us. I think that they will be around $175 each. Let me know if you are interested.


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