Airbag Discussion

This thread is for those who are running airbags, or have run airbags and chose to change, or are considering airbags.

Most mid-size truck owners (Tacoma) do mods to support the added weight of the GoFast. Did a search, see great discussions on suspension mods, some that touch on airbags, but nothing dedicated to airbags. Wanted to start a dedicated, searchable thread.

If you went with airbags, why? What do you like? What do’t you like? If you ran bags and decided to change, how come? Favorite tips, tricks, associated upgrades? Drawbacks, least favorite things?

Go.

i went with Firestone Ride Rite airbags for one reason. They enabled me to maintain stock height which allows me to still park in my garage. I have about 1" clearance with my less than 7’ garage door clearance. They have no problem carrying the GFC and camping load.

It depends on how much you plan to wheel with your truck, and what kind of ride height you want. If you have stock taco suspension, it’ll be fine. You won’t notice it too much. It’ll ride a little stiffer, but the stock tacos are already pretty stiff.

I have a raptor, and went back and forth on whether I wanted to put airbags in, or go with new coils and leaf springs. I ultimately decided on doing suspension mods instead of airbags for a couple reasons.

  1. Airbags will minimize your wheel travel, since they don’t allow the truck to move all the way through the suspension. If you’re running an aftermarket suspension lift, then you’ll definitely notice it, and it will impact the ride. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide how much you care about the ride characteristics.

  2. Depending how much you wheel your truck, what style of driving you’re doing, and how fast you’re going, it’s usually best to stay away from airbags. They won’t ride well off road (due to the stiffness), and could potentially minimize how much flex you can get with your suspension (more important if you’re rock crawling).

There are other reasons to stay away from them too, but these are the reasons that influenced me the most.

If all you’re looking for is less sag when your truck is loaded, then they’re a great solution though.

Maybe just me and BS2000.

Here’s my take. Will preface this by saying up front that I have not yet dropped the GoFast in the back. I did, however, spend a year living out of a rooftop tent on a Jeep all over North America. Had a good idea what I wanted going into this.

Build is lightweight camping for access to fly fishing, rock climbing, trail running, etc. Lots of long distance on highway. Off road for me is a means to another end, not the goal in itself. Stock truck is about adequate for all the off road travel I need to worry about. I don’t shy away from pushing it a bit, enough that I will be adding sliders (going lightweight as I can and still be functional there too). But stock truck does it so far without contact.

Picked the GoFast b/c I just got tired of dealing with rooftops, especially in rainy climates. Too hard to tie flies, cook, generally stay comfortable when the weather really comes in. GoFast was the lightest solution I could find.

Picked airbags for the following reasons. Wanted to stay around stock height for daily driving, rhododendron choked trails to boulder fields, etc. Gas mileage is important to me for many reasons, so 33" tires and suspension are a negative without much positives in my particular case. Recognize need to avoid sag in the back with the weight of the camper, but trips to the scales thus far confirm my bar napkin math - with pax, full gas tank, and equipment I’m just not going to go over GVWR. After adding 300lbs presumed GoFast weight, heaviest load for 5 days still keeps me about 200lbs under, and that heaviest load is just never going to happen in real life.

Went with Firestone RideRite with Daystar cradles. This setup preserves all the articulation I will need in the suspension, and ticks the boxes outlined above.

Figure on reporting again after the final piece (GoFast itself - kind of important) is in place.

Guess I’m surprised there aren’t more operating under similar conditions.

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@Rob I’m also running Daystar Cradles with the airbags.

Any tips or tricks you’ve picked up? What are you using to air up?

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I’ve got a 1" dowel rod cut to stick under the edge of my rear wheel wells to verify I"m at stock height. I air the left and right sides separately. Just a personal preference. You could set up one line to feed both sides. I’ve found they take different pressures to be level side to side. I just use a bicycle floor pump to air up the airbags. It doesn’t take much to air them up and with my 20 year old floor pump I can do it loaded if need be.

@bs2000 Also using a bike pump. Just can’t justify weight of an on-board pump system. Never really air down tires for offroad. Gonna steal your idea of a gauge for ride height.

Anyone have any suggestions for figuring out what the height was before the GFC? Didn’t know that I should have measured beforehand

What truck/gen do you have? I have a third gen taco that’s still stock and I’ll take a measurement for you if ya want

Appreciate that. I’m in a 17 f150 though.

My internet searching seems to indicate that the factory rake is about 2.5 in. So I’d think I can just get close enough to that

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Sorry I can’t help! Best of luck

Here’s my measurements for a 2019 TRD OR AC LB.

Stock
RF 21"
LF 21"
RR 21.5"
LR 21.5"

After GFC
RF 20.85"
LF 20.85"
RR 20.5"
LR 20.5"

After GFC & new suspension (dry)
RF 22.25"
LF 22.25"
RR 22.5"
LR 22.5"

New suspension consists of OME medium leaf springs mated to OME rear shocks. Front are bilstein 5100s set at notch 4. So I’m basically still stock with the 5100s adjusted for the new rear spring height as it supports the GFC.
So far, so good. The springs don’t seem to sag much loaded for camping, but I feel the bumpstops occasionally.

Peace.

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Oh, forgot to mention that the measurements are hub center to top of fender opening.

:v:

Ha! Just saw that you’re in an f150. Maybe my numbers will be helpful, but prolly not.

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Hey all I have a 1st gen taco and am runnin ride right on mine mostly for hauling firewood with a trailer. I do have a 3 inch OME lift and I love my air bags. Bottom of the airbags are free floating and just rest in a daystar cradle. This still gives me full articulation. I also do have onboard air installed and my airbags have installed airlines going to the compressor. I have also installed switches and preassure guages so that I can be driving down the road and if I need to adjust the pressure I can on the fly. I really like the ability the airbags give me to help level out my rig when camping and being able to do it with just a switch is super nice. Before I got my GFC I was running an old fiberglass shell and it was considerably heavier then the GFC. Now that I have my GFC I will say that I still love my airbags. They don’t need to do much with the GFC but with everything else that goes with overland weight does add up.

I have a GFC and stock suspension. I originally bought the airbags to buy me some time until I upgrade my suspension. So I don’t currently have the day star cradles, but I love the airbags. Also no compressor yet.

But damn. I never thought about using the airbags for leveling out the bed. That’s a great idea!

I’m also encountering some suspension bottoming out with the GFC and a full load of camping gear. (stock 2018 DC LB Tacoma Offroad).The Firestone Riderite with Daystar Cradles sound like a good solution. However, I was digging around on the Web and found that in 2014 Firestone issued a warning that Daystar Cradles shouldn’t be used with their Riderite airbags. Does anyone know where things stand with this?

Here’s a link: https://www.truckspring.com/blog/post/2014/06/13/firestone-issues-warning-on-use-of-daystar-air-bag-cradles-with-ride-rite-air-bag-kits

Only my opinion given here. The warning makes perfect sense for a corporation from a liability stand point and most likely can be backed up with safety data. If one plans to wheel hard off road then the airbags and daystar cradles combination seems like a real safety risk. My use of this setup does not involve hard fast offroad driving.

Thanks for your reply bs2000. What you say makes sense. My off-roading is slow and deliberate and - as Rob said above - is a means to an end. I would think the airbags + cradles would be the solution for my needs. Thanks, guys!