Suspension options for 2021 Tacoma 3rd gen short bed when running at max payload limit?

Interested in thoughts and opinions on whether an AAL would be a sufficient upgrade to my stock 2021 TRD off road with Bilstein suspension given my estimated payload below, or whether I need to make more significant adjustments. Alternatively do you think I could run stock for a bit with minimal sag? I am not planning a lift and intend to continue to run stock 16” rims and 265/70/16 tires (possibly 265/75/16 as my next set).

My daily weight will range between 700-945 lb and fully loaded for trips should be approx 1100 I think.

GFC 275.
Skids 60.
Driver 175.
Passenger 115.
Dog 70.
Bike rack 50.
Fuel 150.
Daily gear 50.

2x MTB 65.
Trip Gear 100.

Daily weight 700-945.
Loaded weight 1110.

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I’m in the exact same boat as you - considering options as I accumulate gear and add on things like awnings, solar panels, etc. I’ll be watching this thread to see what everyone thinks, but in the meantime, you may want to read this GFC Blog post if you haven’t already.

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There are a ton of similar topics on the forum here, recommend searching “Tacoma Suspension”.

With that, you can always run stock and see how it does, but just by numbers it seems like it’ll sag…a lot.

I have Icon RXT leaf springs in the rear at Option 3 with Fox 2.0s, Fox 2.5s in front. Constant weight in the bed around 600#.

Thanks, felt my set up was fairly bare bones but quickly adds up. I’ve not picked up my camper yet so this is more about future planning. Was hoping to avoid a costly suspension overhaul. AAL on stock would my preference, just wasn’t sure if this would be enough. Thanks for your insight.

An AAL combined with an airbag will probably be fine if you want to keep it relatively stock and aren’t planning on sustained and/or rough dirt roads. Definitely the cheapest and least intensive modification.


Thanks, would be forestry roads primarily and not anticipating any extreme off road scenarios.

I went with Bilsteins 5160 & 6112 in addition to Icon Stage 3 Leafs. I have no trouble but I am not regularly at the payload limit the way you’re expecting. In your situation I would probably go for Deaver Stage 3 leafs which are rated 700-1000lbs

I run dead level with an empty GFC. With any additional load it starts sagging. I have Sumo Springs for now that keep it pretty steady up to my typical ~few hundred pounds of fridge and gear for a trip.

You will probably be sitting on your bump stops if you dont do at a minimum the AAL. Even with that you will probably squat.

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I’d suggest getting leafs consistent with your daily weight load. Probably deaver stage 2 or 3 would be best, IMO. Talk to deaver about differences in how the truck will ride. Upgrade the front slightly to bilstein 5100 as they are adjustable. With that, I think you’ll be fine.

My 2 cents…


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The Deaver Stage series springs are all designed to give 2” of lift WITH the appropriate weight range they are designed for. You would need longer shocks and bump stop spacers too. If you don’t lift the front, you will have a crazy stink bug rake.

Thanks, is it correct that the leaf pack should be selected based on the weight that affects the rear of the truck, not the overall weight (I.e. passengers and gear in cab)? The bed would then have daily 530lb approx (GFC 275, bike rack 60, fuel 150, misc gear 50).

My understanding is that the rear axle is more affected by bed weight than the front. The front axle is mainly affected by engine weight. I’d defer to deaver for the leaf spring discussion. I went with dakar medium leafs only because I live in a small town and was limited by availability in Albuquerque. No one seemed to be able to get deavers. The dakars are fine, but I’d like a little more. As Flex states, you may need some longer shocks. I’m unsure, but deaver would certainly know. I’m happy with my bilstein shocks up front (kept my oem coils and UCAs). I upped my leafs with the dakars and went with brand matching OME shocks in the rear with the leafs. I don’t remember if that was required or if I just did that. My truck has a nearly stock stance with mildly upgraded suspension. Its been fine. Even rattling around baja has been fine…

Good luck.

Just re-read your post. The overall weight certainly affects suspension, but I believe that the main concerns with overall curb weight are braking distance and overall stability. I may be opening a TW can of worms here… Out on the dirt at slow speeds, bed weight has been the biggest factor for the leafs in my experience. Folks who are carrying a bunch of weight should probably also upgrade their calipers and rotors up front.


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Thanks, this is definitely starting to feel a lot more complicated than I thought lol. I’ll consult with a shop and update this thread when I decide what to do. A suspension upgrade would be super nice, just wasn’t something I planned to invest in until my stock wears out.

Its really not complicated, I don’t think… I’m not telling you what to do, but you could think of this whole thing this way… Once your OEM stuff wears out you’re going to need to make these same decisions. One caveat to doing this early is you can sell your OEM stuff to another owner before its worn out. I’m not sure how new your rig is… I changed out my stuff right away and made some of my money back by selling my 3rd gen taco stuff to a 2nd gen guy who wanted to upgrade his stuff. I made him a good deal so it was a win-win. I didn’t have to deal with a saggy wagon bouncing off the bumpstops, and the other guy spruced up his mall crawler. What you decide to do and when you decide to do it is completely up to you, of course. Chat with deaver or whomever. I’m sure you’ll be fine whatever you do.


Just saw you’re a '21 TRDOR. You could definitely sell any parts you change out if you so desire. There are Sport guys that want the OR stock stuff. At least around here…

Just sayin’


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I’m carrying 600 lb bed weight daily driver 20 Pro. I installed the Deaver Stage II, but just too much rake with the 2” lift, taking the Fox shocks out of the equation, not interested in anything other than stock rims and tires. I went back to OEM leafs the almost new Deavers collecting dust in the garage. I was thinking of dropping down to the Stage I, postulating that I would pull down the 2” rake with the 600 lb daily driver and the 850 lb forest service road activity. During the OEM leaf reinstall, I added airbags with cups, currently running less than 10 psi and while I have no sag, the ride over speed bumps is miserable. I played around with psi and can’t find any pressure that works.

I have a 2nd Gen, started with 6112 with 650# springs in front and Deaver stage II in the back with 5160’s. Turns out I ended up carrying more weight than I thought so changed to stage III’s. In the dirt it rides decent, forest roads prefers to go 35 -50 mph. I like the setup, have thought about going to a 2 stage setup with Fox or Kings, but don’t want to spend the money right now. I like this setup and feel it was a good value.

I daily around 900 lbs and had to upgrade to Deaver stage 3. They’re great. Get a little squeaky at times when dirt gets in between the leafs but nothing a power washer doesn’t solve.

I initially had an Icon AAL on my truck with my 1st RTT (prior to GFC) and after a couple years of good abuse, those things were flat as a pancake. I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone who will do any sort of wheeling in their truck. Deaver springs will be rated for bed weight and not overall gvwr/payload capacity fyi.

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