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Old 04-30-2023, 10:16 PM #1
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Adding rear airbag suspension for towing? (V8 Sport edition)

My 2004 V8 Sport edition does pretty well with towing my 6000 lb boat+trailer, but the 19 year old springs and substantial tongue weight are making the rear sag significantly.

I don't really want to lift my 4runner (I don't off road), but want to ensure it's level while towing for best performance and avoiding trailer tire wear.

My friend suggested an airbag kit like this:

1998-2023 Toyota 4Runner - Firestone Coil-Rite Air Bag Helper Springs (NO-DRILL) [REAR] [4135] | $121.15 | SD Truck Springs | Leaf Springs, Helper Springs and Suspension Parts

Has anyone done something like this? Would you recommend it or should I look at stiffer replacement springs / lift kit? Would like to keep to <1k if possible but honestly pretty clueless when it comes to suspension work.
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Old 04-30-2023, 11:49 PM #2
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Try Timbren SES first. Cheaper and way easier to install.
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Old 05-01-2023, 12:51 AM #3
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Old Man Emu

Old Man Emu Suspension (07-09 FJ & 03-09 4Runner) - OME-FJ4R

Front Shocks:
2 x 90021 - Old Man Emu Nitrocharger Sport Front Shock - Softer Valving - Single
Trim Packer:
1 x OME95PF5 - OME Trim Packer
Front Coils:
1 x OME-885 - Old Man Emu Front Coils
Assembly with new top mounts and bushings/washers:
1 x TMP-05 - Top Mount Kit (includes assembly)
Front diff drop kit:
1 x RM83011 / TAC-DR-05 - Toytec Front Differential Drop Kit - 05+Tacoma, 03+4Runner, 07-14 FJ Cruiser, 03+GX
Rear Coils:
1 x OME-895E - Old Man Emu Rear Springs
Rear Shocks:
2 x 60004 - Old Man Emu Nitrocharger Sport Rear Shock (07-09 FJ, 03-09 4Runner, 03-09 GX470) - Single
Add rear shock stone guards:
1 x OME661 - OME Rear Shock Stone Guards

$1282.37 in the cart - setup I'm running and it has served me very well! Good Luck!
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Old 05-01-2023, 09:27 AM #4
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mine was sagging pretty bad with the old suspension, upgraded to ome/bilstein combo and went ahead and installed the airbags as well. rides and tows extremely well with the airbags compared to how it was previously. install is super easy.
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Old 05-01-2023, 04:50 PM #5
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I put Timbrens on the front of a truck I installed a plow on. Kept the front up but made the ride harsh. I've used Airlift 1000's on a van in the past for towing a camper. Love the adjustability and ride they gave.

2004 Toyota 4runner 4 WHEEL DRIVE Air Bag Suspension Kits | Air Lift Company
Amazon.com
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Old 05-03-2023, 12:18 AM #6
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I agree with Mike. Prior to lifting my 03 limited V8 I added the airlift 1000ís Same as the link provided. I could air them down for a comfortable ride, and then air them up just a bit to level things out when I was towing my Casita RV.
Things to know. You have to cut down the original bump stop, and I had to enlarge a hole in the center or the spring seat for the air line to run through comfortably. Iíve run this setup for probably 12 years. A couple years ago I switched to Firestone air bags as there was a longer version I needed when I added a Dobinsons lift and had a longer spring in the back. Image is of the Firestone bag.
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Adding rear airbag suspension for towing? (V8 Sport edition)-0b421cb6-548c-42f6-94ef-40b322341f85-jpg  Adding rear airbag suspension for towing? (V8 Sport edition)-320103e4-c071-4ae9-a79f-fa6e37073dca-jpg 
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Old 05-03-2023, 05:52 PM #7
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Thanks all. Sounds like airbags are a viable way to go.

Timbren SES (bump stops) seem similar in price to air bags and a less versatile more bandaid solution. Think I can handle the slightly harder install of the airbags!

Gamblin4Runner ó your setup sounds great! But want to avoid an entire suspension overhaul if possible.

daprotege5 ó which Bilsteins are you running?

GBagwell ó good info on installation. Did you replace / upgrade your springs or shocks, or strictly an Airbag addition? Trying to determine if I need to replace/upgrade the springs and shocks or if Airbags alone will work.
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Old 05-04-2023, 09:19 AM #8
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if you want to do it even cheaper, you can stuff a football and air it up. but the firestone airbags are a good choice when it comes to installation. if your suspension is old and worn, consider new springs and shocks. and go from there.
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Old 05-04-2023, 12:56 PM #9
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Sounds like a plan. Is there anything I need to know about XREAS for this? I think my car would have it since it's a Sport edition but I know nothing about what this means re: effect on suspension jobs.
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Old 05-04-2023, 02:12 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apv97 View Post
My 2004 V8 Sport edition does pretty well with towing my 6000 lb boat+trailer, but the 19 year old springs and substantial tongue weight are making the rear sag significantly.

I don't really want to lift my 4runner (I don't off road), but want to ensure it's level while towing for best performance and avoiding trailer tire wear.
Do you use a weight distribution hitch? I pull a 6,000 lb. Airstream with my 04 T4R V8 and it's pretty level, even with 730 lbs. on the hitch. I use an Equalizer hitch and once it get it dialed in correctly it's fairly easy to hook up and go. My opinion is that air bags will make your T4R level but it's not adding anything to support the additional weight. A WDH moves some of the weight off the rear axle and put it on the front and trailer axle(s).

Another nice think about a WDH is you don't have to modify the vehicle at all. You just make adjustments to the hitch. When you're finished towing you just remove the hitch.

I have a Sports Edition also. The X-REAS shocks were standard on the SE. I've never had a problem with mine and the T4R tows the Airstream very well. Cornering, turns, lane changes, high winds, it takes it all in stride. I purposely bought the SE because of the X-REAS for their handling capability. If they aren't leaking then they should be fine.
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Old 05-05-2023, 03:10 AM #11
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One of the things to consider is that my 03 limited V8 is a 4wd and has a 5000 pound tow limit, and a 500 tongue weight limit. The hitch connection to the frame is different than on some of the 2wds from back in the day. The 2nd had I think 7000 pound limit and a more substantial hitch,
I didnít feel the weight distribution hitch was the right way to go for me, also considering some of the dirt roads I travel and wanting a bit more flexibility at the hitch connection. And my trailer fully loaded is less that 4000 and less than 300 tongue weight on the hitch.
Just an FYI on what I run.
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Old 05-05-2023, 08:28 AM #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apv97 View Post
Thanks all. Sounds like airbags are a viable way to go.

Timbren SES (bump stops) seem similar in price to air bags and a less versatile more bandaid solution. Think I can handle the slightly harder install of the airbags!

Gamblin4Runner ó your setup sounds great! But want to avoid an entire suspension overhaul if possible.

daprotege5 ó which Bilsteins are you running?

GBagwell ó good info on installation. Did you replace / upgrade your springs or shocks, or strictly an Airbag addition? Trying to determine if I need to replace/upgrade the springs and shocks or if Airbags alone will work.
bilstein 5100 w/ ome springs w/ the airlift 1000
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Old 05-05-2023, 09:14 AM #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GBagwell View Post
One of the things to consider is that my 03 limited V8 is a 4wd and has a 5000 pound tow limit, and a 500 tongue weight limit. The hitch connection to the frame is different than on some of the 2wds from back in the day. The 2nd had I think 7000 pound limit and a more substantial hitch,
I didnít feel the weight distribution hitch was the right way to go for me, also considering some of the dirt roads I travel and wanting a bit more flexibility at the hitch connection. And my trailer fully loaded is less that 4000 and less than 300 tongue weight on the hitch.
Just an FYI on what I run.
The '03 models didn't have the frame hitch like later model Gen 4s. I was going to buy an '03 and something came up that diverted funds elsewhere, so I ended up with the '04 and a better hitch. However, hitches can be upgraded.

My '04 4X4 has a 7,000/700 towing capacity. The 4X2 is slightly higher. I know of a company in Canada that is well known to Airstreamers, Can-Am RV. One of the people in the group had his V6 Sienna modified to tow a 28' model. (mine is 23')
Towing Expertise | Introduction - Airstreams | Campers London | Travel Trailers for sale
The Toads of Towed Haul
Towed Haul

He doesn't maintain his sites anymore. He had the story "You can't tow that with this" posted but I can't find it now. Can-Am RV has a lot of Airstreamer business; good company.
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Old 05-07-2023, 11:30 PM #14
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ArthurKotb - not using an aftermarket WDH. But mine has the beefier hitch rated for 7000 lbs. She tows pretty well! My concern is more for the trailer tires wearing poorly and the hitch dragged on inclines with the tongue being too low. Don't think my XREAS is leaking as I haven't noticed anything "wrong" with the suspension.

GBagwell - Not sure on my tongue weight, but the loaded boat + trailer weighed in at 6000 lbs on a truck scale last fall.
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Old 05-08-2023, 01:12 AM #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apv97 View Post
ArthurKotb - not using an aftermarket WDH. But mine has the beefier hitch rated for 7000 lbs. She tows pretty well! My concern is more for the trailer tires wearing poorly and the hitch dragged on inclines with the tongue being too low. Don't think my XREAS is leaking as I haven't noticed anything "wrong" with the suspension.

GBagwell - Not sure on my tongue weight, but the loaded boat + trailer weighed in at 6000 lbs on a truck scale last fall.
If you want to maintain your factory ride quality and height with no load on the rear and be able to tow a load with no sagging you would need variable rate coils. I don't recommend airbags.
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