Need some custom suspension work done - TTORA Forum
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-22-2011, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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Need some custom suspension work done

I'm hoping you guys can help me out. I've got a 03 4runner that is equipped with a OEM air bag suspension on the rear. It has bags in place of coils, and automatically adjusts to level the vehicle when weight is added. My problem is that the rear is riding really rough, much worse than before. I've been through four new sets of shocks (included OEM's) trying to find something to help the ride. I've determined it's gotta be the bags causing the harsh ride. It's fairly common for these to fail, so it's no surprise.

Most folks just swap to coils and call it a day. There's a little custom work required to get the coils swapped in. I believe you've gotta weld something to the axle to keep the coil from turning, and that's the only mod. My local off road shop isn't interested in doing this, they blew me off (Off Road Tire in Russellville).

What I would hope to be able to do is find someone to do the swap. Secondly, there's a compressor already mounted. I'd really like to retain that feature, so I'd like for them to look at it and see if they could hook the OEM system up to a set of aftermarket bags. I know that's a long shot, but really hoping I can find someone to at least look and see if it's possible.

With that in mind, do any of you guys have any suggestions for a shop to talk to? I've got diagrams of the system and it's components out of the FSM, so I can show them what we're looking at. Any input would be appreciated!
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-23-2011, 06:08 AM
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In no specific order:

Mud Connection in Little Rock
4x4 Offroad Outfitters in LR - Brad Homsley - owner, also president of Arkansas Crawlers
Cabot Tire and Offroad

I've heard good things about these guys for the difficulty level you're thinking. I'd call up Brad first and see if this is something he's interested in doing.

Good luck!

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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-23-2011, 08:06 AM Thread Starter
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Should have mentioned, I'm now in the NLR area, so all those will be local. I'll check into that, thanks for the suggestions!
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-23-2011, 02:03 PM
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you could also try MidArk Offroad or Donnie's Foreign Car

'99 Toyota 4Runner LTD
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-23-2011, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
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Will add those to the list, thanks! I've got two problems, first is finding a shop to do it, and second is how much money it's gonna cost. Some guy sells a conversion kit on ebay, but I don't see how it does the job, plus it's not cheap.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-24-2011, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by ARK_SWAMP_RIDER View Post
Will add those to the list, thanks! I've got two problems, first is finding a shop to do it, and second is how much money it's gonna cost. Some guy sells a conversion kit on ebay, but I don't see how it does the job, plus it's not cheap.
got a link to said conversion, ebay add?

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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-26-2011, 05:42 AM Thread Starter
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Here is the link to the conversion kit.
And here's a discussion on the conversion if you're interested. Page two starts pics on the actual swap.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-26-2011, 06:51 AM
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Conversion kit looks pretty simple.

This is an easy installation kit with no modifications required!

Is that true, or are you reading differently?

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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-26-2011, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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That's what scares me about that kit, too simple. Others who have converted had to weld something in to keep the coil from turning/moving as the mount on the axle is different. I don't see how that small spacer does that, but it may. That company has a very good rep from what I've seen. I emailed them, I'm hoping I can get a kit without coils as I'm gonna run lift coils anyway. We will see.
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-26-2011, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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This shows what I'm talking about. I fail to see how that ebay kit holds the coil in place. Look at this post, it shows what folks have had to do to mount the coils.
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-26-2011, 07:55 PM
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Could you get pics of what YOUR setup looks like? Hard to tell exactly what you need.

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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-26-2011, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
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Yep, I can, may take a day or two though. You can't see much, just air bags. I have the FSM PDF showing the rear air system, but it's too large to attach. I've pulled out a few pics from it I think will help, see it at the bottom of this post. I met up with Josh today and we discussed this. I'm really beginning to think this swap is much more simple than folks are making it. Also, talking to him, I realized that probably 98% of the time I'm running empty and the air bags serve no purpose. I was hoping to get an aftermarket set, but I could really spend that money somewhere else and get much more.

So, right now my parts list is:
Set of coils-I've got a set of OEM 4runner coils found, they're free so can't beat that for a mock up set. I'll eventually get a set of lift coils, OME or Toytec probably.
Spacer: I've got the rear lifted right now using the air bags, since the lift coils will be down the road I can get a 1.5" spacer for $40.
Spring seats/isolators: needed for the coils. I've priced these, $120 for the pair through an online parts store. Really hope to find them cheaper somewhere else.
Coil clips: used to hold the coil in place. Speaking with Josh, I actually think if I could get these I can bolt them in, requiring no custom work at all like I had envisioned. I've found them available here. I'm not sure if I'd need one or two per coil.

If I can do the work, this should be very reasonable to do. I've got the FSM page showing how to remove the air bags. If those coil clips I linked to above fit, all I gotta do is pull the bags, put the coils on, and bolt on the coil clips. If I can get the conversion done with just the spacer lift, I can do the other stuff little at a time until I get the full rear kit I want. Outside of getting the springs seat, this looks like it might be able to be done for about $100. Thoughts?

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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-26-2011, 10:32 PM
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You just need to find some one who is willing to make it work. From what I see, it is to simple, the basic coil mounts are there, you just need to fab something to retain the coils in place. Its a couple hrs work, but could be acomplished easy enough. Wht coils are you planing to run, perhaps the OME that were recomended in those posts?

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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 05:40 AM Thread Starter
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It all depends on how much the swap end up costing as to what I run right now. I've not decided for sure on coils. As mentioned, I'll either do OEM coils with a spacer at first, or I'll go ahead and use lift coils. I really don't wanna do lift coils until I can also get extended length shocks. I'm probably going to do 5100 rears (to match my fronts) and either Toytec Superflex coils or some OME's (I'd be open to others, those are just two I've seen positive things on).
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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 07:02 AM
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Josh is a good source of info. He'd probably fab something up for some Shiner Bock. He loves that beer!

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post #16 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
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Yep, it helped quite a bit just talking things over with him. I spoke with one of the guys from that thread who did the swap, looks like I'm right on track. Its much more simple than I ever dreamed. He had the coil clips welded on. I don't like this, because if I understand it right he won't be able to swap coils very easily. I would like to bolt the clips in. Do u guys think this would work, or would it be unreliable? I think it would work fine, but I'm a newb at this stuff. I don't do any hard off roading in this rig, its a daily driver and I use it off road during hunting season just to get to my hunting spots.

I'm afraid this project will be off to a slow start, but we will see. I'm actually getting married this Saturday, so all my focus is going to be on that for a little while. I'm hoping in a month or two ill have enough money saved back up I can do a full swap like I want instead of just doing a swap with oem coils and a spacer to get by.
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post #17 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
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Josh is a good source of info. He'd probably fab something up for some Shiner Bock. He loves that beer!
I already told him there's at least 3 people (maybe 4) in front of him or I'd help him out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ARK_SWAMP_RIDER View Post
He had the coil clips welded on. I don't like this, because if I understand it right he won't be able to swap coils very easily. I would like to bolt the clips in. Do u guys think this would work, or would it be unreliable? I think it would work fine, but I'm a newb at this stuff.
Don't weld the retainers to the lower bucket. Find a way to bolt them, even if it means welding a nut to the top of the bucket for you to run a bolt into.

The retainers only keep the spring from coming loose from the axle. For what you are doing with this 4Runner, you should have no troubles with the solution you came up with.

Just remember, you need to frame side bumpstops that go inside the coil springs, as they help keep and locate the upper part of the coil.

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post #18 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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Yea, its looking like I can easily do this in my garage, I don't think a shop is needed at all. The only thing I don't have is a welder if one is needed. I'm thinking if I bolt them in those coil clips may not be the right width, but I'm sure it'd be easy enough to make them fit with a chop saw and welder.

Those bumpstops you're talking about, I think I found them on an oline catalog. They're referred to as spring seat and are about $60 each. If it weren't for those, id be doing a trial run in the next week or so. I doubt ill do anything till after the honeymoon, so that gives me a few weeks to plan things out and get parts ordered. I know thisll be a better setup, still gotta get the nerve to ditch the oem air system.

EDIT: found this pic from a GX470. It shows a custom bracket the guy made for holding the coil in place. Seems easy enough, not sure if I should do this is just break down and buy the Jeep coil clips.
http://www.toyota120.com/forum/attac...5&d=1283718546
And here's the thread discussing it with more pics:
http://www.toyota120.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17207

Last edited by ARK_SWAMP_RIDER; 07-27-2011 at 06:13 PM.
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post #19 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
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Figured this deserved a post of it's own, JACKPOT!!!!!
http://www.docstoc.com/docs/26270464...allation-Guide
Very straight forward. I fail to see how their kit actually retails the coil (actually unsure what purpose that adapter serves at all because the coils will sit in the bucket already there). Either way, get the parts (shocks, coils, spring seat, and coil clips/custom bracket) and it should be a piece of cake.
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post #20 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 09:19 PM
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Maybe I'm missing it, but why are you so worried about retaining the coil? This isn't going to be a flex monster. Your links / shocks will likely bind before you have to worry about the coil popping out. And it should drop from the top and not pull up from the bottom. That's why the bumpstop / coil locator on top is so important.

Like Josh said, it'd be pretty simple to fab up a coil retainer plate by welding a nut to that plate and then the little coil tab that you see.

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post #21 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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I guess the retainer is just for safe measure. Even if I use the heavy duty Jeep coil clips I linked to earlier, it's only $20, so why not? I'm not worried about it. If I do the swap, I'll either buy or fab something to hold the coil in place. It's all these so called "conversion kits" that make me nervous, because they do nothing to address this. From what I've been told, the lower cup is much thinner than on a coil spring equipped 4runner. There hardly anything there to keep it in place, thus the retainer is a good idea.

First things first, I've gotta get the wedding/honeymoon over with. By the time things settle down, I'll make my final decision and start getting parts together. In reality, I'm probably looking at a month minimum, but this all depends on how the ride is on the trip (~1500 miles). Something I've noticed, it seems to be speed related. It actually is doing quite well on the interstate, I notice the ride getting rough as speed slows. I'm not worried too much about it. I thought this was a major deal and would need a lot of fab work. After this post, I'm fully ready to tackle it. I'm going to do some more looking at the lower bucket where the coil mounts and find a way to get the retainers held in place, after that it's a piece of cake.

Thanks guys!
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post #22 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-28-2011, 07:04 AM
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Where ya goin for the honeymoon?

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post #23 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-09-2011, 05:41 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm, thought I replied to this, guess not. We went to Gulf Shores, AL for a week. We had a blast, just wasn't long enough!

The ride quality was surprisingly good the whole trip. I'm not sure if putting more miles on the shocks helped (riding on brand new OEM shocks). It's still not as good as I'd hope, but tolerable.

I'm really at a stand still on choosing a setup. I don't off road with this one, but since I'm spending so much anyway, I've very tempted to get a good kit for the rear, and add coil overs to the front in the future. Overland Warehouse makes a good kit from what I hear, I'm looking at $625 for the rear setup. I'm gonna spend close to $500 by the time I buy lift coils and shocks, so might as well go that route. I'm making this decision now, and if I decide to go that route, it may delay things a little.

Either way, the clocks ticking and I'll be ditching the OEM setup. I've got a good idea of what's required and feel I can do it all myself. I am getting a pair of OEM rear coils from a buddy so I can start looking at it and possibly fab/buy the spring retainers. I'm also gonna look at his 4runner to see what the stock coil setup looks like.

Thanks for the input everyone!
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post #24 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-10-2011, 07:40 AM
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I feel like this is a very cheap mod, or maybe I'm missing something.

OEM coils
Retaining tabs

That's it, right?

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post #25 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-10-2011, 11:06 AM Thread Starter
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It could be, and may be at first, very cheap. I've got oem coils for free. Id have to buy retainers and isolators, that's it. However, the only reason I didn't lift more in the first place was because I couldn't with the air bags. Now that I'm ditching them, I have way more options. I need 2" lift in the rear. I may end up doing spacers, but id like lift coils. With the coils, I need longer shocks to take full advantage, so that's where money coming in. All depends on how extreme I decide to go and what will provide the best ride quality.
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post #26 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-10-2011, 11:24 AM
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Ahhh... I see where the money is going. Comprende!

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post #27 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-21-2011, 08:21 AM Thread Starter
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Any of you guys familiar with the Bilstein 5160's with remote reservoirs? I just found these and think they may be the answer to my shock dilemma. Based on comments on another forum, I am really considering the Overland Warehouse 2.0 kit (coilovers front, standard shocks rear, designed specifically for the 4runner at stock weight). However, that's $1500 that could be put into several other mods I've been wanting. I can get the 5160's for about $350, coils for $170 and be at 1/3 the cost of the OW kit. I'm content with my 5100 fronts, but am nervous about the 5100 rears based on some feedback I've been getting (5160's are better in the areas of concern based on what I've read on Jeep forums, but that's a totally different application). Any thoughts?
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post #28 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-30-2012, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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Gonna bump this.

I'm comfortable with the conversion, don't see any issues there. However, there's something I'd like to do and I don't have the knowledge to get it done.

The OEM system automatically adjusts when weight is added. I would like to retain this feature. when I do the swap, I'll just gave to see if I can hook aftermarket bags to the factory system. If that doesn't work, here's where I need help. I currently have a switch, you tap it and it raises/lowers to a preset level. I'd like to convert this so it's manually controlled, ie press and hold the button until desired height is achieved. Do you guys know anyone good with wiring that might be able to do something like this?

I'm hoping to do this project this summer. I know integrating aftermarket parts into the stock system is a long shot, but I really think it should be easy to put a manual switch on the air compressor.

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post #29 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-31-2012, 08:04 PM
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Our GX470 has the same issue with harsh ride--so much so that I press the AHC button right after I turn the ignition key. I let the rears get full or almost full before I hit 20mph and it automatically goes back to "normal" drive height. Works pretty good. Sucks to have to do this each time I get in it, but cheaper than the alternative. When the air bags or sensors do finally take a dump (if after the warranty runs out), I plan to yank it all out and install some coils. I love the air suspension, but it's definitely not going to last as long as the drivetrain, chassis, etc.

Good luck with the "swap"! I'll be watching.

JWP

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post #30 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-01-2012, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
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Our GX470 has the same issue with harsh ride--so much so that I press the AHC button right after I turn the ignition key. I let the rears get full or almost full before I hit 20mph and it automatically goes back to "normal" drive height. Works pretty good. Sucks to have to do this each time I get in it, but cheaper than the alternative. When the air bags or sensors do finally take a dump (if after the warranty runs out), I plan to yank it all out and install some coils. I love the air suspension, but it's definitely not going to last as long as the drivetrain, chassis, etc.

Good luck with the "swap"! I'll be watching.

JWP
I was wondering if the Lexus had a similar problem. I love the functionality of the system and hate to loose it, that's why it's taken me this long to do the swap. I'm really thinking that I want to ditch the idea of keeping the auto level and just put a manual switch on the compressor. I'd love to be able to use the OEM compressor to control my aftermarket bags. Still looking into this and hoping I can find someone good at wiring to look at it and see what it would take.

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