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Discussion Starter #21
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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Discussion Starter #23
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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Discussion Starter #25
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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Discussion Starter #27
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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Discussion Starter #28
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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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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Discussion Starter #30
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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Discussion Starter #31
The time finally came, I'm sick of the ride on the stock air bags. A month or two ago I purchased an Overland Warehouse coil-over kit for the front. About a week after I got them, it was announced that they are going out of business. I was lucky enough to find a guy selling a OW rear kit to match my front last week. A few months back I also found a guy selling the isolators that go on top of the coils, got them for $15 instead of paying the $120+ for new. I went to Home Depot and purchased a small metal strip to use for the brackets, got those made yesterday. Today, I did the conversion. It was all very straightforward, although it did take me some time to figure out how to disconnect the air line (you undo a clip but the line is still connected, you have to pull pretty hard on the line to get it disconnected). Overall the job took 3 hours and ride height appears to be perfect. I'll know more when I get more miles on and it settles (only about 10 miles so far). Initial impression is that the ride quality is greatly improved, definitely from the coils (I ran with just the OW shocks, which are made by Radflo, for about a week and it wasn't much different).

I just wanted to say thank you to each of you that commented on this thread. It was a very simple project, but going in I was making it out to be way more complicated. Without this thread, I probably would not have considered doing this myself. In the end, glad I did.

Parts:


What I used to connect the lower brackets, may not be the strongest but I don't expect these to get much pressure:


Close up of the brackets:


Stock airbag:


Coils installed:


Brackets installed:


Again, thanks to all who posted here to help me get this done.
 
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