The rear suspension of this truck includes heavy-load bearing Deaver springs, to accommodate the shell and interior, and all the stuff I normally carry in the truck. There is a little extra in the springs to accommodate the teardrop, yielding minimal sag.
However, when loaded for a multi-week trek, with trailer, extra fuel, water, food, etc., the rear end sagged more than I preferred.
I have known about air springs for many years, but never thought them the right solution for my use - which includes off-road travel. As it turns out, three of the trucks that usually accompany us on our westward travels run air springs. Their vehicle use is very similar to mine.
That knowledge set me to re-thinking my situation.
A big negative factor to me was the limiting of downward travel of the rear axle. My research led me to Daystar Cradles, which allow the bottom of the air spring to freely separate from the axle, allowing full suspension droop. Firestone specifically says not to use them. Without the cradles, the air springs would not fit (work) within my design parameters. I have read about many successful uses of the cradles out there, so I figured I would try them also.
The air spring kit, designed for a Tacoma.
These are the bottom mounting brackets. They normally mount the bottom of the air spring, but instead will carry the cradle.
There is one more issue with these. Stock Tacomas mount the u-bolts with the nuts down - I have a u-bolt flip, with the nuts up. These brackets need to be modified to clear the u-bolt nuts.
Modified brackets to the right, the spacer blocks and vertical support plates I made.
The spacer blocks will sit like this, on the bottom of the Firestone bracket. The lighter color on the bracket is where I sandblasted off the finish for welding.
A mock-up of the pieces.
Welded and painted.
I got a new set of 5/8" u-bolts from RuffStuff. U-bolts are a one-time use fastner.