Permanent springs (Timbren) vs air bags (Airlift) suspension aids

ny_rocking_chairs

Active Member
Jul 17, 2016
266
Webster, NY
Maybe this was discussed before, but search is still broken...

Looking for feedback from people using either a permanent spring solution like the Timbrens or and air bag system like the AirLift.

Putting it into a 2014 Odyssey and have seen a couple reviews/articles where the AirLift system bags failed and people were left without any support. Timbren would buy that peace of mind but at more than double the cost.

Installation for either system isn't an issue so that's not a factor for us.

Thanks and only 39 days til spring...
 

Customer

Super Active Member
Jun 5, 2014
2,435
I have taken several vehicles to a spring/suspension shop and had heavier springs installed. That is the only suspension mod that I found satisfactory.

I have also added so-called helper springs but found them lacking.

Anything involving air will leak eventually.
 

Mogimus

Active Member
Apr 29, 2015
487
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
I have used both.

I added helper springs to my old truck and Jeep. While I was happy with the added support, I was unhappy with the ride comfort while the vehicle was unloaded due to the stiffness of the suspension. I could feel every pebble on the road and almost felt like I was catching air if I hit a pot hole on the highway, specially in my Jeep.

On my new truck, I decided to try out air. I installed the Firestone Ride-Rite kit. It doesn't change the stock ride when they are low and have the support when you need it. As Customer said, "Anything involving air will leak eventually." I have made it a habit to check the pressure every time I change the oil and haven't had much air leak out. I have been running the bags for a couple years now and so far I am pleased with them.
 

ny_rocking_chairs

Active Member
Jul 17, 2016
266
Webster, NY
Thanks. Put out a couple RFQs on the upgraded coil springs, first quote back was for $400 [:(O]

Found some other articles on people upgrading the Ody springs for trailering so went with a 1"rise, 20% rate increase and 1000 lbs capacity increase over OEM, most articles start out saying the OEM springs are under sized to begin with. Yes, will make for a stiffer ride, but going in the rear so wouldn't expect it to effect the driver and front passenger comfort much which is 90% of our driving.
 

94-D2

Happy Campin'
May 21, 2010
2,281
Sutter Creek CA
I put the airlift bags in my rear coil springs for my 2008 Toyota FJ. I'm towing the largest pup in the world. I've lived with the airlift for many years now. Overall, they are the best choice for my application and they perform very well. The bags themselves are very durable and I have not broken one yet. The weak link is the air line and its connections. Beef up that part of the system and it will perform for years and years without failure.


With the airlift, I can stiffen and level up the suspension according to the load. Heavy tongue weight, more air. Less weight, less air. When not towing, 5psi renders the suspension to Oem. 35 psi, and it is as stiff as my Dodge. Lateral movement is also controlled well. Pernamant springs to manage occasional towing on a passenger vehicle is overkill and comfort will be sacrificed. The airlift maintains the OEM ride and allows the apility to augment load carrying on the infrequent instances of towing. The soft spongy ride of my FJ is also part of its off road ability. So maintaining that suspension attitude is important as far as the versatility of my tv goes. Your Oddesy is for passengers. Perhaps lacking is load carrying for a "mini van" but nonetheless a passenger vehicle designed for car seats, groceries and comfort, I'd go with the airlift and deal with the infrequent air leak. A glove box compressor and air line clamp can trailfix a failure is short order. Far more versatile than replacing or adding steel to the family wagon in my opinion. Blowing a bag is far less probable than blowing two tires. The blown bag just means you get home on OEM suspension. Not a big deal really.
 

ny_rocking_chairs

Active Member
Jul 17, 2016
266
Webster, NY
Thanks all. Decided to go with the Timbren helper springs, found a company in Canada that was $40 USD cheaper than anyone else and free shipping so ordered them this morning for $177 USD.

While air bags are cheaper and more versatile I am not a fan of "it might fail while driving" and "all air systems will leak, eventually". I want it a set-it and forget-it system from that POV, not something I need to carry an extra compressor for and have to road-side patch if necessary. Got enough to worry about without having to check and monitor the suspension system.

I agree Springs are not cost effective for something needed 4-5 times a year, got 2 more quotes back and all were in the $400-$500 range. If I was still doing a lot of trailering (then I would probably still have my truck [:D]) and would consider a more expensive and permanent solution.

Cheers!
 

smadeen

Active Member
Jul 5, 2013
109
West Palm Beach, FL 33407
I've installed the Timbrens on my Toyota 4Runner and like them very much. The TV seems to handle better, but the ride is a little stiffer. I was able to tow a Coachmen Clipper 105ST (2,718# GVWR/Hitch 214#) with no additional hitch systems with no sway and able to drive at highway speed with no issues.
 

durhamcamper

Super Active Member
Apr 21, 2010
755
Pickering, Ontario
I put Timbrens in a previous t.v.......a Hyundai Entourage van. Although it stiffened the rear somewhat, I was completely happy with how it assisted in trailering. Actually I found the van to feel somewhat sportier as far as driving and handling etc. when not towing my pup.
I felt much better about the 'no maintenance, possible air leak' scenario as well, and not needing to adjust air pressure when adding/subtracting weight for towing was a big factor in my decision.
 

silverfz

Active Member
Aug 8, 2013
745
Airbags. I was in the same boat. found a used airbags for a tundra on craigslist for 80$. changed the hose and new connectors and have 10 k miles i am more liking airbags.
 

ny_rocking_chairs

Active Member
Jul 17, 2016
266
Webster, NY
The Airlift 1000 system is about $90, which is the only available air kit I found with the 2014 Odyssey. Which makes me nervous, they have a history of failing and the bags don't look as heavy duty as some of the kits available for the trucks, red poly bags I think. If the Firestone kit was still available might be more willing to go that route.

The Timbrens shipped Friday from PA (even though purchased from a Canadian company) and are arriving today...won't do the work til it warms up though :) Even with a foreign transaction fee on my CC paid almost $40 less than any US based supplier.

Also the Timbrens are rated for 2000 lbs while the Airlift is rated for 1000 lbs. So the Timbrens will at least cover me to the GVWR (and beyond) where the Airlift wouldn't.
 

CamperMike

Super Active Member
Sep 27, 2012
1,015
I think you'll be happy with the Timbren system. I've been using it for 3 years on my van. It really reduces the rear end squat and didn't affect unloaded ride too much.
 

64osby

Active Member
May 11, 2015
243
Hope the Timbren's work out.

I had a set of the Air Lift on my old TV. I loved them. Not quite weight distribution, but it sure took the sag and sway out of the back end.

I did have a bag split, not while towing, the company sent a new one with no questions asked.

My understanding is they tend to wear more at low / no pressure, as the springs will rub on the bag. When they are inflated there is not much movement.
 

geologist1

Member
Mar 26, 2017
44
Jacksonville FL
For my 2003 pathfinder I replaced the rear coil springs (which were sagging 1/2" w/o a load) with 2" lift Old Man Emu (OME) springs for $210. Tows so much better
 

matwiyj

Active Member
May 17, 2011
158
Winnipeg, Canada
I installed Timbrens on my 2011 Grand Caravan about 3 years ago and have been very happy with them. Van doesn't squat any more when towing and the ride doesn't seem to be any different when not towing.
 

etrailerJohn

Member
Apr 19, 2016
96
Wentzville, MO
The best choice will really depend on the vehicle and what you're needing the suspension beefed up for.

For a minivan and the unique problems caused by its already low ground clearance, the Timbren Aeon springs would be your best choice if the load from the trailer tongue weight as well as the weight in the rear of the TV from passengers/cargo is pretty consistent. If that weight will vary, the added adjustability offered by an air system would be a better alternative.

If the air bag system is properly and carefully installed, you should experience no issues with leakage. With the airbag systems, it's crucial that all the cuts made in the air lines are at perfectly straight across, and not at an angle. The cut needs to be perfect for the line to seat fully into the fitting. It's also very important that the air lines avoid pinch points like the vehicle suspension or high heat like the exhaust system.

If you use the link below, you can see more information about differnt suspension enahancement solutions that are available.

https://www.etrailer.com/expert-74.html
 




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