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Old 05-14-2013, 09:46 AM   #1
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WDH, air bags or nothing

Greetings,
I have a 2013 Tacoma 4WD, dbl cab non TRD as a tow for a 19 on order. Having read past posts some are using WDH, some air bags and some nothing. Reading the Tacoma forums they like air bags and the service bulletin which adds a leaf spring and shocks. They are towing anything from boats, to utility trailers and everything in between.
Having talked to Reese, he didn't think I would need anything, however Tacomas are known for a soft rear suspension. I am a total novice to towing anything so have no preconceived notions. Some have mentioned that it feels better towing with a WDH.
Any throughs or suggestions on what you're using and how you came to that decision would be appreciated.

Thanks
Dave
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Old 05-14-2013, 11:02 AM   #2
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When we first got our 19 I was towing with the Tacoma much like yours except non 4WD. There was a huge difference with and w/o a WDH. I would strongly recommend using one mainly because, as you have noted the rear suspension is really quite soft on these trucks. Air bags may work as well but I do not believe they distribute any weight to the front axle like the WDH will.
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Old 05-14-2013, 11:20 AM   #3
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I have an '09 Tacoma 4 door 4WD TRD with the tow package, and I did the TSB rear spring upgrade when my year qualified. Escape didn't think I needed the WDH when I picked up, and so far have not experienced any symptoms of need. Two weeks ago I weighed the Tacoma (both axles) w/o the trailer, and then with the trailer attached. With a tongue weight of 320 pounds (then), the trailer took 260 pounds off the front axle. I've got the tongue weight to 300 pounds now, so am reasonably comfortable. It would be good to see what a WDH would do, however!
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Old 05-14-2013, 02:51 PM   #4
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My husband tows with a 2003 Tacoma v-6 manual transmission. Research and then talking with Reace indicated we didn't need a WDH. He helped us figure out what was necessary due to the fact we would have the additional weight of a motorcycle and carrier on back. My husband has had no issues with handling when towing on several long trips.

Coincidentally, our Tacoma shocks were well overdue for replacement so my husband decided to install air cushions and new Bilstein shocks. Because he dry camps and the roads can be a bit rough, he figured it would be a worthy change. He's heading out fishing for a couple of weeks before meeting up with me at the Rally. Hopefully he'll have some feedback on the new set up. Toyota are notorious for saggy rear ends - just like many of us!
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Old 05-14-2013, 03:40 PM   #5
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I installed air bags on my Ram 1500 when I towed my Lance 22' trailer. With the Escape I it squats 1" @ 5 psi in the bags. With the FJ I bought an andersen w/d because air bags were not easily installed. Impressed with the andersen.
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:16 PM   #6
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If you look, I bet you'll see 3 main rear leafs on your truck. My '06 Tacoma had only 2. I went with both air bags and WDH. If I had it to do over again, I'd go with Roadmaster Roadmaster Active Suspension Kits | Helper Springs | Overload Springs instead of air bags. Less hassle.

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Old 05-16-2013, 09:15 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone for the info.
Bruce, you are correct I do have 3 leaf springs . Having never towed would you folks recommend WDH for a better/safer towing experience ?
Jim I enjoyed your posts on the install of the Andersen WDH
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:43 AM   #8
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We have a 2008 Tacoma and use the WDH that Reace sells and we are more than happy with the setup.

We towed a similar Scamp with the same truck and with no WDH and I would never go back to NOT using it. With the WDH, the truck and the trailer seem to move together as one unit, sidewinds have less effect and the truck doesn't porpoise nearly as much.

To me the stability and ride improvement far overwhelm the brief setup the WDH takes when hooking up. For us, it takes less than a minute extra to hookup with the WDH.
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Old 05-16-2013, 11:49 AM   #9
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Thoer,

Did you have the rear springs replaced when Toyota announced the service bulletin? The TSB initially affected only years 2008 and previous, but they found later the problem was present on the early '09s as well, and after a little badgering from owners, Toyota extended the TSB to cover the early '09s that were built with the older spring set-up.

This is an interesting discussion! I haven't experienced porpoising, but would certainly like to know how a WDH would feel on my rig.
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Old 05-16-2013, 12:20 PM   #10
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This is interesting. From what I have come to understand, those towing with WDH seem to feel their trailer is more connected or moving as a unit, as thoer stated.
The link Bruce provided to the roadmaster suspension system is very interesting. It seems to take care of the basic suspension sag plus other handling issues including axle wrap, porpoising, and roll. It is simple to install and nothing extra to hook up and store. Reviews I read are positive......Bruce, Would you use WDH with the roadmaster system?
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Old 05-16-2013, 12:54 PM   #11
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If I were just starting out,knowing what I know now, I'd start with just the Roadmaster addition and take a few trips to see how the setup performed. I towed our 19 1000 miles home and took a couple more trips before adding the bags and WDH at the same time. With nothing added on our 06 the porpoising was bad, and the rear axle would actually bottom out on bad bumps, so I decided that massive overkill was the solution for me. I do agree that WDH does make the rig feel much more one-piece, but I have the what-if curiosity about what Roadmaster alone would have done for the ride. It can always be added later.

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Old 05-16-2013, 01:25 PM   #12
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I would take Bruce's recommendation one step further and do nothing. See how it feels, get acquainted with what speed you will drive at, let it get the test of experience.

I beleive we over think our purchase of an Escape trailer. Everyone wants a new outfit to go to the dance and that includes grills, linens, spice racks, towel bars, and every kind of hook imaginable.

Use it and tow it for awhile before you add more to the mix. You know from Reece's past recommendations that your Toyota will work "out of the box", try it before spending.
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Old 05-16-2013, 01:46 PM   #13
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I concur than I for one tend to "overthink" any new major purchase. Nothing is more fun to me than tinkering with it to get it just the way it suits me. That's been true with every vehicle I've owned, including two Jeeps, two FJ 40's, two pop-ups, and now the Escape. That said, too many people don't think enough about the importance of towing safely. When I first starting towing a small sailboat many years ago, it was "hook it up and hit the road", which worked fine for the first one, but I didn't give a thought to the connections and weights when I bought a larger boat. Darned near put it and the car over an embankment. It would have been nice to have had this kind of forum way back then to bounce these considerations around, and make comparisons.
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Old 05-16-2013, 03:19 PM   #14
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This is all very interesting. In Oct of last year, I switched from towing with my RAV4 to a 2013 Tacoma. One of the reasons I went with the Tacoma is to do away with a WDH. The WDH reduces ground clearance and multiple times the bars have hit (especially on dirt roads). The Roadmaster looks good as does Timbrens. I also looked into Firestone air-spring but they seem too vulnerable to damage when offroad.
The trailer pulls fine with the truck, it just porpoises more than I like. I don't think I need a WDH (as opposed with the RAV4, which does) but something to enhance the suspension.

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Old 05-16-2013, 05:30 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by santacruzer View Post
Thoer,

Did you have the rear springs replaced when Toyota announced the service bulletin? The TSB initially affected only years 2008 and previous, but they found later the problem was present on the early '09s as well, and after a little badgering from owners, Toyota extended the TSB to cover the early '09s that were built with the older spring set-up.

This is an interesting discussion! I haven't experienced porpoising, but would certainly like to know how a WDH would feel on my rig.
I haven't had them replaced, as the day when I asked they said I had to leave it while a tech took it out to drive and evaluate. I didn't have time right then, but I should take it back in and have it looked at. The service guy said that some people who had it done were unsatisfied afterward because the ride became so still. Anyone have experience with it?
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:03 PM   #16
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Thoer - Do you have a TRD? I've talked to two people who have had the TSB fix on non TRDs, both of them said the ride became crazy stiff. One had the job undone and went to air bags. I think the other is a bit of a masochist, or maybe machochist. Tacoma has a big forum you could research this on.

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Old 05-16-2013, 07:04 PM   #17
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They tried to tell me the same thing about people being unsatisfied, and until the TSB was approved for the '09 year, they were pushing air bags as the only solution. Customer paying for them, of course!! I couldn't tell that the new ride was any stiffer. I did note that the receiver was about 1/2" higher after installation of the new springs. I have a heavy Truck Vault installed in the bed, so I'm carrying about 150 pounds more to begin with, though.

And, I was never required to have a technician evaluate it first. I just said it's a rough ride, here's the new TSB, do it. I was following this matter on the Tacoma forum for a while, and apparently the responses across Toyota dealerships vary significantly.
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Old 05-16-2013, 11:44 PM   #18
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I tow our 19' with a 2005 Tacoma and it has worked well. I rebuilt the rear springs and added an extra leaf as the original 3 leaf springs sagged.
I don't use a WDH and don't think it is required. However, I am careful as to how I load up the truck and trailer. When loaded up for an extended trip, the trailer weighs in about 3700# with about 420# of tongue weight.
Overall, I've been extremely happy with combination.
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Old 05-17-2013, 09:48 AM   #19
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Sounds like I will need some type of rear support. I'm going to hook up a friends 17 and see how much drop I get. Hope to do that next week and will report findings.
I really appreciate everyone's replys.
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Old 05-19-2013, 02:13 PM   #20
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Hi Dave1: This year, I moved to a 19 after a few years with a 17B. My tow vehicle is a 2012 Tacoma Access Cab 4*4, V6, auto, with tow package (and before that I had a similarly equipped 2007 Tacoma). The 2007 truck had the 3 pack rear springs, and I added air bags. The 2012 has the 4 pack rear springs, no air bags required. I’ve been towing without a WD hitch.

I debated the need for a WD hitch to tow the 19, however, I opted to do the first trip as a test, and just returned home after 10 weeks through the mountains of western Canada and the United States, trailer in tow for about 6,000km.

When I towed the 17B, it towed as if glued to the truck. No sway. However, the 19 has a significantly larger ‘sail’ area, and in high winds, there is some sway (Mojave Desert – very high winds, there is a reason all those windmills are there!). There is also a difference when a semi-trailer passes, with the 17B I barely noticed, with the 19, I notice the sway.

For my truck, Toyota recommends a WD hitch for trailers over 2265kg (5000lb). Toyota also recommends a tongue weight of 9-11% which would permit a tongue weight of 226kg (500lb) before a WD hitch is recommended. I’ve got a tongue weight of 160kg (350lb) which creates a downward ‘sit’ of the springs of 5-6cm (about 2 inches). I’ve spoken with Toyota, and they say all is good including the alignment of the headlights which are within an acceptable range rather than pointing skyward.

Toyota does recommend a “sway control device” for trailers over 905kg (2000lb). After my first trip with the 19, I would concur.

In talking with Anderson Hitch (mentioned elsewhere on the Forum), they say my tow vehicle and trailer are well balanced, and I wouldn’t benefit from WD, but will benefit from their hitch’s anti-sway.

Happy trailering!
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