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  • Upgraded Grande Airbag Suspension Failure

    Hi PP.

    Have spent a couple of days around Xmas and New Year down at Bremer Bay area doing some 4WD around there. Beautiful part of the country. Met another PPer Ben with a VX Petrol.

    Anyway to give you some background I have a 2004 Petrol Grande. I am running Bilstein + Kings Combo, with Bilsteins and Airbags in the rear.
    Approx 2 years ago my factory airbags popped out after some heavy wheeling in the Harvey area. Subsequently replaced with the upgraded airbagman suspensions and to date no issues.

    All good until this Xmas when crossing over a small "mound" which resulted in being slightly crossed up but nothing too extreme. Initially thought I had a flat tire as i could hear some hissing every second or so, however upon inspection it seems the airbag must have come loose and then pushed onto the airbag mount at the wrong angle, resulting in it being crushed slightly. This meant that the airbag was not sitting straight. Luckily the bags didn't pop out and did not seem to leak air when not moving.

    My bush mechanic fix involved using some ratchet straps to pull the bag back as far as i could then use a aluminium can cut up as a shim to push it as straight as i could get it. Basically wasn't game to do any more 4wheeling after that, besides the track to get out to the main road and then the 6 hour drive home!


    Its a little annoying as i thought after spending around $1300 for the new upgraded airbags , that i wouldn't have to worry about this issue ever again but when I decide on a fix i will let you all know my learnings.

    I have yet to speak to the guys who installed them but am thinking my possible options here are:

    1. Fix Airbag seat - either get someone to weld the bracket up properly? and then see if airbagman will warrant the bag itself.
    2. Convert to springs. (I think this wouldnt be that easy either based on the research i have done)

    As far as I am aware this is the first failure of the upgraded bags on this forum at least - so will be interesting to see what their response will be. I don't believe I was abusing the bag at all or operating the suspension outside of its limits so not sure how this would have happened.

    What do you think PP?
    Attached Files
    2004 Black Prado Grande

  • #2
    Your defiantly not the first this has happened to. There are several references to airbag problems here on the forum. I have had it happen several times to me, but much worse. With mine when the bottom block rocked it caused the actual airbag to pull off the block resulting in a large bang and then the ass end drops onto the bump stops. I have destroyed two airbags this way before working out a fix. I have the same suspension setup as you and found that as you lift the car the rear diff rotates backwards slightly, this combined with a weak drivers side mount puts a lot of load on the rear of the mount causing it to flex and eventually fail as yours has done. My fix was to straighten the mount and weld reinforcing to it to make it rigid. I also made a tapered block which fits between the original mount and the bottom of the airbag returning the geometry to flat. I think AMTS makes a similar spacer block and sells them here on the forum.

    check out this link
    http://www.pradopoint.com/showthread...0-Grande/page3

    Click image for larger version

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    Last edited by kevdebbi; 03-01-2016, 04:55 PM.
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS][B][COLOR=#000080][COLOR=#FF0000]2003 V6 Parado Grande.[/COLOR][/COLOR]
    Custom rear drawer system, Custom 6mm alloy bash plate and Custom rear steel bar, Dual battery and ARB duel compressor. SPC upper control arms. So far....[COLOR=#0000CD]See my build[/COLOR] [URL]http://www.pradopoint.com/showthread.php?31855-Kevdebbi-s-120-V6-Grande[/URL][/B][/FONT]
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    • #3
      I have seen the same failure on the Airbagman airbags. It is one reason why I've made a block with a tapered top surface to reduce the kink angle of the airbags when the suspension is lifted.
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      • #4
        Great thanks guys.

        Sorry a few more questions for you:

        Do you think it is likely if i can hear air burping out at times that i might have torn the bag meaning it would require replacement?
        AMTS how can i go about getting your tapered blocks? I have seen them in a youtube video on another thread somewhere but i thought they were for stock bags. Do the blocks go on both Driver and passenger side?

        Do you think a suspension place would be able to straighten out the mount?
        Are you also able to tell me is there some way to deflate the bags? I was thinking of jacking the body onto stands then deflating the bags the get access to the mount but didn't know how to deflate the bag.
        2004 Black Prado Grande

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        • #5
          I don't think you will have torn the airbag, it's more likely that the bag is no longer fully sealed on the bottom block. There is a slight lip that holds the bag in place, I had to reseat mine when the bag blew off. My bottom block was damaged when this happened but it still sealed ok. Airbag man has been fantastic with their customer support and replaced all damaged parts at no cost to me. there product is great, it's just the drivers side mount that is week and causes the failure. I'm sure if it was strengthened when the bags were installed I would never have had a problem. I don't think the spacer is 100% needed but it does help realign the angles.

          Click image for larger version

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          I straightened out out the damaged mount using a "wrecking bar" as a leaver, it was surprisingly easy. I welded some flat steel bar to the front and back of the mount to strengthen it.

          Once you have jacked the car and placed it onto stands you can deflate the airbags by disconnecting the air lines which will bleed the air from the bag. This is covered in the various forum threads in great detail so I won't go back over it.

          Just stating the obvious but don't put the axle stands under the axle as it will get very cozy under there when you disconnect the airlines.
          Last edited by kevdebbi; 03-01-2016, 06:01 PM.
          [FONT=Comic Sans MS][B][COLOR=#000080][COLOR=#FF0000]2003 V6 Parado Grande.[/COLOR][/COLOR]
          Custom rear drawer system, Custom 6mm alloy bash plate and Custom rear steel bar, Dual battery and ARB duel compressor. SPC upper control arms. So far....[COLOR=#0000CD]See my build[/COLOR] [URL]http://www.pradopoint.com/showthread.php?31855-Kevdebbi-s-120-V6-Grande[/URL][/B][/FONT]
          [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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          • #6
            Thanks Kevdebbi & AMTS. Honestly i am so glad that someone has gone through this before and is able to help.

            Just one more question about deflating the bags - I have had a thorough search but can't seem to find any reference on PP to a thread.
            -> when the original bags are removed you needed a SST (Special Service Tool).
            Is is easy ( apart from the bugger of a location ) to remove the airlines from these bags?



            Originally posted by kevdebbi View Post
            I don't think you will have torn the airbag, it's more likely that the bag is no longer fully sealed on the bottom block. There is a slight lip that holds the bag in place, I had to reseat mine when the bag blew off. My bottom block was damaged when this happened but it still sealed ok. Airbag man has been fantastic with their customer support and replaced all damaged parts at no cost to me. there product is great, it's just the drivers side mount that is week and causes the failure. I'm sure if it was strengthened when the bags were installed I would never have had a problem. I don't think the spacer is 100% needed but it does help realign the angles.

            [ATTACH=CONFIG]22050[/ATTACH]

            I straightened out out the damaged mount using a "wrecking bar" as a leaver, it was surprisingly easy. I welded some flat steel bar to the front and back of the mount to strengthen it.

            Once you have jacked the car and placed it onto stands you can deflate the airbags by disconnecting the air lines which will bleed the air from the bag. This is covered in the various forum threads in great detail so I won't go back over it.

            Just stating the obvious but don't put the axle stands under the axle as it will get very cozy under there when you disconnect the airlines.
            2004 Black Prado Grande

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            • #7
              When I installed my airbags they came with a red 1/4" airline which needed to be joined to the original black 1/8 airline which was cut at a convenient location. I'm not sure if they still use this setup? If they do your in luck,find this fitting and disconnect it there. If not it's probably best to disconnect at the air tank, the SST makes it easy but it can be done with two small screwdrivers or a pair of tweezers both very fiddely.

              Try this link, it might help.


              http://www.pradopoint.com/showthread...ag-replacement
              [FONT=Comic Sans MS][B][COLOR=#000080][COLOR=#FF0000]2003 V6 Parado Grande.[/COLOR][/COLOR]
              Custom rear drawer system, Custom 6mm alloy bash plate and Custom rear steel bar, Dual battery and ARB duel compressor. SPC upper control arms. So far....[COLOR=#0000CD]See my build[/COLOR] [URL]http://www.pradopoint.com/showthread.php?31855-Kevdebbi-s-120-V6-Grande[/URL][/B][/FONT]
              [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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              • #8
                Hey Speed,

                I have a 2005 Grande which the wife bought reeeeally cheaply in Melbourne. Thought it was the ducks nuts until..... the bags wold go down over night.
                I didn't really want to sell it and buy a GXL as I like the luxury of the Grande, and no budget for Airbagman stuff.... so I got rid of the bags and converted to springs. Problem solved

                Bought this from a mob called Metaltech in US of A, arrived in about 2 weeks and have been happy since installing them.
                Totally transformed the car.

                Anyways... Good luck

                Tokhi

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                • #9
                  The SST has the following Toyota part number 09730-00010.

                  If you are converting to springs, soon I will have an easy way to do this. Currently testing out the prototype on my Grande.
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                  • #10
                    Thanks again. So i have read every thread possible on this issue and have seen the history of the development of these spacers.

                    Amts i'd prefer to just fix the drivers side lower airbag seat, throw a set of spacers on there and not ever worry about it again, having only just put the airbagman stuff in not so long ago, I don't want to throw away the newish airbags unless they are stuffed.

                    If anyone has any spacers left that i can purchase from them , and a SST that they would be willing to lend/sell to me that would be really helpful .
                    Attached Files
                    2004 Black Prado Grande

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                    • #11
                      Those spacers were the 1st generation. The current versions are better.
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                      • #12
                        Great so I have managed to find the airline and disconnect and deflate the drivers airbag. Managed to put a bit of a shim in between the mountain t and the airbag to level it up. It's ugly but it works.

                        Have gone an purchased with express post the amts spacer so hopefully that arrives tomorrow or wed.

                        The bag itself seems fine except that the locating pin at the bottom of the bag seems stuck/half cut into the mount.

                        Given up tonight going to come back tomorrow with a much bigger prybar/demolition bar and try to bent the Mount straight as the one I am using is far too small before installing the spacer. Hopefully that works.

                        I love yet hate tinkering around with this kind of stuff.

                        Will let you know how I got tomorrow. I haven't yet recieved a response from airbagman but... I'm mindful that we are still in a holiday period.

                        Thanks again all! Especially kevdebbi and Andrew (amts)
                        2004 Black Prado Grande

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                        • #13
                          Alright.

                          Well i am now done. I have repaired the mount using a couple of breaker bars to essentially bend it back in shape.

                          What I have learned out of this experience:

                          1. If you have a lifted Grande, don't be tempted to ever use the high setting on your adjustable air suspension, even if you have upgraded longer bags as the extremes of articulation will greatly increase your chance of popping the bag at the wrong angle and damaging something. I had no issue with my airbag man bags until I did this. (18 months trouble free)

                          2. If you are lifting the Grande, consider installing some of these spacers. They do help the alignment of the bags. Please note - when speaking with Airbagman they recommended not using spacers as they believed it did not provide enough room under compression for the bag. I tested this by deflating the bag and having the car sit on bump stops on one side, and then jacking up the car on the other side and the suspension components did not seem stressed, so have gone against their advice. (I'll update if anything happens)

                          3. If you do pop an OEM bag, perhaps look down the spring route - there will need to be some modifications made and at this point in time you can import spring bases from the US (for a GX470) or I believe that AMTS is in the process of fabricating something.

                          4. If you are wanting to raise your OEM bags by tricking the height sensors, then i would suggest installing a set of spacers for sure to avoid something breaking out on the trail.

                          5. Despite not being a very mechanical person, i was able to fix this myself. Its pretty rewarding fixing it. I felt really let down by the car when the drivers side mount was damaged - but feel better having sorted out the problem myself over a few days.

                          6. Airbags aren't that bad once you learn how they work! Having a Toyota SST (Special Service Tool is handy) if you are worried.


                          Thanks again especially to the guys who helped me out with this. If you have any questions in the future about air suspension I am happy to help with the knowledge i have gained.

                          Cheers!
                          2004 Black Prado Grande

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                          • #14
                            Hi mate was wondering where I get these spacers and what they look like

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                            • #15
                              Link here... Grande Airbag Spacer
                              2004 V6 Grande. BLACK -

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