COMPLETE REAR SUSPENSION REVIEW FOR 3RD GEN TACOMA
Original post by Kevin Gomez of TrailTacoma
REAR SUSPENSION DAMPING: BREAKING DOWN THE OPTIONS – UPGRADED BUMP STOPS VS TRADITIONAL AIRBAGS VS MICRO-CELLULAR URETHANE SUMOSPRINGS – 3RD GEN TOYOTA TACOMA
Rebounds are good if you’re Dennis Rodman in the mid 90’s or some Netflix rom-com. Rebounding or bottoming out in your 3rd Gen Tacoma with stock bump stops is not fun. Trust me, I’ve been there. It hurts. It sounds terrible. To avoid this, and give your Tacoma an incredibly soft ride, then you must consider upgrading your stock bump stops.
There are a few ways to achieve a smooth ride and eliminate sagging on your 3rd Gen Tacoma without fully upgrading the suspension. From airbags to traditional rubber bump stops to SumoSprings, there are multiple options when it comes to this suspension modification.
Enter SumoSprings by SuperSprings International, an easy install that will increase confidence when out wheeling and enhance the overall driving experience. The petite size of the Toyota Tacoma stock bump stop compared to the beefy SumoSprings is enough to show that you’re getting a massive performance upgrade.
SUPERSPRINGS INTERNATIONAL (SPECS + FEATURES)
SuperSprings International has been designing, manufacturing, and supporting American-made suspension solutions since 1998. They are very knowledgeable about ensuring proper ride quality when it comes to a variety of vehicles. Their passion and motto when it comes to their suspension products is to Journey Better.
In order to get a feel for what SuperSprings International is about, I took the time to explore their website and watch their YouTube videos. This company is very much on a mission to give every kind of vehicle and trailer a great driving experience. They offer SumoSprings for trucks and trailers to Jeeps, RVs, and vans.
SuperSprings International designs, manufactures and has customer service support one hundred percent in the U.S.A. Their SumoSprings are handmade. Yes, handmade! The attention to detail, quality, and durability is top-notch. They back their products with a lifetime warranty and have a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Needless to say, these guys don’t mess around and they put their full confidence in their products. They literally have shot, nailed, drilled, blown up, and stabbed the SumoSprings to show how they fully stand up to anything you could possibly throw at them. After the torture test, the SumoSpring STILL worked. Don’t believe me, watch the SumoSprings torture test yourself below.
SUMOSPRINGS TORTURE TEST VIDEO
WHAT IS A SUMOSPRING?
SumoSprings is SuperSprings International’s patented product, designed to replace your rear suspension bump stops. Therefore one could conclude that a SumoSpring is a bump stop. This is a factual statement, but incomplete. The SumoSprings are a bump stop but with much more capability. Think of it as a Swiss Army knife. A Swiss Army knife isn’t just a knife, it’s a gadget that gives you a plethora of capabilities like tweezers, mini screwdrivers and more. SumoSprings are the Swiss Army knives of bump stops for your Tacoma’s rear suspension.
According to the SuperSprings website, the capabilities of the SumoSprings range from load-carrying ability, to sway stabilization, to improve overall driver control and therefore, and enhance the overall ride comfort for everyone on board. Not to mention they make hauling a trailer a whole lot safer.
The SumoSprings are made from SuperSprings International proprietary closed micro-cellular urethane. Think of it as a very strong foam that exhibits a constant level of resistance to compression that keeps it from collapsing into a pancake. This dense micro-cellular structure gives it the ability to absorb massive amounts of energy.
Think about when you drive your Tacoma over a bump or rise on the trail. When our Tacoma comes down on the other side, depending on how fast you’re traveling, the suspension can bottom out and rebound very harshly. Especially with the stock bump stops.
At that moment there is a ton of energy traveling from the frame through the rest of your truck. Factor in the speed, size of the bump, and weight on your vehicle and you end up with loads of energy moving through your suspension and eventually your body. The SumoSprings do an excellent job of capturing that energy to soften the ride or a rebound. This works if you’re on a trail or going over a speed bump at the mall.
BLUE VS BLACK SUMOSPRINGS
SuperSprings offers two different load capacity SumoSprings. The blue ones have a capacity of 1400 lbs and the black ones have a load capacity of 1800 lbs, both at 50% compression. This is important because depending on your rig’s setup, you may be experiencing sagging. If you have a rooftop tent or are towing with your Tacoma then you’ve noticed that your truck looks like it’s squatting. The SumoSprings help eliminate the sagging by adding a beefy and strong amount of support right under your frame. It’s like they help catch your rig’s body and ease it down or keep it at an aesthetically pleasing height.
This effect is also achieved because the SumoSprings micro-cellular urethane provides a smooth and progressive spring rate with superior dampening properties.
The micro-cellular urethane also creates tiny pockets of air that never need to be aired up or maintained. The tiny pockets of air attribute to the nature of the urethane that helps absorb energy on impact and keep your rig from sagging. It really is a modification that will strengthen your suspension, ride quality and will require no maintenance.
SUMOSPRINGS VS BUMP STOPS VS AIRBAGS
In order to contextualize the information above we need to define what a bump stop is and describe what an airbag system looks like for our Tacoma’s since we don’t have spring coils in the rear part of our suspension to help with weight.
First, a bump stop is a suspension component that keeps your Tacoma’s frame from colliding with your suspension parts or axel. A Toyota Tacoma OEM bump stop is made out of a very compact, almost solid, rubber material. It has absolutely no give, is very small and short in size. This makes for very harsh rebounding or bottoming out.
Other aftermarket bump stops are made out of dense rubber which means they have better progressive dampening properties. However, the strength of the SumoSprings, with its constant progressive spring rate and damping properties contained in the micro-cellular urethane, has a wider span of capabilities. Nonetheless, going with the oversized aftermarket rubber bump stops give you another solid option for replacing the stock component.
Second, let’s look at the airbag system. Similar to the bump stops and SumoSprings, the airbag systems that currently exist for the Tacoma platform bolt on at two unconnected points, the top of the leaf springs pack and bottom of the truck frame. These airbag kits don’t replace but sit behind the stock or other compatible bump stops.
The airbag system requires airlines to run to an onboard air compressor or to an outlet in order to air up with a portable compressor. When the airbag system has inflated the rear of the truck naturally rises in height. From my research, this is not a method for lifting the truck because the ride becomes very harsh. The airbag system is solely for the purpose of leveling your rig if weight is not being distributed evenly or if there is sagging due to towing.
Airbag systems are made by Air Lift and Firestone. Air Lift makes a Ride Control Air Spring Kit that you can find on Amazon. Also found on Amazon is the Firestone Ride-Rite Kit for four-wheel drive Tacomas. Airbag systems are mostly used for trucks that are constantly hauling heavy loads. Modern-day semi-trucks have these types of airbag systems to ensure height and weight are appropriately distributed with the trailer. Now the next time you read “air ride quality” on the side of a trailer you’ll know that truck is using airbags.
Airbag systems require maintenance due to possible punctures and airline leaks. Ride quality decreases due to the limiting nature of the airbags. In other words, expect to lose wheel travel. Depending on how you’re using your Tacoma, it may be hard to make the case for going this route. Unless of course, you’re hauling constantly.
This is why SumoSprings is the best of both worlds. SumoSprings has the functionality of a rubber bump stop with the ability to act like an airbag. But without worrying about puncturing it or having to fill it up with air due to leaks. The ride quality remains very smooth and depending on the amount of weight on your rig, comes in two great load capacity options.
SumoSprings help with any sagging you may be experiencing, soften up any harsh rebounding when you’re on a trail, and overall improve the ride comfort.
Finally, my experience with the blue 1000 lb capacity SumoSprings has been excellent. To top it off, I don’t have any extra weight in the bed of my truck. I’ve decided to go the route of a Gazelle tent, instead of an RTT, so I don’t plan on carrying a lot of weight. Since my truck is lifted I have about half an inch of space between the frame of my Tacoma and the top of the SumoSpring.
The installation was very easy and only took about an hour. If you’d like to read a step-by-step install and review of the SumoSprings check out the write-up by Chase.
I recently went on a trip to Utah and Arizona, which helped me test the SumoSprings through various types of terrain. What used to feel like harsh rebounding and even bottoming out when I increased my pace on a bumpy road was almost completely gone. I didn’t seem to notice the harsh terrain as much. On one part of the trail, I drove over a bump a bit faster than I normally would and the SumoSprings made coming down way smoother. What a soft ride.
TESTING THE RIDE
On pavement, I did two tests to see if I could feel the SumoSprings. On a semi-closed road, I accelerated my Tacoma to 10-15 MPH and braked hard to see how it felt when the truck leaned forward and then rebounded or jolted backward. I could definitely feel the SumoSprings. There was less swaying and movement because the SumoSprings caught the frame, causing it to stabilize a lot faster than it would with the stock bump stops.
The second thing I did was flex the Tacoma on a steep incline. Again, I could feel the SumoSprings engaging the truck frame. However, this was less noticeable than the hard braking test. Regardless, it felt like the frame was engaging the SumoSprings and easing into its flex position in a progressive manner.
Depending on how you’re outfitting your Tacoma the SumoSprings present a very persuasive amount of benefits for upgrading your stock bump stops or picking them over the rubber aftermarket stops. If carrying around a lot of weight on your Tacoma isn’t in your plans I would still consider upgrading to these SumoSprings. They are excellent, easy to install and you can’t beat the price.
Overall, I am very pleased with this modification and would recommend it to anyone shopping for an upgrade to their bump stops.
Use our application guide to see what we have for your vehicle.