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Helper springs on truck

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Soundchasm, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. Soundchasm

    Soundchasm Feeling the Heat

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    Hello,
    I know a lot of folks need to get a giant load of wood in a small truck and drive home with the headlights signaling aliens.

    I've always been disappointed in my 02 Tacoma load capacity - embarrassed, actually.

    I had Timbren helper springs installed on the Taco. The loaded ride became brilliant, and the unloaded ride a little too brilliant, actually. With the weight of a hitch and a camper shell, I didn't have the 1" recommended space between the axle and the helpers to enjoy the unloaded factory ride, so I got a shackle lift kit.

    That fixed everything. GVWR is my major concern now, and I try not to forget it because the truck is level and controllable no matter what I've put back there. I jammed 1/2 cord of Osage in the back and it's no big deal.

    I have no affiliation with the product or seller, but the price range of the mod is within the grasp of us mere mortals, and I really like how mine turned out. If it fits, I'm good to go.

    YMMV, and of course it permanently alters a truck, but if I get a new truck, this will be one of the first things I'll get for it. I finally have the truck they should have sold me.

    Thanks,
    Greg
    chvymn99 likes this.

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  2. chvymn99

    chvymn99 Minister of Fire

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    Yep, totally agree. Plus, 1/2 of a cord of Hedge? WOW, especially if thats green, thats a little bit of weight.
  3. Soundchasm

    Soundchasm Feeling the Heat

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    Yeah, I was so psyched on that scrounge I filled all the space under the camper shell in case I never got to go back for the rest of it. A few days later I checked the weight and thought, whoa! If this isn't 1/2 cord, I apologize. But there's a round or two that were too big to lift onto that rack.

    IMG_5252.jpg
    chazcarr, Snigg and chvymn99 like this.
  4. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    I'm gonna rain on your parade a bit. The stack looks like about 1/3 cord to me and, even though you may have added the helper springs, your lite duty truck is still over loaded. The breaks, tires, wheel bearings, drivetrain, and transmission are gonna suffer if you keep it up. Helper springs do not increase the GVWR.
  5. Soundchasm

    Soundchasm Feeling the Heat

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    No rain at all. I completely agree that the helper springs don't make the axles or tires stronger. And working things harder does shorten lifespan. I went to the CAT scales and got 4,020 pounds unloaded. Went back with my normal band equipment load and trailer, and got 5,960. My normal workload is less than the 7,400 GVWR.

    Did I exceed 900 load limit? Probably.

    But still, the difference in control over the vehicle is night and day with the helper springs. I'd get them again in a minute.
  6. mustash29

    mustash29 Feeling the Heat

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    Considering cost, ease of install and most of all the adjustability, air bags are hands down kick butt for hauling, towing & pretty much everything. I've had them on my '91 S-10, have them on my '03 Blazer ZR2, contemplating a set for the Duramax.
  7. mustash29

    mustash29 Feeling the Heat

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    Pics of Air Lift brand air springs installed on my 2 door '03 Blazer ZR2.

    http://s23.photobucket.com/user/Mus...3&page=1&_suid=137700142643708530817782652413

    This is actually a kit designed for a non-ZR2, the bags should be taller for my application. I don't take it off road and flex the crap of of it so I just made two 3/4" spacer discs out of UHMW for each side.

    Capable of 5 - 100 psi and it will ride level no matter what. I've had nearly 1000 lbs of vacation cargo, food, drinks, etc in the back + 350 tongue weight from the sled trailer and it simply rides awesome.

    [​IMG]
    Soundchasm likes this.
  8. Trilifter7

    Trilifter7 Feeling the Heat

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    I considered the helper springs on my 250 but ended up going with the airlift bags and on-board compressor. I love the ride with them and the adjustability is just awesome! Def pay attention to the weight rating of your vehicle.
    Dairyman and Soundchasm like this.
  9. Dairyman

    Dairyman Feeling the Heat

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    I've had air bags on my f-250 SD for 5-6 years and I love them.
    Trilifter7 likes this.
  10. Soundchasm

    Soundchasm Feeling the Heat

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    I was really curious about the adjustable airlift systems. My only fear was since there were moving parts, something could fail, but you guys appear to be very happy with them. I chose a "dumb" system so I'd never forget to turn it on or off!
  11. Bspring

    Bspring Feeling the Heat

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    I have the Timbren kit on my f150. I am very happy with it. I went with it over the air suspension because there is nothing to break and it was much less expensive. My GVWR is 6,500. I have been over 8,600 on the scales twice but that was for very short trips at low speeds.
    Soundchasm likes this.
  12. egclassic

    egclassic Feeling the Heat

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    I, too, just installed the Airlift air bags on my 01' Tundra. They definitely improved the ride and load handling.
    I am glad I chose these over the helper springs. I have not hauled a load of firewood yet, but I did haul my boat and a enclosed trailer with two Harleys in the back all summer (not at the same time of course) and these things helped tremendously! Best money I've spent in awhile.
    Trilifter7 likes this.
  13. mustash29

    mustash29 Feeling the Heat

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    I could not do air bags on my S-10 ZR2, it has a rear track bar that is in the way. I put Superlift 1.5" lift add a leafs on it so it could haul a bit more without dragging butt so bad. Stock it was only rated to haul 725 because the springs were very soft & flexy. The ZR2 is the off road version, fully boxed frame, narrowed down 1/2 ton 10 bolt rear end, etc. I don't wheel it anymore, that's what the Jeep is for. The drawback is it rides lke crap empty with the AAL's.
  14. mustash29

    mustash29 Feeling the Heat

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    I think I need a bigger garage. !!!

    [​IMG]
    BrianK, MasterMech, ChadD and 2 others like this.
  15. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    I took the cheap route and it was amazing ! I put 1200 pound air shocks from advance auto on my 1998 s10. It was like a new truck and only cost $60. I would load it like normal then pump them up so the truck was level and it would carry and pull like it was empty afterwords.

    Pete
    Soundchasm likes this.
  16. NortheastAl

    NortheastAl Minister of Fire

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    Guess you're all set for winter?
  17. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    :p
  18. Soundchasm

    Soundchasm Feeling the Heat

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    It's really nice when a truck performs as it ought to, sticking within specs of course.

    The max weight thing came to me unexpectedly when I was shopping for trailers. I needed a small one, and as I was perusing the catalogs, I saw the 4x6 had a greater weight rating than a 5x8! And so on it went as they got bigger, you could put less in them, until they spec'd up the axle. That's when the whole idea of 4WD, camper shell, 4-doors, etc finally sunk in.

    So if you're going to rob Ft Knox, take the smallest trailer you can find.
  19. basod

    basod Minister of Fire

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    I had a set of air shocks on my 85 2 door Buick Lesabre, old guy I bought it off had them installed to haul his pop-up camper.
    It leveled the ride out when I had my 3 honeys rolling around in the pimp mobile;) , and for the required winter sandbags.
    They gave it a kickazz stance when pumped up unloaded. Pump died and rigged in one out of a 80's Caddy for $25
  20. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

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    I am contemplating air shocks for the ranger
  21. mustash29

    mustash29 Feeling the Heat

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    Air shocks are kind of the cheesy way to go. They are cheaper, and they do work, but your shock mounts are typically not as strong as the frame & axel attachment that air bags use. Your shock mounts are really only designed strong enough to dampen the suspension movement, not support a portion of the load itself. I went round and round with this topic on my 4x4 forum years ago, some could see the light, some refused to take their blinders off. To each his own.

    If you go into rugged terrain, you have to keep that in mind with bags. If you have a very flexible suspension, bags can be damaged from flexing the truck over large ruts, gullies, etc. Installation of limiting straps is recommended for "off road use".

    The smaller diameter "sleeve" style bags like I had on my old S-10 and what I have on my Blazer are for load leveling, work great, and can be had for < 200 bucks for a basic kit from Summit Racing. Air lift has a rebate deal going on untill the end of Oct, $ 50 off a set of bags, $ 50 off the onboard compressor, or $ 100 off a package deal.

    You don't need the compressor and in cab control unless you want the convience factor. A simple bike pump will pump them up. A cheap 10 or 20 dollar cig lighter compressor from Walmart will work too.
    basod likes this.
  22. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    Tell your frame its stronger after you overload the truck. It isn't cheesy you accomplish the task either way. You can hold the same weight either way without damage if done right.

    Pete
  23. mywaynow

    mywaynow Minister of Fire

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    Shocks are not really for carrying loads, even though air shocks can lift loads. Air bags are between the spring plates on the axles, and the frame. They are for carrying loads. I have had them on the last 4 trucks and will have them on the next 4. Pack them full of air when you need to load up, and keep them soft during other times. The ride will be great either way. That is where these two options differ.
  24. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    Though I see your point an air shock rated to carry 1200lb is rated to carry 1200lb. I however wouldn't load past the weight limit of the truck with either option. Best to balance the load better. Myway I loved the ride of air when it was reduced for normal driving its like floating on a cloud.

    Pete
  25. mywaynow

    mywaynow Minister of Fire

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    I think the difference being where the load is carried. A shock may be rated for x lbs, but are the mounts? Either way is better than add-a-leafs imo.

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