Timbrens when properly installed should have about 1/2 to an inch of space in between where it makes contact with the axle when empty. There should be no change in ride quality when unloaded, but you may notice a bit of a stiffer ride when its loaded which is perfectly normal and tells you they are doing their job.
I have timbrens all the way around on my Tahoe because I plow snow with it and also tow. The Tahoe does ride like a "lumber wagon" (as my wife says) all the time and I actually notice it rides better when hooked up. This is due to warn out springs on my Tahoe.
In some cases, removing timbrens is as easy as just tugging on it. Both sets in my Tahoe just "pop" into the factory mounts (no bolts). If it is riding stiff while towing, id leave them, because that tells me they are doing what they should be doing. If you notice it when empty, its really up to you.
'97 Jayco Eagle 314BHS
'03 Tahoe LT 5.3L