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Old 03-18-2015, 12:45 PM   #1
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What would you pick, and why (rear suspension help)

Soooooooo, for now a bigger truck is out of the question and I will have to use what I have.

My 03 Chevrolet Tahoe 5.3 4x4 is and will continue to be a work truck. In the winter it plows snow, and in the summer it tows our camper. I have upgraded to Load Range D tires and have my new Curt HD hitch ready to install but im also wanting to install some rear suspension help because I do have a fair amount of tongue weight and the truck sags some once all hooked up. I know and like Timbrens and was really leaning that direction since I have them on the front for the plow. The only negative thing with them is my suspension has settled over the years and miles and they make contact all the time up front, causing a little stiffer ride (really don't want to make it worse).

So looking at etrailer.com, there are several options. Timbrens, sumosprings, firestone work-right? (kind of looks like the other two) and a couple different brand air bags. The timbrens are the most expensive (which is why Im asking the question) and the air bags are least expensive. Im sure the bags would be a little harder to install, and I worry about puncturing them, but am considering them. What do you think? Should I just stick with what I know, or try something new? Thanks! Dave
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Old 03-18-2015, 12:52 PM   #2
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I installed Firestone airbags on my truck in January before our trip to Ft Wilderness. I don't think i really needed them but in addition to the trailer I had a golf cart in the bed of my truck. I decided I'd rather have them and not need them, instead of getting on the road and deciding I wished I'd had them. With that said they were not hard to install and they worked great. If I was u I would not hesitate to get them.
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Old 03-18-2015, 01:04 PM   #3
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I like Timbrens for 2 reasons. 1) They do nothing to your unloaded truck. 2) They don't need air.
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Old 03-18-2015, 01:14 PM   #4
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I've installed air bags on past trucks and they made for a great ride when loaded down. If you do air bags get the on board compressor, it's well worth the extra money. I had Air Lift brand bags. The technology has changed a lot since I had them so I can't make any recommendations.

If you have concerns about "settling" suspension I'd be looking at replacing the factory springs before adding any helper springs then go from there.
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Old 03-18-2015, 01:20 PM   #5
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Take a look at Roadmaster Active Suspension. As if you needed more choices! LOL!

Roadmaster Active Suspension Kits | Helper Springs | Overload Springs

Anyway, I have it on my truck and I like it a lot. I chose it over Air Bags because I didn't want to have to adjust them, installation was easier, and by the time I had the bags installed the way I wanted, they would've been much more expensive. It's a progressive and passive system. Once it's installed and adjusted, you just leave it alone. I did have to tighten mine up after about 2K miles or so, but no big deal.

I passed on the Timbrens because The RAS actually stiffens up the rear end (in a very good way) under unloaded conditions. The Timbrens only work when you need them.

I didn't go with a Helwig (or similar) helper or AAL because from what I've read about them on other vehicles, they tend to flatten out over time (?). If I had gone with the Helwigs, I would have chosen the one that goes on both sides of the axle as opposed to just one side or two of the one sided ones.

So I chose the Roadmaster. I'm glad I did because my truck drives MUCH better unloaded. It corners a lot better with less body roll, and supposedly they help prevent axle wrap as well. I don't know about that part, but it takes off really good from a stop.

If I were going to keep my truck, I'd probably be putting Bilstein HD shocks (or something similar) back there too at some point.

You have a tough choice my friend, lots of good options out there, and they all have their pluses and minuses.
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Old 03-18-2015, 02:51 PM   #6
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Not familiar with your hitch setup. On mine If I wanted to even out (sag) I would chain up a link or 2 and I can tweak by ball also.
Oh I have the Reese dual cam setup
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Old 03-18-2015, 02:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocBrown View Post
If you have concerns about "settling" suspension I'd be looking at replacing the factory springs before adding any helper springs then go from there.
You know, I hadn't thought of that... The rears would be a piece of cake to change (I didn't mention that they are coil springs, unlike the trucks which have leaf springs), but the torsion bars would be a bit tricky... From what Im reading, the air bags would go inside the springs in my application?
As far as heavy duty shocks or air shocks, I would have to pass on those. I've heard too many bad stories of shock mounts being broke off because a shock was trying to do the work of a spring.
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Old 03-18-2015, 03:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Not familiar with your hitch setup. On mine If I wanted to even out (sag) I would chain up a link or 2 and I can tweak by ball also.
Oh I have the Reese dual cam setup
Well, that brings up another question. I have a round bar torsion bar hitch (not sure if that makes any difference). I guess I haven't really figured out the "correct" way to set it up, and even though I'm sure its posted as sticky on this forum, I haven't taken the time to read up on it. The hitch set up is from our last camper and I think it is a Husky brand? I did have to change the angle of the mount last spring because I could barely have one link hanging when all hooked up. I can now get about two links hanging but that's about it. I really need to read how to properly set it up...
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Old 03-18-2015, 03:07 PM   #9
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I forget the Tahoe/Suburban has coil springs to make a softer ride. Yes, they go inside the springs. That's the type I had, they are very easy to install. Heavy duty shocks are fine, stick with the Monroe equivalent to the factory shocks.

Air shocks are old school and not reliable. I had a couple of sets of those back in the day also.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plowtoy View Post
Well, that brings up another question.

I really need to read how to properly set it up...
I can't find the video right now, but Etrailer.com has some Youtube videos on setting WD hitches up. I have a trunnion bar style and it's pretty much the same as the round bar. When setting them up don't worry about the rear squat, bring the front fenders back down to stock height (that's a GM specification, should be in your manual). My Sierra squats about 1 1/2 inches when everything is hooked up. My front fenders are perfect. Tows beautifully.
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Old 03-18-2015, 03:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocBrown View Post
I forget the Tahoe/Suburban has coil springs to make a softer ride. Yes, they go inside the springs. That's the type I had, they are very easy to install. Heavy duty shocks are fine, stick with the Monroe equivalent to the factory shocks.

Air shocks are old school and not reliable. I had a couple of sets of those back in the day also.



I can't find the video right now, but Etrailer.com has some Youtube videos on setting WD hitches up. I have a trunnion bar style and it's pretty much the same as the round bar. When setting them up don't worry about the rear squat, bring the front fenders back down to stock height (that's a GM specification, should be in your manual). My Sierra squats about 1 1/2 inches when everything is hooked up. My front fenders are perfect. Tows beautifully.
I was just reading the sticky about properly setting up the hitch. Looks like in a few weeks I'll have to bring the camper up to the house and take some measurements (the ground where it is stored is a bit soft to do it right now). I think I saw the video links in that sticky too and will have to check them out when im at home since my work computer is kind of dated... I have to be close on being correctly set up, because the bars are pretty much level. I also suspect that with the short wheel base of my Tahoe and the distance from the wheels to the ball play a big role in my actual tongue weight and the amount of squat I get. Seems for the size of the camper, the axles should have been a little farther forward (by looking at it). Doesn't help that most all the storage is forward of them...
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