OP here, sorry for the delay in responding, I was in the desert and out of Internet/cell range this past week. (My (Our?)favorite place?)
Agree with all you said; in my case the Outfitter Apex 8 scale weight comes in at an even (dry weight) 2,000#s; in my truck (Dodge Ram 2500, 2004.5 yr) the bottom leaf was sitting evenly across the the bottom overload leaf. My truck does not have upper overloads, which would've been standard on the #3500 model. Not much left to play with in terms of "gap"; the addition of an additional "layered" progressive spring constant was a necessity. The alternative was to build a new leaf spring pack; which I considered (and certainly and still a valid option) but in my case (IMHO) not as cost-effective as the Supersprings. Now, is my truck as "pliable" as I would like it? No. But again everything boils down to acceptable compromise.
My front (Coil) springs carry the Diesel option; so probably they are already loaded (or overloaded) compared to other options. Yes, in the future I will need to consider whatever suspension improvements reveal themselves. For now, I'm content to stick with my plan to upgrade shock absorbers; and see what else materializes....
Grodyman: No noise whatsoever.
deveildog1971: My stock truck with stock camper remains lower on the left side as compared to the right, by about ~1-1/4+". Does this bother me? Yes, a little. Can I adjust around it? Yes, if I want to, by playing with adjustment of my airbag pressure. If you were lucky enough (IMHO) to find a shop that understands this and knows how to adjust for it then I would love to learn about this; but my experience everywhere elsewhere is a bunch of blank stares and expressions. Open to any suggestions.....
Truck suspensions are all interesting examples of compromise.
Stock OEM set-up for pick-up trucks is probably weighted in favor of grocery store runs; but for us TC haulers (especially in off-road conditions) more “oomph” is often desirable.
In my case, the stock 2004.5 Dodge Diesel Ram SRW 4x4 leafs, carrying an Outfitter Apex 8 (2,000# scale weight) was sitting on the overloads. Yes, I had added air bags but when you get down to it airbags only add height, they don’t adjust spring constant and in my case there was noticeable deterioration of ride quality over time, due to weakening of OEM shock absorbers and softening of leafs. Even though the air bags were independently pressurized, there was an increasing amount of sway.
I was considering StableLoads but in my case already having full contact across the length of the overload spring I was not sure what benefit would be derived. And I didn’t look forward to drilling the necessary holes….
Turns out the SuperSprings factory is near where I work. I pulled in one day, to see what they thought. Within minutes, they measured my ride height and recommended a pair of SSA15 springs. Simple “bolt-on” installation. I went ahead with this; the pre-load tension for this spring (installed on an empty truck) was only minimal, next to nothing. There are adjustment holes to allow the preload to be reduced or tightened but the stock spring was right on target. Did the empty truck ride harder? Yes; the addition of the springs was noticeable but not adversely so. Still plenty good and soft for grocery store runs.
I then loaded the camper, and wow, what a difference! Even driving with the air bags deflated, the ride and sway concerns are greatly reduced, if not eliminated! The stock leafs are no longer sitting with full contact on the overloads, which restores much of the original spring constant and utility into operation!
For future flexibility between on and off-road driving I still plan to upgrade my shocks (to air adjustable) but already I am very satisfied with this simple and inexpensive mod.
I am not in any way connected with SuperSprings, and for different vehicles and suspension set-ups I am the first to admit other options may and could work better. But I wanted to relay my experience; this forum has helped me in the past with information and experience and I’m trying to pay back!
Yep, James' is right; even 3'+ drifts are quite possible on the 33 but if it gets that deep I simply pull off on a shoulder and rest for a while. (Around here, snow melts.) James' probably knows a lot more about winter driving than me.
Thanks Trackrig, tc life, and Pigman. The set I saw today was installed on a 3/4 ton pickup, (without camper), and while I suppose I'm not surprised they are available for commercial heavy duty trucks I've never seen anything like this for truck campers. And yes, we don't have measurable snow in Ojai so I'm a newbie in all things snow related other than my limited experience.
This post will probably get moved to a different forum but I wanted to share with TC friends first. I had never heard nor seen these until today - but what an interesting idea! Automatic Tire Chains And yes, they make models specific to heavy duty (3/4 and 1 ton) trucks.
I don't do enough winter driving to justify them; but wouldn't it be great to flip a switch while driving and instantly have chains working for you, without having to leave the cab? You need an on-board air system to make it work.
I agree with Desertboy, my experience (admittedly limited) is that I am much less likely to skid on ice with the camper on than off the truck. I am much more worried winter driving an empty truck (especially a diesel with limited slip differential, which can easily spin unloaded tires off the line) than a loaded one.
Camper-specific issues I have experienced include heavily snow-laden branches will drop significantly and create unexpected overhead clearance issues, where in dry weather clearance is fine. I use steel snow chains (with 4WD, not very often) but have also seen the added camper weight demolish the cheapo all-plastic ones. Finally, changing a flat tire out in ice and snow is obviously a bit more challenging, on ice the jack will walk so take precautions.
In summary, I feel safer with the camper on rather than off in these conditions.
Jefe hit a good point, although both will have commercial plates in CA 350 PU Truck registration will be based upon unloaded "curb" weight (either from public scale or from Manufacturer) – but a 450 or 550 Cab and Chassis registration would be based upon the declared combined weight, fully loaded. I have no idea if you’re supposed to include estimated weight for a add-on camper?
In insanely expensive places like Southern California, with lots of un-insured drivers, are insurance rates notably different between a 350 and 550?
With! Originally because I didn't want to lug around a generator or a microwave – but can confirm I also love enchiladas, fresh bread, roasted tri-tip, etc… Tonight, I’m heading out to a very remote trail head, (helping with logistics support for a local high-school) and plan to have fresh cookies waiting for the kids tomorrow when they come in from their week-long backpacking trip…