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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Truck Campers- Suspension Upgrades

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wellsdesigned

Above the Sacramento Fog, CA

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Posted: 09/28/04 10:49am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Truck Campers- Suspension Upgrades
O.K., you’re human. You want more camper than your truck’s GVWR says it can handle, and you can’t afford to replace your truck with a new one. What have other owners done? What they have done is like the tire example; they have taken steps to modify their trucks to handle the extra weight better. I am not advocating you overload your truck. I am simply relaying the same information available in countless threads on this forum.

After making sure you have tires that can handle the load, you need to help the factory-equipped springs. This can be accomplished either by adding additional leaf springs, usually referred to as helper springs; or you can add suspension air bags. Do NOT confuse suspension air bags with air shocks. Suspension air bags are connected between the truck frame and the truck axle directly. Air shocks are connected between the frame and the axle by a small pin that cannot carry the additional weight of a camper.

The advantage of helper springs is that they require no maintenance. Air bags adjust to the load by the amount of air pressure inside. This air pressure can be adjusted depending on your load conditions, and when the camper is off the truck, all of the air can be emptied to restore your ride to a softer condition. With either the helper springs or the air bags, you need to buy a product that is rated for the weight of your loaded axle (see Truck Campers- Axle Weights).

The shocks that came with your truck will undoubtedly not be up to the task of carrying a camper, overloaded or not. You will want to upgrade. There are two main approaches for shock absorber upgrades. Self-adjusting shocks change their dampening effect based on how much force is asserted every time they’re depressed. The other option is manually adjusted shock absorber where you change the shocks setting depending on the weight you put in your truck. The advantages of self-adjusting shocks are obvious, but the disadvantage is you cannot change them if you find they are not quite working well in the driving condition you experience. The advantage of the adjustable shock is that you can find the setting that works best for you; the disadvantage is that they are either adjusted at the shock itself, or require the installation of an expensive in cab adjusting system.

You may find that your truck sways from side to side too much with a camper on. All campers will make most trucks sway more than the truck does unloaded, but if the sway is excessive, you probably do not have an anti sway bar. This is a bar that connects to the axle near each tire and connects to the frame. When an extra load is applied to one tire, the twisting force in the anti sway bar pulls that load up and puts some force on the opposite tire. Aftermarket sway bars are available for most makes and models of trucks that did not come with them.

See also:
Truck Campers- Overall Weight Basics
Truck Campers- Stepping Beyond Weight Basics
Truck Campers- Axle Weights
Truck Campers- Tires
Truck Campers- Suspension Upgrades
Truck Campers- Camper Options
Truck Campers- A Word About Brakes
Truck Campers- Towing With A Truck Camper
Truck Campers- Center of Gravity (COG)

I’ve talked about the basics, now’s the chance for specifics. Reply to this topic with your specific truck camper situation and if your new, ask questions.

* This post was edited 09/28/04 11:23am by wellsdesigned *


2002 2500HD 4X4 Ext. Cab 6.0L V8
2004 Eagle Cap 850 Camper w/slide-out

Visit my Truck Camper Travels site.


tfe11111

Bozeman, MT USA

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Posted: 09/28/04 09:55pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi welldesigned!
Nice work.

I thought you might like to see a reply to each of the post you have invested time in composing and so arbitrarily chose this one.

I have read all your other recent threads and want to congratulate you on time well spent to inform those who want to know.

Just curious, is the handle from an engineering back ground or an interest in the better ideas offered by the ingenius?


Timothy F. English
"Eat beef, drink Bud, drive a Chevy!"

2004 K3500 Duramax duel crewcab
Firestone Ride Rites
Hellwig front and rear anti sway bars
Rancho 9000 (quad rear)

2004 Arctic Fox B1150
1998 Custom Weld Cobra SE 20ft.

Hell's Canyon Rocks!

wellsdesigned

Above the Sacramento Fog, CA

Senior Member

Joined: 07/10/2002

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Posted: 09/29/04 08:12am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm an architect and not nearly as brilliant as an engineer. For those who may be curious, my suspension upgrades are: [ul][*]Firestone Air Springs [*]KYB Mono Max Shock Absorbers [*]Hellwig Rear Anti Sway Bar [*]Alcoa Classic 16"x7" Rims (3750 lbs capacity) [*]Michelin LTX M/S 265/75R16 (3415 lbs capacity)

Note: Due to invalid formatting, all formatting has been ignored.

Solarfry

Ft. Lauderdale, FL

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Joined: 04/12/2004

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Posted: 09/29/04 08:27am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

Truck Campers- Suspension Upgrades
O.K., you’re human. You want more camper than your truck’s GVWR says it can handle, and you can’t afford to replace your truck with a new one. What have other owners done? What they have done is like the tire example; they have taken steps to modify their trucks to handle the extra weight better. I am not advocating you overload your truck. I am simply relaying the same information available in countless threads on this forum.

After making sure you have tires that can handle the load, you need to help the factory-equipped springs. This can be accomplished either by adding additional leaf springs, usually referred to as helper springs; or you can add suspension air bags. Do NOT confuse suspension air bags with air shocks. Suspension air bags are connected between the truck frame and the truck axle directly. Air shocks are connected between the frame and the axle by a small pin that cannot carry the additional weight of a camper.

The advantage of helper springs is that they require no maintenance. Air bags adjust to the load by the amount of air pressure inside. This air pressure can be adjusted depending on your load conditions, and when the camper is off the truck, all of the air can be emptied to restore your ride to a softer condition. With either the helper springs or the air bags, you need to buy a product that is rated for the weight of your loaded axle (see Truck Campers- Axle Weights).

The shocks that came with your truck will undoubtedly not be up to the task of carrying a camper, overloaded or not. You will want to upgrade. There are two main approaches for shock absorber upgrades. Self-adjusting shocks change their dampening effect based on how much force is asserted every time they’re depressed. The other option is manually adjusted shock absorber where you change the shocks setting depending on the weight you put in your truck. The advantages of self-adjusting shocks are obvious, but the disadvantage is you cannot change them if you find they are not quite working well in the driving condition you experience. The advantage of the adjustable shock is that you can find the setting that works best for you; the disadvantage is that they are either adjusted at the shock itself, or require the installation of an expensive in cab adjusting system.

You may find that your truck sways from side to side too much with a camper on. All campers will make most trucks sway more than the truck does unloaded, but if the sway is excessive, you probably do not have an anti sway bar. This is a bar that connects to the axle near each tire and connects to the frame. When an extra load is applied to one tire, the twisting force in the anti sway bar pulls that load up and puts some force on the opposite tire. Aftermarket sway bars are available for most makes and models of trucks that did not come with them.

See also:
Truck Campers- Overall Weight Basics
Truck Campers- Stepping Beyond Weight Basics
Truck Campers- Axle Weights
Truck Campers- Tires
Truck Campers- Suspension Upgrades
Truck Campers- Camper Options
Truck Campers- A Word About Brakes
Truck Campers- Towing With A Truck Camper
Truck Campers- Center of Gravity (COG)

I’ve talked about the basics, now’s the chance for specifics. Reply to this topic with your specific truck camper situation and if your new, ask questions.


tfe11111

Bozeman, MT USA

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Joined: 07/19/2004

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Posted: 09/29/04 05:38pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

[quote]I'm an architect and not nearly as brilliant as an engineer. quote] ...I see, interest in the better ideas offered by the ingenius. And I may add creative.

Note: Due to invalid formatting, all formatting has been ignored.

tfe11111

Bozeman, MT USA

Senior Member

Joined: 07/19/2004

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Posted: 09/29/04 05:40pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

[quote]I'm an architect and not nearly as brilliant as an engineer. For those who may be curious, my suspension upgrades are: [ul][*]Firestone Air Springs [*]KYB Mono Max Shock Absorbers [*]Hellwig Rear Anti Sway Bar [*]Alcoa Classic 16"x7" Rims (3750 lbs capacity) [*]Michelin LTX M/S 265/75R16 (3415 lbs capacity)[/quote] I see,interest in the better ideas offered by the ingenius and I might add creative!

Note: Due to invalid formatting, all formatting has been ignored.

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