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Truck squatting: Air bags vs Timbren


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Hi. A fellow offered to sell me his 2011 F350 diesel DRW 8' bed Lariat. When his 38' 5er is hitched, the truck squats a couple inches, which I'd like to correct. My issue is with ride comfort and getting level, not a better way to overload a truck, which I will not do.

 

I'm looking to buy a 5er with a MOR/ryde pin box to pair with this truck. I gather this pin box is good with back-forth (chucking), but isn't good with the up-down motion. I gather that the solution to the squat issue could also help by dealing with the up-down action and, if used with the MOR/ryde pin box, coverers both annoying motion issues.

 

Question:

1. Am I correct that using something to fix the squatting can work in tandem with the pin box I have?

 

2. Which is preferred, air bags or the product called Timbren at Timbren.com?

 

On #2, I'm concerned about adding more weight to an already minimal cargo capacity on this truck. If I did Timbren, would not having the ability to adjust them (like letting air in and out of bags) be a negative? If I did bags, do you have to have a compressor and isn't that heavy?

 

Any brand references and experiences would be great.

 

Thanks

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I don't know about Timbren but what I used on my F-250 and heavy (for it) fiver were the dual bag Ride-Rite air springs. They got the truck back to level and my headlights on the road with no problem and only took a few hours to install.

 

Once you have the bags installed the other thing to do is add better rear shock absorbers, I'd do all four.

 

As to bouncing the trailer, the better shocks will help but an air-ride hitch would do the most good. Do the bags and shocks first and if bouncing is still an issue then look at an air hitch.

 

The Timbren sound similar to the WorkRite devices:

 

http://timbren.com/timbren-ses/

 

http://www.firestoneip.com/riderite/productInformation.aspx

 

Still I'd go with the air ride versions.

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First allow me the disclaimer, I'm not a truck engineer! But it was my understanding back when I was using a 1 ton dually to tow with that the truck is designed to squat several inches with the pin weight. As I understand it the weight compresses the springs so they are more or less in the middle of their dynamic functioning range. When riding empty more or less the rear springs are uncompressed which in part contributes to the rougher empty ride. Our dually always seemed to ride much smoother hitched up to the 5er. Maybe a little investigation into how much the truck is intended to squat with a reasonable load would save you some money on unnecessary equipment. As I said, not the engineer, you get what you paid for with free advice!! Best wishes, Jay

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First allow me the disclaimer, I'm not a truck engineer! But it was my understanding back when I was using a 1 ton dually to tow with that the truck is designed to squat several inches with the pin weight. As I understand it the weight compresses the springs so they are more or less in the middle of their dynamic functioning range. When riding empty more or less the rear springs are uncompressed which in part contributes to the rougher empty ride. Our dually always seemed to ride much smoother hitched up to the 5er. Maybe a little investigation into how much the truck is intended to squat with a reasonable load would save you some money on unnecessary equipment. As I said, not the engineer, you get what you paid for with free advice!! Best wishes, Jay

I don't know that much about trucks, but I understand what you're saying. It seems that, empty, the truck rides high in the bed a few inches then squats down as its loaded, but it's dropping further than I'd like and not level. If a concrete block weighing the truck's payload were put in the bed, I don't know how far it's designed to squat. I just want to raise it so it's level.

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Well, I guess if your low beams are lighting up the tree tops it might be squatting down too much!!! Our one ton squatted several inches, if I recall, about 4", but it was level when hitched to the 5er and I didn't have the headlights in the trees issue. I have not had to deal with a truck squatting so much that the rear end was below level but I do appreciate that you would perceive it as a problem. You might be well served to go weigh the entire rig and figure out what your actual pin weight is. It could be that your pin weight is putting you over the RAWR and is manifesting as excess squatting. Just a suggestion, Best wishes, Jay

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First allow me the disclaimer, I'm not a truck engineer! But it was my understanding back when I was using a 1 ton dually to tow with that the truck is designed to squat several inches with the pin weight. As I understand it the weight compresses the springs so they are more or less in the middle of their dynamic functioning range. When riding empty more or less the rear springs are uncompressed which in part contributes to the rougher empty ride. Our dually always seemed to ride much smoother hitched up to the 5er. Maybe a little investigation into how much the truck is intended to squat with a reasonable load would save you some money on unnecessary equipment. As I said, not the engineer, you get what you paid for with free advice!! Best wishes, Jay

That is how I understand the mechanics of my dually too. It sat level when I first set-up my dually and 15,500# 5er, after 4-5 years the truck front began to sag, I had the front torsion bars reset to factory specs and the truck rode about 2.5" low in back when hooked up; which is normal for carrying about 3,000# pin weight.

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Air shocks to carry the weight of a fiver aren't a good idea, the shock mounts are not built to take that kind of a load. I found out the hard way on an earlier truck when I punched my two rear shocks through the mounting holes with the bed full and at max pressure.

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I have Timbrens and have not compared them to air bags but I would install air bags the next time if I needed them. The Timbrens stopped the sagging but I can feel that the truck rides "harder" when not towing. Just my thoughts.

 

The Timbrens should not be affecting your unloaded ride. If they are, they were not installed properly or your springs have sagged to the point they are hitting when unloaded.

 

The manufacturers have been making the rear springs softer to satisfy the consumer that wants their truck to not ride like a truck when empty. The first thing I did before towing was add air bags. They do not weigh very much and are a pretty easy install if you are mechanically inclined.

 

There are many options for filling the airbags. You can install an on board air system so you can fill them while going down the road. Can also be used to fill tires and if a tank is installed you can run air tools. Probably no more then 50# total weight for compressor and tank. You can fill them anywhere you get air for tires, you can fill them with a small 12 volt plug in compressor, you can carry a small 10# C02 bottle to fill them when needed. They don't hold allot of air volume so a tank fill will last a long time if the valve is closed after each use.

 

As mentioned earlier I would replace the junk factory shock as soon as you buy the truck. I just replaced mine this weekend and with 18k miles 3 were DOA and the 4 was half dead when I took them off.

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We have the Mor/Ryde king pin with air bags on the truck and love this combination. Also installed an electric on board compressor so we can adjust pressure as rod conditions change. Run the bags at 2-5 lbs. without the trailer to keep them from being pinched and the truck rides fine, for a one ton dually.

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First allow me the disclaimer, I'm not a truck engineer! But it was my understanding back when I was using a 1 ton dually to tow with that the truck is designed to squat several inches with the pin weight. As I understand it the weight compresses the springs so they are more or less in the middle of their dynamic functioning range. When riding empty more or less the rear springs are uncompressed which in part contributes to the rougher empty ride. Our dually always seemed to ride much smoother hitched up to the 5er. Maybe a little investigation into how much the truck is intended to squat with a reasonable load would save you some money on unnecessary equipment. As I said, not the engineer, you get what you paid for with free advice!! Best wishes, Jay

 

Look in the rear wheel well of a dually. You'll see, at least on my Chevy they are there, two sets of springs. A larger multi leaf set on the axle, and a smaller set up higher. The latter are called the "helper springs". When you start riding on those you are squatting too much, and the ride gets stiffer, again.

 

So yes, ride with the main springs compressed, but not on the helper springs. Air bags are the perfect tool for the job as you can vary the pressure to get to the ride height you want to be. I am installing them on my truck as we speak, as I am riding on the helper springs, and although my lights are not quite in the top of the trees, I have been getting some flashing action from oncoming traffic.

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I did have Firestone airbags and when one of them developed a leak I switched to Timbrens. Now I am considering going to airbags again but they will be PacBrake brand when I do. Check them out at ebay from seller "chucksahunter". I purchased a PacBrake exhaust brake from him and got excellent service.

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I have Timbrens and have not compared them to air bags but I would install air bags the next time if I needed them. The Timbrens stopped the sagging but I can feel that the truck rides "harder" when not towing. Just my thoughts.

If you are riding harder with the Timbrens and no load, they are not installed properly. when unloaded, the Timbrens should have 1/2" to 1" free clearance between the snubber and the axle. The Timbren does not come into play when the truck is unloaded.

 

ken

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My 2009 F350 SRW was sagging about 4" with the 5er hooked up. Pogoed alot. I installed the Loadlifter 5000 air bags and ran seperate air lines to the rear bumper where the license plate holder is. I suggest seperate air lines to the individual bags so the air from one bag does not bleed over into the other bag causing a side-to-side sway. I use my compressor at home or a 12v compressor I keep in the trailer to air the bags and level the trailer and truck up. Love the ride now. Seems much more stable and only pogoes when I hit a freeway bridge seam but settles back quickly. The Loadlifter bags and brackets didn't add much weight. It was worth it to get the head lights back on the road. I decided against installing an on board compressor because of cost but may add later for easier air pressure adjustment.

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Moving the hitch forward usually isn't an option, my last pickup had 150 pounds capacity left on the front axle with full tanks, a bit of cargo and the two of us. Forward also impacts the handling making the fiver slower to turn and tracking further inside the truck on turns. I'd certainly not do that on a pickup.

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