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Adding dead weight to the butt...


trimster

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Was speaking with a really knowledgeable guy who owns the local MDT to HDT suspension shop I deal with. His father owned a rig like ours and wanted to to ride better. One of the upgrades was about 1000 lbs of weight on the frame at or behind the rear axel. Our truck has an all steel bed conversion so that's some weight but not want these rigs are setup for. Bob-tailing is nothing... and rather firm. 5er on hook adds 2500 lbs. Still, something but not a lot.

 

Thoughts? The deck area on our truck is diamond plate pieces that screw to the frame. I can pull those fairly fast allowing full access to the frame.

 

The wife wanted to know if adding the weight would make her butt look bigger. Not going there.

 

As well, I wanted to take one of the suggestions on upgrading the shocks to some better aftermarket offerings. The factory numbers on the current factory shocks have no cross reference. The part number given by the dealer also does not cross to anything. I'm thinking I might have to reverse engineer this (as I have done before for other vehicles) and pull a shock, take measurements, then do catalog spec surfing to find something really close. Ideas on the shocks? Am I on the right track?

 

Thanks all.

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It is easy to add weight, the slickest idea I've seen was a heavy steel box bolted between the frame rails, it added a few pounds but the owner then tossed in lead wheel weights to bring the weight up. He'd toss in a layer then toast them with a torch and then keep adding them until it was full. Aside from having to skim the wheel clips off the top of the melted lead it was an easy job. Getting it back out once filled wouldn't be so much fun though.

 

I'd suggest a big box so you could add a lot of weight and then adding weight in 500 pound increments until you were happy with the ride improvement. The further to the rear the box the lighter your front axle will be too, that can improve the front ride quality if you don't take it too far.

 

Wheel weights used to be easy to scrounge, if not you can likely buy them for what the recyclers pay for them.

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Shocks are first on the list. Trying to get a good part number and cross list that, is another thing all together. Still working on that.

Adding weight will be more time than expense. My son works as an lineman in the oil and gas area of Vernal, Utah. Lots of 3/8" scrap plate laying around in service yards. Looks like that will only cost the time and fuel to drive out (and visit the family of course), and the rental of a cutting torch to cut-to-size on site. Easier to lug around.

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Steel plate isn't a bad option, weighs a bit less by volume but if it is free...

 

Kg per Cubic Meter: iron 7850 versus lead 11340
Make mounting brackets that you can slide the sheets into and add sheets to the point you are happy, then drill and bolt them into a solid stack so they don't shift on you.
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  • 1 month later...

HI trimsters

I believe your on the right track, SHOCKS. Before you call anyone for info you need to know the total weight that axel will be carrying and then match the shock to that weight. The factory shocks are installed to match the GAWR. Think of this you have a cement truck but now you want to carry furniture. Yes springs are part of the equation but SHOCKS are to control the ride, Shocks allow the load to get into the suspension. JMHO.

HAPPY TRAILS

roadfitter

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Roadfitter:

Thanks. I'll look into this further detail in getting the right shocks. Hope to do them before the snow flies to much. Also need to do the leftt front break. Got the right done. To busy with life to get the other side finished. It's in far better shape than the right one, so not to stressed and no trips planned for a while.

 

Bob

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...

So it's been a spell since I started this thead. I found time to pull off the back, diamond plate deck. Of course 5 of the stainless screws were rusted in so out came the cobalt drill and off with their heads.

 

I managed to get 400 lbs of wheel weights from one source alone last month. Got them below scrap price by a few cents so I'm good with that. They'll have that much or more each month or so. Mexican tire shop.

 

I measured and came up with a plan, which the process is more important to me than anything. I like to dink with different shit. I'm going to have some 1" steel rods welded between the frame rails, behind the hitch. Then I'm going to sand-cast the lead into plates that will drop over these rods. It will be literally hanging plates of lead. If I get the thickness of each plate close, it will fill the space between the frame rails with little excess. That will stop any side to side movement. Not sure what each plate will weigh yet until I build the wooden blank. Then I can figure the cu. inches of each plate.

 

I hope to start the melting pot after this next cold snap. Which we have had a really mild winter here in Utah. Weeks of 60's and low 70's. Not good for skiing or water in the summer, but ... better not speak to loudly. We have had some wicked March storms in the past.

 

Ahhh the smell of melting lead in the morning. Feels like a smoother ride.

 

Bob

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As long as you use enough rods to keep the led from stressing and cracking where it is supported that should work.

 

The support points (lead to rod contact) are likely to see impact stress as you go bouncing down the road, how much I don't know but if you see the lead deforming you might want to add a steel plate to the top so you can cinch them down on the rods and eliminate the bouncing.

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Stanley:

Good point. I'm wrapping the steel rod in hard vinyl sheet material. As well, I am putting the same sheet material between the plates. After the installation, I'll look at the idea of putting a steel flat-stock piece across the top of all the plates and screwing the whole bit together. When I start doing this, I'll post photos of the casting, installation, etc. Maybe April sometime.

 

Bob

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  • 4 weeks later...

My 4400 had a very bad ride when we bought it, it was Wiers conversion. First thing I experimented with was the suspension airbags, these were sitting completely down (deflated) on their bottom cones. I readjusted the suspension air valve, raised the rod, until I could see a portion of the bottom cones. Made a big difference in the ride.

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Mine fully inflate to 110psi (system pressure). Way to much! for the essentially very-light-load on the butt. I want to experiment with a an air pressure controller in-line with the airbags. When running bobtail, I want to find that air pressure point where it's at ride height with the minimum amount of air pressure.

 

I need to find some of the plastic tubing used for the air lines, a few right angle connectors, etc. I hope to cast lead plates for the dead-load the week of April 6th if all goes well.

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You do not want to mess with your air bag system unless it is borked!

 

If your bags are really running at maximum pressure that is because the leveling valve is broken, out of adjustment or you have overloaded the air bags to the point they can't rise to the correct ride height.

 

If the level valve is broken or out of adjustment then fix it or adjust it properly but leave it at that. Your service manual will contain the procedure for setting it and the measurement details to set the ride height properly. If it isn't working replace it and adjust the new one properly.

 

The air bags are not pressure regulated but volume regulated (what the level valve takes care of) and the pressure in them (which doesn't matter) will vary with the load. Lightly loaded your bags will be at the proper height and the internal pressure will be low, medium weight on them will see a medium pressure giving the same ride height and a high load will see a high pressure but again the proper ride height. The volume of air is the critical thing as that sets the height.

 

If you mess with the pressure (defeating the level valve's ability to adjust the ride height) or do not have the level valve set to properly control your ride height your driveline will be at an incorrect angle and you may see problems with it due to the abuse.

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Stan, thanks. My air pressure valve seems to be working just fine actually. It brings the butt up when low. Hook the trailer, and you hear it adjust. Unhook the trailer and it re-adjusts. Guess I am just trying to soften the ride with less air pressure in those bags. Maybe that's not possible with just air pressure alone. Adding weight might be the best way.

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Maybe that's not possible with just air pressure alone. Adding weight might be the best way.

 

That, in a nutshell, is your solution. Your unladen ride problems can't be fixed my messing with the pressure, as Stan described to you. You need to add some weight so that you're not too light when you're bobtail.

 

When I hitch up my trailer, the pressure in the bags more than triples, from in the neighborhood of 15 psi bobtail, where it rides "like a truck", to within a couple of pounds, one side of the other, of 50 psi, but the ride improves substantially.

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Stan, thanks. My air pressure valve seems to be working just fine actually. It brings the butt up when low. Hook the trailer, and you hear it adjust. Unhook the trailer and it re-adjusts. Guess I am just trying to soften the ride with less air pressure in those bags. Maybe that's not possible with just air pressure alone. Adding weight might be the best way.

adding weight really is the only option for our trucks. I once owned a Sportchassis P2XL. It had their standard class 4 or 5 hitch on the rear. Therefore, the weight that was back there was steel box with concrete in it, like was mentioned earlier. I had a 40k lb adjustable hitch installed on it,...wow, what a difference it made. You really noticed the biggest difference when you drove down streets or freeways that have the expansion joints. That was minus the steel box full of concrete too.

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One thing that some of you may consider is to add some water tanks. 100 gallons of water weigh in at 834 lbs. 300 gal. is 2502 lbs.

With a little imagination 300 gallons would be fairly easy and that would really help out in the wild wild west boondocking.

You could set up shower stalls and charge for nice hot showers!! ;)

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