Air Lift suspensions as truck lifters: Should you get air or go for the more reliable Timbren SES?
What is an Air Lift suspension system?
An Air Lift suspension system is comprised of basically five components:
- Air bags
- Air supply
- Air tank
- Air compressor
- Height control valves
Before we try to explain how they work, let’s take a quick look at the basic working parts of an Air Lift suspension with onboard air supply for the rear suspension:
- First of all, the 2 airbags - one for each side of the truck - are connected by air lines to the air tank and the compressor via the height control valve.
- When the level of compressed air in the tank drops to a certain level, the height control valve kicks in the compressor and the air tank is filled once again.
Air Lift upgrades are adjustable. In other words, by adding compressed air into the airbags, you are able to lift or lower the frame of the truck to the desired ride height.
Air Lift adjustable air springs replace the original bump stops, engineered to fit with your existing suspension. They work well with either leaf spring or coil suspensions and help to eliminate squat, providing you with a more comfortable ride when towing or hauling a load.
Air Lift's air suspension kits for trucks offer better weight distribution by leveling the load. This provides more control over steering and braking while towing.
The basic Air Lift system costs about $1000.00 plus installation. If you’re looking for onboard air, this price does not include the air tank, air compressor, or height control valve.
For more info about air ride vs Timbren SES, click here...
What is a Timbren SES suspension system?
Instead of using airbags, Timbren’s line of SES (suspension enhancement system) products are based on Aeon® hollow rubber spring technology. We’re talking about ‘airbags’ with no air!
Timbren Industries first introduced the North American market to Aeon® hollow rubber springs back in 1968. All Timbren SES suspension upgrades fit virtually every truck, van, and SUV that rolls off the assembly line. To date, there are over 400 SES kits available to the North American consumer.
Much like an airbag system, Timbren SES products replace the existing bump stops. But unlike an airbag system, Timbren SES suspension upgrades don’t depend on compressed air to enhance the ride. In fact, they’re an alternative to air ride. Aeon® hollow rubber springs are made of natural rubber engineered to lift the vehicle without the use of compressed air.
If you have a few common tools and know how to remove a bump stop, Timbren SES upgrades are easy to install. The basic components of an average SES suspension kit explain why:
- 2 Aeon® springs
- 2 metal brackets
- All necessary hardware and fasteners
The average SES suspension upgrade runs about $300.00 US. Aside from Timbren lift kits for lifted vehicles, there are no extra components to purchase.
Air Lift or Timbren SES: Which is better?
How does Air Lift compare with Timbren SES?
Load leveling: Both products can keep your truck level even under the heaviest loads. Here are some of the benefits associated with load-leveling:
- Reduced roll and sway
- Improved steering
- More control
Ride quality: Both products promise better ride quality with or without a load.
Warranty: Both products come with a Lifetime Warranty.
Obviously, Timbren SES and air bags use two very different technologies: Aeon® hollow rubber springs vs Airbags filled with air. Even though a Timbren SES product can sometimes be mistaken for an airbag suspension system, nothing could be further from the truth. Airbags use compressed air to lift and lower the truck. Timbren SES products use hollow rubber helper springs. The rubber - not air - does the job of keeping the truck level and stable.
Airbag kits can potentially cost much more than Timbren SES products. In fact, cost is one of the biggest differences between the two systems. Installation charges plus the number of additional conveniences and upgrades (e.g., air compressors) can really add up.
Most Timbren SES products take about 30 minutes to install. Due to the large number of parts needed for it to function, an airbag system can take up to 4 hours to install.
Timbren SES kits require zero maintenance. Airbag systems are more high-maintenance and require periodic checks for leaks and broken airlines.
Timbren SES products are self-adjusting. Airbags require height-control valves that adjust the amount of compressed air sent through the airlines to the air bags.
It’s fair to say that airbag suspension kits bring to the table certain benefits. And Timbren SES kits have their own set of advantages as well. Hopefully, this article has provided you with some clarity to the question, “Should I purchase air bags or Timbren SES?”
For more clarity, keep reading...
Should you get air or go for something more reliable?
Above, we compared Air Lift airbags to Timbren SES suspension upgrades. So, which one of these suspension systems is more reliable?
A quick observation suggests that Timbren SES products have the best price and the most capacity. And if you were to take a closer look, you’d notice that Timbren SES wins big points for:
- great ride quality loaded or unloaded
- maximum stability
- lifetime warranty
Unlike an airbag system, Timbren SES allows you to set it and forget it. In other words, Timbren SES requires zero maintenance.
Additionally, an airbag system doesn’t provide enough stability if you’re hauling a top-heavy load like a truck camper or towing a heavy 5th Wheel.
Think about it: For the past 50+ years, Timbren SES products have remained the smartest choice because they guarantee you maximum control and safety, loaded and unloaded... all at a very reasonable price!
“Whether we’re towing with our Nissan Titan or our Toyota Tundra, our Timbren SES kit has been a game changer. Reduced all sag in the rear plus helps the tow rigs gain maximum control. Over a year with SES and we would never go back.” @ClicOutdoor
For more information about Timbren SES products, please visit Timbren.com