Airbag Man vs Timbren SES: Choosing Australia's best suspension upgrades
What are Airbag Man airbags?
Airbag Man is an Australian company whose corporate office is located in Brisbane, Australia. They design and manufacture air suspension kits that include airbags from top suppliers - like Firestone and Dunlop - from around the world.
The rear kits they design replace the factory bump stops, which means they sit over the axle between the frame and the leaf spring. They recommend that only a qualified dealer should install one of their airbag suspension kits. It’s definitely not a job for amateurs!
Airbag Man airbag systems are similar to North American air ride suspensions. Let’s face it, there are no shortcuts when it comes to designing something for a half-ton pickup truck. Airbag Man’s Australian airbag systems are designed to assist a tow vehicle pulling a caravan.
The basic components of all airbag suspension upgrades are part of an Airbagman design:
- 2 airbags
- metal brackets
- necessary hardware
- nylon tubing
- installation instructions
The average Airbag Man kit for a half ton pickup costs about $1000.00 US. Any extras like air compressors, air tanks, and height-control valves (for onboard air supply) are extra.
What are Timbren SES airbags?
Timbren Industries’ corporate office and manufacturing facility is located in Whitby, Ontario, Canada. Timbren specializes in suspension upgrades for trucks, vans, SUVs, and trailers. 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.
How do Airbagman airbags compare with Timbren SES airbags?
First of all, let’s examine the similarities:
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.
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 Aeon® hollow rubber springs. The rubber - not air - does the job of keeping the truck level and stable.
Airbag kits 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. Compared to Timbren SES, airbag systems are higher maintenance, requiring 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. At the end of the day, we hope this article is providing you with some clarity to the question, “Should I purchase air bags or Timbren SES?”
Which Australian suspension upgrades are best for you?
Above, we compared Airbag Man airbag upgrades to Timbren SES suspension upgrades. So, which one of these Australian suspension systems is best for you?
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:
- best ride quality loaded or unloaded
- best added stability
- best warranty
Also, Timbren SES upgrades aren’t vulnerable to malfunctioning like an airbag system. In fact, a Timbren SES system is completely bulletproof. (Quite literally!)
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: Timbren SES products have been around for over 50 years and are still the smartest choice hands down!
“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