Airbags vs Timbren SES for the Chevy Silverado 2003, 2004 and 2006
Do you really need a suspension upgrade for your Chevy Silverado 2003? And if so, which upgrade is better for you? Read on and find out...
Do you really need a suspension upgrade for your Chevy Silverado 2003?
Does your Chevy Silverado sag too much? Perhaps you’re wondering, “Shouldn’t my new Chevy pickup have better rear springs?” What’s the deal...?
The deal is this: Your new Chevy Silverado might need helper springs for towing.
Just because your new Chevy Silverado 2003 has a maximum towing capacity of 13,000 pounds, doesn't mean you’ll somehow avoid rear suspension squat. And that applies to the Chevy Silverado 2004 as well. Do you have a Chevy Silverado 2006? Same thing.
Your new Chevy pickup is going to need helper springs especially if you’re planning to use it as a tow vehicle.
Here’s why: Metal springs (leaf springs and coil springs) are linear, i.e., their linear spring rate remains the same as it compresses all the way down till it bottoms out. The result is sag and squat.
On the other hand, a progressive suspension enhancement system – like the ones found in a Timbren SES kit – has a progressive spring rate that increases as it continues to compress. What does this mean? It means that Timbren rubber suspension upgrades will eliminate sag and squat.
FYI - Here are three factors that contribute to rear suspension squat:
1. A heavy trailer
If the weight of your trailer exceeds the payload capacity of your tow vehicle, you will not be able to tow it safely or legally.
2. Uneven weight distribution
Many people are within the weight limits on paper but still have uneven and unsafe loads. Setting up your trailer so you have the proper amount of tongue weight is just as important.
3. Suspension problems
Some suspension issues, such as weak leaf springs, may not present themselves without a load. If you notice a drastic amount of squat when weight is added to your vehicle, have your suspension checked out.
FYI - If you are experiencing suspension sag and instability, you really need to consider installing a set of Timbren SES helper springs for towing.
What is an Air Lift upgrade?
There are several load lifters, aka helper springs on the market. One of them is a load lifter made by Airlift. The Air Lift product is almost identical to all the other generic air suspension systems available. Prices vary slightly but they all work the same way. Here’s the thing: they all depend on compressed air.
Airbag systems for cars and trucks (not to be confused with airbags installed inside the cab that inflate during a collision) can be grouped into two categories:
Air suspensions intended to replace the existing suspension entirely.
Supplemental systems used to boost the capacity of the existing suspension.
We’re going to concern ourselves with the supplemental airbag system from Air Lift that serves as an auxiliary spring.
To understand an airbag system, you need to understand an airbag. An airbag used in an airbag suspension system is basically a rubber bladder that holds air, just like a basketball or a football. Some are designed to sit above the leaf spring or outside the coil spring, and some fit inside the coil.
Airbags need to be filled with compressed air. Unlike rubber or metal helper springs, it’s the air in the airbag that does the lifting. Airbags are connected to an air supply of compressed air that is fed into the airbags to raise or lower the vehicle.
An onboard air compressor keeps the air tank full of compressed air as needed. The air tank is connected to the airbags via rubber hoses that are long enough to reach each airbag. When the level of compressed air in the air tank drops below a certain point, the air compressor kicks in to refill the tank. When the tank has been refilled, it shuts off automatically.
How does Timbren SES make it easier to tow with your Chevy Silverado 2004?
Timbren SES suspension upgrades use ‘airbags’ without air. That’s right, no air. It’s one of the main differences between Airlift and Timbren SES. Timbren’s simple and easy-to-use rubber spring technology is what sets it apart from an air ride system like Air Lift.
Here are a few other differences:
Timbren SES has fewer components to install than the average air ride system. In fact, the average airbag kit takes about 3-4 hours to install; the average Timbren SES kit takes about 30 minutes.
This makes Timbren SES an easy-to-install DIY system that costs a lot less than Airlift and requires zero maintenance.
Airbag kits are priced somewhere between $800 - $1000.00. (Don’t forget there are more things to buy, like on-board air compressors and other related accessories.)
The average Timbren SES kit costs about $300.00.
Which one is better for your Chevy Silverado 2006?
What we’ve said so far has helped you to see which system - Airlift or Timbren SES - is better for towing with your Chevy Silverado. Here’s a short takeaway to help you remember which way to go:
If you don’t have the tools and the skills to install an airbag system, you’re going to need a professional to complete the job. Because Timbren SES kits are simple and easy to install, you could do the job yourself using ordinary tools.
Between the compressor, the airlines and the airbags, a lot could go wrong with an airbag system. Because a Timbren SES suspension system doesn’t rely on compressed air, this makes it absolutely bulletproof.
Unless money is no object, an airbag system is a little out of reach for the average consumer. But Timbren SES kits offer the biggest bang for your buck.
Which is better? We’ve stated the obvious, and we’re hoping you’ll make the smart choice!