GMC Sierra: How to prevent sway and roll while towing
Does your GMC Sierra have roll and sway towing problems?
If you’re planning to use your GMC Sierra 1500 as a work truck, you’re probably going to need some sort of suspension upgrade. If you’re wondering why, let’s discuss this important matter.
The leaf spring suspension on the rear end is comprised of three leaf springs mounted between the frame and a solid axle. As strong as you might think they are, the rear suspension on the GMC Sierra 1500 has its limitations.
Believe it or not, with enough added weight, the rear end will squat. When this happens, the weight of the vehicle shifts backward reducing the amount of traction on the front tires which will impact steering ability.
At the end of the day, too much weight on the rear suspension can cause instability such as roll and sway. As you’ve probably guessed, this instability is dangerous and will require the driver to slow down to a crawl.
What causes trailer sway and roll?
Trailer sway (“fishtailing”) occurs when the side forces on the trailer cause the trailer to move side to side behind the tow vehicle. Body roll occurs when the tow vehicle navigates a curve causing it to lean away from the curve.
The factors that contribute to sway and roll are:
- Cross winds are strong gusts of wind that push against side of the trailer causing it to sway. Windy weather is not the most ideal condition for towing a trailer.
- Side winds from large passing vehicles
- Rough road conditions make it difficult to steer any size trailer
- Trailer sag and squat over the rear wheels is both dangerous and damaging to your tow vehicle. Suspension upgrade products will level the load and help keep you safe when towing a trailer.
What are the best suspension upgrades for towing problems?
It’s not uncommon for a pickup truck’s rear end to droop after a load of 200 – 300 pounds has been added. And the sag becomes increasingly obvious as you near the maximum load rating. Here are some of the most common solutions for suspension sag and squat:
- Add a leaf
Add-a-leaf products (like SuperSprings) help to level the load. Unfortunately, they cost about $600.00 US for the pair. And they’re capacity is limited to approximately 4,000 lbs additional.
Airbags were originally designed as an alternative to leaf springs. Air bag products help to level the load but they’re expensive, costing anywhere from $1,000 - $1,500. They usually require professional installation.
- Timbren hollow rubber springs
Timbren SES use Aeon® hollow rubber springs made from natural rubber. They’re designed to replace the bump stop on trucks, vans, and SUVs. SES kits are affordable, easy to install, and add an additional capacity of 8600 lbs.
How do I install Timbren SES part # GMRS15?
The following are the installation instructions for part # GMRS15:
Be sure to block your tires to ensure that the vehicle does not move during installation. Wheel blocks, also known as “chocks,” are often overlooked as a safety precaution. Put the vehicle in park and apply the emergency brake. Then, wedge the angled chocks beneath the tires on both sides to keep the vehicle from moving.
Use a jack to lift the vehicle and allow the axle to hang freely. Warning: Do not put the jack under a body panel! Apart from the obvious damage to the vehicle, this incorrect procedure is dangerous.
Unbolt and remove the OEM bump stop.
Drop the bolt into the hollow rubber spring. As you do so, be sure to feed the bolt through the internal washer (found inside the rubber spring) and up through the top of the spring. The internal washer is important because it prevents the bolt from pulling through the rubber spring as you tighten the assembly.
Position the metal and rubber spacer over the top of the rubber spring, allowing the bolt to feed through both spacers.
Install Timbren SES assembly using existing holes in the frame. The Timbren-supplied bolt will thread into the existing hole in the frame. Using a ratchet with an extension, work the Timbren-supplied bolt into the threaded hole up inside the frame.
Tighten bolt and replace tire. There is no specific torque value you need to match when installing a hollow rubber spring. The rubber spring needs to be tightened until it is snug, and no more. Once you’re done, repeat steps 1-7 on the opposite side of the vehicle.
How does part # GMRS15 stack up against the competition?
Above, we compared Add-a-leaf products & Air bags to Timbren SES suspension upgrades. So, which one of the three is best?
A quick observation suggests that Timbren SES part # GMRS15 is the easiest to install. It offers the best price, the most capacity (8600 lbs), and maximum stability by eliminating roll and sway. 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
We highly recommend Timbren SES suspension upgrades for your GMC Sierra!
Think about it: Timbren SES products have been around for over 50 years and are still the best and smartest choice hands down!
Part # GMRS15 is perfect for towing with your GMC Sierra.
“Whether we’re towing with our GMC Sierra or our Toyota Tundra, Timbren SES kits have been a game changer by reducing sag in the rear plus helping the tow rig 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