Hellwig Add-A-Leaf helper spring vs Timbren SES helper spring: Comparing a Lada to a Ferrari
There are many helper springs on the market. Hellwig Add-a-Leaf is one such product. Today we’ll examine the pros and cons of add-a-leaf. We’ll also compare Hellwig Add-a-Leaf to Timbren SES so you can see clearly why Timbren SES is vastly superior. (It’s like comparing a Lada to a Ferrari!)
What's a Hellwig Add-a-Leaf?
Hellwig leaf springs are helper springs designed to sit on top of the existing leaf springs at the rear of your truck. They work in conjunction with the factory spring pack to increase the spring rate of the truck. Hellwig offers several types of helper springs with different load capacities and applications. The price of a leaf spring kit ranges anywhere from $100.00 - $1000.00.
Hellwig leaf springs support systems can add an additional load capacity ranging anywhere from 500 lbs up to 3500 lbs. These helper springs increase the suspension’s spring rate but do not increase the GVWR.
The following is taken from a Hellwig EZ-990 instruction sheet:
- Place the spring on top of the mainspring with the long end toward the rear of the vehicle.
- Slide the spring back and forth so the hump doesn’t touch the factory vehicle U-bolts but to maximize the distance between the leaf tips and the underside of the vehicle.
- Place the U-bolts with the short legs on either side of the hump as shown in the diagram. Using the included cross bars, washers, and nuts, tighten to the recommended torque.
- Use the longer legged U-bolts on the outside cups of the spring as shown in the diagram. Attach them once again using the crossbars, washer, and nuts. It may be necessary to either jack the vehicle up by the frame allowing the suspension to droop or use a C-clamp to compress the spring to start the nuts.
- Adjust the crossbars on the end of the springs so that the adjacent leaf tip will not contact the crossbar when the spring is deflected. It may be necessary to move the spring stack fore or aft for best alignment.
- Adjust the U-bolts at the spring end to desired preload. The minimum tension adjustment is having enough tension on the end U-bolts so that they do not loosen or rattle and move when the vehicle is driven over rough or bumpy surfaces. Maximum adjustment is when the leaf cups are 1/4” from the main spring.
When adjustment is complete, double-nut to lock in adjustment.
- Lower the vehicle to the ground and check your installation for clearance on all undercarriage components, wires, fuel, brake, and air conditioning lines.
With the right tools, a first-time installer could take up to 2 hours.
How do Hellwig products compare with Timbren SES?
To simplify our discussion, we’re going to restrict our comparison to the following two products: Timbren SES part # GMRS15 and Hellwig EZ-990 Helper Spring Kit.
Both Timbren SES and Hellwig EZ-990 helper springs...
- Provide additional lift
- Prevent sagging and squatting
- Stabilize the load
- Require zero maintenance
- The first (and obvious) difference between the 2 products is the material: The Hellwig EZ-990 helper springs are made of tempered steel; Timbren SES upgrades are made of natural rubber.
The second and not-so-obvious difference between the 2 products is their spring rate: Hellwig metal springs have a linear spring rate i.e. the metal springs deflect at the same rate all the way to full deflection. On the other hand, SES hollow rubber springs have a progressive spring rate, i.e. the spring rate increases as they deflect down to full deflection.
- The maximum additional load capacity of the Hellwig EZ-990 = 2,000 lbs. which is designed for lighter assistance. On the other hand, SES upgrades provide up to 12,000 lbs. designed for heavier assistance.
In a nutshell: 1) metal springs vs rubber springs; 2) linear spring rate vs progressive spring rate; maximum 2,000 lbs capacity vs maximum 12,000 lbs. capacity.
Why are Timbren SES helper springs better than Hellwig Add-a-Leaf?
In order to understand why Timbren SES are superior to Hellwig leaf springs, you need to understand two innate characteristics of an Aeon® hollow rubber spring - used in every Timbren SES product:
Progressive spring rate
Unlike metal springs that have a linear spring rate, Aeon® rubber springs have a progressive spring rate, a rate that increases as more weight is added to the truck.
Unlike metal springs that need shocks to absorb the energy created when they compress, Aeon® rubber springs are self-damping, able to absorb the kinetic energy by themselves.
These two characteristics of Aeon® rubber springs offer some unique advantages:
adjust automatically to the load, preventing sag and squat
increase stability (reduced roll and sway) when towing or hauling the heaviest loads
act like a shock absorber providing a soft, quiet ride while loaded
- prevent bottoming out and damage to your suspension
Hellwig or Timbren SES: Which one should you choose?
Above, we compared Hellwig add-a-leaf products to Timbren SES suspension upgrades. Have you decided which one is best for you? If not, let me spell it out for you... it really is a no-brainer!
Timbren SES suspension upgrades provide you with:
- Maximum spring capacity
- Maximum ride quality
- Maximum stability
- Easiest to install
- Easiest to maintain
- Reasonably priced
- Lifetime Warranty and 100-Day Money Back Guarantee
Think about it: Timbren SES products have been around for over 50 years and are still the best alternative and smartest choice hands down! Our customers seem to think so...
“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