Shock Helper Springs for Different Vehicle Types: A Comprehensive Guide
What are shock helper springs? Simply put, we’re addressing shock helper springs upgrades for your suspension. Still not clear enough? Try this: search for ‘Shock Helper Springs for Sale’ and see what comes up on your screen. You will be introduced to a number of different helper spring upgrades: different styles, different designs, different manufacturers – some old, some new.
The various shock helper springs that fit different types of vehicles can be categorized into 4 groups:
3) Shock helpers for coil springs
4) Rubber springs
The following is a comprehensive guide that will help you figure out what works best for you and you vehicle.
The first air suspension system was developed in 1901 for bicycles. In 1920, the first pneumatic (air ride) suspension system was developed for cars. During WWII, self-leveling air suspensions were used on aircraft and heavy trucks. In the 1950s, Air Lift introduced an air spring that could be inserted into a car’s coil springs. At the same time, Firestone developed an aftermarket product called Ride-Rite.
Air Lift and Ride-Rite aftermarket airbag systems have a similar design. Both use compressed air to lift and lower the vehicle. Basically, an airbag system includes the following five components:
- Air bags
- Air lines
- 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 airbag 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.
Suspension airbags 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.
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.
Suspension airbags provide better weight distribution by leveling the load. This provides more control over steering and braking while towing.
A basic air bag 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.
Add-a-leaf upgrades are additional leaf springs designed to assist a leaf spring suspension. Three companies manufacture the same product with a few design variations.
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.
SuperSpring makes a similar product that mounts to the top of a leaf spring suspension. SuperSpring’s helper spring kit retail for about $800.00.
Shock helpers for coil springs
DuraSHOCK for coils prevents coil sagging with a reinforced suspension. This product attaches to the coil to absorb and dissipate the shock from rough road conditions while extending the life cycle of coil springs and the suspension system. A set retails for about $90.00.
Timbren SES suspension upgrades are made of natural rubber. Every suspension kit comes with a pair of Aeon® hollow rubber springs. As an alternative to air, metal, or foam springs, Aeon® springs improve suspension performance both as a sole suspension and as a spring helper. Made from 100% natural rubber, our Aeon® springs offer a progressive spring rate. This means that the more weight applied, the harder the springs work to level your load. And absorbing road shocks? Aeon® springs do that, too. The self-damping quality of our rubber springs give you a smooth, comfortable ride, even when fully loaded.
Listed below are six advantages unique to Timbren SES upgrades:
- PROGRESSIVE SPRING RATE
Because they’re made from natural rubber, Aeon® springs have an advantage over metal springs: the ability to increase their spring rate as the load increases. This means reduced squat, sway, and roll, even under the heaviest of hauls.
- SELF-DAMPING PROPERTIES
Aeon® rubber suspension enhancement systems possess a unique quality called “hysteresis.” Simply put, they act like a shock absorber. They’re particularly effective when used as a helper spring.
- SUPERIOR RIDE QUALITY
Products like Add-a-Leaf increase your vehicle’s unloaded ride height, sometimes up to 1.5 inches. Our Aeon® springs don’t affect empty right height at all, ensuring a smooth ride — loaded or unloaded.
- EASY DIY INSTALLATION
No need to pay for shop installation. Unlike air bags or Add-a-Leaf suspension products, you can install our products right from your driveway.
- ZERO MAINTENANCE
You read that right. Unlike air bags, you don’t have to check pressure, run air lines, or watch for leaks. Just set ‘em and forget ‘em.
Unlike foam or air bags, our Aeon springs® are durable and long-lasting. So durable, in fact, that they’re bulletproof. (Yeah, we put our springs through a serious torture test to prove it.)
For more information on Timbren SES products, visit Timbren.com.