The best suspension for RAM 1500: Airlift airbags vs Timbren SES
What is an air suspension system?
Before we try to explain how they work, let’s take a quick look at the basic working parts of an air suspension lift kit with onboard air supply:
- First of all, for the rear suspension there are 2 airbags (bellows) - one for each side of the truck - that install between the frame and the axle.
- Secondly, airlines connect these 2 airbags to an air tank.
- Thirdly, the air tank is connected to an onboard compressor that pumps air into the tank.
Air Lift adjustable air springs are 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.
Air Lift's air suspension kits for trucks come with adjustable air springs that offer better weight distribution by leveling the load. When you’re towing, you can drive with more control over steering and braking.
Are airbags safe to use on your Ram 1500?
Airbags will work on your Ram 1500. But in certain situations and with certain applications, are they your best choice?
It should be pointed out that there are certain drawbacks to an airbag system:
- The initial costs of purchasing and installing an airbag system is much greater than a Timbren SES system.
- An airbag system is vulnerable to air leaks and other malfunctions.
- An airbag system doesn’t provide enough stability to handle severe-service applications like 5th wheel trailers and truck campers.
The issue of an airbag system’s vulnerability to malfunction is an important point to consider. You need to think twice about using an air bag on your vehicle if you’re the type to ‘set it and forget it’. This complex system is expensive and needs plenty of TLC. Regular checkups are imperative in order to protect your investment.
Airbags take a pounding. Unless they’re high-quality, they will eventually leak. If they decide to burst on a road trip, it could compromise your brakes, reduce control of your vehicle and lead to a serious accident. Obviously, this is not the best scenario while you’re on vacation!
How does an airbag system compare with Timbren SES?
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.
Warranty: Both products come with a Lifetime Warranty.
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 hollow rubber helper springs. The rubber - not air - does the job of keeping the truck level and stable.
Airbag kits can potentially 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. Airbag systems are more high-maintenance and require 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 suspension upgrade is best for your Ram 1500?
Above, we compared Air Lift airbags to Timbren SES suspension upgrades. So, which one of these suspension systems is best for your Ram 1500?
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 of towing a heavy 5th Wheel.
So, just in case you missed it, we highly recommend Timbren SES suspension upgrades for your Ram 1500 pickup.
Think about it: Timbren SES products have been around for over 50 years and are still the best and 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