The best truck suspension upgrades for towing
Bought yourself a camper trailer and now you’ve discovered that your suspension isn’t working as well as you thought it should? Find out what could be the problem, and whether or not you need a suspension upgrade for towing.
Does your tow vehicle need a suspension upgrade?
As the warmer weather approaches, thousands of people are anticipating a road trip that includes towing a camper trailer. If you’re one of the many planning to tow a camper for the first time, there are some important things you should know...
1. Stay Within Your Limits.
Learn the towing capacity of your tow vehicle. Make sure it can handle the additional weight of your trailer.
2. Pack your trailer properly.
Not only do you want roughly 60% of the trailer’s load placed over the front half of the trailer, you also should try to maintain a tongue weight that is between 10-15% of the total weight of the loaded trailer.
3. Check your tires.
Tires on your tow vehicle and trailer that aren’t properly inflated can impact proper handling. Additionally, tires that are underinflated create more rolling resistance forcing the engine to work harder.
4. Check your lights.
Large trailers may obscure the taillights on your tow vehicle. If the lights on your trailer aren’t illuminated, other drivers may not see your rig, especially at night.
5. Check Your Brakes.
Heavy trailers and those designed to carry heavy loads will usually incorporate a trailer brake system. Generally speaking, trailer brakes should be used on trailers weighing more than 2,000 pounds.
What are the signs that your vehicle needs a suspension upgrade for towing?
- Riding Rough
When you drive a truck that has a suspension issue, it can affect how you drive. If your truck is bouncing, skittering, or shaking over every pothole and speed bump, you may need to get your suspension checked out.
- Pulling Through Turns
If your suspension is failing, you might feel a pull when you’re making turns. Your vehicle needs to remain stable while turning. Steering difficulty is a sign that you require suspension repair.
- Rolling Sensation
Your suspension system has a component called an “anti-sway bar” that is supposed to provide stability. When you turn the vehicle, a failing suspension may cause a rolling sensation, similar to driving a boat.
Which upgrades are best for towing: Rubber springs or polyurethane springs?
Timbren SES suspension upgrades are made from natural rubber which has proven to meet the standards of the auto industry right from the very beginning.
Timbren Industries has been manufacturing SES kits since 1968. In fact, they were the first to introduce the North American market to Aeon® hollow rubber springs. These ‘new’ Aeon springs were considered “stronger than steel, more reliable than air” and were used as a primary suspension as well as an air ride assist.
There have been several companies that have tried to imitate Timbren’s products. In fact, many have tried to improve on the original but with little-to-zero success.
SumoSprings is one such product that entered the market back in 2010. Even though based on the already existing Timbren SES model, it has proven to act as a poor copy of the original. Instead of natural rubber, they were made from gas-infused polyurethane.
So really, the main difference between Timbren SES and SumoSprings is the material used in forming the spring. The original Timbren SES helper spring is made of cured natural rubber, whereas the competition used gas-infused polyurethane.
Anyway, here’s the thing...
Timbren rubber springs are made to withstand extreme temperatures. They work just as well in a hot climate as they do in super cold temperatures.
Unfortunately, SumoSprings aren’t recommended for use in the Northern States and Canada. In super-cold weather, SumoSprings’ gas-infused polyurethane springs become brittle and break down.
Why is a progressive spring rate so great?
Before we can talk about progressive spring rate, we need to define the term “spring rate.” Basically, spring rate refers to the amount of weight it takes to compress a spring by one inch. In other words, a spring rated at 200 pounds per inch will compress one inch under a 200 lb. load.
Next, let’s define the term “linear spring rate.” A linear-rated spring has one defined spring rate throughout its entire range of compression. For instance, for a 300 pound per inch linear-rated spring, each additional 300 pounds after the first will compress it one more inch, and so on, until the spring is fully compressed.
Okay, now we can explain a “progressive” spring rate. A progressive spring rate constantly increases as the spring continues to compress. For example, an initial 300 pounds may be required to compress the spring one inch, but for the spring to compress another inch, it may require an additional 600 pounds. The spring has now progressed to a higher spring rate, and each subsequent one inch of compression will progress to an even higher spring rate until the spring is fully compressed.
Every hollow rubber spring included in a Timbren SES kit has a progressive (variable) spring rate. Why is this so remarkable? A progressive spring rate ensures that the truck will stay level at all times, will increase safety and stability, and maintain a smooth ride even under heavy loads.
Are Timbren SES upgrades the best choice for your tow vehicle?
When we compare Timbren SES with SumoSprings, it’s obvious they are made of very different materials: Timbren SES is made of natural rubber, and SumoSprings are made of polyurethane. And for that reason, there remain two major differences between Timbren SES and SumoSprings:
- As we said earlier, Timbren SES upgrades work well in any climate, even if the temperature is super-hot or super-cold. On the other hand, SumoSprings will not work in extreme cold temperatures because the material (gas-infused polyurethane) gets brittle and breaks down.
- Timbren SES upgrades perform extremely well with severe-service applications such as truck campers, big fifth wheel trailers, and trucks with dump bodies and snow-removal equipment. Even though SumoSprings work great towing light campers, they were never designed to handle severe-service applications.
Is that clear enough? Are Timbren SES upgrades the better choice?
We certainly think so! For more information, please visit Timbren.com.