Severe Service Suspension Upgrades vs Light Duty SES

Making the Right Decision on Your Suspension Upgrade is Important.

Let’s be honest. The customer service department at Timbren gets calls all the time from customers who think the load they’re hauling requires a “severe service” or heavy-duty suspension upgrade kit. Somehow, they think ‘more’ is better. The truth about “severe service” is… not everyone needs it or wants it!

The following 4 questions and answers are designed to better inform you of the difference between standard SES kits and severe duty helper springs so you can make the best choice for your suspension enhancement.

diagram of severe duty and standard duty helper springs

What can I do if my truck sags when hauling a truck camper?

Even though your half-tonne pickup is rated for, let’s say, 8500 lbs., you’re going to see it squat when you add an extra 500 pounds to its bed. No one wants to see the back-end sag while the headlights on the front end point up into the trees. What can be done about that? 

Well, instead of mounting three or four hockey pucks between the frame and the axle to prevent it from squatting, a Timbren Suspension Enhancement System will not only keep your vehicle level – it will improve the ride quality as well. 

However, dealing with the additional weight of a truck or slide-in camper is a different story. Over the last 50 years, special kits were designed for professional drivers of heavy-duty tow trucks, car carriers, crane mounted vehicles, and 5th wheel applications. The part numbers for these special kits usually had a ‘TT’ added to the part number (TT stood for Tow Truck).

As truck campers gained popularity in the RV industry, more and more people were installing these top-heavy camping accessories on pickups that were never meant to carry such extreme loads. So Timbren created a ‘new’ category for the general public called “severe service.”

truck with slide-in camper and severe service helper springs

If I have a choice between ‘severe service’ and ‘standard’ rubber springs, why shouldn’t I just get severe service?

The key to understanding the difference between standard and severe service rubber springs includes the examination of their size and shape. Virtually all Aeon® rubber springs used in SES kits are either double-convoluted or single-convoluted. A double-convoluted spring sits a little taller than a single, while a single-convoluted spring – even though shorter – is much wider.

Most rubber springs used on pick-up trucks are double-convoluted, providing a perfect blend of capacity and ride quality. But the rubber springs used for “severe service” are single-convoluted, designed to resist weight more aggressively. The result is reduced ride quality in exchange for more muscle and stability. Also, severe service springs are typically made from harder durometer rubber. The harder rubber resists weight more efficiently compared to softer rubber.

Unless you’re carrying a slide-in camper or using a salt spreader, you do not need a severe service kit.

Ram hauling a heavy fifth wheel camper with severe service or heavy duty helper springs

When do I need a severe service helper spring?

Generally speaking, severe service helper springs are required when the load is extreme: Top-heavy, side-heavy, front-heavy or back-heavy.

A few examples of a top-heavy load is a slide-in truck camper, a crane carrier (aerial device with a bucket), or a car carrier.

A few examples of a side-heavy, front-heavy, or back-heavy load include:

  • Tow truck
  • 5th wheel
  • Wheel lift
  • Dump body

In fact, any load that causes dangerous instability or threatens to damage the truck’s suspension needs a severe-service kit.

severe duty Timbren helper spring

When do I need a standard rubber helper spring?

As we mentioned earlier, most rubber springs used on pick-up trucks are double-convoluted, providing a perfect blend of capacity and ride quality. 

So, here’s the truth of the matter: “More” is not always better! Using a severe service kit when one is not required will compromise your ride quality. Be sure to choose the appropriate Timbren SES kit in order to maximize stability and ride quality.

If you’ve read through the answers to the four questions listed above, then you understand that “severe service” kits are not for everyone. More is not always better. Chances are, unless you’re hauling a slide-in camper or using a salt spreader, you do not need a severe service kit.

Click here for more information on Timbren SES kits. 

New severe service or heavy duty helper springs