What's the Difference Between Helper Springs and Off-Road Bump Stops

They May Look Similar but they Have Different Uses. Learn Which One You Need.

SES Helper Springs vs Active Off-Road Bumpstops

As the title suggests, this short article will compare the similarities and the differences between helper springs and Active Off-Road Bumpstops. What are they made of? What are they made for? 

This short article answers 5 questions that will help you compare the main benefits and advantages of SES Helper Springs to Active Off-Road Bumpstops:


What are the main differences between helper springs and bump stops?

Even though some helper springs replace the factory bump stops – which can cause some confusion about their use – there’s a big difference between how helper springs and bump stops are used. 

Bump stops are designed to act as a mini cushion, preventing metal from hitting metal, i.e., a metal frame bumping down on a metal axle. Even though originally made of rubber, over 95% of new vehicles use bump stops made from a microcellular polyurethane elastomer (MPU) material. 

Helper springs assist with load leveling and hauling. Even if they replace the factory bump stops, they are not meant to work like bump stops. Helper springs are designed to keep the vehicle level, maintain stability, and reduce road shock.


Can I tow heavy loads with bump stops? Do they provide any support for this?

First, you need to ask yourself, “What is the purpose of an off-road bump stop?”

Protection: The main purpose of a bump stop is to serve as a cushion when the suspension finally bottoms out. That way, there’s always a bit of protection to prevent metal from hitting metal or, in some cases, prevent the frame from traveling too far. In either case, bump stops help avoid damage to the suspension or the chassis, as well as preserve the integrity of the shock absorbers.

Control: If you’re planning to leave the pavement and cut to the off-road trail, you’re quickly going to find that factory bump stops are woefully inadequate for the task. Not only is the ride quality poor, but the loss of vehicle control can be rather dangerous. The best way to regain control of your off-road vehicle requires the use of bump stops designed specifically for rough terrain.

As you can see, a bump stop is designed to ‘cushion’ the impact and prevent metal from hitting metal. They will not help suspension squat, sag, or instability caused by hauling or towing a heavy load.


Can I go off-road with helper springs? Do they provide any cushion?

Several years ago, Timbren’s customer service department discovered that some of their off-road enthusiasts were looking for a solution. They wanted an alternative to the harsh response of the original bump stops installed at the factory. They were trying to use easy-to-install Timbren SES helper springs as off-road bump stops but with disappointing results. 

In an effort to help, the Timbren staff partnered together with their off-road customers to design a bump stop kit that allows for proper articulation of the suspension while, at the same time, providing a dampening response (a softer landing) when the suspension bottoms out.

Do SES helper springs work off-road? No! They’re not designed to work on rough, off-road terrain. Timbren’s Active Off-Road Bumpstops are the perfect design to help maintain the proper cushion on the trail.


Are there different types of bump stops? Which is better? What should I consider?

There are basically 4 types of off-road bump stops:

  • If price is no object, hydraulic bump stops are the way to go. They’re filled with shock oil and nitrogen and are adjustable allowing you to fine-tune them to your particular needs. You’re going to need a custom shop that specializes in made-to-measure installation because these bump stops work best in conjunction with your existing shocks. Two of the most popular brands are Bilstein and King. 
  • TeraFlex Speedbumps use the same principle as a factory bump stop but look and act much like a hydraulic bump stop. Installation requires some customization. 
  • Wheeler Superbumps resemble factory bump stops but are much taller and provide better ride quality. 
  • Active Off-Road Bumpstops from Timbren Industries are made of natural rubber and come in many shapes and sizes. Depending on what you drive, there is a custom kit that will fit your off-road vehicle. If you can remove a bump stop, you can install Active Off-Road Bumpstops on your chariot. 


Are there different types of helper springs? What should I consider?

Helper springs are designed to assist your suspension springs. They do not replace them. There are several different types of spring helpers to choose from in today’s automotive aftermarket.

Steel helpers

Hellwig helper springs are supposed to sit on top of the leaf springs at the rear of your truck, working together with the existing suspension to keep the vehicle level under load. Hellwig helper springs are adjustable, easy to install, and come complete with all the necessary hardware. Super Springs is another option. Although like Hellwig, they take a little less time to install, offer a little more spring capacity, and provide better, unloaded ride quality. 

Coil assist

Coil Design Helper Springs are designed to work together with a leaf spring setup. They mount to the U-bolts in the center of the leaf spring and attach to the frame above. Coil Spring Spacers are made of rubber or aluminum. The concept is simple: 2 spacers inserted in between the coils of the spring limit the amount of compression of the coil spring.

Airbag assist

Airbags were originally designed as an alternative suspension to leaf springs. Products like Air Lift and Ride-Rite have been around for several decades. Designed to sit between the frame and the leaf spring, they act as suspension helper springs.

Rubber helper springs

Timbren SES hollow rubber springs are made from natural rubber. They are designed to replace the bump stop on trucks, vans, and SUVs. Easy-to-install that requires zero maintenance.


Timbren makes two products that look very similar:

  1. SES helper springs
  2. Active Off-Road Bumpstops

They both look very similar because they both replace the factory bump stops. But that’s where the similarities end. The main difference is their purpose and their usage. 

Timbren SES helper springs are meant to keep your vehicle level and stable under load. Active Off-road Bumpstops, on the other hand, smooth out the ride on rough terrain and help the driver maintain control of the vehicle.

For more info on Active Off-Road Bumpstops, visit www.timbren.com.