Timbren SES vs Sumo Springs: The Showdown | Rubber Helper Springs

Which Helper Spring is Better for Your Towing, Hauling, and Trailering Needs?

This short article will introduce you to the concept of helper springs and their purpose. Ultimately, we’ll compare Timbren SES helpers to SumoSprings with the intention of helping you decide if there is a clear winner. 

To help you decide, we’ll answer the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of a helper spring?
  • Are all helper springs created equal?
  • Sumo vs SES: Is there a clear winner?
  • When do I need severe service vs standard duty helper springs?

assembling the Timbren SES Helper Springs

What is the purpose of a helper spring?

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

Here are just a few:

  • Steel helpers
  • Coil assist
  • Airbag assist
  • Rubber helper springs

That said, here’s what helper springs can do for your suspension:

Load-leveling: If your suspension is sagging or squatting under a load, helper springs are designed to keep it level while under load.

Stability: If your truck leans too far on corners causing you to slow down, helper springs reduce roll and sway.

Ride quality: If your truck porpoises on rough roads while under load, helper springs can smooth out the ride by absorbing road shock.

Protection: Helper springs will protect your suspension avoiding serious damage to the vehicle.

Safety: Helper springs will give you more control over your loaded vehicle, increasing safety and driver confidence. 

Basically, helper springs should level the load, stabilize the vehicle, and smooth out the ride.

Installed Sumo Spring

Are all helper springs created equal?

No, not all helper springs are created equal. Some are made of metal. Some are made of rubber or polyurethane while others use compressed air. Even though there are many different types of helper springs, each one usually provides a particular advantage that its competitors do not. 

For example, air bags offer the best ride quality while loaded. On the other hand, hollow rubber springs (SES) offer the best stability. 

Airbags focus on adjustability while hollow rubber springs (SES) are clearly maintenance-free.

Each different spring technology lends itself to a certain type of truck and its use. What you get with one product isn’t necessarily what you get with another. 

Of course, you must weigh your options before you buy if you want to receive the biggest bang for your buck. 

As promised earlier, we’re going to compare Timbren SES and SumoSprings

Yellow Sumo Helper Spring

Sumo vs SES: Is there a clear winner?

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. At the beginning, Timbren supplied truck manufacturers of large, heavy-duty vehicles: class 6, 7, and 8. 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. When a great idea turns up, everyone wants a piece of the action! And 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 under the more-established company SuperSpring. As a new product based on the Timbren SES model, it was a poor copy of the original. Instead of rubber compounds, they were made from gas-infused polyurethane. 

Timbren SES hollow rubber springs come in 5 different durometers (hardness of rubber) plus 25 different styles (size and shape). SumoSprings come in basically three shapes with 3 different densities. 

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 more recent SumoSprings involve polyurethane with gas nucleation (infusion). 

Anyway, here’s the thing...

You can’t use SumoSprings in the Northern States and Canada. In super-cold weather, SumoSprings’ gas-infused polyurethane springs become brittle and break down. Timbren’s rubber springs, on the other hand, can handle extreme temperatures.

Not only that, SumoSprings aren’t meant to handle heavy-duty and severe-service applications. Timbren SES has over 400 kits that are engineered to custom fit virtually every vehicle that rolls off the assembly line. 

Is there a clear winner here? We certainly think so.

Installed severe service Timbren helper spring

When do I need severe service vs standard duty helper springs? 

Before we get started, let’s agree on a definition for ‘severe service’. 

On Timbren’s website, severe service is considered ‘severe-duty’ applications like tow trucks, car carriers, slide-in campers, dump trucks, and aerial devices... anything top-heavy that creates extreme side-to-side roll and sway. We’re talking about any application requiring a product that delivers maximum stability. 

Timbren’s regular-duty springs are double convoluted. This means they can deliver a perfect blend of stability and ride quality for the average load. Severe service springs, on the other hand, are single convoluted. They’re shorter and wider, designed to ensure maximum stability for top-heavy loads.

One thing is for sure: You’re not going to find anything close to ‘severe service’ on the SumoSpring website. Their products don’t provide that kind of stability. 

Timbren’s website, however, calls attention to all things ‘severe service’. If you have stability problems, you probably should consider purchasing an SES severe service upgrade.


Hopefully, you have enough information to decide the winner of this showdown: Will it be Timbren SES or SumoSprings? If you need more information about Timbren SES, please visit Timbren.com

Timbren SES Helper Springs