Hellwig Big Wig Anti-Roll Bar
Both my Fourth Generation Ram/Cummins 2500s have been frequently or constantly loaded to their Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), and the stock suspensions and chassis have impressed me with their ability to handle maximum loads, including the factory rear stabilizer bar’s ability to tame body-roll. However, when pushing the limits of ratings, sometimes a little help from the aftermarket can increase handling performance, safety, and improve our driving experience. My choice was a heavy-duty, adjustable, rear stabilizer bar from Hellwig Products; they call it the Big Wig (part #7306, $570). Hellwig makes another rear bar for late-model Rams; however, I wanted the stoutest one for my loads.
Hellwig knows more than a little about suspension products, they’ve been doing it since 1946, remain a family-owned-and-operated company, and still manufacture their products in Visalia, California, with American-made steel. They make steel helper springs, anti-roll (sway) bars, and air springs. Back in the early 1980s I purchased my first sway-bar product from Hellwig, for a VW Bug, which also lowered the front of the car. (I’ve not lowered a vehicle since.)
Mounting the Big Wig was easy, similar to changing shocks on a Fourth Generation Ram. After assembling a few bits, and properly adjusting the end links, it’s simply a matter of removing the factory bar and mounting the Big Wig in its place. All the parts and fasteners needed are included, and the written instructions are clear. Hellwig gets extra points for above average photos that are bright, and separately securing both the heavy bar and small box of parts inside the large shipping box, avoiding common strewn bits, box failures, or parts damage.
The Big Wig bar is substantially larger than the factory piece, and its shape provides plenty of clearance for my Mag-Hytec rear differential cover. Hellwig recommends starting at the outer, rear-most bar-end mounting hole, which is the softest setting, and moving to the two more firm holes, if desired after adjusting to the vehicle’s new handling characteristics. Because of my maximum load, I went straight to the firmest position.
Does It Work?
From the beginning of my first test, there was a noticeable reduction in body roll, and overall improved stability and control. It does not turn a heavy truck into a sports car, but it was a great improvement. I made detailed notes during my initial drives which included the following Big Wig attributes:
-Limits how much roll occurs; the performance is somewhat similar to a better shock absorber. With the factory bar, after the initial body roll, there would be added oscillation and wiggle before the chassis returned to neutral after the disturbing force ended. The Big Wig stops the roll sooner and then holds the chassis more firmly until centering occurs.
– Very noticeable difference on 75-mph freeway sweepers; much less body roll.
– In high winds, control was much improved; this should reduce driver fatigue.
– Slow speed roll was also limited, including when entering and exiting driveways.
These were substantial improvements, but it is even more impressive when one remembers my custom Hallmark cabover camper, several hundred pounds of tools and recovery gear, bumper, winch, and 35-inch-tall tires. The Big Wig works, is worth the money, and I’m considering adding Hellwig’s front bar also.
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