Timbren DRTT3500E Spring Kit

On Dec. 23, 2019, I installed the firmer Timbren Industries single-convoluted springs, replacing the DR2500D double spring I ran for six months. I needed to reuse the bracket from the double-spring kit because there was a packaging mistake with my order.

However the springs, mounting brackets, and included Timbren spacers are interchangeable, just the spring mounts are different heights for this application. Received the correct and taller DRTT3500E mounting bracket and did the R&R. Without a 1-inch spacer the new setup is 3/4-inch taller overall.

Slides: 1) Shows the new set up on the left and what I’ve been running for three weeks on the right. 2) What I was running installed 3) What I’m running now, which is the traditional DRTT3500E spring mount/kit, without the optional spacer.

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James Langan

Copyright James Langan/RoadTraveler. All Rights Reserved

Resource:

Timbren

 

Air Lift 1000 auxiliary air springs

My flatbed camper outfit works well, but I’m always tinkering, fine-tuning, and looking for small improvements. I’m still using and loving the TufTruck and Timbren springs, just also want to inflate these air springs again which have been sitting dormant for months.

Essentially the same Air Lift product has been on my 2006 4Runner for over a decade (they’ve been flawless, after another brand failed twice). Also on my 2014 Ram 2500 since new, including up to the Canadian Arctic Ocean a few years ago. That’s a good record, so I’ll give this one failure a pass.

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James Langan

Copyright James Langan/RoadTraveler. All Rights Reserved

Resources:

Air Lift Performance

Timbren

TufTruck

 

 

 

Cooper Discoverer ST MAXX wear review

 

13,400 miles, on a 2006 V-8 Toyota 4Runner, only the second rotation, and getting 2,700 miles per 1/32″ of tread.

Love the rugged Cooper Discoverer S/T MAXX, I’ve run about four sets in various sizes on a few different four-wheel-drives.

James Langan

Copyright James Langan/RoadTraveler. All Rights Reserved

Resource:

Cooper Tire

 

Auxiliary Springs

2017 Ram 2500 with Hallmark Nevada Flatbed Camper

Truck Camper Suspension Q & A

The questions and answers below were prompted by recent posts regarding auxiliary springs for my truck camper outfit.

Backgrounder

Iggy The Igloo asked about heavy-duty suspension setup and options. Iggy has a Fourth Generation Ram 3500 crew cab, long bed, with a flatbed Alaskan popup. His truck had Firestone air springs, including Daystar cradles to prevent limiting droop-travel, but he did not like how the airbags consumed inches of up-travel. His front axle has Thuren Fab 1.5-inch replacement coils.

Questions, Answers, and Comments

Q] Do you leave your camper mounted full-time?

A] The chassis is always loaded with my Hallmark flatbed camper, tools, and gear. I will remove the Hallmark occasionally to inspect things, but have not done so yet.

2014-and-newer Ram 2500s (like mine) have coils in the rear, so I couldn’t install extra leaf springs (add-a-leaf). My assessment from owning two coil-sprung, late-model Ram 2500s is that the OE rear coils work surprisingly well, even with maximum loads. However, for a big camper it seems nearly everyone (2500 & 3500, F250 & F350) wants or needs additional spring-rate for better all-around performance. Regardless of whether one uses air, rubber, or metal auxiliary springs, the goal is to support the load.

Excessive rear-overhang and tail-swing is popular these days… most of the camper is behind the rear axle. This nice FWC flatbed on a Ram 3500 was at Overland Expo West 2019.

F-350/3500 pickups are arguably superior to F-250/2500 series trucks for maximum loads, yet this Ram 3500 with a massive aftermarket rear leaf-spring pack still employs auxiliary air springs for support.

If new or additional springs were not desirable for big weight, then those who rarely fill their trucks to capacity would complain loudly about heavy-duty pickup ride-quality. New trucks generally offer a more comfortable and softer ride these days, both with and without a load, though sometimes this includes compromises for heavy-hauling.

These good Old Man Emu/ARB Dakar springs were obviously flattened by a FWC Raven slide-in camper on a 2011 Toyota Tundra. Auxiliary support was added.

Replacement springs? Add-ons? Both?

Q] Why did you choose Timbren springs instead of an add-a-leaf?

A] My 2017 Ram 2500 uses something similar to an add-a-leaf in the form of beefier aftermarket rear coils from TufTruck. They were helpful, though they’re only designed for an additional 500-pounds. This is not enough, and I’m trying to convince TufTruck to make new coils with substantially more capacity.

TufTruck TTC-1225 replacement Ram 2500 rear coil springs.

The latest single-convoluted Timbrens and my other modifications (aftermarket sway/body-roll bars, shocks, and stout tires) have helped my flatbed outfit drive and handle impressively well for its size, weight, and height.

Aftermarket air springs seem to be the most common heavy-duty suspension upgrade, likely due to their cost, adjustability, and ease of installation. I’ve used air before, though some negatives can include leaks, failure in extreme cold temperatures, and a bouncy ride. Some choose replacement leaf packs, but if the weight is removed the extreme-duty replacements can be too stiff for an unladen truck.

Butt Sag

Q] How have your Timbrens changed the sag? Did the springs put you back up to stock ride height with your load, or do you still have some sag?

A] Neither my 2014 crew cab, which used to carry a Hallmark slide-in, nor my 2017 regular cab flatbed, has ever had a sagging, negative-rake stance. This was largely because I didn’t lift or level the front first. This is the opposite approach of many these days.

For my ’17 Ram 2500, I added the Hallmark Nevada flatbed, gear and other heavy accessories, while experimenting with auxiliary rear suspension options. Lighter-duty Air Lift 1000 springs inside the rear coils were used initially, then TufTruck replacement springs, and now the rubber Timbrens.

Butt low, negative rake stance was avoided by sorting rear load support first. This is after adding TufTruck TTC-1224 HD front (lift) springs.

While I respect companies like Thuren Fab and think their products are great, their parts are focused on a softer ride and/or going fast over rough terrain. Softer springs don’t add load support, and that’s typically the wrong direction for heavy, overland-style, backcountry camper outfits. There are numerous examples online of folks choosing to use softer go-fast springs (particularly on the rear axle) who after installation needed them to be reengineered or replaced because they were inappropriate for their load.

To their credit, I called and talked to Thuren Fab several months ago when shopping for front coils; I shared my measured axle weights and application specifics. They were direct and honest, stating that their front springs would not give the listed lift due to the weight on my front axle (winch bumper, camper, etc.), and they did not try to talk me out of using the higher-rate TufTrucks I was considering. They agreed that firmer springs were a good idea. As mentioned above, in many cases I think the rear springs from the go-faster companies are even less desirable than the fronts for heavy-duty applications; they’re not intended for the load support that heavy outfits need.

Only using products that added spring rate to the rear suspension helped me retain some of the factory-positive rake with my camper. I dislike a butt-low, negative rake. The front remained lower than the rear until I changed the front springs.

TufTruck’s heavy-duty front coils were installed May 2019. The TufTruck TTC-1224 gave me about 2.75-inches of lift, essentially leveling the chassis. Since adding the TTC-1224 I have been playing with the ride height, keeping the chassis either slightly higher in the rear, or level, depending on how I choose to adjust the rear suspension.

TufTruck TTC-1224 HD front coils for Ram 2500/3500s were installed above the front axle, providing both load support and inches of lift.

Compression Travel Loses?

Q] Do you think the Timbren’s inhibit your up-travel more than an add-a-leaf?

A] I have not tried to measure or document up-travel loses; supporting the load and overall handing has been the priority, while not limiting droop-travel. Coil-sprung axles have inherently better droop-travel, but they are generally inferior to leaf springs at controlling body-roll.

Air Lift plastic spring spacer (for lifted rear) droop-travel failure on 2011 Toyota Tundra. This prompted me to use Timbren rubber springs instead of traditional air springs for the FWC load.

In addition to firmer springs, my aftermarket heavy-duty sway/roll-bars limit travel; their performance benefits far outweigh any losses. While I enjoy superior off-pavement performance, I’m realistic about my outfit’s capabilities in the dirt. An empty full-size pickup can do much more, easily and safely, than one with a higher center-of-gravity that’s carrying tons of payload.

As an aside, I am not critical of your adding lift/leveling blocks in the rear. Near the end of my 2011 Tundra project with a Four Wheel Campers slide-in, I placed two-inch blocks under the rear springs and it was fine, loaded and not. Taller or different blocks don’t always cause axle-wrap or other problems.

Small, two-inch block added to the rear of a 2011 Tundra. There was not one before.

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James Langan

Copyright James Langan/RoadTraveler. All Rights Reserved

Resources:

Air Lift Performance

Four Wheel Campers

Hallmark Truck Campers

Thuren Fab

Timbren

TufTruck

 

 

Timbren SES Single-Convoluted DRTT3500E first look

Timbren Single-Convoluted Aeon spring

Timbren’s SES (Suspension Enhancement Systems) severe-service, single-convoluted Aeon rubber springs were an excellent upgrade on my 2017 Ram/Cummins 2500 Hallmark flatbed camper outfit.

The double-convoluted version I have been running for six months worked well, but the shorter and firmer single-convoluted spring is a better fit for my application. Not stiff or jarring, but more supportive and less squishy. Combined with other recent upgrades, my camper outfit drives fantastically.

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James Langan

Copyright James Langan/RoadTraveler. All Rights Reserved

Resource:

Timbren

 

 

Ram 1500 heavy duty suspension options

White Pine County, Nevada. Moonlit.

Reader slangheld asked my opinion about Ram 1500 rear suspension options after seeing one of my Ram 2500 heavy-duty rear suspension post photos showing TufTruck, Timbren, and Air Lift aftermarket springs.

Question:

I’m confused, and I’ve considered all of these options for my 1500 (Ram). I’m leaning towards the Air Lift 1000 for the ease of install, maintaining unloaded ride quality, and price. Any opinions?

I asked:

Give me more info… what is your load?

Load and use details: 

I’m pulling a bumper-pull camper (trailer). Tongue weight is close to 900 pounds, and I figure my 1,471-pound payload is close to the maximum. I probably take six, two-to-four hour trips per year. The truck might get another six heavy loads each year doing stuff. The rest is street or highway driving.

Reply, HD Ram 1500 springs:

There’s nothing wrong with the Air Lift 1000 drop-in springs, and I agree that the ease of installation and low price, along with retaining the soft factory ride when unloaded are pluses. Possible negatives with air suspension can include leaks, and sometimes a bouncy ride, deepening on the rest of the chassis setup and suspension. Air Lift’s Universal 1000 springs were the first heavy-duty spring upgrade to the rear of both my 2014 and 2017 Ram 2500s, worked quite well, and it’s a simple and inexpensive place to start. The pair on my 2014 crew cab have remained leak-free, however I do have a leak somewhere on my 2017. That truck has had the springs installed and removed a couple times, where the 2014 has remained plumbed.

Air Lift 1000 Universal Kit #60927 was installed on both a 2014 and 2017 Ram 2500.

TufTruck rear coils for my 2500 are designed to add about 500 pounds of additional carrying capacity, which is really not that much. I would love it if they made an extra-heavy-duty set for my application. Looking at TufTruck’s site I was surprised to learn that they make four different rear coil options for the late model Ram 1500s. Their variable-rate TTC-1223V is presumably their softest-riding spring when unloaded. It’s nice to have choices, and they are all quite inexpensive, from $215 to $270. Rear coil spring installation is so much easier than leaf springs. Like the Timbrens below, the TufTruck coils are never going to leak and should be maintenance-free.

TufTruck TTC-1225 2014-up Ram 2500 rear coils.

The Timbren rubber auxiliary springs seem to work impressively well with my truck camper, both the DR2500D regular-duty set I installed June 2019, and the DRTT3500E severe service springs added six months later. With my heavy truck camper the Timbrens are constantly loaded, same as they were on my 2011 Toyota Tundra with a slide-in Four Wheel Camper. On trucks that only see occasional loading, Timbrens are set-up to only engage after a load is added. I’m considering putting the DR2500D springs on my 2014 crew cab that no longer hauls a truck camper, and sees more typical, mixed use. Installing the Timbrens is arguably even easier than the Air Lift 1000s. There are no airlines to run or leak, though they are more expensive and theoretically not as adjustable. Theoretically because it’s likely that you would simply inflate the Air Lift 1000 to their maximum 35 psi when loaded, and then reduce them to the minimum 5 psi when not hauling.

Timbren double-convoluted rubber spring from kit #DR2500D

If I owned a Ram 1500, depending on my loads, I am guessing that I would try a pair of TufTruck coils, which I’d possibly augment with either Timbren or Air Lift 1000 auxiliary springs.

There are a lot of good options and products, but it is sometimes a crapshoot of where to start or what will work best on your outfit for your needs. Often some tinkering is required to get things exactly where you want.

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James Langan

Copyright James Langan/RoadTraveler. All Rights Reserved

Resources:

Air Lift Performance

Timbren

TufTruck