Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Truck Campers: Stop gap suspension advice
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Haloo

PNW

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Posted: 10/30/20 10:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We recently purchased a Northern Lite 8-11 so we could do more winter camping in the northwest. (Our small travel trailer wasn’t up to the task.) Our Ford 350 diesel pickup has a set of helper springs that we added to firm up the ride and get us ready for some off-roading. Even with the stock set up we were within our payload rating of 3500 lbs.

The next step was to add a Hellwig Big Wig sway bar, and upgrade our shocks to Bilstein 5100s or Rancho 9000s.. However, the sway bar won’t be available for 2 1/2 months, Bilsteins are backordered for 6 weeks, and I haven’t been able to find Ranchos for the rear of our truck.

The helper springs do their job, but the truck is a little tippy when rounding a corner and hitting a bump or undulation. It’s pretty disconcerting. The sway bar would help, but that will be a while.

Would adding a set of air bags or Sumo Springs help firm things up so we can more comfortably drive and camp until the sway bar and shocks are available?

I am very happy to have found this forum!

...Hal

Lwiddis

near Bishop, California

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Posted: 10/30/20 10:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"Even with the stock set up we were within our payload rating of 3500 lbs."

Payload doesn't increase when you or a shop add things. It may level the truck, give a better ride etc.


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watt solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL flag pole. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, state & county camps. Bicyclist! 14 year Army vet-11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560) IOBC & IOAC grad


noteven

Turtle Island

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Posted: 10/30/20 11:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Welcome -

* This post was edited 10/30/20 07:02pm by noteven *

srschang

Western NY

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Posted: 10/30/20 11:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What are you running for air pressure in the front & rear tires? Are the tires load Range E? F? G? A tire with a firm sidewall makes a big difference in side to side sway. As others have said, some of it is a learning experience, especially when entering and leaving parking lots. You generally want to do it as square as possible, if you are at an angle one of the front tires will go over any dip or bump first, starting the camper rocking, then when the rear tire go through it one at a time, it really gets to rock & rolling.

Scott


2020 Ram 3500 SRW Crewcab Longbed Cummins, 2019 Northstar 12 STC

d3500ram

Colorado

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Posted: 10/30/20 12:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not sure exactly how your spring set-up is, but I added a couple of user mods which along with added Helwing and Ranchos made for an almost ideal ride and height.

I made perch extenders for the top factory helper springs from 2" TS to engage sooner. I installed timber felling wedges to allow the stock bottom overloads to engage sooner. All this made the springs do the intended work before needing to put a lot of weight in to engage the them.

I do not have the camper anymore, but have used it recently to haul several loads of gravel for home construction projects... one load was just over 2 tons... about the same weight as my maxed out fully loaded camper setup.

Cheap modifications.

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Sold the TC, previous owner of 2 NorthStar pop-ups & 2 Northstar Arrows...still have the truck:

2005 Dodge 3500 SRW, Qcab long bed, NV-6500, diesel, 4WD, Helwig, 9000XL,
Nitto 285/70/17 Terra Grapplers, Honda eu3000Is, custom overload spring perch spacers.

Haloo

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Posted: 10/30/20 12:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

srschang wrote:

What are you running for air pressure in the front & rear tires? Are the tires load Range E? F? G? A tire with a firm sidewall makes a big difference in side to side sway. As others have said, some of it is a learning experience, especially when entering and leaving parking lots. You generally want to do it as square as possible, if you are at an angle one of the front tires will go over any dip or bump first, starting the camper rocking, then when the rear tire go through it one at a time, it really gets to rock & rolling.

Scott



60lbs front, 80lbs rear. Load range E, 20” tires.

The primary issue is kind of a skittish feeling, not a roll so much as a sudden dipping to the outside of the curve — like it dips then catches.

We drove the camper home 1200 miles on the stock springs. There was some sway and roll, but no big deal. After the new springs were added it feels different as I describe above.

Haloo

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Posted: 10/30/20 12:39pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

d3500ram wrote:

Not sure exactly how your spring set-up is, but I added a couple of user mods which along with added Helwing and Ranchos made for an almost ideal ride and height.

I made perch extenders for the top factory helper springs from 2" TS to engage sooner. I installed timber felling wedges to allow the stock bottom overloads to engage sooner. All this made the springs do the intended work before needing to put a lot of weight in to engage the them.

I do not have the camper anymore, but have used it recently to haul several loads of gravel for home construction projects... one load was just over 2 tons... about the same weight as my maxed out fully loaded camper setup.

Cheap modifications.



Very clever!

My ride height is fine. So I think my springs are fine. Maybe I’ve added too much spring capacity?

On the 1200 mile drive home from buying the camper we had sway and roll, but not the skittish behavior we’re getting now. The sway was even less on the ride home when we filled the water tank, though I could still tell we would benefit from a sway bar. We even drove for about 30 miles with 40mph side winds and I was only moderately nervous.

I can deal with the feeling of some roll and sway. The unnerving thing is the quick dip to one side before the helper springs appear to come into play.

Would airbags fill the gap, so to speak?

d3500ram

Colorado

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Posted: 10/30/20 01:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Haloo wrote:


~snip~
...The unnerving thing is the quick dip to one side before the helper springs appear to come into play.
~snip~

I can sorta' empathize... If the helper springs do not engage until the conditions present it as you describe then yes, it could be unnerving. When I installed my mods, the springs were engaged right away when the camper was loaded thus it did not have the situation that you describe... I did not have to wait for them to do the intended work. There was the usable stiffness of the spring sooner.

If there is space that is needed to be taken up before the springs do work then only weight or weight transfer (turning) will activate them.

Not trying to talk you into my method, but perhaps closer analysis need to be undertaken. You may still have a similar situation even when your parts come in.

It was not only about right height, that was an added benefit for my situation.

Haloo wrote:


~snip~
Would airbags fill the gap, so to speak?


I don't envision bags as a stop-gap... seems costly to only remove later. I read of folks who in many cases are not happy with them.

Am not too familiar with Sumo Springs, but think those may not be all that expensive. Are they similar to Timbrens?

Geo*Boy

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Posted: 10/30/20 01:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Timbrens.

Haloo

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Posted: 10/30/20 02:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Geo*Boy wrote:

Timbrens.


Why?

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