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Hardscrabble

On the road again

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Posted: 03/14/22 09:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi all,

An update from the road. When I got this rig (2019 Silverado 3500HD and Northern Lite truck camper) the only suspension modification I put on was Torklift Stableoads. We traveled for about 15k over 3 months and while it was okay, I knew it could be better. Some sway and although the truck handled some back trails and high winds, it just felt like it could be better. The stock OEM shocks were about the same - okay but just had trouble keeping up with the "rebound", settling out the ride after a bridge expansion joint (a pet peeve of mine, are we just not able to smooth that out?) took longer than I liked and they just seemed a half step behind. Also, the OEM Wranglers were noisy, and just did not have the grip and ride I want.

Covid happened. Our plans were sidelined. Life....

We are lucky enough to be able to return to roadlife but I knew that I needed to make some changes. After much research, (some of it right here, thank you all who contribute your knowledge and experience), I changed the tires to the Michelin Agilis Crossclimate, did that last winter as the Wranglers sucked in the snow/ice. They were a significant improvement, quieter, better grip, more "solid" and much better winter tires. I then replaced the OEM shocks with Bilstein 4600s - again significant difference (better) with the truck camper off. I then installed the Timbren severe duty bump stops, as they do not touch unloaded, no change with the camper off.

Put the truck camper on and drove 1,300 miles in three days, brutal traffic at times, gusty high winds, snow, snow squalls, terrible roads (it is like a 3rd world country in places) and a wide variety of situations. I can say that all the modifications made a significant improvement to the ride, the handling and overall driving experience. The shocks dampen the ride with authority, they "keep up" and recover stability quickly. The Timbrens are significant as well, with the camper on before them I was 1/8" lower in the back, not bad at all but now, I am 1/8" higher. The sway is gone. I can feel the weight obviously, but going over uneven pavement, up into driveways or driving in 25 mph winds that were a direct crosswind, gusting to 35 - completely different and better. The tires are sure and very trustworthy.

I am not a paid endorser for anything. All opinions are mine and your results will vary. I just wanted to provide some feedback from my situation and try to pay it forward in exchange for gathering a lot of great information on this forum, thank you contributors!

Regards.


2019 Northern Lite EXSE, wet bath, 2019 Chevy Silverado 3500HD SRW Duramax w/ Bilstein 4600s, Torklift Stableloads/Fastguns, Timbren Severe Duty Bump Stops, Ranch Hand Grille Guard, WeBoost drive reach rv cell booster.

Lwiddis

Cambria, California area

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Posted: 03/14/22 09:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Clear first person report. Reasonable conclusions. See you down the road.


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, WindyNation 300 watt solar-Lossigy 200 AH Lithium battery. Prefer boondocking, USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, state camps. Bicyclist. 14 yr. Army -11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560) IOBC & IOAC grad


KD4UPL

Swoope, VA

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Posted: 03/14/22 05:21pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OEM shocks are terrible when brand new. Bilstein or KYB Monomax made a huge difference for me on 2 different TC hauling trucks.

#1Flyboy

California

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Posted: 03/14/22 09:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

….. The best improvement you can make is for your next truck to be a DRW & less or no mods….

JimK-NY

NY

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Posted: 03/15/22 06:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

*The need to replace OEM shocks might depend on the truck. I am happy with the OEM shocks on my 2018 Ram 3500. The ride might be slightly on the soft side but is secure enough and comfortable. I had Rancho shocks on my 2010 Ram 2500 and cranked them up to compensate for weaker springs. The ride was harsh to the point where my wife complained it seriously hurt her old whiplash injury.

*With a camper on the heavy side, almost any 3/4 or 1 ton SWD truck is going to benefit from some suspension help. I have tried 3 options.
AIRBAGS. These seem to work for some rigs but definitely not on mine. Regardless of the pressure, the ride was horrible with some much sway the rig was unsafe. I worked with my RV dealer, the RV manufacturer, and experimented on my own. They just did not work.
SUPERSPRINGS. These worked really well on my Ram 2500. They leveled the ride, and gave a firmer ride allowing me to drop the Rancho settings for a comfortable ride. They are relatively inexpensive, easy to install yourself, and are to some extent adjustable.
TIMBRENS. These are working well on my Ram 3500. They helped with the sag and headlight alignment and improved the overall feeling and ride. They seem expensive for what you get, but they work and they also do not change the suspension when driving the truck without the camper. I would not hesitate to use both Supersprings and Timbrens.

MORSNOW

Mountain Home, ID

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Posted: 03/15/22 07:55am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a similar setup as Hardscrabble and have the same opinion on the upgrades on my GMC 2500 & Wolf Creek 850. Lower StableLoads (single best thing I did for leveling ride and sway), HD Timbren's (I added these for those times I haul a trailer), Bilstein 4600 (big improvement over stock GM shocks), and just two years ago added a Big Wig sway bar for the crosswinds here in my new home state of Idaho.

We are planning a 5,500-mile trip this summer to visit family and friends after years of living in Alaska and not being able to just head over for a visit. This will be the 10th summer with our camper and our first multi-month trip adventuring across a dozen states.


2014 Wolf Creek 850SB
2012 GMC Sierra SLT 2500HD

7,220# Truck/10,400# Camper Fully Loaded


Old Days

Colorado

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Posted: 03/15/22 08:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You don't need a dually for a Northern Lite 811 I hauled that same Truck camper on my F-250 for 3 years its a great camper.

Hardscrabble

On the road again

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Posted: 03/17/22 08:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for all the replies, the information on this site is super helpful. As we just put on another 1,000 miles, in pretty gusty spring winds (man, we saw trailers both 5th wheel and bumper pull swaying and being flung all over the roads, some clearly were set up right and did better but some were just sketchy to the point of my wife and I cringing), and again, more terrible roads in places, some urban race car type stuff happening around us, and other mayhem, I am reinforced in my original feelings about the new rig setup, in fact as I drive it more I appreciate it more.

It is probably a combination of things (including dumb luck), the weight and balance (being very, very careful around weight and it's location), the new mods, plus the information that folks like you all provide got our rig right where I wanted it to be. I am running 80 psi rear and 75 front, that seems to be the dialed in point, for now.

We considered a DRW at the start, I have driven them before for work, they are awesome haulers and just workhorses all around. It would have driven us to a larger NL, which we would have liked in some ways but we like to go off into the wild a bit and it would have been too much weight and width. Not out of the picture for the future after we get done with these missions. '

Something about truck campers that just fit us. At times it is tight with us working remotely from the road, I would like a better place to sit in the evening than the dinette (oh, my kingdom for a recliner at times) and with all marriages, we would like to be in another room, but for all that, we are good partners, my wife is rugged and for our mission right now, it is perfect. We are grateful for what we have.

I hope you all have a great season out there, enjoying it and being safe. Again, thanks for all the insights.

Regards

Hardscrabble

On the road again

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Posted: 03/17/22 10:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

[image][/img]

Hopefully this post works for a picture of my rig.

Hardscrabble

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Posted: 03/17/22 10:12am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hardscrabble wrote:

[image] border="0" alt="[image]">

Hopefully this post works for a picture of my rig.


or this?
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