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Old 05-15-2017, 03:59 PM   #1
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1972 29' Ambassador
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Go with a Timbren Suspension Enhancement System?

I've been perusing the archives, but couldn't find a good answer to my question. I'm towing a 29' Ambassador with my 2004 RAM 2500 and a 10K# Reese WD hitch. Most of the time, I'm a happy camper, though when we hit a big bump, I get a lot of bounce. I'm not bottoming out, but it feels like I'm close to it. The WD hitch is pretty tight, and it looks like the rig is fairly level.

I've been reading up on the Timbren SES, and it sounds like it may solve my problems. Any advice on this?
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Old 05-15-2017, 04:42 PM   #2
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It takes good shock absorbers at the rear of the truck to control the bounce of the heavy 3/4 ton axle, have they ever been changed? Might be an opportunity to upgrade them and improve the ride for truck and Airstream.
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Old 05-15-2017, 06:00 PM   #3
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Additional suspension will not reduce the bounce but rather make it more pronounced. Yes shocks may be a first approach as they dampen the hit rather than transmit it to the frame.

You say the truck looks level.That is not necessarily what we are after. With an Airstream it is important the trailer ride parallel to the ground because of the type of axles used. When setting up the Reese it helps to place painter tape on center of the front and rear wheel well. Measure and mark a reference line on the tapes. Hitch up without the WD bars and remeasure the the wheel wells. Record the new measurements to the reference lines. Now apply the WD bars and measure to the reference lines again. The rear height should be between the first 2 measurements, the WD having raised the truck rear somewhat. The front height should be between the first 2 measurements having lower the front of the truck back towards the original unloaded height.

This condition results in 2 things. The rear axle has less load on it and more free travel. Less apt to bottom out to the frame. The front axle has been returned closer to the original steering geometry and improves steering control.

There are no cast in stone standards to this as each combination is different and thus each set up will be different. This is also not a 5 minutes job as each change you make in tension on the bars, angle on the Reese head, will require changes to the Reese cam locations and possible hitch head height adjustment.

That is why I often comment that there is not a dealer in the country that will do this correctly. It take too long.
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Old 05-16-2017, 03:14 AM   #4
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Timbrens can turn that bounce into a bang. They work pretty well for me if I have a heavy load. With my Alaskan truck camper on the back and pulling an Airstream, all is good. With a smaller/2000 lb. trailer, there was a lot of shock transferred to the camper. With no load at – it can be a pretty harsh ride. The Timbrens are pretty easy to take on and off (2001 Chevy 2500hd), so I have them off most of the time. If you do go with Timbrens, look at the weight ratings. Also check out SumoSprings – they’re a similar product.
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Old 05-16-2017, 11:43 AM   #5
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You might try slowing down, or remove a spring leaf or two..
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:03 PM   #6
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We tow with a 2005 Yukon XL 2500 (3/4 ton) 4X4. We really like the SUV setup as a TV. Our AS is a 27' FB, 760 pound dry tongue weight. Recently we installed the Timbren bushings in the rear and new urethane front limit stop bumpers in the front. Also just installed Rancho RS9000XL adjustable shocks on all four corners. The shocks have an easy dial you can adjust if you think it is to soft or firm of a ride. We set them at 75% of max control, still playing around with the ideal set-up for when towing or not.

The Timbrens are a one bolt easy installation. We have a 1/4"-1/2" gap before they make contact with the axle limit rest stop, so under no load you don't know they exist because they do not touch. As your load increases they support it more. We've liked it from the get-go because it is as simple in design as you can get. No air system, no moving parts to lube, nothing to adjust as it ages etc. install it and you're done! It's not a cheap piece of rubber! They are proud of it.
We like the over all ride when A/S is hooked up and when it is not. We could have gotten by without the Timbrens but we would have had to pack on the light side. I have a wife that likes to, how should we say, "Decorate" ! so there is no "packing light". Now we pack anything and everything we can fit in the back of the Yukon with less worry. Another plus is when we drive the Yukon without the trailer, it handles like an F1 car around the corners because the lean/roll factor is greatly reduced by the Timbrens. I strongly recommend the Timbrens, an adjustable shock on all four corners & check your front suspension limiter rubber bumpers too...
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Old 05-17-2017, 06:53 AM   #7
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Thanks for all of the replies! Just to be clear, the bounce that I'm experiencing is a slow one, after a largish bump in the road. It'll continue to bounce 3-4 times after. Not a harsh thump at all.

So maybe it's time for new rear shocks- what's everyone lovin' shock-wise these days?
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Old 05-17-2017, 07:27 AM   #8
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I like Bilsteins. Reasonably priced and good reputation. You can spend more and MIGHT even be better but for the price I like the "B's". I just replaced my shocks on my '15 F-350 @ 45k. Originals were really not bad so no dramatic improvements there but the steering stabilizer was a different story. Big improvement.
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Old 05-18-2017, 06:40 AM   #9
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Go with a Timbren Suspension Enhancement System?

Bilstein is the standard. Koni also. And use a Cat Scale with three pass method. I use an 04 Cummins to yank my 35' around. Best to know numbers and work from them. Changes are far easier.

Biggest Airstream owner failure is trailer not level. So split trailer axles for that picture also.

Start with TT tires to sidewalk max. Use scale readings per axle on trick to adjust pressure. Per Load & Pressure Table, but inside door sticker values. Plus five if you want.

See how that seems. Make changes and scale again.

Pics too, so that others may advise. Fairly close from level side view. I'd do it while on scale.

Factory hitch receiver not very good. I'd recommend a TITAN c5. Easier to add or subtract WD then.

And ask Andy to view pics.
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Old 07-13-2017, 06:03 PM   #10
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Any luck?

I have same truck.

Bilstein or KONI a big change. Some like the Rancho 9000, but I don't know how long they last. FOX and KING if you want a big ride change.

Also, forgot earlier, factory hitch receiver poor. Reese TITAN 45299. I see there's a revised model, so get older one now on sale. Avoid CURT brand.

And if yours is a 4WD, the steering should be upgraded to post-2008 spec, steering box may be worn, and ball joints wear fast on that model.

I upsized front antiroll bar on mine when I added a rear (must maintain slight understeer). Ride roughens somewhat, but truck handling much improved. I used HELWIG.

Shocks, better hitch receiver, and three-pass scale evaluation will cover "most" problems.

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