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Old 04-14-2012, 02:45 AM   #1
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1991 25' Excella
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Rough Ride

Has anyone found a way to improve the ride of our two trucks. I have a Dodge 2500 and sadly it rides like a truck. I would like to know how to improve the ride of this truck or any pick up. What can one do to soften the unexpected pot hole? I have the best shocks available and was wondering if there were other ways to improve the handling of our tow vehicles? For example Firestone has an air suspension system. Will these make my dodge ride more like an Olds 98 or Caddy?
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Old 04-14-2012, 03:50 AM   #2
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You don't indicate what year your Dodge is, but you do indicate that it's a 2500. I also would be curious as to your bidget constraints, which may determine your solution.

I have a 2010 Ford F250 and it rides like a dream... My 2003 F250 was a great truck, but might have contributed to my back problems! . I'm sure anyone driving a new 2011 or 2012 F250 would say their truck is a significant leap forward from earlier years (which is why I refuse to test drive one; ignorance is bliss). Newer models have made huge leaps in ride quality and comfort.

You might consider switching to a 1500 if you are able financially, or trying models from other manufacturers for ride quality. Very few of us really need a 3/4 ton truck to tow our trailers... You may also consider your tires; stiffer sidewalls help handling but stiffen the ride.
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Old 04-14-2012, 04:06 AM   #3
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"For example Firestone has an air suspension system. Will these make my dodge ride more like an Olds 98 or Caddy?"

Air bag add-on...no it will not "soften" the ride, only level the suspension after loading.

Complete air suspension...yes, but expensive.

If your worried about the rough ride damaging the Airstream, quite a few folks use the Air-safe hitch.

Bob
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Old 04-14-2012, 05:57 AM   #4
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Trucks are what they are, The higher the towing capacity the stiffer the suspension. I agree with Hibby, the newer trucks do ride better. I have an F-150 that is a dream even empty. The hands down best riding truck I have driven is a recent (2011?) Dodge Ram with the coil spring suspension. That truck was more car like than any truck I have ever been in! It had a truly amazing ride though I have no idea what it is like as a tow vehicle.
One other thing I wanted to say about your original post. You spoke about using the "best shocks available", I wonder if they are gas shocks? Some single tube gas shocks actually add to the spring rate of the vehicle thus making it stiffer! I have spent a lot of time talking people out of the idea of KYB Gas-a Just single tube shocks in passenger cars used in our typical New England conditions as they just stiffen the car too much. The difference can be remarkable! I have seen structural damage done to cars using too stiff a shock absorber. That is not to say that in California they wouldn't be perfect! I think the same applies to trucks. There is not a one size fits all shock. You need the right tool for the right job....
Bruce
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Old 04-14-2012, 06:51 AM   #5
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The R4 Firestone system is on my list this year or the next. A matching set of the same shock absorber brand & type for the FF axle once the RR axle is done.

I also plan to change over to hydraulic body mounts as with the 2010 and later trucks.

Folks who "go all the way" pay for conversion to air ride seats (in conjunction with an air ride suspension FF & RR) on the 4WD models.

It's all a matter of how much a wallet can take.

In the meantime, tire pressure according to load is the best start. Neither too high, nor too low.

.

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Old 04-14-2012, 06:59 AM   #6
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I installed the Firestone system on my former TV before my Airstream upgrade. We had a large fifth wheel then. It did take out some of the buck of the a rough interstate while towing, but simply made the suspension stiffer while empty.

At my work, we have one ambulance with a factory installed and Ford approved rear air suspension. It was installed mainly to allow the back of the F450 chassis to squat. The standard chassis is too tall to load an ambulance cot at the standard height. It is a hunk of junk. It requires constant service and wallows like a fat pig going down the road..

I prefer the ride of GM trucks. The independent front suspension provides a much better ride and drive than the single axle systems. Although purists will claim it is not a "truck" suspension.

We also opted for an Airsafe hitch system. It provides a little softer link between the TV and trailer.

Regards,
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Old 04-14-2012, 06:59 AM   #7
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I HAD a 2007 GMC 2500HD and it beat the h--- out of me when not towing. I traded it for a 2011 Dodge Ram 1500 and it rides almost like a car, but it is still a truck.
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Old 04-14-2012, 08:38 AM   #8
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Rough Ride

If your pickup has leaf springs in the rear, a spring shop can either build custom leaf springs or remove one or more leaves from the existing springs. I was considering this with my one and only pickup, but decided there were too many compromises with pickups of any kind and I returned to a full-size SUV for my tow vehicle. My 1999 GMC K2500 Suburban rides like a Cadillac and has the power and capacity to tow any Airstream that I might want to own. I special ordered it without heavy duty springs (it still has the heavy duty trailer towing package rated at 10,000 pounds). My special order also included the LT luxury interior package with extra sound insulation and premium bucket seats with heat and lumbar supports - - my pickup that I traded also had the LT luxury interior package, but nothing short of a complete redesign of the suspension would have corrected the ride of that pickup (the pickup was also a K1500 and only had a 6,500 trailer tow package). I also run premium gas charged shocks at all four corners on the Suburban.

Kevin

P.S.: I have "test driven" new pickups as they are usually what my dealer provides as a loaner when my Suburban is in the shop for its annual super-check-up. My dealer has learned after nearly 14 years that it is futile to try to sell me another pickup - - I suspect that the Suburban is going to be the last tow vehicle that I will need.
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Old 04-14-2012, 08:53 AM   #9
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When not towing, you should consider reducing the air pressure in those Load Range "E" tires. I Run 40 psi when not towing.
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Old 04-15-2012, 12:09 AM   #10
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I have a 1998 dodge 2500 diesel. It get 15 to 17 mpg. It is old but a new truck will cost me at least 20,000 more to buy a newer truck. I am skeptical whether a newer truck will help my ride as much as it will cost. I was willing to spend 5,000 if it did deliver a comfortable ride. I have ridden in new trucks and they do ride much better than my old ram but in two years they will deterioate as mine has. I like my truck and I religiously resist the false that the new stuff is better than the old. I see nothing new in truck suspension system. Indeed it seems like the same old stuff. I am certain when my dodge was new it had a great ride.
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:57 AM   #11
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If you are not going to use the truck to full capacity at any time, talk to a competent spring shop about an alternate set of rear leafs. My 2003 GMC dually is fitted with an off-the-shelf alternate set of GM springs that normally reside under ambulance bodies. Not only did it greatly improve the ride, it lowered the rear-end height to a point where the truck body is almost dead level - eliminating the hiked up appearance of an unloaded dually. I kept the original springs - which can be replaced, using new shackles, in less than two hours.
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Old 04-15-2012, 11:24 AM   #12
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The major difference in going up the ladder from 1/2 ton to 1 ton is heavier suspension and springs. Shocks won't do much for you, as they provide resistance to change in direction, but don't hold the truck up - the springs do that. Soft riding vehicles will use lower and progressive spring rates, and longer travel. That way, the first few inches of suspension can be fairly plush, but the spring rate jacks up as it compresses.

Companies like Deaver make spring packs with 10 or more leafs in some applications, which can give a fantastic ride. The trade off is your truck will handle like a desert racer - great for bouncing over bumps... kind of sloppy in the turns. So, the fix for that is an air suspension you use when you want to increase the spring rates for towing or hauling.

Up front, same idea... you can go to a progressive-rate spring to give you a better ride over smaller hits... front coils can be anywhere from $100 to $300 each, and rear leaf packs $800 to $1200... more or less.
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Old 04-15-2012, 05:02 PM   #13
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It is what it is. That is so perceptive. Did you learn that in college or trade school? Thanks for great information. I trust your 4 stars were made with similar insight. Thanks Loads
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Old 04-15-2012, 05:14 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by LRPorter View Post
Has anyone found a way to improve the ride of our two trucks. I have a Dodge 2500 and sadly it rides like a truck. I would like to know how to improve the ride of this truck or any pick up. What can one do to soften the unexpected pot hole? I have the best shocks available and was wondering if there were other ways to improve the handling of our tow vehicles? For example Firestone has an air suspension system. Will these make my dodge ride more like an Olds 98 or Caddy?
I would say the info about Deaver . . and all the other info here was provided in request to the above. The lack of tech spec didn't make it easier, but it had plenty of responses fairly made.

Someone need a lil' drinkie-poo? Forget their happy pill today?

The 3rd Gen Dodge trucks have considerable advances over the earlier ones. 4-whl disc brakes. Better suspension geometry. Better NVH control. Etc.

No reason that a '98 (which has it's own advantages) can't also be improved. There are other full air ride options out there (KELDERMANN) which might work. And tons more info on CumminsForum, Turbodieselregister and DieselTruckResource.

Good luck

.
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