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Old 09-18-2006, 08:25 PM   #29
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Did the Rear Spring Switch!

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I've been seriously considering a switch to 2500 rear end springs versus my current 3500, or 1-ton, springs. This is not a real expensive switch - probably under $300 using all new OEM 2500 spring sets (---and the switch is reversible) - but I've hesitated, wondering if the change would really be worthwhile - or if there was another solution. I love the stability of the dually, but I would equally love to soften the ride - both when towing and when running solo! Never mind why I'm towing with a 3500 dually - the story is too long and boring! Has anyone made this switch - or am I the Lone Ranger? I know that, in general, everyone wants to "boost" the capacity of their rig by adding air bags, spring-loaded shocks, and the like - so attempting to "de-rate" the rigs capabilities is like putting a governor on a Corvette or '55 Chevy! I've read the info on the air-ride suspension offered by Camping World - but the base cost of $2,100 for the equipment alone, plus installation (???), puts it in a different league. I absolutely love the truck and I drool everytime I hook up to the Airstream for a trip! At the same time, my wife doesn't hesitate to tell me that she prefers the old '95 Chevy Silverado PU to the '03 GMC 3500 crew cab long bed 4x4 dually with the Duramax and Allison plus XM radio and leather interior! I'd appreciate any and all comments, as you may be able to help save this marriage! One other thing my wife points out is that the passenger seat on the dually doesn't recline as far as that of the '95 PU - although that doesn't have a damn thing to do with the ride or towing performance!
After being on the fence for so long I finally went ahead and changed my rear springs. The set I installed are GM #22-1269, replacing the OEM GM #22-1289. For the record, these are alternate springs for the 3500 dually - not adulterations from another model. This change alone only represents a 200 pound per spring reduction in capacity - but, simultaneously, I had the 1,000 pound overload springs on top of the pack removed, for a net 2,400 pound reduction in capacity. This leaves me with an approximate rear axle capacity of 6,100 pounds. My loaded axle weight is about 4,900 pounds, by scale, or about 80% of the 6,100 pounds. The other difference is that the arch of the new springs drops the rear of the truck 3 1/2" - which I think looks a lot better - while still maintaining a difference of about 2'' in height from front to rear (---higher rear.) With the trailer hooked up - but without using the equalizer bars - the truck appears to almost level out - or a drop of about 1 5/8". This is somewhat more than the drop I originally experienced - due, of course, to the reduced spring capacity. I kept all of the old hardware in case I ever want to switch back. The total cost for parts was $623.43 and labor was $162.50, for a net of $785.93 - more than double my original estimate, but still cheaper than other solutions I had looked at.

I drove home from the shop, a distance of about 26 miles, taking back roads just to see if there was a significant difference in the ride. To say the least, the ride was most enjoyable! The harshness was almost completely gone. I wouldn't compare the ride to my 1500 Chevy but that would be expecting far too much. After adjusting the Reese hitch to acommodate the lower receiver - and cranking in one more link on the equalizer chain - I took the trailer for a ride over some back roads. What a difference!

I've still got some fine tuning to do. I initially raised the hitch 3" on the adjustable hitch tower - but now, I believe that I'll have to go 4". I had attempted, in my haste this evening with the sun going down, to make up the trailer's slight out of level attitude with the extra link on the equalizer bars - however it's still down about an inch in front. My remaining task is to cut off the bottom four inches of the hitch tower - since lowering the truck and hooking up the trailer now places it only 5 inches off the ground!

I'm fairly certain that my ride is now at least equal to a 2500 - without sacrificing the inate stability of the dually. At this point I'm a happy camper and I think that the marriage has been saved!
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Old 09-18-2006, 10:28 PM   #30
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hi cracker....
reads like a good change for passenger comfort...

and you got weight measures to show plenty of reserver axle capacity.

another issue to consider is headlight aiming now.

given you've dropped the rear 2-3 inches...
the current settings may direct them upward some...

cheers
2air'
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Old 09-19-2006, 07:43 AM   #31
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Headlight Aim

The headlights have always appeared to aim slightly low. We seldom tow or use the vehicle at night but, on those rare occasions when we have, I've often wondered what scenario GM chose to aim the headlights - i.e., fully loaded or no load? If I have to make a change now I'll probably set it up with the trailer hooked on. Like many areas of the country, our deer and moose problem here in Maine keeps you on your toes and makes you appreciate good headlights. If I had my "druthers" I would love to have an old window post mounted spotlight to train off the shoulder of the road - but, alas, they're against the law!
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Old 09-19-2006, 08:00 AM   #32
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We all know the problem with harsh suspension. If we didn't we'd hear everyone raving about, "Oh man, I've got to get my suspension more firm for my Airstream" (or other trailer).

Without doing a bunch of modding, this also seems like a great cure:

http://www.airridehitch.com/

Adding this might not be a bad idea either......of course for other, non related reasons....

http://www.centramatic.com/
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Old 09-19-2006, 08:22 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
We all know the problem with harsh suspension. If we didn't we'd hear everyone raving about, "Oh man, I've got to get my suspension more firm for my Airstream" (or other trailer).

Without doing a bunch of modding, this also seems like a great cure:

http://www.airridehitch.com/

Adding this might not be a bad idea either......of course for other, non related reasons....

http://www.centramatic.com/
I've repaired the front-end of my AS and have installed Centramatics and the class 5 Airride hitch as a fix for my E350 15" box truck TV.

I plan on doing a full write up when I get a a few thousand more miles on the set-up, but so far so good.

Michael

Currently have 3,000 miles on the setup
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Old 09-19-2006, 08:47 AM   #34
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The airridehitch appears to be a great product but it doesn't do anything for the truck on those rare occasions when we use it for a travel vehicle - sans Airstream. This may happen even more now (---with the improvement in ride quality) since our other pickup is getting a bit old and worn for extended travel and I can't go more than a hundred miles in the Subaru without stopping to take a 15 minute hike. At 20 mpg (---against 28 mpg for the Subaru and 16 for the old pickup) the big beast really isn't hard to live with. Now, if they would just get the price of diesel fuel back down to the relative position it use to enjoy, life would really be good!
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Old 09-19-2006, 09:17 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cracker
Now, if they would just get the price of diesel fuel back down to the relative position it use to enjoy, life would really be good!
It's finally heading south in my neck of the woods. I paid $2.71 yesterday at a Shell Station. Last fill-up was $2.89 week before last. It had been $2.89 for a month and $2.99 for seems like a year before that. This morning I saw $2.69 at a Texico Station that had been $2.79 yesterday.
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Old 10-27-2006, 04:48 PM   #36
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I was wondering if anyone has air ride like the Fireston bags on the rear of their Truck, especially the harder riding ones like F250, 350, etc. I see a lot of them mentioned on the Ford truck forums.
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Old 10-27-2006, 05:08 PM   #37
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Alan,

Nothing you add will make a difference to your Airstream if the overload springs are still present on your truck and/or your weight distribution bars are too stout for your Airstream/tow vehicle combination.

Air ride will cushion on level roads. The wrong weight bars or overload springs on a 3/4 ton or bigger truck will "jar your Airstream's teeth" on bad road surfaces in spite of air bags.

Tom
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Old 10-27-2006, 10:12 PM   #38
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For the Airstream or me?

Alan,
I have an Airridetech hitch, class 5 on my truck with which I pull a 29' Excella. I found it to be a little stiff, yet (for the Airstream) so I replaced the donut airbag with a rolling sleeve airbag.and it is much less harsh. I can see the trailer move up and down, not a great movement, but independent from the truck. So, now the trailer is getting a smooth ride, but what about me.
On my previous truck, I made my own air ride rear suspension, using rolling sleeve type airbags there as well, completely removing my leaf springs. I fabricated 2 trailing arms and a panhard rod for a locator. That gave ME a smooth ride. I have since replaced that truck with a 2500HD Chevy with the Duramax. I removed the overload springs, and the ride is very acceptable like that. Bear in mind, however, that my truck is a crew cab with the 8' bed, so it has very long wheelbase. That always gives a better ride. I also take my Goldwing sometimes, and it rides like a Cadillac with the extra weight back there.
I have looked long and hard about making me another suspension set up, but it takes a long time to do so. I think the set up at www.primaryair.com looks like a really nice outfit, but I hate to spend that kind of money when I am basically happy as is. Oh, by the way, I have a set of Bilsteins on there as well.
Getting back to your original question, the airbags on the truck are more for you, and the air ride hitch would be more for your trailer.
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Old 10-27-2006, 10:28 PM   #39
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Ford 2008 F 450!

Hey guys...just wait until you just HAVE to have the new 2008 F-450! Not kidding...do a search...massive capacities. Probably great for the monster 5'ers but SOME will HAVE to have one and hook up to their ASs ...Make mine a King Ranch version! Tom R in Two Harbors, Minnesota...snow tomorrow?
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Old 10-27-2006, 11:06 PM   #40
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And the 6.7 Cummins is comin' on the '07 Dodges. Cab 'n chassis. Hmm...

Lamar
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Old 10-28-2006, 11:08 AM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomR
Hey guys...just wait until you just HAVE to have the new 2008 F-450! Not kidding...do a search...massive capacities. Probably great for the monster 5'ers but SOME will HAVE to have one and hook up to their ASs ...Make mine a King Ranch version! Tom R in Two Harbors, Minnesota...snow tomorrow?
OMG!!

I just looked. Did I read that right? A 5000lb tow capacity increase? This one oughta be able to shake a few rivets out.

I love how they said "But Ford is mum about its fuel-economy numbers thus far."

I would be too.

You can see some info here:

http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do...ticleId=116965
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Old 10-28-2006, 11:21 AM   #42
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Ford F-450

Whats this about a bed extender? If the bed is long enough, it might be just the thing to carry my Tradewind.

Then I could tow my boat behind.
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