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Old 08-07-2014, 05:33 PM   #1
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AirBags or Stiffer Shocks on 2013 Dodge RAM 1500?

I noticed that when I switched from a 2013 International 19 to a 2014 International 23D and added a bed cap that the rear of the 2013 RAM 1500 Crew Cab 2x4 rides a little lower.

The tongue weight of the 23D is 200 pounds more than the 19. The weight distribution system looks perfect with chains hanging straight down and the bars perfectly level.

However the ride is harsher and there is a little bounce on undulating roads.

I looked at the AirLift 1000 air bag system for coil springs. Our local installer recommends a heavier duty adjustable shock instead.

Based on your experiences which would you go with?
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Old 08-07-2014, 05:52 PM   #2
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What size bars are you using? It maybe that they are not stiff enough. A little bounce is better than not enough. Measuring the actual tongue weight might be a first step.

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Old 08-07-2014, 06:04 PM   #3
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1200 pound bars for the 23D. The tongue weight is close to 720. The bars are for 800 to 1200 pounds. The A/S dealer felt that we were close enough to 800 to warrant the 1200 bars.
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Old 08-07-2014, 06:07 PM   #4
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I just got a call from another person at the same shop (he also got my message of inquiry) who favored the AirLift 1000 coil air bag system over new adjustable shocks. He feels that Dodge put heavy shocks on our model and that at 15K miles they should be far from worn.
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Old 08-07-2014, 06:16 PM   #5
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Be a good time to do a weighing or a careful measuring of fender heights. You need to find out how much weight you are transferring back to the front axle to judge if you are getting enough weight transfer. Level bars does not mean much. I pull a 25' with 800lb bars. My 25 puts 800 lbs weight on the truck. I switched to the 800 lb from 1000 lb bars. I can not answer your original question since I have never owned either. I would be inclined to go with the airbags because I have friends who have had the leaky shocks. My guess is that you are going to need to add some more weight transfer to get the front end to the proper load.
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Old 08-07-2014, 09:11 PM   #6
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Tighten the bars till the truck is level.

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Old 08-07-2014, 10:48 PM   #7
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You need more weight transfer to the front. Don't know what brand hitch you have, but tilt the hitch head down towards the back (add more washers) so you can lift the rear of the truck higher.
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Old 08-08-2014, 11:29 AM   #8
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The Airlifts are ok. Tuftrucks makes a progressive rate shock, a 25% stiffer of stock and a 50% stiffer over stock. Some of the guys on the Ramforum.com who haul campshells who are NOT OVERWEIGHT switch to the shocks over the Airbags.

Look, rather than argue with the know it alls on this site. Our Dodge Ram's feature a linear spring that compresses under load. That's what it's designed to do. They sag. Period. Some of the other shocks are progressive.

Linear spring will compress 2 inches for 200lbs, 3 inches for 300lbs. A progressive spring will compress 1.5 inches for 200lbs and 2 inches for 300lbs, etc. (example weights)

So if you want after you try adjustments and check weights, springs paired with better shocks are a better option over bags IMO. However the truck will ride a little harder than it does stock.

Bags are better if you don't tow a lot. Good luck.

And watch out for the payload police.


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Old 08-08-2014, 03:17 PM   #9
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Our 2013 RAM 1500 Crew Cab 2x4 has coil springs. I am looking at simple Airlift 1000 airbags that fit inside the coils and have a Schrader valve above the bumper.

The measurements from top of wheel wells is dead even when towing the 23D with water tank at 1/2 and truck fuel tank full....with typical cargo in the trailer and a rather light load in the camper shell covered bed.

What I noticed when moving up from a 2013 International 19 to the 2013 International 23D was a harsher ride and some bounce.

The fender well measurements when towing both trailers was almost exactly the same...even. The rear fender well height is 2 inches heigher when not towing.

I'm not trying to increase load capacity.....I'd just like a better riding rear end.
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Old 08-08-2014, 05:28 PM   #10
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We have a Ram 1500 with rear coil springs as well, tow a 25rb. Our ride was improved when we put a hitch with 1400# bars so we have excellent weight distribution. You probably have too much weight on the back of the truck and not enough on the front, a combination that can cause excessive bounce and harsh ride. Keep working with your w.d. hitch, add washers to tilt the head back and get more lift. With good weight distribution the full coil spring ram is a nice riding truck for towing.
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Old 08-08-2014, 09:21 PM   #11
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It should be smooth as silk (if you aren't on the bump stops)

I also have a RAM 1500 with rear coil springs. Mine is a 4X4. I recently towed with it for the first time. It was a beautiful, smooth ride while towing our 1972 Ambassador. It weighs 6,500lbs with a 950lb tongue weight.
I would say that you must not be getting enough weight transfer to the front axle as dkottum points out. The only way to know is to take your loaded for camping rig to the scales and find out how your hitch is working (or not). It is the only way to know for sure.
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Old 08-09-2014, 09:38 AM   #12
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All Ram 1500's 09 and up have coil springs . When I said shock earlier, I meant spring. This is also why they ride and handle better than Ford, GM and Toyota.

This fact is lost on the Ford & GM owners who have leaf springs and terrible rides. But leaf springs don't sag as much under weight.

This is a fact. This is why the new 2013 and up offer the Air ride that adjust automatically when you hitch up. Just hope it doesn't fail. Because a lot of folks are having their Air rides fail in the first year of ownership. Luckily their is a warranty.
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Old 08-09-2014, 10:25 AM   #13
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BoldAdventure, just curious. The truck in your Avatar appears different than the truck in post 8 above, not sure which one you have. Also, did you buy an Airstream yet?
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Old 08-09-2014, 10:40 AM   #14
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I use Airlifts with my F250 and have for about 7 years. I have a shackle system and the bags mount over the shackles. I find them really useful for fine tuning the ride, especially when carrying a lot of camping gear in the truck bed.

720 lbs tongue weight seems a lot for that trailer. Is that the spec rated at GVWR or was it weighed?
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Old 08-09-2014, 11:04 AM   #15
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I use Airlifts with my F250 and have for about 7 years. I have a shackle system and the bags mount over the shackles. I find them really useful for fine tuning the ride, especially when carrying a lot of camping gear in the truck bed.

720 lbs tongue weight seems a lot for that trailer. Is that the spec rated at GVWR or was it weighed?
Steve,

That is the spec weight for the new 23D. I just received a tongue weight scale so should get a more accurate weight.

Did you have TAPS install your Airlifts?

John
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Old 08-09-2014, 12:55 PM   #16
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Steve,

That is the spec weight for the new 23D. I just received a tongue weight scale so should get a more accurate weight.

Did you have TAPS install your Airlifts?

John
Mine are like the load lifter 5000 and I installed them myself and it took about half a day. They bolt onto the leaf spring mount and the frame, and I ran the air lines to the steel electrical connection mount on the truck. I drilled a couple holes in the mount for the air fill valves. It doesn't take much air to fill them, and I usually check the air pressure when I check the tires on the truck or trailer. I generally run mine at about 40 psi depending on load. I'm not sure whats involved with mounting the spring type lifts that you are looking at though.

I assume you went through Sky River for your A/S? You may want to see if they will let you try some lighter hitch bars before going to the Air Lifts, especially if your tongue weight is lighter when weighed. That may make the ride a bit less harsh. My trailer tongue weight is about 940# and rated at 1050#. I use 1000# bars on my Hensley. I had considered going to 1400# bars but after talking with them, they said it would make the ride more harsh and suggested I stick with the 1000.

I was going to offer up my Sherline scale to use, but sounds like you don't need it.
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Old 08-09-2014, 01:41 PM   #17
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When choosing the proper size w.d. bars to use, it is more than the trailer tongue weight they have to lift. Add some weight for the bed cap as well as any equipment carried behind the truck's rear axle.
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Old 08-09-2014, 03:06 PM   #18
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Mine are like the load lifter 5000 and I installed them myself and it took about half a day. They bolt onto the leaf spring mount and the frame, and I ran the air lines to the steel electrical connection mount on the truck. I drilled a couple holes in the mount for the air fill valves. It doesn't take much air to fill them, and I usually check the air pressure when I check the tires on the truck or trailer. I generally run mine at about 40 psi depending on load. I'm not sure whats involved with mounting the spring type lifts that you are looking at though.

I assume you went through Sky River for your A/S? You may want to see if they will let you try some lighter hitch bars before going to the Air Lifts, especially if your tongue weight is lighter when weighed. That may make the ride a bit less harsh. My trailer tongue weight is about 940# and rated at 1050#. I use 1000# bars on my Hensley. I had considered going to 1400# bars but after talking with them, they said it would make the ride more harsh and suggested I stick with the 1000.

I was going to offer up my Sherline scale to use, but sounds like you don't need it.
Good suggestion. I have the 800s we used on our 19. I'll give them a try.

Going to try the Sherline scales today.
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Old 08-09-2014, 03:08 PM   #19
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When choosing the proper size w.d. bars to use, it is more than the trailer tongue weight they have to lift. Add some weight for the bed cap as well as any equipment carried behind the truck's rear axle.
Dodge says to factor in the bed cap when calculating the RAM's carrying capacity.
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Old 08-09-2014, 11:08 PM   #20
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AirBags or Stiffer Shocks on 2013 Dodge RAM 1500?

I prefer leaf springs and air bags over coil springs and air shocks or air bags that go inside the coil spring. The rear axle shock mounts were never designed to carry the load in the truck.
My '08 Tundra rides just fine.
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