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Old 11-07-2018, 05:57 PM   #1
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Helper springs vs. airbags???

I am noticing some sagging on the rear end of my tow vehicle once hitched up. I am looking at getting either helper springs or airbags installed to level out the vehicle.
Any pros/cons to using one or the other? The helper springs seem like the easier option (less expensive and not having to be constantly adjusting the air levels)... just want to make sure the helper springs will do the job and I donít have to come back later and install the airbags!! Thanks for any advice.
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:05 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazyga8r View Post
I am noticing some sagging on the rear end of my tow vehicle once hitched up. I am looking at getting either helper springs or airbags installed to level out the vehicle.
Any pros/cons to using one or the other? The helper springs seem like the easier option (less expensive and not having to be constantly adjusting the air levels)... just want to make sure the helper springs will do the job and I don’t have to come back later and install the airbags!! Thanks for any advice.

Welcome to the forum Lazyga8r!


It would help if you'd post information on your tow vehicle, hitch, and more detailed description of the "sagging". Maybe a picture also.


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Old 11-07-2018, 06:24 PM   #3
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If you are thinking about using airbags instead of using weight distribution, that is not a good idea.
Take a look at this>
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:33 PM   #4
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Although it has been a few years, in addition to weight distribution bars, I have used both on two different pickup trucks and prefer the airbags. You are correct, the helper springs are easier and cheaper but the ones I had were not adjustable so the ride with an empty bed was a bit more harsh, while you can soften the ride with the airbags.

The airbags I had were Airlift brand and were manual inflate with a Schrader type inflation valve for each bag. They require very little air to inflate so you can do it with a hand pump if needed. They also have ones that you can adjust by pushing a button in the cab to adjust, but they are more difficult to install and cost more.

I liked the airbags because I could really dial in the height of the pickup bed with the trailer for a nice level ride.

I did the installation for both the helper springs and the airbags and they were both straightforward, but with the bags you have to run air fill lines and mount the valves in an accessible location. I mounted my valves next to each other on the rear bumper near the hitch so I didn't have to run back and forth to get the air pressure equal on both sides.
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:37 PM   #5
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My tow vehicle is a 2015 Chevy Silverado 2500 and the trailer is a 2018 27’ Flying Cloud. I don’t have any pictures of it sagging, but looking for options to help level it out once the trailer is hitched up and truck bed loaded. I also use an equalizer hitch.
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazyga8r View Post
My tow vehicle is a 2015 Chevy Silverado 2500 and the trailer is a 2018 27’ Flying Cloud. I don’t have any pictures of it sagging, but looking for options to help level it out once the trailer is hitched up and truck bed loaded. I also use an equalizer hitch.
Something’s not adjusted right. A 27’ is a bit heavy for a half ton but should tow level with a good wdh.

Oops, read wrong. 2500 should tow that on the ball. Something’s not right.
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazyga8r View Post
My tow vehicle is a 2015 Chevy Silverado 2500 and the trailer is a 2018 27í Flying Cloud. I donít have any pictures of it sagging, but looking for options to help level it out once the trailer is hitched up and truck bed loaded. I also use an equalizer hitch.
A 2500 should not sag.
What is the ball height prior to loading the trailer tongue. If it is much above 20" you might need to lower the ball.
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Old 11-08-2018, 09:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazyga8r View Post
I am noticing some sagging on the rear end of my tow vehicle once hitched up. I am looking at getting either helper springs or airbags installed to level out the vehicle.
Any pros/cons to using one or the other? The helper springs seem like the easier option (less expensive and not having to be constantly adjusting the air levels)... just want to make sure the helper springs will do the job and I donít have to come back later and install the airbags!! Thanks for any advice.
Helper springs or Airbags are not the best way to level your rig for towing.
Weight Distribution hitches are the most advisable. You shouldn't need it in any event with a 3/4 ton. You may need to increase the tension on your hitch set up.
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Old 11-08-2018, 09:53 AM   #9
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Welcome Aboard!! 👍

Quote:
Originally Posted by A W Warn View Post
A 2500 should not sag.
Well, that just about covers it...'cept it doesn't. 😂

Our 2500 sags w/o weight distribution, with WD set its level.

Forget the add-on's, use correct hitch/WD settings to get level.👍

Bob
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Old 11-08-2018, 10:36 AM   #10
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I just installed AirLift air bags with remote control on a F250 it takes about 15-20 psi to get the correct height with equalizer hitch
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Old 11-08-2018, 11:35 AM   #11
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You don't need a 2500. You need a good WDH that is properly tuned. The Equalizer is not the best hitch for an Airstream. It is easy to hook up and has good under tongue clearance. However, it is too stiff for the flexible AS structure. Folks use them, but there is better.

Issues to check - Verify you have the right size bars for the load. Verify the receiver is not flexing and is allowing the right amount of weight to be moved forward. Load your truck bed with the heavy weight forward. You have some time to spend at your local CAT scale and some tuning to do.

Of the two choices you ask, the air bags are superior. Helper springs belong on the truck you bought in high school. But level should only be an issue when unhitched. In tow, your WDH should do the job.

Travel safe and with a smile. Pat
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Old 11-08-2018, 11:59 AM   #12
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For those who...

...absolutely cannot get the proper weight distribution with a set-up that should be able to do the job, inspect your receiver.

When we got our Hensley it came with the recommended 1400lb bars, the ride was very rough and we were not transferring enough weight.

I was already planning to the swap the receiver because of a common corrosion problem.
Inspecting the replacement Reese class #5 I found the reason for the poor WD performance.

Notice on the OEM the shorter mount arms.
The longer arms on the Reese give better purchase enabling less WD tension and allowing us to use 1000lb bars transferring the correct weight with a softer ride.

Bob
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Thank you PKI your post above reminded me...👍😳
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Old 11-08-2018, 02:47 PM   #13
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Dropping in my tow set up for 26' AS

2016 F150 Coyote V-8 with tow package (reg cab & bed for total length reasons)
Blue Ox WDH
Hellwig sway bar rear
Hellwig helper springs
Powerstop drilled and slotted rotors

Rig handles great.
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Old 11-09-2018, 07:54 AM   #14
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I just installed AirLift air bags with remote control on a F250 it takes about 15-20 psi to get the correct height with equalizer hitch
Please let us know when you will be removing it.
Because you will for sure.
The Ford Pick up suspensions don't work very well with air bags. Been there done that.
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Old 11-09-2018, 08:03 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
...absolutely cannot get the proper weight distribution with a set-up that should be able to do the job, inspect your receiver.

When we got our Hensley it came with the recommended 1400lb bars, the ride was very rough and we were not transferring enough weight.

I was already planning to the swap the receiver because of a common corrosion problem.
Inspecting the replacement Reese class #5 I found the reason for the poor WD performance.

Notice on the OEM the shorter mount arms.
The longer arms on the Reese give better purchase enabling less WD tension and allowing us to use 1000lb bars transferring the correct weight with a softer ride.

Bob
🇺🇸

Thank you PKI your post above reminded me...👍😳
The Blue Ox comes with a longer shank giving you more leverage to transfer weight.
I was able to transfer 320 lbs from the rear to the front axles and 160 lbs back on to the trailer axles, redistributing 480 lbs. And still maintaining a good ride for the trailer.
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Old 11-09-2018, 03:01 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franklyfrank View Post
The Blue Ox comes with a longer shank giving you more leverage to transfer weight.
I was able to transfer 320 lbs from the rear to the front axles and 160 lbs back on to the trailer axles, redistributing 480 lbs. And still maintaining a good ride for the trailer.
For sure...the longer the wheelbarrow handles are, the easier it is to lift the load...but the further back the pivot point, the more chance of sway.
Better to move the PP as close to the TV rear axle as possible. 👍

Bob
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Old 11-09-2018, 04:06 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
...absolutely cannot get the proper weight distribution with a set-up that should be able to do the job, inspect your receiver.

When we got our Hensley it came with the recommended 1400lb bars, the ride was very rough and we were not transferring enough weight.

I was already planning to the swap the receiver because of a common corrosion problem.
Inspecting the replacement Reese class #5 I found the reason for the poor WD performance.

Notice on the OEM the shorter mount arms.
The longer arms on the Reese give better purchase enabling less WD tension and allowing us to use 1000lb bars transferring the correct weight with a softer ride.

Bob
🇺🇸

Thank you PKI your post above reminded me...👍😳
Looking at that OE receiver design, it makes a lot of sense to replace it with something more robust. I'd have done the same.

I would like to note, though, that you have entered the realm of "modifying a tow vehicle beyond what the manufacturer intended" as some here like to call it. Your mod is exactly analogous to what Can-Am commonly does to OE hitch receivers. Get ready for charges that the world is about to end.
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Old 11-09-2018, 04:22 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Looking at that OE receiver design, it makes a lot of sense to replace it with something more robust. I'd have done the same.

I would like to note, though, that you have entered the realm of "modifying a tow vehicle beyond what the manufacturer intended" as some here like to call it. Your mod is exactly analogous to what Can-Am commonly does to OE hitch receivers. Get ready for charges that the world is about to end.
Nope didn't mod anything, just a small design change😂...straight bolt on.👍
All our TV specs are still alive & well.

Oh Can-a-bus our home away from home...😎

Bob
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Old 11-09-2018, 05:34 PM   #19
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Back to the issue at hand, with a 2500 HD you do not need, nor should you want, helper springs or airbags. You are probably running around 900+ lbs of hitch weight. A properly set up WD system should be all that is needed to level your rig right up. I suspect that yours in not correctly adjusted, that is why you have some sag. Many folks tow this trailer with a 1/2 ton or even a mid sized SUV and they are level based on a proper WD hitch setup. With a 2500, this should be a piece of cake.

There are lots of good videos on how to do this yourself, or alternatively, take it to a good hitch shop, they will do it for you. A lot of folks mistaken believe that the RV dealer is the best place for this. In my experience, that is not the case.
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Old 11-10-2018, 06:38 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
For sure...the longer the wheelbarrow handles are, the easier it is to lift the load...but the further back the pivot point, the more chance of sway.
Better to move the PP as close to the TV rear axle as possible. 👍

Bob5
🇺🇸
I have Zero, Nada sway issues with my rig. It was tested at high speed crash avoidance. Not by choice. It worked perfectly.
An extra 3" length on the shank won't make one bit of difference on a F250 with the 6.5' bed but is very helpful in weight transfer.
The more marginal a TV the more one has to be concerned with inches and pounds.
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