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Need help with suspension - Plowing and Trailering!

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by MustangMike, Oct 15, 2006.

  1. MustangMike

    MustangMike Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Hi all - new guy here looking for some info. My dad has an '03 duramax, 6 speed extended cab, 6ft bed that we installed a 7'6" western pro-plow on last weekend. Seems like a great plow, but also seems kind of heavy for his truck. The truck has 75,000 reasonably hard miles on it - lots of towing in the summers (he has a 28 foot car hauler that weighs about 10k when loaded, a 25' deckover equipment trailer, and a 12' Pequea dump trailer - all of which we haul with some frequency). We were starting to notice a little bit of extra bouce when hauling the trailers before the plow install, so we were thinking about replacing the shocks. Now, with the plow on, and lifting it off the ground, the truck drops a good 3-4 inches initially and recovers to about 2 inches lower than when the plow is down on the ground. We're thinking of putting the timbrens on (read lots of good info using the search), but also installing new shocks all the way around to help the plow and also help the trailering bounce. The thing is, he's only going to plow with the truck this year as he's hoping to buy a new '08 duramax next fall, so it's hard to justify spending a lot of money in parts now if not absolutely necessary. I plan to buy the truck from him when he gets rid of it, so it's not money completely wasted, but why spend more than necessary (I won't plow with the truck when I own it). By the way, he will be plowing a driveway that's about a 1/4 mile long and will not transport the plow much - maybe a few miles from time to time.

    So on top of the timbrens, would you recommend that we put new shocks on too? Would they help with the sag when lifting the plow (in addition to the timbrens)? If you would recommend the shocks, which would you recommend? Bilstein HD's seem like good ones - any experience with them? Any idea if they'll be good with the trailers too? How about ride quality when unloaded? Also considered cranking up the torsion bars - but don't want to do it if the shocks are worn. This is the first vehicle that either my dad or I have ever owned that has worked this hard, so we're a bit unsure as to what the expected life of the stock shocks/parts should be.

    Thanks for any help you can give.
    Mike
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2006
  2. flykelley

    flykelley 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,124

    Hi Mike
    Install timberns on the front, crank the bars 5 turns and do your Dad a favor and buy him a set of air bags for the rear springs, best $250.00 I ever spent. I can keep the truck level when hauling heavy loads.

    Regards Mike
     
  3. MustangMike

    MustangMike Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Thanks, Mike - you don't think the stock shocks are worn at 75k?

    I have heard good things about the air bags, but he's not having any problems with the truck sitting level - more bounce and sway than anything (sway only at 65mph+ when passing a tractor trailer). The truck sits nice and level even when we have the trailer and truck loaded down. He has load leveling bars for the two big trailers.

    Any benefits to timbrens out back for trailering? (for the bounce when hitting a bump)

    The more I think about the bouncing, even when empty on hard bumps, I'm starting to think the shocks do need to be replaced....

    Thanks again! Anyone else?
     
  4. flykelley

    flykelley 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,124

    Hi Mike
    Yes at 75K I would replace the shocks, as for the air bags a 10K trailer has some weight to it and even with a weight dist hitch with bars that rear end has to be down some. I have found over the years if the truck and trailer are not level, it will sway, the other thing is weight and balance of the trailer. In other words how is the trailer loaded in regards to where all the weight is? If you are hauling a car there isn't much you can do execpt maybe turn the car around. If you have too much weight too far foward that thing will sway real bad. I haul a 30 ft Travel Trailer with my 2500 HD and that thing doesn't move a inch back there, and I run at 70- 75 MPH.

    Regards Mike

    Good Luck Mike
     
  5. MustangMike

    MustangMike Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Thanks! We ordered the bilsteins and the timbrens today, should have them by the weekend. We'll keep the airbags in mind - if these parts don't improve things, chances are we'll consider them at that point, especially on the new truck. The sway is not really all THAT bad, but it is there. What brand of air bags do you have?

    Thanks again!
     
  6. flykelley

    flykelley 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,124

    I have the 5000 pound Goodyear Air bags, at least I think they are goodyear, maybe firestone. Anyway I have put some pretty good loads on that truck and without the bags I never would have carried that much weight. I belive they are well worth the money. The other thing around here is if a weigh master see's you driving down the road and your rear bumper is hanging low you will get stopped. With the air bags the truck sits level and he doesn't even give you a second look.

    Regards Mike
     
  7. GetMore

    GetMore Senior Member
    Messages: 179

    This is correct, and good info, but I'd like to add a small piece of advice: Even if you can get the truck to sit level you should not load it over it's capacity. (Not that I'm saying that's the case here.)
    The tires and your brakes are only designed to handle so much weight, so even though it might not look like it's holding a lot, if you have 6,000lbs of cargo in the bed you have a good chance of having a catastrophe.
    Just something to keep in mind.
     
  8. flykelley

    flykelley 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,124

    Getmore
    That is great advice, I do my best to stay under the GVW and 99% of the time I can do that. Its like you said it's not that the truck won't carry but will it stop and handle like it should? NO WAY it will, not to mention what will happen if you have a wreck and hurt somebody a lawyer will have a field day. Its just not worth it IMOP.

    Regards Mike
     
  9. Antnee77

    Antnee77 PlowSite.com Addict
    from RI
    Messages: 1,056

    If he's plowing with a 7.5' blade on that truck just for this season, I wouldn't buy anything for it. If it is going to be your truck next year, I'd want the Bilsteins just for ride quailty/handling, but they will not aid in the weight handling aspect at all. Honestly, with 75k on the clock, you won't run into any trouble from one more year of plowing, especially with a smaller blade.