Add a Leaf, Leaf Replacement, or Air Assist? [Archive] - RetrieverTraining.Net - the RTF

: Add a Leaf, Leaf Replacement, or Air Assist?

Sean H
05-12-2009, 04:26 PM
Another post related to the new to me Deerskin I bought. The added weight of the box alone has the rear of my truck sitting lower. With my trailer and Ranger on it, it's very low so I'm looking to boost my rear suspension.

Looks like my options are adding a leaf (cheapest option - leaning toward this), replacing my 1/2 ton truck leaf springs with a 3/4 truck ton leaf springs, or adding an air assist kit that will allow me to vary the amount of suspension depending upon the load. Replacing the springs and adding the air kit cost about the same, which is 4x the amount of adding a leaf.

Adding a leaf - cheapest and easiest install
Replacing the leafs - Least complicated solution (best assurance)
Air assist - most versitile

Anybody have experience with any of these options to share?

Jim Pickering
05-12-2009, 05:09 PM
I have a Chev 3500 dually with a chassis mount. Even with the towing package on it the truck bottomed out easily when loaded. Plus when driving at night I got tired of folks flashing their high beams at me, honking as they passed and sticking an arm out the window to wave at me. I figured it was just a matter of time until I passed the wrong red neck who though I had my light on high beam and turned around and came after me to teach me how to operate the low beam light switch.

I had an air bag system installed. So far I like it. The truck seems to ride a bit better and folks stopped waving at me at night. I opted for an automatic system and it did require some time for me to get accustomed to it. It has a one minute delay after it sensed a shift in load which can be as little as putting a dog in or getting a dog out then tries to level the truck by letting air out or the compressor coming on to add air. Either way it sounds a lot like flatulence so if others are near just don’t flinch or look surprised and be ready to point to one of the dogs.

Jay Dufour
05-12-2009, 06:19 PM
I did the add a leaf for the same exact reasons a Jim.The truck drove soooooo much better too.I have a topper on a Tundra.

Thomas D
05-12-2009, 06:45 PM
I have a three hole on an F-150 and had about an inch sag. I put on SuperSprings and they work great. Just one new leaf above the others compensates for the weight and will compensate for additional weight you might add like a trailer. I get the exact same ride with no sway whatsoever.

05-12-2009, 11:40 PM
I added an extra leaf spring to my GMC 2500 Sierra for better control when towing a heavy travel trailer. It's simple, cost effective and improved the handling to my satisfaction . The frame shop I took my truck to had 2 others there that morning for the same thing.

Tom D
05-13-2009, 05:19 AM
Folks please keep this in mind when just adding an extra leaf, leak packs or air bags. Your ½ ton is still designed as a ½ ton.
The mounting brackets and shackles on your truck will allow you to up grade but are still light duty. I have seen major fatigue in these areas on just a spring up grade.
The big difference between a ¾ and ½ to is the brake system. You are adding all of the weight on the truck with the box and also towing a trailer. This is a lot of momentum going down the road.

Sean H
05-13-2009, 08:58 AM
Thanks for the comments everybody. I want to get the air bag system, but am not sure I can justify the price over the extra leaf.

Tom D, I appreciate your concern as well. My application is more asthetic than anything. The weight of the box and my trailer aren't too much for the trucks current suspension. My truck has a leveling kit on the front. So now with the constant weight in the bed the truck isn't level, it's pointing up a small bit in the front, looks funny. It's functionally fine, and would look fine if the front wasn't raised.

River Hill
05-13-2009, 10:42 AM
I really like the Ride Rite air bags, as I can adjust the ride to my load. You don't need to go all out, but put the bags in and a bicycle pump and you are good to go.

Thomas D
05-13-2009, 03:50 PM
A two or three hole slide in and related equipment (including dogs and passenger) should still be under the recommeneded weight on door or owners manual. Go by a truck stop and have it weighed fully loaded.

Ricky Elston
05-27-2009, 11:23 PM
I have a new Chevy 1500 4x4 with a Deerskin 3-hole. I went with air bags on mine and it retained the factory ride. The only problem with the new Chevy's is that the frame is boxed and impossible to just drill a hole and reach around and thread on a nut. I had to drill and tap the frame (6 bolts on each side) to mount mine, took about an hour to do both sides. 1/2 ton trucks suck!!!

Paul "Happy" Gilmore
05-28-2009, 02:24 PM
I just stumbled across this on Craigslist..may be worth a call?