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The Ram rear springs are 5' long and rather soft to
provide a nice ride, but the supple springs tend to sag under a sustained heavy
load. There is a TSB to add auxiliary rear springs for '94 and '95 Rams that
are loaded to near GVWR most of the time.
'96+ models could be ordered with a camper option which adds auxiliary rear springs. A common complaint with the camper package is a clunking or slapping sound from the rear axle caused by the aux springs hitting the frame stops when the truck is unloaded.
My truck has 2" lift springs on front and my slide-in camper lowers the rear enough to look tail heavy. To support my slide-on camper, I added the Hellwig adjustable 2500 pound helper springs available from JC Whitney for $150. They have worked well, but are a PITA to adjust when the camper is put on or off the truck unless the weather is nice. Also, I have to use never-seez and keep the nuts oiled so that they don't freeze up with rust. I found that I had to adjust them pretty tight for the camper, but they raise the rear and cut the sway considerably.
When the truck is empty and the springs are tight (camper/heavy load setting), the rear end is a neck snapper. Also, when the truck is empty, the stiffer adjustment makes it easier for the rear wheels to spin when off road. As a result, I have to crawl under the truck and adjust the springs every time I load/unload the camper or load/unload something heavy (say 2500+ lb).
For general wood hauling, tool toting, trailer towing, and field running, the progressive spring adjusted to a "normal" rate does it's job with, depending on the load, 1 to 2" of bed drop. The helper springs seem to help reduce axle wrap, particularly when backing a trailer.
Originally I planned to replace the helpers with air bags because the air bags are much easier to adjust for my changing load conditions. Then the utility bed loaded with tools, etc became heavy enough that I had Roanoke Auto Spring install 2 leaves to each rear spring pack. The extra leaves keep the rear from drooping and, with the helpers reinstalled above the heavier springs, helper adjustment was less critical - requiring only minimal tension on the helpers. Now, I use the helpers mainly for leveling side-to-side.
|The 2.5" wide Hellwig springs mount on top of the stock 3" wide spring pack.|
|view from rear||view from front|
Subject: [RAM] Airbags for Ram
Date: Thu, 8 Jan 1998 23:34:13 -0800
From: "Cliff Ungerecht" <email@example.com>
Well I just had installed the ride-rite airbags from Firestone on my 98QC 2500. We are getting a camper here soon and after a little weight testing felt the airbags would be a big help. They work pretty slick. The version I got has a little compressor which activates and filles a 1/2 gal holding tank. As weight is added or removed the airbags react as needed all automatically. It even comes with a valve which is installed in the rear wheel well that allows filling of tires, etc from the tank, up to 120psi is available.
98QC, 2500 5.9l Westin nerf bars, bed rails, hide-a-hooks, and airbags