If you’re looking into upgrading your vehicle’s suspension here is a list of our highly recommended upgrades.
When we first bought our truck camper it was quite a ride, rocking like a boat, bouncing and swaying more that it should. So we immediately started looking into what we could do to help smooth out the ride a bit. Out of all our research these upgrades improved the ride the most for their price.
First we added some Bilstein5100s shocks, this smoothed out the ride both with and without the camper. It was also something that needed to be done anyways since our truck had the original shocks still on it. With new shocks in place other suspension parts should be able to last longer since they won’t have to absorb as much of the shock now. It also prevented some rocking of the camper, but not much.
I would recommend these shocks, but before you buy take a look at the Rancho 9000s. They are adjustable, which can be nice if you want a softer or harder ride, but these are a little more pricy. If you’re not going to be off-roading, then towing, then daily driving, I’d recommend saving some pennies and getting the non-adjustable Bilstein 5100s.
- Cost: $304.84.
- Instillation time: Not sure I did this in-between other things, a guess would be 3 hours. Note, helps if you drop your spare tire before removing the old rear shocks.
- Tools needed: Two people for the front, one person easy for the rear, socket set, and maybe a grinder. (The new shocks were just a little too wide for the brackets, so I grinded maybe 1/16th of an inch off to get them to fit. Shhh;) )
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Note, these did not help with leaving out the truck when the RV was on the back, it simply only smoothed out the ride. Some say they get a small height added to their truck, but that wasn’t the case for me.
Some trucks come with a camper package and already have a rear anti-sway bar, however mine didn’t so I went to amazon and got a Hellwig sway bar. The anti-sway bar connects the frame of the truck to the axle in two additional spots to provide a more stable ride.
When the truck starts to rock and lean towards one side the other side of the sway bar pulls the axle up and gravity forces the truck to lean towards the other, thus evening out the load around corners and such. I would also recommend this if your truck camper is rocking side to side, and I would also recommend Hellwig, they have some of the best products for load stabilization.
- Cost: $242.83
- Instillation time: 3 hours (most of the time was spent trying to figure out what parts I should use since I had the larger Dana 80 axle.) However the directions were pretty easy to follow, it just was one of those days for me.
- Tools needed: Preferably two people (the bar is heavy (good!)), socket set. Some trucks may require a drill to drill into the frame; mine already had holes for the bolts so it was easy.
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Hellwig provides several helper leaf kits that vary in size depending on your payload’s weight; we ended up getting the LP-35 which was the largest kit. The kit if composed of four extra leaf springs for each side of the truck rated to keep up to 3,500lbs of total payload level. The leaf springs are adjustable, help level the truck when loaded, and help prevent bouncing and rocking. With all there of our upgrades installed driving the camper compared to without the Hellwig products on was night and day! Best investment to our truck yet! Highly recommended.
Note you need to buy a mounting hardware kit with this as it comes separately. Check the width of your stock leaf springs before you buy, not after like I did. Hellwig’s website told me that both the 2.5inch and 3 inch kits would work, so without thinking I ordered the smaller one and had to return it. I would suggest calling Hellwig to make sure that the kit will work before you buy. Just a heads up.
- Cost: Leaf kit: $228.25. Amazon used mounting kit: $68.70
- I saved a few bucks and bought a used mounting kit from amazon, worked great!
- Instillation time: 2.5 hours
- Tools needed: Just myself, socket kit, jack and jack stands (or large blocks of wood like I did).
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