In Search of the Ultimate Helper Spring – Part 3

Last week we examined the more popular helper spring and drew some comparisons regarding simple design, ease of installation and cost.

This week we’ll continue with a comparison of Add a leaf, Air ride and Timbren SES. Here are three more things to look for when choosing a helper spring.

A quiet helper spring

If you own a brand new pickup that rides smooth and quiet, the last thing you want is noise coming from the suspension.  But sometimes an aftermarket product doesn’t fit properly, and creates vibration and rattling.

  • Add a leaf under certain conditions can cause a ‘creaking’ sound (metal on metal).
  • Air ride suspensions use compressors. A compressor can be noisy when it starts up trying to make ride height adjustments.
  • Timbren SES kits have rubber springs that insulate vibration while under load.
 Helper spring with ride quality

Helper springs are designed to increase load capacity. But sometimes this affects ride quality. Which system gives you both added capacity and ride quality?

  • Add a leaf can increase capacity (up to 800 lb) but will affect the unloaded ride quality.
  • Air ride is always inflated, which can affect the unloaded ride quality.
  • Timbren SES kits do not engage with the axle until there is a load. The unloaded ride is not affected (unless there is insufficient space between rubber spring and axle.
Helper spring with added stability

Ideally, you want your helper springs to reduce roll and sway. Instability causes undue stress on the driver and the vehicle.

  • Add a leaf will stabilize the load, helping to reduce body roll.
  • Air ride becomes unstable under a load, unable to adjust quickly enough to the roll and sway caused when you override the suspension.
  • Timbren SES rubber springs help stabilize the load, leveling the truck front to back and side to side. There are also severe service kits for severe instability.

Before you purchase a helper spring for your truck suspension, make sure that it’s a quiet system, maintains good ride quality loaded and unloaded, and reduces body roll and sway.

Next week:  What to look for in a helper spring – Part 4