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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This is my first post and I'm looking for some experienced Ram 1500 owner input. Half is on towing so I wanted to post here, but also figured those in this section actually use their truck like I plan to also (no offense). I did some browsing on here, but wanted to also do a post for a quicker response. (Sorry for my impatience. And it'll be a little long winded since I like to give details)

My current plan is to purchase a 2020 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4x4 6'4" box with the new Gen3 v6 EcoDiesel.

I'm completely new to the ED and to modern trucks in general. I drove a single cab 8' bed 1996 F150 5.0L V8 (200 hp / 270 ft lbs) with 4EOD auto for past 10 years, only hauling a 900# aluminum fishing boat, getting mulch, and home renovation supplies. I daily drive a 1999 civic as a work car getting about 36mpg average. I'm 30, and we're thinking about kids next year, so I need 1) a reliable vehicle, 2) something i feel safe putting my family in, 3) something I can daily drive and get decent fuel mileage in, and 4) something I can still use as a truck, haul my corvette with maybe 10 times a year and my rock crawler 5 times a year, get some mulch, etc.

From a practically stand point, a 1500 (F150) size truck makes the most sense. They can tow a fair amount when needed, but still have plush suspension, aren't a tank to drive, etc. My brother had a second gen 2500 5.9 cummins, NV4500 6 speed which i've used numerous times over the years before he sold it and it's just over kill, the ride was so stiff when not loaded, it's a mini rig, etc. (we also eventually put an s372 behind the hx35 and it made 1100 ft lb to the wheels :D)

So here I am looking at a 2020 Ram 1500. (I drove a 2020 Denali 6.2L and a 2020 F150 Lariat 3.5ecoboost, and decided the Ram was the best of the 3 for my personal preferences, quality of ride, and performance specs offered).

So question 1: What suspension package should I chose? Factory Coils (and possible add inner spring air bag) Vs Factory Air Ride (auto-level / active load level)
I want the truck to ride great on the daily, commuting to and from work, doing family stuff etc. But I also want the option to pull up to 7k pound car&trailer combined weight and have the ride height proper and it also tow it's best (i'll do this 10 times a year most likely, my vette on trailer is probably 5k # max but i also have a rock crawler with an equipment trailer that probably pushing 7k # or so). I've read through a few threads of the argument for a Weight Distribution Hitch (WDH) vs Helper Bags in the Rear vs Both; but didn't see much about factory 4 corner air comparison.

So what do you think are the pros and cons of going factory coil spring plus inner air bag, vs factory air ride with auto-level (the 1500 has auto load level with a trailer, correct?) I want the most stable towing platform but am curious if the factory air is the most plus of ride over a coil and if it's still stable when towing or any other condition (and the $2k upgrade for factory air isn't a concern for me).

Next question: do I have real expectations for a 2020 gen3 ED?
I plan on keeping the truck for 10+ years and would love to get 200K+ miles out of it so it's a long term investment for me. I'm mechanically inclined, can do pretty much anything to a vehicle (aside from personally machining aluminum heads down to 20Ra or bore cylinders lol). I've ran several vehicles well over 200k miles. I no longer travel far for work. I drive a 30 mile round trip on highway to work 4 times a week on average, I take my small fishing boat to the river often, maybe twice a week about 50-100 mile round trip about 3/4 of the year, and expect to put around 10k miles on the truck a year or a little less.
I plan to do rust prevention immediately, apply fluid film annually, run synthetic fluids, do all scheduled maintenance, etc.
Some reviews say the Gen3 and emissions stuff has made the truck sluggish, but I drove one it felt plenty fast. I'm no lead foot, don't have to accelerate quickly in heavy traffic, and have managed fine with a beat 200hp/270ft-lb F150 for years. I drive for optimal fuel mileage. My civic has 100 hp too, I'm used to slow.
I've read about the Gen2 EGR coolant leak and some other issues, but hoped the Gen3 would be up to par. I've also read of other several people saying 100% bone stock truck going 200k+ miles with no issues. And Vern has put a crazy amount of miles on 2 engines if i'm recall correctly.
I've also had a habit of modding vehicles immediately to optimize performance (i don't have emissions inspection where I live), but this will be my first brand new purchase and the 5 year / 100k warranty i'll probably want to retain. So as much as I'd love to do some emission mods, etc, to stop it from sucking soot and pick up MPG, that will probably null the warranty (correct? haha). Any realistic work-arounds for that? (though the Gen3 may be so new, it's not an option currently, plus read the EPA shutting down the companies who did the EDM ecu stuff, etc).

Wow ok, sorry I wrote so much. But hopefully some experienced guys can give me their own experience, input, etc.

Thanks for your time.
-Mat
 

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Welcome to the forum. That is a long post, may be better to break it up into single posts. As far as comparison of the air suspension vs air bags, that would be hard to do because someone would have had to had both to compare.
I have the Timber Grove air bags, they work great for my 7800 lb + tt. They are axle to frame mount witch I would suggest because I think they hold more weight and ( to me ) I think they would last longer because there not rubbing against the springs. Installed myself, not hard to do.

As far as as far as expectations and longevity for the 2020... who knows , time will tell. Mines a 15 and hope to have it for 15+ years . ( RUST is the big killer)

Tuning. Depending on the tune, you won't necessarily void the warranty unless its extensive like actually removing emission components. There are some tunes out there to turn the EGR off.

PS, I have found that on most forums people seldom answer more that one question at a time... maybe 2.
;)

Good luck with your search.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Welcome to the forum. That is a long post, may be better to break it up into single posts. As far as comparison of the air suspension vs air bags, that would be hard to do because someone would have had to had both to compare.
I have the Timber Grove air bags, they work great for my 7800 lb + tt. They are axle to frame mount witch I would suggest because I think they hold more weight and ( to me ) I think they would last longer because there not rubbing against the springs. Installed myself, not hard to do.

As far as as far as expectations and longevity for the 2020... who knows , time will tell. Mines a 15 and hope to have it for 15+ years . ( RUST is the big killer)

Tuning. Depending on the tune, you won't necessarily void the warranty unless its extensive like actually removing emission components. There are some tunes out there to turn the EGR off.

PS, I have found that on most forums people seldom answer more that one question at a time... maybe 2.
;)

Good luck with your search.
I appreciate your reply sir!

Yea, sorry about the complex post. Was hoping to keep a single thread opposed to numerous threads, but that might be best. I figured Gen2 guys with several years of towing under their belt would be browsing this category more frequently and have the best input.

Ok, i wasn't sure which kind of bags were available out there (only saw the bag inside the spring) and if the rear axle multi-link setup got in the way at all. I have firestone axle to frame helper bags on my F150 which were simple to install and work well.

I think a pro for coil + bag is you have reassurance if the bag fails. If you go full air and a part of the system fails, you could be in a poor situation half way through your travels. The auto load level has to be pretty convenient though if it's fully effective, and if it rides smoother overall when unloaded, that's another pro. I guess i should try to find a local deal with a laramie/longhorn/limited on air vs the longhorn on coils that i drove.

And yea, kind of a dumb questions for me I guess about the longevity; i didn't realize the Gen3 has only been out for a few brief months. I would definitely opt for an HD tune that stops the EGR and improves fuel mapping, if it didn't void warrant. If i could just buy an ecu outright to swap out if I needed to take it back in. I'm sure it'll take upwards to a year before they release something they've tested extensively.
 

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Air bags vs weight distribution

Air bag, including factory air suspension = cosmetic, it make the truck look good hooked up but dose nothing to help and can make weight distribution worse.

Weight distribution will take weight off the rear axle and put it back to the steer axle and trailer axles giving you better control and braking.

To me factory air is an expensive gadget to fix that I would never own. If you want to level the rear towing use a weight distribution hitch with axle to frame bags. Personally I have towed 7000+ lb travel trailer and the WDH is sufficient, but bags would be nice.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Air bags vs weight distribution

Air bag, including factory air suspension = cosmetic, it make the truck look good hooked up but dose nothing to help and can make weight distribution worse.

Weight distribution will take weight off the rear axle and put it back to the steer axle and trailer axles giving you better control and braking.

To me factory air is an expensive gadget to fix that I would never own. If you want to level the rear towing use a weight distribution hitch with axle to frame bags. Personally I have towed 7000+ lb travel trailer and the WDH is sufficient, but bags would be nice.
Appreciate your input. I need to watch the video on air bag vs WDH in one of the threads i found on here last night. I don't fully understand how the WDH works.

One of my thoughts for absolutely having bags is being able to increases the spring rate by inflating them for a more controlled ride. I do load the bed pretty heavy with mulch each year, and for those scenarios I added helper bags to my F150.

I guess I'm trying to decide if factory air provides that much better of a ride vs the factory coil when unloaded (or even loaded). And if the factory air auto level can properly adjust a load. But when towing a trailer, I plan to also have a properly set up WDH.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I just found the suspension forum and browsed some posts there also. It seems the factory air ride can leak or malfunction, and from a longevity stand point, factory coils with frame to axle air bags is probably the best route to go. (along with a WDH).

I also reached out to HD Diesel and they said they're hoping to have a tune out for the Gen3 by sometime this fall/winter.

It sounds like the biggest concern for longevity is EGR recirculation. I wouldn't mind opening the exhaust up and putting an intake on it too for engine efficiency but then i'm getting out of hand and i'll have issues with emissions on the exhaust side.

Just curious, guys like Vern who put 300+k and 200+k miles on their EDs; how many miles were on the truck by the time you disabled the EGR? Doesn't anyone have any real world experience of what the intake manifolds look like inside after X mile vs X miles?
 

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Welcome to our forum. I believe you have found the right truck for your needs. Either air suspension or air bags such as the Timber Groves mentioned will work well for you. Little Leary of air suspension in frequent cold climates especially where truck may sit out overnight. Perhaps a Canadian or someone who lives at altitude will chime in. Well you didn’t list your location in your profile so maybe It’s moot.

Big fan of WDH but if loading of your rock hauler allows you to keep the weight centered over the trailer axles and tongue weight at about 10 percent you probably wouldn’t “need” it although proper WDH set up still makes for a safer tow rig to prevent sway and keep the proper amount of weight on your truck steer axle for maximum stability.

Either air suspension or axle to frame air bags will work well to support dampen & help control rear suspension / road compliance over rough choppy or rutted groovy road when you have a lot of weight in the bed and or on the hitch. Setting the hitch best possible first and then not overpowering it with mega air pressure the bags can be a great compliment to the WDH and is far more than cosmetic.

Unfortunately many think about air bags not changing the rated limits and it doesn’t, also about just load leveling which is a cosmetic side benefit.
 
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My first motor got a tune IE EGR delete at 33K. Then much later an EGR cooler too late after damage from low coolant had been done. It still lasted 371k before it pushed a head gasket. I chose not to repair it but rather a new engine. 2nd motor got the tune from day one. Now post warranty it will get a EGR cooler delete soon and prior to the EGR cooler developing a leak and the 4th gens all do. With a 5 gen truck & 3rd gen motor we may have no emissions problems only time will tell.
 
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Okay, I'm'a answer with my personal experience and my gasp opinion(s). Oh, lawd. Here we go.

I see you've already discovered that there are presently no tunes available for the brand spankin' new engine. However, it has a different EGR system from previous generations and pulls in much of the exhaust gases after it has been treated by the DPF and SCR. That should mean a lot less soot getting into the engine. So things should be okay in that department. At least for a while.

Now, as for the suspension. If I were to do it all again, I would definitely go for the air suspension. I "think" it rides nicer. And it seems that most of the problems happen in areas where it is prohibitively cold. Like Alaska and Canuckistan. I remember one member a loooooooong time ago who put his to the test. He has cows and has to bring water to them in drums. So he experimented with where the bags would not inflate any more and would throw a code. His calculation was 1600 pounds. In addition, some of us geezers found that when dropping a trailer, just put it into position and lower the landing gear. Don't strain yourself, now! Then you get into the truck and lower the suspension and the ball conveniently drops right out of the hitch. Pull out, reinflate. All done. Reverse the procedure when it's time to hook up.

All that being said, I didn't have the foresight so I got the coil suspension. When I began working with Vern for a couple of months I installed the Timber Grove airbags. They were absolutely worth the money. The ONLY drawback is that they take up a little more vertical room than the bump stops and can "bottom out" if you're empty and don't have a few pounds of air in them.

Other things I would do different would be to get the long bed. Why? Well, I'd like to put a topper on the truck and sleep in the back sometimes. However, I'm 5'10" and just don't fit in the 5'7" bed. I would also go 4X4 because there are things that I would like to do that I didn't even think of when I bought the truck. And RAMBoxes would be nice. Everybody I've run into that has them loves them.

As for the various trims, I guess it boils down to your preferences. I have the Bighorn. As far as the nicer trims, the main things I see are leather and premium sound. I still don't care about cloth vs. leather. But I would probably enjoy the premium sound. However, the price jump is strong.

Well, I've been trying to go back and edit a couple of things, but I can't make the curser go there. I don't know if it's my newest edition of Windows or this site. Anyhow, I wanted to add that the heaviest Airstream I hauled was 6998 pounds. I had to limit myself to 60 mph because it would definitely wag the dog. So if you're going to haul that rock crawler around, you will definitely need a WDH. The Andersen 3350 seems to be the preferred hitch, but you'll have to measure and decide for yourself.

Who's wordy now?
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Welcome to our forum. I believe you have found the right truck for your needs. Either air suspension or air bags such as the Timber Groves mentioned will work well for you. Little Leary of air suspension in frequent cold climates especially where truck may sit out overnight. Perhaps a Canadian or someone who lives at altitude will chime in. Well you didn’t list your location in your profile so maybe It’s moot.

Big fan of WDH but if loading of your rock hauler allows you to keep the weight centered over the trailer axles and tongue weight at about 10 percent you probably wouldn’t “need” it although proper WDH set up still makes for a safer tow rig to prevent sway and keep the proper amount of weight on your truck steer axle for maximum stability.

Either air suspension or axle to frame air bags will work well to support dampen & help control rear suspension / road compliance over rough choppy or rutted groovy road when you have a lot of weight in the bed and or on the hitch. Setting the hitch best possible first and then not overpowering it with mega air pressure the bags can be a great compliment to the WDH and is far more than cosmetic.

Unfortunately many think about air bags not changing the rated limits and it doesn’t also about just load leveling which is a cosmetic side benefit.
Thank for taking the time to respond, much appreciated sir!

I live in Pennsylvania; we get maybe 20 days max each winter were it gets to 0*F. This winter has been very mild and only 10-15 nights in the teens.

I talked to the dealer, and we're going to re-test drive a coil vs air setup in similar trim.

As for the tunes, emissions, etc you make a good point that they've hopefully put in quite a bit of work to improve the few issues they had with the gen2 engine to ensure they're not stuck doing recalls and paying out again.

It's pretty comforting that you got 317k out of the first one even with the issues. haha.

It seems like a lot of guys run the "tune" to disable EGR and don't have any concerns for the dealer not honoring other warranty stuff.

It sounds like you have a good plan and something I'd likely follow. Hopefully they get that EGR disable tune done this fall and I can upgrade the ECU. And then when the 5 year warranty (because i wont 100k in that time), I can look in to eliminating the EGR cooler if there are reported issues on the Gen3.

It's always a wary feeling when getting a new generation of engine, but after reading that most common issue was the EGR and the cooler leak (which FCA likely addressed), the rest of the package is one hell of an engine and truck.

These diesel have come a long way though also. I have a common rail Mahindra tractor with only a PDF and that thing burns very clean.

Thanks again for your input!
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Okay, I'm'a answer with my personal experience and my gasp opinion(s). Oh, lawd. Here we go.

I see you've already discovered that there are presently no tunes available for the brand spankin' new engine. However, it has a different EGR system from previous generations and pulls in much of the exhaust gases after it has been treated by the DPF and SCR. That should mean a lot less soot getting into the engine. So things should be okay in that department. At least for a while.

Now, as for the suspension. If I were to do it all again, I would definitely go for the air suspension. I "think" it rides nicer. And it seems that most of the problems happen in areas where it is prohibitively cold. Like Alaska and Canuckistan. I remember one member a loooooooong time ago who put his to the test. He has cows and has to bring water to them in drums. So he experimented with where the bags would not inflate any more and would throw a code. His calculation was 1600 pounds. In addition, some of us geezers found that when dropping a trailer, just put it into position and lower the landing gear. Don't strain yourself, now! Then you get into the truck and lower the suspension and the ball conveniently drops right out of the hitch. Pull out, reinflate. All done. Reverse the procedure when it's time to hook up.

All that being said, I didn't have the foresight so I got the coil suspension. When I began working with Vern for a couple of months I installed the Timber Grove airbags. They were absolutely worth the money. The ONLY drawback is that they take up a little more vertical room than the bump stops and can "bottom out" if you're empty and don't have a few pounds of air in them.

Other things I would do different would be to get the long bed. Why? Well, I'd like to put a topper on the truck and sleep in the back sometimes. However, I'm 5'10" and just don't fit in the 5'7" bed. I would also go 4X4 because there are things that I would like to do that I didn't even think of when I bought the truck. And RAMBoxes would be nice. Everybody I've run into that has them loves them.

As for the various trims, I guess it boils down to your preferences. I have the Bighorn. As far as the nicer trims, the main things I see are leather and premium sound. I still don't care about cloth vs. leather. But I would probably enjoy the premium sound. However, the price jump is strong.

Well, I've been trying to go back and edit a couple of things, but I can't make the curser go there. I don't know if it's my newest edition of Windows or this site. Anyhow, I wanted to add that the heaviest Airstream I hauled was 6998 pounds. I had to limit myself to 60 mph because it would definitely wag the dog. So if you're going to haul that rock crawler around, you will definitely need a WDH. The Andersen 3350 seems to be the preferred hitch, but you'll have to measure and decide for yourself.

Who's wordy now?
Lol, I like the details and talking it out. Thanks for responding with your experience AND opinions.

Both your inputs make sense and hopefully the Gen3 ED has adequate revisions and very few reported issues.

Agreed on the factory air! To have the options to lower it (or raise it in whatever scenario necessary, like if the running boards might hit) would just be super convenient. My only con was reliability after browsing the suspension page; i'd hate to randomly have a bag run low for whatever reason 5 years down the road. But maybe it's as simple as just checking the air lines and repairing.

I plan to drive comparable trims in both coil and factory air now, so i'll let you know if i can tell any difference in a few mile trip over some bumpy back roads.

I definitely getting the 6'4" bed. I'd go 8' if the wife wouldn't care. but realistically it's not need when you get put the tail gate down in a 6'4" and still hold a sheet of drywall in there just fine. As for that same reason, I'm not going to get bed side ramboxes since you lose width in the bed not? If it's not longer 4' wide, i'd hate to lose the option of throwing drywall in the back flat. I'll have to take measurements

The storage bins in the floor of the rear cab is very cool also. The sales guy also called them Ramboxes. You can fit a drop hitch in there etc.

The leather is a slight up grade but my biggest desire is the ventilated seats. haha. I run a bit hot and i've always wanted to know what it's like not to sweat through my back/rear whether the a/c is blasting or not haha.

I'm definitely looking forward to premium sound too.

I need to look in to whatever the mirror options are and someone mentioned that one of the camera views is eliminated if you go tow mirrors. I'll have to check.

And appreciate the recommendation on the WDH. That gives me a good starting point. I'll have to do some reading and see what the options are and general consensus. I have a set of scales to weigh my vette, but not sure if thats how a "professional WDH setup" is performed... need to watch that video asap shared on one of these other threads.

Thanks for input and responding. I'm really starting to get excited for a new truck! I've only ever bought used cheap bargain vehicles haha so this will be a whole new world for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I found this nice video from the Ram Chief Engineer explaining several upgrades to the Gen3 including the Low Pressure EGR which occurs after the DPF like Ziggy explained about. They also moved the intercooler below the rad like on heavy duty trucks to improve both intercooler and radiator efficient. Several other upgrades mentioned also including turbo, injects, new block, etc.


Figured i'd share here within this thread since we discussed some of this stuff above. This gives me more peace of mind for purchasing a Gen3.

I'll follow up when I drive the air suspension vs coil spring.
 

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Air bags vs weight distribution

Air bag, including factory air suspension = cosmetic, it make the truck look good hooked up but dose nothing to help and can make weight distribution worse.

Personally I have towed 7000+ lb travel trailer and the WDH is sufficient, but bags would be nice.
Which is it, factory air suspension is cosmetic and can make weight distribution worse, or you would like to have air bags? You began by saying air suspension is the devil, and end with saying you would like to have air bags lol.

I got spoiled with the air suspension on a Grand Cherokee, so I just had to have it on my Ram. The off-road modes are nice when clearance is needed, and the lowest mode makes loading a breeze. The ride is oh so great.

The stock air suspension is tried and true, the only real problems are in the arctic temps seen in Canada and the extreme northern US. It's a reliable system everywhere else. I'm on my 2nd rig with the suspension and my Ex is on her 2nd, all 4 with no air suspension issues.

The self-leveling is a very nice feature, even when complimented with a WDH. Just know how to set it up properly and there will be no issues.
 

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Appreciate your input. I need to watch the video on air bag vs WDH in one of the threads i found on here last night. I don't fully understand how the WDH works.

One of my thoughts for absolutely having bags is being able to increases the spring rate by inflating them for a more controlled ride. I do load the bed pretty heavy with mulch each year, and for those scenarios I added helper bags to my F150.

I guess I'm trying to decide if factory air provides that much better of a ride vs the factory coil when unloaded (or even loaded). And if the factory air auto level can properly adjust a load. But when towing a trailer, I plan to also have a properly set up WDH.
Here the video:

There are a lot of guys that swear by the factory air ride and a bunch that swear at it.
Going with the factory coil springs gives you control over how the system handles the load.
 

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Which is it, factory air suspension is cosmetic and can make weight distribution worse, or you would like to have air bags? You began by saying air suspension is the devil, and end with saying you would like to have air bags lol.

I got spoiled with the air suspension on a Grand Cherokee, so I just had to have it on my Ram. The off-road modes are nice when clearance is needed, and the lowest mode makes loading a breeze. The ride is oh so great.

The stock air suspension is tried and true, the only real problems are in the arctic temps seen in Canada and the extreme northern US. It's a reliable system everywhere else. I'm on my 2nd rig with the suspension and my Ex is on her 2nd, all 4 with no air suspension issues.

The self-leveling is a very nice feature, even when complimented with a WDH. Just know how to set it up properly and there will be no issues.
My opinion is all. Never said Air bags were the devil. I think factory air for cost and reliability and performance is a waste. I do not think you NEED air bags, but I do think rear air bags would be a nice addition if you were so inclined. Personally if I did what vern does I would have put rear bags in, but I just don't need them and I will probably never get them.

My decisions and opinions are made different than a lot of peoples I don't want leather I don't want heated seats I don't want fancy chit. You say air suspension rides better I say coil is good enough. I don't need and more importantly I don't want more. Your opinion may vary
 

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One more thought on aftermarket air bags. Some believe that if you have a leak it's not a problem because the factory springs will just take over and you can drive it until you feel like getting it fixed. ( that's what I thought)
I found that this is not the case. According to the instructions you should run at least 7 PSI. This I also found was not true.
When the winter came and I was not towing any more I dropped the pressure down to 8-9 PSI. HOLEY CRAP!
Every time I hit a dip in the road the bags bottomed out and shook the whole truck. Very loud and harsh hits.
So, I have found that on my truck I HAVE to have at least 15 PSI in the bags or else the ride is horrible.
I am running about 20 right now because I have extra weight for traction. Along with a Cap (190 lbs), 2 wheel well tool boxes ( approx. 100 lbs) and 2 Large sand bags ( approx 150 lbs).
The truck does seem to ride a little stiffer with the bags but not bad at all.
The reason I am running the air bags is because my TT is pretty tongue heavy @ approx 1100 lbs due to a front kitchen. The WDH had a huge strain on it trying to level the truck/trailer. The bags help a lot with that @ about 32 PSI. the truck and trailer are perfectly level with a little less strain on the WDH.
Still need to tweak the weight. I was 3500 lbs on my front axle and 4300 lbs on my rear. 500 lbs over weight on the rear according to the sticker but it tows great thru these mountain roads.

This is still one of the BEST vehicles I have ever owned, including cars. ( excluding my Goldwing!)
Sound system is AWESOME, heated steering wheel & seats, the vented seats are great in the summer. Auto wipers, hi beams, voice command, ect. ect. This truck is a joy to drive.(even towing)
 
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According to the instructions you should run at least 7 PSI. This I also found was not true.
When the winter came and I was not towing any more I dropped the pressure down to 8-9 PSI. HOLEY CRAP!
Every time I hit a dip in the road the bags bottomed out and shook the whole truck. Very loud and harsh hits.
So, I have found that on my truck I HAVE to have at least 15 PSI in the bags or else the ride is horrible.
I am running about 20 right now because I have extra weight for traction.
Yeah definitely don't want to run 0 psi unless you have the AirLift bags with the internal jounce bumpers.
I run mine 3-5 psi unless I'm towing something and I don't even notice them, and Michigan roads have lots of dips and dipshits...lol. The only weight I carry is my topper. Maybe between the cap, CC w/6.4' bed and the TLC airbags it makes a difference. Can't say it's the tires as those are Load Range E.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Here the video:

There are a lot of guys that swear by the factory air ride and a bunch that swear at it.
Going with the factory coil springs gives you control over how the system handles the load.
thanks for putting the video here.

Question: isn't ideal tongue weight around 12%? So if they have a a 4k pound trailer and put 1k tongue weight, that's 25% and double ideal..

I'm at work, but quickly googled how a WDH works. It looks like spring bars that you set a pre-load on to apply that spring pressure to the tongue and receiver to redistribute the weight. And some have an attachment arm or other device to dampen the tongue/ball turning on the hitch, which is what they call sway control (just like a steering damper, etc).

Which is it, factory air suspension is cosmetic and can make weight distribution worse, or you would like to have air bags? You began by saying air suspension is the devil, and end with saying you would like to have air bags lol.

I got spoiled with the air suspension on a Grand Cherokee, so I just had to have it on my Ram. The off-road modes are nice when clearance is needed, and the lowest mode makes loading a breeze. The ride is oh so great.

The stock air suspension is tried and true, the only real problems are in the arctic temps seen in Canada and the extreme northern US. It's a reliable system everywhere else. I'm on my 2nd rig with the suspension and my Ex is on her 2nd, all 4 with no air suspension issues.

The self-leveling is a very nice feature, even when complimented with a WDH. Just know how to set it up properly and there will be no issues.

Happy to hear you've had good luck with the air suspension. I'm leaning towards that route and now that i think about it, the reliable of air springs on tractor/trailer setups has been proven for decades and millions of miles. I just got a little cautious when i browsed the suspension forum and the first 20 threads are air suspension issues. haha.


As far as people saying air bags are strictly cosmetic.... I'll disagree all day long with those individuals. An air bag is an air shock. It has a spring rate based off of the amount of air inside. So if you think changing spring rate on your vehicle has no effect on suspension travel, i want to hear that logic. Air bags typically have a progressive spring rate so the more air in, the higher the spring rate. No different than adding stiffer coil springs. Shock valving is also tailored to that spring rate and probably met somewhere in the middle when a luxury air suspension is designed; compression and rebound characteristics are definitely altered when you have 1000 lbs floating on a 200 lb/in spring rate vs a 450 lb/in spring rate.
Mag ride shocks would probably improve the performance evening more since I believe that magnet force controls the shock oil characteristics through the valves and can be turn on and off in a specific application. Or like my offroad race truck, we run bypass shocks that allow you to bleed a certain amount of oil past the shock piston/valves in different portions of the stroke to achieve a soft ride in the first few inches of travel but a firmer valving (less bleed by) further in to the stroke when you start hitting desert whoops at 100mph.

So i'll stand by that. Air bags are not just cosmetic. They have a spring rate which is increased as air pressure is increased. And changing spring rate on a vehicle will absolutely change it's ride characteristics. Which is way the air suspension sounds like a good idea and is used on commercial semis and buses. Minimal air when unloaded for a plush ride; increased air and stiffer spring rate when load for a more controlled ride.

The addition of a WDH sounds like the resolution in an application where you can NOT perfectly load a trailer to get that 10-12% tongue weight or that tongue weight also causes too much axle imbalance on the truck front to rear regardless.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
One more thought on aftermarket air bags. Some believe that if you have a leak it's not a problem because the factory springs will just take over and you can drive it until you feel like getting it fixed. ( that's what I thought)
I found that this is not the case. According to the instructions you should run at least 7 PSI. This I also found was not true.
When the winter came and I was not towing any more I dropped the pressure down to 8-9 PSI. HOLEY CRAP!
Every time I hit a dip in the road the bags bottomed out and shook the whole truck. Very loud and harsh hits.
So, I have found that on my truck I HAVE to have at least 15 PSI in the bags or else the ride is horrible.
I am running about 20 right now because I have extra weight for traction. Along with a Cap (190 lbs), 2 wheel well tool boxes ( approx. 100 lbs) and 2 Large sand bags ( approx 150 lbs).
The truck does seem to ride a little stiffer with the bags but not bad at all.
The reason I am running the air bags is because my TT is pretty tongue heavy @ approx 1100 lbs due to a front kitchen. The WDH had a huge strain on it trying to level the truck/trailer. The bags help a lot with that @ about 32 PSI. the truck and trailer are perfectly level with a little less strain on the WDH.
Still need to tweak the weight. I was 3500 lbs on my front axle and 4300 lbs on my rear. 500 lbs over weight on the rear according to the sticker but it tows great thru these mountain roads.

This is still one of the BEST vehicles I have ever owned, including cars. ( excluding my Goldwing!)
Sound system is AWESOME, heated steering wheel & seats, the vented seats are great in the summer. Auto wipers, hi beams, voice command, ect. ect. This truck is a joy to drive.(even towing)

yea, like others have said and the mfg, you need to keep some air in them.

My question though is what is the amount of travel the bags are capable of. Because that's the limiting factor. If the factory suspension and coil travel 4-5" with normal use and unloaded; but the air bag only has 3" of travel until it bottoms itself, then that's where the problem is, which makes sense. Not sure I would want to sacrifice make ride quality unloaded (which will be the bulk of my truck use) by having to increase spring rate / add air to keep them from bottoming for the sake of avoiding the design flaw that the bag bottoms within normal suspension travel ranges.

Thanks for sharing your experience with you truck. Happy to hear you've been pleased with it! And a goldwing is like a lazy boy on 2 wheels haha, they're great bikes.
 
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