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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2013 XLT (no max tow package) with new Bilsteins and bags in the rear. I am towing a 6500 lb bumper pull trailer.

Just curious how others have upgraded the suspension to keep a good feel to the truck when towing. At times it feels a little dicey. I also use WDH and sway bar when towing

Any major or minor upgrade suggestions are appreciated.


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What type of weight distribution hitch? Is it set up properly?

My camper is similar in weight, and is very solid with Timbrens, a Fastway E2 Hitch, and 10-ply tires at ~70 psi. I just returned from a ~600 mile round trip elk hunt where I also had a lot of weight in the bed and everything performed very well.
 

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Airbags and a WDH can work in harmony, or the Airbags can mess with the WDH set up.
 

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You did the same mods as me. There was a noticable difference when I went to hankook tires (don't remember the model) just towing a 12' utility trailer, and not in a good way. Definitely do some stiffer sidewalls, it will feel more stable on the highway.
 

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Hellwig antiswaybar, LT E rated tires with proper inflation, Sumosprings, properly setup WDH with antisway, --- Bilstein 5100 shocks probly soon.
I'm towing 8000.
 

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I run Bilstein 5100’s. And then I do have air bags but do not really use then for towing. I will use them to level the truck from the weight of stuff in the bed but not to level it from trailer weight
 

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Would love to hear more on this. I set up WDH with airbags inflated to 80 PSI, so it's level. Max PSI on the airbags is 100.
First, that rear anti-swaybar (Helwig) that was mentioned above is a really really nice addon for towing RV's. You will feel the added stability.

As for mixing Airbags with WDH, you first have to accept the fact that they both are WD devices. We think of Airbags as "leveling" primarily, because that IS the visual we see, but the Airbags ARE distributing weight back to the front axle, so combining what it does with a WDH can make it difficult to calibrate a perfect balance across the whole truck/RV rig.

There's others here that use the combination and we don't all take the same approach, but it's sort of the chicken/egg dilemma.

I chose the WDH/Airbag instead of the Airbag/WDH order. My reasoning is that a WDH is less guess work to me because I actually have target measurements for distributing weight FROM the tounge TO both the front axle AND the RV's axle(s). Or put another way, I put the Airbags at their minimum pressure (out of the equation) and get the WDH set as perfect as possible based on the science of what they are designed for.
Then I will carefully add air to the bags just enough to where I can see them begin to lift even the slightest.
At this point I will admit that the Airbags are more of an additional damper with the shocks, which they definitely are, rather than redistributing weight or leveling anything. The rig should already be level because the WDH setup properly IS a level rig.

Then I hit the road. It should be a very tow worthy rig as it is, but you can now use the Airbags as a fine-tune adjustment during the tow to really dial it in. You might add cargo during the trip, or lose cargo during the trip. All kinds of changes can alter the perfect WDH setup and with the Airbags you don't have to change the WDH settings but rather add/release a little air.
To summarize, I use Airbags as Airbags when I use the truck without a trailer, or if I have a trailer without a WDH. But for a WDH tow job, I prefer the WDH to be 90+% of the "leveling" method because that IS what it would accomplish if it is setup properly. The Airbags are then like a second force that airs up just enough to have the WDH's back, so to speak.

Regardless of how you approach it though, you have a great truck that CAN be dialed to tow that RV with poise. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
First, that rear anti-swaybar (Helwig) that was mentioned above is a really really nice addon for towing RV's. You will feel the added stability.

As for mixing Airbags with WDH, you first have to accept the fact that they both are WD devices. We think of Airbags as "leveling" primarily, because that IS the visual we see, but the Airbags ARE distributing weight back to the front axle, so combining what it does with a WDH can make it difficult to calibrate a perfect balance across the whole truck/RV rig.

There's others here that use the combination and we don't all take the same approach, but it's sort of the chicken/egg dilemma.

I chose the WDH/Airbag instead of the Airbag/WDH order. My reasoning is that a WDH is less guess work to me because I actually have target measurements for distributing weight FROM the tounge TO both the front axle AND the RV's axle(s). Or put another way, I put the Airbags at their minimum pressure (out of the equation) and get the WDH set as perfect as possible based on the science of what they are designed for.
Then I will carefully add air to the bags just enough to where I can see them begin to lift even the slightest.
At this point I will admit that the Airbags are more of an additional damper with the shocks, which they definitely are, rather than redistributing weight or leveling anything. The rig should already be level because the WDH setup properly IS a level rig.

Then I hit the road. It should be a very tow worthy rig as it is, but you can now use the Airbags as a fine-tune adjustment during the tow to really dial it in. You might add cargo during the trip, or lose cargo during the trip. All kinds of changes can alter the perfect WDH setup and with the Airbags you don't have to change the WDH settings but rather add/release a little air.
To summarize, I use Airbags as Airbags when I use the truck without a trailer, or if I have a trailer without a WDH. But for a WDH tow job, I prefer the WDH to be 90+% of the "leveling" method because that IS what it would accomplish if it is setup properly. The Airbags are then like a second force that airs up just enough to have the WDH's back, so to speak.

Regardless of how you approach it though, you have a great truck that CAN be dialed to tow that RV with poise. :)
Thanks - leveling setup with WDH was done with no significant pressure in airbags (less than 20 psi), so front and back are fine. The 80 PSI helps with the dampening. Maybe I'll lower the pressure and see if it's less dicey. I have the feeling that could be part of it, especially with the occasion "porpoising" that I have on the freeway.
 

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80psi AFTER having a properly setup WDH would almost certainly trash the WDH setup! 😉

In fact, if the WDH is setup properly, the Airbags probably should NOT be aired up enough to visually alter the geometry. Maybe juuuuuust enough to begin to. Then drive and tweak it.

Again, just my approach.

Others do basically the opposite. Set the Airbags to some established pressure. Then use that as the starting point for setting up a WDH hitch. It's a valid approach, but messes with my mental understanding of how the WDH could be best applied.
 

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I'm betting the WDH wasn't properly setup/installed to begin with. Camper dealer set it up or was it set up on a level flat surface using a tape measure and math ?
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hellwig antiswaybar, LT E rated tires with proper inflation, Sumosprings, properly setup WDH with antisway, --- Bilstein 5100 shocks probly soon.
I'm towing 8000.
How do you like the sumosprings? Hadn't really heard of them until now, just went the traditional airbag route.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'm betting the WDH wasn't properly setup/installed to begin with. Camper dealer set it up or was it set up on a level flat surface using a tape measure and math ?
The initial setup was good on the system, no changes to the setup since then. Leveling was perfect. I will adjust it in the future when I put in new struts. Just added the airbags, beginning to feel like the airbags are what I'm fighting.
 

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The Sumosprings are great. Just big bumpstops made from heavy urethane. No more slamming down on hard bumpstops while loaded. Nice cushy ride and helps stabilize the side to side roll when loaded.
 
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