Super Duty Suspension Upgrades, for Max Loads
Truck Suspension Reviewed by Mr. Trailer/Truck
They’re called Super Duties for a reason. Yes we overload them, and with one piece frames, full floating axles, and three bearing differentials, the hold up well. Ford stretched the rear leaf springs three inches in the 1999 model, when they switched from Heavy Duty to Super Duty. This made for a smoother ride, then for 2008, another eight inches added to the rear leafs. So now our ¾ and one tons ride like ½ tons, but they can also sag with maximum payloads and tongue weights. Ford should be commended for at least having a rear anti-sway bar with the Camper Package, but for heavy loads it’s not big enough. Imagine your headlights pointing ahead when your truck is loaded and not tree tops.
Important to remember, adding accessories to your trucks suspension does not increase your factory GVWR, axle weight rating or payload. The goal is enhancing what you have for max load stability.
Another advantage of the suspension products I’m reviewing are that most can be used together or separate. SuperSprings or Sway Stops can be used with the other two but not together. Air Lift air bags for the Ford Super Duty, mount inside the frame leaving room on top of the factory leaf springs for an overload like SuperSprings. Scastic’s mount on the end of the factory leaf spring and Sway Stops fit under the factory overloads with the Camper Package. Eleven foot slide-in truck campers with slide out rooms, may require them all.
Air Lift LoadLifter 5000 with WirelessAIR Kit 72000, Moderate Install
Inside air bags so you can use SuperSprings with Air Lifts air springs for heavy slide in campers. Instant adjustability is the advantage. Being able to remotely stiffen the rear suspension under a load, does improve stability. Over-the-road semi-trucks have proved that air bags are reliable. Eighteen wheelers can have air bags on the tractor, trailer, cab and seats. Our 4 and 6 wheelers can use help with air especially at maximum payload and trailer weight.
What caught my attention with Air Lifts’ new wireless air bags, is remote control. I worry about leaking air lines and the usually culprit is the air lines going all the way to the front of the cab with the flexing between cab and bed and the lines going thru the fire wall into the gage and control switch. Air Lifts eliminated those problems with a remote manifold hosed to the compressor back in or under the bed and controlled by the remote control on your visor next to your garage door opener. When you’re showing off to your friends or hooking up your trailer hitch, you can walk around your truck with the remote.
Bellows are manufactured similar to tires with layers of rubber and cords. Rated to support 5000 lbs and 100 psi. The bellow brackets attach to the axle housing, spring stack and bump stop joist.
Emergency brake cables, wiring harness and differential breather
Joining manifold and remote controller with a magnet so it’s unique to your truck and not your neighbors.
Semi’s have air axles, air cabs, air seats. Lifetime warranty
The WirelessAIR (Advanced Integrated Remote) Kit comes with a compressor, manifold, wiring harness and wireless digital controller.
Factory jounce bumpers (axle to frame bottom stop) hard to take out, bolt strips out of the rubber. Bottom bracket that has bracket you sneeze off for 4×4. Carriage bolts a little small for square hole. Top bracket you have to align two bolts that you can’t see, they go thru bracket, bellows and air bag. If they were pointed bolts it would help align. On Ford attaches to joist stop instead of leaf springs, so you can had overload springs such as SuperSprings for supporting the large slide-in truck campers. Comes with insulated hose for exhaust and stainless steel shield which fit my 3 inch aFe aftermarket exhaust. Ran air hose and wiring through hole in bed floor in heater hose. I mounted air compressor, relays, manual inlets so I can demonstrate it. Manifold wireless control hose directly to compressor. Compressor is small and fast. Control box. Each side comes in separately so you can inflate or deflate individually. Extra hose so I can replace if hole. Have manual air valves incase all fails, you can air up with shop compressor. Pain to install brackets. hoses are sweet, just push in. After installed it’s sweet. compressor fast, two presets for empty and loaded. can adjust air on go, remote for visor or walking around.
While the Ford application is unique mounting the air bag inside the frame instead of on top of the leaf springs as with Dodge and GM. Mounting the air bags outside on top of the leaf springs, makes the brackets more accessible. But the Ford application leaves the springs open for other options such as SuperSprings or other overload springs. With the air bag brackets inside the frame, the top bracket is not easy to install. The bracket and frame spacer need to be attached first. The bottom bracket air bag and roll plate can be bolted together and slide over the stock jounce bumper strike plate, then attached to the top bracket. Cut the air lines straight, love the push-to-connect fitting
Gooseneck hitch ball brackets attached to the truck frame are not in the way for attaching the top air bag bracket.
15 amp in line fuse for the wire that connects to the battery, 1 amp barrel fuse to the ignition side wire.
2 memory buttons in remote controller for your favorite settings like loaded and empty. Buttons for controlling air pressure settings and independent air bag control. The controller automatically keeps the air pressure you set. The controller can program and control two axles. Install manual has handy templates for drilling holes to match the compressor and manifold.
Just like air bags on a semi-truck, you can change truck position. drop air to release gooseneck or 5th wheel or increase air to attach to coupler. Having the ability to change air pressure in the bags side to side, is and advantage. It’s not always easy getting loads and slide-in campers balanced. Then there’s the wonderful side winds than can irritate you all day driving across most Western states.
SuperSprings Overload, Easy Install
Acts like a torsion stabilizer to control speed of the factory leaf spring reaction. Controls axle rap during acceleration. Wide in the middle and narrow on the ends so SuperSprings gives more resistance as more load moves down to the middle making one leaf do the work of a spring stack. SuperSprings have a unique shackle system with nylon rollers so the spring can flex depending on load self adjusting. This also takes the noise out that can be associated with overload springs.
These longer springs do improve the ride, but that extra spring travel from longer factory leaf springs allows the trucks to move more. This makes a big difference with a loaded truck as to how much farther the truck will lean on curves, and bounce out of ruts and washboards. I used a slide-in camper with the test truck because that’s the easiest place to notice the lean. Campers attract side wind like a magnet. The older trucks with a camper didn’t lean much, but now Elvis would be proud with all the hip action from a newer loaded truck! And you know if the rear is moving around the front is trying to overcorrect, so if you don’t get sea sick you do get tired of over steering. Do you think all that motion commotion is hard on bearings, springs and tire sidewalls?
SuperSprings is wide in the middle and narrows on each end. So as more weight is applied, more resistance is applied as the force goes farther on the spring to the wider middle. This makes it carry weight similar to a spring stack (leaf springs stacked on top of each other in different lengths) and allows it to self adjust and flex with the factory spring when there’s no load. This keeps the soft empty ride of the newer trucks with longer rear factory leaf springs.
We mounted the first SuperSprings to the right side of the test truck and drove through some pot holes with the the leveraged oversize camper. You could clearly see the difference in bounce and spring travel the right side didn’t move much, but the left side without the SuperSprings advantage bounced like a basket ball, I’m glad I wasn’t driving the truck, but someone has to take the pictures! SuperSprings superbly controlled the movement of the truck’s factory springs, are self-adjusting and no air, or air tank needed, no drilling or welding either. And they come in three weight ratings, regular, heavy duty and extra heavy duty.
Everything clamped into place and ready for action! With the factory spring on top of the axle, there is a bracket shown here that clamps to the factory spring to provide the proper torque. If the factory spring is below the axle, no bracket is required. After the camper test, we removed the camper and tested the empty truck. Dirt roads tend to have washboards and potholes this time of year that shake the dust out of your headliner. The SuperSprings took the wheel bounce out of the washboards and the potholes. I didn’t know they would do that. So they do work as a torsion anti-sway stabilizer too. In the spring when the frost comes out of the ground, road damage can sneak up on you where it wasn’t there when you drove to town earlier. I know I get surprised often and I don’t see the potholes as well as I use to even with my tri-focals. SuperSprings, overload and stabilizing leaf springs, another tool to be safe sharing the road.
The secret to SuperSprings unique self-adjusting lies in their patented tapered blade and shackle system which increases load and tow capacity without stiffening the ride. When there is little or no stress on the suspension system the weight is taken up by the narrow neck of the tapered blade. As load or sway increases, the stress moves progressively to the wider part of the blade providing true progressive suspension on an as-needed basis. The patented dual roller shackle system that attaches the SuperSprings to the factory springs prevents the rigidity and hard ride experienced by other helper systems on the market.
Ford application with Camper Package is has a special front square hanger that slides over the top overload leaf spring. On Ford Super Duty trucks and F150 2004 and newer, no need for a mounting kit. The factory leaf springs are 3 inches wide which allows SuperSprings to sit inside the factory leaf spring bracket.
Jack truck up by frame not axle
Sway Stops, Overload Foam Pads, Easy Install
Problem with air bags, is they can keep the truck off it’s factory overloads on the Ford Camper Package, using Sway Stops from SuperSprings keeps the overload in contact which reduces lean on curves with slide-in camper for anti-sway and anti-lean. Micro cellular poly-urethane foam, memory foam. Foam pad adjusts to load with progressive compression, foam has a true spring curve. Absorbs road shock and limits factory leaf spring rebound. Reducing sway or camper lean on curves and from side winds, providing resistance to leaf spring compression on the tight side.
Self locking nuts, just position Sway Stops above the overload spring.
Sulastic Rubber Springs, Easy Install
Like a torsion trailer axle or Hendrix suspension on a semi-truck. Rubber embedded in hinge. Doesn’t give you much more support with a load, but it does settle the empty ride down considerably. I have a close rod in the Supercab which usally bounces out without closes on it when my F250 is empty. After Sulastic, the rod stays put. Sulastic spring loads your leaf spring, taking some of the impact out of the spring action.
Warranty one year
Very simple installation. The hardest part was getting the old bolts out of the hanger. You need to save you old bolts and nuts as they aren’t supplied with the kit. Jack the truck up by the frame, remove the rear leaf spring shackle from the hanger and leaf spring. Insert the rubber bushings and seperation tube in the Sulastic casting and bolt to truck frame hanger. The Sulastic straps bolt to the factory leaf springs. The casting has a stop built in for empty position.