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#173715 01/17/08 12:20 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 91
Any thoughts on the best method of beefing up my new vans suspension. I've looked at helper springs, adding a spring, and air shocks. I don't need much but am riding low in the rear and don't know what will happen if I attach a trailer.

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Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,438
I had a 98 Chevy Express 2500 I used for servicework... Loaded to the gills with full rolls of #6 and smaller, MC cable, conduit, boxes, tools, etc... I had 1 ton springs added and a set of Monroe's re-flex shocks and it handled the weight a lot better. I had some pretty stout "E" rated Kelly Safari's on there too.

I managed to pull a trailer with a Bobcat and all the trimmings from Glendale to San Diego and back... The tail end sagged theatrically, but it never felt loose. Passing took a weeks notice at anytime though. whistle

Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 939
Do you know how much weight you got in the van right now ?? because the way you describing i am little condering that you may be over the limit of the vechile weight limit. if you don't mind telling us what kind of van maybe we can guide ya some idea.

Merci, Marc

Pas de problme,il marche n'est-ce pas?"(No problem, it works doesn't it?)

Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 939
Randy I just want to understand you saying this is a 2500 or 2500 HD ??

becasue i know i used have a G2500 before it only rated for 8600 lbs max but have plates registed for 10K [ my state don't have 9k plate so i bumped up one size over ]

but for fuel mpg it kinda suck espcally with towing with the 350 gasser i only get about 8-9 MPG ave without trailer it will get about 12 the best.

Merci, Marc

Pas de problme,il marche n'est-ce pas?"(No problem, it works doesn't it?)

Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 558
Perhaps taking the vehicle to a spring shop and see what they say may be the way to go?
FWIW, I have had similar issues like that in the past with personal vehicles and extra weight from natural gas cylinders added when my parents converted 2 of their vehicles.
A trip to the spring shop, an extra leaf spring added and the problem was solved.


Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 680
If you are overloading it, be prepared to change axle seals. Springs may keep it level but it still could be overloaded.

walrus #173728 01/17/08 11:00 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,462
Likes: 3
Cat Servant
There's also the matter of tires. Overloaded tires .... well, tap the sidewall, and you lose the tire. For those who don't know, here's a real basic primer:

1/2 ton ... like F-150 .... passenger truck tires OK

3/4 ton ... like F-250 .... ought to be 6 ply

1 ton ... like F-350 .... ought to be 10 ply.

If you get helper springs .... I've had those, and they did help ... but you ought to 'go up' with your tires as well.

My general observation is that an ("average") electrician's truck ought to be a 3/4 ton truck or van; no need for dual rear tires or 4 wheel drive. As large an engine as you can get is a plus.

Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 687
Like said before go to a spring shop. Go out of your way to find one that specializes in truck springs. Mine was not overweight but the springs were worn out. They customized the springs for my truck. It has 2 more leafs on one side in the rear. I thought the load is balanced between sides but I guess not. I also changed the coil springs in the front to heavy duty. I wished I went with extra heavy duty.

I have weighed my truck a few times to make sure I'm not overloading it. The last time I was about 10K and the GVWR is 12K. So I know I'm still good to put extra equipment, material, and a generator from time to time.

I also put a good set of Monroe truck shocks around. It rides like a Cadillac. Stay away from air shocks. Shocks are not ment to support the weight of a vehicle (not to be confused with struts on cars). They are only to dappen bouncing. With coilover or air shocks you are tring to hold the vehicle up by the shock mounts. That's how you break parts.

Have someone make sure everything is tight on the steering, suspension, & bearings.

I try to get tires with the highest weight rating but am limited to whats available and cost. Make sure you comepare weight rating when tire shopping. The 1st one the tire guy offers may not be the best choice. Ask if they have heavier tires. More plies and heavier weight rating means the sidewalls stay straight not bowed way out under a load. More plys in a tire means it can handle small cuts and punctures without blowing out.

Get an alignment. Have the alignment done with any new parts you need installed. Changing most anything can throw off the alignment. Have the truck loaded like normal with a 1/2 tank of fuel. Weight in the truck affects ride height. Ride height affects alignment. A low ride height will pull the camber in (top of the tires).

Keep in mind trucks have weight ratings for a reason. It is not just how much the spring can hold. Heavier trucks have stronger breaks, rear ends, bearings, sway bar, frame, more lug nuts, rims that hold heavier tires, better engines, stronger tranies, more cooling, etc. An overloaded truck is unsafe.

3/4 Ton (GM 20, 2500, or ford 250) should be the minimum for a loaded electrical truck. I never seen a 1/2 tom truck work out well. I would recomend a 1 Ton unless you don't plan on hauling much.

Active 1 #173748 01/17/08 07:34 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 265
springs are the way to go, shocks are not meant to hold the vehicle up. Helpers are alright, but if you can afford it have 1 or 2 leaves added to the springs on the truck it is a much better answer. if you havent already bought the van look for one with heavy duty suspension, chevy HD, ford super duty etc. Most of the time these trucks have bigger brakes, auto trans coolers, engine oil coolers, power steering oil coolers, and trailering packages already on them. I have a Chevy 2500HD with 6.0L gas engine, it will pass every thing but a filling station, gets about 10 mpg with an 18 foot trailer carrying a 6000lb generator, but has no trouble going up hill, down hill, or anywhere else. I guess its like a mule if you want it to work you got to feed it. I will buy another one like it when the time comes.


Life is tough, Life is tougher when you are stupid
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 22
GOOGLE TIMBRENS. Timbrens are the way to go i have them on mine works better then any spring/shock combination you can come up with.

Virginia Journeyman Eletrician
NFPA-70E Trained
CFC Universal Certified
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