Major Suspension Upgrades
We’ve been complaining off and on about the ride of the truck since it was on stock tires and just had air bags on it. We figured we could live with it because it is a HD truck, but as a daily driver it’s really uncomfortable.
Aside from the air bags, the StableLoads and 19.5″ tires individually don’t make the ride much worse, but all paired together makes it almost unbearable (unloaded) on certain roads and horrid off road. The StableLoads can be disengaged,
but we tow more than not and don’t tend to disengage them between hauls, but in practice the weight of the transfer tank and hitch on top of them keeps us from doing so.
The truck rides well when towing and is extremely stable, so we are happy with the setup in that regard, though there is always room for improvement, especially in regards to bump steer, which is an issue both loaded and not.
We strongly contemplated upgrading to a dually that can ride on stock suspension and E rated tires, but ultimately decided to overhaul both the front and rear suspension to address our issues. We should have a ride superior to any HD truck on the market once completed.
Starting with the rear: we’ve been talking to Kelderman about their four link rear suspension system that completely replaces the leaf suspension on the truck. It’s a fairly permanent installation because it requires cutting some brackets off the frame, but has several inherent benefits. It completely addresses both wheel hop and axle wrap, keeps the tires more firmly planted on the ground because the components holding the axle in place don’t flex, and is modeled after the large air ride systems found on large over the road trucks. Due to the cost of the system it is pretty rare to find anyone running it, but we spoke with two people we found on a forum who have it on their trucks and both were extremely happy with it.
The Kelderman 4 link is a must have… GM trucks are too stiff and ride poorly without it… I don’t like the GM IFS because they are susceptible to bump steer. I’ve had my truck for 3 years now and it has 75k miles on it. Majority of those miles were on the Kelderman 4 link and a lot of miles towing…
Long story short, I’d buy the Kelderman 4 link everyday of the week and twice on Sunday. Don’t skimp. You get what you pay for. Don’t expect it to ride like a Cadillac or 1500. You’ll be disappointed like me. However, I did notice improvement on a section of road on my way to work. Everyday I had to slow down or bump my head on the roof. With the air bags I no longer hit the roof. Another noticeable improvement is driving the hunting roads. A diesel is the roughest riding vehicle and not fun to ride in. However, since installing the air bags my ride is noticeably better. I also have a Cognito leveling kit with upper control arms and Fox shocks and they probably help a little. I blast down rutted dirt roads at 45-50mph which is too fast for a stock truck.
I could go on and on. I’ve had great success with my Kelderman 4 link. If it were a $7k option when purchasing a new truck, I’d get the diesel option first and 4 link second. Everything else just isn’t as important.
I do, the improvement over stock is pretty noticeable. Handles much better through corners, stays planted in the ass end & cuts down on sway while hooked to a trailer. The ride quality is better both loaded and empty.
I have a 10k 29′ toy hauler and a 14k 14′ dump trailer both tow great. Also live in Minnesota, haven’t had any problems with the cold temps and air system thus far.
If you can swallow the price tag I would highly recommend it. My dad has an 05 CCLB DRW and it rides like total shit compared to mine with the air ride.
Kelderman recommended that we run a leveling kit because the new suspension will either ride at the same height, or possibly up to one inch higher than stock. The Chevy trucks have a lot of rake, and we’ve been contemplating a leveling kit for a long time. Once again, avoiding it due to cost… Most people crank the bars to level their trucks which results in reduced ride quality, while we’re actually looking to improve it. So we decided to go with a Stage 3 kit which replaces the upper control arms with ones that have a different geometry to accommodate the taller ride height and increase suspension travel. It also includes Fox 2.0 shocks which are supposedly far better than the stock Rancho shocks on the truck, and comes with rear shocks to pair with the Kelderman kit. To address the bump steer, we purchased two items that are supposed to address the bump steer, and address it even better when used together. The Cognito PISK3008 Pitman/Idler support kit and a Rough Country steering stabilizer. And since we’re running such heavy front tires, decided to throw on a pair of Rough Country tie rod sleeves while in there to help keep the suspension in good shape.
Both the leveling kit and Kelderman kit increase suspension travel over stock, and the rear is a full air ride solution. The upgraded shocks, steering components, and full air ride should provide an incredible ride compared to what we have now. Kelderman has a few options for the air management; manual (via schrader valve) or onboard, and then a few options for the onboard kit. We opted to go full out and get the automatic leveling with an air dryer, so the truck will sense when weight is added and automatically inflate to the normal ride height. It’ll also allow us to dump the air out of the bags to drop the truck 4″ or so lower than stock to make loading/ unloading or hooking up to trailers easier.
Another thing that sold us on the Kelderman is that as a full suspension replacement, it is the same exact suspension that they sell for 3500SRW and DRW trucks. It’s rated for 12K RAWR, with two 6K bags, which is far more than we’ll ever carry. Aside from the door sticker, we’ll have completely eliminated the differences between our truck and an upgraded 3500HD. I called the DMV the other day to see if we could register our truck for a higher GVWR in Texas and they told me that for personal use, it doesn’t matter in this state. If we wanted, we could change it to commercial and buy additional weight, but there was no point for our use. Pretty happy with that answer and it was considered in our decision to keep our SRW, which we’re otherwise really happy with! With the amount of money we now have into this truck, we’re going to keep it for a very long time.