Life En Route

Timbren DR3500CA SES Install

I noticed that, when I loaded up the trailer the other day, the rear of the new truck squats a little more than I would like. That’s fairly typical – these trucks are fine tuned to be a compromise between ride quality and hauling capability, and they do tend to squat a bit if you put a heavy load on them.

Ram offers an option for rear air ride with auto-leveling, which is similar to the Kelderman 2-stage system as it still retains a leaf. That gives you the same ride level regardless of the load in the truck, and is their attempt to address the need for compromise. Both fortunately and unfortunately, this truck did not come with it. I actually did not want it – as it severely limits aftermarket applications on the truck, and you can’t even buy non-Mopar shocks for it. Unfortunately, without it, our trailer is enough to put a little more squat than I would like on the truck.

Rear is about 1/2″ lower than the front, and that is without being fully loaded.

There is a massive aftermarket dedicated solely to addressing this scenario – since the trucks have to tailor to a wide range of buyers, with a wide range of usage/application, the aftermarket does too. I’ve run air bags and StableLoads in the past, with good results, and went so far as a Kelderman 4-Link full air ride on the old truck. Having run traditional air bags, I did not want to go that route again and StableLoads doesn’t provide lowers for the 2019 model year due to an atypical lower overload design.

I ended up ordering the Timbren SES, which is a very simple solution that replaces the factory bump stops with progressive rubber springs providing up to 8600lbs of support. The install was very quick and straightforward, and did not require lifting the truck. I had them out of the box and installed in less than half an hour.

The kit comes with a couple of optional spacers. For the best unloaded ride quality, you want 1/2″ to 1-1/2″ between the axle and the rubber springs. In my case, that meant omitting the spacers and using the shorter pair of the included 9/16″ head bolts.

Since these replace the factory bump stops, the first step is to remove them using a 5/8″ socket. They are held in place by two bolts. Then, thread the rearmost bolt back in, leaving enough gap for the 1/4″ thick plate of the Timbren bracket to fit through.

I had some issues getting the springs tightened to the brackets, so I dropped them into a vice to get a sufficient lock on them.

Then, simply bolt slide the Timbren assemblies into place and bolt them in. You will need to use a 5/8″ closed-end wrench on the rear bolt you pre-threaded into the mounting bracket on the frame, and just a socket on the other side.

With this installation, the unloaded ride should be unaffected because the axle does not come in contact with the rubber spring. However, when the trailer is on the truck the gap will close and it will begin to provide resistance. The idea is to reduce the squat of the truck and provide better handling by providing additional contact points and spreading out the load.

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