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Old 03-22-2020, 12:40 PM   #1
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Default My Answer to Weight distribution vs Air suspension debate

For years Iíve seen many debates over the use of weight distribution vs air suspension upgrades. For many years I have been in the WD camp... But now, for my travel trailer - I use both. Let me explain. Iíve used and inexpensive WD successfully for about 10 years and Iíve been pretty satisfied. But lately my daughter has gotten into equestrian stuff and with horse trailers having such extreme tongue weights I found WD is a headache for quick hookups to head to a local trail - so I installed airbags. They work great for local small trips. But now that I have them, I love the combination of both for my travel trailer for long trips. A little stiffer suspension combined with a less tense spring bar has taken towing comfort to an all new level.

Just my thoughts for the day. Happy camping.
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Old 03-22-2020, 02:06 PM   #2
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Or get her to ride Shetland ponies -- problem solved!
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Old 03-22-2020, 08:33 PM   #3
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WDH is the only way to go. Air suspension does not distribute weight to the front of the TV. Furthermore, a good WDH will give you sway control which air suspension does not provide.
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Old 05-25-2020, 01:40 PM   #4
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Twinster2 is right, of course! They serve different purposes. If you have a unibody a WDH may not be possible which means that air bags (or air suspension) may be the only option.
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Old 05-26-2020, 10:20 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinster2 View Post
WDH is the only way to go. Air suspension does not distribute weight to the front of the TV. Furthermore, a good WDH will give you sway control which air suspension does not provide.
Twinster2 - I feel like you responded to the title of my post and not what I wrote. To sum it up for you, on my Ram ecodiesel I use both. The WD for exactly what you describe and in combination I stiffen the truck suspension with the airbags. By doing so, the WD bars can be set a bit softer and the ride quality is amazing
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Old 12-16-2020, 07:43 AM   #6
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I have a 2012 Chev Avalanche Truck. I think itís rated for 7200 lbs. Thatís what it says on the door for GVRW. I read the it is rated fro 7900 lbs with the towing package and accessories. So 7,200 to 7,900 lbs ?

I just bought a Curt TruTrack 10,000 lb. weight distribution hitch.

https://www.curtmfg.com/part/17501

My question is. My truck has coil springs in the back. The guy at the suspension shop said airbags in these truck do not work well and get a hole in them. So junk. He said the best if I need it is variable springs. New coils.

The trailer I just bought is a 229 VSD 5,200 lbs dry. Probably something like 6,500 lbs loaded.

Do I need to get the new coil springs as well as the weight distribution hitch ?
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Old 12-16-2020, 08:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
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I have a 2012 Chev Avalanche Truck. I think itís rated for 7200 lbs. Thatís what it says on the door for GVRW. I read the it is rated fro 7900 lbs with the towing package and accessories. So 7,200 to 7,900 lbs ?

I just bought a Curt TruTrack 10,000 lb. weight distribution hitch.

https://www.curtmfg.com/part/17501

My question is. My truck has coil springs in the back. The guy at the suspension shop said airbags in these truck do not work well and get a hole in them. So junk. He said the best if I need it is variable springs. New coils.

The trailer I just bought is a 229 VSD 5,200 lbs dry. Probably something like 6,500 lbs loaded.

Do I need to get the new coil springs as well as the weight distribution hitch ?

No, you shouldnít need both, the factory springs should be adequate - weight distribution is all you need. I like having both WD and Airbags because the adjustability of the air bags provides flexibility for different towing scenarios.

Now... variable rate coils potentially could provide a slightly improved ride, but itíll depend on the coil design. Variable coils get stiffer as the springs are compressed, you may not see enough ísquatí with weight distribution for the springs to compress enough to stiffen them and see a benefit.

And in regards that tow rating - the 7200 posted on the jamb is specific to your truck and how itís accessorized. Base models/bare bones trucks will have higher rating (the 7900) and the added weight of all the stuff added to your specific trim package is subtracted from that rating giving you 7200.
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Old 12-16-2020, 10:00 AM   #8
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Thank you for the reply. I am just worried about my truck being able to handle the increased load. The trailer I had before had a 500 lb hitch weight the new one has a 1,000 lb hitch weight.
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Old 12-16-2020, 01:08 PM   #9
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My previous TV was a 2002 Suburban with the self-adjusting load leveling Nivomat shocks in the rear. They did a fine job when I was not towing but were junk and soon leaked when I was towing on a regular basis. With the Nivomat shocks they are designed to carry some of the weight so it meant the coil springs were weaker compared to a vehicle w/o Nivomat. I installed the Chevy option Z71 springs which were slightly stronger than the original springs and designed to take the full load. I then installed air bags and never had any trouble with rupturing. For shocks I used firmer and heavy duty ones. I used this setup for tens of thousands of miles and could not have been more pleased. On the Burb the rear suspension was too soft originally and even with the WDH the rear never felt firmly planted. The Z71 springs with the stiffer shocks and air bags improved the ride while towing and made me feel much safer. Even when not towing and lowering the air bag pressure to 10psi the ride felt much better.
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Old 12-16-2020, 02:19 PM   #10
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Thank you. I have the Z71 package so maybe I just need to find some airbags that would fit and work well.
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Old 12-18-2020, 11:59 PM   #11
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Well I ordered the firestone air bags. Now installation.
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