Home Forums Truck Camper Adventure Forum Truck Camper and suspension upgrades experience?

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    • #49333
      Chris
      Participant

      Does anyone have experience with truck campers and know what suspension upgrades are required, if any, to carry an additional ~500 lbs. over payload capacity?

      My RAM 1500 (2020 Limited Crew Cab 6’4″ bed, Hemi, 3.92 axle ratio) has a payload capacity of 1169 lbs. and the truck camper weighs in at just about that amount. Fully loaded, I’m anticipating I’ll be ~500 lbs over. I know the rule is you should never exceed payload capacity, but I’d like to know your experience, if anyone has tried it.

      I know as a rule, you shouldn’t exceed payload capacity, but I would assume folks with RAM 1500s like mine, Ford F-150s, and equivalent models are in a similar situation. I will be traveling mostly on paved roads and dispersed camping less often so. I’m not sure being careful not to stress my truck will avoid suspension failure.

      My situation is I’ve ordered a Four Wheel truck camper. Four Wheel is recommending Air Bags for the rear suspension and D or E rated tires. I can do those upgrades, but I’m concerned I could still break an axle or some other critical suspension component.

      What has been your experience?

      P.S. I’ve asked this question on the RAM forums and the opinion is don’t exceed payload capacity, but it would be useful to hear from folks who have tried it and have lessons learned to share.

      Thanks in advance.

    • #49334
      Mello Mike
      Keymaster

      That’s good that you’re going with a lightweight FWC pop-up. With a payload rating that low I assume you have coil springs on the rear axle of your Ram 1500. Based on that assumption, I would go with SumoSprings or air bags to keep your rig level. Load range D tires and upgraded wheels would also be the minimum with that setup. Not sure the weight rating for the Ram 1500 rear axle, but most axles have lots of unused capacity. The wheels and tires are always the weak link when it comes to the official GAWR ratings for the front and rear axles. For more information on this important topic, check out this article…

      How to Raise the Payload Rating of Your Truck

    • #49336
      Chris
      Participant

      Thanks Mike. This is really helpful info. My RAM 1500 does indeed have coil springs on the rear axle. It’s a factory air suspension. My trucks tires are C-rated.

      Four Wheel Campers referred me to Timber Grove Enterprises. Timber Grove Enterprises are recommending their coil replacement mounts (CRM) rather than air bags because the factory air system in my truck will shutdown if the PSI limit is reached (about 2200 lbs), regardless of air bags. Their CRM springs (45% larger than factory) hold more cubic inches of air than factory, and this effectively lowers the PSI required to support the truck and subsequent load (achieving ~5500 lbs). Here’s a link to the CRMs in case others are interested – https://timbergroveenterprises.com/shop/09-20-ram-1500-factory-rake-stainless-sq6027994

      I’ll see what I can find out about the axle capacity and rim capacity as a next step.

      That’s good that you’re going with a lightweight FWC pop-up. With a payload rating that low I assume you have coil springs on the rear axle of your Ram 1500. Based on that assumption, I would go with SumoSprings or air bags to keep your rig level. Load range D tires and upgraded wheels would also be the minimum with that setup. Not sure the weight rating for the Ram 1500 rear axle, but most axles have lots of unused capacity. The wheels and tires are always the weak link when it comes to the official GAWR ratings for the front and rear axles. For more information on this important topic, check out this article…

      How to Raise Your Truck’s Payload

      https://www.truckcamperadventure.com/raising-your-trucks-payload/embed/#?secret=buS2BYpwAC

    • #49670
      Kurt Herzog
      Participant

      I have a Ram 1500 with a mounted Phoenix Pop-up camper. Fully loaded the rig is about 500 lbs overweight, pretty much the same situation as yours. I immediately changed out the tires to “E” rating.. based on previous experience. Coming up on 35000 miles; never a tire problem. I also installed Timbren DRTT1500 SES Rubber springs and have been really happy with them. These replace the jounce bumpers and are permanent.. Air Bags are useful if you take the camper on and off, but ours stays on all the time. Truck handles just fine.
      https://timbren.com/

      . . Kurt

    • #49690
      Chris
      Participant

      Thanks Kurt. That’s very helpful. Did you experience much in the way of ride harshness when you moved to the E rated tires? I would still do E rated tires, but I might consider moving from the factory 20” wheels to 18” wheels (for more sidewall).

      I have a Ram 1500 with a mounted Phoenix Pop-up camper. Fully loaded the rig is about 500 lbs overweight, pretty much the same situation as yours. I immediately changed out the tires to “E” rating.. based on previous experience. Coming up on 35000 miles; never a tire problem. I also installed Timbren DRTT1500 SES Rubber springs and have been really happy with them. These replace the jounce bumpers and are permanent.. Air Bags are useful if you take the camper on and off, but ours stays on all the time. Truck handles just fine.

      https://timbren.com/

      . . Kurt

    • #49814
      Jay&Tee
      Participant

      Chris
      I owned 2015 Ram 1500 Limited and it had a 4 point air suspension. It was an amazingly sophisticated and tightly engineered system that would constantly adjust to the load and speed. It would even automatically lower a few inches at highway speed. If you have that system, I suspect that 4WheelCamper doesn’t understand what you have and how it works; it’s not just factory installed rear airbags. I never had a camper on that truck but I did over load it once or twice (as most truck owners do) and it wasn’t even noticeable as the air suspension automatically adjusted. As tightly engineered as that system is, adding aftermarket airbags may effect how it performs. I was actually concerned about changing tire size. That said a higher load rated tire is always better.
      Regards,
      Jay

    • #49824
      Kurt Herzog
      Participant

      >>>Did you experience much in the way of ride harshness when you moved to the E rated tires? I would still do E rated tires, but I might consider moving from the factory 20” wheels to 18” wheels <<<

      I never drove the truck with other than “E” tires, so can’t comment on harshness of ride.. it went straight from the dealer to Les Schwab tires for the swap. The ride seems fine to me. I have the stock 17″ steel wheels. I think 18″ and especially 20″ wheels are strictly fashion accessories.

      . . Kurt

    • #49892
      Jefe4x4
      Moderator

      Chris,
      The time honored way to upgrade your suspension is by degrees, as every rig has a little different makeup of springs/coil spring rate/helper springs/air bags/tires/wheels/shocks/double shocks/anti sway bars/loaded camper weight/center of gravity.
      Everything in this regard is a tradeoff. You can get rid of sway but if you go too far with air bags @ 90 pounds; a thick anti sway bar; and E rated tires at full inflation you may not like the loaded ride.
      If changing things, by degrees, you can measure how much and if the change is going in the right direction.

      Do go for the easy solutions first.

      I’ve found that with the load on, keeping all tires @ the rated maximum cold inflation will save you gas and have the bonus of less squirm and sway on the highway. That’s loaded.

      If on dirt, or washboard, or gravel for a couple days, take the pressure down (read Mike’s insightful table of deflation) and buy a high use time, 12v clamp on compressor.

      jefe

      2020 Ford F-350 XLT FX4 4WD SRW SB SC 7.3L Godzilla Gas TorqShift 10R140 397 amps dual Alt dual batts Frnt Dana 60; Rr Dana M275 E-locker 4.30's 4580/4320/4066# payload 7243# curb wt. 11,300# GVWR 5-er prepped. 2020 Northstar Laredo SC, 12v compressor fridge, cassette, 320w Solar sub zero insulation.

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