Suspension issues can really take the fun out of truck camping. Most know the importance of correctly matching a truck camper with the GVWR and payload rating of a truck, but that doesn’t guarantee anything when it comes to overall ride safety and comfort of the truck. This is because a 3,000 or 4,000-pound camper can create all kinds of issues on the road, including rear sag, porpoising, and sway. And these issues can happen to any truck—big or small—even duallies. There’s no doubt about it. Correctly matching a truck camper with a truck is just phase one; phase two is getting the ride of the truck camper combo just right.
Truck Camper Adventure has evaluated and rated several suspension products that address the aforementioned issues. One product that we’re currently evaluating is a patented suspension product called SumoSprings. The product is made by SuperSprings, an American company based out of Carpinteria, California. SumoSprings are different from any other suspension product that we’ve evaluated thus far. You can say they are a hybrid. On one hand, they work like a standard bump stop; on the other, like an air bag. Unlike air bags, however, compressed air isn’t needed. Instead, the air found in each SumoSpring is contained within the rubber compound itself, which consists of a proprietary closed-cell micro-cellular urethane. This durable, “closed cell” construction results in a product that is less harsh on the road than standard rubber bump stops, yet smooths out the “rough edges” of travel like a good set of air bags.
But SumoSprings do more than offer a progressive spring rate on the road—they also keep your truck level. But that’s not all, like a good pair of shock absorbers, they also provide additional damping properties for your rig. The progressive property of the springs means you get more support when hauling a truck camper, less support when you’re not. Furthermore, SumoSprings reduce side-to-side body roll, resulting in a more stable, safer driving experience like a sway bar. We already have a Hellwig Big Wig rear sway bar on our truck, but it’s nice to have a “backup” in case it’s ever needed in an emergency. Moreover, SumoSprings are maintenance-free, will not leak air, and do not require airlines or compressors, meaning SumoSprings are much easier to install. In fact, it only took us two hours to install both.
SumoSprings are offered in a variety of heights, diameters, and densities to accommodate various loads and work, including offerings for both front and rear axles. Distinguished by color, three different densities of rubber are sold: yellow, black, and blue. Blue SumoSprings provide the least amount of support, black a moderate amount, while yellow offers the most support. Three different types of SumoSprings are also offered, called the Rebel, Maxim, and Solo. For our 2013 Ram 3500, we are using the Rebel SumoSprings on the rear axle, while Solo SumoSprings are being used on the front. The Rebel design used on the rear axle comes in two-pieces, consisting of separate male and female pieces that interlock and work together when compressed under a load. The beauty of this approach is that the design allows unrestricted wheel travel and will not affect the ride of your truck when the camper is unloaded, a HUGE plus.
Sound too good to be true? Not at all, because the SumoSprings really work. It’s true that SumoSprings aren’t adjustable like air bags, but that can also be a blessing on outings. It’s a pain having to constantly check air bag pressure and make adjustments (we had an AirLift auto fill compressor on our last set of air bags that went off 24/7, which was REALLY annoying). With the SumoSprings, you simply install them and forget about them. Like standard bump stops, they’re always there, on-call, ready when you need them. We had an air bag fail once on the road, a Firestone Ride Rite, and it wasn’t fun. With the SumoSprings you never have to worry about that happening. Truth be told, we have nothing against air bags. We like the “adjustability” of air bags and the smooth ride they provide, but it’s nice to have options for those who full-time and don’t need an adjustable solution.
Look for a full-length review on the SumoSprings later this summer.