Truck Mod: Adding a Leaf Spring

The Cure for a Sagging Rear

Is your truck camper rig sagging too much in the rear or in need of extra sway support? If the answer is, yes, then you’ll want to check out this article by Michael King who explains how easy it is to add an additional leaf spring to the rear axle of your truck.

In an earlier article I wrote here on Truck Camper Adventure, I discussed a couple suspension upgrades I had recently made to my Chevy 2500HD pickup truck. These upgrades consisted of Firestone Ride Rite air bags and a heavy-duty Roadmaster rear sway bar. Each upgrade addressed a particular issue. The air bags helped level my truck camper while pulling a 20 foot flat-bed trailer, while the sway bar helped counter the brutal crosswinds I often encountered while traveling on the highways.

If you recall, my truck is 200 pounds over the rated payload and GVWR. While my truck handles the extra weight of the truck camper just fine, I was concerned about the extra tongue weight of my equipment trailer. This extra weight created a rear sag condition that needed correcting. I had three options to correct this. One, I could increase my airbag pressure to 80-90 psi, which would put my airbag pressures near the upper limit of their capabilities. Two, I could add Torklift Stableloads or something that would engage my overload springs sooner. Or three, I could add another leaf spring. After looking at the pros and cons of each, I opted to go with the additional leaf spring.

I called General Spring about adding another leaf spring to my truck. The guy I spoke to, however, was concerned about two things. One was that the additional leaf springs might add too much height to rear of the truck. And two, that the extra springs might add too much stiffness to the unloaded ride of my truck. I assured him that this wasn’t a concern since the truck camper was mounted to my truck 90 percent of the time. The guy I spoke to finally agreed to take my money. For my truck I ordered General Springs Kit GMAAL20113.

The new leaf springs arrived ten days later. Unfortunately, the new springs came with longer assembly pins than needed and no instruction on how to install them. I called General Spring and the best I got was a verbal on how to install them. After watching a few YouTube videos, I was able to figure out how to get them on. Long story short, I managed to install them and the result is a vast improvement to the handling of my truck. I just finished a 6,000-mile trip and the cross winds issue is now a thing of the past. The truck also has no sway while driving on clover leaf on-ramps.

It’s important to note that this leaf spring upgrade creates a safer and more stable ride for my truck only. It does nothing to increase my truck’s payload and GVWR, only the manufacturer can do that.

General Spring was correct about the unloaded ride. The bed is 1.25 inches higher and the normally smooth ride is much stiffer, but is manageable by lowering the rear tire air pressures. For those who may be wondering, I’m still using the air bags and the rear sway bar. They help keep my truck rock solid and provide maximum flexibility in adjusting for various towing or hauling configurations.

In closing, if you’re a do-it-yourself type and want to better manage rear sag and sway, adding another leaf spring is the most cost-effective suspension modification you can make to your truck. I set out to correct a sagging issue that occurred while towing my trailer, but it the end the extra springs improved my truck’s handling characteristics when hauling my camper as well. The next change will be to upgrade to 18-inch rims with 121/124 10 ply E rated tires. In effect, this will give me a in-between, not quite a 3500HD, but better than a standard 2500HD.

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About Mike K 2 Articles
Michael is a Florida native, California transplant, and outdoors enthusiast. He served 13 years in the U.S. Marines, working on aircraft and as a Combat Engineer Officer specializing in building bridges. Michael now owns his own packline business and uses his Northstar Laredo truck camper as a mobile office to meet prospective clients and to check on current customers. In his off time, Michael enjoys beach and mountain-lake camping with his wife and kids and exploring "flyover" country in his Northstar Laredo. His hobbies include wood and metal fabrication, cycling, and fishing.

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