What does a load helper air bag or helper spring do?

What does a load helper air bag or helper spring do?

What does a load helper air bag or helper spring do?

Pushing our trucks to the limit

As truck owners we are always trying to get work done to keep our customers, our family, and our friends happy. This means pushing our trucks to the limit of what they are capable of. Always hauling loads that are heavy or pulling trailers that would make grandma turn her head. Heck sometimes that is the best part of owning a truck - Seeing what it's capable of and hoping we don't break something along the way. 

 What happens when you haul or tow heavy things without helper springs?

Your truck is going to come with a stated max hauling capacity wether it be Ford, GM, Chevy, Dodge, Toyota, or another manufacturer. Now while you should never exceed this stated GVWR rating as set by the manufacturer even as you come close to this weight your truck might need some help to handle better or to prevent drooping. The more weight you add to your truck bed or to your hitch the more stress you will put on your trucks factory suspension system.

We have all seen that one guy driving down the road with a load that is too much!

Overloaded truck without helper springs

This old chevy truck for example is getting abused with too much weight. Think of those poor leaf springs. (As a safety reminder never load a vehicle like this)


What is a load helper spring?

Load helper springs wether they be air bag suspension or a progressive rate spring are designed to assist your trucks factory suspension. They do not replace the factory suspension but help to improve them for more extreme use. 

There are multiple different types of helper springs available in the market. 

  • Air bag helper springs are exactly what they sound like, usually manufactured from rubber they are installed between the factory axle and frame and are inflated during use. When not in use they can be deflated to restore the factory ride. There are two ways to inflate an air bag helper spring either using an offboard compressor such as a compressor stored in your garage or using an onboard compressor installed into the vehicle. 
  • Rubber helper springs, these variable rate springs are designed to replace the bump stops on trucks, vans, and SUV's. When loading the truck these helper springs make contact between the leaf spring and the frame and allow the extra support from the spring to absorb the forces of the load.
  • Coil Assist helper springs are designed to be placed inside a factory coil over suspension and increase the effective spring rate of the coil over suspension absorbing the load forces. 
  • Add - A - Leaf helper springs - simply this is adding extra leafs to your existing spring leaf pack.

What does a load helper spring do?

  1. Level the load - if your truck suspension is sagging or squatting when loaded either in the bed or when pulling a trailer helper springs will keep the truck level under load
  2. Improve ride stability - Roll and sway can be a problem when hauling or towing and ride helper springs helps to keep everything stable reducing this problem
  3. Improve ride quality - A truck that bounces or hits the bump stops hard when loaded up definitely need ride helper springs. They will smooth out the ride and assist the factory suspension to handle the ride and make sure that you don't feel it in the cab. 
  4. Protect the factory truck suspension - by absorbing some of the abuse from a heavy load you can help to ensure you don't wear out your factory suspension early. 
  5. Safety - better handling and ride quality automatically allow you to have better control of your vehicle when hauling and towing. 

How do I choose the correct helper spring for my truck, van, or SUV?

Making the right choice on the correct helper spring kit for your truck, van, or SUV means evaluating the pros and cons of each type of helper spring. Sometimes you may be limited on what will work with your vehicle in which case you might have to choose what is available. 

If you have multiple options than consider these benefits to each type of helper spring.

Benefits of Air Bag helper springs

  1. Air bag helper spring can be deflated when not required restoring factory ride quality and stiffness
  2. Air Pressure can be adjusted in the air bag helper spring to compensate for different load weights. 
  3. Wide variety of application specific products so you have the right fit and function

Drawbacks of Air Bag helper springs

  1. They need to be filled up, so if you don't have an air compressor handy or have an onboard compressor you may be out of luck.
  2. Additional cost of onboard air compressor may be needed to take care of drawback #1
  3. Installation is typically more involved than other helper spring type

Benefits of Rubber helper springs

  1. Installs quickly and is always present to improve handling
  2. No need to fill up, set it and forget it
  3. Wide variety of application specific products so you have the right helper spring on the right truck

Drawbacks of rubber helper springs

  1. Not adjustable, built for a maximum load means handling will feel different depending on the load weight

How do I install load helper springs onto my truck, van or SUV?

Installation will vary depending on the load helper spring you choose, the TIMBREN helper springs we have available simply replace the existing bump stop on your suspension system we would consider these the easiest to install out of the available helper springs. If you go the air bag route there is a bit of drilling that needs to be done and in turn the complexity of install increases. 

Be sure to follow the manufacturers instructions to properly install your new helper springs. 


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