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Discussion Starter #1
I had a question about air bag suspension kits for my LML. I have a 2500HD but was wanting to upgrade the payload up to more of a SRW 3500HD and thought the air bags could help with this instead of adding helper springs. From my research it looks like the main differences with the 2500 vs 3500 SRW is the spring package, hence giving it more payload and GVWR. I occasionally tow pretty heavy, but I don’t want to go dually route because my 2500HD is a daily driver. So question is if I add air bags to the 2500HD without springs can I essentially make a 3500HD or would I still need springs in addition to the bags? What would be advantages doing the bags over the springs and vice versa. I am thinking about upgrading my 26’ flatbed with singles to duals and the GVWR of that trailer will be 25K. So I could easily overload the ratings for the GCVWR for an SRW, but the reasons for switching to duals (on the trailer) is I’m maxing out the trailer with singles right now. Pickup handles the current trailer fine but needing a little more capacity.
 

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Air bags definitely increase the comfort of the ride. Keeps the headlights from blinding others when loaded. The weakest link will still be the weight your drive tires can carry.
 

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The only way to legally make a 2500 into a 3500 is to buy a 3500, airbags & springs are not going to increase the payload that is on the sticker in the door. Airbags will help level the truck.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The only way to legally make a 2500 into a 3500 is to buy a 3500, airbags & springs are not going to increase the payload that is on the sticker in the door. Airbags will help level the truck.
I realize that and I know I should look towards a diesel, but I live in a very rural area and I’m in Ag so we kind of get left alone compared to someone with a commercial business. Not saying it’s smart to push the limits, but I really don’t want a dually for a daily driver and can’t really afford or justify having another pickup, so trying to make this one work. I have seen some incredibly stupid stuff hauled with 3/4 pickups around here and sometimes I just shake my head. My buddy had load of cattle on his 3500 Ram SRW and he pulled across our farm scales grossing 41K. I can’t believe more tires and axles don’t get broke doing this stuff. A few times I’ve been about 30K gross combined and the pickup handled it fine, but you knew it was back there. If I had been in the Rocky Mt’s then I’m sure it would have struggled.
 

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MY truck came from the factory with a 2800 lb payload capacity. I added a double leaf set of SuperSprings to the truck to increase its payload to 4,000 lbs and it took about an hour to add them to the truck and no need to jack up the rear wheels. I went with the overload springs (which is what GM does with the 3500 truck) as I did not want to have to worry about an air bag failing when out on a trip and thousands of miles from my home.

I have trucked all over the western USA with a 4,000 lb camper in the bed and had no control issues at all. The bed is dead level with no sag with that load. When the bed is empty it is still level as the overload springs are not engaged.

I found that with the added load support my shocks absorbers worked much better as the amount of axle travel was greatly reduced. Without the SuperSprings the factory springs were allowing too much movement of the bed, particularly in a turn, and the shocks were extended much more as a result.
 

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From my research it looks like the main differences with the 2500 vs 3500 SRW is the spring package, .
Wheels are different (more capacity), as well as the tires (again, more cap)
 

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I airbagged my NBS 2007 3500 SRW gasser and really liked it. I kept enough air in the bags to keep it just up off the springs and it rode a little better empty but you could load it as much as you wanted and it stayed up close to level. I loaded up to 25k - 30k routinely and it handled it fine. I've seen 40k on a short haul and again, it was fine. I know, I know to all the weight police, it was over the ratings but I'm a farmer......

As for the trailer angle, a couple of years ago I traded my tandem dually for a triple axle and I've never been happier. It pulls easier, slides over pot holes and bumps better without bottoming out and weight distribution is better making it easier to keep weight off your hitch if you want.
 

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Bagged my 16and it’s level with 20 lbs hauling 70 gallon aux tank with 1k tung weight bumper pull.
The bags raise the truck an inch.Aux tank was then added which dropped it back to stock height with way better ride.
When hitched the over loads aren’t touched but close.Then I add 20 lbs to bags and truck is almost level.That actually raises it in inch.
Sounds like a teeter/totter.
 

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My 2500HD was rated from the factory at 2800 lbs and I added a double leaf set of SuperSprings (took less than an hour for me to put them on the truck) and boosted the payload capacity to more than 4000 lbs for the truck. I have had 4000 lbs in the bed on long trips and handling was great and the bed was dead level with that load. With the bed empty the truck is still perfectly level as the SuperSprings are not in use.

I dislike having something like air bags that have multiple points of failure (2 bags, lines, compressor, switch) for a vehicle that I use on long trips out of town as if one bag fails then the truck is not going to be safe to drive. The SuperSprings will outlast the truck and perform exactly like the extra leaf pack on a 3500 truck.

I use adjustable Rancho shocks and for the rear axle I adjust them based on the load in the bed when more than a couple thousand pounds are in the bed but otherwise ignore them. The Rancho shocks enabled me to dial in the ride and then forget about them. Every other month they go on sale.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I was looking in my owners manual to see the towing capabilities and it came up to 17,100 max towing and 24,500 GCVWR. What was interesting was the 3500HD SRW had the same specs? Any reason why this would be? After researching the 2020 model there is a pretty big difference between the 2500 vs 3500 SRW.

I‘m leaning to towards the air bag route, but for those that have done the helper springs which ones do you recommend? There are several on the market and not sure the pros and cons of each. Not really looking to stiffen the ride a whole lot, but maybe help when loaded heavy.

Also as far as legal limits does the GCVWR mean anything legally or is it just a marketing deal? Seems like these new HD‘s have capabilities significantly higher than just a few years ago. Legally they go off the GVWR on the vehicle and trailer correct? For example if my 2015 has a 10000 lb GVWR and the trailer I pull has a 25000 lb GVWR as long as I don’t go over either GVWR’s of either the pickup And trailer is that what is legal regardless of the combined weight?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I airbagged my NBS 2007 3500 SRW gasser and really liked it. I kept enough air in the bags to keep it just up off the springs and it rode a little better empty but you could load it as much as you wanted and it stayed up close to level. I loaded up to 25k - 30k routinely and it handled it fine. I've seen 40k on a short haul and again, it was fine. I know, I know to all the weight police, it was over the ratings but I'm a farmer......

As for the trailer angle, a couple of years ago I traded my tandem dually for a triple axle and I've never been happier. It pulls easier, slides over pot holes and bumps better without bottoming out and weight distribution is better making it easier to keep weight off your hitch if you want.
No worries I have way overloaded my pickups over the years as well on short runs in rural areas where I won‘t even see another vehicle anyway! It‘s actually kind of amazing how much they can handle.
 

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Yes.....GCWR is a suggestion.
Yes.....GVWR of each, is a thing.
Similar tow ratings of the two?.....same driveline, just different axle (and tires) ratings.
 

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There's plenty of guys out there tagging 2500's for 26k, even the older gens that were rated for about 22,800 or thereabouts, I believe. Even though the trucks only weigh about 8k, there's no shortage of new 5er's out there in the 16-17k range anymore so their GCW is 24-25k. So goes the life of a camper toter. They're running over DOT scales all over the country every day and I've never heard of any troubles with loading over the mfr's rating.
Of course, there's no shortage of experts all over the interweb stating that it's illegal to load past the mft's rating but when they're challenged, they can't produce anything to support their accusations.
And it's not just pickups. I've ran plenty of other trucks that were tagged and loaded past the mfr's rating, i.e. 2-tons, 10 wheelers, etc. It's more than common.
Disclaimer - I'm only speaking for the U.S., not California.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
There's plenty of guys out there tagging 2500's for 26k, even the older gens that were rated for about 22,800 or thereabouts, I believe. Even though the trucks only weigh about 8k, there's no shortage of new 5er's out there in the 16-17k range anymore so their GCW is 24-25k. So goes the life of a camper toter. They're running over DOT scales all over the country every day and I've never heard of any troubles with loading over the mfr's rating.
Of course, there's no shortage of experts all over the interweb stating that it's illegal to load past the mft's rating but when they're challenged, they can't produce anything to support their accusations.
And it's not just pickups. I've ran plenty of other trucks that were tagged and loaded past the mfr's rating, i.e. 2-tons, 10 wheelers, etc. It's more than common.
Disclaimer - I'm only speaking for the U.S., not California.
It’s quite amazing how the capability has come the past couple years. My 2008 LMM was only 9200 GVWR. You can now get a 1 ton SRW that has 12,100 GVWR which is more than the 3500 dually was back then! I may be taking on a business where I’ll have to haul heavy at times, and I really don’t want a dually if I can avoid it. I thought about finding an older dually and keeping my 2500HD but a LMM or older probably wouldn’t be much better than a new 1 ton SRW. I can‘t afford to buy new and keep my current 2015 either. I haven’t ever tagged my pickup for 26K even though I tow over that at times, simply because the taxes go way up. Never had an issue, but if I do a commercial business going to definitely have to tag correctly.
 

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DOT can only ticket you for being over 12k on a steer axle, 19k on a drive or 34k on tandem. There are plenty of other safety items they can get you for. As well as licensed for weight and configuration.

Loading over mfg rated limit could result in a civil suit if your choices result in a crash.
 

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I added a double leaf set of SuperSprings to my 2500HD which increased its payload capacity from 2800 lbs to over 4000 lbs and they work perfectly. With no load in the bed the truck is level. With a 4000 lb load in the bed the truck is level.

They cost me $445 and took an hour for me to put them on the truck (with the truck on the ground). They only come into play when the load is too great for the factory springs.

I did not go with air bags for several reasons. Primary reason is that if one bag fails then a trip out of town would be cut short. Also simpler with the springs installation and they will last forever.

Where air bags help is with a 5th wheel trailer so one can add only enough air to support the load and have truck and trailer where you want them.

Tow ratings are not as logical as one might assume. There standard F-450 (Ford makes two very different versions) has a lower trailer load rating than the Ford F-350. With Chevy diesels the DRW may increase payload but it does not increase the trailer tow rating.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yes.....GCWR is a suggestion.
Yes.....GVWR of each, is a thing.
Similar tow ratings of the two?.....same driveline, just different axle (and tires) ratings.

I‘m trying to figure out if the axle in my 2015 is the same as a SRW 3500HD. From what research I’ve done, sounds like they are both the AAM 11.5. When I did some research on the new 2020 from the reading it sounds like the 3500HD uses an 12” but does not specify whether thats the DRW or both. Anyone have an idea?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I‘m trying to figure out if the axle in my 2015 is the same as a SRW 3500HD. From what research I’ve done, sounds like they are both the AAM 11.5. When I did some research on the new 2020 from the reading it sounds like the 3500HD uses an 12” but does not specify whether thats the DRW or both. Anyone have an idea?
 
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