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Old 09-05-2013, 04:02 PM   #1
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Dodge Ram Leaf Springs

We just finished a 3,070 mile tour of New England (TN to PA to NY across VT NH ME TO Old Town, then down the coast from Bar Harbor to Boston to RI to CT and finally VA) and we're ready to go back! Traveled mostly secondary roads and loved it! Averaged 9mpg with a 2008 Dodge Ram 1500, 5.7 Hemi, pulling our 26 Dutchmen Classic. Setup for weight distribution is good but the rear end is soft on that Dodge.

Has anyone had experience using a rear air spring kit on their leafs? (I know, I know i need another vehicle but $$ not in the budget!). The northern roads are tough going and I'm thinking the kit will help.

Rick and Sherri
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:27 PM   #2
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We just finished a 3,070 mile tour of New England (TN to PA to NY across VT NH ME TO Old Town, then down the coast from Bar Harbor to Boston to RI to CT and finally VA) and we're ready to go back! Traveled mostly secondary roads and loved it! Averaged 9mpg with a 2008 Dodge Ram 1500, 5.7 Hemi, pulling our 26 Dutchmen Classic. Setup for weight distribution is good but the rear end is soft on that Dodge.

Has anyone had experience using a rear air spring kit on their leafs? (I know, I know i need another vehicle but $$ not in the budget!). The northern roads are tough going and I'm thinking the kit will help.

Rick and Sherri
We used air bags on a dodge 3/4 ton to give some assist towing a 39 ft sob fifth wheel. They worked fine but I wished I had a dual wheel rig. We traded the 2009 3/4 ram in for a 2008 ram 1 ton dually. that took care of the problem. When you decide to replace go for the big guns and dont mess around like we did. we went from a 1500 RAM hemi MAXI CAB SHORT BED, to a 2500 RAM CREW CAB WITH LONG BED with the 6.7 CUMMINS with the air bags to a 3500 Ram dually 6.7 CUMMINS CREW CAB WITH THE LONG.

just wonderin how your fuel econ is with the 1500. our hemi got 8 mpg towing and about 11 to 12 empty. the 3500 with the cummins is getting a good solid 11.5 to 12.5 TOWING our infinity 3750 and 17 to 18 empty.

So to answer your question, the airbags work okay on the 1500 and the 2500, but there aint nothin like a 3500 ram dually.
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:41 PM   #3
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Rick and Debbie,

We avg 9mpg towing, 13-15 load free. We'll catch up with you one of these days on the larger truck! Thanks for the great advise!

I'm looking at a Firestone system versus Airlift. Reviews seem to be better.

Thanks again!

Rick
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Old 09-06-2013, 02:17 PM   #4
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I had the Firestone air bag system on my previous GMC 2500 (2009). I had the automatic inflation pump as well, which made it easy to reduce the pressure when unloaded and then re-inflate when towing. The only problem I had is that they originally installed the solenoid switch for the pump in a place where it was exposed to road salt and dirt and it failed after about 2 years as a result, so be careful of that.
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Old 09-06-2013, 02:26 PM   #5
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I don't drive a Dodge, but.... Air bags can make a tremendous difference in handling and ride when you have a heavy load on.

As far as brand goes take your pick, I think it is six of one, half a dozen of the other. I will say that if you are getting onboard air with them then Air Lift is hands down the better compressor. I have Air Lift and went with them due to a slightly better price and the offer of free installation.

My two cents.
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Old 09-06-2013, 09:20 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Chalkie View Post
I don't drive a Dodge, but.... Air bags can make a tremendous difference in handling and ride when you have a heavy load on.

As far as brand goes take your pick, I think it is six of one, half a dozen of the other. I will say that if you are getting onboard air with them then Air Lift is hands down the better compressor. I have Air Lift and went with them due to a slightly better price and the offer of free installation.

My two cents.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chalkie View Post
I don't drive a Dodge, but.... Air bags can make a tremendous difference in handling and ride when you have a heavy load on.

As far as brand goes take your pick, I think it is six of one, half a dozen of the other. I will say that if you are getting onboard air with them then Air Lift is hands down the better compressor. I have Air Lift and went with them due to a slightly better price and the offer of free installation.

My two cents.
X2 on the brands of air bags. I have started looking just in case and they all look pretty much the same. Feedback on the dodge forum suggests they preform well.

Do some very serious research before you pull the pin on a new truck.

I got fed up with my Ford F150 7700# package, with the 5.7l. Living in BC and having to tackle the Rockies on just about every trip we make. So I decided I was going to go diesel.

I have been a Ford fan my whole life. Over the last 50 years, I have owned and used as daily drivers 18 Fords, starting with a '32 3 window coupe and ending with the F150. In between I
had at least one of the 2 big three, a couple of VW beetles, a Bedford van and an NSU Prinze. I always did love my beetles, the other stuff was just because I had the only on in the parking lot.

Of course the first diesel I drove was the Powerstroke. The I went to, the Ram, 6.7l, there was no comparison in the two the turbo lag in the Ram was no existent in comparison to the Ford. Both trucks were crew cabs, both long box, both same rear gear, the dealers were side by side on the same auto row and both trucks were driven the exact same route. I did not even bother going to GM, because I look at the trucks the the guys in the oil patch drive and you will be hard pressed to find a GM in the bunch. Tells me the guys that work their trucks know which ones are the toughest.

Now on to the reason I say do some very serious research;

1 the way the oil companies are jacking around with the price of diesel, it has become the more expensive fuel.

2 with the advances that Ford has had with the Ecoboost and Ram has made with the Hemi and the MDS you should have all the power that you need. Granted a diesel will still out preform in the Rockies, but and I passed them all this trip, but once we were on the flat lands they passed me and I never saw them again, after I had to stop for fuel and they didn't.

3 this is the part that that I like the best. Ram is supposed to be bringing out a redesigned 2500, it will have the same 4 link rear suspension the 1500 has, they are increase putting the 6.4l Hemi with a claimed better gas mileage that the 5.7l.

4 this is the other part that I like Ram is also supposed to be bringing out a 1500 with a diesel. This is another place where Ford dropped the ball, back in the early 00s they made an announcement that they would be bringing a V6 Navistar to the F150. After 3 or 4 years of waiting for it to materialize, I gave up. No Ram appears to be beating them to the punch.

So there are going to be some great new options coming for tow vehiles in the near future.

I still kick my backside everytime I see my neighbors RAM 1500 5.7l Hemi with MDS and 4 link sitting in his driveway. He averaged 23.4 miles to the gallon on his cross Canada trip last year. So far we have gotten just about half way in our trip this year at 6000 miles. Our average so far is 11.3 MPG.

One of the other big two that I owned was a 56 Desoto, with a 300 something Hemi Firebal. Man I loved that motor, that's about the only thing I love about the car.
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:34 PM   #7
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OK, so we are getting into the 'which is the best truck debate'! Let me add my 2 cents worth:

1) The heavy duty Fords MAY be tougher from the point of view of suspension (if you have the habit of driving them around the oil fields).
2) It is really hard to beat the engine transmission combination of the GMC/Chevy Duramax with Allison transmission.
3) I regularly get 12 mpg (US) when towing with my 2012 GMC and Infinity 3640RL. Without the trailer, I usually get about 10 liters per 100 km's. I forget what that is in US mpg, but I think it's over 20.

More food for thought!
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:11 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by kevinmiles View Post
OK, so we are getting into the 'which is the best truck debate'! Let me add my 2 cents worth:

1) The heavy duty Fords MAY be tougher from the point of view of suspension (if you have the habit of driving them around the oil fields).
2) It is really hard to beat the engine transmission combination of the GMC/Chevy Duramax with Allison transmission.
3) I regularly get 12 mpg (US) when towing with my 2012 GMC and Infinity 3640RL. Without the trailer, I usually get about 10 liters per 100 km's. I forget what that is in US mpg, but I think it's over 20.

More food for thought!
Hi, Kevin how are you doing.

No I was not starting a debate over which truck is best. People tend to become very brand loyal when it comes to vehicles, as is demonstrated by me life long love affair with Fords.

I whole heartedly agree with you on you transmission, I would love to have an Allison and if I ever burn up the transmission in my Ram it might just get an Allison.

I don't know what you are paying for diesel in PQ, but in BC and every other state and province we have been through this trip, with the exception of NL, diesel is more expensive than gas. It was not that long ago that the price spread between gas and diesel favoured diesel by the $ .10 a litre. That changed just about the time I bought my Ram, so over the course of the last 5 years, that's a lot of $ .20 that's in someone else's pockets not mine.

My point was that there are better, more powerful, fuel efficient options now and coming soon in gas powered trucks. If I were looking to buy a new truck today, there are definitely gassers that would be in the running for me.

The one thing that I didn't mention that may explain my decision as to buying a "work truck" is that I do a lot of driving on logging roads, probably close to the number of pavement miles that we cover when we are home. Many times when I'm out cutting fire wood I am loaded just about to the top of my canopy. I glad I don't have to scale it, if I did natural would be cheaper to heat the whole house.
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Old 09-07-2013, 01:07 PM   #9
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Well said, HDDECKER. Here in PQ diesel is usually a couple of cents cheaper than regular gas. But of course, we lucky Quebecers pay more than anyone else for gas (about $1.45/liter right now). I have a friend here in the excavation business. He uses his pickups hard and he swears by Ford because of their tougher suspension. I have to admit that the only problem I had with my previous GMC 2500 was the front wheel bearings which failed after about 100,000 km's (both sides) and were replaced on warranty.
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Old 09-07-2013, 05:26 PM   #10
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I had an 2012 Ram 1500 crew cab limited 5.7l Hemi with MDS and 3.92 gears. I never saw 23mpg,most I saw was 17 with a tail wind doing 78ish in Colorado,not towing of course...Saw 9mpg with a Kodiak 276BHSL
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:39 PM   #11
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I had an 2012 Ram 1500 crew cab limited 5.7l Hemi with MDS and 3.92 gears. I never saw 23mpg,most I saw was 17 with a tail wind doing 78ish in Colorado,not towing of course...Saw 9mpg with a Kodiak 276BHSL
The speed would be the difference, my neighbor runs right around 60, and he is in econ mode more than not.

From my point of view it still boils down to the fact that diesel is not the more economical fuel any longer. With the why the EPA has forced the manus to choked down the diesels the mileage has gone straight down. The Cummins 5.9 used to give great mileage, unfortunately I bought an '07 with the 6.7, if I knew then, I would have gone with the 5.9.

I would be ecstatic with 17MPG and would happily tow at 9MPG.

The other factor is the added cost of the diesel up front would have paid for a lot of gas.
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Old 10-28-2013, 07:31 PM   #12
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I installed the Airlift airbags and wireless remote compressor kit on my truck. I think the money was well spent. They may still have decent rebates. Great ride and better handling.
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