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Adding a leveling kit & towing?

 
  #1  
Old 03-06-2018, 06:52 AM
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Adding a leveling kit & towing?

We have a 36.5í bumper pull camper weighing approximately 9k fully loaded that I used to tow with my F-350 6.0L. I purchased a 2015 F-350 CCSB 6.7L to replace my 6.0l at the end of the season last year & only towed my camper once with it but it was a great tow even in nasty weather home. The new truck has the 11.5k GVW package so it I have plenty of payload, suspension & power for my camper. We tow about 2500 miles a year on average with a Reese strait-line WDH with sway control.

The truck has the factory Michelin 275/56R20ís with less than 3k miles on them but Iím considering replacing them with 295/65R20ís & installing a 2Ē leveling kit. Every time I look at the truck & see the rake it bothers me, I measured the difference at 3Ē front to rear on the drivers side & 2Ē on the passenger side. The truck rides pretty poorly empty so itís not like I have much to lose by swapping out wheels, tires & adding a leveling kit. My thoughts are to replace the stock set up with Toyoís, 20X9Ē aftermarket rims with the proper offset, Bilstein 5100ís on all four corners & a simple puck style 2Ē leveling kit up front leaving the factory rear leaf springs with the factory overload springs. The only concern that I can see is that I will probably have to add Timbrenís or air bags in the rear to level it out once the camper is hooked up. I measured my tongue weight last year & I was at 1150lbs as we normally load the camper for travel.

So does anyone see any problems with this set up? I really donít want to have problems down the road like increased wear in front end components, vibrations, etc, I just want a leveled truck that goes down the road as good as to be expected for a 1 ton when empty or loaded with the camper if that makes sense. Any suggestions on a different lift perhaps? How it may ride with the camper hooked up? How it rides empty? I looked at new coils but most are 2.5Ē which I really donít want. Anyway, open to suggestions......
 
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Old 03-06-2018, 07:00 AM
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Hitch weight on my bumper pull RV is right at 1,000 to 1,100 lbs, and it ALMOST contacts the pads on the overload springs, so there is a bit of squat, and that is with nothing in the bed. I don't use a WD hitch with this truck and haven't yet felt the need to install it. (I have one from a previous truck.) You can get a good hitch in whatever drop you need for the proper hitch height and rating. You may decide you want air bags to help level the truck back up when you are hitched though, or your headlights will be shining in the trees
 
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Old 03-06-2018, 07:26 AM
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It's not broke, so why "fix" it? I would think that safety and handling would not be improved.
 
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Old 03-06-2018, 07:37 AM
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The height of your truck isn't going to be a big deal for towing. I've driven lifted trucks for years. My 7.3 was lifted 7 inches, on 37" tires, and I towed a 28' bumper pull trailer with no problems whatsoever. They key is having your hitch setup properly. I have an adjustable shank height hitch, with the stabilizer bars (weight distributing) and also the anti sway bar setup. My trailer towed like a dream, and I never needed airbags. My truck I have now is a 2011 F350 with 6.7, lifted 6 inches, and I'm pulling a 5th wheel, no airbags. There are plenty of guys in the forum who bash on lifted trucks, but I can personally tell you......they can be used NO problem for towing, you just need the proper setup.
 
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Old 03-06-2018, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by UP_There View Post
The height of your truck isn't going to be a big deal for towing. I've driven lifted trucks for years. My 7.3 was lifted 7 inches, on 37" tires, and I towed a 28' bumper pull trailer with no problems whatsoever. They key is having your hitch setup properly. I have an adjustable shank height hitch, with the stabilizer bars (weight distributing) and also the anti sway bar setup. My trailer towed like a dream, and I never needed airbags. My truck I have now is a 2011 F350 with 6.7, lifted 6 inches, and I'm pulling a 5th wheel, no airbags. There are plenty of guys in the forum who bash on lifted trucks, but I can personally tell you......they can be used NO problem for towing, you just need the proper setup.
did you lift your 5th wheel to match the lift on your truck? I've been wanting to take my truck up 6 inches but I'm concerned about the angle that would put the 5th wheel we will eventually get. I don't wanna stress the rear axles on the 5er more than needed.
 
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Old 03-06-2018, 10:48 AM
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I think I have plenty of power & safety for towing but wouldn’t mind a little better look while not towing, I just don’t want to create a problem. I appreciate all the comments so far!
 
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Old 03-06-2018, 03:57 PM
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My truck is leveled and I pull heavy. Air bags keep the stance AND the headlights out of incoming vehicles eyes...
 
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Old 03-06-2018, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by mxer0022 View Post
did you lift your 5th wheel to match the lift on your truck? I've been wanting to take my truck up 6 inches but I'm concerned about the angle that would put the 5th wheel we will eventually get. I don't wanna stress the rear axles on the 5er more than needed.
I have adjustable shackles on the 5th wheel, and I need to come up 2 inches to make it perfect. This is how it looked the day I bought it a few weeks ago. Still haven't raised it up, but will soon...
 
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Old 03-06-2018, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Fishwater2002 View Post
We have a 36.5í bumper pull camper weighing approximately 9k fully loaded that I used to tow with my F-350 6.0L. I purchased a 2015 F-350 CCSB 6.7L to replace my 6.0l at the end of the season last year & only towed my camper once with it but it was a great tow even in nasty weather home. The new truck has the 11.5k GVW package so it I have plenty of payload, suspension & power for my camper. We tow about 2500 miles a year on average with a Reese strait-line WDH with sway control.

The truck has the factory Michelin 275/56R20ís with less than 3k miles on them but Iím considering replacing them with 295/65R20ís & installing a 2Ē leveling kit. Every time I look at the truck & see the rake it bothers me, I measured the difference at 3Ē front to rear on the drivers side & 2Ē on the passenger side. The truck rides pretty poorly empty so itís not like I have much to lose by swapping out wheels, tires & adding a leveling kit. My thoughts are to replace the stock set up with Toyoís, 20X9Ē aftermarket rims with the proper offset, Bilstein 5100ís on all four corners & a simple puck style 2Ē leveling kit up front leaving the factory rear leaf springs with the factory overload springs. The only concern that I can see is that I will probably have to add Timbrenís or air bags in the rear to level it out once the camper is hooked up. I measured my tongue weight last year & I was at 1150lbs as we normally load the camper for travel.

So does anyone see any problems with this set up? I really donít want to have problems down the road like increased wear in front end components, vibrations, etc, I just want a leveled truck that goes down the road as good as to be expected for a 1 ton when empty or loaded with the camper if that makes sense. Any suggestions on a different lift perhaps? How it may ride with the camper hooked up? How it rides empty? I looked at new coils but most are 2.5Ē which I really donít want. Anyway, open to suggestions......
my truck had snow plow prep so went with 1.5Ē level up front(ready lift under spring), basically all the same mods you are listing and love it. I did go with Fox 2.0 vs bilsteins, figured Iíd give them a go, happy thus far. I do put a RZRS in the bed occasionally so opted for hellwig sway bar and air bags is probably my only difference. I think youíll be happy with the proposed items. I like the sulastics I have now for being empty, have yet to tow with them as of yet...
 
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Old 03-07-2018, 07:46 AM
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I did exactly what you are describing on my 2015 truck and now again on my 2017.
Leveled
Rancho 9000s
Firestone Airbags on the rear with Airlift onboard compressor
Toyo 295/65R20 on 20x9 wheels

Worked great for 90,000 miles on the 15 with probably 35,000 of those miles with a trailer hooked up.

My 4h GN is about 13,000 lbs loaded
My BP Flatbed is 2000 lbs and with a skid loader or Mini Ex it's 10,000lbs
My BP Dump is 5,000 lbs empty and often has 8,000 lbs of concrete or gravel Bringing it to 13,000-14,000 total
 
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Old 03-07-2018, 08:10 AM
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I have a 2012 F250 CCSB stock except Titan fuel tank, Airlift bags, and Rancho 9000 shocks. I have towed our travel trailer about 14000 miles with a tongue weight of about 950 lbs with an equalizing hitch and this combination works well. Before this the truck had a considerable squat, and the suspension would bottom out on moderately rough highways at speed limit or less. The opposing drivers at night are also much happier.
 
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Old 03-07-2018, 12:11 PM
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Just throwing pucks in front end will result in poor caster. Ball joint cams cannot compensate enough, the math is simple.
Timbrenís are a band aid. Firestone/airlift bag system limit rear axle travel significantly.
Most guys live with these issues but if you want it at least as good as stock or better, do it right.

I did 2"/295s and solved these issues with mods to radius arms and airlift D2600 bags.
Do your homework and get a solid plan in place. You're asking the right questions so off to a good start. Your goal is achievable. Good luck.

I'm now on 3"/37s rides/handles heavy loads great.
 
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Old 03-07-2018, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by smoky_diesel View Post
Just throwing pucks in front end will result in poor caster. Ball joint cams cannot compensate enough, the math is simple.
Timbrenís are a band aid. Firestone/airlift bag system limit rear axle travel significantly.
Most guys live with these issues but if you want it at least as good as stock or better, do it right.

I did 2"/295s and solved these issues with mods to radius arms and airlift D2600 bags.
Do your homework and get a solid plan in place. You're asking the right questions so off to a good start. Your goal is achievable. Good luck.

I'm now on 3"/37s rides/handles heavy loads great.
Iíve read a bunch of threads including yours & am aware of the castor issue, funny how some notice it & some donít. Regardless the numbers being what they are I understand that a loss of castor is inevitable so Iím thinking I should throw the SPC castor adjusting sleeves in regardless since Iím already there, I just wish I knew what the current alignment specs are before I install the shims. It seems like a ton of work to do these trucks ďproperlyĒ but it also seems like a ton of work just for 2Ē as well. I keep wondering if itís worth the effort just for 2Ē but Iím committed now, ordered Bilstein 5100ís & 2Ē pucks this morning.
 
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Old 03-07-2018, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Fishwater2002 View Post


Iíve read a bunch of threads including yours & am aware of the castor issue, funny how some notice it & some donít. Regardless the numbers being what they are I understand that a loss of castor is inevitable so Iím thinking I should throw the SPC castor adjusting sleeves in regardless since Iím already there, I just wish I knew what the current alignment specs are before I install the shims. It seems like a ton of work to do these trucks ďproperlyĒ but it also seems like a ton of work just for 2Ē as well. I keep wondering if itís worth the effort just for 2Ē but Iím committed now, ordered Bilstein 5100ís & 2Ē pucks this morning.
Yes it will be worth the effort when you get it how you want it. Typical caster is about 2*. Option B is 3.5" lift radius arm drop brackets on ebay. They are cheap and will give you a good caster result with 2" pucks.

If you install the sleeves (you likely need the extractor tool) the alignment shop can't do anything so just drive it and see what you think.
 
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Old 03-08-2018, 10:30 AM
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FYI, I wouldn't use Bilstein 5100 pn 24-186018 for the front. They are too short and will allow almost zero down travel after 2" lift, which has obvious negative consequences.
I would consider the next size up which is 24-185776

To convince yourself, take a tape measure to the shock (before lift) and add 2", you will see what I mean. The 24-186018 extended length is 21.5" Every truck is different so see what you have.

Option B is to use a cheap ebay shock mount extender with the 24-186018,
 

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