We get the question all the time… Will i need airbags? Ram has complicated the HD platform beyond the scope of any other brand. There’s a 2500 that rides well (Factory Rear Coils), a 2500 that hauls well (Factory Rear Airbags). A 3500 that hauls OK (Factory Rear Leaf Springs) and a 3500 that hauls amazing (Factory Rear Traction Leaf + Airbags).
Far and away, the 2500 with rear coils is the most prevalent, at least, among our customer base. The R1 spring optimizes this platform but, as detailed above, they’re not heavyweights. Coming from a factory coil that’s lackluster in its ability to haul, this shouldn’t be much of a surprise.
So what’s the deal, R1 + a load supplement or R2? Well, let’s run over the options for load supplementation with the R1.
You can run airbags with any of our systems but the 2500 (with coils in the back) is the least accommodating to airbags. Most of the widely available airbag systems replace the bump stops, mounting between the frame rail and axle. There are other options but they’re outboard the frame leaving them VERY susceptible to road-debris or failure from a tire related issue.
Back to the common kits that mount between the frame and axle – the collapsed dimension of the airbag kit is about 2-3x the size of the bump stops they replace. In turn, you’re sacrificing substantial up-travel to run the airbags, usually 3-4 inches. Around town, you won’t likely notice if the bags are empty. Hit a culvert or obstacle over a couple inches and you’ll hit pretty hard out back when you bottom out on the airbag.
Airbags are nothing more than a necessary evil in any platform and will always detract from ride quality (to varying degrees). That said, the infrastructure of the rear coil spring 2500 is the most affected by the negative effects of airbags. Run them with the Daystar Cradle and you’ll minimize their effect on down-travel (holding travel) and have all the capacity you need within the capability of the truck at the expense of substantial up-travel – although, the Daystar cradles take away an additional 3/4″ of up-travel, as well.
These hollow-rubber springs replace your factory bump stops hovering the axle 0.50″ to 1.5″. When they hit the axle, they hold the load. As these rubber springs are designed to hold a load, they will eliminate MOST of your up travel in favor of their “spring rate” assisting the suspension in handling the load. We recommend swapping these in ONLY when hauling/towing or you’ll be bouncing off them over every little bump in the road.
These are ideal pairing to the R1 for the customer hauling a few times a year that doesn’t mind spending 20 minutes to swap the bumps for the Timbrens on the rare occasion they’re needed.
We’ve been running both these coils since 2015 – more customers seem to err toward the R1 as they’re exactly what one seeks from a performance suspension on a mostly-unloaded truck; less spring rate to better balance the unloaded rear end to the heavy front while pairing perfectly to Carli’s custom-tuned lineup of high-end shocks. These coils max around 1,000lbs bed load but can be pushed to 1,500lbs if kept to the pavement. At this load, you’ll experience significant sag but that’s the cost of running a super-light spring.
Conversely, there’s the customer more focused on utilitarian use. As outlined, loading near capacity presents a unique challenge on this platform when Carli equipped, thus, it made sense to offer a higher capacity coil. The R2 definitely firms the ride and adds rear-rake when compared to its lighter-rate counterpart; however, it is not as jarring as one might think as the initial spring rate masks the rate transition. The real capacity comes from the secondary rate ensuring users that select this coil still see a marked improvement in compliance over the stock spring. We’ve yet to hear from any customer dissatisfied with the unloaded ride after swapping to the R2 from the R1 but, there’s no arguing the R1 will provide a better ride and off-road performance while the R2 shines in its compromise between compliance and capacity.
The explosion of the Overlanding market continues to increase customer calls seeking constant-load springs. The ability to support an 800lb constant load, while leveling to our 3.25″ systems, perfectly suits those with aftermarket rear bumpers, racks, spares and roof-top tents. These are NOT for those with slide-in campers approaching the capacity of the truck but for those looking to throw a heavy-duty twist on their utilitarian style build equipped with one of our performance suspensions!