TruckSpring Times

Truck & Trailer Parts - News & Information

Backup Camera Systems Help Prevent Injuries

Every year, thousands of children are hurt or killed because a driver backing up didn't see them. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 228 people die and around 17,000 people are injured annually in backover accidents involving cars, trucks and SUVs.

Backup Camera

About 2,000 of the injuries and about 100 of those deaths involved children under 5 years old. If all vehicles had the new cameras, it would save 95 to 112 lives and eliminate 7,072 to 8,374 injuries a year.

For the most part, back-over incidents take place in residential driveways or parking lots and about three-quarters of the time it is a parent or close relative who's behind the wheel. The main reason that back-over accidents are so frequent is that every vehicle has a rear blind zone, the area you can't see from the driver's seat. And that zone to the rear is bigger than you might think, ranging from about 25 feet for a minivan to 50 feet for some pickup trucks which is plenty of space for an unwary child to be in harm's way. Many new cars have proximity sensors that beep with increasing frequency when you back toward solid objects. They work well as parking aids, but are not informative enough to let you know the presence of a pedestrian or child.

It is likely that vehicle backup safety cameras will be standard equipment in all passenger vehicles by 2014 as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to finalize the guidelines for the Department of Transportation.  The mandate is likely to raise a car's base price, as much of the cost will probably be passed on to consumers. Though it will hit economy cars the hardest, the auto industry in general has been heading down this road for some time. Backup cameras have become more affordable and available in recent years.

Backup Camera

So your vehicle does not have a backup camera, what can you do? Add-on camera systems like the Tow Ready Hindsight Single Backup Camera System can reduce the chances of backing over pedestrians, animals and other objects. A camera mounted at the rear end of the vehicle displays an image on a small LCD screen inside allowing the driver to view what is behind them when backing out. This helps to eliminate the rear blind zone.

Whether you’re a teenager just learning to drive or someone that has been driving for many years, everyone can benefit from a Backup Camera System.

You can order backup camera systems by calling Michigan Truck Spring 1-800-358-4751.

How much air pressure should I put in my air bags?

If you adding air bags to your car, truck, suv or motorhome you’re probably wondering how much air should you put in the air bags.  There is no golden rule for the amount air pressure you should start with. You have to take into account a few things before you start inflating you air bags.

All air bag kits will have a warning on how much air pressure you can put in them. It will vary from manufacturer and product line, but here are a few of the more popular kits and their maximum psi. The maximum psi will vary with your specific air bag kit number, so you should check the instructions for your specific air bag kit. Most air bag kits will fall into this range.

Air Lift 1000 kits – 35 to 100 lbs. maximum PSI  (Varies with application)
Firestone Coil-Rite Kits – 35 to 90 lbs. maximum PSI  (Varies with application)
Air Lift Ride Control kits – 100 lbs. maximum PSI
Firestone Sport-Rite kits – 100 lbs. maximum PSI
Air Lift LoadLifter 5000 kits – 100 lbs. maximum PSI
Firestone Ride-Rite Kits – 100 lbs. maximum PSI
Hellwig Air Bag Kits – 100 lbs. maximum PSI

So, now that we have the maximum amount of air that you can put into your air bags out of the way, let’s look at how much you should put into them to get the ride you want.  First thing you want to do after installing your air bag kit is to get your vehicle on a level surface, next to an air pump at a gas station will work. Make sure you have the minimum air pressure in your air bags, 5 lbs., before heading out.

Air Pressure

Inflate your air springs so your truck or SUV is level and your headlights are at a correct angle. Also check your truck from the rear and make sure you are level from side-to-side. Inflate or deflate your air bags until you have the height you want. If you are planning on filling the back of your pickup truck with logs, obviously you’ll want to over compensate for the upcoming load.

Now that your truck is level, take if for a ride and check the ride comfort and stability. If it feels stiff you may have too much air pressure.  We have found it is easier to start out with more air than you think you need and work your way down, fine tuning until you get the desired ride from your air bags.  This can take a little work if you are manually inflating and deflating your air springs. We recommend an air compressor kit if you plan on using your air bags frequently and tow more than a few times a year. Air compressor kits allow you to inflate and deflate your air springs from the inside of your truck and monitor the air pressure at all times. We have found they are worth the extra money and people that have air compressor kits seldom run into air bag problems associated with low air pressure.

Due to the fact that air bag kits are installed on a wide variety of vehicles with suspensions in various conditions there is not a set psi number you should go with. Unfortunatley, you cannot say for example, use 50 psi in your air bags if you have a 2010 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD and you are towing a 30 ft. Jayco travel trailer. If you haul heavy loads and your leaf springs are worn out, you will need more air than the other guy with the same truck but whose leaf springs are in good condition. The psi will vary with how much weight your are towing or hauling and the condition of your trucks suspension.

While we are discussing air pressure, we have to mention minimum air pressure. The most common cause for failure in air bags is running them without the minimum air pressure. This causes them to bottom out, tear, etc. You should always keep 5 lbs. of air pressure in your air bags to prevent any damage. 5 lbs. will not affect your ride but will ensure your air bags last. This is where an air compressor kit comes in handy, monitoring and maintain the minimum air bag pressure.

Remember it will take a few tries to get the air pressure exactly where you want it. Don’t expect to get it perfect or settle on your first go around. Add and deflate until your vehicle is level and you have the ride comfort and stability you want. It will take some tinkering, but it can be achieved. You can call Michigan Truck Spring at 1-800-358-4751 or 989-755-0561 if you have any questions regarding air springs or airbag kits. They have been installing and selling them for years and have hands on experience with just about every make and model truck.

Air Bags, Overload Kits, Helpers Springs and your GVWR

Will an air bag suspension kit or helper springs increase my trucks GVWR?  If the back of your pickup sags and you’re considering adding some load support with helper springs, you may have not noticed the fine print “do not exceed vehicle's GVWR”. This is a commonly asked question by people looking to add extra load support to the rear of their truck or SUV with air bags or overload springs.  The short answer is no, any form of load support will not increase your trucks GVWR. 

Why won’t air bags increase my GWVR? First let’s look at what GVWR is. GVWR stands for gross vehicle weight rating and is determined by the manufacturer. It is the total combined weight of your truck and the trailer, including all passengers, fuel, water, dogs, cargo, etc.

There are many factors that go into determining your trucks weight rating and this is why an overload kit will not “up” the weight rating. When a vehicle is engineered they take into account many factors like frame strength, drive train, braking power, stability, performance, etc. So, for example if add an air bag kit that has a 5000 lb. rating, it may help with the stability and performance, but it will not increase your vehicles breaking power and therefore your vehicles GVWR will not increase.

GVWR

To be sure you choose the right truck for towing, you should find one with a tow rating high enough to meet your needs.  It’s typically a good idea to get a bit more capacity than what your currents needs are so you have a buffer if you want to tow more in the future. Always make sure the towed load and tongue weight are within your vehicle’s capacity.

An air bag kit or suspension overload kit will help level your load, reduce bottoming out and increase stability, but it will not change your vehicle GWVR. If you have any questions about towing and your GVWR you can call Michigan Truck Spring at 1-800-358-4751.

Dodge RAM 1500 Replacement Rear Coil Springs

Dodge Ram
You may be familiar with SuperCoils front replacement coil springs. Commercial snow plows companies, utility companies and trucks with winches have been using them to increase front end support for years. SuperSprings international, the maker of SuperCoils, recently introduced a new SuperCoil heavy duty coil spring for the rear of the Dodge RAM 1500.

If you have a 2009, 2010, 2011 or 2012 Dodge RAM 1500 and are looking to provide extra support to the rear, SuperCoils kit SSC-50 is the answer. SuperCoils kit SSC-50 replaces your Dodge RAM 1500 factory coil springs with a heavy duty coil spring that has a load capacity 30% higher than the factory coil springs. The kit also increases the rear ride height by 3/4 of an inch. They fit both 2 and 4 wheel drive RAM 1500’s.

SuperCoils have a linear, constant spring rate and have been field tested with a 30 year proven track record. They are a high quality North American product that come with a 3 Year limited product warranty.

Coil Springs

If you have a new Dodge RAM 1500 and are looking to tow a heavy trailer or haul heavy loads, SuperCoils factory replacement rear coil springs are your answer.  You can order SuperCoils Dodge RAM 1500 replacement coil springs online at TruckSpring.com or by calling 1-800-358-4751.

 SuperCoils SSC-50 install instructions

 

Leaf Springs and common causes of failure.

Ever have a leaf spring crack, become fatigued or break and wonder what the cause is? We will take a look at a few common reasons why leaf springs fail.

Loose U-Bolts


The image below shows center bolt failure due to a truck spring not having tight enough u-bolts. U-bolts, especially on newly installed truck springs should be checked periodically to verify they are tight. Even if you have a professional installer install springs on your truck, you should stop by after 500 miles and have your u-bolts inspected to make sure they didn't come loose.

Leaf Spring Failure

Corrosion and Fatigue

Corrosion and fatigue are typically caused by a combination of time and the elements. Numerous variables will weigh on how long your leaf spring will last before it suffers from corrosion or fatigue. How much weight you haul, what part of the country you live in, etc. will play a role in the life of your springs. Making sure salt and other corrosive materials are washed off and not overloading your truck will help prevent corrosion and early spring fatigue.

Leaf Spring Failure

Overloading Your Truck Springs

Everyone says they never do it , but we see it all the time. Overloading is pretty self-explanatory. You have more weight in the back of your truck or you are towing a load heavier than what your truck is rated at. We all love to do it, but the negative effect on your truck springs is unavoidable. On the left image below you can see the radial shear marks from an overloaded spring. The image on the right shows distortion of the spring eye from overloading.

Leaf Spring Failure

How do you prevent overloading your truck springs? Obviously you could carry less weight or purchase a truck with a higher weight rating. If buying a new truck or hauling less weight is not an option, you could add an overload kit like a Firestone Air Spring kit, Hellwig Helper springs or a Air Lift Air Spring kit. Overload kits are designed to take some of the weight off the leaf springs and place it onto the overload kit.

Another option that is more popular with commercial vehicles it to add another piece of steel to the spring pack. This may cause the ride to be stiffer, but if you are always hauling heavier loads in a commercial setting this may be your best bet.

We do not recommend adding a new piece of steel to leaf springs that already suffer from fatigue. You are better off replacing both of your truck springs with new ones with a higher weight rating. It's very common that we will have someone only want to replace one busted leaf in a spring pack and a few months later a different leaf breaks. If one has cracked, the others are probably in the same condition and will not last much longer.

Weld Splatter

Weld splatter is more common in commercial trucks and vans that come from the factory without a bed or on motorhome leaf springs . This is caused by welding a body or accessories to your truck in the same area as your leaf springs. Just a small amount of weld spatter can be disastrous to the life of your spring. About the only way to prevent this is to inspect your springs after and make sure no one was careless with the welder.

Leaf Spring Failure

Above are a few common reasons why leaf springs fail. There are other manufacturing reasons such as quench cracks, tight eyes, notches, incorrect temperatures, etc. that can cause failure. With today's modern, high-tech manufacturing processes and quality control, they are not nearly as commons as they were in the past.

If you need have any questions about your leaf springs or need replacment leaf springs, call Michigan Truck Spring at 1-800-358-4751. They carry OEM replacment leaf springs for everything from old corvettes to semi trucks and trailers.

Kresto Cherry

Kresto Cherry from Stoko skincare is a new version of its popular soap Kresto.  Kresto Cherry has
the same advanced cleaning power as Kresto with an added fresh cherry scent. 

“‘Hand soap in a truck suspension parts blog?” you may ask. Well, we have been using the old school Kresto for years in our automotive repair shop and have a dozen mechanics that use it daily. We highly recommend it based on our experience to anyone that works in the automotive industry or home mechanics.  Kresto soap is already very popular in the automotive industry and the new cherry scent is sure to increase the popularity. Kresto Cherry has a fresh scent that will help remove the unwanted orders like gas, brake clean, oil, etc.  from your hands and arms.  Kresto Cherry will help remove everything from industrial dirt, grease, oil, ink, metal dust, adhesives, and soot.

Like Kresto soap, Kresto Cherry contains natural, biodegradable walnut shells that act as scrubbers to clean your hands.  The biodegradable walnut shells are tested and proven to not clog drains like other leading hand soaps.

Kresto Cherry is offered in the same convenient sizes as Kresto:

Kresto Cherry2000 ml Softbottle

      For use with Stoko SVP Dispensers

Perfect for shop restrooms, changing rooms and wash sinks located out in the garage.

Easy to use and refill

Cost-effective

 

Kresto Cherry
½ Gallon Pump Top Bottle

    Built-in pump

Portable bottle with handle

Perfect for the back of your work truck

Great for home garages and mudrooms

 

 

   
 Kresto Cherry
400 ml Squeeze Bottle

    Perfect for the tool box, camper, and motorhome

Convenient flip-top for easy use and storage

Professional cleaning power in a travel size

Always close at hand

 

 

Kresto Cheery performed just as we thought it would in our shop. The new scent is a nice addition to an already excellent hand soap. We believe a long time Kresto users will enjoy the change and would put it head to head with any hand soap competitor like GoJo, Purell or Zep.

View Kresto Cherry MSDS

You can order the new Kresto soap by calling 1-800-358-4751 or 989-755-0561.

Installing a Timbren kit on a 2012 Ford F-150

Installing a Timbren Kit on a 2012 Ford F-150 is simple to do and only requires a few basic tools. Timbren offers 2 different kits for the rear of a 2012 Ford F-150. For this Timbren application the customer tows a horse trailer and frequently hauls heavy loads. We decided to go with the heavier Timbren kit FRTT1502D. Timbren Kit FRTT1502D fits 2009-2012 Ford F150's, both 2 or 4 wheel drive. The kit has a 7,000 lb maximum rating, which is more than enough for a F-150.

Below is a summary of what is involved for this 2012 F150 Timbren install.

  1. Raise your 2012 Ford F-150 allowing the axle to hang freely.
  2. Remove your existing bumpstop using a 13 mm socket.
  3. Assemble Timbren rubber spring and bracket
  4. Mount the Timbren spring using the existing holes in the frame with supplied fasteners.
  5. Lower vehicle and your good to go!

The rubber Timbren spring for a 2012 F-150 is desinged to sit about an inch above the axle as you can see in the picture below. This allows the suspension to work as desinged from the factory without assistance from the Timbren kit. (The flaking on the spring is normal and will come off after a few car washes)

Timbren Kit

We connected the customers horse trailer to test out the install. As you can see the spring is now in contact with the axle, but is hardly compressed. The Timbren spring is hollow on the inside which allows it to have some 'give' and expand and contract with varing load conditions. When the horse trailer is loaded with horses the spring will compress and help support the tongue weight of the trailer and prevent the 2012 F-150 from sagging.

Timbren Kit
As you can see the 2012 Ford F-150 sits level and is ready for the road.

Timbren Kit
You can view the Instructions for Timbren Kit FRTT1502D

Order online at TruckSpring.com or call 1-800-358-4751.

Happy travels!

How to measure for the correct trailer ball mount.

Trailer ball mounts come in a variety of shapes and sizes. It can be overwhelming to see a list of
trailer ball mounts with various measurements of “rise” and drop” How to select the correct trailer ball mount is actually quite easy with a few simple measurements.

Trailer ball mounts have 3 key measurements - length, rise and drop.

Trailer Ball Mount
The length is the distance from the center of the ball hole to the center of the pin hole.

The ‘rise’ is distance from the top of the shank to the top of the ball platform. You will need to shop for a ball mount with a ‘rise’ if your truck or suv’s trailer hitch is lower than the coupler on your trailer.

The ‘drop’ is distance from the top of the shank to the top of the ball platform. You will need to shop for a ball mount with a ‘drop’ if your truck or suv’s trailer hitch is higher than the coupler
on your trailer.

How is measure for the rise or drop you need is pretty simple.

Trailer Ball Mount

Step 1.

 

Measure from the ground to the top of the hitch. In this example the measurement from the ground to the top of the hitch is 23 inches.

 

  
Step 2.

 

Measure from the ground to the (inside) top of the trailer coupler, when level. In this example, the measurement form the ground to the top of the trailer coupler is 18 inches.


 
Step 3. Subtract the height of your trailer hitch ball from the coupler. Most trailer hitch balls are 2-1/2” - 3” high.  In this example we will subtract 3 inches from 18 inches and have a total of 15 inches.

In this example and 8 inch drop required on your ball mount to make the trailer
level. (23 inches minus 15 inches)

The results are:

Step 1: 23 inches

Step 2: 18 inches

Step 3: 15 inches (18 inches minus the ball trailer hitch ball height of 3 inches)

Rise or Drop Required: 23 – 15 = 8 inch drop. If the trailer measurement was higher
in this case you would need a rise.

Trailer Ball Mount

Your trailer should always be set up to tow on a level plane. Towing with a coupler that is lower or higher than your trailer hitch is unsafe and should be corrected by adding a trailer ball mount with the correct amount of 'rise' or 'drop'.

Looking to order a trailer ballmount from some of the most trusted and tested companies such as Reese, Hidden Hitch, Tow Ready and Draw-tite?

You can call 1-800-358-4751 for assistance with measuring your trailer ball mount and ordering. View a wide selection of ball mounts online TruckSpring.com

Bulldog powered trailer jacks raise and lower your trailer with ease.

Looking for a trailer jack that runs off the power of your battery? Bulldogs new a-frame electric trailer jack takes the work out of raising and lowering your trailer and is packed with all the features you would expect from brand like Bulldog.

Bulldog electric trailer jacks come with a 4000 lb. capacity to cover a wide variety of a-frame trailer applications. The built in level takes the guess work out of leveling your trailer and includes a built in LED light for the late night hookups. “What happens when you get to your camp site and your battery is dead?” is a common question asked by customers considering the switch to a powered trailer jack. Bulldog has you covered with a built in manual override that is easily accessed from the top of the jack.
Bulldog Trailer Jack
The jack positions quickly with 25" of total travel - 17" screw travel and 8" drop leg travel. Below are the specifications on the Bulldog 500185 (white) and Bulldog 500186 (black) trailer jacks.

Lifting Capacity: 4,000 lbs.
Travel: 17 inches
Measurements: Retracted: 9.75 inches,  Extended: 34.50 inches
Clearance: 24 inches
Weight: 23 lbs.

Bulldog stands behind its power trailer jacks with a 5 year warranty and offers a wide range of replacement parts so you’re not stuck buying a new jack if something is damaged while on the road. They are also made to keep a like new appearance for years with standard corrosion resistant surfaces that only Bulldog offers.

You can order Bulldog Jacks from an authorized Bulldog distributor Michigan Truck Spring at  1-800-358-4751.

Bilstein shocks – Tested and Tested again.

Bilstein shocks are put through a rigorous testing process before they put into production and it shows on the road. Yes, they do cost more than your standard replacement shock you can find at any auto parts store, but the old saying “You get what you pay for” has never rung more true.

Bilstein shocks are found in the world’s elite brands and vehicles, including BMW, Audi, Ferrari, Jaguar, Porsche and more. This high quality is shown in all of their shocks. So if you’re looking for new shocks on anything from a mini-cooper to full size pickup or motorhome, Bilstein has you covered. They create the right driving experience for every vehicle.

The same technology that is used in their motorsports and original equipment manufacturer process is also used in the development of Bilstein truck shocks. Take a moment to watch the below video to get a behind the scenes look and some of the testing Bilstein does in the development of their shock absorbers and struts.


You can order Bilstein shocks from an autorized warehouse distributor by calling 1-800-358-4751 or online at TruckSpring.com