Helper springs for F-150: Ford Pickup Trucks  -- Trucks Trailers Discussion Forum and Review Helper springs for F-150: Ford Pickup Trucks -- Trucks Trailers Discussion Forum

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 03-10-2002, 20:59 Post: 36239
chris82715



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 Helper springs for F-150

I recently upgraded my trailer to a 16 foot stock and it sags my 98 F150 4X4. I have looked into the Helwig line, but wanted to know if anybody had any experience with helper springs or any other suggestions.
Thanks, CT






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 03-11-2002, 05:11 Post: 36242
TomG

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 Helper springs for F-150

There are folks here that know a lot about trailoring. I don't, but I do have attitudes, and not very helpful ones for what you want. Maybe somebody will tell me I'm entirely wrong, but I think my notions might be useful to consider in what ever is decided. First thing is that I have a '89 F150 2wd, and I didn't get a trailer for my tractor. The load not including trailer would be 3,000 - 4,000 lbs, and I think my 150 would be a very marginal tow vehicle. A 4x4 does have lower gearing and probably a manual TX, which would be better, but the brakes and vehicle weight probably are the similar.

My attitude is that a trailer should never be able to outmuscle the tow vehicle. If tongue weights are properly adjusted and the springs are inadequate, then a heavier truck probably is desirable. As I understand, the trouble with weight transfers on bumps is that what goes down must come up. Upward momentum can break traction of the rear tires. Springs support loads and dissipate downward momentum, but it's shocks that dissipate upward momentum. I think it would be good to get an expert opinion if shocks that are adequate for expected tongue weights and momentum are available for a 150.

After I bought my 150 used, I found several broken leafs that I replaced, and I also had the front springs replaced and the rears re-arched. I also found the automatic TX had burnt oil, and I rebuilt it. These sorts of things can result from excessive tow loads, and it would have been better if I had noticed them before buying the truck.






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 03-11-2002, 07:53 Post: 36250
Bird Senter

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 Helper springs for F-150

Chris, I don't know about the helper springs; only time I used any was on a new '71 Chev. 3/4 ton (been awhile back). And would probably never do it again. Of course, there may be circumstances under which they can be worthwhile, but kinda like Tom said, you want to be careful and consider such things as the weight capacity of the axle, tires, wheels (an uncle of mine had a rim split once), and brakes. My recommendation would be to trade trucks for a heavier duty one, use a load distributing hitch and lift bars, or better distribute the load on the trailer.






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 03-11-2002, 08:44 Post: 36252
Murf



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 Helper springs for F-150

The sag is definitely an indication of overload. Far better than helper springs would be to change the ball platform you are using for a load-equalizing setup. This is a special ball platform which has two mounts for torsion bars which then get hooked onto mounts clamped on both sides of the trailer tongue. When the torsion bars are flexed it transfers the load point forward. This has the effect of transfering where the weight is carried farther forward on your truck, similar to the way a fifth wheel hitch loads a truck, putting some of the weight on the front axle, instead of unloading it the way your hitch is now. The most dangerous aspect of your current setup is this front axle unloading, most of your braking capacity (and all your steering, obviously) is from your front wheels, less weight on them means less steerig and stopping ability, LOTS less. Best of luck.






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 03-11-2002, 19:17 Post: 36267
Peters

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 Helper springs for F-150

Chris;
I had a 97 Ford F150 2 wheel drive with the trailer towing package. I had no trouble with the 16 ft equipment trailer with the tractor and implements. I did a few long tows with it in moving tractors and autos etc.
Do you know what the tongue weight is on the trailer? Also I would compare your springs with the trailer package and see what is needed. The sway bars may also be heavier on the trailer package. The air helpers are available. They can be pumped to reduce the sway also.






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 03-12-2002, 05:59 Post: 36273
TomG

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 Helper springs for F-150

Good info here. Much as Peters noted, the towing probably can be done, and Peters has done it. From past discussions, it is apparent that Peters knows quite a bit about this stuff and acts with due caution. However, solving the problem may be a bit more involved than adding helper springs.

Adjusting tongue weight is important, and I think 10% - 15% of load on the tongue is a rule of thumb. Of course, if it's stock in the stock trailer, they may resent placement to achieve optimal tongue weights. My neighbour put on a weight distributing hitch on his 150 for towing a travel trailer. He has nothing but good words for it.






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 03-12-2002, 10:58 Post: 36280
Peters

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 Helper springs for F-150

Chris;
I assume that you are talking about a proper reciever and hitch. As the weight of these trailers is on the high end of what is optimal for a pick up. You need to be careful to select the equipment with the load rating.
Weigh distribution and weighing is of prime importance. The wheels must be centered on the trailer to give you a proper loaded and unloaded weight on the tow vehicle. If your trailer is a home constructed job they may not have got it correct.
When I worked as a mechanic in a boat yard we sold new boats and trailers. The trailers did not come with the boats and due to the salt water we normally sold only the roller trailers. We had to adjust the trailers to fit the boats and the wheels position to provide proper weight distribution.
We had to pick up customers boats at the various marinas and trailer them to the yard for repair. We kept wrenches on the truck to adjust the trailers.
Weight distribution hitches are used on travel trailers. As the weight is applied the bars like a 3 pt tractor hitch moves some of the force to the wheels on the front of the tow vechicle.
Why are they seldom used on boats, horse, stock and equipment trailers? Because the bars limit your turning radius and steep inclines place undue stress on the vehicle and trailer. Horse and stock trailers have dynamic loads which move as the animals adjust their position.






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 03-12-2002, 22:05 Post: 36297
chris82715



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 Helper springs for F-150

Hey everyone!

Thank You for the information. According to the rating of my truck and the trainer weight there should not be a problem, but who knows. I think my best bet will be to install a receiver hitch and some new tires on my 74 F-250 and call it good.

Thanks again,

CT






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