Originally Posted by scocope
Drive a 2010 silverado 1500 with a little over 100000 80percent highway. Wanting to either put blistein shocks on it or air bags to help with towing. We have a artic wold 26dbh. Which would have the most benefit?
Apples and oranges. Shocks handle jounce/damping, and airbags handle load and leveling.
At 100K, if you have factory shocks, they were shot long ago.
I put Bilsteins on my RAM around 60K, and they transformed the truck. The handling is far more secure, and the typical RAM wallow is gone.
I also have Firestone airbags for load and leveling.
FYI, I recommend against "air shocks"...a combo of dampers and some suspension load/leveling augmentation. Why? They put WEIGHT LOAD on the shock mounts. Your shock mounts are sturdy, but they are designed to handle loads imposed by dampers....not what amounts to air springs. Air shocks are little different than "coil-over" shocks or light-duty struts, and those rear shock mounts are not intended for that purpose. But I digress.
Real air bags mount between the frame and the axle and serve as auxiliary springs. The frame and axle are sturdy enough to survive those transient loads.
My Firestones were a bit pricey at about $500 installed by the RV dealer. Other brands are recommended in this forum and they are a reasonable DIY project.
One more issue. When I replaced my shocks, I thought it was a DIY project. SURPRISE!
1) the fronts on my truck are actually struts. Your GM may be different if you're lucky. Struts require a spring compressor, and a pretty substantial one for the coils on a 1/2 ton.
2) without good air tools, I had no chance of dealing with the bolts retaining the rear shocks. I have 1/2 sockets and a solid ratchet and pipe handle extension...no luck.
3) the shop where I took it handles heavy trucks, but they worked for hours to free up the bolts on the front struts...everything was frozen on, and they had to use a torch to heat the nuts to free them from the bolts.
If you're lucky, your shocks will be easier to replace. I had a farm for 20 years and I'm used to working on tractors and other equipment. This was out of my league.
You can't avoid the shocks if you hope to stay on the road. And Bilsteins are awesome. But they can't "lift" the truck. I love my airbags. With just 4000 pounds behind me, I don't use a WDH, and with the bags, my truck rides level and secure. OTOH, if you have a WDH, you probably don't need the bags.
Good luck whatever you choose to do.