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Old 03-26-2019, 02:28 PM   #1
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Air bags or new shocks

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?
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Old 03-26-2019, 03:01 PM   #2
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Your shocks are probably worn out at that mileage. I would look into replacing them first and than add the air bags if needed for leveling the load. The shocks are used for dampening the rebound of the tire and wheel assembly do to uneven road surfaces as the vehicle is driven over the road.

The air bags will not dampen suspension travel but will level your vehicle do to increase loading that is placed on the rear axle by a heavy load such as a trailer.
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Old 03-26-2019, 03:27 PM   #3
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New shocks first thing. swap in new shocks and you may think you got a new truck.
Old shocks cause excessive wear on all your suspension components, especially the front.
You may not need any airbags if you buy quality shocks.
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Old 03-26-2019, 03:28 PM   #4
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Both do different things.
Shocks do nothing for supporting loads. All they do is dampen rebound. Agree that you're WAY past when you should have replaced the OEM shocks.
Air bags are for raising the rear end when loaded.
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Old 03-26-2019, 03:37 PM   #5
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Ok thanks. That's what I was thinking. Will have to get some shocks in it before our next trio and see the difference. Appreciate it.
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Old 03-26-2019, 04:14 PM   #6
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As noted above--- new shocks and airbags.
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Old 03-26-2019, 05:45 PM   #7
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Also, 1/2T Silverados are notorious for having sagging leaf springs at 100K miles. Take a look and see how flat they are. On my 99 I did add a leaf kit since I was selling it within a year and it helped a lot but I was all ready to replace the leaf springs and possibly go up to a heavier version than stock.
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Old 03-26-2019, 09:48 PM   #8
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Consider timbren, Sumos or aircells they are basically extended bump stops that dampen instead of bump and help only u deer load quicker and cheaper than airbags
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Old 03-27-2019, 09:05 AM   #9
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I have Firestone Ride-Rite air bags on my Frontier. It helps with rear squat but doesn't help with weight limits.
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Old 03-27-2019, 09:41 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by scocope View Post
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?
Not sure what you mean by "help with towing". Is it sway, squat, payload or all of these.
Consensus from the replies suggests you are due for shocks but without knowing what towing help specifically, it is hard to say. Depending on the hitch and how it is setup, it could address sway and squat. Airbags will address just squat and tongue weight is the only think that will effect payload.
I found this to be a very good video . Keep in mind that it is a hitch manufacturer who made it but unless they fudged the numbers it sheds a different light in what many believed (myself included) airbags will do for you. I assumed that if the back of the truck was back to empty height the front axle would have all of the empty load back on it and additional from the tongue weight. Doesn't seem to be the case.
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Old 03-27-2019, 09:50 AM   #11
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Not sure what you mean by "help with towing". Is it sway, squat, payload or all of these.
Consensus from the replies suggests you are due for shocks but without knowing what towing help specifically, it is hard to say. Depending on the hitch and how it is setup, it could address sway and squat. Airbags will address just squat and tongue weight is the only think that will effect payload.
I found this to be a very good video . Keep in mind that it is a hitch manufacturer who made it but unless they fudged the numbers it sheds a different light in what many believed (myself included) airbags will do for you. I assumed that if the back of the truck was back to empty height the front axle would have all of the empty load back on it and additional from the tongue weight. Doesn't seem to be the case.
This post is assuming you have a bumper pull but when I searched Arctic Wolf all I see is 5th wheels.
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Old 03-27-2019, 10:09 AM   #12
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Bilsteins, equalizer WDH and your towing problems will disappear.
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Old 03-27-2019, 10:14 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scocope View Post
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?
Shocks and air bags address two different problems. You didn't specify a specific problem you're having with towing. At 100K miles a set of Bilsteins certainly will give your TV a solid stable platform.
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Old 03-27-2019, 01:41 PM   #14
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I have installed airbags on my past three trucks. I even installed them on my 1 ton diesel. I have learned that if you raise your truck approx. 1 inch higher than stock empty height, the ride is remarkably softer on the airbags than the springs. I only have to use about 30 pounds in the bags with a 1000 pound tongue weight plus the truck bed load. Been doing this for the past two decades. Even tames down the one ton ride! I always change shocks every 70 k miles!
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Old 03-27-2019, 04:19 PM   #15
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I changed out my bushings ( on a sprinter) and the helped sway and rock, then added bilstein shocks . Just a small test so far, but the rock is mostly fixed. On rear only.
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Old 03-27-2019, 04:20 PM   #16
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Shocks

X2-Bilstein 5100 shocks and Timbren. I added to my Tundra, big improvement. Totally eliminates rear squat and no decrease in ride w/o a load. No bumps when going over bumps w/ 1000 lb. tongue load.
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Old 03-27-2019, 06:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scocope View Post
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.
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Old 03-27-2019, 07:33 PM   #18
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I had “Super Springs” installed. Love them, don’t know they are there till they are put under load and they work.
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Old 03-27-2019, 10:55 PM   #19
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I bought Bilstein 4600 B6 shocks and a Roadmaster Active Suspension kit for my 2002 GMC Sierra 1500 with about 121,000 miles on it. Time to replace the factory shocks for sure.
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Old 03-28-2019, 07:02 AM   #20
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Tried many things such as adding more weight behind axles to level my rig out with the Blue OX set up on a 34 foot Flagstaff and 2013 GMC 3/4 ton. Even bought a scale to verify up front weight. Was really surprised that FR was dead on at 1100 pounds. After installing air bags and playing with settings, got rig level. However truck started feel like it was floating a bit on front Installed Blistens shocks at 40k miles and they settled rig down. You should prepare to add air bags and replace factory shocks to a heavier setup. Quite an investment overall, hard to place a low value on safety!
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