At one time, a half-ton truck was plenty capable for towing a racecar to and from the track. Then the open trailer became an enclosed trailer. Then we started taking more things in the truck and trailer to the track with us. Heavy things. Pretty soon, the truck was sagging under the load and a looking a little taxed.
But we still had 1,000 pounds of towing capacity in excess of the trailer we were towing, so it’s not like we needed a three-quarter-ton truck to do the job. Besides, HD trucks are expensive, especially those with diesel engines, and a new or new-to-me truck just wasn’t in the budget. We didn’t need a three-quarter-ton truck. The truck we had just needed a little boost, so we thought we’d make the half-ton into … a five-eighths-ton pickup. Yes, a five-eighths ton truck. That would do nicely.
We contacted the folks at Hellwig Products, a Visalia, Calif., company that has specialized in load and sway control products for trucks and cars for 65 years. We told them what we were dealing with, and they recommended a Pro Series spring kit, which is a simple bolt-on installation. That sounded like just the ticket, but they also recommended a rear sway bar kit, which is a great complement to the load-control springs. While we were under there, we threw some shocks at it, too.
“We’ve got a helper spring to take care of any application or need. It’s a matter of knowing just what you want to do with your vehicle,” said Melanie White with Hellwig Products. “We’ve got springs perfect for weekend haulers or folks who are constantly fully loaded. Our Load Control Page is a good place to start to know what helper spring to look for. Or you can always look up your vehicle first and see what options are available. Hellwig also has a full-time tech support that can help you determine the right fit for your vehicle as well, he can be found at 800-367-5480.”
The installation took about three hours at Go Big Truck Performance in Ventura, Calif. It helps to have a lift and an extra set of hands, but this is a job you can do in your driveway. Just support the frame rails on jack stands and you’re good to go. And it was worth doing, too. The new springs let the truck ride level and firm, with less bounce over undulating pavement. The new shocks helped with rebound control, obviously, but because of the helper springs, there was less bounce in the first place.
The sway bar helped, and not just while towing but also during everyday driving. The end links are adjustable, too, so you can dial them in however you like them. You don’t need any special tools to do this job. Everything bolts on. Here’s how the installation went.
Hellwig Products posted a video of an installation on its YouTube channel, so we borrowed it to show you how easy it is.