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.

Sag
On Hellwig’s advice, we went with the Pro Series spring kit and a rear sway bar kit. We installed some new shocks front and rear while we were at it.
On Hellwig’s advice, we went with the Pro Series spring kit and a rear sway bar kit. We installed some new shocks front and rear while we were at it.
Go Big Truck Performance owner Tiger Garcia laid out the spring kit as per the instructions in the kit. These springs made a big difference in towing performance, and the installation was simple.
Go Big Truck Performance owner Tiger Garcia laid out the spring kit as per the instructions in the kit. These springs made a big difference in towing performance, and the installation was simple.
This photo shows several steps combined into one. Lay the Pro Series springs atop the OEM leaves and place the black silencer bushings on the ends. Once everything is in place, position the U bolts as shown. Be sure the long end of the springs are installed at the rear of the truck, and that the offset U bolts angle toward the axle, not away from it.
This photo shows several steps combined into one. Lay the Pro Series springs atop the OEM leaves and place the black silencer bushings on the ends. Once everything is in place, position the U bolts as shown. Be sure the long end of the springs are installed at the rear of the truck, and that the offset U bolts angle toward the axle, not away from it.
When you get all the U bolts in place, install the U bolt cross bars and spin the nuts onto each threaded portion. Be sure the springs stay in the proper position as you torque the nuts down.
When you get all the U bolts in place, install the U bolt cross bars and spin the nuts onto each threaded portion. Be sure the springs stay in the proper position as you torque the nuts down.
This is the front of the Pro Series spring where it fastens to the OEM leaf spring.
This is the front of the Pro Series spring where it fastens to the OEM leaf spring.
This is the rear of the spring setup where it fastens to the OEM leaf. Front and rear cross bars should be set so they won’t contact the lower-most leaf of the stack, shown here at the bottom left corner.
This is the rear of the spring setup where it fastens to the OEM leaf. Front and rear cross bars should be set so they won’t contact the lower-most leaf of the stack, shown here at the bottom left corner.
Each bolt has a torque spec. In the case of the nine-sixteenths offset U bolts that hold the center of the Pro Series springs in place, the spec is 70 to 90 foot-pounds. Go Big Truck Performance owner Tiger Garcia elected to go with the high spec.
Each bolt has a torque spec. In the case of the nine-sixteenths offset U bolts that hold the center of the Pro Series springs in place, the spec is 70 to 90 foot-pounds. Go Big Truck Performance owner Tiger Garcia elected to go with the high spec.
Once you get all the nuts torqued to spec, add a double nut so they don’t back off. That’s it for installing the Pro Series springs.
Once you get all the nuts torqued to spec, add a double nut so they don’t back off. That’s it for installing the Pro Series springs.
As he did with the spring kit, Garcia laid out all the components of the sway bar kit before installation.
As he did with the spring kit, Garcia laid out all the components of the sway bar kit before installation.
The bushings don’t come installed in the end links. They press in easily with the supplied grease and a vise.
The bushings don’t come installed in the end links. They press in easily with the supplied grease and a vise.
Four hands will help a lot in the installation of the rear sway bar. Run the U bolts under the brake lines — of course — and tighten the brackets on with the supplied nuts. Be sure everything is centered before you tighten it down.
Four hands will help a lot in the installation of the rear sway bar. Run the U bolts under the brake lines — of course — and tighten the brackets on with the supplied nuts. Be sure everything is centered before you tighten it down.
The end links are offset, so be sure you offset the end attached to the frame so they mate properly.
The end links are offset, so be sure you offset the end attached to the frame so they mate properly.
Here you can see how the end links are offset. You also can see where the brackets attach to the tubular cross member that runs between the frame rails.
Here you can see how the end links are offset. You also can see where the brackets attach to the tubular cross member that runs between the frame rails.
Here’s a look at how everything fits together, from the sway bar attachment point to where it connects to the frame. Everything is still hand tight in this picture to ensure proper fitment before torqueing all the nuts and bolts.
Here’s a look at how everything fits together, from the sway bar attachment point to where it connects to the frame. Everything is still hand tight in this picture to ensure proper fitment before torqueing all the nuts and bolts.
Here’s a look at the whole installation upon completion. The Hellwig components are powder-coated in a hammer-tone finish.
Here’s a look at the whole installation upon completion. The Hellwig components are powder-coated in a hammer-tone finish.

VIDEO

Hellwig Products posted a video of an installation on its YouTube channel, so we borrowed it to show you how easy it is.

 

RESOURCES

www.HellwigProducts.com

800-367-5480

www.gobigtruckperformance.com

805-650-6169

Springs129 copy

 

Comments
Image courtesy of Brett Becker