Project Tundra, Leveling it out with a Hellwig Big Wig Air Lift Kit

Project Tundra: Leveling it out with a Hellwig Big Wig Air Lift

by Mike Kojima

In the last edition of Project Tundra, we had installed Hellwig's adjustable rear antisway bar in an effort to improve our truck's balance and limit body body roll to help keep our stability control from activating prematurely. 

Now to finish up our chassis tuning we wanted to address a problem all trucks that tow have. With tongue weight in place the back of a trucks sags lower and the front lifts higher.  This makes the handling a little squirrely at times, the steering getting light a lot due to the geometry changes of the front end when under droop. The heavily loaded rear suspension is also prone to bottom out with bigger enclosed trailers which can make things interesting and possibly damage the trailer jack.

To fix this by leveling out our truck without hurting our ride, we decided to go with a set of Hellwig Big Wig air bags.  The air bags can increase the rear suspension's capacity by 2700 lbs and restore the proper ride height improving stability and laden ride.  When finished towing, the bags can be depressurized for a stock ride height. and smooth ride.

The air bags can also be used for chassis tuning by increasing the rear spring rate to reduce understeer.  This is handy if you are autocrossing your 4X4 tow truck or want to make the stability control less active!

To Read More about Project Tundra click here!

The Hellwig Big Wig airbag kit uses these heavy duty air springs and stamped steel brackets to mount them on your truck's axle and chassis.  The brackets are application specific to make installation an easy bolt on operation.
The Hellwig Big Wig air spring is large in diameter with a big air volume.  This makes the air spring more progressive for a smoother ride.  You can also get more lift at a lower air pressure which also means a smoother ride while loaded.  The pleated construction means the bag will not be damaged when running at lower pressure like simple single bag system can.
To keep our system totally self contained and easily adjustable we got Hellwig's high duty cycle compressor system.  This allows us to adjust our air springs easily on the fly without having to stop at a gas station.  This is very convenient for ad hoc suspension tuning and even things like connecting and uncoupling your trailer ball.
Most of Hellwig's compressor systems are plug and play but they did not make a plug and play system for a Tundra so we decided to modify the system from a Chevy Silverado because the brackets for the compressor and air tank looked like they might work.

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