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I am in the process of lowering a lifted F250 for the purpose of towing a 5th wheel.

I have a 2001 F250 SD crew cab, short bed, 4WD, 7.3L, auto trans. I bought the truck to tow a 5th wheel. The truck met my criteria in every respect but one. It came with a custom lift and oversized wheels and tires.

I have already corrected the wheels and tires. I went back to stock 16” Ford wheels for my model truck. The wheels are actually off of an Excursion. I then put stock tires on it. It now has Michelin Defender LTX M/S LT265/75 R16 tires on it.

I am planning on going back to stock level springs, but I am open to suggestions. My understanding is that, because the truck is 4WD, most 5th wheels are going to sit a little high in the front at stock truck height and going with any lift in the rear would only make it worse.

I will probably buy a 15 to 20 year-old 5th wheel trailer between 27 and 29 feet long with a dry weight around 8,000 lbs. and a GVW of 11-12,000 lbs. The hitch weight will be around 1,800 lbs.

I intend to add air bags in the rear and will probably go with Air Lift Load Lifter 5000 or Firestone 2071, but I am also open to recommendations.

Here are my questions:

Does anyone have any recommendations on spring manufacturers or resellers? So far, I have identified Michigan Truck Springs and SD Truck Springs.

Should I consider adding a few leaves? It appears that 4, 5 and 6 leaves are common.

Should I consider a 2” lift in the front?

Does anyone have recommendations on shocks? I currently have Bilsteins on the truck and have used them on a number of past vehicles. The truck rides a little too stiff for me, but that could be due to the springs. The truck currently has 6” Deaver springs in the front and Atlas springs in the back. I am not sure of the lift in the back, but the truck sits dead level, so I am guessing that it is a 4” lift.

Any recommendations on air bags?

Thanks in advance for any recommendations.
 

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re: shocks, I've used Bilsteins for years on european sporty-sedans, but on trucks for towing and occasional dirt roads, I like the Rancho 9000XL's, with the adjustable damping, I have mine set for 5 in front, 7 in rear (on a 1-9 scale). stock springs on my f250 longbed, the 2002 came with the helper spring for max loads.
 
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