Added RAS suspension to my truck. - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 06-12-2019, 10:36 PM   #1
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Added RAS suspension to my truck.

I installed the Roadmaster Active Suspension system to my rear leaf springs today. This system is supposed to act like an overload spring or airbag to level the load and improve handling. It was pretty straight forward to install and it did level the truck while hitched to our 5.0 TA. We leave tomorrow for a two-week trip to Idaho, Utah and Colorado. I will report back once I have some miles behind us regarding the ride and handling. I met someone at the rally that has had this system for the last three years and they were very happy with the results.

Oh, the reason I went with this system is that the B&W bracket for my gooseneck ball uses the same mounting holes as an airbag system. So I had to find a different solution.

1st picture is the coil spring added to the rear half of the drivers side leaf spring. (The red components are the TRD anti-sway bars.)

2nd picture is the rig all hooked up and the truck nice a level. I used to sag about an inch and a half. Now it only drops about a half inch.
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Old 06-12-2019, 10:52 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arniesea View Post
1st picture is the coil spring added to the rear half of the drivers side leaf spring. (The red components are the TRD anti-sway bars.)
....
is that a TRD Sport setup? my TRD Off Road had no rear sway bar (I've heard anti-sway bars are anathema for off-roading, you WANT the two sides to have separate compliance for traveling over uneven terrain).
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:27 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
is that a TRD Sport setup? my TRD Off Road had no rear sway bar (I've heard anti-sway bars are anathema for off-roading, you WANT the two sides to have separate compliance for traveling over uneven terrain).
I agree that you don’t want them for off-roading.

The truck is a 2017 Tundra Platinum. I added the TRD sway bar myself for towing the 5.0 TA. It made a difference on curvy mountain roads. I used to have a 2016 Tacoma TRD Sport so I was already familiar with how the sway bars influenced the handling.
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:37 PM   #4
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ah, mine was a '08 Tacoma, so all kinda different. 4.0L V6, 6 speed stick shift. the TRD OR package added some niceties like light under armor, a push-button lockable rear diff, and such. With new KO2 tires in the stock size it was awesome off road in anything other than deep slick mud.
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Old 07-02-2019, 11:17 PM   #5
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RAS Suspension follow up.

So I wanted to post a follow up to my prior thread after a 3,000 mile trip to Colorado and back to Washington.

The RAS suspension mod to my Tundra worked better than I hoped. Not only did it level the load (my primary objective) it made the ride noticeably better. My wife even commented on it unprompted in the first few miles! The suspension is much more compliant. Over freeway expansion strips and the like, the truck now seems to glide over the bumps instead of skipping and lurching.

The entire rig is more stable. On the way out we traveled through Steamboat Springs over Rabbit Ears pass where we had blinding snow on June 21st! The truck was solid and stable. Granted in those conditions we slowed to 35 - 40 MPH and nestled in behind a big truck to let it clear the way.

On the way home across Idaho we experienced some good head winds and cross winds. We hardly felt them the ride was so stable. Some of the the interstate was under construction so they shifted us to 2-way traffic. Still on coming trucks barley affected the rig. I did notice a significant drop in gas milage compared to the way out.

All in all, I am very happy!
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Old 07-03-2019, 06:11 AM   #6
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Thanks for the report. I am thinking about adding these to my F150.
I've got Timbrens on now and they seem to be a little harsh when the truck is heavily loaded.
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Old 07-03-2019, 05:57 PM   #7
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I have also been looking at adding the RAS suspension to my truck. Can you provide any more information about the ease of difficulty of the installation?
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Old 07-03-2019, 07:00 PM   #8
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I have also been looking at adding the RAS suspension to my truck. Can you provide any more information about the ease of difficulty of the installation?
All you need is a good floor jack and good jack stands. And of course a socket and wrench set with a torque wrench. (I had a cheap floor jack so I needed a cheater bar to get the truck high enough.)

Basically, here is the process:
- Chock the front wheels.
- Position the floor jack under the differential. Loosen the Lug nuts on both rear tires.
- Jack up the rear high enough to remove the wheels.
- Position the jack stand under the front mounting pins of the leaf springs.
- Lower rig so weight of truck is on jack stands. Raise floor jack 1/2" for safety and double check front wheel chocks.
- Remove rear wheels.
- Install RAS spring per directions for your model of truck. (RAS models are year and truck model specific. Easy to order.)
- Pretension spring for your application. Kit comes with feeler discs to slip between the coils of the spring to gauge tension. Can be set to 25% or 40% of payload capacity. In my case 40% almost exactly matched my 5th wheel pin weight.
- Reinstall rear wheels, snug lug nuts.
- Remove jack stand and lower truck onto wheels.
- Torque lug nuts to spec. Remove front wheel chocks.
- Take for a test drive!

There are several videos on their website. https://activesuspension.com/video-gallery/

Good Luck!
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Old 07-04-2019, 10:09 AM   #9
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Arnie, does this setup make the ride of the truck much more harsh or stiff while not pulling the trailer? Mark
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Old 07-04-2019, 10:37 AM   #10
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I totally agree with you,,, I install the same kit on my F-150 last month. It really is a difference between night/day with or without the trailer attached. Somewhat costly but well worth it.
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Old 07-04-2019, 12:36 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Mark&Elaine View Post
Arnie, does this setup make the ride of the truck much more harsh or stiff while not pulling the trailer? Mark
No! That was the surprise! The ride actually improved without a load as well.
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Old 07-04-2019, 07:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arniesea View Post
All you need is a good floor jack and good jack stands. And of course a socket and wrench set with a torque wrench. (I had a cheap floor jack so I needed a cheater bar to get the truck high enough.)

Basically, here is the process:
- Chock the front wheels.
- Position the floor jack under the differential. Loosen the Lug nuts on both rear tires.
- Jack up the rear high enough to remove the wheels.
- Position the jack stand under the front mounting pins of the leaf springs.
- Lower rig so weight of truck is on jack stands. Raise floor jack 1/2" for safety and double check front wheel chocks.
- Remove rear wheels.
- Install RAS spring per directions for your model of truck. (RAS models are year and truck model specific. Easy to order.)
- Pretension spring for your application. Kit comes with feeler discs to slip between the coils of the spring to gauge tension. Can be set to 25% or 40% of payload capacity. In my case 40% almost exactly matched my 5th wheel pin weight.
- Reinstall rear wheels, snug lug nuts.
- Remove jack stand and lower truck onto wheels.
- Torque lug nuts to spec. Remove front wheel chocks.
- Take for a test drive!

There are several videos on their website. https://activesuspension.com/video-gallery/

Good Luck!

Thanks for the detailed reply. I've been interested in the RAS for quite a while so it's nice to hear from an Escape owner with experience. Have you noticed whether or not it noticably raised the back of your truck?

Also, after looking at some of the videos it appears that some of the installations went with removing the rest wheels, others were able to install without having to do that.

Chuck
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Old 10-15-2019, 03:50 AM   #13
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RAS Report

Arnie, my thanks also for the installation report and the follow-up trip report.
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Old 04-29-2020, 01:12 PM   #14
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Hurry - Roadmaster Active Suspension on Sale

I have been waiting (hoping for a sale) to order the Roadmaster Active Suspension.

Yesterday I logged into their site and found it on sale at $75 off. I called and ordered it. There was an added bonus on my invoice, I was not billed any sales tax!

Great buy, but I think the sale ends tomorrow 4/30/2020.
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Old 04-29-2020, 03:22 PM   #15
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I believe it was me who spoke with Arnie at the rally. I had an RAS on my 2015 F-150. Interestingly enough, I have spoken about the “electrocution” of that truck; death by EMP from a very close lightning strike. I ordered an RAS for my replacement 2020 F-150 and they offered to install it at a ridiculously low price, but COVID-19 shut them down before it arrived. They just reopened “non-contact” so I got it installed this morning. The RAS is designed to start working at a certain load level, but doesn’t stiffen the ride when empty. It does, however, make handling more crisp whether the bed is empty or loaded. There was a noticeable difference on the way home versus the ride to the shop. IMO, well worth the price.
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Old 04-29-2020, 04:49 PM   #16
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Seems like a lot of F-150 truck owners towing an Escape 5.0TA are upgrading, is there an issue with the stock rear suspension and the 5th wheel set up. Have you measured your pin weight as well as axle weight before the upgrade?
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Old 04-29-2020, 06:09 PM   #17
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Seems like a lot of F-150 truck owners towing an Escape 5.0TA are upgrading, is there an issue with the stock rear suspension and the 5th wheel set up. Have you measured your pin weight as well as axle weight before the upgrade?
My pin weight is 800 lbs, my payload is 1773 lbs.

We do load heavy and I would recon I am pushing 1600 lbs of the 1733. I drop almost 2" when loaded, the Roadmaster should keep me on a more level keel. Also, I had some "porpoising" on certain freeways last year so I am hoping that the Roadmasters will squelch that for me.
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Old 04-29-2020, 06:29 PM   #18
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Seems like a lot of F-150 truck owners towing an Escape 5.0TA are upgrading, is there an issue with the stock rear suspension and the 5th wheel set up. Have you measured your pin weight as well as axle weight before the upgrade?

Hi Jim,

With the 5th wheel we do not have the benefits of a WDH to level our rigs. That is why this system is appealing to 5.0 owners.

The RAS system is basically a progressive load leveling suspension add on. It will NOT increase your payload capacity. It is more akin to air bags but instead of inflating the air bags to X number of pounds based on load, this system is dynamic and automatic.

So the reason to install it is to help the truck to travel level under load and not squat.
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Old 04-29-2020, 06:31 PM   #19
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I believe it was me who spoke with Arnie at the rally.
Yes, and I appreciated your feedback, Carl. I didn't want to name you without permission. ;-) Thanks again!
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Old 04-29-2020, 06:36 PM   #20
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Exclamation

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Seems like a lot of F-150 truck owners towing an Escape 5.0TA are upgrading, is there an issue with the stock rear suspension and the 5th wheel set up. Have you measured your pin weight as well as axle weight before the upgrade?
There really is no issue with the F-150 rear suspension. It is as sufficient as any other manufacturer’s suspension. I towed a 5th Wheel for almost 4 years without a RAS with my 2012 F-150. A RAS is not necessary for a F-150, but it does make the suspension’s response crisper. It is sort of like a subwoofer on a stereo system. The subwoofer is not an absolute necessity but it is an improvement in delivering bass frequencies. Think of it this way. You could buy an Escape and use it for the rest of your life as it was delivered from ETI; it is adequate as delivered. But almost everyone executes some mods........The RAS typically “kicks in” when the leaf springs start being stressed, alleviating sag, but it does not make the ride any stiffer before the stress point is reached. The RAS utilizes coil springs to augment the vehicle’s leaf springs. When the cargo weight increases, the RAS, which is adjusted during the installation, compensates for the additional cargo weight. It does NOT, however, increase cargo capacity. Allow me to exaggerate; it makes the F-150 handle like a Corvette!

Actually, I suggest you go to RAS’s website and watch their video.
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