Best Shocks for Towing a Travel Trailer (Heavy Duty) Review and Buying Guide 2022

best shocks for towing and hauling

Shock absorbers are your best friend on the road. Weather you are towing a trailer, rummage trough rough terrain, or constantly carry heavy loads, you should make sure that your truck shock absorbers are reliable and quality ones.

Trucks? Yes, we’re talking about trucks here, not only sedans or regular cars which carry only light passenger load. How damaging it can be if your truck doesn’t have the right shock absorbers designed for your needs?

That’s the reason why I have managed to put together a comprehensive list of the best shocks for towing that will raise and level the back of your truck.

Let’s get started!

Image PreviewProduct NameQuick Links to Amazon
Rancho RS9000XL RS999269 Shock AbsorberCheck Price On Amazon
ACDelco Specialty 504-554 Rear Air Lift Shock AbsorberCheck Price On Amazon
Monroe Shocks & Struts Max-Air MA785 Shock AbsorberCheck Price On Amazon

What to Look For When Choosing the Best Shocks for Towing a Travel Trailer (Heavy Duty)?

  • Buy shock absorbers that can maintain the level height of your truck and has adjustable air pressure – preferably from 20 to 200 psi so that your truck can breathe easily. This adjustability is important because you can easily remove or add air according to your needs.

If it could maintain a ride height that could reach up to 1,100 lbs per pair, that is already exceptional.

  • With regards to the piston rod of the shocks, it should have a smooth chrome finish that is leak proof. It should be resistant to corrosion and also should be digressive and velocity sensitive. It reacts well to changing road and weather conditions but still gives you a smooth ride all the way through.
  • Your chosen heavy duty shocks should also offer full displaced valving which enables you to enjoy a smooth ride aboard your truck. It would also help if, for example, the shocks’ travel length is a little more than 9 inches, but it could have an extended length of up to 25 inches.
  • Its overall body diameter should be approximately 70 mm to show a robust look ideal for heavy loads and towing.

Overall, when all factors are considered, your chosen heavy duty shocks should have a long product life, have a consistent wear surface, and should also possess good seal lubrication.

  • Before buying heavy duty shock absorbers, be sure also that they are compatible with your own brand and make of truck. All the above features are a summary of ideal shocks for towing (heavy duty shocks).

Pro Tip:

Whatever heavy duty shocks you buy, make it a habit to always carry load or tow heavy
burden that’s UNDER CAPACITY of the maximum payload that your truck can carry. Even the best shocks for towing will break apart if you do not pay attention to the limits.

Best Shock Absorbers for Towing and Hauling

1. Monroe MA822 Max-Air Adjust Shock Absorber

There is no coincidence why I chose Monroe at the top of my list. These rear air shocks will definitely satisfy your needs!

Dozens of pleased customers giving positive feedback and vouch for the reliability and quality of this brand over the years.

The air chamber can either be inflated or deflated up to 150 PSI to maintain the ride height even if there is an additional weight of up to 1,200 pounds.

This is important because if your truck is on or above capacity all the time while hauling heavy or towing a trailer, it will eventually break apart.

It is FLEXIBLE TO ADJUST because it can either manually inflate with an air compressor or operate on a special air fitting that resists air leakage and works on a factory default system.

It has EXCEPTIONAL HANDLING because it has a character of full displaced valving on extension and compression cycles, making for a smooth ride.

It is a sintered iron piston and a hardened and precision ground piston rod that does a consistent performance.

The Monroe MA822 Max-Air’s lubricated air sleeve minimizes friction, making it durable and giving you a longer shelf life with a smooth operation.

The OE all weather fluid within contains special modifiers which handles EXTREME TEMPERATURES and lowers friction that guarantees smooth rod reactivity.

  • Maintains the ride height under load.
  • Built to last.
  • Very cheap replacement.
  • Fast and reliable shipment without any damage (well packaged).
  • Some customers complained that they caused rattle sounds.

Also read: Monotube vs Twin Tube Shock Absorbers- Which One to Choose?

2. ACDelco 504-511 Specialty Shocks for Towing and Hauling

Do you know that ACDelco parts like shocks are installed in more than 2 million GM cars every year? This makes ACDelco one of the few Original Equipment (OE) parts to be part of the GM parts brand that is constantly requested for GM vehicle production.

These heavy duty rear shocks are under the ACDelco Parts Warranty (24 months) coverage for those products purchased April 1, 2018, and later. There is coverage for the parts and also possible labor coverage.

These shocks are designed to haul heavy load, towing boats, or towing a trailer.

These shocks have an air pressure adjustable to between 25 and 200 psi and also up to 1,100 lbs per pair of load capacity that it can carry.

When it is loaded, these shocks add or release air as needed to help maintain the level of the vehicle height, stabilize the alignment angles, minimize suspension component wear, improve overall handling and minimize bottoming out risk.

  • Improved handling.
  • Maintains ride height even if fully loaded.
  • Air pressure can be adjusted very easily.
  • Some customers complained that they have gone bad after short period.

3. Gabriel 49235 Hijackers Air Shocks

Gabriel 49235 are the original air adjustable shocks. Hijackers shocks inflate just like your tires do it. Air them up before towing a trailer to minimize the risk of bottoming out. They provide customized performance and support that can be adjusted again and again to handle towing or hauling needs.

Gabriel, as a company, started in 1907 and invented the first shock absorber, followed by the first hydraulic shock absorber, and then the first air adjustable shock absorber.

It levels a loaded vehicle to enable safe driving, has up to 1,100 lbs per pair of leveling capacity.

Hijackers also have a superbly finished chromed piston rod that reduces corrosion, ensures seal lubrication, and makes for more consistent wear of the surface.

It is also leak proof, giving it extended shelf life. It’s Drawn Over Mandrel (DOM) Tubing also minimizes internal wear and tear for longer service life.

  • Corrosion resistant.
  • Made out of durable materials.
  • Excellent brand reputation.
  • Affordable price.
  • Some customers complained for missing parts from the package.
  • Very unclear installing instructions.

4. Bilstein 24191203 Shocks for Towing and Hauling

They are a direct fit heavy duty shocks solution for your lifted truck. Bilstein features a monotube design that provides consistent comfort performance.

It consists of a distinctive digressive and velocity sensitive piston which reacts with the flexibility to changing road conditions. You will feel the sudden substantial improvement in handling, ride quality, and comfort.

Small potholes or bumps on the road are no longer your enemy!

When using Bilstein shocks, you will feel a substantial difference in ride quality especially when towing a trailer.

  • Monotube design for improved all-around performance.
  • Very well known brand on the market.
  • Stops the bounce especially when towing.
  • Oil leakage after short period of usage.
  • Towing near max weight is not recommended.

5. Rancho RS999269 Series Shocks for Towing and Hauling

It’s great adjusting shocks with reserve tubes. This feature allows it to run at a cooler temperature and makes it work flawlessly. It’s 70 mm Body diameter gives it a robust appearance.

This large Rancho 18 mm nitro rod has a durability for long journeys because of its 2x strength capacity.

Its advanced 9 position tuning technology offers 9 different levels of performance.

It shows good looks because of its metallic liquid finish but at the same time makes it long lasting. With regards to long life expectancy, it fulfills that due to its banded piston that is filled with graphite fluon.

The Rancho RS999269 Series Gas-Charged shocks are top choice for towing a travel trailer or heavy duty usage!

  • Easily adjustable.
  • Excellent replacement for stock shocks.
  • Reputable brand.
  • Robust materials for increased durability.
  • Stops the bounce and vibrations.
  • Shocks might arrive defective.
  • No warranty information.

6. Monroe MA785 Max-Air Adjust Shock Absorber

No surprise that I added another one of Monroe’s greatest.

This product is specially designed for your trucks that are towing trailers or hauling heavy loads.

The Monroe MA785 can be inflated or deflated as required from a range of 20 psi up to 150 psi.

It contains special modifiers which reduce friction and guarantee smooth rod reaction. Its hardened and precision ground piston rod which measures 1/2 inch displays consistent performance and long life expectancy.

It offers full displaced valving. There is an efficient valving range on both the compression and extension cycles of the shocks which gives you a comfortable ride.

  • Made in the USA.
  • Ensures a smooth and comfortable ride.
  • Reduce bounce, vibrations, and improves the overall ride quality.
  • Leakage might occur.
  • No warranty.
  • Low quality air lines and fittings.

7. Bilstein 24-186735 Front Shock for Towing and Hauling

The Bilstein 24-186735 Front Shocks are high gas pressure monotubes designed for vehicles carrying heavy loads and towing constantly.

They have a 46 mm digressive piston with a self adjusting deflective disc valving. This model has a larger working piston area which enables super damping ability.

That being said, makes it ideal for heavy towing, hauling, and occasional off road travel.

These shocks have a collapsed length of 11.3 inches and an extended length of 15.76 inches. Its high flow piston minimizes harshness and offers independent rebound and compression tuning.

These shocks are also compatible with large diameter tires when it comes to control on the road.

  • Very durable and long-lasting shocks, even after miles of towing and heavy duty usage.
  • Easy installation, no special hardware needed.
  • Slick design.
  • They start to get bad after 15k miles.

8. ACDelco 504-539 Specialty Rear Air Lift Shock Absorber

It’s very similar in features to the ACDelco 504-511 Air Lift Shock a Absorbers. They are both rear shocks but the 504-539 is $15 cheaper than 504-511. And both ACDelco shock variants appear in more than 2 million GM cars annually.

Similarly, these shocks also offer the same 24 months with unlimited miles warranty and might also include labor coverage for ACDelco shocks purchased on or after April 1, 2018.

These shocks provide awesome handling for temporary situations, such as when your vehicle is towing a trailer or a boat or hauls a heavy load.

But it should not be a regular or continuous thing. These shocks have adjustable air pressure, of a range between 25 and 200 psi, and can carry up to 1,100 lbs per pair of load carrying capacity.

When your vehicle is loaded, these ACDelco shocks help maintain the level of your vehicle height through the increase or decrease of air as required.

They also assist in the stabilization of the alignment angles, minimize suspension component wear, improve vehicle handling, and minimize the risk of bottoming out.

  • Real-world tested.
  • Quality and durable product.
  • Very easy to adjust, between 25 and 200 psi.
  • Load capacity of up to 1,100 lbs (per pair).
  • Much wider than stock shocks.
  • Bad customer support.

Do Heavy Duty Shocks Help With Towing and Heavy Load Duties?

Yes, they definitely do. Shock absorbers help with slowing down and controlling the movement of the vehicle. Keep in mind, truck’s rear leaf spring will have a key role under heavy loads or towing a trailer. Choose shocks that compromise between quality and price if you are on a budget.

Will Adding a Turbo Increase the Towing Capacity?

Putting in a supercharger turbo would help with towing by easing it and increasing the maximum amount that could be towed.

But it’s important that your truck’s drive chain could handle the extra load as well as your brakes.

So it’s also important that you elevate the braking abilities of your truck so it could handle the extra load.

But remember, an added turbo charge would mean something was added to the truck which was not designed within its specifications.

So, everything that will be affected by the increased load should be checked, not only the drive chain and the brakes. One thing that could happen is your engine could heat up from too much added pressure.

My Recommendation

This is hard. All the reviewed heavy duty shocks have their unique features. But it really depends on the brand and make of your truck because each of these shocks are not compatible with all brands. Take for example the 2 variants of ACDelco which are installed on almost all GM vehicles.

I like the fact that ACDelco advertises its 24 months, unlimited mile warranty. With this feature, it’s almost like advertising GM vehicles too.

I also admire those heavy duty shocks which could be inflated and deflated at will, depending on your requirements for your present load. All the brands, except for Bilstein are adjustable with air pressure in the heavy duty shocks. So choose among them.

Those shocks which have a distinctive difference between their collapsed length and full length have advantage over the other ones, because this would help a lot with heavy loads that the shocks won’t break because of the big allowance in compression. And Bilstein makes a big deal about this feature.

But what really stands out here is Rancho. It is a brand that doesn’t usually get recommended in regular size vehicles. But it gets a 5 star rating when it comes to heavy duty shocks.

Imagine, it’s the only nitrogen gas charged shocks in the group. They are not only self adjusting shocks but they also have reserve tubes which the other brands don’t offer.

I believe no other brand of shocks in the group offers this versatility.

So, the best shocks for towing are the Rancho RS999269 on my list, but check if it’s compatible with your vehicle. If your truck is a GM, go with ACDelco, because they’re trusted, partners.

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