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2014 Nissan Armada Platinum
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Discussion Starter #1
I use my Armada for towing a camper and not much else. It has <50,000 miles and is an excellent tow vehicle.

Looking at a new camper that is well within weight tow capacity of the vehicle, however it has a tongue weight of 800 lbs. Has anyone changed out the rear suspension air ride or upgraded in any way to handle a higher tongue weight?

Thanks,
Dave
 

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For reference, my loaded trailer tongue weight is 800+. As long as your air leveling suspension is working and you have an appropriately set up weight distribution hitch, you'll probably be fine. Be mindful where you add cargo weight as you really are near capacity. My trailer's listed unloaded tongue weight is way under 800 but I made a point to weigh it once full and I was a bit surprised. Changing the rear suspension doesn't increase the tongue rating of the Armada (I think it could handle more with upgrades, but if you exceed the rating, that's on you!) but rather helps increase the handling performance, especially if you're regularly approaching the limits. Some options are you can add stiffer springs or Firestone coil-rite air helper bags or Timbren suspension enhancement system. There's lots of reviews on all these options here. I've changed out my suspension because I didn't like the way it handled, even when unloaded...felt too floaty...perhaps the air shocks were just worn out. So I got rid of my air all together in favor of stiffer springs with Coil-rite air bags and Bilstein shocks. Removing the air shocks required the stiffer springs, the Coil-rites were an easy bonus that I've hardly really needed. If you think your air shocks are in good condition, I'd personally recommend just replacing the springs for the stiffer ones. It would result in a firmer ride under normal conditions but would still have the air available for heavier loads, but now with the assistance of the stiffer springs.
 
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For reference, my loaded trailer tongue weight is 800+. As long as your air leveling suspension is working and you have an appropriately set up weight distribution hitch, you'll probably be fine. Be mindful where you add cargo weight as you really are near capacity. My trailer's listed unloaded tongue weight is way under 800 but I made a point to weigh it once full and I was a bit surprised. Changing the rear suspension doesn't increase the tongue rating of the Armada (I think it could handle more with upgrades, but if you exceed the rating, that's on you!) but rather helps increase the handling performance, especially if you're regularly approaching the limits. Some options are you can add stiffer springs or Firestone coil-rite air helper bags or Timbren suspension enhancement system. There's lots of reviews on all these options here. I've changed out my suspension because I didn't like the way it handled, even when unloaded...felt too floaty...perhaps the air shocks were just worn out. So I got rid of my air all together in favor of stiffer springs with Coil-rite air bags and Bilstein shocks. Removing the air shocks required the stiffer springs, the Coil-rites were an easy bonus that I've hardly really needed. If you think your air shocks are in good condition, I'd personally recommend just replacing the springs for the stiffer ones. It would result in a firmer ride under normal conditions but would still have the air available for heavier loads, but now with the assistance of the stiffer springs.
What springs did you use as a replacement?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
For reference, my loaded trailer tongue weight is 800+. As long as your air leveling suspension is working and you have an appropriately set up weight distribution hitch, you'll probably be fine. Be mindful where you add cargo weight as you really are near capacity. My trailer's listed unloaded tongue weight is way under 800 but I made a point to weigh it once full and I was a bit surprised. Changing the rear suspension doesn't increase the tongue rating of the Armada (I think it could handle more with upgrades, but if you exceed the rating, that's on you!) but rather helps increase the handling performance, especially if you're regularly approaching the limits. Some options are you can add stiffer springs or Firestone coil-rite air helper bags or Timbren suspension enhancement system. There's lots of reviews on all these options here. I've changed out my suspension because I didn't like the way it handled, even when unloaded...felt too floaty...perhaps the air shocks were just worn out. So I got rid of my air all together in favor of stiffer springs with Coil-rite air bags and Bilstein shocks. Removing the air shocks required the stiffer springs, the Coil-rites were an easy bonus that I've hardly really needed. If you think your air shocks are in good condition, I'd personally recommend just replacing the springs for the stiffer ones. It would result in a firmer ride under normal conditions but would still have the air available for heavier loads, but now with the assistance of the stiffer springs.
Appreciate the detailed reply. Air leveling suspension seems to work as designed and I use a weight distribution hitch, but I have never pulled onto the scales to get true numbers at each axle. Current camper is 6400 dry weight with a reported 750 lb tongue weight and towing is no problem, thing actually handles very well. Looking at a 35 foot camper, 6600 lbs with tongue weight of 820.

Agree with you on the ride feel, and likely will change out the air but if not, did not realize I can just replace the springs for stiffer ones. Did you update or replace anything on the front suspension?
 

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What springs did you use as a replacement?
Moog 81085 These would be equivalent to the factory springs on the non-air model Armadas (SV I think), so you don't have to use Moog, just know what version of the springs you're looking for. The initial ride height is a smidge higher and some would say you need an alignment due to that fact, I haven't and have not had any handling or uneven tire wear issues....thankfully because my rear end components are probably all seized up and wouldn't be able to do an alignment without cutting everything off!

Appreciate the detailed reply. Air leveling suspension seems to work as designed and I use a weight distribution hitch, but I have never pulled onto the scales to get true numbers at each axle. Current camper is 6400 dry weight with a reported 750 lb tongue weight and towing is no problem, thing actually handles very well. Looking at a 35 foot camper, 6600 lbs with tongue weight of 820.

Agree with you on the ride feel, and likely will change out the air but if not, did not realize I can just replace the springs for stiffer ones. Did you update or replace anything on the front suspension?
35ft, wow! Mines 28ft, and at that length, it wasn't the weight I was trying to manage so much as the sway! I got it under control now with a much better WDH with integrated 4 point friction sway control. Man, I wish the Armada came in an extended length with a longer wheel base... I feel like that would be the perfect set up!

I did also replace the struts on the front end. BILSTEIN 24197656. These are for stock ride height (they have some adjustable one for lifted Armadas too). They didn't come preloaded with new springs, just used my original ones. If you end up replacing the rear shocks, go with BILSTEIN 24276801. Don't get the Ranchos. They have adjustable ones that sound cool, nothing but bad reviews here though. Anything else I replaced was simply wear and tear items, no other upgrades. By the way, if you ever need to replace anti-sway bar bushings, use OEM ONLY...I haven't heard a single recommendation for good aftermarket ones and I can vouch for that personally as well! Only other considerations I can think of if you haven't already might be tires. Something to handle higher PSI for better weight handling. I personally went from factory SL to XL rating, nothing too crazy.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
35ft, wow! Mines 28ft, and at that length, it wasn't the weight I was trying to manage so much as the sway! I got it under control now with a much better WDH with integrated 4 point friction sway control. Man, I wish the Armada came in an extended length with a longer wheel base... I feel like that would be the perfect set up!

I did also replace the struts on the front end. BILSTEIN 24197656. These are for stock ride height (they have some adjustable one for lifted Armadas too). They didn't come preloaded with new springs, just used my original ones. If you end up replacing the rear shocks, go with BILSTEIN 24276801. Don't get the Ranchos. They have adjustable ones that sound cool, nothing but bad reviews here though. Anything else I replaced was simply wear and tear items, no other upgrades. By the way, if you ever need to replace anti-sway bar bushings, use OEM ONLY...I haven't heard a single recommendation for good aftermarket ones and I can vouch for that personally as well! Only other considerations I can think of if you haven't already might be tires. Something to handle higher PSI for better weight handling. I personally went from factory SL to XL rating, nothing too crazy.
My current trailer is 30 foot and with the proper set up handles very well. 5 feet longer will be more of challenge but hoping with adjustments and proper set up I can keep the sway under control. Don't want to do it, but worst case is to move to a pick up 2500/250 variety. But my Armada is way to nice to give up on, we love everything about it, only pull it out of the garage when the whole family is riding together!

I had a blow out on the back trailer tire last year rolling about 70 mph in the middle of nowhere. Thankfully the front tire was not impacted and I pulled over safely when I could. I am impressed and amazed with the power of the 5.6L and the tranny. Never even see any transmission heat build up and we have trailered 400+ miles several times.

Take care and happy trails!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Air suspension will be the first to fail. How many miles do you have the vehicle?
Roughly 50,000. The only issue I have ever experienced was the pump did not engage after hooking up the trailer and I had to raise the jack up and lower it back on. Otherwise, the air leveling suspension has performed as designed.
 
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