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Old 12-08-2020, 02:53 PM   #1
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F450 PU w/ rear Kelderman Air Suspension

I plan to order an F450 PU shortly. This truck will pull my 5th wheel trailer and be a very frequent (but not a daily) driver. Despite the substantial cost, I'm considering replacement of the factory rear suspension with a 4-link Kelderman Air suspension. What I'm hoping to accomplish is a smoother ride at a consistent ride height, whether fully loaded or running empty.

I would really like to hear from F450 PU owners riding on a rear Kelderman Air suspension. Are my goals realistic? Is the Kelderman system reliable/durable? Did the Kelderman system meet your expectations (in other words, would you install it again)?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 12-08-2020, 04:54 PM   #2
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Sorry can't add much but my F-450 rode much better when towing than when solo.
Also my F-450 6 speed 4:30 gearing was much happier towing than driving solo.

Stock 2012 F-450.
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Old 12-08-2020, 08:26 PM   #3
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You blow a bag and you are dead beside road. I had semiís with airbag systems . I never blew a bag but l had some that leaked down . Changing them out was easy . I have a 2020 Ram with factory air over springs . So far it has worked well . Rides good loaded or empty . Not car like but not buckboard either .
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Old 12-08-2020, 09:41 PM   #4
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You blow a bag and you are dead beside road. I had semiís with airbag systems . I never blew a bag but l had some that leaked down . Changing them out was easy . I have a 2020 Ram with factory air over springs . So far it has worked well . Rides good loaded or empty . Not car like but not buckboard either .
You bust a spring or U bolts and your dead on the side of the road too.
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Old 12-09-2020, 04:40 AM   #5
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Considering the suspension in the c&c trucks is about non existent, id say anything will be an improvement. Any of our big trucks with air suspension ride better than even our srw 1 tons by alot.
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Old 12-09-2020, 06:32 AM   #6
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Considering the suspension in the c&c trucks is about non existent, id say anything will be an improvement. Any of our big trucks with air suspension ride better than even our srw 1 tons by alot.

Agreed! However, I'm getting the F450 pickup, not the chassis cab. In my case, I'm hoping for a smoother ride at a consistent ride height, whether fully loaded or running empty. Of course, "smoother ride" is both relative (a chassis cab needs more help than a pickup) and subjective (everyone will have differing views on what is or is not acceptably smooth).
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Old 12-09-2020, 07:33 AM   #7
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I must be a bit crazy because I thought my my neutered F-450 actually rode ok. This was a 2012 stock F-450. My friend bought a new 2011 Ram 3500 C&C with a hauler bed. I drove his truck 550 miles and thought it also was an ok ride. Solo 550 miles and 550 miles pulling a empty 40' horse trailer with living quaters.

A long time ago, maybe 30 years I read that Mercedes Benz rides good because the frame is stiff. This allows engineers to make the suspension smoother.

All New trucks have a stiff frame and don't buck like old trucks.
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Old 12-09-2020, 11:02 AM   #8
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I plan to order an F450 PU shortly. This truck will pull my 5th wheel trailer and be a very frequent (but not a daily) driver. Despite the substantial cost, I'm considering replacement of the factory rear suspension with a 4-link Kelderman Air suspension. What I'm hoping to accomplish is a smoother ride at a consistent ride height, whether fully loaded or running empty.

I would really like to hear from F450 PU owners riding on a rear Kelderman Air suspension. Are my goals realistic? Is the Kelderman system reliable/durable? Did the Kelderman system meet your expectations (in other words, would you install it again)?

Thanks in advance!

I have a friend who bought a brand new F450 and it went from the factory directly to Kelderman and had their system installed and he flew there to pick it up and drove it back to California. He tows his 19k Landmark with it and says the ride is amazing!
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Old 12-09-2020, 04:42 PM   #9
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I think we have different definitions of what a good ride means. When i say good ride, i mean like 70s land barge, where youre 100% insulated from the road in comfort. My experience with airbags is that this is the ride that they can set up for, a very plush ride if theyre turned down. Its my opinion that all the new trucks should come with air ride for what they cost. There has been adjustable ride in cars for years, but trucks are so far behind.
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Old 12-11-2020, 01:50 PM   #10
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I have a friend who has one installed on his F350 as well as all of his work trucks (F450's and F550's) and the ride is amazing! He likes them so much he outfits all of their work trucks once they take delivery of them.
You will not be disappointed. I will be installing the Kelderman on my truck sometime this winter for the same reasons you are.
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Old 12-12-2020, 09:27 AM   #11
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Thanks, 2Curtass. Your post echos the majority of feedback I've seen. There is a price to pay (of course), so some will see value and others will not. I am thankful that everyone can still decide for themselves.
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Old 12-12-2020, 09:49 AM   #12
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You blow a bag and you are dead beside road. I had semiís with airbag systems . I never blew a bag but l had some that leaked down . Changing them out was easy . I have a 2020 Ram with factory air over springs . So far it has worked well . Rides good loaded or empty . Not car like but not buckboard either .

Bags don't "blow often" , your more likely to find a pin hole from sand or road hazards and the compressor runs alot and sits on the bump stops first thing in the morning before your start the truck. That's is your early warning signs. We just had new air bags put in or shop 2011 Kenworth it has 360,000 mile and this was the first replacement being done. There is a lot of Ambulances running around on F450 frames with Kellerman air ride, as long as the installer does a good job of installing things so the hoses don't get rubbing on bolts or sharp edges its a great upgrade. Its a round $5K with out a compressor. Get the compressor and auto level and a dump switch added to the base package. Other then a wheel alignment I feel this is something that could be installed in the drive way by the owner IF your are a shade tree mechanic with a good tool box.
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Old 12-24-2020, 01:02 AM   #13
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From what I've seen on the Facebook F450 group, it's the tires that contribute the most to the harsh ride. Unless you're carrying or pulling something obscenely heavy, you don't need the 19.5" commercial Continentals. You could just as easily install 20" forged rims and some 35/12.50R20 or 37/12.50R20 tires, and that alone will significantly improve your ride AND your tracking (the commercial Contis tend to track grooves in the pavement).

You can also install different shocks or even go to Carli and have them install one of their suspensions.

One BIG issue you'd better pay attention to though, is that if you raise the truck up (either with taller tires or lift kit), your fifth wheel may no longer be level with your truck. The Superduties have very tall bed rails. So you won't have that much clearance, although the 2021 has about 1" more than my 2017 does because Ford lowered it by that much.

Your fifth wheel should always be level with your truck. If you go with the Kelderman air ride, you won't be able to raise the truck up when you're towing, unless you raise up the fifth wheel as well. You can do that by having a suspension shop fabricate a subframe for your trailer.

Alternatively you can go with the 20" wheels and tires in the 35" size. Your truck bed height would increase 1.5" (32" stock tires - 35" new tires = 3" difference halved). A 1.5" increase in height could probably be adjusted for by changing the mounting location of your pinbox. I would also get some Fox or King shocks as well to soften up the ride further. The stock Ford/Rancho shocks are garbage.
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