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Old 10-03-2012, 08:11 PM   #1
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1974 20' Argosy 20
Richmond , Kentucky
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310 (non tag axle) rear leveling valves

Since I'm going to be using the rear air suspension system from the 345 on my 74 20' Argosy motorhome I needed to find a rear air leveling valve which matched the valve on our 310. The 345 uses two leveling valves and they are attached to the tag axle assembly. On the 310 or non tag axle vehicles there is only one leveling valve mounted somewhat in the center of the of the axle.

I bought a new one about five years ago for the 310 and paid about $80 for it. So needless to say I was quite surprised today when I found one for $35 and another for $40. I ended up buying the $35 unit. Even bought a 2nd one as a spare for the 310.

This valve is NOT the same one that is used on the 345 tag axle models.

310 rear suspension leveling valve - 1

310 rear suspension leveling valve - 2

Brad
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:33 PM   #2
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1982 28' Airstream 280
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Leveling valves all do the same thing, let compressed air into the bag or bags when you move the lever one way and let air out when the lever is moved the other way. Whether they control one air bag or two is dependent how it is plumbed. Whether you use one or two valves again depends on how the system is set up. If you have a valve and bag on each side you control height on each side. This helps if you have varying loads side to side. A single valve just controls the ride height for the axle. Side to side is controlled by load distribution, frame strength and the front suspension.
One last thing some valves have time delays built in to control how quickly they react to load changes. The valves may look different and mount differently but they all do the same job.

Cheers, Dan
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Old 10-04-2012, 04:32 AM   #3
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Dan, this valve would work on the tag axle if the owner wanted to get creative in mounting it. I was more referring to direct bolt in replacement. A lot of people prefer exact replacements when possible.

The main reason I was searching for this particular valve was because I knew it's part number from previously having purchased one years ago.

You did get me to thinking though about maybe adding a 2nd valve and control each air bag independently. I'm not sure how much good that would do on a 20' frame as compared to a 34' frame but it is definitely something to consider. Nothing like having the ultimate adjustable rig

I have to build the mounting for the valve anyway so building two mounts shouldn't be any more difficult.

Brad
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Old 10-05-2012, 01:37 AM   #4
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Brad check this place out Suspension - Air Spring Leveling Valves
Lots of valves of different styles. You might find one to match your mount. Two valves might help if you had independent suspension in the rear but probably not much with the solid axle. You are just adding complication with little gain.

I have an old GM bus, ex Greyhound. It has four bags in the front and four in the rear on two axles held in place with eight radius/torque rods. It has two valves in the rear and one for the four bags up front. This set up allows the suspension to move without putting the stress on the frame/body structure. I also have a Peterbilt with their AirTrac system that uses two bags on each rear axle with one valve per axle, just a heavy version of the 280 & 310 Airstreams. My humble advice, keep it simple.

Cheers, Dan
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Old 10-05-2012, 06:36 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkahler View Post
..
I have to build the mounting for the valve anyway so building two mounts shouldn't be any more difficult.

Brad
I know you can do better than the first Airbag system they put on the 79 MH's. It consisted of a mounting plate in the center with 2 valves and the non adjusting rods crudely put together. Adjustment were made at the lever of the valve itself.
Talking about adjustments, when I inflated the new bags on my 345 recently, they went up to 12.5 inches, which I knew was way to high. I then realized how small the increments of adjustments at the threaded rods at the tag axle were. 1/4" took it down by 3". I now have it set at 10 1/2 inches and have yet to see if it changed handling. I am wondering if a previous owner tried to raise it higher to gain clearance...?
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:38 AM   #6
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1974 20' Argosy 20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smartstream View Post
Brad check this place out Suspension - Air Spring Leveling Valves
Lots of valves of different styles. You might find one to match your mount. Two valves might help if you had independent suspension in the rear but probably not much with the solid axle. You are just adding complication with little gain.

I have an old GM bus, ex Greyhound. It has four bags in the front and four in the rear on two axles held in place with eight radius/torque rods. It has two valves in the rear and one for the four bags up front. This set up allows the suspension to move without putting the stress on the frame/body structure. I also have a Peterbilt with their AirTrac system that uses two bags on each rear axle with one valve per axle, just a heavy version of the 280 & 310 Airstreams. My humble advice, keep it simple.

Cheers, Dan
Dan, I'll take simple any day of the week

Interesting comment on stressing the frame if using multiple valves. Makes sense and another good reason to use the "kiss" principle

I have found one minor hiccup in my plan for using the 345 air suspension. The home made auxilliary fuel tank that was installed in back is in the way of where the air ride framework needs to go. I have been planning on pulling the tank to check it out and clean it up so what I will likely do is pull it as planned, install the air suspension and then fabricate another tank to fit whatever area is available.

I like the idea of having more than 28 gallons on board but I also like the idea of using the air ride suspension. Even if it ends up being a 10 or 15 gallon tank that reserve will likely come in handy some day.

I'm sure I can find a happy medium somehow.

Thanks for the info!

Brad
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:43 AM   #7
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1974 20' Argosy 20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterH-87MH View Post
I know you can do better than the first Airbag system they put on the 79 MH's. It consisted of a mounting plate in the center with 2 valves and the non adjusting rods crudely put together. Adjustment were made at the lever of the valve itself.
Talking about adjustments, when I inflated the new bags on my 345 recently, they went up to 12.5 inches, which I knew was way to high. I then realized how small the increments of adjustments at the threaded rods at the tag axle were. 1/4" took it down by 3". I now have it set at 10 1/2 inches and have yet to see if it changed handling. I am wondering if a previous owner tried to raise it higher to gain clearance...?
Peter,

I enjoy fiddling with this sort of stuff. When I looked at the adjusting rod on the 310 I thought it was kinda crude as well. I think I can definitely come up with something better for the Argosy.

You could always leave it at 12.5" and have that good old hot rod look for your coach

On our 310 I think the air bags were bad for a long time because the way the headlights were adjusted once I got the air system working the lights even on high beam were aimed so low that you couldn't see where you were going.

Brad
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