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Old 12-09-2012, 10:43 AM   #1
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Suspension confusion

After toying with the idea of using the 345 air ride suspension on my Argosy motorhome I've given up on that idea because I would lose my 25 gallon auxiliary fuel tank. I can use after market Helper Springs that are bolt on. The original fuel tank is only 28 gallons so adding 25 more with the auxiliary tank is something I would rather not do without

So I've been trying to find the correct replacement springs. The Chevy ID tag on the firewall lists the GVWR as 10,500 lbs with the front at 4,300 lbs and the rear at 6,200 lbs. However there is an Airstream supplied tag on the dash that lists the GVWR as 11,800 lbs with the front at 4,300 lbs and the rear at 7,500 lbs. So which one do I believe?

Looking at the rear springs that are currently on the chassis they are made up of 8 leafs and a 3" stack height. The closest I can come at Rock Auto is 8 leafs with 3" stack height and a weight rating of 3,390 lbs or 6780 lbs for the rear axle which is close to the Chevy listing.

The only option that gets me close to the 7,500 lbs that Airstream quotes is a 11 leaf with a 4-3/8" stack height and a weight rating of 3,760 lbs or 7,52 lbs for the rear axle.

I'm inclined to go with the up-rated 11 leaf springs that get the chassis to the Airstream rating. I do plan on using the Argosy to tow a larger enclosed trailer so I'm thinking the 11 leaf springs might be the way to go. However if I use the Helper Air Springs they are good for 5,000 lbs which would negate the need for the heavier springs.

So, what do I do?

Brad
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Old 12-09-2012, 12:25 PM   #2
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Brad I think I would put that decision off for a long time. Put the coach together and set up as you will use it and the drive it to a scale house. With the weight numbers in hand go to a competent spring shop and have a set of springs built for your intended use. Specialized use situations like yours aren't always best served by an on-line generic supply house.

Cheers, Dan
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:25 PM   #3
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Smartstreams advice X 2.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:17 PM   #4
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Suspension confusion

LOL. Yep Brad, there's plenty of mystery in these Airstreams/Argosys!
While agreeing with Smartstream, I would like to add to his answer, and present a slightly different scenario;
Are we assuming that there is only one temper and spring rate for spring steel? Further that the steel used in the springs on your Argosy is the same temper and spring rate as that used by RockAuto's supplier?
I think that is highly unlikely. I would suspect that a different alloy spring with a stronger spring rate (supplied by a small spring shop), would be right in the average motorhome builders play book. And, why bother to note the difference? Obviously very few motorhome companies ever cared about there product specs' for the future..
So back to Smartstreams suggestion. Go to a frame and spring shop that works on large vehicles, and see what they say. Ask about adding air suspension, as well as certifying the load capacity of your current setup.
(The improved ride of air is well worth it.)

All the best! Cheers! Rich.
P.S. Been taking a break from being under my 345.
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:32 PM   #5
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Y'all can say what you like. I know I don't want to bring up the words spring shop and motorhome to Brad.
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:44 PM   #6
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Spring Shop?

That sounds like a personal problem. I can't help with that,
I have too many of my own!
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:13 PM   #7
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Brad I think I would put that decision off for a long time. Put the coach together and set up as you will use it and the drive it to a scale house. With the weight numbers in hand go to a competent spring shop and have a set of springs built for your intended use. Specialized use situations like yours aren't always best served by an on-line generic supply house.

Cheers, Dan
Well Dan, I really hate to say it but you do make sense

Only one potential problem, I won't have the enclosed trailer by the time I start driving it. But I do have the other trailer already which might be enough to work with.

Well, that saves me $400 for the time being.

Thanks!

Brad
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:19 PM   #8
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...Are we assuming that there is only one temper and spring rate for spring steel? Further that the steel used in the springs on your Argosy is the same temper and spring rate as that used by RockAuto's supplier?
I think that is highly unlikely. I would suspect that a different alloy spring with a stronger spring rate (supplied by a small spring shop), would be right in the average motorhome builders play book. And, why bother to note the difference? Obviously very few motorhome companies ever cared about there product specs' for the future..
I was more or less working under the assumption that suppliers would match oem spring rates, number of leafs, etc when marketing their products. Maybe that's not the case after all.

Quote:
So back to Smartstreams suggestion. Go to a frame and spring shop that works on large vehicles, and see what they say. Ask about adding air suspension, as well as certifying the load capacity of your current setup.
(The improved ride of air is well worth it.)

All the best! Cheers! Rich.
As for adding air ride suspension the only kind I think I would want to add is the style that rides on the side of the frame rails as shown in the link I provided in my original post. There is an auxiliary gas tank in the space where the typical 345 air ride suspension would need to be located and I would rather have a larger fuel supply. Especially since I can add the supplemental air bags for about $300 and it's a bolt on.

Quote:
P.S. Been taking a break from being under my 345.
Everyone needs a break now an then!
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:20 PM   #9
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Y'all can say what you like. I know I don't want to bring up the words spring shop and motorhome to Brad.
Yeah, best not to wake a sleeping dragon...
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:17 PM   #10
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Argosy Springs

Brad:
What I was saying is that Argosy probably got their "uprated" springs specially made from a small spring business. At least until the late 80's Columbus Ohio had a custom spring making shop that would make a run of any spring you wanted.
That's likely what Argosy had done to get the load capacity, and fit the standard P-30 axle and shackles.
Now you get to figure it out.
I was also thinking pick-up truck "Air-ride", like the set on my F-100, $250 and an afternoon = 5000 lb xtra capacity. At low pressure it improves the ride too.
All the best. Rich
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:21 PM   #11
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Brad remember that matching the factory spring specs is matching some pretty old technology. I would guess that you don't have a really good idea of how the springs you have will handle the trailer you plan to tow. I just have to guess that you want to make some improvement over the factory springs. I'm not saying all spring shops are great, but a lot of them are pretty sharp.

As to the air suspension, the bags on the side are helpers and will do nothing to improve ride quality. I have no idea how the ride is with the short wheelbase but air is the shortest route to a smooth ride. Maybe carrying a few extra gas jugs in the big trailer will solve your auxiliary tank problem. Life is full of compromises.

Good luck, Dan
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Old 12-10-2012, 10:44 PM   #12
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Hi, I say go to a good spring shop too. We have a good spring shop in Long Beach, [Long Beach Spring and Forge] I had them re-do the springs in my 1959 Galaxie. They re-tempered, re-arced, and added one leaf. This raised the rear slightly, allowed for more load in the back seat or in the trunk, and rode smoother.
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Old 12-10-2012, 11:14 PM   #13
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Hi, I say go to a good spring shop too. We have a good spring shop in Long Beach, [Long Beach Spring and Forge] I had them re-do the springs in my 1959 Galaxie. They re-tempered, re-arced, and added one leaf. This raised the rear slightly, allowed for more load in the back seat or in the trunk, and rode smoother.
That's funny Bob. About 25 years ago I reshaped the springs on my Model T Speedster and I took them to Long Beach Spring and Forge to be normalized/tempered. They were a very old shop back then and I think they are still going strong today. It really is a small world.

Cheers, Dan
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:41 PM   #14
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Brad remember that matching the factory spring specs is matching some pretty old technology. I would guess that you don't have a really good idea of how the springs you have will handle the trailer you plan to tow. I just have to guess that you want to make some improvement over the factory springs. I'm not saying all spring shops are great, but a lot of them are pretty sharp.
Yep, I have no idea how well the springs will support the addition of the trailer load. I know it has towed in the past but no idea what.

I'll have to start checking out the area for spring shops. South of me about an hour is Somerset KY which is a hot bed for hot rodders and the like so I'm betting something can be found there.

Quote:
As to the air suspension, the bags on the side are helpers and will do nothing to improve ride quality. I have no idea how the ride is with the short wheelbase but air is the shortest route to a smooth ride. Maybe carrying a few extra gas jugs in the big trailer will solve your auxiliary tank problem. Life is full of compromises.

Good luck, Dan
I installed the side helper air bags on a previous 20' motorhome that we had and it did improve the ride. I know at least one other Argosy 20' owner that has them. I'll see what they think of the ride.

I've never been a big fan of carrying external gas cans. One of the trailers I will be using is an open trailer which would make extra gas cans a hassle.

Maybe I can make a real long skinny gas tank and fit it up along the frame rail

Thanks!

Brad
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