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Old 04-26-2018, 10:26 PM   #1
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Lincoln , Nebraska
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Do I need Air Lift air bags? Other suspension help?

We just purchased our 2008 Airstream 19’ International, and am pulling with a 2015 F150 supercrew with an Equal-i-zer hitch. My truck is configured as 7,000 GVWR, with an allowable payload per door jamb sticker of 1,605 lbs.

The published figures for the 2008 International 19’ are as follows:
  • UBW (Unit Base Weight) w/o options or fluids: 3,575#
  • Tongue weight: 510#
  • NCC (Net carrying capacity) 925
At the local CAT scale, I’m scaling the following weights:
  • Truck, full tank of gas, driver, ReTrax Pro bed cover, no gear, no trailer:
    • Front axle: 3,220
    • Rear axle: 2,640
  • With trailer, dry, no gear, weight distribution hitch:
    • Front axle: 3,120 (100# decrease)
    • Rear axle: 3,240 (600 increase)
    • Trailer: 3,480
Therefore, I conclude the following:
  • Tongue weight 500
  • Axle weight: 3,480
  • Trailer weight: 3,980
This should give me the following allowable payloads:
Truck: 7,000-6,360=640#
Trailer: 4,500-3,980=520#
Total: 1,160#; probably more like 900-950# with tongue weight increase

Again, being new to this, I'm estimating the following payloads:
  • Fresh water: 175#
  • Wife: 125#
  • Gear: 450#
  • Food:150#
Are these estimates reasonable? Assuming they're close, I'll be right at or slightly above my truck's GVWR. Should I consider air bags or other suspension mods? Will this have an impact on towing and ride in the TV?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 04-27-2018, 05:29 AM   #2
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All of your assumptions and estimations seem right on and well done. Once you get going, it is extremely easy to easily go over that gear number, with thinking of just one more thing to bring with you, so be careful there.

Airbags are good for an "appearance" of leveling, not for actual towing suspension assistance, they can actually make any issue worse, YouTube airbag towing and you'll see it explained, you are better off just getting your weight distribution dialed in as much as possible.

Without getting in too deep, you can pick your camp, GVWR or GAWR to not go beyond, but at a certain point you may just need to consider a more capable vehicle.

Good luck
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Old 04-27-2018, 07:10 AM   #3
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It sure looks set up good to me. I think all you need to do is pull it for a while and see how it pulls. No, I do not think you need to add airbags or other suspension mods. I think it is fine to be right at or even slightly over payload for a pickup truck. I would check the axle rating and the tire loads to be sure you are not over on one of those. Those are numbers I would not want to be over by a lot for a long time. There is usually a few hundred lbs difference in the payload and the sum of the 2 axles so you should be just fine there. One day in the future when you have camped in it a while and have what you usually take on board it would be instructive to run it over the CAT scales again just to see how close your estimates were.

One small point: the weight you have identified as tongue weight is indeed the weight that the hitched trailer is adding to the truck but is probably slightly less than the actual tongue weight of the trailer because part of the tongue weight is distributed back to the trailer wheels by the WD hitch.
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Old 04-27-2018, 07:59 AM   #4
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Here is an an excellent video explaining how airbags will level a TV, but will not transfer weight to achieve the results we are looking for.

https://youtu.be/XBZu39pQ8Gg
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Old 04-27-2018, 08:36 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies and advice. I appreciate validation of my numbers. We'll camp for a while and see how it tows and how it grows.

Mike
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Old 04-27-2018, 09:09 AM   #6
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After hooking up, I'd place a level on the truck bed rail and verify it is level. If front end is too high your lights will be in the eyes of opposing traffic. I would then consider air bags to level out the truck.

my $0.02
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Old 04-27-2018, 09:37 AM   #7
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Load your truck and trailer as you were going on the road then run it across the scales . This will be the only way to know where you stand.
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Old 04-27-2018, 09:39 AM   #8
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Don't do what I did: Install a fiberglass camper shell and bedslide. With the weight of the WDH added I am over my payload capacity because I haul a decent tool bag, jacks, grill, generator (Honda 3000 which is way too heavy) and what have you in the back of the truck. Plenty of room in the box, but not enough payload capacity.
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Old 04-27-2018, 09:57 AM   #9
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Like RandyNH said, airbags will improve the "look" of the rig, but will do nothing re increasing load capacity. But like the rest of us, I'm impressed by the thoroughness of your calculations. I'm equally impressed by the 150 lbs of food you take along...bon appetit. And safe travels. jon
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Old 04-27-2018, 10:20 AM   #10
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The numbers look good, the 150 is one step up from a car...
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Old 04-27-2018, 11:08 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marter View Post
We just purchased our 2008 Airstream 19’ International, and am pulling with a 2015 F150 supercrew with an Equal-i-zer hitch. My truck is configured as 7,000 GVWR, with an allowable payload per door jamb sticker of 1,605 lbs.

The published figures for the 2008 International 19’ are as follows:
  • UBW (Unit Base Weight) w/o options or fluids: 3,575#
  • Tongue weight: 510#
  • NCC (Net carrying capacity) 925
At the local CAT scale, I’m scaling the following weights:
  • Truck, full tank of gas, driver, ReTrax Pro bed cover, no gear, no trailer:
    • Front axle: 3,220
    • Rear axle: 2,640
  • With trailer, dry, no gear, weight distribution hitch:
    • Front axle: 3,120 (100# decrease)
    • Rear axle: 3,240 (600 increase)
    • Trailer: 3,480
Therefore, I conclude the following:
  • Tongue weight 500
  • Axle weight: 3,480
  • Trailer weight: 3,980
This should give me the following allowable payloads:
Truck: 7,000-6,360=640#
Trailer: 4,500-3,980=520#
Total: 1,160#; probably more like 900-950# with tongue weight increase

Again, being new to this, I'm estimating the following payloads:
  • Fresh water: 175#
  • Wife: 125#
  • Gear: 450#
  • Food:150#
Are these estimates reasonable? Assuming they're close, I'll be right at or slightly above my truck's GVWR. Should I consider air bags or other suspension mods? Will this have an impact on towing and ride in the TV?

Thanks in advance.
Air Bags don't work very well with the F-150. I installed them on the 2012 I had and eventually had to remove them. I too struggled with bumping up to and over the max payload so eventually went to a F-250.
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Old 04-27-2018, 01:56 PM   #12
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Caution!

You clearly like to live dangerously. NEVER publish an opinion about wife poundage!
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Old 04-27-2018, 06:35 PM   #13
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2008 19' International
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bci View Post
After hooking up, I'd place a level on the truck bed rail and verify it is level. If front end is too high your lights will be in the eyes of opposing traffic. I would then consider air bags to level out the truck.

my $0.02
I'm measuring the following top of wheel well/fender in center of wheel:
  • No load, no passengers, full fuel
    • Front 36 1/2"
    • Rear 39 1/2"
  • Trailer, with load leveling hitch
    • Front 37 1/4" (3/4" higher)
    • Rear 37 1/2" (2" lower)
I haven't checked the headlights but I would think this is within tolerance. I'll check it at night.

Thanks
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Old 04-27-2018, 06:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B00merang View Post
Like RandyNH said, airbags will improve the "look" of the rig, but will do nothing re increasing load capacity. But like the rest of us, I'm impressed by the thoroughness of your calculations. I'm equally impressed by the 150 lbs of food you take along...bon appetit. And safe travels. jon
Thanks for the reply. That's a SWAG (Scientific Wild A** Guess) on food. We'll see when we start going on longer trips.
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