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Old 06-24-2012, 09:03 PM   #1
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2011 27 FB International
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Don't know how to ask the question

We just took our 27FB International out for our first trip this year. Just got home. When we approach our house, we have to remove the stabilizer bars before we get home because some of the turns are so sharp that they bend the saddle to which the stabilizer bars attach. Usually, this is not a problem. I raise the trailer, remove the bars, lower the trailer, and off I go. The last couple of times I've done this, it's been harder to do because when I lower the trailer, the rear end of the tow vehicle (an Infiniti QX56) drops too low in the back to be able to get the pedestal out from under the tongue. (I'm not using all the right words, but I'm hoping someone will understand me.) This time I had to leave the trailer sitting on the arm that the stabilizer bar sits on so that I could get the pedestal out, then move the car very slowly forward to get the arm to pull back toward the trailer and out from under the tongue. That worked for removing the stabilizer bars before approaching the house, but when I got to the house, the front end of the trailer was sitting so low that I couldn't get the pedestal back under it in order to raise it. The back end of the car used to make some noises and lift itself, leaving room for the pedestal, but it no longer does. The weight of the trailer just pulls the rear end of the car down to an unnatural degree. Does anyone know what this mechanism is called that the car has that's supposed to lift the rear to compensate for the weight of the trailer, leaving the car level? I think it's broken. I need to call the dealer to make an appointment to have it repaired and I'd like to know how to talk about it.

Thanks.
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Old 06-24-2012, 09:12 PM   #2
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You have a self-levelling suspension, likely an air-driven system like my Sequoia. Could have overworked itself and blew a fuse, or maybe it ate itself.

Check the fuse first.
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Old 06-24-2012, 09:14 PM   #3
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If it is really, really low, it could be a leak in the air system that is allowing it to go completely flat...
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:15 PM   #4
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We also tow with the QX56. Sounds like you blew the self leveling air suspension on the rear. That can be fixed, but my question is what hitch system do you use where you have to undo the bars to make a tight turn? I've made u-turns going as tight a radius as possible without any problems.
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:38 PM   #5
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You did not say what what kind of WD hitch you have but if those "stabilizing bars" are also the WD bars, it sounds from your description that you are putting the full hitch weight (800+ lbs) on the rear suspension of the Q56. That has got to be pushing an air bag SUV suspension way beyond its limits.

If you have to keep doing this regularly, you may want to call AirBagIt and ask about Q56 upgrades.
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Old 06-25-2012, 09:40 AM   #6
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The hitch system that I use is the one that was installed by the Airstream dealer who knew that I was using a QX56 to tow the trailer. I just kind of assumed that they knew what they were doing. I will look into AirBagIt. Never heard of them.
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Old 06-25-2012, 10:26 AM   #7
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Just called AirBagIt. The guy on the phone said that the systems that are installed on the QX56 (and all of the other manufacturer's vehicles) are designed to fail so that they can get you back in to the dealer to replace them. I would have thought such a thing would be covered by a warrantee, but I'm probably just being optimistic. I figure if you pay that much money for a brand new car, that's rated at 8500 lbs. towing, you ought to be able to tow a trailer that's GVWH of 7600 lbs. along with what the trailer dealer tells me is a 1200 lb. hitch. without any trouble given that we never travel with water in the tanks. I thought I had done all of my homework before buying the QX56 for the tow vehicle. Dang. AirBagIt said he could build a custom system for me with air that I can control from inside the vehicle for $600. Then I'd have to have the thing installed. Something to consider though as I wait for word from the dealer on how much it's going to cost to fix the thing.
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Old 06-25-2012, 06:09 PM   #8
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If you broke the "auto level" compressor it can be very costly to repair. I spent $800 getting mine replaced on a Suburban. It was about 5 years old. I don't know if towing caused the failure, or age. Good luck and hope you have a simple repair.
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Old 06-25-2012, 06:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rdiddly View Post
Just called AirBagIt. The guy on the phone said that the systems that are installed on the QX56 (and all of the other manufacturer's vehicles) are designed to fail so that they can get you back in to the dealer to replace them. I would have thought such a thing would be covered by a warrantee, but I'm probably just being optimistic. I figure if you pay that much money for a brand new car, that's rated at 8500 lbs. towing, you ought to be able to tow a trailer that's GVWH of 7600 lbs. along with what the trailer dealer tells me is a 1200 lb. hitch. without any trouble given that we never travel with water in the tanks. I thought I had done all of my homework before buying the QX56 for the tow vehicle. Dang. AirBagIt said he could build a custom system for me with air that I can control from inside the vehicle for $600. Then I'd have to have the thing installed. Something to consider though as I wait for word from the dealer on how much it's going to cost to fix the thing.
I would run away as fast as I could from anybody who would make such a blanket statement to support their sales approach. Really???? ALL companies do this? I wonder where they hold the meetings to agree to be all alike and crooked.
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Old 06-25-2012, 06:48 PM   #10
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If all's well with the mechanics and you simply have to lift the A-frame to release your support try using a small hydraulic bottle jack. Simple and easy. I think you should have one along anyhow. I had to use it for a similar purpose once when my batteries were dead and I didn't want to wait.
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Old 06-25-2012, 07:58 PM   #11
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Rdiddly,
If your Infinity is still under warranty, I'd simply take the vehicle in to the dealer with the expectation that the auto-leveling system will be repaired under warranty! I'm also curious about your equalizer setup in that you can't make tight radius turns. I have to release the tension off my equalizer bars to back my trailer uphill with the slope of my driveway. However, my only limitation on tight turns is if the rear bumper might hit the trailer structure.
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Old 06-25-2012, 08:48 PM   #12
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I took the Infiniti in to the dealer. They claim that there's nothing wrong with the rear suspension. They theorize that the problem might have been due to the fact that the two rear tires had less than the recommended pressure. 35 psi is recommended, one had 32 and the other had 30. Still within operating parameters, but not ideal. They think this may have been the cause.

I have confirmed with the Airstream dealer that the tongue is 770 lbs. and the QX56 is rated at 850 lbs., so this does not seem to be the issue.

The Airstream dealer has asked me to bring the entire kit in for them to inspect. They think they might be able to tweak it.

I just think it's all strange given that it all worked very well the first year. Maybe there is something to the under-pressurized tires theory.

I confirmed with the Airstream dealer that the stabilizer bars should be removed before making tight turns and even backing up. They said that anyone that says that they had performed tight turns with their stabilizer bars on simply didn't realize that damage had been done. In my case, you couldn't miss it since the saddle no longer attached to the tongue and the bolt that holds it to the tongue was bent to a 90° angle.

In the end, I did wind up using the jack that came with the Infiniti to raise the hitch in order to get the pedestal underneath it. Not so easy. A hydraulic bottle jack would definitely be easier. I will look into it. Thanks for the idea.
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Old 06-25-2012, 09:13 PM   #13
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I'm still not certain what is going on. The stabilizer bar is the sliding flat bar that you tighten for travel and indeed loosen for tight manuevers. The WDH bars will groan but that should be ok. My bars (WDH) stay on until I'm done whether they complain or not. My stabilizer (friction) bar I loosen when maneuvering...forward or back. Now I just a day ago solved my problem...I found that gradually over 6 years I was having to re-adjust my WDH bars to finally not having any more space to to adjust. My problem it turns out was the forward receiver hitch brace to the frame was bending down from 6 years of stress and throwing off the receiver and hitch angle. I took the car to the hitch shop and had that bar repaced with a heavier one. Everything lines up as it should now.

The photo of my setup shows the WDH bars with the adjusting chains and the stabilizer bar located along the trailer frame beginning under the propane tank to the front of the trailer hitch. At the front of it you should see a small bar/shaft which acts like a wrench to tighten or loosen that bar. This may not be just like your set up but perhaps may help you to understand what some of us are trying to explain. I suspect that your WDH set up is faulty or perhaps it me be a faulty receiver hitch as mine was.
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Old 06-26-2012, 06:38 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
I would run away as fast as I could from anybody who would make such a blanket statement to support their sales approach. Really???? ALL companies do this? I wonder where they hold the meetings to agree to be all alike and crooked.
X2....

I would stay as far away from airbagit as I could. Dumb statements like that are all too typical in the aftermarket.
Here's a direct example from an aftermarket air bag seller.
Completely FALSE information....NOTHING will increase the axle ratings of a tow vehicle.

On Sep 7, 2011, at 12:34 PM, INFO @ SuspensionConnection wrote:

The Firestone air bags will increase your weight carrying capacity by
5000 pounds. I definitely recommend this system for your Burb:
Firestone #2253 - Chevy Suburban Firestone Ride-Rite Air Bags 2000-2009

Thanks

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Cross [mailtoxxxxxxxxxxxxx]
Sent: Sunday, September 04, 2011 10:59 AM
To: info@suspensionconnection.com
Subject: Airbag Chev Suburban

I am wondering how much more payload I will gain by adding rear bags to
my 06 3/4 Burb. Not sure of what the "level load capacity" of the Burb
is now.
I am concerned about overloading the axle as I tow an RV. How much would
I gain by upgrading the suspension with a quality air bag system.
Look forward to your recommendations.

Thank You,
Bob


Pictures of your hitch set-up would very helpful, it's obvious that the dealer didn't explain it's use/features adequately.

Unless the dealer has actually weighed the tongue, that weight is a guesstimate, more likely it's the AS published weight. In my experience, at least 250#'s light.

If the air suspension of the QX leveled the rig before and now doesn't....that would be the logical direction to go.

Bob
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