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Old 06-25-2004, 04:15 PM   #1
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Post Problems with Airshocks on '03 Suburban

Has anyone else had any problems towing with a 2003 half ton Surburban? Air shocks keep the rear end level. But they seem to interfer with the Reese dual cam hitch set up. Out previous '97 Tahoe seemed to tour with more assurance that does the '03 Suburban. Rear end seems light and 29' trailer doesn't appear to track as well as before? Dealer said not to disable the air shock assist.
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Old 06-25-2004, 04:27 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonBuckey
Has anyone else had any problems towing with a 2003 half ton Surburban? Air shocks keep the rear end level. But they seem to interfer with the Reese dual cam hitch set up. Out previous '97 Tahoe seemed to tour with more assurance that does the '03 Suburban. Rear end seems light and 29' trailer doesn't appear to track as well as before? Dealer said not to disable the air shock assist.
I would believe you would want minimal lift from the air shock. That will allow your dual cam hitch to do its job in transfering the hitch weight to the front wheels of your Surburban and your trailer.

The only caviot would be if by disengaging the air shock you could cause damage to some component. Using the air shock defeates the concept of the weight distribution hitch.

Obviously the person you talked to at your dealer doesn't know the principles of how a weight distibution hitch works. He is probably considering that you are dead weight towing which in that case you would use the air shocks.

Jack
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Old 06-25-2004, 06:52 PM   #3
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Any artificial addition to the spring system, "ABSOLUTELY" defeats the purpose on any load equalizing hitch.

Included in that group is Monroe load levelers, air shocks, air bags and overload springs.

A three year study by the Insurance division of Airstream, Caravanner Insurance Company, clearly determined that the rear end changes, referred to above, account for "TWO THIRDS" of "ALL" loss of control accidents involving Airstream trailers. This is based on careful examination and study of over 1000 (one thousand) loss of control accidents.

Those changes to one degree or another, simply defeat the purpose of the load equalizing hitch, many times to the point that the "bars" did absolutely nothing.

When you start approaching the nothing area, you might as well tow with just a ball.

The most amazing thing about this data, is that "ANYONE" can simply prove what the rear end suspension changes or modifications have done, be doing a weight and balance study at most any truck scale. And, if they really want to be an experienced "researcher," ride in the absolute rear end of your Airstream, "AT 60 MPH." Two things usually happen when they do, and then come to a stop. They emerge from the trailer with many shades of a different color on their face, and, SHOUT, "I need a drink!"

Where does this put a "doubter" or a "disbeliever?"

In a loss of control accident, somewhere, sometime, GUARANTEED! But, the sad part, where he goes, the family goes. Not quite fair to the families.

Ask anyone who has been there. You won't like the answer.

Tentatively, there is an article planned on this subject, that will go into greater detail, in the September issue of Airstream Life Magazine.

Stay tuned.

Andy
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Old 06-25-2004, 11:34 PM   #4
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Problems with Airshocks on '03 Suburban

Greetings DonBuckey!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DonBuckey
Has anyone else had any problems towing with a 2003 half ton Surburban? Air shocks keep the rear end level. But they seem to interfer with the Reese dual cam hitch set up. Out previous '97 Tahoe seemed to tour with more assurance that does the '03 Suburban. Rear end seems light and 29' trailer doesn't appear to track as well as before? Dealer said not to disable the air shock assist.
This is a guess on my part as my experience is with earlier versions of the GM level-ride rear suspension. In your owners' manual for the Suburban, you should find a section dealing with the proper hitching technique to use when utilizing a weight distributing hitch. If it is like my mid-1970s Cadillac and mid-1980s Oldsmobile, you load the vehicle to point of being ready to attach the trailer and allow the Level-Ride system to energize and do its job. Then move the vehicle into position being sure to turn-off the ignition (I usually remove the keys just to be sure that the switch is off) and hitch the trailer and adjust the weight distribution bars as usual. This process results in very little adjustment once the vehicle is restarted after the trailer is hitched. Before I realized the need to follow a specific sequence when hitching with the Level-Ride system, I experienced some of the same issues that you describe. The process may have change, however, in the last twenty years.

Good luck in getting some resolution to the issues with your Level-Ride.

Kevin
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Old 06-26-2004, 11:39 AM   #5
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"ANY," regardless of the system or "ANY" proceedure that someone may use that in "ANY" way alters the rear end suspension system, "Will" ultimately be a statistic, guaranteed.

Certainly when thousands of in depth studies of these changes "ALL" come up with the same "negative" answer, a person would think that this would be more than adequate warning.

But, there always has and always will be non-believers, guessers, I thinkers, it ought to be'ers, and it shouldn't be that wayer's. But it is that way.

Until someone measures the tow vehicles front axle, rear axle and the trailer axle or axles weight when hook up, they don't have a clue as to what weight and balance they have, or don't have.

Two words to them.

God Bless, as you will need it.

This post is not meant to be, in any way, an attempt to scare anyone.

But it is an attempt to pass on, indisputable information, of what caused "two thirds" of all loss of control accidents involving towing Airstream trailers from 16 foot to the 34 foot models. That, to most people, is a statistic very difficult to ignor.

Again, a forthcoming issue of new Airstream Life Magazine, will have an in depth article on this subject, possibly as early as this Septembers issue.

Andy

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Old 06-26-2004, 02:08 PM   #6
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Question Shocks

Andy, saw your response relative to shocks and had some concerns as I was having new shocks put on my 2002, 2WD Excursion on Monday. I attemped to get Bilstein as recommended by others on airstreamforums but after talking to the manufacture they advised that they did not make a rear shock for the 02 Excursion. They made for 01 but 02 Excursion was changed. Any way....... I settled on KYB for front and back The name of the rear KYB shocks are called "Gas-a-just". The distributor advised that they are not adjustable as such but the the name seems to imply otherwise. Do you have any input on these with a load leveling hitch?
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Old 06-26-2004, 07:03 PM   #7
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Andy, What do you mean by "changes the rear suspension?" Do you mean modify from as built stock, or something that adjusts the suspension while the vehicle is in motion? Some systems are stock and adjust while in motion, others are not stock, but do not change while in motion. How is the action of an air spring so much different from a steel spring if the air pressure is not changed? I can see that a system that adjusts the pressure while in motion is going to defeat the load levelers, but can't see that a static pressure system would change the loading if the air pressure is not changed.
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Old 06-26-2004, 07:14 PM   #8
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I believe "gas a just" refers to the shock having nitrogen for damping rather than oil. It does not increase spring rate, rather, it increases shock damping weight. It will not affect the weight bars.
Marc
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Old 06-27-2004, 02:40 PM   #9
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Uncleneal

Many "stock" rear end setups are not the ideal for towing a trailer, "AND" usuing a load equalizing hitch. It already, for most part defeats the purpose of the hitch.

Overload springs and/or automatic leveling of any kind, progressively defeat the ability of the torsions bars of an load equailizing hitch, to shift weight, which must be done.

If tongue weight is not distributed correctly, then the weight and balance of the tow vehicle, from the front axles to the rear axles, are way out of proportion. That's exact what you "DO NOT" want to happen.

An air shock, inflate manually to anything over the absolute minimum pressure, already defeats the hitch. It's pressure does not have to change.


Again, look forward to a detailed article, explaining these parameters, in a fall issue of Airstream Life.

Quite well, I may also add it to our web site.

Andy
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Old 06-27-2004, 03:32 PM   #10
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Andy,
The problem then is to decide which stock suspension setups are not compatable with a load equalizer hitch. Chevrolet for instance makes a 2500 HD and a 2500 LD model. The LD, that they don't advertize much, is the HD with softer springs and a lower ride height. In effect, an HD with a modified suspension. How would you determine wheather it would be suitable for towing? If Chevrolet can modify the suspension rate, why can't I? Is there some way to weigh the axles and determine if the combination is safe?
One of the reasons that I am interested is that I just bought a 1972 Cadillac Fleetwood 75 Limousine that I plan to set up to tow my 32' Squarestream. It had auto-level rear suspension, but it has been removed. The rear end appears to me to sit 3 or 4 inches low. If I used non-adjustable air bags or air springs to level the car, how would I determine if the load equalizers are doing their job properly? Or should I use heavy duty (cargo) springs? Since it had coil springs and they do nothing but lift the body, I can't see any difference. It has such a long overhang that I think I will need a Hensley or Pullrite. (It has a 151" wheelbase, 5700 lbs, 472 cu in engine.)

thanks, Neal
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Old 06-27-2004, 03:47 PM   #11
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My weighing procedure

I agree with Andy that weighing at a good CAT scale at a truck stop is indispensable for knowing what is going on. The CAT scales will give you a weight for the TV front axle, the TV real axle, and the trailer axles combined. Typically, there is a set fee for the first weighing and a small fee for subsequent weighings. I weigh my rig 3 times. Here is my procedure.

1. Tell the clerk that I will be making 3 weighings.

2.Weigh the rig in "on the road" condition with the trailer loaded for a typical trip and the WD bars tensioned (#1).

3. Release the tension on the chains and weigh the rig again. Equalizer owners, remove the bars (#2).

4. Unhitch and weigh the truck by itself (#3).

5. With a little arithmetic, I now know the total weight, the trailer weight, the axle loads, and the result of the WD bars. For instance. Trailer weight = total weight 1 - total weight 3. Raw hitch weight = TV weight 2 - TV weight 3. Equalized hitch weight = TV weight 1 - TV weight 3. Weight transferred to TV front axle = Front axle weight 1 - front axle weight 3. and so on.

6. Check the results against the placarded axle weights of truck and trailer. With the bars set, the load on the TV rear axle should be approximately that of the unloaded TV rear axle. If it differs widely, the chains are too loose or too tight.
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