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Old 04-10-2016, 11:29 AM   #1
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1988 29' Airstream 290
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290 Air bags/Leveling valve

Here is a picture of my 1988 290 we inherited from our folks. The air bags are flat but the air tank has 100lbs of air. After several cocktails and lots of trial & error, I determined that the leveling valve has malfunctioned or is clogged with something. Can I take it apart and try to clean it, or should I just replace? Can't seem to find one anywhere in the web that looks like it, wish I understood more about how they worked.
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Old 04-10-2016, 11:34 AM   #2
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I used one of these Neway Style Air Height Control Leveling Valves to replace the leaky one on my old 84 310.

I wouldn't bother trying to fix the old one especially when replacements are relatively inexpensive.
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Old 04-10-2016, 11:41 AM   #3
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The air suspension systems on those motorhomes is a bit tricky. Mine drove me nuts until I found that an inline check valve, well hidden, had corroded and would not let air through.

The leveling valves are not designed for service, as they have some special oils inside which cannot be replicated. They are not hard to find, as there are lots of air suspension truck systems. They are not too expensive either, so I would spend my efforts on a new one, rather than trying to service an old one. However, those leveling valves are pretty reliable, so I would look for some other issue first on your rig.

It has been 10 years since I owned my '83 310, so I am being vague, as my memory of specifics on it has gone somewhat dim. Others with more recent experience will chime in I am sure.
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Old 04-10-2016, 03:33 PM   #4
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Got it fixed this afternoon, one of the adjusting arms on the leveling valve came loose and at first few inspections, i thought it was supposed be like that. Works like a charm (and rides much better too, lol)
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Old 04-10-2016, 05:04 PM   #5
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Ok, here's a dumb question from a n00b...

How can I know if the front and rear airbags in my recently acquired 1981 280 are inflated and working?

Thanks!
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Old 04-10-2016, 05:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Ok, here's a dumb question from a n00b...

How can I know if the front and rear airbags in my recently acquired 1981 280 are inflated and working?

Thanks!
Front should be inflated to 55 pounds and hold that pressure, rear should look something like this inflated. Its a good idea to have a pressure monitoring gauge for the rear bags somewhere in the system
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Old 04-10-2016, 05:43 PM   #7
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Ok, here's a dumb question from a n00b...

How can I know if the front and rear airbags in my recently acquired 1981 280 are inflated and working?

Thanks!
The front wheel air bags are inserted inside the front coil springs. There is a tire type valve on the bottom, and you can measure the pressure with an air gage and add with a tire inflator. I can no longer recall the pressure that is generally run in the P 30 front air bags, but someone here knows that.

The rear air bags hold up the rear suspension on the '81, 280, and if they are not inflated, you will know it immediately as the rear end will be dragging on the ground and the rig will be essentially not able to be driven.
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Old 04-10-2016, 07:37 PM   #8
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+1 to Peter and his pic of the rear air bag. You should see at LEAST 2" from the bottom of the bell to the bag. If your bags are fully deflated, you'll probably know it, the coach rides like #*&^^$
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Old 04-10-2016, 08:06 PM   #9
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Thanks guys. I assume the rear bags are fine since my baby looks like this:

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Old 04-11-2016, 11:34 AM   #10
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On my old 310 I took a pressure gauge with a rear mounted stem and screwed a quick disconnect onto it and then plugged it into the air hose port in the electrical compartment. All I had to do to check tank pressure was to open the compartment door and take a peak.

Not sure if your arrangement is the same but it was a quick and cheap method of monitoring tank pressure.
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Old 04-11-2016, 01:14 PM   #11
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If the front of my 280 seems suspended at a normal height and isn't sagging, does that mean that my front bags are functioning and are somewhat filled?
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Old 04-11-2016, 01:21 PM   #12
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If the front of my 280 seems suspended at a normal height and isn't sagging, does that mean that my front bags are functioning and are somewhat filled?
No. The springs alone should hold the coach at the correct height. The air bags provide for a more controlled softer rebound on bumps, etc.

The single best way to check your air bags is by pressure gauge.
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Old 04-12-2016, 07:09 AM   #13
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I'm almost positive that my 290 doesn't have front air bags. Am I missing something?
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Old 04-12-2016, 07:15 AM   #14
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I'm almost positive that my 290 doesn't have front air bags. Am I missing something?
At the risk of sounding rude, you're missing your air bags

I'm pretty sure that with the exception of possibly the early Argosy motorhomes all Airstream motorhomes came with front air bags.


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