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Old 06-15-2015, 10:40 AM   #1
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Hebron , Illinois
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34.5 front air bag or new springs

Hello
Does anyone have a good fix for the front air bags on my 34.5 MO can I put in a different front springs and not use the air bag.
Has anyone used Super spring?
GM/Chevy P30 & P32 Chassis
Thanks Hans
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Old 06-15-2015, 10:45 AM   #2
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From my understanding the front airbags are far easier to replace then putting in new springs. Also, the ride is better with the bags vice strait springs. There are a couple threads explaining how to replace them and they are easily availible.


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Old 06-15-2015, 11:16 AM   #3
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Ok But is that the best way to go is with the airbags.
I will be doing all the work I think you still need to pull the spring to put in the air bag.
Superspring gives life time warranty on the spring they sell. No Air bag needed.
Or is this about the ride quality Hard /soft or Lumber wagon.
I don't know.
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Old 06-15-2015, 11:18 AM   #4
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Springs don't last forever.
I replaced mine with a set of heavy duty springs. Got tired of it bottoming out on every little bump in the road and the air bags going flat. With heavier spring, no air bag replacing, I don't bottom out, rides better.
In my AS manual it shows inter-spring bags and over spring-shocks. These front ends are very overloaded.
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Old 06-15-2015, 11:20 AM   #5
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You dont have to remove the springs to replace the bags. Search front air bag replacement.
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Old 06-15-2015, 11:21 AM   #6
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From my understanding the front airbags are far easier to replace then putting in new springs.
I'm not 100% sure I agree with this statement!

I replaced the front bags on the 310 once and vowed I would never perform that task again. I researched the topic a great deal before doing the work and I still came away with scraped knuckles and I even managed to create a few new swear words of my own!

Trying to stuff that bag up inside the spring through that little opening is like trying to stuff 10 lbs of snapping turtles into a 5 lb bag.

Quote:
Also, the ride is better with the bags vice strait springs. There are a couple threads explaining how to replace them and they are easily availible.
I think Shepherd57 replaced his springs (at least I think it was him) and he made the task sound easy. But then again some people have the knack of making things look easy when they really aren't.

I plan on changing out the brand new OE springs that I recently installed on my 20' Argosy and eliminating the air bags by switching to up-rated springs.

That's how much I hate those danged front air bags!

Brad
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Old 06-15-2015, 11:25 AM   #7
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Its not an afternoon of fun for sure but there are things you can do to make the job easier. Gently heat the bags in water or oven, use zip ties or hose clamps to compress the bag, lube up the hole in the control arm with some hand cleaner, etc..........couple hours work for a slow poke like myself
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Old 06-15-2015, 11:32 AM   #8
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Its not an afternoon of fun for sure but there are things you can do to make the job easier. Gently heat the bags in water or oven, use zip ties or hose clamps to compress the bag, lube up the hole in the control arm with some hand cleaner, etc..........couple hours work for a slow poke like myself
Yep, did all of that and still didn't like doing the job, even used a serrated knife to cut the old bag into ribbons

My personal feeling is the springs were under rated by GM or the motorhome manufacturers overloaded the front end. My money is on the motorhome manufacturers overloading the front end!

It just seems that the air bags are a bandaid for a problem that shouldn't have existed.
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Old 06-15-2015, 11:37 AM   #9
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Nope, not fun, but doable DIY. hoping mine last a loooong time
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:11 PM   #10
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
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Originally Posted by choctawmel View Post
Springs don't last forever.
I replaced mine with a set of heavy duty springs. Got tired of it bottoming out on every little bump in the road and the air bags going flat. With heavier spring, no air bag replacing, I don't bottom out, rides better.
In my AS manual it shows inter-spring bags and over spring-shocks. These front ends are very overloaded.
Do you have a part number for the spring you used.
Do you know what the front end tips the scale at.
The front end is the same thing as a 1 Ton truck.

I don't want to spend my money on something that is not going to last.
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Old 06-15-2015, 01:16 PM   #11
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As you have read here a couple of folks have changed the springs and most have replaced he air bags. I opted for the air bags when it was my turn. The money I saved paid for my new roof AC. I have no issue with the air bags. They provide an excellent ride and have never bottomed out with them inflated properly (55lbs). Of course I'm speaking with experience in driving the economy model...28 footer (that's a joke for those that can't figure it out on their own! ).

Like everything on an airstream it takes a bit of work but it is absolutely doable. Raise the front up a bit to unload the weight and spread the springs apart some. Make sure you use Jack stands and never use the leveling jacks. Cut the old bags up and remove in pieces. I used a utility knife. Instructions say to twist the new bags and tie string around them to keep them compressed. I used zip ties. The bags will go in through the bottom hole in the lower a arm. Make sure there is no sharp edges around these holes.

Lube the hole and bags with LOTS of dish soap and water...probably a lot more soap then water. Keep lubing the bag as you twist it in. If you do the job in a 100+ weather like I did, the bags are more pliable LOL. If I remember right, I think there was a plastic washer that sat between the lower a arm and the bag. Make sure the air valve is positioned in the center of the hole so that it is not cut or pinched on the side of the a arm hole. Take your time and do a lot of cussing if necessary. If you run air lines from the bags up to a location on the grille area, make sure the lines are not going to rub or get pinched on the moving suspension.

Then air then up to 55lbs. Next enjoy a nice ride in your airstream!

I think if I had unlimited funds I might go with aftermarket springs on another project, but I'm very happy with the ride and with the cost savings. That's my two cents worth based on my experiences.


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Old 06-15-2015, 02:03 PM   #12
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Does GM still offer the air bags.
What brand of Air bag did you use I see Firestone's
Under $100 could make me go with the Bags.
Firestone 4100 Coil-Rite Air Bags - Chevy P30 Motorhome Class A | $96.99
Thanks Everyone.
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Old 06-15-2015, 02:51 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Hans 34.5 View Post
Does GM still offer the air bags.
What brand of Air bag did you use I see Firestone's
Under $100 could make me go with the Bags.
Firestone 4100 Coil-Rite Air Bags - Chevy P30 Motorhome Class A | $96.99
Thanks Everyone.
They have the Airlift bags on sale for $82.46. Same specs just a different color. Soften the bags in hot water, remove the valve core, collapse the bag, add lube and screw them in. Get the top started and you can screw them in in less then a minute. The hardest part is getting the old bags out.

The is much written about bags and springs in the Chevrolet Motorhome Chassis Service Guide.
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Old 06-15-2015, 02:53 PM   #14
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There are Firestone and Air-Lift. Probably the same. I used Air-Lift. About $85 on Amazon or from trucksprings.com.


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