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Old 05-17-2013, 06:40 PM   #1
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1979 28' Airstream Excella 28
Northport , Alabama
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Air Bag Leveling '79 Excella

1979 AirStream Excella on P3 frame -
I have installed new air bags, and the compressor comes on and raises the bags about 3 inches (not enough to level) compressor cuts off at about 85 lbs. No matter what position I place the leveling arms in - I can not get the (air bags to release air and lower) or (selector to add air and raise the bags). As far as I can tell, the AS still has original ele. solnoid and 3 position selector on both sides and both sides are responding in the same manner.

Not sure what the max air pressure for the small air tank (orig.) is supposed to be, but I brought it from 85 up to about 100 and it seamed to raise the bags slightly. BUT, was afraid to increase the air pressure above 100 psi in that small of tank!
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Jerry
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Old 05-17-2013, 08:23 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by 71tr6r View Post
1979 AirStream Excella on P3 frame -
I have installed new air bags, and the compressor comes on and raises the bags about 3 inches (not enough to level) compressor cuts off at about 85 lbs. No matter what position I place the leveling arms in - I can not get the (air bags to release air and lower) or (selector to add air and raise the bags). As far as I can tell, the AS still has original ele. solnoid and 3 position selector on both sides and both sides are responding in the same manner.

Not sure what the max air pressure for the small air tank (orig.) is supposed to be, but I brought it from 85 up to about 100 and it seamed to raise the bags slightly. BUT, was afraid to increase the air pressure above 100 psi in that small of tank!
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Jerry
I run about 100 psi. in my tank and the bags run about 70 to 72 psi. My dash gauge actually shows the bag pressure. When my holding tanks are full the pressure goes up a couple of pounds. The switch that controls the compressor is normally adjustable, if not you can buy one that is. Air systems on trucks that use the same air bags run 125 psi. with no problems. I'd go ahead and bring the pressure in the tank up a bit. It would also be a good idea to weigh the rear axle of the coach to make sure everything is in a normal range.
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Old 05-18-2013, 05:48 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 71tr6r View Post
1979 AirStream Excella on P3 frame -
I have installed new air bags, and the compressor comes on and raises the bags about 3 inches (not enough to level) compressor cuts off at about 85 lbs. No matter what position I place the leveling arms in - I can not get the (air bags to release air and lower) or (selector to add air and raise the bags). As far as I can tell, the AS still has original ele. solnoid and 3 position selector on both sides and both sides are responding in the same manner.

Not sure what the max air pressure for the small air tank (orig.) is supposed to be, but I brought it from 85 up to about 100 and it seamed to raise the bags slightly. BUT, was afraid to increase the air pressure above 100 psi in that small of tank!
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Jerry
I always used to run the tank pressure at 100 PSI on my old 79. You may be expecting more of a lift than this system is designed to provide. 3" sounds like a lot, looking at a picture of my 79 bags. The "leveling" is side to side not real front to rear, as you may be hoping for. If you have issues with dragging your rear end, make sure you use the right hitch that does not extend the low point further, like I did on this modified bike rack.
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Old 05-18-2013, 11:59 AM   #4
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1979 28' Airstream Excella 28
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PeterH & Smartstream

First let me thank both of you for your help.
Hi PeterH,
Your set up looks just like mine except my hitch (orig., No extension) is almost touching the ground. When you step back and look at the rig it is very plane to see that the rear end is very low. I got to thinking last night that my (orig., compressor/points) was rebuilt last year (have not used AS in the past year) and am thinking that maybe my power line to the solenoids is wired to the wrong position on the points plate. I will try to check that out this weekend. Side to side leveling seems to be the OK just low in rear.
Hi Dan (Smartstream),
I do not have a bag psi gauge inside the RS only way to check pressure is sch. valve on tank. To just confirm this small Orig. air tank is rated at or > 125psi? It does run both bags. There have been no modification so weight should be within limits (1/4 tank of fuel also), but never have weighed it.
Thanks Again, Jerry
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Old 05-18-2013, 01:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 71tr6r View Post
First let me thank both of you for your help.
Hi PeterH,
Your set up looks just like mine except my hitch (orig., No extension) is almost touching the ground. When you step back and look at the rig it is very plane to see that the rear end is very low. I got to thinking last night that my (orig., compressor/points) was rebuilt last year (have not used AS in the past year) and am thinking that maybe my power line to the solenoids is wired to the wrong position on the points plate. I will try to check that out this weekend. Side to side leveling seems to be the OK just low in rear.
Hi Dan (Smartstream),
I do not have a bag psi gauge inside the RS only way to check pressure is sch. valve on tank. To just confirm this small Orig. air tank is rated at or > 125psi? It does run both bags. There have been no modification so weight should be within limits (1/4 tank of fuel also), but never have weighed it.
Thanks Again, Jerry
Jerry we obviously don't have availably of the original tank specs but here is a quote from Truck Springs about their tanks. Air Tanks

Air tanks are designed for both industrial and automotive applications and are manufactured and tested to meet SAE J10 specifications for Automotive and Off-Highway Air Brake Reservoir Performance and Identification Requirements for Truck and Bus.
Pressure tested to twice working pressure (150 PSI or 200 PSI working pressure), These high quality air tanks and air reservoirs are coated on the inside and outside to prevent oxidation, corrosion and rust.
Applications include:
  • These tanks make for an ideal air reservoir for Firestone, Air Lift, Hellwig and many other air helper springs, air bags and air brake systems
  • A great air tank for air tools for work shops, machine shops, and more
  • These air tanks are perfect for motorhomes, RVs and other large recreational vehicles
  • These high quality air tanks are even durable enough for use in industrial applications


I would be more concerned about the compressor capacity, the higher the pressure the more stress on the compressor. Also the bags themselves are really the things that matter as far as height goes. They are designed to ride at a certain height to provide a safe range of travel up and down as you hit bumps and pot holes going down the highway. This is the spec. sheet for the bags in my coach.
http://www.firestoneip.com/site-reso...W013585311.pdf

This will help you identify your air bags.
Firestone Air Spring Identification Tips, Airide Air Bag Identification Tips - TruckSpring.com

Truck Spring has a lot of information on their site and can help you get the correct info to set up your suspension.

Good luck.
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Old 05-22-2013, 05:23 PM   #6
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1979 28' Airstream Excella 28
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Problem Isolated

Let me thank you for all your help. But, one more issue. I have isolated the problem to the wiring on the air compressor pump. Tank is at 100 psi, and will fill the bags. problem is the shut of from the solenoid valve not wired into the pump correctly. Hopefully, I can upload pictures (2 attachments). cover is in bad shape but apprears to be a Square "D" Class 9013. it has two sets of points with 4 independent lugs. with three wires. one "power", two "compressor pump" three "solenoid". Help with proper position of wires would be great.
Also any info on the two pressure adjustment screws would be helpful?Jerry
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Old 05-22-2013, 07:33 PM   #7
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The logic is when the pressure falls below a preset PSI (lets say 80 pounds) the points close and activate the compressor and open both solenoids at the bags. First thing I would do is install a simple pressure gauge between the regulator and the compressor, as I did in this picture.
After you do that you can monitor the regulator cycle and also the system pressure, but may you also have to install or relocate the one way check valve to make sure the gauge is "in the system" and not on the other side of the check valve.
In case you are not familiar with the check valve: It is designed to only allow the flow of air go from the compressor to the tank or Air Bags, since most compressor and/or regulators have internal small leaks that will slowly deflate the system.
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Old 05-22-2013, 08:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 71tr6r View Post
Let me thank you for all your help. But, one more issue. I have isolated the problem to the wiring on the air compressor pump. Tank is at 100 psi, and will fill the bags. problem is the shut of from the solenoid valve not wired into the pump correctly. Hopefully, I can upload pictures (2 attachments). cover is in bad shape but apprears to be a Square "D" Class 9013. it has two sets of points with 4 independent lugs. with three wires. one "power", two "compressor pump" three "solenoid". Help with proper position of wires would be great.
Also any info on the two pressure adjustment screws would be helpful?Jerry
Jerry I'm not sure about the solenoid you are talking about. The pressure switch is mechanically operated. Air pressure moves the paddle to make or break the contacts. The nut on the large spring sets the high or cut off pressure and the smaller spring sets the cut on or start pressure, usually by setting the difference in pressure from the cut off pressure. In other words if you set the small spring to start at 20 psi below the cut off and you increase the cut off by 10 psi it will still start at a drop of 20 psi from the new cut off.

If you connect you 12 Volt wire to a contact and connect the compressor motor wire to the opposite contact the contacts will make up and provide current to the compressor when the pressure drops below the set point. When the pressure reaches the cut off pressure the contacts will open and stop the compressor. It looks like you have four sets of contacts to choose from. You can use the other sets of contacts to operate other compressors or warning lights or buzzers or whatever you choose.

If your compressor is wired through a relay then you simply use the contacts to feed the pull in coil of the relay.
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:21 PM   #9
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1979 28' Airstream Excella 28
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Pictures and diag of leveling system

Here are pictures of (174) Rt. sol. & adjuster, (173)Lt. sol & Adjuster, 172 is the wiring/air line diagrams of my unit - it just does not go into detail on the wiring at the contacts points.

my problem with the contacts is each (1) contact (looks like two, but really one with 2 contacts) has 2 screw contact points and they are independent of each other when the contacts are open (0 ohms) - so I have 4 open contact points 2 on each set of points. So if i understand correctly your saying connect power to one screw on one set of points and the compressor on the second screw of the same set of contacts - then the question is where does wire from the the soleonid go?
I am still a little confused on its function in the system. Pressure comes from the pump to the soelnoids then to leveling selector valve. So at some point I think when the pressure drops on one side of the solenoid - it will allow pressure from the tank to enter that solenoids bag and cause the compressor to cut back on????????

Thanks again.
Jerry
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 71tr6r View Post
Here are pictures of (174) Rt. sol. & adjuster, (173)Lt. sol & Adjuster, 172 is the wiring/air line diagrams of my unit - it just does not go into detail on the wiring at the contacts points.

my problem with the contacts is each (1) contact (looks like two, but really one with 2 contacts) has 2 screw contact points and they are independent of each other when the contacts are open (0 ohms) - so I have 4 open contact points 2 on each set of points. So if i understand correctly your saying connect power to one screw on one set of points and the compressor on the second screw of the same set of contacts - then the question is where does wire from the the soleonid go?
I am still a little confused on its function in the system. Pressure comes from the pump to the soelnoids then to leveling selector valve. So at some point I think when the pressure drops on one side of the solenoid - it will allow pressure from the tank to enter that solenoids bag and cause the compressor to cut back on????????

Thanks again.
Jerry

Jerry,
Sorry, I don't remember if the solenoids should be energized when you turn the ignition on or only when the compressor comes on.
I seem to remember hearing them click everytime I turned the ignition on.
It would make sense that they are open with the ignition on and closed during storage.
Have you tested them by connecting them individually to the hot lead coming from the fuse panel to the pressure switch?
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Old 05-23-2013, 11:18 PM   #11
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I have to agree with Peter that the solenoids have to come on with the ignition. They are redundant compared to a normal air ride system used today. The leveling valve is what holds air in the bags. I guess Airstream wanted to be sure the bags didn't lose air while camping for extended periods.

If you want the solenoids to open with the ignition just connect the solenoid wire to the same terminal as the 12 volt supply wire in the pressure switch. The 12 volt supply should be controlled by the ignition switch.

Here is a picture of my pressure switch.

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The arrow shows the bridge that holds the upper contact points. In the closed position it makes up with the two lower contact points to provide electrical continuity between the two wires. To the right is another set of points available for another function. Air pressure enters the rear of the switch to operate the mechanism that opens and closes the contact points. These switches might not all look identical but they serve the same function. If you energize your compressor and let it pump up enough pressure to open the switch you will hear a click as the mechanism overcomes the spring and you will see those contact points have separated and your compressor will stop running. Again if you want the solenoids to open with the ignition then put that wire under the screw with the 12 volt supply wire.
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