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Old 11-22-2006, 04:45 PM   #1
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Air Bags

I bought my 250 and discovered one of the front air bags had failed so I replaced both and marveled at the diffrence in handeling.
But it resulted in a problem in that the front of the moho was now higher than the back. So much so that on level ground, my rear leveling jacks could not work properly.
So, today I installed firestone bags on the back and "walla". 80# in the front aqnd 60# in the back - she's level and handles like a dream. A pleasure to drive - no more bouncing, swaying, and not level conditions
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Old 11-22-2006, 05:49 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Alan
I bought my 250 and discovered one of the front air bags had failed so I replaced both and marveled at the diffrence in handeling.
But it resulted in a problem in that the front of the moho was now higher than the back. So much so that on level ground, my rear leveling jacks could not work properly.
So, today I installed firestone bags on the back and "walla". 80# in the front aqnd 60# in the back - she's level and handles like a dream. A pleasure to drive - no more bouncing, swaying, and not level conditions

CAUTION

Airstream and Chevrolet both say that the front air bags should be set to 55 PSI, no more and no less.

That explains the front being higher than it should.

Also the front end alignment is based on the 55 PSI for the front bags.

Andy
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Old 11-22-2006, 06:43 PM   #3
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Thanks for the information Andy. I'll adjust the pressure to 55# and reduce the rear pressure to level her up. I got the 80# number from an Airstream dealer - interesting
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Old 11-22-2006, 07:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Alan
Thanks for the information Andy. I'll adjust the pressure to 55# and reduce the rear pressure to level her up. I got the 80# number from an Airstream dealer - interesting
Airstream and Chevy determined the correct air pressure in the early 70's, so that the proper front end alignment remained correct.

Some dealers, while wanting to be helpful, are really not aware of the many things that Airstream goes through to insure than you buy a safe product.

Please report back after you make the pressure changes as to how the rig handles.

Andy
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Old 11-22-2006, 07:25 PM   #5
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For what it's worth, the 1987 345 and 325 motorhomes were equipped with automatic rear bag inflation systems that cut in at 80 PSI and cut off at 100 PSI. Maybe the Airstream dealer was mistakenly applying the rear pressure to all four bags...
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Old 11-22-2006, 08:12 PM   #6
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Interestingly the replacement front bags sold by CW recommend a pressure of 95# for the front..anything less voids the warrantee.
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Old 11-22-2006, 09:47 PM   #7
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I have a red warning plate over the valves on my front airbags that state they are not to be inflated over 60 pounds.
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Old 11-23-2006, 07:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaplain Kent
I have a red warning plate over the valves on my front airbags that state they are not to be inflated over 60 pounds.
Do you buy chanch know the orgin of the warning plate?
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Old 11-23-2006, 11:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
Airstream and Chevy determined the correct air pressure in the early 70's, so that the proper front end alignment remained correct.

Some dealers, while wanting to be helpful, are really not aware of the many things that Airstream goes through to insure than you buy a safe product.

Please report back after you make the pressure changes as to how the rig handles.

Andy
I adjusted the front air pressure to 55# and the rear to the same. I'm level all around and it drives great. The air reduction in the front only lowered the front of the unit about 1/4th of an inch.

Andy, the factory should have a specification for the distance between a reference point on the frame and the ground. I looked all thru the service manual and could not locate it. Do you have any contacts with GM that might help out with that number?
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Old 11-24-2006, 08:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
CAUTION

Airstream and Chevrolet both say that the front air bags should be set to 55 PSI, no more and no less.

That explains the front being higher than it should.

Also the front end alignment is based on the 55 PSI for the front bags.

Andy
I just found the #55 set point under "Specifications" in my Airstream Owners manual. Thanks Andy for the heads up.
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Old 11-24-2006, 12:38 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by swebster
Interestingly the replacement front bags sold by CW recommend a pressure of 95# for the front..anything less voids the warrantee.
Are the CW bags rubber or plastic? The originals were rubber.

I would suggest you look into a specific replacement instead of a universal.

I cannot imagine how the manufacturer of the air bags you purchased could possibly know the specs for the Airstream or Argosy motorhomes as determined by Chevy and Airstream.

You may be beating the front end of your Airstream unnecessarily.

Check the last post by David Alan.

Andy
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Old 11-24-2006, 04:08 PM   #12
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David,

My 82 28' Excella has a pressure switch that cycles on at 80 and off at 100 PSI. However, there is a mechanical switch that fills the rear bags when the frame drops. I wonder if you might have the same thing and perhaps it is out of adjustment? This could cause the rear to move too high when you have 80-100#s in the bags.

All of this is dependent of you having a compressor that automatically fills the bags as they need it. Mine is located in the last compartment on the driver's side.

Steve
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Old 11-24-2006, 05:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geophilist
David,

My 82 28' Excella has a pressure switch that cycles on at 80 and off at 100 PSI. However, there is a mechanical switch that fills the rear bags when the frame drops. I wonder if you might have the same thing and perhaps it is out of adjustment? This could cause the rear to move too high when you have 80-100#s in the bags.

All of this is dependent of you having a compressor that automatically fills the bags as they need it. Mine is located in the last compartment on the driver's side.

Steve
Thanks for the comment. The 250, ie 25' long, had no factory rear air bags. It did have front air bags that looked factory when I got it. I installed rear air bags and I'm very happy with the results. I suspect this 17 year old rig has tired springs and the air bags have given it a needed "boost"
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Old 11-25-2006, 01:13 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by David Alan
Andy, the factory should have a specification for the distance between a reference point on the frame and the ground. I looked all thru the service manual and could not locate it. Do you have any contacts with GM that might help out with that number?
The following specs were set by Airstream in the late 70's and then modified in 82 for the rear air bag setup.

Measure the rear air bags from absolute top to bottom.

On all Argosy and Airstream motorhomes from 1981 and "OLDER" that dimension should be 8 3/4 inches.

From 1982 and up that dimension should be 10 1/2 inches.

The rear end height is adjusted by changing the air bag "linkage."

There is no absolute pressure settings since the purpose of the rear air bags is to adjust for different rear end pay loads, and to keep the coach "level."

WARNING. WARNING
Tag axle owners.

Incorrect presuure or link adjustment can cause excessive weight loads on the tag axle.

That excessive weight, in time, can damage the outer bearings, possibly resulting in damage to the axle spindles, which then will require the complete axle be replaced, including the hub and drums.

It is extremely important that you do not overload the tag axle.

Carrying full fuel and normal rear end payloads, will "NOT" overload the tag axle, as long as the air bag linkage is properly adjusted so that the rear end of the coach is level.

That also requires that the front end air bag pressure be set to 55 PSI, no more and no less.

Andy
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