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Old 05-20-2015, 02:17 PM   #15
2 Rivet Member
Wetaskiwin , Alberta
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 68
Originally Posted by Smartstream View Post
From the GM manual.

The air bag cylinders should be inspected periodically for
signs of deterioration or damage. Air bag leaks can easily
be checked on the vehicle . Inflate with a small amount of
air conditioning freon No . 12 then locate the leak using
an air conditioning leak detector. To check for possible
leaks with the air bag removed from the vehicle, submerge
the air bag in water and check for bubbles. (Replace with
GM Part No. 367762.) Inflation pressures should be maintained
at 10 PSI minimum to avoid chafing . Under load,
40-50 PSI is recommended for a 4,300-Ib . suspension, 50
PSI for a 5,000-lb . suspension. 70 PSI is required on the
5,300-Ib suspension . 80-90 PSI is recommended for the
F44 5,500-Ib . optional 16,000-Ib . suspension. This unit
uses an Airlift HD bag Part No. 15631881 . Vendor #40-571
NOTE: Air bags are currently used on nearly all motor
homes and are proposed for use on some GSeries
(cut-away) models for 1988-89 .

My 280 has about 3" of suspension travel as indicated by Figure A3-2-1 on page 3-21 of the Chevrolet Motorhome Chassis Service Guide. About 2" into the travel it makes contact with the rubber bump stops, at 3" it is metal to metal. Perhaps you feel comfortable riding on the bump stops but many on here expressed ride and handling improvements with the installation and properly inflated air bags. You may feel differently but I'll put my trust in the GM Manual and run the air bags.
That's the whole point.... I'm not on the bump stops.

1989 Classic 345LE
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Old 05-20-2015, 07:47 PM   #16
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1984 31' Airstream310
Honokaa , Hawaii
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 710
I have hit some pretty decent bumps and potholes in our 310, no front air bags. Never heard or felt anything unusual. I doubt that I have even been on the bump stops, and definitely never had the solid metal feel of a fully compressed spring.

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Old 05-21-2015, 03:50 PM   #17
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1983 31' Airstream310
Hillsburgh , Ontario
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 2,742
Originally Posted by Waipio Rim View Post
I have hit some pretty decent bumps and potholes in our 310, no front air bags. Never heard or felt anything unusual. I doubt that I have even been on the bump stops, and definitely never had the solid metal feel of a fully compressed spring.
Consider yourself lucky then as I know someone that hit a very poor railway crossing at speed, bottomed out so hard that the fixed passenger window shattered. You can't just replace the glass; you have to buy the whole frame at $475.00 at Airstream supply.

Per Mare, Per Terram and may all your campaigns be successful.

Its a recession when your neighbor loses his job; its a depression when you lose your own. "Harry S Truman"
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Old 05-22-2015, 12:54 PM   #18
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1982 28' Airstream 280
Redwood City , California
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,738
I can only speak from my own experiences driving my 280. When I originally picked up the 280 and drove it from Eugene to Redding, the airbags would not hold air. With that and a multitude of other possible issues, I drove no faster then 55. Before I replaced the airbags, I had to drive the 280 from its home in the foothills into town multiple times in an effort to get the motorhome smogged. This is on a windy, hilly and bumpy road...about 100 miles round trip.

I have put probably 10,000 miles on the motorhome after replacing the airbags, new shocks and a few other suspension parts. Actually, I have done the "mountain" road drive with the new shocks and the old non-working airbags.

Without the airbags inflated, the front end of the motorhome would porpoise multiple times when driving through a dip in the road. Twice I remember "bottoming out" and this was with no bump stops in place.

After replacing the airbags and inflating them to 55lbs, it is my experience that the ride and safety of the motorhome has increased substantially. Even after replacing the bump stops, I have not hit the bump stops or bottomed out since. The porpoising is gone. When driving over the same road with the same dips, the front end will drop slightly on the uphill side of the dip and then levels out as one would expect. This is very different then this same drive without the airbags.

The motorhome is an absolute pleasure to drive out on the highway and I think I would only experience better in a new million dollar plus coach.

Before replacing the airbags, I was considering replacing the springs with aftermarket springs from Henderson. I made an economic decision not to spend the money. The $800-1000 in savings paid for my new roof A/C instead.

I'm going to guess that the aftermarket springs would have created a bit of a stiffer ride and would have impacted the driving comfort level. I run dual rate springs on my Polaris RZR and I believe the spring/airbag combination on the motorhome has a similar function. That in conjunction with the the "dual rate" leaf spring and air spring setup in the rear make for a really nice ride.

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