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Old 06-11-2016, 04:42 PM   #1
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Prineville , Oregon
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82 Airstream 280 diesel air ride system

I just bought an Airstream 280 turbo diesel in Texas and drove to Oregon.

My question is the air ride system. I put 90 lbs in the front bags. However how do I know if the rear air bags and air compressor are working. Has any one had experience with this system. The ride was pretty choppy and top heavy.

Also does the accessory switch on the dash have to be on for the compressor to work? From inspecting the rear bags they appear firm.

Thanks for and suggestions.
Rod Malone
E mail rod68201@aol.com
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Old 06-11-2016, 06:34 PM   #2
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1982 28' Airstream 280
Port Angeles , Washington
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First welcome to the insanity of classic Airstream ownership.

Your front air bags want to be 55 psi. that should soften the ride a bit. Next the rear bag operation should be automatic. The compressor located in the left rear storage compartment, should start when the ignition switch is turned on. The air pressure is controlled by an automatic pressure switch that turns the compressor at about 70 psi. and off at about 100 psi. The air bag pressure is controlled by a leveling valve that adjusts the bag pressure to keep the rear of the coach at a specific ride height. If you look under the rear of the coach the height of the bags, the distance between the cross member at the bottom of the bags to the cross member at the top of the bags is supposed to be around 8 1/2" to 8 3/4". You will see a small rod about 1/4" dia. attached to the lower cross member and the leveling valve mounted on the upper cross member. Adjusting the arm on the leveling valve adjusts the ride height.

This is a picture of the system however it doesn't show the leveling valve.

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Old 06-12-2016, 12:10 AM   #3
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Prineville , Oregon
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air ride systm

Thanks for the detailed answer. I will do some measuring. I still cant tell if the compressor is coming on.
do you know if there is a switch to turn the compressor on.
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Old 06-12-2016, 01:31 AM   #4
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1982 28' Airstream 280
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The factory didn't install a switch but that doesn't mean a previous didn't add one. Immediately forward of the compartment where the compressor is located you should find a small vertical air tank. There is a Schrader valve on the bottom to drain water from the tank. You can use a tire gauge there to check tank pressure. If there is more then 70 psi. the compressor will not run if the system is working properly. You can bleed some air off to drop the pressure enough for the compressor to cycle. The compressor should only run for three to five minutes to fill the tank and charge the bags. The system should keep the bags up at least over night and if really tight for several days. If there is no pressure in the tank you can fill it to 100 psi. and that will fill the bags if the system is functioning. You mentioned the bags feel firm so I suspect there is air in the bags. Also if the bags are deflated the rear of the coach will set 3" or 4" low. Looking underneath the rear of the leaf springs where they were cut off will be resting against the bottom of the frame.

You might send a PM to one of the moderators and ask them to move this thread to the motorhome section, more of the moho guys will find it there.

One last thing, none of this exists without pictures. I think you have to have posted 4 times to be able to post pictures and we like pictures.
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