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Old 11-11-2019, 01:37 AM   #1
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Airbags for lifting for additional ground clearance

So my crazy neighbor had an interesting idea. My issue: ground clearance! My sport 22FB (Bambi) drags its butt (black water valve!) way more often then I had ever expected. Gas stations get me white knuckled every time, just waiting to hear that awful scrape.

The lift kit that is commonly available goes between the axle and the frame. Simple, just a block of metal bolted in. The problem is that those extra 3Ē means I canít store my airstream in my garage, which is a deal-breaker for me.

So my neighbor suggested air bags like they use on truck suspension. Pump them up after I pull out of the garage and boomóIím riding (a little) high.

Thoughts?
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Old 11-11-2019, 03:15 AM   #2
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Airstreams use rubber torsion suspension, for airbags you’d need a leaf or coil spring suspension.
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Old 11-11-2019, 04:59 AM   #3
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Are you sure your trailer is level to start? With a single axle you could go a little low in the front for extra rear clearance. Even an inch might make all the difference.
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Old 11-11-2019, 06:41 AM   #4
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Dexter makes an airbag system for torsion axles. Not sure if anyone has ever tried it on an Airstream but it seems like a good alternative except for possibly $$$$.
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Old 11-11-2019, 10:12 AM   #5
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Hi

The air setup is indeed $$$$. Just poking at the internet prices Mr Google comes up with ..... looks like you are above $2,000 in parts before you start doing the welding on the trailer to mount this or that. There appear to be a ton of choices, all of which get into various dependencies. Just sorting that out would be "interesting".

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Old 11-11-2019, 10:16 AM   #6
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Can’t install airbags with axles...unless they are installed between the axle and frame.. making the trailer really high
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Old 11-11-2019, 11:03 AM   #7
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I just upgraded to a dual axel, solved my problem when I had my FC19. With my current FC25, never have to worry about it.
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Old 11-11-2019, 11:44 AM   #8
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You could...

install a skid plate on the frame to protect the black water valve....

remove the valve/tank and go to a composting toilet...

install the lift kit, and deflate your tires...

just go to trucker-type fueling stations, like most of the rest of us!
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Old 11-11-2019, 12:21 PM   #9
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Smile Out of the Box Ideas for Airstream vs. Garage Height

Out of the Box Ideas:

Idea 1. You could do a moderate block lift (1" to 2") but use the "air" concept to still fit into garage for storage. Just let some air out of the tires before backing in. Pump tires back up after exiting the garage (or when storing long-term). Just can't let out 'too much' air.

Idea 2. Alternatively, if you have pretty good clearance around/above your tires within the wheel wells, you could substitute larger diameter wheels and tires. Use the same reduction in air pressure to drop the trailer to get into garage.

Idea 3. Your height is probably limited by the AC unit on top of the trailer. Consider a lower height AC unit...or the case around the unit.

Idea 4. Check with a contractor on cost to cut a 6" high x 4' wide notch in top of garage opening. Install same trim around it. They might have to 'sister' the beam across top of opening, which could involve drywall. But might be worth a shot if AC unit would go through just fine. Of course the height of any garage door mechanism needs to checked too.

Idea 5. A 'ZZ Top' look for your Airstream could be cool...ok, maybe that's too much...

Have fun with this one...
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Old 11-12-2019, 05:48 AM   #10
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Hi

You *could* modify the garage .... we did that back in .. errr ... 1957 ....

Bob
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Old 11-14-2019, 08:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuzyHomemakr View Post
You could...

install a skid plate on the frame to protect the black water valve....

install the lift kit, and deflate your tires...
Both of those are very interesting options. The deflated tires thing is a bit of a pain (though maybe just an excuse to buy another air compressor for the storage area!).
The skid plate....I definitely need to look into this. If I could transfer (part of) that force to the frame, that would probably do the job.
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Old 11-14-2019, 08:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trowbridge View Post
Out of the Box Ideas:

Idea 1. You could do a moderate block lift (1" to 2") but use the "air" concept to still fit into garage for storage. Just let some air out of the tires before backing in. Pump tires back up after exiting the garage (or when storing long-term). Just can't let out 'too much' air.

Idea 2. Alternatively, if you have pretty good clearance around/above your tires within the wheel wells, you could substitute larger diameter wheels and tires. Use the same reduction in air pressure to drop the trailer to get into garage.
Hmmm that moderate block lift is an interesting idea. Even just an inch would be worth doing. I suppose what I should do is measure the minimum distance that I've got, and install a block about 1/8" smaller than that.

I suppose that larger tires might be a "two-for-one"....from what I've read there are other benefits to larger tires than the stock ones on the 22FB's. It would also give me a bit more "travel" with the tire pressure reduction.

I'm not sure how much room I have in the fenders, but IIRC it is common to bump up an inch with this model.
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