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Old 10-01-2011, 08:59 AM   #1
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2012 30' Classic
Bigfork , Montana
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Air bags for my Dodge

I have recently upgraded from a Safari 28' with s/o to a 30' Classic. Weight difference is probably about 500 to 1,000 pounds, but the point is that the ride is much rougher with the Classic. I have a Hensley Hitch and have played with various settings for jacks and spring bars, but nothing seems to reduce the bumpy ride. I tow with a 3/4 ton Dodge powered with a Cummings Diesel.
My question: Would the installation of air bags improve the ride?
Thank you!
Bert
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Old 10-01-2011, 09:09 AM   #2
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Bert, what weight rating are the bars on the Hensley? Getting lower rated ones will help. What tire pressure are you using in your truck? Lowering from 80 to 65 will help a lot, as well. An air hitch may help a bunch as well, but I don't have enough experience with them to make a recommendation.
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Old 10-01-2011, 09:26 AM   #3
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Oops. I read the title of this thread and thought it was about me.
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Old 10-01-2011, 11:10 AM   #4
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I had installed air bags on a e150 van to haul heavy loads occasionally for work. They were nice to have when towing the trailer.
Very soft ride.
There was no down side to using them in my opinion.
Al
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Old 10-01-2011, 11:11 AM   #5
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Zanadude Nebula , WNY
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Bert,

Have you gone to the scales yet with the new rig?

Important to get a baseline. (loaded ready for camping)
Weigh the TV alone... hitched with no bars...hitched max bars.

When loaded how much weight do you need to move forward?

Have you tried a road test with less tension on the bars you have?

Even though our tongue weight is 1125lb I went with the 1000lb bars.
When adjusted for load I'm transferring 625lb to the steering axle. Both TV and AS level.

With the stiffer suspension on your TV you want to use the lightest bars that will do the job.

IMHO..I don't think the airbag addition will add much in ride comfort. You may gain a little by running them at a very low pressure too soften the initial shock. But they may in fact make it more difficult transferring the needed weight forward.
Others who have tried them may have first hand experience.

Bob
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Old 10-01-2011, 12:29 PM   #6
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Bob,
I'm surprised that you transfer that much of the tongue weight to the front axle.
Correct me if I get this wrong. When you use the weight distribution bars to move weight to the front axle don't you move the same amount of weight back onto the trailer axle(assuming the hitch to axle distance is the same going forward and going back)?
With your numbers that would mean none of the tongue weight would be on the hitch.

Also on my e150 with air bags I only had about 10 to 20 psi in them when towing.
It beefed up my rear suspension just enough and kept the ride smooth.
Al
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Old 10-01-2011, 03:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigAl View Post
Bob,
I'm surprised that you transfer that much of the tongue weight to the front axle.
Correct me if I get this wrong. When you use the weight distribution bars to move weight to the front axle don't you move the same amount of weight back onto the trailer axle(assuming the hitch to axle distance is the same going forward and going back)?
With your numbers that would mean none of the tongue weight would be on the hitch.

Also on my e150 with air bags I only had about 10 to 20 psi in them when towing.
It beefed up my rear suspension just enough and kept the ride smooth.
Al
Al,

As you can see from the CAT tickets, only a portion of the transferred weight is distributed to the trailer axle's.

The right ticket is no tension and the left is tensioned for the weight being carried on that particular trip, car topper boat, camping gear etc.
840Lbs of tongue weight with the bars set.

Bob
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Old 10-01-2011, 03:51 PM   #8
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Air bags will effectively increase your spring rate, so unless you went with softer springs at the same time, it isn't going to help.

I use an Air-Safe... makes a huge difference in having all those little bumps hammering away at you all day. They have sales from time to time, but I think the class 4 that would work with a WD hitch is around $1000.

Ditto on the tire pressure... lower tire pressure = softer ride, at the expense of some wear. Just make sure the tires aren't getting hot.

It ends up being quite an investment on the hitch... but I like mine.
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Old 10-01-2011, 04:18 PM   #9
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Zanadude Nebula , WNY
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Bert,

If you do decide on adding air bags to your TV don't pay too much attention to the sales pitch....they will NOT add any payload capacity. You cannot go above the axle weight rating. According to this guy I would have a 10000lb rear axle just by adding the bags he recommended.

.................................................. .................................................. .....

On Sep 7, 2011, at 12:34 PM, INFO @ SuspensionConnection wrote:

The Firestone air bags will increase your weight carrying capacity by
5000 pounds. I definitely recommend this system for your Burb:
Chevy Firestone Air Bags - 2000-2009 Chevy Suburban 2500 4x4 & 2wd - Firestone "Ride-Rite" Air Bag Helper Springs (Rear)

Thanks

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Crosse [mailto:@roadrunner.com]
Sent: Sunday, September 04, 2011 10:59 AM
To: info@suspensionconnection.com
Subject: Airbag Chev Suburban

I am wondering how much more payload I will gain by adding rear bags to
my 06 3/4 Burb. Not sure of what the "level load capacity" of the Burb
is now.
I am concerned about overloading the axle as I tow an RV. How much would
I gain by upgrading the suspension with a quality air bag system.
Look forward to your recommendations.

Thank You,
Bob
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Old 10-02-2011, 01:10 PM   #10
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Another option that I used on my Tacoma was the Timbren springs. They are a non-airbag system (Vehicle Suspension Kits - Timbren Suspension Enhancement Systems). They are not that much different than an air-bag or helper spring. In my application, I had issues with the rear suspension bottoming out on big bumps. The Timbrens allowed me to keep that initial soft ride of the factory springs, with the Timbren's acting like a big bump stop for those few big hits...

They aren't adjustable though... but are also zero maintenance once they are installed. Air bags aren't that much different to install though...

You can always look at a custom leaf pack as well... Deaver makes spring packs with 10 or more leafs... so you can get one set up for a nice soft response for the first bit, then ramp up to a higher rate for when the load hits them harder. My Timbren set up was <> $200... the Deaver's would have been <> $800. Probably more for a 3/4 ton...
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