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Old 04-05-2014, 02:27 PM   #1
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Air Suspension, 3/4 ton truck

Just sort of thinking out loud here having just returned from three weeks in Florida, and about seven days of grinding away on the Interstate watching 18 wheelers go by, some having air suspension.


So, it got me to thinking, why not change the heavily sprung 3/4 ton rear suspension to air? Anyone done this with any success?


Our truck is not too bad, for a 3/4 ton, until it's loaded with the trailer and all our stuff, and running down IH 10 in Louisiana with all of the concrete highway humps, and then when it hits them and the overload spring hits, it really gives you a jolt.


I was thinking about maybe removing the factory overload, and then adding air suspension. Anyone with any experience in this area?
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Old 04-05-2014, 03:07 PM   #2
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I don't know about air suspension per se. We have a set of Firestone Air Bags on the rear leaf spring suspension of Fred, our big truck. Fred ia a 2011 Silverado one ton (3500). We carry a 3,000# truck camper in Fred's bed just about full time. We also tow the Airstream while carrying the truck camper which takes Fred right to his load limits. The air bags have worked well to level the Airstream. They can also level the truck from side to side as I can adjust the pressure in each air bag separately.

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Old 04-05-2014, 03:12 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by moosetags View Post
I don't know about air suspension per se. We have a set of Firestone Air Bags on the rear leaf spring suspension of Fred, our big truck. Fred ia a 2011 Silverado one ton (3500). We carry a 3,000# truck camper in Fred's bed just about full time. We also tow the Airstream while carrying the truck camper which takes Fred right to his load limits. The air bags have worked well to level the Airstream. They can also level the truck from side to side as I can adjust the pressure in each air bag separately.

Brian

I'm familiar with your setup, Brian. But since you've had the truck loaded like this most all the time you've had it, you most likely don't have a feel for ride quality before and after the air bags, right?
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Old 04-05-2014, 03:27 PM   #4
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I'm familiar with your setup, Brian. But since you've had the truck loaded like this most all the time you've had it, you most likely don't have a feel for ride quality before and after the air bags, right?
I did tow the Airstream some with the big truck before I got the truck camper and the airbags. Of course, a one ton empty pick-up can easily handle any Airstream without any kind of suspension upgrade.

I haven't really noticed any difference in ride quality with or with out the camper, towing or not towing, with or without the air bags inflated. A one ton long bed pick-up is a fairly firm ride no matter what.

I will say one thing. Fred has never bottomed out on his suspension, and we have been on some pretty rough unpaved roads with him.

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Old 04-07-2014, 07:58 AM   #5
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Our 3/4 ton Ram has never bottomed out either, and when normally loaded with the trailer in tow, the spring leafs are actually off of the overload spring.


It's just when you hit bumps like are frequently present on the interstates these days going onto or off of a bridge where we get a tremendous jolt, and my thinking is that's when the suspension hits the big heavy overload spring.


This, and watching the suspension travel on the passing air spring 18 wheeler trucks is what has got me thinking in this direction.
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Old 04-07-2014, 10:11 AM   #6
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You might look at this site: Stock Height | Kelderman

Pretty pricey though.
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Old 04-07-2014, 10:13 AM   #7
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You might look into a Firestone R4 tech system
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Old 04-07-2014, 10:21 AM   #8
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You might look at this site: Stock Height | Kelderman

Pretty pricey though.

Thanks, and I have already looked at those, but feel they primarily address ride unloaded, which is not really my problem. However, having no experience with this sort of thing, I welcome all input.
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Old 04-07-2014, 10:22 AM   #9
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You might look into a Firestone R4 tech system

Thanks, and will do.
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Old 04-07-2014, 10:56 AM   #10
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As mentioned in prior posts, I had the Kelderman level ride air suspension installed on my 2012 Dodge Ram 2500HD diesel at their factory while driving in January 2013 from the truck purchase location in Indiana to Arizona. The ride to Oskaloosa, Iowa was stiff, especially over the seam welts on concrete roads and ruts from packed ice and snow.

After the modification (all the steel springs front and rear are replaced with airbags and new shocks are installed on the front) and the adjustments are made to level the ride, the newly installed air compressor will add air as the load on the rear increases. Air is automatically released when the load lightens. There is a small air expansion tank attached to each rear shock to help cushion the ride. There was a very noticeable improvement in the ride. My full figured wife would not have liked the ride going to Kelderman's but has no comfort issues since the suspension modification.

I also added a dump switch for the rear shocks that lowers the backend of the truck and the tailgate where I, as a shorter person, can easily load the heavier things into the truck. Release the switch and the truck returns to the level position.

I also installed the two major modification to the front steering system as some Ram trucks are noted for some issues in that area.

I already knew that the tongue weight of our 2013 25FB International Serenity was 1,175 pounds. So I also removed the 1,200 pound rated factory hitch due to reported weld failures at the joint of the round tube to the frame and installed a Curt 15049 hitch rated for 2,550 pounds tongue weight and a 17,000 pound trailer. This had an added advantage of lowering the receiver to the point that a two inch drop stinger on the Hensley hitch allowed the trailer to ride level.

When I switched to the ProPride for the new Classic 30, the hitch kit came with their adjustable stinger and we used a one bolt hole from straight through differential and the trailer is about ¼" nose low with no camping load or mattresses in the back.

I will be bringing the rig home from the solar and disc brake conversion this coming weekend and we will see what happens to the trailer axle suspension when the rig is loaded for camping with all the stuff.
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Old 04-07-2014, 12:28 PM   #11
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Switz,


I knew you had installed the Kelderman system, looked at their site, and since they have so many systems, could not determine which one you used.


Could you provide a link to the exact system you had installed, please?
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Old 04-09-2014, 10:20 PM   #12
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The 2014 RAM HD trucks are supposed to be coming with air suspension as a factory option. Not replacement for the springs but factory installed supplemental air bags such as the firestone.
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Old 04-10-2014, 01:02 AM   #13
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I put Firestone Ride-rites on our 1996 F250 4x4 crew cab. This helps us level the truck after attaching the trailer when we are carrying extra weight (water for boondocking, motorcycle, etc). Works well, and really cut down on pitching.

Yes, full-time air suspension would be great, but a big change for manufacturers.

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Old 04-10-2014, 03:24 AM   #14
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We just installed a TowPro by Ridetech on our 2013 Ford F250 King Ranch, gas engine. The ride without a load attached to the is smooth and with our '04 Classic 30 slide out attached it levels automatically. The hardware was $1,500 (no labor) which included the air bags, compressor and new rear shocks. While we have yet to head out on a trip, we look for good things from this modification. Stay tuned.
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