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Old 06-29-2012, 10:40 AM   #1
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Self leveling systems is it a WD?????

Ok, so I was wondering if anyone with a self leveling system has taken it to the scales to see if it could take the place of a WD system.

I have manual air bags in the coil springs on my 75 dodge 3/4 ton for hauling heavy loads, such as 4300# of sand and gravel. It keeps the front wheels on the ground.

I also have manual air bags in the coil springs on my Sequoia. my neighbor had them in his jeep and said it rode better with 5 psi in them. I keep 8-10 psi in them and it also rides better. I know you can get a Sequoia with self leveling air bags but it's pricey. I paid $200 for mine and installed them myself.

When I hook up I run 22 psi in them but the WD was set up before the air was put in. Should it be set up after or before the air is in the air bags?

Question is; do the air bags act the same as a WD? (my assumption is not as well as a WD, but would move some of the weight forward) I would be looking for scale numbers on this, If anyone has done it..
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Old 06-29-2012, 10:42 AM   #2
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Air bags and OEM leveling systems level only. NO WD. (ok, VERY LITTLE, CG changes a bit.)

I set up with the fuse pulled from the leveling system before loading anything in the truck and hitching. Then set WD per the MANY threads on this forum for your hitch setup. Then IF and ONLY IF, I am within 1/2 to 1" of the original unloaded rear TV height, do I reinstall the fuse.
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:04 AM   #3
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Air bags and OEM leveling systems level only. NO WD. (ok, VERY LITTLE, CG changes a bit.)

I set up with the fuse pulled from the leveling system before loading anything in the truck and hitching. Then set WD per the MANY threads on this forum for your hitch setup. Then IF and ONLY IF, I am within 1/2 to 1" of the original unloaded rear TV height, do I reinstall the fuse.
Ok but a WD levels as well, buy lifting the rear it transfers weight to the front. When you level the truck or suv you are also moving some of that weight forward as it comes up! I'm just wondering how much? I know the WD is suppose to put pressure on your frame to move the weight forward but also some of that is done by lifting the rear end. (I think)

I agree with you though, I set everything up before I put air in, I get less bounce going down the road with the air in than without it.
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:10 AM   #4
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Ok but a WD levels as well, buy lifting the rear it transfers weight to the front. When you level the truck or suv you are also moving some of that weight forward as it comes up! I'm just wondering how much? I know the WD is suppose to put pressure on your frame to move the weight forward but also some of that is done by lifting the rear end. (I think)

I agree with you though, I set everything up before I put air in, I get less bounce going down the road with the air in than without it.
With leveling you move VERY LITTLE weight to the TV front axle and to the trailer axle. It is only by the amount of the change in center of gravity from moving the TV tail up and tongue up. SWAGGING it, I would guess no more than 10 pounds either way.
I used to do these calculations for loaded trucks a lot. Would nedd a bunch of very detailed weights to be 100% accurate. In thoery you are correct. But the extent of your point is very small.
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:26 AM   #5
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The totally air suspended Jeep Grand Cherokee I have is self leveling but does NOT transfer any weight to the front. When I put my 700# tongue weight on the back without a WD hitch, it stays level, but virtually all the weight goes on the rear axle. In the case of my Jeep, that exceeds the allowable rear axle capacity. Jeep states that a WD hitch system is required for more than a 500# hitch weight (even though it will level out more). If you look at my posts in the thread on Jeep Air Suspension you will see some of my numbers when it went to the scale.

Once you get to an overload situation on your rear axle, the air suspension systems, including air bag supplements, only mask the problem of overload, and do not fix it. An overloaded axle is never improved by making the body of the rig level.
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:32 AM   #6
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So basically, other than the comfort ride of the self leveling system and airbags they don't do anything else! A false sense of security when there really isn't any?

But? if your weight is say, 300# on the front wheels and you load the back up it lifts your front wheels up and thus reducing the weight on the front wheels, making it less safe to drive. If you bring the rear back up you and now putting that 300# back on the ground, thus restoring the original front weight.

You aren't moving any of the new weight forward then? just putting the original front weight back on the ground. doing this would make it safer to drive than not doing it at all, RIGHT?

Is my thinking off? tell me the truth, it sometimes is.
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:36 AM   #7
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So basically, other than the comfort ride of the self leveling system and airbags they don't do anything else! A false sense of security when there really isn't any?

But? if your weight is say, 300# on the front wheels and you load the back up it lifts your front wheels up and thus reducing the weight on the front wheels, making it less safe to drive. If you bring the rear back up you and now putting that 300# back on the ground, thus restoring the original front weight.

You aren't moving any of the new weight forward then? just putting the original front weight back on the ground. doing this would make it safer to drive than not doing it at all, RIGHT?

Is my thinking off? tell me the truth, it sometimes is.
No, the rear axle is still the fulcrum of the lever system. As stated above, you are only masking the issue with air lift alone. As I said, VERY LITTLE is restored to the front in your example. This is a case where the eyes deceive your thinking and logic.
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:39 AM   #8
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WD changed the (majority) fulcrum to the hitch head (at the point of the spring bar mounting to the head.) We then "manipulate the physics" of that fulcrum with a constant spring load.

This is difficult stuff to try and explain by words alone.
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:27 PM   #9
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"But? if your weight is say, 300# on the front wheels and you load the back up it lifts your front wheels up and thus reducing the weight on the front wheels, making it less safe to drive. If you bring the rear back up you and now putting that 300# back on the ground, thus restoring the original front weight."

My interpertation is that this statement is incorrect. The self leveling system does not "restore the original front weight" It makes the car level by adjusting the stiffness of the springing holding the weight, not by moving the weight itself.
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:39 PM   #10
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Bill M has it right. The system simply stiffens the spring rate of the back of the truck to make it level. The reduced weight on the front wheels still stays light by the 300 pounds. The self levelers could be used with the W/D bars but the W/D bars do all the weight shifting. If you have shifted enough weight with the W/D bars, the self level system should not have to do much work.
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Old 06-29-2012, 01:52 PM   #11
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Bill M has it right. The system simply stiffens the spring rate of the back of the truck to make it level. The reduced weight on the front wheels still stays light by the 300 pounds. The self levelers could be used with the W/D bars but the W/D bars do all the weight shifting. If you have shifted enough weight with the W/D bars, the self level system should not have to do much work.
I don't think this is True and here is way.

But first: the first question was can a self level be used as a WD? answers : NO it can't.

To the second question.

If you have a static weight of 300# in the front and 500# in the back at level. They are putting a certain amount of force or pressure down onto the front and rear tires.

If you add 1000# to the back you will cause the front to lift up, The front static 300# is still there but is not applying the same amount of pressure to the front tires, making it harder to steer. you can't move static weight from the front to the back or back to the front, without a WD setup.

If you level the truck again that static 300# is in the same position as in the beginning and must then be putting the same amount of pressure on the front tires. This would return the steering capability to it's original state. You would not be moving any weight around in this scenario but are just returning the original weight / pressure to the front wheels as was there when it was level, This would improve the steering verses not having a self or manual leveling system.
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Old 06-29-2012, 02:22 PM   #12
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Remember the AB's are lifting right above the rear axle, the WD barz are lifting at the hitch ball, the rear axle is the fulcrum.

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Old 06-29-2012, 04:17 PM   #13
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So basically, other than the comfort ride of the self leveling system and airbags they don't do anything else! A false sense of security when there really isn't any?

But? if your weight is say, 300# on the front wheels and you load the back up it lifts your front wheels up and thus reducing the weight on the front wheels, making it less safe to drive. If you bring the rear back up you and now putting that 300# back on the ground, thus restoring the original front weight.

You aren't moving any of the new weight forward then? just putting the original front weight back on the ground. doing this would make it safer to drive than not doing it at all, RIGHT?

Is my thinking off? tell me the truth, it sometimes is.
Nope... you are just increasing the spring rate of the rear by putting air in the bag(s). If you cut some 2x4's and stuffed them between your rear axle and frame to stop the suspension from moving at all - would you change the amount of weight on the hitch? Nope.

The issue of 'safer' is complicated... having a vehicle in a level attitude is the way it is going to work the best. By cranking up air bags to support 800lbs of hitch, you are hiding the visible indication of a heavy load on the back - the springs compressing... It's not unsafe... it just isn't addressing the root issue of a tongue-weight that is too high.

I have the air ride on my Sequoia... works great, but I am dealing with < 500lbs on the hitch so WD isn't a factor for me...
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Old 06-29-2012, 04:35 PM   #14
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Nope... you are just increasing the spring rate of the rear by putting air in the bag(s). If you cut some 2x4's and stuffed them between your rear axle and frame to stop the suspension from moving at all - would you change the amount of weight on the hitch? Nope.

The issue of 'safer' is complicated... having a vehicle in a level attitude is the way it is going to work the best. By cranking up air bags to support 800lbs of hitch, you are hiding the visible indication of a heavy load on the back - the springs compressing... It's not unsafe... it just isn't addressing the root issue of a tongue-weight that is too high.

I have the air ride on my Sequoia... works great, but I am dealing with < 500lbs on the hitch so WD isn't a factor for me...
I understand this but I'm not talking about tongue weight here but steering weight. When my truck is loaded with no air in air bags the steering is light. When I have air in the air bags it seems to steer like normal.

I guess next time I go and get a load of sand or gravel I play on there scale for a bit to see what happens.
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