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ALANSD 11-30-2003 05:03 PM

Houston we have air pressure!
I have been working on my rear air bags for quite some time. The compressor died, and I removed it, then added a manual intake valve, but never could seem to air up the bags.
I finally assumed that it was the external compressors lack of power that was the problem. I had borrowed a compressor and it did not get the job done, nor did theone at my local BP.
Today I borrowed a 150 PSI- 5 hp big tank on wheels from a friend and set to pump up the bags. Whoa....they finally pumped up....and look pretty good. Judging from others I have looked at they seem to be about 3/4 full, and I will try to pump some more air in dinner called while I was working. I am happy to finally see some progress on this. Been at it a long time. Now I hope to find a Thomas 315 compressor that i can install to keep them pumped.

propstrike 12-01-2003 07:11 PM

Alan, I'd be interested to hear how much and where you find one at. I think my entire system is in need of attention. Does yours have the little control arm that goes into a valve? I think the compressor is shot, I think all my lines need replaced, and I wouldn't be surprized to find out that the valve is fubar. (shaking head) it just never ends......

Anyway, that's after the motor. And the sheetmetal. And the windshield wipers. And the generator. And the couch.... and....


87MH 12-01-2003 07:17 PM

Compressor Replacement
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The PO installed a Thomas replacement in my '87. Be careful of the amperage draw on your selected replacement, as I had to run a new 4 guage wire to handle the amps this compressor needs to draw.

Don't know how many air lines you had an opportunity to mark prior to removal, so here is a pic of what's under my side of the bed.

farmerjim 12-01-2003 09:10 PM

air leveling valve
On my newly aquired 1984 310 limited I had a leak that would let the bags down overnight and it was the leveling valve , a single one on my 310 I see others have different setups , but for the lists info I took it off and went to the local heavy duty truck spring shop to match it up , a common part he said and for $54.00 he gave me a new one,also rinsed the one way valve that is in the air tank with carb cleaner it was leaking back also. :)

87MH 12-02-2003 02:59 AM

Welcome to the Forum!

Great news on troubleshooting the leveling valve system. Glad yours was such a cheap fix!

You're right about the different types of suspensions. The 325's and up with the tag axels have a substantially different suspension than those with single axels.

My check valve was also gunked up when I purchased the unit a year ago and there are at least two other Forum members who experienced similar problems. Sounds as if check valve failure is more or less common over time, and should be included in a pre-purchase inspection list.

thenewkid64 12-02-2003 05:17 AM


I replaced my compressor. Got it off Ebay. It is a Thomas 315, ran 115.00? as I remember including freight. Air lines were fine, leveling valves were fine, Airbags were shot, so I replaced them too.

The compressor I got uses a 20 amp fuse and I wired it to the same line that the factory used. The compressor only runs with the key on, same for the bag inflation. The bags will not fill unless I have the key on.

propstrike 12-02-2003 11:36 AM

Cool posts everyone. It's evident there's some experience out there.

My compressor lives in the generator compt. Things kinda look like "local manufacture" stuff, so I'm betting the PO had a "creative" shop put things together. As usual, I end up holding the bag of weird off the wall stuff.

Always a pleasure to read here!

Las Vegas

thenewkid64 12-02-2003 11:50 AM

Kevin, The compressor I had as OEM looked like a Grainger built quick fix. Not so, it was OEM. It also lives in the genset compartment. The wires and pressure regulating switch was all there from Airstream. So Post a picture and we can all chime in to tell you if you have a baling wire and bubble gum fix or if it is OEM.

ALANSD 12-02-2003 12:42 PM

I never could seem to get air pressure, thought it was the lack of 12v power, and had run a new heavy duty line and fuse combo from the front to the old compressor anyway so I used it to power the grey box. Made no difference. I understand after 81 the power solenoid is no longer there.
I pulled off the lines cleaned out the valves, blew air to see if it was getting through which it was but weakly.
I went to the huge rollng compressor my neighbor lent me, and the bags finally pumped up with no power applied, thru the valve I had installed in the input line off the compressor. Trashed the compressor, and got the valve at Grainger.
The bags look to me to be 3/4 full or so, I have about 1-2" of bottom bell showing now, more than I ever have seen before all this. I am basing the fill level on others photos of bag height, but I know it is no where near the 8-10 inches plus that Andy said they should measure up to.
It took about 30 minutes to get the bags full to where they are now. I watched them move up slowly. The small tank is still in the circuit, and the air line runs into it, then onto the valve and bags.

ALANSD 12-02-2003 12:52 PM

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here is the photo Peter posted of his full bag...mine does not show anywhere near that much metal...guess I should keep on pumpin'?

thenewkid64 12-02-2003 01:01 PM


I do not have a picture, but I can tell you that mine do not show that much of the "bell"either. There are different height bags used based on availability sometimes. I know mine are correct since I got the cross number from Firestone tech support. Peter did not, as far as I know, replace his bags, the PO did. Using his as an example may be folly ( sorry Peter :D Your bags should not inflate that slow if you are putting 80-90 PSI into the tank. You may want to pull the check valve and see if it is crudded up and blocking flow. That blocked flow could have also led to the untimely death of your compressor ;)

ALANSD 12-02-2003 01:15 PM

I pulled the lines off the splitter where the main line comes in and splits into two for the bags. Is this where the check valve is? I did get air flow through it and sprayed cleaner in there just to be sure.

farmerjim 12-02-2003 02:53 PM

crudded up
FIRST OF ALL BE CAUTIOUS < MANY PINCH POINTS LOOKING FOR FINGERS OR ARMS>if the bags are deflated . When I put the new valve on the 310 it had in the brass connecters ,wire screens , for filtering the air ,might be clogged with oilly dirt, my bags are 9 inches tall when filled , the reese hitch is 17.75 inches from floor to bottom of inside the reese square tube ,the wheelwell it even with the top of the tire when looking at it from the curb

87MH 12-02-2003 03:09 PM

Does it look like this?
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Having a devil of a time getting this to post.

87MH 12-02-2003 03:13 PM

Third Time The Charm

Sounds as if you may have a restriction in the line.

Mine does not have the splitter shown in the picture.

Pic is from (I think) Airstream propaganda, but I don't know the year.

My setup is slightly different. My tank is forward of tag axel (gray tank is where the air tank in picture is located).

Neither do I have the splitter in the air line. Mine has separate threaded collars welded to the front of the tank, each dedicated to one air bag/leveler system.

PeterH-Airstreamer 12-02-2003 03:16 PM


Originally posted by thenewkid64
..... Using his as an example may be folly ( sorry Peter :D ...
Smart move :).
My bags are 10 1/2" inflated which already is above the 'Norm'. I set them that high because of the aftermarket 80 gal fuel tank I carry.
I believe 8-9" for the 82 and later models is the correct height.

john hd 12-02-2003 03:42 PM

any of you motor home guys ever consider putting a converted york airconditioning compressor to work for your compressed air needs? as long as the motor runs you have air.

seems to be really popular with the off road jeep crowd.

and inexpensive too.

i think i can dig up a link if anyone is interested.


john hd 12-02-2003 03:48 PM

yeah something like this
from the web....


87MH 12-02-2003 04:00 PM

Engine driven compressor
With all the Smog Crap on mine, I have no idea where I'd put it.

You'd think on something as big as a motor home that there would be gobs of room. The opposite is true. Darn near impossible even to see the area between the engine and the radiator.

It would be great if you could get to it.

thenewkid64 12-02-2003 07:07 PM

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Here is what mine look like.

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