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View Full Version : Overload Springs/Air Bags


Bill Hill
01-26-2005, 04:59 PM
I've got close to 1500 miles now of pulling our 2980RL with the D/A 2500HD. I've noticed that the back of the truck sits a little lower than the front when I've got the 5er attached. I know the hitch weight on a 2980 is somewhat higher than some of the other layouts. Has anybody else felt the need to put on air bags to bring up the rear end? If so, what have you used? Inquiring minds want to know!

patodonn
01-26-2005, 05:51 PM
Our 3655 is almost 14K total, with a pin weight of 2400 lb. I had Firestone air bags installed about a year ago. Worked fine so far. I run about 40-50 psi in them. Keeps thing a lot more level when hitched. The bed doesn't even come close to settling enough to engage the overload leaf springs (which were already on the truck when I bought it). Sort of a belt and suspenders situation re the air bags and the overload springs.

I did not get the aux air compressor set up..figured I check the tires anyhow before towing, so check the air bag pressures at the same time. IMHO, not worth the extra $ to be able to do it from inside the truck...and one more thing to break...

In summary, I like 'em..
Best,

Montana Sky
01-26-2005, 07:56 PM
I am towing the 3400RL with the same truck as you Bill and I have not found the need to have the airbags installed. I have found that the truck squats less than 2" when the coach is on and loaded to go. I know the 3400RL has a lighter kingpin weight than most, but I think I weighed mine in around 2,000lbs last summer. By having the tires run at 80psi on the both the coach and the truck this set up really keeps the ride smooth and running well down the road together. This one might be a matter of what makes you feel more comfortable heading down the highway.

ken
01-27-2005, 01:54 AM
Bill
We also have the air bags along with an onboard compressor and gages. I wish I had put them on long ago. Our Ford 350 is a campers special and I felt that I didn't need the air bags. The Montana didn't set the truck down that much with the overload springs on it. However, traveling down I-10 one day, I felt it was bouncing to much. We installed the air bags and it settled down the bouncing and gave me a smoother ride. I run 50 lbs when I am pulling the Montana and about 10 without. With the gages i can watch the fluxuation of the rear (a good 10-15 lbs either way) indicating that they are working. Its worth the price. I had campers world put them on.
Ken and Velda Taylor[8D]
Dahlgren VA
2005 3475RL Montana
2000 Ford F350 Diesel

sreigle
01-27-2005, 02:41 AM
Bill, I have an appt for tomorrow to add the air bags, compressor, and gauges. Our heavily loaded 3295RK has pinweight of 3120. With our '03 F350 we did not need airbags or extra springs. It sat level when hitched. But this '05 F250 is different. But that's my fault in not getting the Camper Package. Our neighbor here has nearly an identical truck. Both are '05 F250, crew cab, shortbox. Both have the tow package, the Tow Command package, and the 10,000 lb GVWR package. But his also has the Camper Package, which gives him the extra leaf, the helper leaf on his rear springs. Same as our F350 had. The '05 springs are wider, at 3 inches, than were the prior years. So the springs are heavier yet than prior years. Had I got the camper package I'd not need the air bags. But I didn't so I do. I think if our pinweight were down around 2500 we'd not need it but at 3120 we do need it. I thought about buying overloads, found them on the internet, but it looks to me like they'd affect the solo ride. This truck rides so nicely solo that I don't want to mess that up.

lasater
01-29-2005, 01:28 AM
Bill,

I have a 2955RL and s superglide hitch. I tried to have airbags installed but with the superglide, airbags won't fit. The hitch mounting is outside the frame which is where the airbags go.

My solution is to install Roadmaster's Active Suspension. Check out this site [/url] My wife and I like this system so much I am having it installed on her Explorer this Thursday. No solution is satisfactory for everybody, but this one worked for me. [8D]

Montana_2785
01-29-2005, 06:48 AM
Firestone has an airbag model 2330 that mounts to the INSIDE of the frame rails. It was developed specifically for those of us that have 5th wheel brackets on the outside of the TV frame rails. I learned about it at:

http://forums.thedieselstop.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=&Number=2091012&page=3&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=31&fpart=1

This site also has a link to the installation guide:

http://www.suspensionconnection.com/cgi-bin/suscon/2330.html

Eric

Montana Sky
01-29-2005, 10:16 PM
Steve,
Just curious if you were able to have the airbags installed yet? If so what do you think of the ride solo? Also, what type of bags did you get and where did you have them installed? I have not found a need to have them installed yet, but would like to do more traveling this summer and am not going to totally rule them out. Thanks for any info you can give. Dave

sreigle
01-30-2005, 01:26 PM
Montana Sky, the airbags were installed last Friday. They're Firestone. You're supposed to keep 5 lbs minimum in the bags to avoid possible damage to the bags if you bottom the suspension but with the stiff springs and shocks these things have on them that's not likely to happen when solo. So I have them at zero psi right now. I cannot tell a difference in the solo ride. We've put maybe 150 miles on since then, combined city/highway. Haven't towed with them yet. I had the same brand of bags on our '99 F350 and also saw no difference solo but a big difference (better) towing. The '03 never needed airbags.

I figure when we're overnighting and don't unhitch, I can sometimes use the airbags to level the coach front to back and avoid using boards for that, at least in some cases.

Montana_2785
01-30-2005, 04:34 PM
Steve,

My impression of the 5lb minimum was not to protect against bottoming out, but to keep the air bag in place between the bag supports during bumps.

Eric

Montana Sky
01-30-2005, 08:07 PM
Steve,
Thanks for the info. I will be looking forward to your post again when you have had a chance to tow with them. Who did your install for you? As I had said in an earlier post, I have not found a need to have them yet, but one just never knows. Thanks again. Dave

sreigle
01-31-2005, 04:53 AM
Eric, you may well be correct. That makes some sense. I think when we go out today I'll put about 5 psi in them. Sure can't hurt anything and that little should not affect the solo ride.

Montana Sky, I had the same thing on the '99 F350. I found, that when towing, the bags easily brought the truck to level. Also, when on concrete interstates where you get that fore-aft herky-jerky motion I found adjusting the airbags while going down the road smoothed those motions out considerably. It did not eliminate it but it did help. I'm expecting the same performance on this truck. We had the onboard compressor and gauge in the cab on the '99 and had no problems with it other than when you reduce pressure it exhausts the air from the bags into the cab and there's a rubber smell for a few seconds. I may look to see if there's a way to vent that to outside. If not, it's not a big deal.

Montana_883
01-31-2005, 06:28 AM
I have the 2500 Dodge. (3/4 ton) I and my son put the Firestone air bags on...I wasn't that hard. The big thing was jacking the truck up at the frame. I didn't put the auto fill on it...and I don't need it. I ran the air fill up to the gas fill compartment. I found that putting 50 lbs. in each does the trick, when the monty is off for some time I reduce the air to 10 lbs. Great ride. I recommend them.

cooksters
01-31-2005, 08:47 AM
Bill,
I have a F250 Superduty long bed and a 2880RL which we have packed pretty full. Not sure on the weight but were at our upper limit. The first thing that I noticed was that folks were flashing their lights at me when it was dark. I suppose the little bit of squat was just enough for my headlamps to shine directly in their eyes. I also was not happy on the roll we were getting in high winds. So I shopped the internet looking for as much information that I could find on airbags and such. I decided to go with Airlift brand. I installed them myself, which was not that difficult, and included the onboard pump and gage. I also installed a manual fill point in a factory hole under the tail gate just in case we were out somewhere and the pump failed. The pump also will maintain the minimal pressure required to keep the bags in their place and safe from damage. I could not be happier with the set up and ride. No more oncoming traffic flashing their lights at me. :D I can adjust air pressure on the fly for different road conditions, and I can use them to make minor leveling adjustments when not unhooking. I'm most impressed with the rigidity that they make to the whole setup. The rolling and rocking that would happen in high winds is gone. That 5th wheel just slides right along with no concern. The solo ride is also great, they take the normal chatter out of those uneven concrete highways. I'm very happy with mine and recommend that fairly inexpensive addition to a very expensive truck and coach set up. Happy pulling.
Cookster

Bill Hill
01-31-2005, 03:35 PM
Thanks to all of you for your thoughts. I guess I'd better get busy on this project!