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Old 02-10-2006, 05:24 PM   #1
wilbarb
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Should I install Firestone Airbags?

Iwould like to have some input regarding Firestone airbags. TV is a Chevy 2500 HD with Duromax. Crew cab 4x4. 5er is 2980RL. I need to lift the pin about 1" to be level. Would it be advisable to also install the on board compressor at the same time? I have a quote of $420.00 installed for the bags. I still have about 3" on the rear spring before I bottom out.
 
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Old 02-10-2006, 06:15 PM   #2
Montana Sky
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willbarb,
Welcome to the MOC. You are going to get alot of opinions on this topic, if you do a search I think you will find a great deal of information on airbags. My truck is also a 2500HD Duramax and I do not have airbags, have not found a reason to get them. I tow a 3400RL which has one of the lightest pin weights so I have that in my favor. The only thing I would say if it were me and I was going to install the bags, I would get the onboard compressor for sure. Nothing like being able to adjust the pressure in the bags to suit current road and load conditions instantly. Just my opinion...
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Old 02-10-2006, 06:16 PM   #3
Garin1
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WOW,, have you come to the right place. First let me welcome you to the friendliest and most informative forum you will ever find. Now,,Airbags,,from personal experience on my last TV I used the Firestone's with great results. There are other otions out there though and some other posters will be along soon to tell you about them. They all work and they are all good. Listen to all the advise and study on your choice. If you decide on the airbags I would say yes to the onboard compressor. Good luck and again, Welcome aboard.
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Old 02-10-2006, 11:31 PM   #4
Glenn and Lorraine
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First of all "Welcome wilbarb to the MOC Family"

Secondly I am towing an 04 2955RL with an 05 2500HD D/A and have been for over 2 years and I do not have the Air Bags BUT I will have them before we leave Florida this spring. The TV does drop a bit when the trailer is hitched up and I want it back up where it belongs. However I will not be getting the onboard compressor option as I see no need to be adjusting the pressure once it has been set to the loaded or unloaded weight. Instead I will be hooking up the air lines to a T or Y type fitting. This way both bags will have exactly the same pressure.
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Old 02-11-2006, 12:07 AM   #5
H. John Kohl
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I would get it for the air horn I want and also the ability to blow up the tires if needed. Well I do not know about the tires because I do not know how much preasure is required. Maybe someone can answer that question.
Good luck and tow safe.
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Old 02-11-2006, 02:05 AM   #6
ken
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We also have the Air Bags sold at CW. We had them on the old Ford and now the new 2500HD GMC. The Montana seems to ride a bit better with the air cushion. I leave about 10 lbs in them without the RV and 45 lbs in the bags while with the Montana. That makes the truck and RV level. We have the on board compressor and two gages that I can control either bags air. The truck does sit up about an inch higher in the rear with the air bags installed without the RV.
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Old 02-11-2006, 02:23 AM   #7
Charlie
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If the Air Bags give you peace of mind then they would be worth the price. I installed them as my truck squatted about 3" when hooked up and the rear springs were fully engaged. I do not have an on board compressor and each bag has separate air connections. A good digital gauge is a necessity without the on board gauges.

I first started with about 25# in the bags. With the Montana hooked up the pressure would increase to 45#. I slowly started decreasing the pressure each trip out. Since I have found that 10# is enough to keep the Montana level and the ride is not as harsh.
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Old 02-11-2006, 02:55 AM   #8
Dave e Victoria
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We had Airlift brand airbags on our 2500HD with onboard compressor. Loved it. We were pulling a Montana 3295RK. I like the compressor because I could hook up and pump to level or about 45 psi. As soon as I unhooked they were deflated to 5 psi. The ride in an empty truck with the bags inflated is to rough. As Charlie said, if you have the bags inflated with the trailer on, the will drop in pressure to about 20psi as the trailer is unhooked.

When we got the Cambridge we found the pressure need to be about 65 psi. But, the short legs on the Cambridge made hook up on unlevel ground somewhat problematic. Now I can use the onboard compressor to adjust the height of the truck to assist in fine tuning the hookup. Neat.

Have not installed them on Bubba yet. Want to try it out first. then we will see.
Dave
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Old 02-11-2006, 03:44 AM   #9
ols1932
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We had the airbags installed by Camping World. We don't have the onboard compressor--found no need for it. We use a little 12V pump that we had purchased several years ago at CW. It does the job very well. We carry about 50 lbs in each bag and that seems to work for us. Our pin weight is heavier than normal because of the extra weight in the battery compartment (large 12V AGM batteries plus extra 30lb propane tank). The bags allow us to have our truck and rig level.

Orv
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Old 02-11-2006, 04:19 AM   #10
wilbarb
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I really appreciate the quick replies to my questions. I have only one trip under my belt (3600 miles) so I am sort of new to this fun thing. I had one installer tell me that I would not have to release the pressure when not towing that the ride would be better than dropping the pressure. I think I read one time that changing the pressure while underway can be handy if the road conditions change in order to smooth out the ride. I could not believe the poor conditions of the roads while on our trip. I thought I might save my suspension if I had air bags. The pin is pretty heavy on the 2980RL.
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Old 02-11-2006, 04:39 AM   #11
5rvers
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welcome to the MOC wibarb,

I too have the airbags with the onboard compressor and had them installed together. I basically do what Ken does. I keep about 10 lbs when not towing (need to have at least 5 lbs) and about 30 lbs when towing.
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Old 02-13-2006, 02:11 PM   #12
DCP
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I installed Firestone air bags this summer and it made a huge difference. When hooked up the rear of the truck squatted about 2 to 2 1/2 inches. The bags brought it up level again at about 60psi. Installation was simple and took about an afternoon. I also installed the compressor and that is definately the way to go!
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Old 02-16-2006, 06:26 PM   #13
rickfox
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Well, here's another viewpoint.

I have been told the main objective of the air bags is to assist the TV rear suspension in carrying the trailer load and at the same time enable the TV to ride level. The TV suspension has supposedly been designed to provide its optimum ride when the TV is running approximately level. Too little weight, the rear rides high and the ride is harsh. Too much weight, the rear rides low and more susceptable to bottoming.

The airbags should thus be inflated to allow the TV to ride level when weighted down by the hitch pin weight. According to Firestone, the 2500HD style airbags will support about 50# per PSI or 5000# at 100PSI.

With the 2400# hitch pin weight of my 3400RL, I need approximately 8 PSI (400# of additional support) for my 2500HD to ride level. When I'm towing empty, and my hitch pin weight is closer to 2000, I don't need any air at all (but I still run the 5 PSI min. suggested).

Since we are always putting things in and taking them out of the trailer and never know how much stuff (weight) we are carrying, I hook up, grab my little stick (14" long - that's how far the bottom of the bumper is above ground when the TV is level) and pump up the bags (I have installed the T to allow both to air up to the same pressure) with my little foot pump - I set it on the bumper and pump it with my hand - until the stick just fits under the bumper. I'm now level within a 1/4" - regardess of the cargo weight - and we take off.

The whole process takes less than 30 sec. as it typically takes no more than 6 to 8 hand depressions of the foot pump lever. From time to time when I decide to measure the pressure, I find that it is typically 6 - 12 PSI depending on how much "stuff" we've loaded. This is typically the case since the pin weight on the 3400 is lower than most.
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