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 > Questions RE: Rear air bags for full size trucks

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Baja Man

Inland Empire, CA

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Posted: 12/28/17 09:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My truck (in my signature) does not have them and I was considering adding them.

1. What do they do besides lift rear of truck?

2. Are they practical for use when towing a TT with a WDH?

3. Are they really more for lighter duty trucks looking to lift rear of truck when adding a heavy tongue load?

4. Do any of you have them and can you share your experiences/thoughts about them?

Thanks!


2003 Ford F-350 XLT Super Duty, Crew Cab, V10 (6.8L); 4X2; Standard Bed; SRW; 4R100 trans
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2oldman

Farmington NM

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Posted: 12/28/17 09:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Air bags in Subject

All air bags in towing

the bear II

Torrance CA.

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Posted: 12/28/17 09:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Basically for use to keep the rear of the truck at normal ride height when carrying a heavy load. They do not increase load capacity.

Load capacity is based on many factors beyond just the springs...axles, brakes, frame, transmission...and more are all taken into consideration for load capacity by manufacturers.

Air bags can stiffen the ride when inflated and some folks report their truck has a better ride when loaded with the air bags inflated.

Personally, I have had two trucks with overload springs and my current truck has a Link Air Ride suspension in the rear. All three trucks, in my opinion, were equal ride with a heavy load. The Link system does keep the rear of the truck as close as possible to normal ride height. The overload springs did not kick in until the rear lowered as weight exceeded the capacity of the normal springs to keep the rear up.

Colo Native

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Posted: 12/28/17 09:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have air bags on mine and am switching to a TT from a FW I am going to watch this.
I used mine for the sag with the FW but not sure if I should keep them for a TT which will have a heavy tongue weight in the 1700# range according to other owners of the Reflection 315RLTS


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Durb

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Posted: 12/28/17 11:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I used them on a Titan when pulling a 6,000# travel trailer. Mostly to level the truck so my headlights weren't useless. They worked well. Per the instructions I set my weight distribution hitch so the rear was 1" down and used the bags to level (40 lbs).

One thing to be cognizant of is some people with bags and onboard air will crank up the pressure while driving. This could have the effect of unloading the weight distribution and possibly anti-sway making for a poor and dangerous tow.

I put them on my current truck for pulling a fifth wheel with over 2,000 pounds of pin and bed weight. I have never needed them so they stay at minimum pressure all the time.

JBarca

Radnor, Ohio, USA

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Posted: 12/28/17 11:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'll insert comments next to each.

Baja Man wrote:

My truck (in my signature) does not have them and I was considering adding them.

1. What do they do besides lift rear of truck? That is the normal intent, to lift the truck when the original suspension does not do what it is you need it to.

2. Are they practical for use when towing a TT with a WDH? No, not really when it comes to your truck and camper. With your truck, when the WD hitch is set correctly, the truck will ride good. There is one other practical use I'll add below.

3. Are they really more for lighter duty trucks looking to lift rear of truck when adding a heavy tongue load? From my point of view, light truck or heavy truck using air bags to deal with a heavy TW trailer is not the best way to do this. Using a WD hitch is the better way for total truck control. The lighter truck can be in axle capacity issues real quick trying to use them to deal with a heavy TW trailer. Again use the WD hitch in place of the air bags.


4. Do any of you have them and can you share your experiences/thoughts about them? I'll type below on this one.

Thanks!


A question for you

5. What lead you to believe you needed air bags?

6. What problem are your trying to solve by using air bags?

Air bags on a 1 ton truck do have a place. As was mentioned, folks with heavy 5th wheel pin weights can use them to help level the truck out. This is unique to 5'ers with a heavy duty truck. The rear axle of the truck can handle the load, just the rear sag below level can be objectionable where a more level truck is better.

Another good use of these on a 1 ton truck is folks who have large varying bed loads in the truck while towing a TT. For example, a fellow camper with a 1 ton truck has a set of quads that fit over the bed. One trip he takes the quads, the next trip he leaves them home. This is a significant weight difference between the 2 trips.

While the WD hitch could be reset each time to make both combos work well, that can be a pain to do. So here the option of using air bags can fit well.

You start with setting the WD on the truck empty bed or whatever limited gear you have less the 2 quads. The airbags are aired down to just not pinch and break them. The WD is set correctly and the truck rides well. You record the truck heights with this loading.

Next trip, the 2 quads come. You hook up the WD hitch as normal and load 2 quads. Now the WD hitch is not optimized and the truck is sagging in the rear more. Now air up the bags to "only" obtain the same ride heights as when you set the WD hitch. The WD hitch is now back to being optimized, and the truck is back to riding where it was before. This is a lot easier then a WD hitch reset.

Basically when using air bags with a TT and WD hitch, the air bags help with large varying beds loads that do not require a WD hitch.

Hope this helps

John


John & Cindy

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goducks10

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Posted: 12/28/17 12:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here you go.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBZu39pQ8Gg&feature=youtu.be

theoldwizard1

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Posted: 12/28/17 06:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The theory behind air springs (I don't like calling them bags) is you can uses a lighter spring when not loaded for a smoother ride.

Baja Man

Inland Empire, CA

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Posted: 12/29/17 06:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

JBarca wrote:

I'll insert comments next to each.

Baja Man wrote:

My truck (in my signature) does not have them and I was considering adding them.

1. What do they do besides lift rear of truck? That is the normal intent, to lift the truck when the original suspension does not do what it is you need it to.

2. Are they practical for use when towing a TT with a WDH? No, not really when it comes to your truck and camper. With your truck, when the WD hitch is set correctly, the truck will ride good. There is one other practical use I'll add below.

3. Are they really more for lighter duty trucks looking to lift rear of truck when adding a heavy tongue load? From my point of view, light truck or heavy truck using air bags to deal with a heavy TW trailer is not the best way to do this. Using a WD hitch is the better way for total truck control. The lighter truck can be in axle capacity issues real quick trying to use them to deal with a heavy TW trailer. Again use the WD hitch in place of the air bags.


4. Do any of you have them and can you share your experiences/thoughts about them? I'll type below on this one.

Thanks!


A question for you

5. What lead you to believe you needed air bags?


Just thought it would take some of the weight off the springs and spread the load. Perhaps that's what the springs are for!! Also, sinvce I have not towed with my new set up, I need to give the WD hitch and my F350 a chance before any mods are made.



#6. What problem are your trying to solve by using air bags?

No problem....just what I mentioned in #5 above.



* This post was edited 12/29/17 07:08pm by Baja Man *

JBarca

Radnor, Ohio, USA

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Posted: 12/29/17 07:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Baja Man wrote:



5. What lead you to believe you needed air bags?


Just thought it would take some of the weight off the springs and spread the load. Perhaps that's what the springs are for!! Also, sinvce I have not towed with my new set up, I need to give the WD hitch and my F350 a chance before any mods are made.



Don't worry, your truck is up to the task with only the springs as long as you are at or under the full truck axle and GVW ratings. They do not need any extra help from what you have told us your loads will be. You have a 1 ton truck and that solved a whole lot of problems before they ever started.

Happy camping

John

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