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Old 07-11-2013, 05:40 PM   #1
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Questions about air bag suspension

So I've decided that air bags will be a help in towing. Still up in the air (pun intended) about Airlift vs. Ride-Rite, but that's not my question. There are plenty of threads about that. For those of you who have them:

1) Do you recommend a single valve as opposed to one for each side? I can't think of a time when I would need separate side to side adjustment, but is one system more prone to leaking down?

2) Do they tend to leak down, and how often to you have to add air. I'll probably use mine a tad for daily, unloaded driving as my F150 is a little soft, even WITH the tow pkg.

3) Is the on board air compressor a worthwhile option. It nearly doubles the cost and more that doubles installation time. I'm guessing that this depends a lot on question 2.

4) When using them for TT/5er, should I pump them up before hooking up TT or after. If hooked up before, it seems that the TV would sit higher, making for a lot more jacking. If after, I've got to get air to the back of the truck with TT attached.

There are a few more questions, but they will probably be answered in conjunction with those four.

Thanks.

Rick
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Old 07-11-2013, 06:02 PM   #2
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I put Ride Rites on my 2005 Ram when we had a fifth wheel. I did not bother with a compressor, for both cost and complexity reasons. I ran a single line with its own schrader valve to each spring, located the valves by the license plate on the rear bumper. Yes they can leak down over time, but that's probably because the air lines are plastic and they simply are "push to connect" fittings at the schrader valves and the springs. The right side spring on mine does tend to lose air, though I have yet to locate the leak, but suspect it's the air line or fitting at either end. The springs work well. Though I don't really need them towing a travel trailer now, I still use them. When we took delivery of our WhiteHawk, the dealer tech installing the StraitLine Hitch asked what pressure I ran the springs when towing, and inflated them to that pressure prior to installing and adjusting the hitch. The inflated springs affect the bed height, but I did notice with the trailer hitched, the bed does sink a little and everything is riding level. Oh, the ride with the trailer hitched is good.

I have read on other forums that some who put air springs on their trucks prefer to have a compressor (mainly they tow fifth wheels) on board so they can "adjust the ride" on the fly. Don't understand the purpose of doing that since the instructions with the springs say to inflate them only to the pressure required to level the truck. When we did have a fifth wheel, I kept the spring inflation at 30 psi; that leveled everything out, and yes, I inflated them prior to hitching the trailer.
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Old 07-11-2013, 07:54 PM   #3
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I have ride rites also. I ran one valve for both bags. I feel at least for towing, your load is always in the center of your truck so no need for side to side adjustment. As far as an on board compressor, I bought an attachment for my drill batteries (craftsman 19.2ex) that will inflate my bags, its like a mini compressor. I always hook up and then inflate my bags and always deflate before unhooking. I usually hook everything up a couple of days before leaving and my bags lose maybe 3-5 psi in that time. Also when empty you are supposed to keep a minimum of 5psi in the bags to prevent damage to them. I put my valve inside the fuel door that way it stays out of the elements (WI winters=lots of salt)
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Old 07-11-2013, 09:11 PM   #4
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We have Firestone bags with separate air valves. They have not lost any air on our truck. I opted for separate valves to fill because that is one less connection that can leak. We carry a small air compressor for the truck and trailer tires and use that after hooking up to fill the bags.
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Old 07-11-2013, 09:14 PM   #5
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We have Ride Rites as well. It was explained to me that it would make for a smoother ride. There is no more thump when you hit the expansion joints or other bumps on the roadway. It works the same way as an air ride pin box, but you have 2 air bags. I opted for the on board compressor so as not to have to deal with any set up. It is on the under side of the floor (exterior) beneath the drivers seat.There is also a valve installed in the plate of the 7 pin connector at the rear beside the receiver hitch if I need to use an external pump. It has not lost any air in 4 or 5 years. Once the 5er is hitched up I bring the pressure up to 60 psi and the unit is level.
I have used the inflation and deflation capability to raise and lower the truck instead of the front jacks of the 5er. The controler (inflator/dump vale) is mounted on the bottom of the dash board to the left of the brake control for easy access from the cab. The controller is illuminated in the dark. You can even fill or deflate on the fly! We got the Morryde pin box as well, even smoother. One caution is to inspect the installation periodically. During an emergency brake repair in Charleston in May the Technician noticed the nuts on the mounting hardware were loose and he tightened them. Wouldn't be without them.
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Old 07-11-2013, 09:38 PM   #6
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I would add that except for price variations, any of the popular air springs on the market (Firestone, Air Lift, or PacBrake) would serve you well. I chose the Firestone Ride Rites because they were a "no drill" installation on my Ram. Only thing I had to do was remove the bump stops for the overload springs.
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Old 07-12-2013, 08:42 AM   #7
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I had Airlift bags on a van years back. I loved them. I did the on board compressor. Well worth it IMHO. It never leaked, but the on board compressor was handy to have. Also only used a single line. With the compressor there isn't much of a choice, but you can go either way with no compressor. I don't see any advantage to separate lines on each bag.
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Old 07-12-2013, 11:12 AM   #8
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With one valve serving both sides the air bags and transfer from one bag to the other.. THIS IS NOT GOOD going around the corner the inside bag will loose air to the outside bag... Although I have a compressor on my truck I dont use it for the air bags I use an old style auto pump (manual) it allows me more control over the air pressure
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Old 07-12-2013, 11:49 AM   #9
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Hmm. Makes sense, although I would think your outboard bag would lose pressure to the inside, since the outside would be under more stress. Would a foot pump suffice? Seems like they go to 50+ PSI
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Old 07-12-2013, 12:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seann45 View Post
With one valve serving both sides the air bags and transfer from one bag to the other.. THIS IS NOT GOOD going around the corner the inside bag will loose air to the outside bag... Although I have a compressor on my truck I dont use it for the air bags I use an old style auto pump (manual) it allows me more control over the air pressure
I think seperate lines are better too. What if your right side goes into a ditch, and your truck and trailer are leaning? The air will go from the bag under pressure (in the ditch), to the other bag, making it lean even more.

There are wireless units with sperate lines. They cost more, but you don't need to run lines to the cab. http://www.airliftcompany.com/produc...essor-systems/
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