PDA

View Full Version : Air Bags


mowerbrad
01-31-2012, 09:01 PM
Alright, so I've been looking into adding air bags to my truck's rear suspension. I don't have much of a problem of sagging, its really only noticeable when I'm towing both mowers or in the fall when I have a full trailer of leaves, plus a full size ztr. After reading more into air bags, I think they may be a good investment, for a reasonable price too.

My only concern is that I am going to sacrifice ride quality of my truck. From what I've read, they will improve the ride when towing and even improve handling. But I'm more concerned with the ride quality when the truck is unloaded and not towing. Since my truck is my personal truck first and work truck second, I don't want to have a super stiff ride while I'm commuting or traveling. I love the ride of my truck now, very smooth and not so "truck like", but I'm afraid that if I put air bags on that I will just stiffen up my ride too much and I will no longer have a smooth riding truck.

I don't plan on installing an on board compressor (just too expensive), so I will have to fill the air bags while I'm at home or if I take a compressor with me.

Any thoughts/comments from users...?

modedicebox
01-31-2012, 09:44 PM
I have a set on my 08 F250. It did change the ride some but it wasn't a caddy to begin with. When loaded down with my vbox and salt it rides and handles the weight awesome. I wouldn't work with out them...

unkownfl
01-31-2012, 10:02 PM
Have you thought about using a Weight distributing hitch system.

mowerbrad
01-31-2012, 11:22 PM
My truck already has a weight distributing hitch on it, which does help. When I'm just towing the trailer and my main mower, there is minimal sag and the truck tows wonderfully. However, its when the weight increases and I have a full trailer of equipment/debris/etc. that I notice more sagging of the rear end. When I had both mowers on the trailer as well as a pile of grass up front, I noticed the most sag and could feel a definate difference in handling.

I have thought about adding a helper spring in the rear but I just think that is going to hurt my ride quality too much. I was thinking that with the air bags, since they are adjustable as far as PSI goes, I can adjust them a little bit to help with the ride depending on if I have a load or not. But from what I understand I have to keep a minimum PSI in the bags, which I am unsure whether that minimum level will hurt the ride quality or not?

I know I'm extremely picky.

PlantscapeSolutions
02-01-2012, 01:01 AM
My truck already has a weight distributing hitch on it, which does help. When I'm just towing the trailer and my main mower, there is minimal sag and the truck tows wonderfully. However, its when the weight increases and I have a full trailer of equipment/debris/etc. that I notice more sagging of the rear end. When I had both mowers on the trailer as well as a pile of grass up front, I noticed the most sag and could feel a definate difference in handling.

I have thought about adding a helper spring in the rear but I just think that is going to hurt my ride quality too much. I was thinking that with the air bags, since they are adjustable as far as PSI goes, I can adjust them a little bit to help with the ride depending on if I have a load or not. But from what I understand I have to keep a minimum PSI in the bags, which I am unsure whether that minimum level will hurt the ride quality or not?

I know I'm extremely picky.

You only need to keep a few PSI in the bags. The reason for this is because on most trucks you will be removing the bump stops. The air bags will now be your bump stops but if they are empty you would have no bump stop to prevent damage to the airbags or other components.

MDLawn
02-01-2012, 12:02 PM
My truck already has a weight distributing hitch on it, which does help. When I'm just towing the trailer and my main mower, there is minimal sag and the truck tows wonderfully. However, its when the weight increases and I have a full trailer of equipment/debris/etc. that I notice more sagging of the rear end. When I had both mowers on the trailer as well as a pile of grass up front, I noticed the most sag and could feel a definate difference in handling.

I have thought about adding a helper spring in the rear but I just think that is going to hurt my ride quality too much. I was thinking that with the air bags, since they are adjustable as far as PSI goes, I can adjust them a little bit to help with the ride depending on if I have a load or not. But from what I understand I have to keep a minimum PSI in the bags, which I am unsure whether that minimum level will hurt the ride quality or not?

I know I'm extremely picky.


First bold highlight - Do you use the weight distibution systems as in the special draw bar, weight distribution bars, and the part that hooks on to the trailer A frame? Or are you just referring to the tag on the actual hitch on the truck that reads "Weight Carrying XXXXlbs XXXlbs tongue / Weight Distribution XXXXXlbs XXXXlbs tongue" The hitch on the truck just tells you the capacities of each. You need the whole set up for it to actually be a full weight distribution set up.....

Second bold highlight - helper springs are constantly there. Some are progressive and some are helping right from the get go. But the consensus is that they will stiffen the ride.

Get the air bags. I had them on my 250 and helped with the sag from a fully loaded dump trailer. Then when done just let the air down to 5 or 10 psi (as recommended not to let all the air out) and the truck rode like normal. I did upgrade the factory ford hitch which was 6000lbs 600lbs tongue weight for weight carrying to a 18,000lb 2000lb tongue for weight carrying capacity. Did i need it? Not sure but I like the big numbers better than the ford numbers. Not to mention the hitch was getting rusty and when you have a 10-12,000lb load behind I dont want the hitch to fail.

Oh yea the inside compressor......not a neccessity but man it makes it easy and you can adjust on the fly and gives you a constant pressure reading. I think you can do it without the compressor but i would tie the two bags to the same line. That way the both have a consistent pressure. Otherwise if one is leaky your truck will be leaning to one side.

jdunk
02-02-2012, 05:06 PM
put on the air bags thay will help your truck
also im supprized that you dont carry a cheep plug
in air compressor with a tire pluging kit (incase you get a flat)
you can ajust your air bags on the cheep

PlantscapeSolutions
02-02-2012, 08:22 PM
put on the air bags thay will help your truck
also im supprized that you dont carry a cheep plug
in air compressor with a tire pluging kit (incase you get a flat)
you can ajust your air bags on the cheep

The cheap plug in compressors do not have much power. I have one of the Cambell Hausfeld units that are about $40. The battery dies and then it runs slowly on just the plug in power.

I want to get one that you hook to the batteries under the hood this time. You bypass all the fuses and get a better power source. You can fill things up several times quicker.

If I get a flat I throw on the spare and head to Discount Tire to use my protection plan. My mower tires are all filled with some tire slime made in Bay City, TX so I don't need plugs for them either.

GravelyGuy
02-02-2012, 09:48 PM
Mowerbrad, you can run them with a minimum of 5 pounds in them. They will affect your ride very little at this pressure. If this is your daily driver and you plan to deflate them every day then I would recomend you get the onboard compressor. Or just man up it's a truck:p

PlantscapeSolutions
02-02-2012, 10:31 PM
A good firm suspension will have you feeling like your driving a 8000 lb. sports car. If I'm towing heavy sporadically I run 100 psi and leave it that way. Just don't drive down any crappy roads or the truck will bounce around and drive you nuts :dizzy:.

watatrp
02-03-2012, 10:17 AM
Hey Brad. I would just carry a portable tank for compressed air. I use a 7 gallon one. You could use it to inflate the bags or tires.

mowerbrad
02-03-2012, 11:32 AM
Carrying a portable tank is a good idea. Since airbags don't use that much, air, I really don't need much.

For the most part I'll just fill the bags up at the beginning of the day and be all set.

So now the real question, what is a decent brand? I don't want to break the bank buying these but I also want them to last a while and be quality built.

MDLawn
02-03-2012, 11:47 AM
Firestone or Air Lift. My firestones were "no drill" which was nice.

PlantscapeSolutions
02-03-2012, 11:48 AM
Carrying a portable tank is a good idea. Since airbags don't use that much, air, I really don't need much.

For the most part I'll just fill the bags up at the beginning of the day and be all set.

So now the real question, what is a decent brand? I don't want to break the bank buying these but I also want them to last a while and be quality built.

PacBrake is the best. I have owned Firestone and even tried the crappy airbagit.com units. Mass Diesel had the best prices when I bought sets for my 06' & 09' trucks.

MDLawn
02-03-2012, 12:03 PM
PacBrake is the best. I have owned Firestone and even tried the crappy airbagit.com units. Mass Diesel had the best prices when I bought sets for my 06' & 09' trucks.

Never heard of them, just looked them up, and they do look like a nice design.

watatrp
02-03-2012, 12:05 PM
Firestone or Air Lift. My firestones were "no drill" which was nice.

I second those two.

PlantscapeSolutions
02-03-2012, 01:23 PM
Here's a link to an old thread with pictures I had http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=329461&highlight=pacbrake

Valk
02-06-2012, 11:08 AM
What's a ballpark estimate for adding an onboard compressor? Are these typically mounted under the chassis and hardwired?

PlantscapeSolutions
02-06-2012, 11:05 PM
What's a ballpark estimate for adding an onboard compressor? Are these typically mounted under the chassis and hardwired?

Yes it's hardwired and I think the installed cost was at least $500.

unkownfl
02-07-2012, 12:14 PM
Brad if you go with the bags could you post some pics of how much they help with the load? I've been looking into the WDH or bags. I think bags would be better since A lot of times I put a pallet of sod into the truck for small jobs.

MDLawn
02-07-2012, 02:19 PM
They helped a lot. I dont have pictures but the truck sat level and F250's sit level anyways and usually drop a lot when loaded. They did help level it out.

mowerbrad
02-07-2012, 03:07 PM
Brad if you go with the bags could you post some pics of how much they help with the load? I've been looking into the WDH or bags. I think bags would be better since A lot of times I put a pallet of sod into the truck for small jobs.

Will do! It will probably be closer to spring when I actually get the bags ordered and mounted (should I decide to add them). Just have to see what the season is going to look like for me...

GravelyGuy
02-07-2012, 03:31 PM
Properly installed airbags will level a truck no matter how much weight you load in it.