Air Bags

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by dwc, May 23, 2009.

  1. dwc

    dwc LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 626

    I am considering getting some airbags for my truck since the back squats some under a couple of my trailers. This is a SRW 3500 Dodge. Does anyone run air bags and if so how is the ride? I am looking at Pacbrake and Firestone bags.

  2. GravelyGuy

    GravelyGuy LawnSite Silver Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 2,517

    I have the Firestone air bags and they work well. I actually think that they improved the unloaded ride when set around 20 PSI.

    FYI I ordered mine from They ship fast.
  3. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,544

    Ah you have the common Dodge problem ie not enough springs. One of the local residents in my area had the same problem. Anyhow he couldn't cure the problem and bought a Ford. You are better off buying heavier springs they are better in the long run.

    Air bags are a cover up if you have weak springs to start with its not going to cure your problem.
  4. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,511

    LOL that is not a common Dodge problem. What are you talking about? That would be like me saying the common problem with Ford is all of their diesels are junk. Oh wait, that is a common Ford problem.
  5. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,544

    It is a very much a Dodge problem. Anybody that has bought a Dodge has had to add extra springs because Dodge uses springs too small for the truck.

    It doesn't matter its a 1/2 ton to the new 5500 they put rear springs into the truck that are too light. I lost count on how many Dodge trucks I see with the back bumper dragging with a load that would barely make a Ford or Chev squat.

    In the summer time with people and Dodge trucks with campers in the box is deadly. With the road here being so twisty these guys with srw 3500 Dodges are almost laying on their side in the turns.

    Any contractor that buys a Dodge 2500-3500 the first thing they have to do is beef up the rear suspension. Many guys that switched to Dodge from Ford say the trucks don't carry the weight.

    Dodge has been like that for years a guy that used to rent a shop from my familly a die hard Dodge man every 3/4 ton he owned would carry less weight than the Fords we had.

    I have been in the freight business for years the guys with Dodge flatdecks just can't carry any weight. Put 4000lbs on the deck and the truck is loaded h*ll I used to put 7000-8000lbs on Chevy 1 ton flatdecks.

    I really don't care if you don't beleive me or not. Like I said I have been loading and unloading freight off of all sizes of trucks for 15 years.

    The best option for fixing a weak suspension in a Dodge is replace the factory springs with something heavier. Just the way it goes.
  6. doubleedge

    doubleedge LawnSite Senior Member
    from ND
    Posts: 912

    Why wouldn't air bags solve the problem?
  7. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,544

    Air bags are just a cover up you have weak springs you have weak springs. The only thing that fixes weak springs is new springs. I don't like air bags I never have I seen too many problems with them.

    Lets put it this way you put a load in your truck you have a problem with the air bags. Without the bags the truck can't handle the load what do you do now.
  8. nosparkplugs

    nosparkplugs LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,445

    GR just HATES Dodge he baised , and he lives were anything will rust in short time anyways, The 2nd Gen Dodge's 98- 2002 year with the Cummins ISB had the stoutest leaf springs of any truck. The leaf Springs were so strong the 2002 Dodge 2500/3500's rode like tanks without some weight in the bed or towing something. The rough ride was due to a steep spring ARC, and was such an issue that Dodge lengthened the leaf springs to match Ford & GM weak arse soft ride. Dodge should have left their rear leafs with the short Steep ARC design like the one in the pic below.

    Like anything that is a Ford vs Gm vs Dodge, this will be a Pissing match, I have posted pics of my weak arse Dodge leaf springs before:rolleyes:. Air Bags do not equal weak leaf springs it is a wise investment to extend the life of your truck. My 02 F-350 dually squared like a liitle "bitvch" hauling a gooseneck trailer without airbags, just look at all the FERDS towing big arse trailers pic a type of trailer car hauler, 5th wheel RV they Squatting really bad. Dodge's be nice & level, guess we all have air bags too.

    GR notice my frame has NO RUST, this is what happens when you live in the South trucks last longer

    Last edited: May 24, 2009
  9. dwc

    dwc LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 626

    Ford does ok with trailers but they still squat. I gave ford a chance in 2004 and not only did they drop the ball but they used it for soccer practice! The dodge does good but when you get close to max tongue weight on either a goose neck or bumper pull any truck is going to squat. I am not dragging the bumper on the ground, I just want to level out the truck. One reason you see dodges squatting around is because many owners think they can pull anything and everything and seriously overload the truck.
    At least when I stomp the go pedal on the dodge something happens. Can't say the same for the ford I owned.

    Nosparkplugs do you like the bags on your truck?
  10. nosparkplugs

    nosparkplugs LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,445

    I am 100% pleased with the Firestone Ride Right air bags, a wise investment too, no blowouts, or zero leaking ever. Those air bags in the pic have been on the Dodge since 2007, and worked really hard. The air bags makes the truck more stable being a SRW, ride very smooth with a heavy load, or empty. I keep about 20PSI in the bags at all times max anything more than 20PSI empty the Dodge rides like a brick I have used is 90PSI MAX for gooseneck towing. Get the Firestone Ride-Rite basic air bag kit, the onboard pump is a nice option, very pricey not for me. I carry a 30 gallon air compressor, and inflating the bags is as easy as inflating your truck tire's. I would also invest in a good air pressure guage one that reads up to 100PSI keeps your bags equal, although the manual says you can run different level of air in each bag depending on load distribution.

    The air bag installation for my Dodge 2002 did involve drilling on the frame:cry:, and the gooseneck hitch:cry: it's all good when your done kinda like going to the dentist;). If you have the tools & shop you can save a small fortune installing the air bags yourself install price's average about $500.00. My 2002 install was the toughest of all my air bag installs, only because I had to drill through my new B&W hide a ball gooseneck hitch:cry: Depending on the year & model of your truck some kits now do not need drilling into the frame. I would invest in one good drill bit or drill bit set if you going to do it yourself. I cannot stress having a good sharp drill bit & lube, it made the job go much faster. Most of all!!! you can only Drill once into the frame, so measure 100 times to be sure before you drill:waving:

    TruckSpring:) Its a small world I am originally from Michigan, our family has been using truckspring for leaf spring work & parts for years well before their internet success. I would order the air bag kit from Truckspring, no one will be cheaper, faster getting your order shipped & offer free shipping, and will support you should you have questions on the install or trouble with an air bag. I ordered both my set of air bags from Truckspring well before their sponsorship of lawnsite.


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