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Author Topic: Replacement rear airbags on tow vehicle  (Read 484 times)

scottydl

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Replacement rear airbags on tow vehicle
« on: May 01, 2017, 03:31:10 PM »
My '95 Suburban 2500 has an aftermarket rear suspension airbag system installed (by previous owner) to improve the ride during heavy towing.  It seems like a great setup (controlled from an interior switch on a PSI gauge that shows bag pressure) but the bags are dry rotted and don't hold air.  I'd like to replace them before getting going this season... I've had some pretty "rough ride" towing experiences and I think getting these bags working will help.

The brand of my setup is Air Lift but I'll use any replacement that will fit and not break the bank.  Any recommendations from those of your familiar with these systems?  And, is this a DIY project or would it be better to have a shop with a lift get these installed properly?
« Last Edit: May 01, 2017, 03:56:13 PM by scottydl »
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
- 2008 Forest River Wildwood 32BHDS
- 1995 Chevrolet Suburban C2500 tow vehicle
- 1994 Thor Residency motorhome... owned 2007-2012

RedandSilver

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Re: Replacement rear airbags on tow vehicle
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2017, 04:27:15 PM »
I installed Air Lift bags on my GMC Acadia myself.

The install wasn't too bad.  Used a jack and jack stands.
I remove the rear wheels and the shocks and springs to get to the area where the bags would be installed.
Me doing it, I found some rough areas and filed them down so they didn't cut into the bags.  I doubt a shop would have done that.

My bags were not too expensive, I believe under $100 for the set and I think I bought them direct from Air Lift.

If all you need is the bags - you might want to contact Air Lift and see if they can send you just the bags.
2002 Rexhall Rose Air  Cummins 8.3  350hp

SargeW

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Re: Replacement rear airbags on tow vehicle
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2017, 05:38:22 PM »
I installed my own air springs on my Ram 2500. Easy enought to do, no removing anything.  I didn't get the air pump, it would have freaked out my dog......
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regval

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Re: Replacement rear airbags on tow vehicle
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2017, 08:04:26 PM »
I chose the Firestone Ride-Rite Air Helper springs for my Chev 2500HD. It took about 2 hours for complete self-install. No compressor was added and I ran separate air lines for each airbag (2) so could adjust the height independently if needed. Haven't had to do that so far. Ride quality was improved slightly but the air bags helped level the truck with varying amounts of extra gear.
Whatever system you choose, be sure to test the airbags and air fittings for leaks before installing them. Will save you a lot of frustration having to de-install a defective new part.
2005 Forest River TT 27BHSS and 2009 Heartland Sundance 2998RB 5vr
2007 Chev Silverado 2500HD WT crew cab, LB, 6.6L, Allison 6sp, B&W Companion Hitch
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scottydl

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Re: Replacement rear airbags on tow vehicle
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2017, 08:20:50 PM »
I don't plan on completely reinstalling a new system.  Air lines and everything are already in place, I just want to replace the bags.

If all you need is the bags - you might want to contact Air Lift and see if they can send you just the bags.

I sent an e-mail to them earlier after my first post... including a question on how to determine which system I have (there are several).  I did notice that a lot of their airbags have limited lifetime warranties, so maybe I'll get lucky there!  I would probably have to use an authorized installer and pay the labor costs, so we'll see how that all works out.
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
- 2008 Forest River Wildwood 32BHDS
- 1995 Chevrolet Suburban C2500 tow vehicle
- 1994 Thor Residency motorhome... owned 2007-2012

RedandSilver

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Re: Replacement rear airbags on tow vehicle
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2017, 12:30:30 PM »
I don't plan on completely reinstalling a new system.  Air lines and everything are already in place, I just want to replace the bags.

I sent an e-mail to them earlier after my first post... including a question on how to determine which system I have (there are several).  I did notice that a lot of their airbags have limited lifetime warranties, so maybe I'll get lucky there!  I would probably have to use an authorized installer and pay the labor costs, so we'll see how that all works out.

When I was installing my system I had an air bag that I thought was leaking.  I contacted them and they over-nighted me a new one.

I told them I was installing it myself and they had no problem with that.
So IMO I don't think you should have to have someone else do the work if your capable of doing it.  Like I said it wasn't a hard job.
I'm particular sometimes and don't trust too many people to work on my stuff because I feel they will never care for it like I do.
2002 Rexhall Rose Air  Cummins 8.3  350hp

Joezeppy

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Re: Replacement rear airbags on tow vehicle
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2017, 12:35:04 PM »
Here's another vote for "it should not be too hard". I installed a set on my 1999 Silverado 1500 in a couple of hours and the hardest part was drilling the holes in the frame so I imagine just removing and replacing the bags should be pretty straightforward.
Joe & Kim
Upstate NY - Kuyahoora Valley
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scottydl

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Re: Replacement rear airbags on tow vehicle
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2017, 05:19:17 PM »
Good, my primary wondering was whether or not tension would need to be removed from the rear suspension (jacked up or lifted) in order to install the airbags properly... or if they just kinda slide in there.
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
- 2008 Forest River Wildwood 32BHDS
- 1995 Chevrolet Suburban C2500 tow vehicle
- 1994 Thor Residency motorhome... owned 2007-2012

scottydl

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Re: Replacement rear airbags on tow vehicle
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2017, 11:25:08 PM »
I sent an e-mail to them earlier after my first post... including a question on how to determine which system I have (there are several).  I did notice that a lot of their airbags have limited lifetime warranties, so maybe I'll get lucky there!

Pleasant update... several e-mails led to Air Lift staff suggesting that I call their Tech / Warranty line.  A very nice woman on the phone walked me through some options as to which airbag system might be installed in my Suburban, based on its year/make/model and the physical design of the airbags still in place.  Long story short, she is sending me a replacement set of bags at no cost under their warranty coverage!  She offered her e-mail address for me to send her photos of my interior PSI gauge and the air compressor under the hood, so she can do more research to find replacements (if needed) for those too.
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
- 2008 Forest River Wildwood 32BHDS
- 1995 Chevrolet Suburban C2500 tow vehicle
- 1994 Thor Residency motorhome... owned 2007-2012

BIG JOE

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Re: Replacement rear airbags on tow vehicle
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2017, 11:55:54 PM »
Love It when a Company stands behind it's product. Service after Sale, especially you being the second owner. Not enough of that anymore it seems.

Congrats !!
Joe

Tow an 016 29RS "Reflection" 5r w/Trailair pin box...with a 2012 Ford DRW, F-350, 4x4, Loaded de-Blinged Lariat CC, 6.7 Diesel.. Wife & I, Beck & Sheeka the Dogs.. And as of 5-17.. Lizzie, the Kitten in Training.

scottydl

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Re: Replacement rear airbags on tow vehicle
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2017, 10:46:27 AM »
Agreed, and I know I'll still be responsible for labor costs and any other components I decide to replace (only the actual airbags are under the Limited Lifetime), but the help I got from them has been very nice.  And will keep me as a future customer.
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
- 2008 Forest River Wildwood 32BHDS
- 1995 Chevrolet Suburban C2500 tow vehicle
- 1994 Thor Residency motorhome... owned 2007-2012

Wireman134

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Re: Replacement rear airbags on tow vehicle
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2017, 04:43:47 PM »
Plastic fitting on top of Ride Control Air bag broke on mine after about 15 years. Called Air Lift, two new bags in the mail in 3 days to my door. Great service... Not a question about original purchaser or receipts ether.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2017, 04:45:52 PM by Wireman134 »
2000 Silverado 1500 EC Z71 5.3L 325 hp DS intune, Airlift, 34" Alu 1.25"radiator, B&M 70266 trans cooler, oil cooler, Vet servo, Mag- Hytec, Pro comp ES9000, SUV brakes
2015 Venture Sonic 220VBH, 300W Solar/350 ahr AGM/1200w inverter, 75W Dual Band Ham base. Camping weight 5,100lbs on dual 2800 axle

xrated

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Re: Replacement rear airbags on tow vehicle
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2017, 05:46:43 PM »
I just put a set on my 2011 F250 about a month and a half ago.  Before I made the purchase, I researched as much as I could and from what I read, the Firestone and the Airlift products are very similar from a quality standpoint....but the Airlift has a lifetime warranty.  Done! 
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scottydl

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Re: Replacement rear airbags on tow vehicle
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2017, 12:09:14 PM »
Update: New Air Lift rear airbags are installed on my Suburban and holding air nicely.  Side note, once the shop started the installation they discovered that the metal platform support rings above & below the original airbags were also rusted through, and would not support the new bags.  I called Air Lift and they sent those replacements for free too!

For those of you that have used these airbag systems for towing, what's the best method/pressure to use?  I don't have any drastic "tail squat" to overcome, but have had pretty rough rides and bottoming-out suspension driving over bumps due to heavy tongue weight.  My thought is to completely hook up, then inflate the bags just enough (whatever that PSI may be) until I see the rear end raise slightly.  Then I know there is enough inflation for a good air cushion.

Is that the best way to use them?  I couldn't find any real specific guidelines from Air Lift.
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
- 2008 Forest River Wildwood 32BHDS
- 1995 Chevrolet Suburban C2500 tow vehicle
- 1994 Thor Residency motorhome... owned 2007-2012

Wireman134

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Re: Replacement rear airbags on tow vehicle
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2017, 04:35:56 PM »
Set WD hitch to get TV no more than 1" squat. Then air up to level. I use 20-30lbs to level but mostly stabilize. Minimize sway like a anti-sway bar. Air bags are not a replacement for WD hitch. They will not transfer weight to front axle or trailer axle. Only for load control and will not allow you to overload your TV.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 04:41:16 PM by Wireman134 »
2000 Silverado 1500 EC Z71 5.3L 325 hp DS intune, Airlift, 34" Alu 1.25"radiator, B&M 70266 trans cooler, oil cooler, Vet servo, Mag- Hytec, Pro comp ES9000, SUV brakes
2015 Venture Sonic 220VBH, 300W Solar/350 ahr AGM/1200w inverter, 75W Dual Band Ham base. Camping weight 5,100lbs on dual 2800 axle

 

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