Airbags with onboard Air (best control options?) and a Hitch ? too

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

Derby6

Well-known member
Joined
May 1, 2010
Posts
711
Location
Wasilla, AK
Not been on here in a quite a while and getting ready to prep for 5th wheel purchase I've discussed, thought of, and planned for years.

I think airbags is in my interest as I am looking at Montana's in 40' range and I want onboard air.

Looking for experience thought on which system I should get for the Loadlifter 500 Ultimate- Auto Level, wireless remote (can also use cell phone), or analog in cab.

Wireless remote is most expensive, but I really didn't want a remote lying around. Cell phone made it more appeasing, but still not sure. Me and technology not always on same page and I'm sure I'll need my readers every time I adjust it.
Auto level is second most expensive, but sounds handy as I have to do nothing for the most part....lol (Initially this is what I am initially leaning towards and I thought it was most expensive)
Analog in cab is cheapest and simplest, but I would have to find a place to mount it where it would be easily readable.
 

steveblonde

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 8, 2015
Posts
4,511
Location
calgary alberta
1st off why do you want airbags? They are not always a solution. Ive had bags on several trucks i have also used Timbrins, both have pros and cons
 

Isaac-1

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 3, 2016
Posts
6,153
Location
SW Louisiana
Be aware you can mix and match these systems to a degree, for example on my coach I installed Airlift 5000 air bags mated to a single path Firestone compressor with manual in cab gauge panel. ( I am now thinking about converting it to dual path to let me control left and right side independently for fine tuning.
 

Derby6

Well-known member
Joined
May 1, 2010
Posts
711
Location
Wasilla, AK
I want airbags because I have SRW and will be near limits so want to manage sag. Some say it also helps bounce.
 

steveblonde

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 8, 2015
Posts
4,511
Location
calgary alberta
Lets start from the beginning, what 5er and what is the payload on your truck?
Airbags are great if you have a leveling kit on the front of your truck and you just want to level it
Airbags suck if your at or over your limits because they are forcing the rear axle down .
I have a payload of 5100lbs my trailer is 4100lbs on the pin , timbrins would take out the stress by using a rubber bump stop but would make the ride rougher, airbags would make the truck a bouncy ball, remember when not towing you have to keep a min of 5lbs air in your bags, raising the rear even more creating a big ass bouncy ball
 

Derby6

Well-known member
Joined
May 1, 2010
Posts
711
Location
Wasilla, AK
5ver is still TBD but I am looking at 3 models with hitch weights of 2481lbs, 2653lbs, and 2530lbs.
Truck yellow sticker say 3173lbs.

I am kind of on fast forward/pause with 2530 (Montana Model 372 RD) as I can get a really good deal on one here know a couple just bought, never used and looking to unload quickly. Now need to buy a house.
If I order one for next year I am looking at other 2 weights (Montana Model 3760 FL OR 3790 RD). Empty travel is important as I just retired and use truck for my own business where I will be putting ALOT of miles traveling the state of AK in all weather conditions, including extreme colds of -40.

I also will still have 3 other trailer I pull from time to time; but never needed bags for (Tot hauler, car trailer, and 2 place snow machine trailer)

I also need to get 5ver hitch and may have deal on used B&W OEM Companion Fifth wheel hitch (BWRVK3300) if there are any opinions on that.

Was going to make a few separate posts but now its all here....LOL
 

lungesport

Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2017
Posts
23
Location
SF Bay Area
In regards to air bags

So, opinions are like…you know the rest.

I have had a few trucks of the last 35 years and have put air bags on a few but today I’m just going to talk about one of my current trucks. GMC 2500 HD with 3k payload and 9500 GVW. When fully loaded I am about 200lbs shy of GVW. I was looking for a solution to the squat I was experiencing when loaded so I did some research and thought I would give the Timbrens a chance. They install in place of the factory jounce bumpers and are quite easy to install, I mean minutes only. When loaded the jounce pad was about ¾’’ from contact with the Timbren so while the truck was heavily loaded, there was still suspension compliance. After about 6 months of teeth jarring travels I could not stand it any longer and removed them. If the road was slightly bumpy there was no issue and they performed well. They are basically a progressive bump stop. If the suspension was harshly compressed they were God awful and sent a shock wave through the chassis. My truck, girlfriend, and back were not happy. I made the change to Air Lift 7500 XL bags and the 7200 wireless air compressor system. Here’s my rationale for the larger rated bags. The truck has Bilstein shocks, the best in the world if you ask me, so proper dampening was already in place. I wanted leveling AND compliance. I felt that if I used a bigger bag set, I could run them at a lower pressure and still maintain a nice compliant ride. I used the wireless air so that I could make detailed adjustments on the fly. My install worked beautifully! I run 27 psi when fully loaded and still have a very nice quality, firm yet compliant ride. I have never ran them any higher as they level my rig at the lower pressure. I also use them to raise and lower the truck for hitching and even sometimes to lift the truck for undercarriage inspections. Now the install did not go as described in the Air Lift manual. I do not like fuse taps or wire laying across the fuse block. I divorced the power and ground wiring from the Air Lift harness’, installed a new Blue Sea 6 fuse block fed with 4 ga wire, and fed the power through a rocker switch I installed in the console. Both the manifold and the compressor have 10 ga grounds that terminate at the battery. All connections are soldered, heat shrinked, and wrapped in convoluted tubing. The system is only on when I flip the lighted rocker. I do not want the system on when keyed or on all the time, I want to control it.

I know I have read posts from a lot of guys who love the Timbrens, good for you, I hated them!

So now you have my story and have another one of those opinions to consider.

Cheers
 

Attachments

  • GMC center console upfitter switches closer view.jpg
    GMC center console upfitter switches closer view.jpg
    181.8 KB · Views: 7
  • GMC Wireless Air compressor mounted.jpg
    GMC Wireless Air compressor mounted.jpg
    156.8 KB · Views: 6
  • GMC Wireless Air manifold mounted.jpg
    GMC Wireless Air manifold mounted.jpg
    112.4 KB · Views: 7
  • GMC air bag heat shield.jpg
    GMC air bag heat shield.jpg
    141 KB · Views: 7

steveblonde

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 8, 2015
Posts
4,511
Location
calgary alberta
You need to make a decision here, comfort loaded or unloaded.
Airbags will be better unloaded Timbrins better loaded.
Airbags if you have a leveling kit on the front.
Airbags for adjustability
Timbrins for comfort towing
Your stupid close to your payload and given your lifestyle i would be looking at duallys.
As for the B&W? Not a fan
BUT These are
MY preferences.
 

steveblonde

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 8, 2015
Posts
4,511
Location
calgary alberta
In regards to air bags

So, opinions are like…you know the rest.

I have had a few trucks of the last 35 years and have put air bags on a few but today I’m just going to talk about one of my current trucks. GMC 2500 HD with 3k payload and 9500 GVW. When fully loaded I am about 200lbs shy of GVW. I was looking for a solution to the squat I was experiencing when loaded so I did some research and thought I would give the Timbrens a chance. They install in place of the factory jounce bumpers and are quite easy to install, I mean minutes only. When loaded the jounce pad was about ¾’’ from contact with the Timbren so while the truck was heavily loaded, there was still suspension compliance. After about 6 months of teeth jarring travels I could not stand it any longer and removed them. If the road was slightly bumpy there was no issue and they performed well. They are basically a progressive bump stop. If the suspension was harshly compressed they were God awful and sent a shock wave through the chassis. My truck, girlfriend, and back were not happy. I made the change to Air Lift 7500 XL bags and the 7200 wireless air compressor system. Here’s my rationale for the larger rated bags. The truck has Bilstein shocks, the best in the world if you ask me, so proper dampening was already in place. I wanted leveling AND compliance. I felt that if I used a bigger bag set, I could run them at a lower pressure and still maintain a nice compliant ride. I used the wireless air so that I could make detailed adjustments on the fly. My install worked beautifully! I run 27 psi when fully loaded and still have a very nice quality, firm yet compliant ride. I have never ran them any higher as they level my rig at the lower pressure. I also use them to raise and lower the truck for hitching and even sometimes to lift the truck for undercarriage inspections. Now the install did not go as described in the Air Lift manual. I do not like fuse taps or wire laying across the fuse block. I divorced the power and ground wiring from the Air Lift harness’, installed a new Blue Sea 6 fuse block fed with 4 ga wire, and fed the power through a rocker switch I installed in the console. Both the manifold and the compressor have 10 ga grounds that terminate at the battery. All connections are soldered, heat shrinked, and wrapped in convoluted tubing. The system is only on when I flip the lighted rocker. I do not want the system on when keyed or on all the time, I want to control it.

I know I have read posts from a lot of guys who love the Timbrens, good for you, I hated them!

So now you have my story and have another one of those opinions to consider.

Cheers
Awesome opinion and write up
 

steveblonde

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 8, 2015
Posts
4,511
Location
calgary alberta
In regards to air bags

So, opinions are like…you know the rest.

I have had a few trucks of the last 35 years and have put air bags on a few but today I’m just going to talk about one of my current trucks. GMC 2500 HD with 3k payload and 9500 GVW. When fully loaded I am about 200lbs shy of GVW. I was looking for a solution to the squat I was experiencing when loaded so I did some research and thought I would give the Timbrens a chance. They install in place of the factory jounce bumpers and are quite easy to install, I mean minutes only. When loaded the jounce pad was about ¾’’ from contact with the Timbren so while the truck was heavily loaded, there was still suspension compliance. After about 6 months of teeth jarring travels I could not stand it any longer and removed them. If the road was slightly bumpy there was no issue and they performed well. They are basically a progressive bump stop. If the suspension was harshly compressed they were God awful and sent a shock wave through the chassis. My truck, girlfriend, and back were not happy. I made the change to Air Lift 7500 XL bags and the 7200 wireless air compressor system. Here’s my rationale for the larger rated bags. The truck has Bilstein shocks, the best in the world if you ask me, so proper dampening was already in place. I wanted leveling AND compliance. I felt that if I used a bigger bag set, I could run them at a lower pressure and still maintain a nice compliant ride. I used the wireless air so that I could make detailed adjustments on the fly. My install worked beautifully! I run 27 psi when fully loaded and still have a very nice quality, firm yet compliant ride. I have never ran them any higher as they level my rig at the lower pressure. I also use them to raise and lower the truck for hitching and even sometimes to lift the truck for undercarriage inspections. Now the install did not go as described in the Air Lift manual. I do not like fuse taps or wire laying across the fuse block. I divorced the power and ground wiring from the Air Lift harness’, installed a new Blue Sea 6 fuse block fed with 4 ga wire, and fed the power through a rocker switch I installed in the console. Both the manifold and the compressor have 10 ga grounds that terminate at the battery. All connections are soldered, heat shrinked, and wrapped in convoluted tubing. The system is only on when I flip the lighted rocker. I do not want the system on when keyed or on all the time, I want to control it.

I know I have read posts from a lot of guys who love the Timbrens, good for you, I hated them!

So now you have my story and have another one of those opinions to consider.

Cheers
Awesome opinion and write up . Absolutely one of the best
 

Derby6

Well-known member
Joined
May 1, 2010
Posts
711
Location
Wasilla, AK
Thanks. Need to digest and continue thinking. This has been in works for years. Really like ALL replies; playbook been refined and will continue to be. If someone gives me a nice new dually in lower 48–problem solved. I owe some pics of all lights and professional wiring I had done in prep for my work. Oversize load piloting.
more to follow tomorrow. Thanks again and keep em coming.
 

Derby6

Well-known member
Joined
May 1, 2010
Posts
711
Location
Wasilla, AK
7C2728C6-3130-4EA6-B913-560174191700.jpeg
Promised pic and off topic; hijacking my own thread...LOL
All light and radio wiring under the hood. Did a great job with everything going to separate switches so I can control lights (spots and flashy) to keep from blinding drivers.
Upfitter 1 2x 7" RIGID Drive lights (mounted in front Grill )
Upfitter 2 2x 20" single row RIGID spot (mounted on top of back/headache rack)
Upfitter 3 1x Top and 2x side amber flashy's
Upfitter 4 Front Grill Amber/White flashy's
Upfitter 5 Rear Amber/White flashy's (mounted above rear bumper under tailgate) White portion also wired into reverse lights
Upfitter 6 2x 7" Rear flood(mounted under back/headache rack)

back/headache rack custom built and designed to allow me to keep Revolver bed cover and allow oversize sign to fold flat with rear window for 5thwheel when/if needed. 4x rear clearance, brake, & turn lights; and 16x chicken lights.
 

Attachments

  • 236F86D6-7ACA-42CF-B2DC-0B646A42E5EF.jpeg
    236F86D6-7ACA-42CF-B2DC-0B646A42E5EF.jpeg
    136.5 KB · Views: 5

Derby6

Well-known member
Joined
May 1, 2010
Posts
711
Location
Wasilla, AK
Back on topic--

No leveling kit on front.
Empty comfort most important. That will be majority of miles.
Not interested in the Timbrins; especially with above info.

With hitch gone and the Montana Model 372 RD not being 100% dream layout. I thinks it's likely I'll tap brakes and pause (again). That being said I want to have the 5th wheel and airbags on and ready in case another steal of a deal falls in my lap. Good deals like that can't wait weeks for parts and installs--cash and go gets the deal...:)

DW and I sometimes discuss lil smaller 5Ver as we won't be in it more than 2-3 months a year. But I want to be comfortable. 2nd truck in lower 48 would be optimal; but a really expensive alternative. Again I would want something nice.

Will see how things go financially over next 6 months; it this was easy and cheap everyone would be doing it....
 

steveblonde

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 8, 2015
Posts
4,511
Location
calgary alberta
Im a huge fan of Rigid i started selling Rigid when it was a 1 man company
I have a 12in sr series and 2 sr series driving lights on front and 2 2" floods on the rear of my truck
 

Derby6

Well-known member
Joined
May 1, 2010
Posts
711
Location
Wasilla, AK
Steve what 5ver hitch you like?
Maybe I should forego air bags and look at hood air ride hitch?
 

steveblonde

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 8, 2015
Posts
4,511
Location
calgary alberta
My personal fav in my new A25 from Curt A means articulate and it pivots on an axis 360 degrees my previous hitch was a Q20 from Curt Q meaning quiet not as much cushioning but comfortable. The A series in a new and improved Q. Ive sold 1000s of Reese,Patriot,Curt you name it. So many ive been offered them for free by the manufacturers reps (its my occupation) .
Next i would look at pin boxes. A std box is rigid does not flex,cushion,rebound nothing. All those forces are like bone on bone. There are several boxes on the market, im using a rotoflex right now


Its works okay but a lot of banging on expansion joints. However having said that it doesnt transfer into chucking or a rough ride, just noisy.
It really depends on truck+trailer+setup+weight+capability.
There really is no one fix
 

Derby6

Well-known member
Joined
May 1, 2010
Posts
711
Location
Wasilla, AK
Thanks I was completely unaware of pin boxes. Now to research that as well--may be more important than the hitch for comfort.
 

Derby6

Well-known member
Joined
May 1, 2010
Posts
711
Location
Wasilla, AK
Hit pause button again. Going to wait and see 2022 models and go from there. Now leaning towards lil smaller 38’ range. Only couple hundred pounds difference in pin weight, but every lil bit helps.
 

Derby6

Well-known member
Joined
May 1, 2010
Posts
711
Location
Wasilla, AK
Update--March of this year we went to "look" at Montana's in lower 48 (Vegas area) and EXACT one we wanted was on the lot and we bought it. 2022 Montana 3231CK Legacy edition with Full body paint.
Went with Following:
- B&W Companion Hitch
- Loadlifter 5000 Ultimate airbags w/ internal jounce bumper. Onboard air; single line; with wireless controller
- Custom built my own mudflaps
- 50 Gallon Titan Auxiliary fuel tank in bed. This was more for my work but I LOVE it!

Will have to start new thread under part-timing as we will be officially snow birding starting this year. :)
 

Forum statistics

Threads
124,663
Posts
1,268,779
Members
130,643
Latest member
drg
Top Bottom