P30 Air bags - front

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carson

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Sep 1, 2006
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Greetings,
A few questions on front Airbags:  P30 Chev chassis 1995

1: What is the average life span of the bags?

2: What is a aprox. cost for replacements, installed

3. Is it ok to run without (deflated)
      (have been running with one deflated for some time, unit runs and steers beautifully)

  My mechanic recommended not to fix it. (I liked his answer)  ;D

carson, FL
 

Tom

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Carson,

I can't answer all your questions and it's been a number of years since I replaced the air bags on my P30. IIRC the front suspension on that chassis can't adequately support the weight it's expected to carry, so you need the bags.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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At our Silver Springs FL home
The air bags are an integral part of the front suspension and really need to be there. I cannot conceive of it handling anything but horribly without them, but I guess you ought to know how yours drives. Most people complain of major problems when a bag goes out - especially if it's only one of them (your front end is lop-sided). Maybe both yours are out?

The bags aren't real expensive - under $100 each the last I checked. Plus labor if you have your mechanic do it.
 

Tom

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It can't be more than an hour of work for an experienced tech/mechanic to replace them for you. I thought we had a procedure on how to do it yourself around here somewhere, but I can't find it right now.
 

carson

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Thank you Tom, Gary and Shayne for your sober advice.

I will get it done. I had envisioned a much larger labor expenditure. Glad I asked.

Have already super bellcranks, stabilizer and new swaybar bushings. Steering wise I probably won't notice much difference, as I can drive with one hand at any speed, now.

Happy Thanksgiving,  Carson, FL.
 

Dan Walters

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Jun 15, 2006
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Bellville, Texas
Carson,

I just changed out the air bags on my P30 chassis and it did improve the ride and handling quite a bit.  I bought the kit for about $100 as Gary said and did the change myself.  It really is not hard, although it does take a little while to get the job done.  I had to cut the old airbags into pieces to get them out through the hole in the bottom of the lower support for the coil springs.  Then a little soap and water helps to slick up the new airbags to squeeze them through the hole.  They straighten themselves out after you start inflating the bags.  The kit I bought had instructions with pictures for removing the old bags and for installing the new ones.  I got a price on the labor to install them and it was about $400 so I opted to do it myself.  Hope this helps.  Good luck with the project.

Dan
 

carson

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Thank you, Dan, for the additional info. Very helpful.

I found the official info for instal on the Firestone website www.ride-rite.com  ,which will come in handy for my mechanic, thus preventing a $400 bill. ;D

I have ordered the FS 4100 kit, complete with remote-fill airlines, All for $98.00.

I am looking forward to those railroad crossings not acting like speed bumps.

Thanks all for the great inputs.
carson
 
 

Clay L

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X Full Timer Now Palisade CO
carson said:
I have ordered the FS 4100 kit, complete with remote-fill airlines, All for $98.00.

carson 

I had a 96 motor home on a 95 P30 chassis. The vehicle owners manual  described how to set the pressure in the airbags. In case you don't have the manual this is what mine said:

The owner?s manual gives the following ranges:

4,300 LB front suspensions = 10 psi to 50 psi
5,000 LB front suspensions = 40 psi to 50 psi
5,300 LB front suspensions = 50 psi to 80 psi
5,500 LB front suspensions = 60 psi to 100 psi

For the proper adjustment it says to inflate the air bags to the maximum pressure for your vehicle, load the motor home, park on a level surface and then reduce the air pressure as needed to  level the motor home but don?t reduce it below the minimum.

I have seen other schemes for adjusting the pressure per ride quality, but the 1995 Chevrolet Forward Control Chassis owner?s manual said to do it as shown above.

I don't know if it's accurate or not but other posts have said the pressure in the bags affects the alignment and you should hve it checked when you get the pressure set. The manual did not mention that however.
 

carson

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That is good information, Clay. ?Thank you.

As listed above, I have purchased the Firestone 4100 kit.
Firestone's official installation guide shows the following pressures:

? ? 1/2 Ton Vehicles ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?4-45 psi
? ? 3/4 Ton Vehicles ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 10-60 psi
? ? P-30 ?10000-15000 GVWR ? ? ? ?40-70 psi
? ? P-30 ?16000 and up GVWR ? ? ? ?60-90 psi

My GVWR is 16.500 and Front Axle is 5500 lbs. Guess I'll be ok with 75 psi for a start in both cases.

I will chime in again after installation in a couple of weeks.

Carson.

 

Tom

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Shayne said:
Those facts might be worth saving in the Library.

I thought about it Shayne, but those numbers will vary by make/model of coach.
 

Bronco4me

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Mar 19, 2006
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I run mine at 80 psi in my P30 chassis (33' Holiday Rambler Aluma-Lite) empty or full.  The ride and steering is quite nice.
 

carson

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Another update re air bag installation

The job was completed without a hitch. My tech, who had done many before was questioning my 1.5 to 2 hour labor charge. Firestone lists that time as recommended in their brochure.

A rival RV shop also quoted 2 hours. Now, we don't know whether that time was for one or two bags. He agreed to do the job in two hours, but it took him nearly 4 hours for both, which included installing the 2 remote pressure fill hoses at the front oh the MH.

He does not have an RV hoist so had to jack the front high so that the wheels would hang.
I can see that this is not really a do-it-urself job. He also used a vacuum pump to deflate the bags in order to slip them thru the 1.5" hole. Seems impossible to do; lots of soap helped.

Next time in a number of years from now, I'll offer to pay for 4 hours. He needs the money more than I do.  :-X

FWIW, that's my story. Any comments from someone?

carson FL
 

172ndLIB

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Guess I'm lucky.  My 95 winne has the original chevy air bags still in good shape.  Maybe because when I bought it two weeks ago it only had 6855 miles on it.  Made sure I took it to a good shop and had them checked out.  Had 60 PSI in both so it was taken care of even though it sat a lot.
 

Scoundrel

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Jan 6, 2006
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Corona, California
Dan Walters said:
Carson,

I just changed out the air bags on my P30 chassis and it did improve the ride and handling quite a bit.   I bought the kit for about $100 as Gary said and did the change myself.  It really is not hard, although it does take a little while to get the job done.  I had to cut the old airbags into pieces to get them out through the hole in the bottom of the lower support for the coil springs.  Then a little soap and water helps to slick up the new airbags to squeeze them through the hole.  They straighten themselves out after you start inflating the bags.  The kit I bought had instructions with pictures for removing the old bags and for installing the new ones.  I got a price on the labor to install them and it was about $400 so I opted to do it myself.  Hope this helps.  Good luck with the project.

Dan


I did mine as well as Dan indicated however one thing that will help significantly is to jack the MH up as high as is safe at the wheel you are working on. This help both in removing the old one and installing the new one. Repeat on the opposite wheel.
 

Dan Walters

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485
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Bellville, Texas
Don,

Thanks for that additional information.  I forgot to mention it in my post.  It does help A LOT to jack up the motorhome as high as safely possible.  I jacked mine up until the wheel was clear of the ground and had 4 jack stands plus the jack holding it up.  I don't know that I could have done the job if it had not been jacked up that high.  A lift would have made it even easier, but few people I know have access to one.

Dan
 

JRickey

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Apr 25, 2006
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61
I changed mine last summer.  Never done it before and followed the instructions provided.  I bought mine at Camping World for around $75.  It took me no longer than 3 hrs.  I could probably cut the time by a third the next time (hope there isn't one).  It is a real pain in the butt.  It helped alot to soak them in hot water to soften up the ends.  I flattened them down to a spear looking thing with the ends poking out and then wrapped then with electrical tape.  The hardest thing is getting the rubber washers in place on the top and bottom.  There is no way it took someone 4 hours to do this that is experienced and compotent.  I think the time was inflated
 

tinasDriver

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Jun 2, 2011
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Location
South Florida
Carson, I checked out the driver side bag and found that it has failed. I feel air coming out of the top of the bag. All lines and fittings are good. I ordered http://www.streetsideauto.com/p/firestone-ride-rite-coil-rite-air-helper-spring-kit-4100/?mkwid=s7zxrgmsl|pcrid|5205232881&mm_campaign=7a3e2e5a6d79921231e005b1d2268a32&keyword=firestone%204100&gclid=COfu6erm8akCFUHs7QodXHTuZA and should be here in 3 business days. I am just going to replace the driver side bag and keep the rest for spare parts.
 
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