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 > Air bags on a Class A gasser

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Dale.Traveling

Newport News, VA

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Posted: 11/24/20 12:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

wjschill wrote:

Do air bags really help with the ride and sway of the coach? Also, is it best to have them on front and back?
If so, what cost can I expect for installation?

Newby to motorhomes, so don't laugh!!

Thanks,

Skip


Keep in mind each bolt on item has a primary effect and secondary, both good and bad. Air bags mostly help with regaining normal ride height after loading which will help to limit the suspension bottoming out on the frame bumpers. They will have some effect with stiffing the suspension and attenuating sway also. The rear axle usually needs the most help.

Material and installation will vary with who you buy from and where you live as local cost of living will effect labor rates. Average shop labor can run as much as $120 or more an hour and you might be looking at two hours per axle or about 8 hours. I did the work myself and order the bags (all four axles) off of Amazon for abut $600. Onboard compressed air ran me another $300 for material. Personally the improve was OK but better shocks and changing the geometry of the sway bars had a much bigger improvement for sway and ride for a lower cost. If I had a do-over I would try Sumo Springs.

Before you started looking at bolt on stuff get the coach in the driveway. You might be pleasantly surprised and the new to you rig needs nothing.


2006 Hurricane 31D built on a 2006 Ford F53


Waiter21

NW Ohio

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Posted: 11/26/20 01:13pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have them on my 1999 F53 Southwind. they help smooth the ride, but probably doesn't do anything for sway.

If you have a 1999 or newer F53, look into the CHF to help with sway. This is an adjustment to the factory sway bar. It significantly reduces sway in every F53 I've done it on.

https://www.1999southwind.com/chf-cheap-handling-fix-fix-for-sway-and-handling/

..


1999 Southwind F53, 2003 Saturn Vue toad
www.1999Southwind.comwww.1999Southwind.com

jeromep

Eastern Washington State

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Posted: 11/29/20 08:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have air spring all around on a 95 Bounder 35' on a Ford F-53. The previous owner swore by them, told me to keep them at about 70 psi and I'd be just fine. His installation was all manual fill and I'm going to leave it at that. I've only had good experiences so far.

A couple of weeks back I was on I-90 westbound coming down to the crossing of the Columbia River. There is a lot of cross wind on the bridge due to the canyon like area the river runs through. I felt pretty slapped around going over the bridge, but the vehicle was totally in control. My awning got the worst of it but the vehicle drove through the cross wind very confidently. I suspect 30 mph winds with gusts up to 50.

I don't think you'll find a factory installation of air springs, but if you are going to do it be sure to research if you want a system that is self inflated with a remote control system or if you just want manual fill. If you choose manual fill you'll have a lot less mechanical stuff to deal with, but you had better have access to an air compressor. If you want the convenience of a remote control system, I hope you are very technically inclined or have a very good mechanic around.

Either way air springs are a huge improvement.

rgatijnet1

Florida

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Posted: 11/30/20 05:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

jeromep wrote:

If you want the convenience of a remote control system, I hope you are very technically inclined or have a very good mechanic around.

Either way air springs are a huge improvement.


After several years of having complete control of my air bags with the push of a button on my dash, I never found the need for a mechanic. The system always worked as designed and the 12 volt Air-Lift compressors that came with the air bags never failed and never needed any maintenance. I also never had an air bag failure. The installation was well within the abilities of anyone that can use basic tools. The 12 volt power for the air compressor(s) is easily spliced in to any existing wiring since they draw very few amps.
I do agree that the air bags are a huge improvement but the ability to change the air pressure as conditions changed should not be overlooked.

dodge guy

Bartlett IL

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Posted: 11/30/20 06:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A bolt on air spring (bag) will only make the coach ride harsher as it increases the spring rate. To truly get a steel spring MH to ride smooth you would need to do a complete air suspicion system. That is remove the steel spring, bolt in a new suspension system with the air bags, this will cost around $13000! But it will ride amazing!


Wife Kim
Son Brandon 17yrs
Daughter Marissa 16yrs
Dog Bailey

12 Forest River Georgetown 350TS Hellwig sway bars, BlueOx TrueCenter stabilizer

13 Ford Explorer Roadmaster Stowmaster 5000, VIP Tow>
A bad day camping is
better than a good day at work!


rgatijnet1

Florida

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Posted: 11/30/20 07:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

dodge guy wrote:

A bolt on air spring (bag) will only make the coach ride harsher as it increases the spring rate. To truly get a steel spring MH to ride smooth you would need to do a complete air suspicion system. That is remove the steel spring, bolt in a new suspension system with the air bags, this will cost around $13000! But it will ride amazing!


That is exactly right if you inflate the air bags because of high cross winds. On the other hand, it make driving in high winds much easier and safer. When there is no need for wind control, all you have to do is push the dash switch and deflate the air bags to regain the same ride as before. They are not as good as a full air bag suspension but a four corner air bag system, with dash control, only cost me about $1200. I suspect that if you have a full air bag system, and you need to inflate the suspension to deal with winds, that the ride will also be harsher than normal conditions.

Stim

NE Florida

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Posted: 12/02/20 05:54pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There are hours of reading on here about Ford harsh riding/handling.
The only thing that would make air bags harsh riding is over inflating for the load.
A compressor/adjustable system would give the driver tuning control for the conditions.

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