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Old 09-21-2009
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Air Bags For Towing

About a year ago I swapped in some chevy 63" springs and took out the overload and one other leaf (was WAY to stiff with them in for every day driving) and rides like a dream and holds its own flexing, but lacks in the towing department. I tow/haul on a semi-regular basis, maybe about once a month, and the rear just squats like nobodys business to the point my rear tires rub when I hit bumps. What are your guy's thoughts on air bags for towing? are there any avaliable for lifted trucks? is there a way to make them work with flexing like only mounting the top or bottom side? I would most likely only have pressure in them when i tow and leave them at 0 psi the rest of the time.

Last edited by Woods-Rider; 09-21-2009 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 09-21-2009
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the air bags should hold 5 psi at all times, this keeps them sealed. as for them workign in flexing situations they could, mine work awesome in the f150 and still doesnt limit much flex on it. I thought about something like this but with removable bags for wheeling.
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Old 09-21-2009
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I would love them if someone came up with a quick disco setup.
Technically the truck should not be lifted by the frame with them on as some manufacturers are afraid it will pull the bags apart if you let the suspension fully extend.
I have never used airbags on my trucks for that reason though, so I'm not speaking from experience.

And as Zach said, they should have 5-10psi in them all the time.
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Old 09-21-2009
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on my buddies 91 with a 4" lift we put air bags on it then used a 3" body lift spacer to space the air bags up off the axle for when he flexes. I'm buying a set this week :)
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Old 09-21-2009
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I got'em on mine, and they rock. Don't affect ride when aired down to 5 psi, and don't let it squat when loaded up.
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Old 09-21-2009
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I have them on my truck with 4" of suspension lift and have no troubles, but mine is by no means set up for flex. I have installed them on my buddies F150 with 6" of lift and his definitely don't fully extend. They are great to have for occasional towing because you can quickly and easy change the load characteristics.
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Old 09-21-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hanks Rangers View Post
on my buddies 91 with a 4" lift we put air bags on it then used a 3" body lift spacer to space the air bags up off the axle for when he flexes. I'm buying a set this week :)
Do the spacers limit his up travel any?
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Old 09-21-2009
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Quote:
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Do the spacers limit his up travel any?
not that we have noticed the bags were limiting down travel because of the lift. i have a picture of it flexed some where, I'll try and find it

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Old 09-21-2009
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this sounds like a good. i am a truck and coach apprentice and airbags have been proven to be the best for towing (if set up properly) because they always maintain a constant ride height and very good ride comfort. they are also eaily removable. if you run synflex line like used on trucks instead of a rubber line you can use quick connect push style fittings that allow you to remove the line in about a second. then most bags are only two or three bolts to pull out.
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Old 09-21-2009
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Sweet. Have any pics of the bag set up on a lifted truck? Is there any specific brand/model of bags anyone would recommend?
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Old 09-21-2009
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they say not to pick the truck up from the frame when air is in the bags, but everytime i load and unload the ranger it picks the truck off the ground, no issues yet.
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Old 09-22-2009
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they say not to pick the truck up from the frame when air is in the bags, but everytime i load and unload the ranger it picks the truck off the ground, no issues yet.
That's good to hear. Although if you are flexing the truck and one rear tire is stuffed with the axle on the bump stops, you'll transfer more downward energy to the opposite side. Still it may not be an issue.

I still don't see why a person couldn't hard mount the top of the airbag to the frame, and put an upside down "cup" sort of on the bottom of the airbag, facing down. That "cup" would rest on top of a hard poly bumpstop on the top of the axle. This would help support weight like an air bag typically would, but allow the axle to droop well below.
Maybe I am missing something though, I've never had them but always thought it would work well for a multi-purpose truck.
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Old 09-22-2009
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i have thought about these for my 06, where to get them?
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Old 09-22-2009
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Yeah, I was thinking of something along those lines. I'm just not sure the bag would come back down in the same spot every time which could cause some problems. I'm sure there are many possible solutions though.
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Old 09-22-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SVT01RANGER View Post
i have thought about these for my 06, where to get them?
I got mine from JEGS, they had the best price I found.
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Old 09-22-2009
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Yeah, I was thinking of something along those lines. I'm just not sure the bag would come back down in the same spot every time which could cause some problems. I'm sure there are many possible solutions though.
I'm thinking like a machined aluminum cup, cut out like half of a baseball, or a cone or something. That way as the weight set on it, it would self center.
But again it would depend on the airbag and everything too, I don't know how rigid they are side to side. I don't know if they would fold under weight without being firmly bolted on both sides. I thought about buying some cheap used bags at one point but I don't have any way to fab something up anyway..
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Old 09-22-2009
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How about limit straps holding a base that the bag is mounted to? So it acts like an external bumpstop kinda thingy. So if you flex down the bag will extend untill the limit straps are tight and the axle can move farther. I would think that some teflon strips under the mount and a flat surface on top of the axle will have to exist.

Requires some more fab work but will work sweet i think.


Or just go buy some air shocks...
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Old 09-22-2009
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Don't air shocks fade when driven a high speeds over long perions of time like on the freeway, and how would they work in conjunction with leafs? Or are you saying to take the leafs out?
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Old 09-23-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woods-Rider View Post
Sweet. Have any pics of the bag set up on a lifted truck? Is there any specific brand/model of bags anyone would recommend?
That 91 is lifted in my picture and its mounted the normal way just with a body lift spacer under the bottom air bag mount so it wont over extend, Firestone air ride bags are great, next choice would be air lift which is what i'm getting this week because i could get it cheap from work.
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Old 09-23-2009
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if you look closely you can see the air bags in the wheel well, and right below the bag is the body lift block. You can just make out the line where the block and the bag meet
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Old 09-23-2009
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Air shocks are just shocks that you can air up to make them stiffer. Just like having air bags, but its in the shock as one unit. So the more air you put in the stiffer they get, thus not allowing the springs to stay. The leaf would stay in either scenario.
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Old 09-23-2009
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have any closer pics of that bag set up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by StrangerRanger View Post
Air shocks are just shocks that you can air up to make them stiffer. Just like having air bags, but its in the shock as one unit. So the more air you put in the stiffer they get, thus not allowing the springs to stay. The leaf would stay in either scenario.
ok, I have just never seen air shocks used in conjunction with anything else. can they be filled with air or does it have to be co2 or something of that sort? basically i want to know if i could hook it up to my on board air and just have a switch and guage in the cab to control the pressure with. If regular "humid" air can work and these type of shocks aren't super spendy this may be the route I go since i am looking to replace the rear shocks anyways. are you thinking like the fox style air shocks popular with rock crawlers or something else?
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Old 09-23-2009
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your going to look at around three hundred for a set of air springs. i don't know if anyone makes air shocks for rangers. i'll get a better picture of the air bags tonight. and you can hook them to your on board air system so you can change the pressures right from the cab of the truck
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Old 09-23-2009
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I just have never heard of air shocks used in a towing application before.
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Old 09-23-2009
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I'm not sure I would run air shocks as a supplement to leaf springs. I think they do fade, and are designed to be used as stand-alone spring/shock, and I'm not sure they will dampen the leafs properly. Plus if they are carrying a lot of weight you'll need to build stronger shock mounts. I think they are charged with nitrogen..?
But I don't really know for sure. If I were you and I could cut/weld/fab stuff I would just buy a set of airbags, and see what you can put together for some disconnect mounts.
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