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Old 06-30-2016, 04:03 PM   #1
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Air Bags on my truck

Installed a set of airbags on my Ram 1500, easy install, about 2 hours total. Routed the air lines to rear. You keep from 5-30 psi, depending on load. I have coil springs and these slip inside. With 15 psi the truck does not squat while hooked up and remains level. Air Lift 60818 Air Helper Springs Dodge Ram 1500 2009-2016
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Old 06-30-2016, 04:29 PM   #2
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You need air-lifts to tow the 19? Or are you getting ready for the next trailer? you know the one your getting after the 19.
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Old 06-30-2016, 04:42 PM   #3
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The Ram since 2009 has coil springs in the rear and rides real soft, but they do not support a load like conventional leaf springs. My older Ram had these bags and they worked perfectly.
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Old 06-30-2016, 05:36 PM   #4
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The Ram pickups (1500 starting in 2009 model year, and 2500/3500 starting with 2014 model year) get this easy installation because they have coils. Leaf-spring trucks need a different type of air spring with upper and lower mounting brackets.

Any style of spring (coil, lead, torsion bar, air) can be as soft or as stiff as the designer wants. Although Ram designers chose relatively soft in this case, that was not required by the coil design; they probably found that they could go softer than the previous leaf setup (for better ride and handling under the light loads typical of these vehicles) because the control arms provide very good control - a leaf needs to be stiff to avoid windup and lateral flex, so you can't have both good control and soft springs. There are heavy-duty coil suspensions (even independent, such as Meritor ProTec) up to at least 14 tons capacity - they're not soft.

I believe that the intended solution for Ram pickup owners who want better load handling capacity is to get the optional air suspension (available in any year and model with rear coil springs). The Coil-Rite or Airlift 1000 bags are an inexpensive (albeit less functional) alternative to the full air system. Ram 1500 owners who didn't get the factory air suspension but now want a full air system (replacing the coils rather than adding bags to them), can buy an AirConversion kit from Firestone.
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Old 06-30-2016, 11:49 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Installed a set of airbags on my Ram 1500, easy install, about 2 hours total. Routed the air lines to rear. You keep from 5-30 psi, depending on load. I have coil springs and these slip inside. With 15 psi the truck does not squat while hooked up and remains level. Air Lift 60818 Air Helper Springs Dodge Ram 1500 2009-2016
so you just jack up truck to take the load off the springs and insert the airbag flattened?
in that second pic..the air nipple is to the left of the hitch and you have a tee on the lines to the airbags so you just use one air nipple?

looks pretty simple and probably more reliable compared to the complexity of some air systems...guess it might be a bit weird towing or driving if only one fails.....so guessing that you think these are needed or just make it better when towing an Escape 19 with the Ram?
thanks for sharing
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Old 07-01-2016, 12:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freespirit View Post
so you just jack up truck to take the load off the springs and insert the airbag flattened?
in that second pic..the air nipple is to the left of the hitch and you have a tee on the lines to the airbags so you just use one air nipple?

looks pretty simple and probably more reliable compared to the complexity of some air systems...guess it might be a bit weird towing or driving if only one fails.....so guessing that you think these are needed or just make it better when towing an Escape 19 with the Ram?
thanks for sharing
Have the firestones on truck . They were put there because of having a camper . They have been on truck for over 12 years . They have at least 5 lb air at all times .if I find truck is a little low put a little air . Pat
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Old 07-01-2016, 12:12 AM   #7
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so you just jack up truck to take the load off the springs and insert the airbag flattened?
Yes, that's almost it with these bags for any vehicle. Some vehicles (not the Ram 1500) have hardware (mounting bolts, bump stops...) in the middle of the coil which needs to be removed; in some cases a spacer is needed at one or both ends of the bag.

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in that second pic..the air nipple is to the left of the hitch and you have a tee on the lines to the airbags so you just use one air nipple?
These bags can be installed with a tee to one fill valve, or two separate valves. One valve is more convenient to adjust, but in a sustained turn the air moves from the outside to inside bag; with a separate system the air bags add resistance to leaning in a turn.

That's a tidy valve mounting job, Jim.
Another solution which is often used (although it is only practical on some vehicles) is to run the fill valves through the license plate mounting holes - they serve as the plate bolts.
I put the valves on a small custom bracket strapped (with stainless steel hose clamps) to the tube of the hitch receiver structure.

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looks pretty simple and probably more reliable compared to the complexity of some air systems...
The difference is mostly an air pump, plumbing, and controls. You can use all of that with these bags, too, if you want automatic height control and easy adjustment from the driver's seat. With the full air suspension systems you need a pump and control valve to maintain spring force despite minor leaks; with any add-on system (bags in coils or separate air springs) you can get away with manually adding air, since a loss of air doesn't disable the vehicle.

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guess it might be a bit weird towing or driving if only one fails...
If they are connected and one fails (or any of the line or fittings) all the pressure is lost from both bags, and you're back to stock suspension. If they are separate only one side is lost which is a little strange but probably better for the short term than losing both.
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Old 07-01-2016, 01:11 AM   #8
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thanks for the info..will certainly keep the simple version in mind if need be for an Escape 19 and the Ram....like simple.
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Old 07-01-2016, 04:23 AM   #9
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Might not be room these days, but when I put them on my Ranger some years ago I put the valves behind the gas filler door.
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Old 07-01-2016, 08:01 AM   #10
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Same here as Jim, stock truck springs are soft. I went with the easy install sumosprings instead of the more complicated airbags on a tacoma. So far so good with loads in the back. I have yet to try it out towing a trailer. It will be fun to see how they work out. There is no gap to the frame where they touch so I'd hope the squat will be slight. With some brand airbags you have to be aware when you have your oil changed. When the truck goes on the lift, the axle hanging freely down could tear the bag if the bags bolt with both top and bottom. This according to other owners feedback, not me. But every brand is different. Thanks for sharing your photos. Did you need a coil spring compressor for this install? ESP truck accessories is coming out with a nice under seat storage unit for your 1500 https://www.instagram.com/esptruck/

"You need air-lifts to tow the 19?" It's not just the trailer for some of us. Some of us load up the back of our truck with a bunch of gear and pile of firewood.

PS-Sumospring example here if anyone is interested
http://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f1...tml#post142305
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Old 07-01-2016, 05:53 PM   #11
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I have airlift bags on my 2003 Tacoma and my 2014 F1-50. I like them a lot as you have a lot of flexibility on getting your rig level, no matter the load. They are also easy to install yourself.
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Old 07-02-2016, 11:56 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Installed a set of airbags on my Ram 1500, easy install, about 2 hours total. Routed the air lines to rear. You keep from 5-30 psi, depending on load. I have coil springs and these slip inside. With 15 psi the truck does not squat while hooked up and remains level. Air Lift 60818 Air Helper Springs Dodge Ram 1500 2009-2016
I installed the Airlift air bags on both my 2011 and 2014 Ram 1500.
I run about 18 lbs in the air bags when towing. Their relatively inexpensive and work well , IMHO They really improve the towing quality of the truck plus you can lower the air pressure when not towing and get the soft ride back.
I have riden in trucks with leaf Springs where helper Springs were added , great when fully loaded but left something to be desired when running empty.
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Old 07-02-2016, 04:37 PM   #13
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There is a lot to be said for "simple". Short air lines, 2 Shraeder valves, stuff a couple of inexpensive bags into the coils, and carry plenty of weight. It's all you need for the towing most of us do.
The fully automatic systems are basically invisible, doing the job hands free, but have much more plumbing, electro-mechanical pneumatic valves, pressure switched compressor, computer, 4 ride height sensors, lots of wires and connectors to maintain. A friend of mine has a BMW x5 with air ride height control. It was problem prone. He was quoted $2500.00 to replace the right front air bag strut from BMW. He got tired of the problems and removed the system completely. The fully automatic system in my Jeep Wrangler has been pretty reliable, but has needed 4 ride height sensors, and main poppet valve rebuild over the last 8 years. You also need to drain condensate from the air tank about once a month. The Firestone bags on my Jeep are the springs. So the system is critical. No air no ride.
On my new tug I installed Air-Lift bags inside the coils and wanted to be able to control ride height from the dash. It sounds simple, but has a lot of plumbing. I mounted a small compressor under the pickup bed that is controlled by a manual and pressure activated switch. It feeds a tank which has a pressure line feeding the fill valves on the dash, which feed the individual bags. I had to chase leaks for a few weeks, but now have a tight system. Whether on not this system is worth the trouble or not is a good question. Simple is good...
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Old 07-02-2016, 04:43 PM   #14
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I think Russ has explained the complexity issue well.
Heavy trucks and large buses generally have full air suspension systems, but it is worthwhile for them, they keep complexity down with fixed-height control valves, and they have an air compressor anyway for the brakes.

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A friend of mine has a BMW x5 with air ride height control. It was problem prone. He was quoted $2500.00 to replace the right front air bag strut from BMW. He got tired of the problems and removed the system completely.
Kits to replace air springs with coil springs are readily available for some vehicles - while most work fine, clearly a significant number of people have issues.

On the other hand, BMW considers buyers of their vehicles to be captive and deep-pocketed sources of parts and service income... I'm sure the dealership was looking forward to this job and would be disappointed if they never failed.
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Old 07-02-2016, 07:05 PM   #15
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On the other hand, BMW considers buyers of their vehicles to be captive and deep-pocketed sources of parts and service income... I'm sure the dealership was looking forward to this job and would be disappointed if they never failed.
Well said, and sad but true for the BMW customer!
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Old 07-20-2016, 11:35 AM   #16
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Installed a set of airbags on my Ram 1500, easy install, about 2 hours total. Routed the air lines to rear. You keep from 5-30 psi, depending on load. I have coil springs and these slip inside. With 15 psi the truck does not squat while hooked up and remains level. Air Lift 60818 Air Helper Springs Dodge Ram 1500 2009-2016
liked your idea as well as all the other posts about this simple upgrade...
made an appointment with a local shop to install the Air Lift 1000 (same as yours) this week....just hope they do it well.
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