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Trucks, Trailers and Hauling for Shows

[Hauling] overloads or airbags?


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  #1  
Old 10-13-2004, 11:44:55 PM
David Greenwalt
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Default [Hauling] overloads or airbags?

Howdy gents. I have put overload springs on my Ford F150. I have been told that overloads can cause damage to factory springs. Is there any truth to this? Has anyone used the airbags like I have seen at the NAPA store? Are you satisfied with them? I like the idea of the airbags because I can then take off the pressure when I don't have the camper on and my engine trailer hooked up, or if I don't have the camper and I am just hauling an engine in the bed I think being able to adjust them at will would be handy. But they are expensive and I would like to find out more about them before I invest in them, the ones at NAPA are 350 dollars, this includes the pump, wiring, and switch to operate the bags from the cab. I think they are a worthy investment IF they do what they say they will. Thanks, David.
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  #2  
Old 10-14-2004, 12:29:10 AM
Franz
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Default Re: overloads or airbags?

Most of the aftermarket airbag systems sold aren't worth the time it takes to put them on. Firestone air bags work & last, I've put enough of them in trucks to know. Firestone makes most of the bags used on 18 wheelers, and also makes them for small trucks. This link will take you to one of many vendors offering them. LINK

You really don't need an onboard compressor, just an air hose or even a bicycle pump where you will be starting from, since there is no need to makeup air in the bags once they are inflated.
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Old 10-14-2004, 02:16:14 AM
Bill Sherlock
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Default Re: [Hauling] overloads or airbags?

David,

The 84 Chevy half ton I have has overload springs. They were on the truck when I bought it from my father-in-law. I believe they were a factory option. Don't see how they would damage your regular springs as they only come into effect when a heavy load would put extra strain on your regular springs. My old Chevy 3/4 ton 4X4 camper special has extra heavy springs and no overloads. Talk about a lumber wagon when it's not loaded. Had a fellow hunter bounce right out of the box in a rough spot while deer hunting. Good thing I was only going couple MPH at the time and the only thing hurt was his pride.

Bill
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Old 10-14-2004, 06:11:38 AM
Randy Hart
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Default Re: [Hauling] overloads or airbags?

David, I worked for Goodyear Air spring for 7 years and we made springs for Air-Lift for light and heavy trucks. In 1997 when I was buying a new truck I asked the front office about a kit for a 97 F-150. They said the frames would not support the side load caused by the bracket and the frame would crack, unlike the Chevy and Dodge frames. At that time you could see the diffrence in thickness.. if that has changed I do not know?

However my brother has a 5,000 lb set on his T-100 Toyota and he loves them! 5 lbs of air when he is empty and you don't know they are there, and 40 lbs will steady 2,300 lbs of ground feed from the mill. Randy Hart Ohio
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Old 10-14-2004, 08:41:45 AM
BOB K. WI
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Default Re: [Hauling] overloads or airbags?

David, I have a pair of J. C. Whitney bags and on board pump installed in my 1996 gmc 3500 diesel. I have a camper that weighs 2600lb in the bed at all times and I drag a trailer with a load that weighs 8500 - 9000 lbs. When pulling this load I pump up to 65 lbs. It rides hard , but I feel that I am in control of the truck, because the rear end isnt sagging ! I have used this set up for the last 3 years and am very satisfied. There is some slight roll tendency because of the camper center of gravity , which I have overcome with extra heavy duty tires (load range "e" ).Economy Bob
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Old 10-14-2004, 10:44:28 AM
David Greenwalt
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Default Re: [Hauling] overloads or airbags?

Interesting point about the frame, I'll check into putting a plate in there to extend along the frame. That point was actually brought up by the guys at The Hitchman when they mounted the hitch on, but they compensated by using wide and long rectangular flat washers when they bolted it on and gave me a written guarantee it wouldn't pull thru the frame. I don't know about the others but Ford uses hydro power to form their frames and is supposed to be stronger because there's no heat stress, but I think that's considering the whole frame tied together, not just one point of the frame. I'm glad I posted, I can see this is not just a buy and bolt situation. My main concern was the overloads, I would feel better if where the overloads caught on the factory springs there were at least two leafs. But these are long and they just catch on one leaf. Seems like an awful lot of stress on that one leaf. Thanks guys, David.
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  #7  
Old 10-14-2004, 12:10:30 PM
Rudy
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Default Re: [Hauling] overloads or airbags?

I would go with the firestone air bags. overload stiffens up the ride too much. i have sold and installed over 150 sets of airbags in the last 6 years. no complaints, except the one guy that did not buy the on board compresser. it's a pain in the a-- looking for air to raise them. the chev and gm trucks 1999 and newer have a problem with the frame cracking one foot ahead of the rear axle. there is a joint there. poor design on gm,s part. on 1999 and older fords gms and dodges you can use the heavy duty double bellow bags. they support 3000 lbs. on the newer trucks the single bags are used. the truck frames are too wimpy too haul anything major unless you spec out a truck with higher GVW. rating. all the manufactors have gone to the japcrap style rolled steel frames. these are somewhat o.k when they are new but with age mud and dirt get inside and they rust out. i have seen this on many toyotas and nissans.
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Old 10-15-2004, 09:59:14 AM
Richard Pietsch
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Default Re: [Hauling] overloads or airbags?

Hi David.

A few years ago I installed a pair of goodyear air bags to my old Ford (1956) pickup. I like old things and have had this old truckrod as my main driver for over 20 years. I have made many modifications to it over the years including new drive train, power stearing, disc brakes and suspension upgrades. About 10 years ago we bought a 22ft 5th wheel trailer. To carry the weight, I added the air bags. Even with the 1,000 lb pin weight, the air bags brought the truck right back up to normal ride height and it rode like a Cadilac. We had a lot of fun watching all the double takes as we drove around with it. We have since sold the trailer, but I still use the bags when hauling heavy loads. I occasionally inspect the frame for any sign of stress, but have not detected any problems so far. I plumbed them to a schrader valve hidden out of sight, and carry one of those little 12v air compressers. It only takes a minute or so to inflate them to where I want them. Hope this gives some input.
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  #9  
Old 10-16-2004, 04:54:56 AM
listerdiesel
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Default Re: [Hauling] overloads or airbags?

I've come into this discussion a little late, but for what it is worth, here goes:

We used Firestone 'Aeon' rubber springs some years back for truck chassis with generators fixed to them. The extra capacity of the hollow rubber springs made just enough difference to give the extra capacity and stop rolling on corners. They may not be available now, but they were very good, and as they fitted in place of the existing bumbp stop, no mods were required to the chassis.

The other thing that we have over here in the UK are air shock absorbers that you can pump up with an air line to give extra capacity when you need it. They go in place of the regular shockers so no mods are required to the chassis or running gear.

Being air spring they are not harsh to ride on. One of our estate cars had this system installed as standard (GM Vauxhall) with the Schrader valve under the carpet in the back.

Helper springs or uprating the existing springs causes the ride to become very harsh if you are not careful, and as you have already heard, some chassis have a problem with side brackets being put on the chassis face.

Peter
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  #10  
Old 10-16-2004, 09:27:06 PM
Kenny Towne
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Default Re: [Hauling] overloads or airbags?

I had a set of Air Lift bags installed on my S-10 before dragging a trailer-load of engines to Kinzer this year. The whole combination grossed out at 50 lbs under the GCWR (10,900 lbs.)for the truck. Although I'm careful to get the load located properly to avoid overloading the tongue, it was really nice to pump a litle air into the bags and level the truck out. Made for a much more controllable vehicle at max-load and a very low-stress trip....at least until some moron decided he absolutely had to be in front of me when entering the interstate. Whew, brakes work, tie downs work, horn works etc.....!

I opted not to install the pump on board because there was no room to mount it and still keep it out of the crap tossed up from the road. No room under the hood for it at all. I ran the fill tube out the back and drilled a hole in the rear bumper adjacent to the plug in for the trailer lights. Everything associated with towing is located in the bumper making hook up a breeze.

Kenny
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