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 > air bag with broken bolts

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EdFil

Sarasota, Fl

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Posted: 02/06/07 05:34pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just noticed today that 4 bolts on my Air Lift bags were broken or missing from the top frame mounts. On the passenger side the bolts were gone from both bottom holes, on the drivers side both bolts were gone from the rear of the frame mounting plates. Part of one bolt was stuck in one hole and was evident that it had broken off. I replaced all 8 bolts with 1 1/2" number 8 bolts washers and locking nuts. The bolts that did not break off seemed to be loose. These bolts did not just fall off. My question is why should these bolts break? Could it be they were not tightened properly? Too tight or too loose. Is this a common problem? I run 70 lbs of with my 1191 and have been happy with the ride. Ed


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msiminoff

Silicon Valley, CA

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Posted: 02/06/07 05:53pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi Fran & Ed,
I suspect that they were never tight enough and they failed after loosening. Were the original fasteners provided by Ride Rite Grade-8's ? I would recommend that you use Grade-5 fasteners instead of Grade-8. Despite the reduction in tensile strength (120,000psi vs 150,000psi), the Grade-5 is less likely to fail in a high shock-load environment. Make sure that you are torquing to the rated value and don't use any split washers (they don't work). I'd be happy to pass along the torque value if you tell me what the diameters of the screws are. (I'm a ME)
Cheers
-Mark


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CumminsDriver

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Posted: 02/06/07 05:56pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Are the holes oblonged or out of round? Maybe they weren't tightened properly when the bags were installed. I've never had this problem and I've had 3 trucks with air bags.
Rich


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sleepy

Oak Ridge,Tennessee

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Posted: 02/06/07 06:20pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

msiminoff wrote:

Hi Fran & Ed,
I suspect that they were never tight enough and they failed after loosening. Were the original fasteners provided by Ride Rite Grade-8's ? I would recommend that you use Grade-5 fasteners instead of Grade-8. Despite the reduction in tensile strength (120,000psi vs 150,000psi), the Grade-5 is less likely to fail in a high shock-load environment. Make sure that you are torquing to the rated value and don't use any split washers (they don't work). I'd be happy to pass along the torque value if you tell me what the diameters of the screws are. (I'm a ME)
Cheers
-Mark


Good point Mark,

I've sat through a number of Counterfit Bolt classes... but I don't remember any of it now. Are there still some in use in industry? If the bolts have any markings on top and he sent pictures of them to you, could you as a mechanical engineer identify them?

Thanks,


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j37642

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Posted: 02/06/07 06:22pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have had problems with my Air Lift bags also but not with broken bolts. I have not checked that lately so I need to take a look at that too. We just got back from a a 1900 mile trip with no problems on this trip with the bags (thank goodness). If I had it to do over, I would have installed Ride Rite.


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EdFil

Sarasota, Fl

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Posted: 02/06/07 06:24pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Mark, I replaced with 3/8 bolts as were the originals. It was a two man job we tightend them down good. No split washers all were grade 8 bolts , nuts, washers. The holes were not oblonged but the bolts were not very tight, rusted and had no marking.The broken bolt that remained was bent and broken so I think it was a sloppy install job less than a year ago. I only drove 6,000 miles this past Summer. I hope these new bolts will hold will keep an eye on them. I bought 8 spare ones as recomended in a post about Alaska since we plan to head that way in 2008.
Thanks for your replies.
Ed

BradW

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Posted: 02/06/07 06:25pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ed,

That's very common for those grade 5 bolts to break. Usually its one or both of the bottom bolts on the upper frame brackets. We broke our first air bag bolts driving frost heaves in Yellowstone about 10 years ago.

My suggestion would be to replace all 8 of the grade 5 bolts with grade 8. As you said, also use grade 8 lock washer, flat washers and nuts. You can also use two nuts on each bolt if you are concerned about them backing off.

I broke 3 or 4 grade 5 bolts on the air bags on our old trucks. I never broke a grade 8, but I carried a few spares any way.

Good Luck,
Brad


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vanbikehorse

Green Lane, PA

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Posted: 02/06/07 06:41pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

At the risk of my own Air Bag bolts breaking, I would say (strickly based on my readings on this forum - although I now find that due to my 2003 membership that I am an Old Timer and therefore the readings might be more extensive than others....) Anyhow, these Air Bag bolts breaking seem to be a Ford thing; not necessarily a grade of bolt thing (although a better grade of bolt might be the fix). I'm thinking that there must be something about mounting angle, shear forces, etc. that stress out the bolts on the Ford air bags more than other models. A more observant person might narrow it down to a certain set of years (e.g. the current frame and its past brothers that have the same design) and a certain air bag manufacturer (e.g. Air Lift).


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EdFil

Sarasota, Fl

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Posted: 02/06/07 06:43pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Right Brad I got some spares just in case. I also have to find an enlinement tool. I must have driven some time with the broken bolts and the bracket got bent about the width of half a hole. It was a bear getting the new bolts in. Just something else to think about. Thanks Ed

BradW

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Posted: 02/06/07 06:49pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

vanbikehorse wrote:

.........Air Bag bolts breaking seem to be a Ford thing........

Could be. I broke bolts on both our 1996 F-250 and our 2001 F-350. Both times they were Air Lift brand airbags. Both times I remember breaking bolts was on long trips out west and we were probably 2,000 lbs over the GVWR.

Brad

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