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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > TC / airbag suspension

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RandyAmy

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Posted: 03/22/19 12:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Airbags or no airbags?
Have you driven a truck with a camper that had airbag suspension and or no airbag suspension. What is your experience?

We have a 2016 RAM 3500 Cummins dually crew cab 8' bed and we're buying our first truck camper this year. Unfortunately it doesn't have an airbag suspension.
What some are telling me is our truck will be fine and it can handle the weight no problem, yet others agree but state when it comes to wind the airbags help a lot to keep the truck stable or feel less rocking or sway.

Your thoughts?

sbryan@vtbryans.com

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Posted: 03/22/19 02:27pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have an F350 with a Northstar Igloo, 3600-3800 pounds wet. I have upper stable loads and Sumo Springs. I purposely chose not to go with airbags. No issues at all with wind or sway and we have been on some pretty wild roads in Alaska and in a lot of wind going across the USA. My preference is to eliminate as many points of failure as possible and since airbags require pumps, hoses and fittings I chose to avoid any potential issue with those items on my rig. Others will surely chime in with experience with air bags who have never had an issue and swear by them. I'd say it is a decision you will have to make accounting for where you want to go, what your risk tolerance is and how well your truck handles whatever camper you want to load on it. You will get an equal number of "I love air bags" and "I don't use them".


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jimh425

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Posted: 03/22/19 03:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Airbags adjusted correctly (not too much pressure) can improve the ride. Too much pressure will make the ride worse. I believe the key is to keep the overloads engaged. Air bags also give you a way to adjust the ride height if you are towing a trailer, or if one side of the TC/truck is heavier than the other. Do make sure that they are plumbed separately or you won’t be able to balance driver and passenger sides.


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GeoBoy

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Posted: 03/22/19 03:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Don’t forget Timbrens, very stable ride with them.

Grit dog

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Posted: 03/22/19 03:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Question too vague, weight of camper determines what is needed for suspension mods.


"Yes Sir, Oct 10 1888, Those poor school children froze to death in their tracks. They did not even find them until Spring. Especially hard hit were the ones who had to trek uphill to school both ways, with no shoes." -Bert A.

KD4UPL

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Posted: 03/22/19 07:21pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Try the truck and camper without airbags first. A small to moderate sized camper on that truck and you probably won't need them.
If you are going for a big 11' multi-slide unit you will probably need something to keep the suspension from sagging too much. Airbags are an option. I've had them on 3 different trucks and in my experience they can be a pain. It seemed I was constantly chasing down air leaks or trying to find the right pressure. When they worked they worked well but I would much prefer a stronger spring on the truck than air bags at this point.

Kayteg1

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Posted: 03/22/19 08:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I had airbags even on F450 flatbed, where C&C had beefed up suspension.
Having 30 psi of pressure in bags while driving empty, made the road joints less painful to my dentures.
Than 2017 F350 has such strong suspension, that for 5500lb camper I had to do nothing.
I add hockey pucks to upper overloads just to be on safe side.
Still have to shim front wheels for level parking.





burningman

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Posted: 03/22/19 11:18pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The problem with using stiffer springs instead of airbags is the ride when unloaded is horrible.
If you’re always chasing air leaks with airbags, someone did a poor installation.
Almost all semi trucks ride on airbag suspension. The reliability is definitely there.

If I were going to have a truck that had the camper on it all the time, then I’d do the springs.


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HadEnough

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Posted: 03/23/19 06:22am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

burningman wrote:

The problem with using stiffer springs instead of airbags is the ride when unloaded is horrible.
If you’re always chasing air leaks with airbags, someone did a poor installation.
Almost all semi trucks ride on airbag suspension. The reliability is definitely there.

If I were going to have a truck that had the camper on it all the time, then I’d do the springs.


I'd agree about the reliability of air bags.

The only times I had issues with my airbags are when idiots at repair facilities severed the air lines.

Otherwise, absolutely no problems and they stay pressurized for a year without losing any air.

Kayteg1

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Posted: 03/23/19 08:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Common problem with air system is that they use "Shark bite" fitting.
When removed, the tubing ends have "teeth marks" and that makes for leaks.
I was always installing the tubings with big slack and when I had to disassemble it for some reason, I cut the ends off for reassemble.
Keeping it clean is crucial.

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