Truck Air Bags For Towing – Pneumatic suspension, commonly called air suspension, has been around since its first patented design in the early 1900s. There are many questions about its existence and how it relates to towing. We will only be able to scratch the surface of the subject, but hopefully this will provide insight into the benefits of a properly designed airbag and air supply system.
First of all, it’s important to determine your vehicle’s towing and towing capabilities, which vary depending on the exact work truck you’re driving. On the inside of the driver’s side door, there is a sticker that identifies the VIN and the vehicle’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), which is the maximum weight your truck can safely carry. This rating, along with your truck’s towing capacity, is determined by many factors, including engine size, gear ratio, wheel and tire package, cab and bed configuration, transmission and axles, for example. It’s important to note that most manufacturers usually advertise the highest towing capacity for a given vehicle, which is generally a specific working configuration that is not common to the average consumer, whose truck is rated for a considerably smaller towing capacity. Always check that your load is within the manufacturer’s specifications for your vehicle.
Truck Air Bags For Towing
The original suspension design of your truck allows for safe hauling, towing and handling characteristics. When fully loaded, however, the weight can be shifted rearward, aiming the headlights skyward, lowering the bottom of the rear suspension and making the steering lighter and braking more unpredictable. Adding an airbag or air assist spring to the system can make a night and day difference in the towing experience, alleviating the aforementioned towing hassles while adding support for the load. The result is better overall control of the vehicle. There are many systems available that add an auxiliary air spring to your existing suspension or completely replace your truck’s stock (full air ride) suspension platform. The middle system places an airbag and corresponding brackets above the rear axle or leaf spring. Versions are also available for coil spring settings that help stabilize through the inside diameter of the spring.
Amazon.com: True Suspension Compatible With Ford F250 F350 Super Duty 05 10 Pickup Truck Towing Assist Helper Air Ride Suspension Kit Complete With In Cab Air Management Control System 4wd
Once inflated, the assist bag assembly allows you to add air to the system to level the vehicle and add much-needed stability, firmly placing all four tires evenly on the ground. This makes a huge difference—even when you’re well within your vehicle’s towing rating capabilities. These systems can also help offset the negative effects of sagging springs or worn shocks that lead to poor towing performance. An added bonus is the ability to adjust the height of your trailer when attaching a trailer. Companies like Air Lift and Ride-Rite offer many additional air spring systems capable of increasing the stability, safety and convenience of your towing experience.
Can adding an airbag to your existing suspension allow you to carry increased payloads or tow heavier trailers? The simple answer is, no! It is important to remember that adding any airbag system does not allow for higher payloads or towing capacity on your current vehicle. You must consider that other systems in your truck—including braking and cooling—are rated for a specific rated capacity by the manufacturer. Exceeding these ratings is unsafe and can be a very costly mistake, even with the addition of an airbag arrangement that can theoretically carry extra weight.
Since an air spring works like an inflating (and deflating) balloon and requires high air pressure to function effectively, you need the ability to inflate. Generally, more air (higher pressure) lowers and smooths the travel of a loaded rig, and less air (lower pressure) returns an empty rig to a factory feel. Onboard air systems are the answer to air pressure regulation and come in many different variations based on system duty cycle. At the lightweight end, simple inflation valves can be installed in lines connected to the airbags. These fill exactly the same as a tire and work well for extended periods when static, unregulated air pressure is sufficient. They can be hydraulically operated together or with individual valves. The advantage of individual valves is the ability to level a vehicle from side to side to compensate for uneven loads. The next step is to add electric or mechanical air valves, a compressor and an air tank to allow pressure to be adjusted on the fly via switches in the cab. There are many options for a setup like this, including a 12-valve air compressor, a CO2 system, or a motor-driven compressor. With a little creativity, compressors and air tanks can be placed so that bed space is not compromised. A desirable side effect of having air on board for your suspension is the ability to inflate tires and ride air tools if the system is robust enough.
If we looked at the suspension and air system design of a big rig, we would find a multi-link arrangement with airbags fed by a very efficient engine compressor, reservoir and gear driven engine valve. The system is pressure-regulated and maintains a preset ride height determined by a frame-mounted valve. This valve is actuated by a lever arm attached to the rear end. if the vehicle is loaded and the rear end is squat, the valve opens and adds more air to the airbags until the load returns to normal ride height. This arrangement allows for a light and tolerable ride when unloaded and an equally capable vehicle when fully loaded. Many aftermarket systems are available from companies like AccuAir to mimic the big rig design using a controller and electric valves that can be manually operated to raise or lower a vehicle to the desired height.
Ford F250/350 4×4 Long Travel Air Bag System
So how long do these airbags last? When properly installed and maintained, they will last as long as any other rubber product on your vehicle. Since the air spring is flexible and can be damaged by rubbing or wear, it is very important to keep enough space between the bag and any arms throughout the travel range. Any contact the airbag makes will significantly reduce its lifespan. It’s also important to keep the airbags inflated enough to keep their shape even when you’re not towing. Excessive wear can occur if the bag is under or over inflated. Keeping the air in the bags also allows the vehicle to be placed on a lift for short periods of time for servicing. If the vehicle needs to be raised for a while, it is best to unscrew the airbags if they are the limiting part of the suspension. A final note on airbags is to know their maximum pressure values to avoid premature failure.
Airbag setups, both OEM and aftermarket, have come a long way in design and operation. With truck manufacturers jumping on the pneumatic bandwagon, it’s clear we’ll be towing clouds of compressed air in the not-too-distant future.
1. Factory air ride? You bet! An optional rear air suspension system was introduced on ’14 Ram heavy-duty trucks. In the 2500, an airbag replaced the coil spring, just like the Ram 1500. Cargo capacity is not sacrificed and, in fact, the ride and handling become even better. The air suspension is also capable of load leveling, where the payload or load on the rear suspension from a trailer is automatically detected and calculated. The 3500, while still featuring the Hotchkiss rear leaf spring system, received a supplemental air suspension system in both single and dual rear wheel applications. With the addition of airbags, the leaf springs were softened, allowing more suspension movement without load.
2. Kelderman offers a different approach to the air spring assist game with their two-stage kits that replace the rear hook hanger assembly. In its place, a new assembly housing an air spring makes the connection to the leaf spring link. This design allows the initial hardness of the bumps to be absorbed by the bags before being transferred to the leaf springs. The result is a very smooth ride when unloaded and a fully capable regular heavy-duty vehicle when fully loaded. This allows for easier day-to-day use of the rear suspension of a normally unwieldy large truck. Kelderman also offers hitch-type systems that completely replace the stock suspension components for an even smoother ride.
Carli 2013 2018 Long Travel Air Bag System
3. Some custom vehicles want the stand up front, back down for an evening cruise. this is not one of those vehicles. This setup benefited from the leveling capabilities of an auxiliary airbag setup. Whether you’re towing for fun or for weekend work, it’s very important to get it right. Doing it improperly can not only put yourself at risk, but it can also put other travelers at risk. Unfortunately, it is all too common to see trucks being towed improperly. I hope this article reaches out to those who don’t know better and can apply what they learned here to their everyday towing responsibilities.
First of all, it is important to determine what the towing and towing capabilities of your truck are. This will vary depending on configuration, but is conveniently located on the driver’s door. The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is the maximum amount
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