Air bag helpers

Air bag helpers

Postby andymnelson [OP] » November 23rd 2010, 4:20pm

Alrighty, I have spent a couple of days searching the forum, and reading as much as I can!

I need to add air bag helpers to the rear of my 2001 AWD. I do not have an interest in the Timbrens, I want adjustability.

I think that I have narrowed it down to Air Lift or Firestone bags.
http://www.sdtrucksprings.com/index.php ... ts_id=6369
http://www.sdtrucksprings.com/index.php ... ts_id=4415
The $55 difference is somewhat inconsequential if the more expensive one is better. $55 will not make my decision here!

My questions:

1) If you have installed one of these systems, which one did you choose and why? Good decision or bad?
2) Knowing what I am looking for, should I be considering any others?
3) Any other constructive input from those that have been there?

Thanks in advance!

PS: it appears that a good write up has yet to be done for install of these- I will take lots of pics as I install and do a write up, because I believe that reading and seeing something like that would have helped me in my decision process!
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Re: Air bag helpers

Postby andymnelson [OP] » November 24th 2010, 3:58pm

No one?

This is kind of what I suspected to find...in my search it seemed that many asked about them, none actually installed them!

Fine, make me your guinea pig! :p

Seriously tho, no one has air bags installed? I had the Firestone bags on my S10, and they were GREAT- actually allowed me to be able to haul stuff. That's what I want from my Astro.
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Re: Air bag helpers

Postby TimRogers » November 29th 2010, 4:53am

I did the Air Lift kit on my Astro since it was mentioned on another forum and Rock Auto Parts.com carries them.
Took about 4 hours to install; make sure you've sharpened your drill bits...
The Astro tows the racecar much better now.
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Re: Air bag helpers

Postby andymnelson [OP] » November 29th 2010, 4:59pm

Ah yes. That is the 1 reason the Firestone seems most attractive- NO DRILLING!

How long have you had the Air Ride? Everything working good for you still?
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Re: Air bag helpers

Postby GaryZ » November 29th 2010, 5:19pm

A few years ago I installed air springs on my lowered C1500 (4" drop) and love them. The ride is superb.
10-4 on needing sharp drill bits. The frame was tough to drill.
Other than that the kit was easy to install.

My observations:
The kit came with separate hoses and air valves.
The stiffness of the rear frame means that trying left/right balance the air springs is not possible.
I plan on putting a "T" on my set-up and the single air valve mounted behind the fuel door.
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Re: Air bag helpers

Postby andymnelson [OP] » December 7th 2010, 8:52pm

Well I ordered the Firestone No Drill bags and a dual control/gauge setup. Anxious to get her installed!
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Re: Air bag helpers

Postby andymnelson [OP] » December 9th 2010, 5:59pm

lol, step 3 in the instructions for the "no-drill" bags:
"predrill three 5/16" holes in the frame"...on each side. So much for no drill! :p
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Re: Air bag helpers

Postby sheinz » December 12th 2010, 1:52am

Just joined the forum and found your post about air lifts. I'd like to do the same thing with my 1998 in adding the air lift system. Looks like I have to based on model year go with the "Ride Control" Air Helper Springs for the $205. Which did you end up with? The more expensive one is rated at 5000 lbs as opposed to 2000 lbs on the Ride Control.

Whats your reason in getting them? Leveling carrying weight, towing, sagging leaf springs, etc?

Curious to see where you mount the controller.

Post some pics when you can! I want to order right away based on your experience with them.
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Re: Air bag helpers

Postby andymnelson [OP] » December 14th 2010, 4:39pm

I bought the FIrestones based on:

Sellers recommendation
5,000 lb rating
"no-drill" installation

I'm not sure on the controller yet- It would be nice to have it in the cab, I'm thinking in the pocket where the CD player would be...but I really don't like the idea of running all that tubing. I'm contemplating somewhere in the rear. I'll mount the compressor behind the left side interior panel.

I bought them because I need to haul an enclosed trailer for work, and the rear suspension just doesn't do well with it.

It'll be a bit before install...it's -3 degrees here now and we've got 16" of fresh snow! Need to wait for warmer weather to install.
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Re: Air bag helpers

Postby meetthespeakers » December 15th 2010, 3:22pm

I will be curious how the install goes, I will be ordering it within the next few months. I am in the same situation, it was 19 out last night when I put my winter wheels on. Not sure if any of the standard kits would work with me, thats why I was looking into the rear tow kit that was made for 2-4" lowered vans. I have drop leafs and I bottom out fairly easy. I too have searched for install pics, etc and have also came up with really nothing.
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Re: Air bag helpers

Postby andymnelson [OP] » February 12th 2011, 5:54pm

Well I got started on this the other day. The controls are mounted, as is the compressor. The air lines are run to the exterior. I hope to install the bags Monday, ad be done with the project!

I'm not really going to do too much of a write up on this part, since you basically just follow the directions for install, and all I have done so far is install the compressor and control unit, not the air bags. This might be good for someone who wants to see where they can mount stuff. Here are some pics for you.
Left rear corner. I mounted the compressor here, between the A/C unit and the wheel well. TONS of room there.
Image
Moving forward. This shot shows some of the cable and tubing routing. There is a TON of room behind the interior panels!
Image
Forward again. This shot shows where I went through the floorboards with the tubing.
Image
This shot just shows the cable and tubing routing a bit ore forward, around the rear heat unit.
Image
Here is an overall shot of the rear stuff.
Image
The control unit. I bought the dual control/guage, so I can set the left and right independently if I need to.
Image
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Re: Air bag helpers

Postby andymnelson [OP] » February 17th 2011, 12:20am

The airbag install was pretty easy. The best thing I can say is this: follow the directions. They lay things out pretty well. See the here:
http://www.firestoneindustrial.com/pdfs ... n/2361.pdf

The directions say "The lower bracket will fit without altering the brake lines" Um....no it won't. No way, no how! It wasn't bad, but I did need to bend them out of the way. It seems as tho they put that line in the directions because they knew you would have to do it.

Also, you will need to drill 3 holes on each side- through the reinforced part of the frame. I managed to get all 6 holes drilled with 1 good quality drill bit. Be prepared so you don't end up with crappy dull bits! The holes are 5/16".

The bags work well, and solve my trailer towing issues.

Here is a brief overview:
First remove the factory bumpstop.
Then align bracket:
Image
Drill 3 holes:
Image
Install 3 self tapping bolt into those holes.
Then align the lower bracket on top of the axle (with the bag bolted to it). The tab in the lower right that you see gets bolted through to the tab that the bumpstop bolted to:
Image
Use the supplied hardware to attache the lower braket:
Image
Here is how it looks (before the airline was connected!
Image
Before (I have some other left rear suspension issues that cause the sag...):
Image
After:
Image
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Re: Air bag helpers

Postby meetthespeakers » February 17th 2011, 4:34pm

Looks good man. I will be ordering up the lowered kit soon. I am thinking of adding onboard air and running air horns as well off of it. Maybe in April I will finally get that going.
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Compressor questions

Postby jrsride2002 » August 28th 2011, 3:45pm

Question for ya... Why not mount the compressor under the van? I would think those little compressors make a TON of noise.

Also, how hot dose that compressor get? With the amp, wires, and compressor there, I would think it would get rather toasty in that compartment with the panel back on.

meetthespeakers wrote:Looks good man. I will be ordering up the lowered kit soon. I am thinking of adding onboard air and running air horns as well off of it. Maybe in April I will finally get that going.

Also, would that compressor be good enough for an air tank to power a nice set of air horns, mentioned by MTS??

I blew out my leaf springs with my dirtbike on my joe hauler :dunce: , so now i have to order and replace the springs, and want to add this system for future hauling and trailer towing too.

Thanks!
~Junior
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Re: Air bag helpers

Postby andymnelson [OP] » August 29th 2011, 6:18am

Question for ya... Why not mount the compressor under the van?


I would answer that with another question: why would you? Its fairly quite, only runs on rare occasions, and would be exposed tto the elements outside (a particular concern in Mn).

I would think those little compressors make a TON of noise.


Then you would think wrong :)

Also, how hot dose that compressor get? With the amp, wires, and compressor there, I would think it would get rather toasty in that compartment with the panel back on.


The compressor runs so rarely, its a non issue. Remember,the compressor only runs when you want tovincrease the airbag pressure. The rest of the time it sits idle. Modern amps don't put out enough heat to be concerned with either. Plus its like a cave back there...hardly a tight space.


Also, would that compressor be good enough for an air tank to power a nice set of air horns, mentioned by MTS??


I don't know why not, its all just compressed air... I would suggest adding a pressure switch between the compressor and tank to trigger the compressor to turn on at the needed pressure.
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Re: Air bag helpers

Postby jrsride2002 » September 17th 2011, 12:25am

Hey Andy,

Thanks for hitting me up with all that info! :D

Just put my new leafs in this morning before work... Im kind of questioning the springs but we shall see... The new ones are WAY smaller in bowing then the old ones and there is one more leaf then the old... Drove it to work and seems OK, but im still looking up the stock ride height to make sure this is what i want.

Looking to instll the bags to night after work. Perfect timing to, just found out this morning that my bump stops are useless now!!! All torn up and in pieces!! :o

I will have to fill the bags manually for now, untill i can afford the compressor and stuff.

Again, thanks for the insite!!
~Junior

P.S. The photo with your van sagged out, is how i have been driving for the past 4 months!! So it will be good to get this issue past me!
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Re: Air bag helpers

Postby jrsride2002 » September 17th 2011, 5:52am

Well, broke my bits[insert joke here]... Buys some new ones in the morning and get back to it.

Man I got COVERED with filth!! Im going to be scrubbin my goatee for a week straight!!

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Re: Air bag helpers

Postby Lumpy » September 17th 2011, 7:36am

jrsride2002 wrote:
Just put my new leafs in this morning before work...



Oooo! Oooo! Details please...

New springs -
Stock? Raised/lowered?
What kind/brand/color/flavor?
How was the job putting them in?

PICS PLEASE?

I'm kwazy about spwings!.. :banana:


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Re: Air bag helpers

Postby andymnelson [OP] » September 17th 2011, 2:27pm

Glad the info could help, that's the only reason I posted it!

I thought for sure I burn through a bunch of bits, so I bought like 6 of the Milwaukee "good" bits from Home Depot. Wound up burning up only 1. Heh, I forgot to return the other 5....

Good luck, it's pretty straight forward from here, but post up if you have any issues I might be able to help with- I get an email notification on my phone when you do, so I'll know to look and see if i can offer help.

Ultimately, my air bags are masking a problem with a saggy left rear leaf spring. I too need to do some spring replacement...
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Re: Air bag helpers

Postby jrsride2002 » February 9th 2012, 7:35am

Lumpy wrote:Oooo! Oooo! Details please...

New springs -
Stock? Raised/lowered?
What kind/brand/color/flavor?
How was the job putting them in?

PICS PLEASE?

I'm kwazy about spwings!.. :banana:
Lumpy


Dude, Lumpy i am so sorry I did not see your post sooner, but i crashed my dirt bike and have been layed up since October. If you haven't already done the swap here is some pictures I took.


Image

Image

Image

Image

Again guys, sorry for the late response!
~Junior
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Firing on 6 Cylinders (L1)
Firing on 6 Cylinders (L1)
Years of Membership: jrsride2002 has been a member for 11 full yearsjrsride2002 has been a member for 11 full yearsjrsride2002 has been a member for 11 full yearsjrsride2002 has been a member for 11 full yearsjrsride2002 has been a member for 11 full yearsjrsride2002 has been a member for 11 full yearsjrsride2002 has been a member for 11 full yearsjrsride2002 has been a member for 11 full yearsjrsride2002 has been a member for 11 full yearsjrsride2002 has been a member for 11 full yearsjrsride2002 has been a member for 11 full years
Posts: 658
Topics: 37
Images: 21
Joined: September 2009
Gender: Male
Alias (AKA): Junior
Van Model Year: 2001
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: LS V6 RWD

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