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Old 04-10-2015, 09:07 PM
MikeyOrange88 MikeyOrange88 is offline
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Rear suspension air bag opinions

Looking to tap the TT knowledge base regarding rear suspension air bags as to whether they help or not. Search did not turn up much.
Situation is an '05 Tahoe 5.3 with rear coil springs and the Nivomat (self-leveling) shocks (Premium Smooth Ride is the GM term). Power, towing, braking, mileage are fine for towing the '88 Tristar w/dual axle trailer. However, once a year we make the trek down to the Keys with my brothers larger, heavier boat loaded down with freezer (full), 6-8 dive tanks, gear, luggage and the three of us, etc. The Tahoe still tends to squat a bit more than I'd like. The nivomat system does try to keep it adjusted to level, but it is just too much weight. I know, we're overloading it, but it's once a year. The boat rides on a single axle trailer, probably would be better on a dual axle. We minimize weight as much as possible by running with boat tank empty, getting all food, drinks, supplies down there. We load much of the gear in the boat, trying to keep it balanced front to rear and minimize the tongue weight.

I'm not familiar with the helper air bags at all. They don't seem to cost too much, but not sure they help much either.
Looking at something like this:
http://www.suspensionconnection.com/4108ct.html

Anyone use them before, or have info on other suspension helpers? Thanks for any opinions or info.
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  #2  
Old 04-10-2015, 09:57 PM
Fullpass Fullpass is offline
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One concern would be for me...if it were me, would be: Tires on Tahoe and boat...What are they rated at..weight can generate heat, blow the tires...off brand tires especially. Just one thing to also consider. Had not used airbags...so can't help you there.
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Old 04-10-2015, 11:37 PM
Ben Ben is offline
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Rear suspension air bag opinions

I had air springs on an 85 f150 and 97 f350.
The 150 used them to pick up the back with 2000 lbs or so. Full disclosure, I mainly wanted the compressor to power and air horn. Bags were a bonus. Definitely helped to pick it back up.


On the 350, I picked up the back when empty to try and soften the ride.

As long as you are not overloading the snot out of the truck, I'd say go for it. If you are well past the rated capacity of axle and brakes, you may want to rethink your annual trip and take two trucks or something.

Last edited by Ben; 04-12-2015 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 04-11-2015, 04:52 AM
Tsumi Tsumi is offline
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They definitely do help with squat, but I agree with the others. Make sure you're not overloading the vehicle.
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Old 04-11-2015, 05:50 AM
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MarkS MarkS is offline
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Pajero with airbags in

I tow a 2008 Xstar. I used to have a 3.2 Pajero and putting in bags made a huge difference. The Pajero has a very soft suspension and pumping the airbags to 1,5 bar made the ride so much better. Now have a Land Rover Discovery with air suspension and can actually not believe how well this system works. I forget that i have a 3 ton boat coming along for the ride.
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Old 04-11-2015, 06:47 AM
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zsqure zsqure is offline
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We used that style airbag to lift the front end of an F150 for plowing snow to eliminate the squat. They worked as expected. Back in 88-89 I used "AirLift" helper air bags on my S-10 blazer to raise the rear end while towing our 21' regal. Had them in there for the 7 years and 135k mi that I had it. Never a problem. go for it.
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Old 04-12-2015, 08:26 PM
MikeyOrange88 MikeyOrange88 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fullpass View Post
One concern would be for me...if it were me, would be: Tires on Tahoe and boat...What are they rated at..weight can generate heat, blow the tires...off brand tires especially. Just one thing to also consider. Had not used airbags...so can't help you there.
Had similar concerns about tires so last year before heading down I put on a set of Michelin LTX M/S2 tires all the way around (the LT265, not just the P rated tire). After a couple of tries, we finally found a set of decent trailer tires, forget what they are exactly.
Thanks.
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Old 04-12-2015, 08:29 PM
MikeyOrange88 MikeyOrange88 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zsqure View Post
We used that style airbag to lift the front end of an F150 for plowing snow to eliminate the squat. They worked as expected. Back in 88-89 I used "AirLift" helper air bags on my S-10 blazer to raise the rear end while towing our 21' regal. Had them in there for the 7 years and 135k mi that I had it. Never a problem. go for it.
The Airlift and Firestone air bags seem to be the most popular. For what they cost, I'll give them a try. Thanks all for the replies.
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Old 04-12-2015, 10:45 PM
Ben Ben is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeyOrange88 View Post
The Airlift and Firestone air bags seem to be the most popular. For what they cost, I'll give them a try. Thanks all for the replies.

Fun. I had Firestone kit. If you add a tank to the system you gotta find a semi truck parts place or junkyard and stick a 2-3 foot airhorn in there somewhere. Inside the front bumper or inside a frame rail. Don't worry, it will be plenty loud.
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Old 04-13-2015, 07:46 PM
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Kweisner Kweisner is offline
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I used a set of Airlifts on my last tow vehicle (Toyota Sienna minivan--no laughing please)--they were fairly cheap, easy to install and really worked great. That said, we now have a proper tow vehicle that also has self-leveling air suspension.


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