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Old 01-25-2005, 07:45 AM   #1
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Hi all,
Has anyone installed air bag suspension on their W20 or W22?
I have installed new Monroes, Davis TruTrac and am thinking about the Safe-T-Plus for my next addition to make this thing ride like I think it ought to.
I feel like this big thing should pretty much glide down the road and not jitter at every little rough spot in the pavement. I guess I think it ought to ride like a Grayhound, but it doesn't!
I've had it weighed and I'm a few hundred pounds under. I've tried different tire pressures. While the Monroes and the Davis TruTrac helped quite a bit, I still feel there is a way to make this thing ride like a Grayhound.
I know we all are looking for the "Lincoln Continental" ride or we wouldn't spend all this $ on chassis improvements. I think the WH chassis should give a better, more DP like ride. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Megawatt
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Old 01-25-2005, 07:45 AM   #2
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Hi all,
Has anyone installed air bag suspension on their W20 or W22?
I have installed new Monroes, Davis TruTrac and am thinking about the Safe-T-Plus for my next addition to make this thing ride like I think it ought to.
I feel like this big thing should pretty much glide down the road and not jitter at every little rough spot in the pavement. I guess I think it ought to ride like a Grayhound, but it doesn't!
I've had it weighed and I'm a few hundred pounds under. I've tried different tire pressures. While the Monroes and the Davis TruTrac helped quite a bit, I still feel there is a way to make this thing ride like a Grayhound.
I know we all are looking for the "Lincoln Continental" ride or we wouldn't spend all this $ on chassis improvements. I think the WH chassis should give a better, more DP like ride. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Megawatt
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Old 01-25-2005, 08:47 AM   #3
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In most situations, a longer wheelbase provides a smoother ride. Not what you wanted to hear, I'm sure...
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Old 01-25-2005, 10:41 AM   #4
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If you are thinking of replaceing the leaf spring suspension with true air-ride I'd forget about it. DPs are built more like a greyhound Bus, gassers are built more like a UPS truck. It's pretty tough to make one into the other.

Our 2003 Suncruiser 33V was on a W20 chassis. It didn't ride too bad for what it was. Because gassers use leaf springs you get less control than an air bag suspension. But, the leaf springs are also used for lateral control and ffront to rear location of the axle as well as being the spring itself. If you replaced them with air bags you'd need a bunch of control arms to locate the axle both laterally and longitudinally. You'd also need a seriously reliable air compressor, some automatic height sensing control valves to control the height, an air dump system, air dryers or other moisture control devices, etc. It's way to big of an engineering job to do as a retrofit. The best you can do is optimize what you have, uses a rear trac bar like the Henderson Super Steer, get the shocks that are best tuned for it, etc. Naturally, a shorter coach will not ride like a longer one either. Last time I checked there were no 32' Greyhound Busses.
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Old 01-25-2005, 10:55 AM   #5
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I placed Air-Lift airbags on a Ford V-10 not for an improved ride, but to support the Newmar MOUNTAIN-AIR on the Ford chassis. The pass.side rear duals were rubbing the top of the wheel well, when it rocked. I placed them over all four wheels.

The support was there, but the ride like you are looking for, probably will not be, what you are looking for. If your coach is unbalanced the air-bags could level it for you. The cost for this add with everything on sale from CW. would run you about $900 installed yourself. Thats compresser, air valves, kit for front bags, extra wiring, two control units an tubing. You would need space to install comp.,valves, one control unit, I put control unit for rear bags under the dash, because your holding tanks will shift your weight around and the one for front bags on a panel with with comp. an four air-valves in a spare compartment.

This all worked well for the purpose that was intended, the ride was better than adding leaf springs on all four corners like I did for a previous coach I had, but not for the ride I think you would be looking for on the Workhorse. The pressure of the bags has to be at lease 50#'s, so the bags don't bottom out, an can be increased to 100#'s max. I believe the air-bags in front would effect the WH suspension setup in front. Bags in rear may give you a different ride? I would stick with what you have, you may not like the ride you have now, after the conversion. Save your money for the DP some day. Or put the money into a rear track bar that DriVer has posted.---"007"
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Old 01-25-2005, 05:12 PM   #6
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I believe that there is one OEM that uses air bags under a Workhorse W-Series and I think it's Rexhall. This was totally a requirement on the part of the body builder. I'm not sure how it all works out but surely you will read posts here from other owners that will tell you that air bags are not a viable solution for typical W-Series chassis.

Air bags add nothing to improve chassis dynamics. On gas powered motorhomes, air bags simply are used to level the motorhome, and that's it.

I commend you on proactively improving the ride of your motorhome but air bags won't do anything for you. One device that has proved itself in my eyes was a rear mounted track bar. You can either pursue this solution or try a set of Bilstein shock absorbers on all 4 corners.

Short of buying an RDP, a gas powered motorhome will give you a lot of performance for the dollar but it certainly will not live up to your perceptions of riding on air like a "Greyhound".

On the other hand your 32 foot 8.1L/Allison powered motorhome can probably take any on most RDP powered motothomes and beat it in a quarter mile.
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Old 01-26-2005, 07:41 AM   #7
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My TripleE Commander (35 feet) came with rear air bags (Firestone) and I have since added a air compressor and dash controller. I like it as I can change the air pressure depending on if I am towing a toad, driving over gravel roads etc. I found that by adding or removing as little as 5 lbs can make the drive more comfortable.
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Old 01-26-2005, 08:53 AM   #8
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Thanks all! I guess I'm shooting for something I can't have with a 32' WH. I was asking about the effects that add-on air bags would have on my chassis. If leveling is the only plus, then I don't need them. I thought they might "cush" up the overall ride. I have added new Monroe Gas Magnums all around and have installed the Davis TruTrac on the front for side to side stability. The shocks made a good difference, but the TruTrac really helped with the wander. I can actually drive with only one hand on the wheel down the interstate.

It seems that on a rough piece of highway there is still a large amount of "road" transmitted to the steering wheel and the coach in general. I thought that the big heavy shocks would have lessened more of that than they did. I have noticed that some of the higher end MHs have more than just the one shock at each corner. Has anyone seen a retrofit for the WH chassis with multi shocks? Do you guys think that would gentle up the ride any? It bothers me that something that weighs almost 20,000 lbs. can be subject to so much of the road conditions. On a nice, fairly new stretch of highway the chassis is very comfortable and quiet.

Onward in my qwest for that "Grayhound in the sky"
Thanks again,
Magawatt
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Old 01-26-2005, 10:04 AM   #9
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JCM:

What model of Commander do you have and what do you generally keep your rear air bags at? I have the 3611 FB and keep mine around 70 psi, but I don't know if this ideal or not. My rear axle weight is about 13,900 loaded with a limit of 14,500.

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Old 01-26-2005, 05:54 PM   #10
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My new Rexhall Rexair 33 foot gas rig has the Firestone airbags on the rear axle. The dealer's shop super that handles about 10 makes of Coaches advised me to keep 90 pounds of air in the airbags at all times as it stops the sway from passing trucks, busses and sidewinds etc.
I did that and yes it does.
My last motorhome had coil springs and airbags. It was a 35 foot freightliner chassis. it had a better overall ride then this rexhall. It also had on each side a long verticle cylinder attached to the axel and the coach to eliminate sway and that worked really well.
But....it didn't have any slides and now I have two big ones
Bill
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Old 01-27-2005, 06:07 PM   #11
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I thought that the big heavy shocks would have lessened more of that than they did. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Megawatt,
Bigger, heavier shocks are more likely to make the ride harsher than softer. Shocks are there solely to keep the spring suspension from rebounding to quickly, i.e. bouncing you down the ride like a runaway rubber ball.

There is a company that claims to be able to improve rough riding vehicles. They advertise in a couple RV magazines, mostly targetted at people with rough riding trucks. However, they also have kits for Ford and Workhorse motorhome chassis. The company is Kelderman Mfg and the motorhome information is here: Kelderman Air
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Old 02-01-2005, 05:04 AM   #12
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Megawatt:
Has anyone installed air bag suspension on their W20 or W22? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Megawatt, Funny you should ask.

Read: <span class="ev_code_RED">Stabil-Air</span>
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Old 02-01-2005, 06:13 PM   #13
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to 727driver
I have a 35 foot Commander - 2003.
I use between 70-90 pounds. I adjust the amount as I am driving to get the best ride. It will vary depending on the road surface and my load. If fully loaded with a toad, water, (wife),etc. I will go for up to 90. Lighty loaded 70 lbs. If the road has a high crown- I somtimes boost the right bag or decrease the left (5-10lbs) and the coach runs truer down the road.
Hope that helps.
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Old 02-02-2005, 03:56 AM   #14
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by JCM:
.... the right bag or decrease the left (5-10 lbs) and the coach runs truer down the road.
Hope that helps. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>That's the strong suit of the air bag system aside from the increased ride comfort. Air bags can do a great job leveling the motorhome.

If you had an "Aweigh-We-Go" scale ticket you could further fine tune your suspension using an air bag inflation chart.

Carrying this to the next technology level a computer program could run the entire process automatically through sensors and also recommend tire inflation pressures.

The RV Industry is getting better everyday.
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