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Old 12-01-2009, 04:24 PM   #1
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Air Ride Available?

I made a mistake a few months ago and drove a DP with air ride for a little over 100 miles for a friend of mind and really loved the air suspension. Now, I would like to do something to my coach if at all possible to duplicate the ride. I have weighted and adjusted all 4 corners and it rides decent, but not like an air suspension.

What air system would you add to the F-53 coach to get the maximum ride and longevity? I like my coach and donít want to get another as it has everything I need to travel and camp. I donít need to level the coach or help with the weight structure system, just a smooth air ride. Just donít see why I need to spend big money on buying another coach and fixing it up like I want. I heard of Kelderman, Mor-Ryde, and so forth. What are your ideas? Do they really work or they just trying to sell goods that will aid the suspension but not act as good as air smooth ride. Thanks in Advance..............
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Old 12-02-2009, 07:15 AM   #2
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I'm thinking about the Kelderman install next spring. I'll be interested in seeing these post also. The cost I figured was about $4K for both axles, lot cheaper than upgrading to a DP. Let us know if you do either.
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Old 12-02-2009, 05:55 PM   #3
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I've been thinking of smoothing out the ride also. The only one that looks like it really might help is Mor-Ryde because it addresses the spring hangars. The others seem like an air bag system for raising the body, you're still bouncing on the same springs which is the problem. I'll be following this thread.
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Old 12-03-2009, 07:36 AM   #4
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I do know that the Kelderman system replaces the springs and shocks.
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Old 12-03-2009, 01:42 PM   #5
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I recently got a quote for the Mor/Ryde system from the Elkhart service center - approx. $1400.00 each axle installed. Not sure yet if the improvement would be worth the money. Would sure like to hear from someone who has done the upgrade and their opinion. I'm thinking of adding just to front axle to smooth out rough roads but not yet convinced it's worth the expenditure.
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Old 12-05-2009, 07:01 PM   #6
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I called a Kelderman dealer and he quoted me installed $2700 for the front axle minus the shocks due I have Koni’s that are 2 years old. I then went to a heavy duty spring place that handles large trucks and told him what I wanted. This person owns his shop and been in business over 25 years. He wasn’t familiar with Kelderman front end package for an F-53. After getting on the net and looking it over, he was not impressed.

1st thing he said Kelderman does not have any legal engineering behind it. If you go to court, they will have a hard time with good engineering planning and drawings. 2nd he said Kelderman drills holes on the bottom of the frame to install the air boot and that is a no-no, as it weakens the frame. 3rd it also requires drilling holes in the front axle which he does not like. I said OK, what you would do.

He would go with the Air Lift 5000 system ( http://www.airliftcompany.com/, and just install the air boot between the frame and springs. He quoted me a price of $650 for the front suspension. I looked at the Air Lift system and can buy it for $265, and I believe I can do it myself. The holes you drill are on the side of the frame and not on the bottom. He also mentions that Air Lift has quicker service and warranty time less than 2 weeks when you call for assistance. As for Firestone, they also have a great air shock but it takes between 2 to 6 months for them to get back to you. Both are the same in quality, but he prefers Air Lift. Smaller company and quicker service.

Now Mor-Ryde has a great rear suspension that looks like it will work well. But it is expensive and I just received a rear trac bar that I need to install. If I get the Mor-Ride system, my trac bar will not fit. Money that I spent and can’t use……..
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Old 12-05-2009, 07:43 PM   #7
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Kelderman (full air suspension) and AirLift (helper air bag inserts) are two completely different things. You can not even compare them they are so different. You said it yourself, the AirLift is inserted between the spring and frame (as an assist). The Kelderman systems replace the steel spring entirely and use an air spring instead. Not comparable at any level.

BOTH are superb products for what they do. I've installed AirLift and for taking the sag out of a spring and providing some additional support to a nearly maxed out stock suspension (most RV suspensions) it does a fine job. Ride is still the same (nothing changes) but there is a sense of more stability by having the spring slightly off-loaded by the AirLift assist bags transferring some spring load directly to the frame instead.

Kelderman is an entirely different beast replacing the entire steel spring assembly and providing full air control. They have a very long racing and HD vehicle lineage. They make an outstanding product with plenty of engineering and experience to back it up. Their reputation proves that out. Again, Kelderman and AirLift are totally different.

Clearly your local shop owner, by admission, is not familiar with Kelderman. Blanket statements like those made by your local shop also clearly demonstrate, well, need I really say...

I'd do the AirLift project yourself after hearing that.
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Old 12-06-2009, 06:46 AM   #8
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As an engineer with suspension design experience I can't say I'm impressed with the the Kelderman setup.

Up front it doesn't truely replace the front springs. It adds an airbag, like the AirRide system, and changes out the front spring with a softer one. Overall spring rate has to be nearly the same. Maybe you gain a little "softness" in how the airbag reacts to quick movements vs. a steel spring, but not too much, a steel spring is still there.

Out back the steel springs are replaced, but with what? From what I see at the website, with something I wouldn't be proud to show off if I built it in my garage. I can't tell exactly what is done. But it looks like you have a suspension that binds with any amount of roll. I have to see more detailed pictures or drawings to be sure though. The appearance of the fabrication was enough to make me stop looking.
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Old 12-06-2009, 09:10 AM   #9
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As an engineer with suspension design experience I can't say I'm impressed with the the Kelderman setup.
Tim - What is your opinion of the Mor/Ryde system ?
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Old 12-07-2009, 01:28 PM   #10
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I just saw this system on another thread, it would seem like a better option. They swap out the springs for airbags. What do you guy's think? I don't know pricing.

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Old 12-08-2009, 09:19 PM   #11
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Well I spoke to one of their tech experts for 15 minutes or so, they NO LONGER MAKE THIS model for the F-53. He said it rode like a DP with full air ride, as that what it was. But there was not enough demand for the suspension to keep it in production. So they dropped it. The cost at the time was +/-$5000.

Then I called “Air Lift” and spoke to another tech and it all sounded swell until I asked him "How high can I lift my coach with the jacks when I am setting up at a camp site”? He said the maximum vertical height is 4". I said 4" is not enough for some sites. He mention if you go more for any extended time you will pull the air spring apart. So Air Lift is out. This front system can be bought for +/-$275.

Next I called the MOR/rydesystem and spoke to Gary. He was a knowledgeable person who gave me all kinds of info and basically told me what I was looking for. First, you can pick up the chassis as high as you want even pick up the tires off the ground if so desire. I don’t need to do that, but that means it will not hurt the air spring in any way. That is good news. I asked how well does it really ride and this is the example he gave me. This system has been around I believe he told me since the 60’s. It has been well proven for years. They made a few improvements on the system but it is basically the same. This is one of the tests they used. New York uses a lot of their systems; and they tested a few transit buses with air ride and others with the MOR/rydesystem. After having the customers ride each one they were asked which one they preferred. He said most of the customers mentioned those buses that had the MOR/rydesystem.

What I like is it does not need any air or compressor to adjust the ride and it cost a lot cheaper. As far as maintenance, it really does not need any except a visual inspection annually. He quoted me $995 each for the system without the labor for front and back. But the front system comes with a Davis Trac Bar as part of the package. It will take approx 4 hours labor for the front and 6-7 hours for the rear. The rubber boot will last from 7-15 years depending on conditions and abuse. Looking at the system it does not seem hard to DIY at home which can save a lot of money, roughly $100/hr for installation. There are few models for the F-53, and the one we talked about for the rear will handle from 12,200 to 15,000 lbs per set which will be perfect for my rear axle. They like to send a sheet with all the room measurements needed to be available to install their equipment before ordering. This product is patent pending.

Call Gary at (574) 293-1581 ext 222 he will give all the details. Check out this info http://www.morryde.com/pdfs/New/5aSt...ionSystems.pdf
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Old 12-09-2009, 06:05 AM   #12
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MrMudstud - Excellent report and info! Please keep us updated as you receive further info or decide to proceed with the Mor/Ryde system. I note you already have Koni shocks on your rig, I assume they didn't do much for your ride experience?
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Old 12-09-2009, 10:21 AM   #13
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MrMudstud - Excellent report and info! Please keep us updated as you receive further info or decide to proceed with the Mor/Ryde system. I note you already have Koni shocks on your rig, I assume they didn't do much for your ride experience?
The Koniís did a big difference to my ride. The down stroke is very soft and the rebound is much firmer. Of a scale of 1 to 10, I will say in all honesty that it was a 7 or 8 for improvement on the ride. I must mentioned, I replaced the original OEM shocks at 12,000 miles, and they were shot. It was money well spent. I bought them on shox.com for $500 for a set of four. I would do it again without hesitation. If it was me, I would put Koniís on before getting any sway bar or trac bar additions. Thatís how much I enjoyed the improvement. In fact the shocks did help my coach with the sway that I could tell the difference immediately. I'm going to keep this coach, so that's why I looking at doing what I can to improve the ride if it is "reasonable in expense". I'm trying to use common sense here, but sometimes I get carried away with with my ideas..............
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Old 12-09-2009, 10:36 AM   #14
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Thanks for the link on the shocks. I'm in the market for some Konis as well and will compare thier prices.
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