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Old 07-03-2014, 09:03 PM   #1
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Are my airbags cooked?

a few days ago my front suspension behaved badly - it bounced violently on bumps not only 2 or 3 but 5-6 times. i ordered new koni shocks arriving in a few days. now i noticed my front end is all the way down at both sides; the upper edge of tire is almost touching the fender lining. when engine is running, the hwh leveling control panel shows red lights for up and down on simultaneously, and stay on.

does this sound like front airbags done? any comments are welcome.
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Old 07-03-2014, 09:32 PM   #2
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I'd check that the ride height control valve is working. I had a tilt to one side and feared an air spring failure, turned out a rubber connection on the height control valve had given up. $23 bought a new adjustment rod, everything returned to level.
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Old 07-03-2014, 09:44 PM   #3
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Your HWH panel should not be lit up when you have the engine running and trying to bring the coach to proper ride height. I turn the HWH panel off before starting the engine for preparation to leave.

On my HWH Air Leveling panel there is a small green light which will light up when proper ride height has been achieved.

Air bags very seldom fail or get old. There are buses and trucks with air bags that have thousands of miles and many years of use.

What causes an air bag failure is usually a sudden tire blowout where the rubber from the tire will destroy wires, fiberglass and air bags.

Dr4Film ----- Richard
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Old 07-03-2014, 11:59 PM   #4
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You have a bad ride height valve. There is only one on the front end so it affects both sides.

Try this:

Start the coach leaving it in neutral and parking brake set. Turn off the HWH panel and see if the front end will come to ride height. It might take a few minutes seeing as how you might be totally deflated. There should be the green light on the control panel. It is very dim and is hard to see. Once the front end comes to ride height, put the coach in drive and see what happens. Does the front end drop and a red light come on on the control panel?

You can work around the bad valve by getting the coach to ride height by pressing the "up" button on the control panel and then pulling the correct fuse in the fuse box on the exterior bay under the driver's seat. If it is at ride height and you put the coach in gear before pulling the fuse, it will deflate. IIRC it is one marked "step" but don't hold me to it. Some are marked HWH control
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Old 07-04-2014, 01:53 AM   #5
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thank you all for your info and suggestions!!
the green light ("travel") was normally seen after the air pressure reached certain level, then i started to move. now the green light is no longer coming on.
i'll check the valve and do the tests tomorrow, and report back.
have a great holiday!!
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Old 07-04-2014, 08:57 AM   #6
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FWIW: I had an intermittent and then total shutdown on the HWH air control panel. I lifted the panel and examined the back of the HWH panel and found that the small plug on the back of it wasn't solidly plugged in and secured with the keepers. I plugged it in and made sure that the keepers on both sides of the plug were in place and secure and that took care of my problem. You may get lucky.
Good luck and safe travels!
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Old 07-04-2014, 10:59 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by BeltoneMagoo View Post
FWIW: I had an intermittent and then total shutdown on the HWH air control panel. I lifted the panel and examined the back of the HWH panel and found that the small plug on the back of it wasn't solidly plugged in and secured with the keepers. I plugged it in and made sure that the keepers on both sides of the plug were in place and secure and that took care of my problem. You may get lucky.
Good luck and safe travels!
thank you doug! that adds one more thing to check...
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Old 07-04-2014, 09:53 PM   #8
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did some tests today:
1) started up engine, waited until air pressure reaching 120psi, pressed and held hwh panel front "up" arrow... the front didn't move up...
2) while engine was running, gear in neutral and in parking, pressed "off" on hwh panel, nothing changed. the red lights "up" and "down" for front were still on.
3) took the hwh panel off, on the back, a flat like 1.5" wide data cable was securely seated on the electronic board. no other connections, no moving parts.

any thoughts?
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Old 07-04-2014, 10:08 PM   #9
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Attached above the front axle will be the ride height valve. It has a couple of air lines and wires attached to it and then a lever and rod that drops down and connects to the axle. As the distance between frame and axle get too short, the lever pushes up and air inflated the air springs. If the distance between frame and axle gets too great, the lever causes the valve to release air and deflate the air spring a bit.

You either have the rod detached between the lever on the valve and the axle or the electric solenoid that allows your HWH panel dump air is disconnected or faulty.

Don't drive RV with air springs deflated or you will cause damage and perhaps need to replace them.
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Old 07-04-2014, 10:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CountryFit View Post

did some tests today:

2) while engine was running, gear in neutral and in parking, pressed "off" on hwh panel, nothing changed. the red lights "up" and "down" for front were still on.

any thoughts?
The HWH panel should not have ANY red lights lit up once you have the engine started and the HWH panel turned off.

I would call the HWH Technical Help number and talk to them about what is causing the red lights to be on.

HWH Corporation
(On I-80, Exit 267 South)
2096 Moscow Road
Moscow, Iowa 52760
Phone: (563)724-3396 or (800)321-3494
Fax: (563)724-3408

Business Hours: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Central Time (M-F)

Dr4Film ----- Richard
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Old 07-04-2014, 11:57 PM   #11
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Air bags very seldom fail or get old. There are buses and trucks with air bags that have thousands of miles and many years of use.

Dr4Film ----- Richard
Just like all rubber products air bags have a life span. 10 years is a good long life for an air bag.

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Old 07-05-2014, 07:17 AM   #12
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Just like all rubber products air bags have a life span. 10 years is a good long life for an air bag.

DKO
Looking at your profile, I guess you must be coming up on replacing your airbags for a second time? Yipes, how expensive is that?
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:52 AM   #13
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Looking at your profile, I guess you must be coming up on replacing your airbags for a second time? Yipes, how expensive is that?
It is an expensive cost of ownership and one that I could not/would not absorb when I purchased my motorhome used a little over 6 years ago. In the last year I became convinced of the limited air bag life span when I saw the pictures of ones that age that had failed.

I began to think about a bag failing on the road and adding up the expense of a flat bed tow or a road side repair by some kid doing his first big job. I realized ONE failure along the road could cost as much as replacing them all at time of my own choosing. I decided to bite the bullet especially since I had a sinking feeling that it was about time.

I am glad I did. I just replaced all of mine and this is what I found.

The two on the front axle were original. The drive axle has four. The two front ones had been replaced. One of them had a manufacture date of 1999 and the other was 2004. The tag axle has two. One was original and the other was a 2000. So five were 20 years old, one was 15, one was 14 and the newest one was 10 years old. The ten year old one actually looked pretty good compared to the others but 10 years is near the end of its expected life.

Honestly if all of them had been installed in 2004 I probably would have resisted changing them a little longer.

Pictures of a couple of the older ones





I cut one open to check for moisture in my air system. The rubber was very brittle compared to the new ones.



Just like tires (These are made by Goodyear) rubber wears out. They can not last forever. They really are not all that super expensive if your shop them. Labor can add up quickly in the wrong place.

Here is a new one.



I posted about the whole process HERE.

Davy
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Old 07-05-2014, 11:47 AM   #14
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My left front bag blew out when it was 3 years old. Freightliner warranty covered towing and replacement.
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