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Old 07-04-2016, 01:02 AM   #1
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Front Air Bags - Leaking Maybe?

Whenever we park the rig without dumping the bags, the fronts are down within 2-3 hours or so... the rears never deflate unless I push the button. This has always been the case and I've never really thought much of it since I rarely park it anywhere without dumping the bags.

But lately - the last two times I've started in within the last 30 days - the front air bags don't seem to want to fill up right away. They eventually do, but it could take and hour or so. It's not that they're filling up super slowly, it's more like a valve hasn't flipped on to fill them at all.

I can kick-start the process by releasing the parking brake, putting it in gear, taking it out of gear and re-engaging the parking brake - then the airbags start to fill right away and it only takes a few minutes until we're all good to go. I figured it out by accident one day when I was getting ready to take off and I thought to myself, "I better check the front bags." Sure enough they were down but filling, so the next time it happened I did it on purpose and it worked.

The gauges read normally, even when the airbags aren't filling the way they're supposed to. However, when I do my "kick-start" process described above, the rear air gauge drops to around 80 psi or so and then goes up pretty quickly as the bags fill.

Also, I've never really paid super close attention but I don't think the compressor is running longer and/or more often than normal, and I do hear the WHOOSHHHH as it turns off a few minutes after starting the engine.

I wanna take it into my shop to have it looked at, but I'd like to give them some kind of starting point. Anyone have any idea what this might be? I don't know enough about that stuff to make any sense when I'm talking to my mechanic, but I don't want them to have to hunt it down for a week or so when it might be something fairly simple.

I'd appreciate any help you can give... thanks everyone!
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Old 07-04-2016, 10:53 AM   #2
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usually it's not the bag itself, it's some valve or the tweedle that's leaking.

generally, each airbag has a valve in a manifold type block that let air one way, but can open to let air back out... sometimes these get to a point where they don't close all the way or get stuck closed.

If this is the case, change them all at once, they aren't too pricey.

More details will follow from someone who owns yout exact coach, but this at least gives you some more research materail.
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Old 07-04-2016, 11:08 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wryly Blithe View Post
Whenever we park the rig without dumping the bags, the fronts are down within 2-3 hours or so... the rears never deflate unless I push the button. This has always been the case and I've never really thought much of it since I rarely park it anywhere without dumping the bags.

But lately - the last two times I've started in within the last 30 days - the front air bags don't seem to want to fill up right away. They eventually do, but it could take and hour or so. It's not that they're filling up super slowly, it's more like a valve hasn't flipped on to fill them at all.

I can kick-start the process by releasing the parking brake, putting it in gear, taking it out of gear and re-engaging the parking brake - then the airbags start to fill right away and it only takes a few minutes until we're all good to go. I figured it out by accident one day when I was getting ready to take off and I thought to myself, "I better check the front bags." Sure enough they were down but filling, so the next time it happened I did it on purpose and it worked.

The gauges read normally, even when the airbags aren't filling the way they're supposed to. However, when I do my "kick-start" process described above, the rear air gauge drops to around 80 psi or so and then goes up pretty quickly as the bags fill.

Also, I've never really paid super close attention but I don't think the compressor is running longer and/or more often than normal, and I do hear the WHOOSHHHH as it turns off a few minutes after starting the engine.

I wanna take it into my shop to have it looked at, but I'd like to give them some kind of starting point. Anyone have any idea what this might be? I don't know enough about that stuff to make any sense when I'm talking to my mechanic, but I don't want them to have to hunt it down for a week or so when it might be something fairly simple.

I'd appreciate any help you can give... thanks everyone!
You have a couple different issues going on.

First thing is the front dropping down after a couple hours leads me to believe you have a leak in the front somewhere. It's seldom the bag itself. It's likely a hose connection. Easiest way to find that is take a spray bottle with a dish soap solution and spray it on the hose connections. Any leak will cause bubbling.

The bags not filling, or filling slowly will take a little more research.

The gauges on the dash are not reading your air bags. I don't know if you have an auxiliary air pump or not. Do you have air leveling only or do you have jacks? or both?
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Old 07-04-2016, 11:41 AM   #4
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My rig was doing the same thing as yours. It turned out the front height control valve was leaking where the pivot arm attached to the valve body.
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Old 07-04-2016, 01:48 PM   #5
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You have a couple different issues going on.

First thing is the front dropping down after a couple hours leads me to believe you have a leak in the front somewhere. It's seldom the bag itself. It's likely a hose connection. Easiest way to find that is take a spray bottle with a dish soap solution and spray it on the hose connections. Any leak will cause bubbling.

The bags not filling, or filling slowly will take a little more research.

The gauges on the dash are not reading your air bags. I don't know if you have an auxiliary air pump or not. Do you have air leveling only or do you have jacks? or both?
Sorry, yeah... I knew the gauges weren't reading the bags themselves, I only mentioned it because 1) I assumed someone would eventually ask, and 2) the rear gauge dropped during my kick-start process. Might be just the parking brake off and then back on again, not sure, but I wanted to include all info that might be relevant.

I have 4 hydraulic leveling jacks, one at each corner. I'm not familiar enough with the workings of either system to know where you're going with this, but I'm anxious to see what you come up with, thanks!
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Old 07-04-2016, 01:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaminSamin View Post
My rig was doing the same thing as yours. It turned out the front height control valve was leaking where the pivot arm attached to the valve body.
This is the kind of info I was looking for, thank you! At least it's one possibility I can tell my mechanic to look for
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Old 07-04-2016, 04:12 PM   #7
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I had a problem of the rear air bags not filling. I could hear air escaping and the rear did not rise at all. Thinking it was the air dump valve stuck open, I set the parking brake and put trans in neutral and shut down the engine and did a manual air dump, completely letting all the air out of the system. I restarted the engine and the dump valve closed and the bags filled.
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Old 07-04-2016, 05:17 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by FreedomDream View Post
I had a problem of the rear air bags not filling. I could hear air escaping and the rear did not rise at all. Thinking it was the air dump valve stuck open, I set the parking brake and put trans in neutral and shut down the engine and did a manual air dump, completely letting all the air out of the system. I restarted the engine and the dump valve closed and the bags filled.
Well, that's similar enough that it might lead to a clue. You dumped the bag when starting up; I had already dumped them when I parked it. Still, could be something there. Thanks!
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Old 07-04-2016, 06:35 PM   #9
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you can leak test the system with some dawn/water mixture and just crawl along the lines and spray them looking for the liquid to foam.... also if you notice your air compress cycling or air drier exhausted excessively you've got a good idea you've got a leak..

It could be any one of the valves, lines, bags, etc... but remember this.. the air compressor mounted on the engine is not designed to run (pump air) consistently.. it is a pump that has about 20-25% duty cycle... excessive running of the compressor will cause it to heat excessively.. its cooled with engine coolant... but the coolant flow is not large enough to draw off the heat from a constant running compressor...

These valves, switches, and air bags require clean dry air.. when was the last time you changed the air drier cartridge? Have you checked the air tanks for moisture and drained them?
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Old 07-05-2016, 11:54 AM   #10
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you can leak test the system with some dawn/water mixture and just crawl along the lines and spray them looking for the liquid to foam.... also if you notice your air compress cycling or air drier exhausted excessively you've got a good idea you've got a leak..

It could be any one of the valves, lines, bags, etc... but remember this.. the air compressor mounted on the engine is not designed to run (pump air) consistently.. it is a pump that has about 20-25% duty cycle... excessive running of the compressor will cause it to heat excessively.. its cooled with engine coolant... but the coolant flow is not large enough to draw off the heat from a constant running compressor...

These valves, switches, and air bags require clean dry air.. when was the last time you changed the air drier cartridge? Have you checked the air tanks for moisture and drained them?
So far as I can tell the compressor is running normally. I say "so far as I can tell" because I haven't stood behind the running engine and monitored it closely enough to be definitive, but in normal use it seems to be running normally.

The drier cartridge was changed just last month, though I've only owned the rig for a year and I cannot confirm how often the previous owners changed it. I have not personally inspected the tanks, but the mechanics who changed out the cartridge did and they didn't report any problems.
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Old 07-05-2016, 01:07 PM   #11
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My rig was doing the same thing as yours. It turned out the front height control valve was leaking where the pivot arm attached to the valve body.
Yep....everything you describe says height control valve...luckily they are cheap and easy to replace (well in the realm of class a parts they are cheap and easy to replace!)
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Old 07-05-2016, 05:51 PM   #12
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Yep....everything you describe says height control valve...luckily they are cheap and easy to replace (well in the realm of class a parts they are cheap and easy to replace!)
Cool, thanks for helping to confirm. I'm gonna have them start there and see what happens.

Everyone, I really appreciate all the help... THANK YOU!
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