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Old 09-12-2016, 10:00 PM   #1
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Softening Rubber on Air Bags to increase life

I looked at 4 different DP's today, ranging from 2007 - 2005 and noticed that 3 out of 4 of them, all the air bags showed cracking of different degrees in the rubber. Knowing that how they are stored, age, road conditions, weather etc, etc, has different degrees of wear and effects the life of these bags. But i couldn't help but wonder, why couldn't you apply the same type of silicon based lubricant material that you use on slide seals to keep those air bags soft and pliable and keep them from drying out and therefore more prone to cracking. It seems to me if you did that, you would greatly lengthen the life of these bags. Am I wrong here?
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Old 09-12-2016, 10:24 PM   #2
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Right now mine have never had anything applied, guess I should be glad they've lasted 17 years-so far.
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Old 09-12-2016, 10:38 PM   #3
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Sure makes sense to me. Our "new to us" coach is 10 years old and ours are showing signs of drying out as well.
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Old 09-12-2016, 10:56 PM   #4
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From what I saw there is a double ply bag , the outer is just a shell. But I'm not sure they are all made that way
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Old 09-13-2016, 01:19 AM   #5
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Interesting. I have a set of Air Lift "sleeves" that have been on 2 different Dodge 1500 trucks since 2001. Well over 250K miles on them and they have zero cracks and have never leaked. I have a set of Air Lifts on a utility trailer that have been on there since about 1999, zero issues. I have a set of Air Lift bags inside the rear coils of my 2006 Jeep Wrangler since 2006 and they look new, no cracks, no leaks. I had a set "in the coils" on my 2009 RAM 1500 that never had issues what so ever. I've heard if you have oil leaks and oil gets on them they can go bad. Of course being close to an exhaust pipe can damage them. Running the vehicle without any air in the bags is a big no no. I know of nothing that can prevent cracks on them as far as chemicals ETC.
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Old 09-13-2016, 01:21 AM   #6
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Good news is, they are inexpensive to replace.
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Old 09-13-2016, 07:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob1340 View Post
Good news is, they are inexpensive to replace.
What do you consider inexpensive?
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Old 09-13-2016, 07:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob1340 View Post
Good news is, they are inexpensive to replace.
Approx. how much?

And is it something easy enough to do DYI?
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Old 09-13-2016, 10:42 AM   #9
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In all reality,
You could apply any and all possible "coatings" or, "preservatives" or, "lubricants" etc. (or anything else you want to call a facade) and time, the elements, road acids, pavement oils, engine oils, and of course plain old AGE, are going to take effect. Rubber is rubber and is not infinite. Tires of course show more accelerated signs of age and use-effects. That's nothing that can be put on those that can stop the degradation process. In fact, it's recommended by some of the tire manufacturers to NOT put any of the elixirs on them.

Sure, it would be nice to PRESERVE them (air bags) to prolong the potential inevitable cost and labor of replacing them by far. But, it is what it is. Our coach, an '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the 330HP CAT, shows minute signs of cracking on them. That coach, has lived its entire life under a drive under cover or a garage, like it is in now. So, again, it's just going to happen.
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