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Old 10-10-2016, 09:41 PM   #1
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Should I get airbags?

Haven't got a 5er yet and plan on getting a shorter one hitch weight and overall weight well within my trucks ratings. 3/4 f250 diesel SRW.

Question is should I go ahead and install airbags? Will they make a noticeable difference with towing? I haven't even installed a hitch yet, but want to get all this sort of stuff out of the way if it's a necessity.
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Old 10-10-2016, 09:45 PM   #2
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I am interested too. I have a 2012 F350 6.7 SRW and my 5er has 3200 pin weight. My truck sits level and rides nice so don't know whether to get them or not.
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Old 10-10-2016, 11:29 PM   #3
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I think it's a personal preference, especially if you have a 1 ton or larger truck. In my Dodge 3500 dully, I got rid of the overloads and installed air bags. I got tired of hearing the overloads slapping sometimes, a much better ride in my opinion. I also installed them on my 3/4 ton truck as a necessity to have a level or slightly higher bed height to put weight back on front axle. I use both trucks for hauling trailer around. Example 5th wheel trailer of course, but mostly moving hay and tractors around to different hay fields of mine or leased fields. Just make sure your truck can safely tow the weight of the trailer if not down size or get a bigger TV IMHO. I think airbags give a better ride towing or driving solo, again MHO.
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Old 10-10-2016, 11:30 PM   #4
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Just keep in mind that air bags add nothing to the trucks ability to carry more load, they only level it out under load.
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Old 10-10-2016, 11:32 PM   #5
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I've run 5th wheels on 2 different trucks and can definitely say I'm in favor of the bags. It's not so much about keeping the truck from sagging (if it's doing that you DEFINITELY need them). It's more about while rolling how the bags just stiffen up the ride and greatly reduce the bouncing at highway speeds.

The truck and 5th are two different bodies of mass with a big hinge at the pin. Firming up the bearing point of the pin does wonders for the ride and overall towing experience. For reference the two truck/5th combos were:

2006 Chevy Duramax, 9200# GVWR with 11K wet weight 5th (2200# pin weight?). I was usually about 600# over my GVWR but well under the axle ratings

2014 Ram 6.4 Hemi, 10,000# GVWR with 10,500K wet weight 5th (very similar 2200# pin as best I can tell). I'm usually right at or a couple hundred pounds over the GVWR - more/bigger kids and heavier hitch.
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Old 10-10-2016, 11:38 PM   #6
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Welcome,


Opinions are cheap. Air bags are primarily to adjust ride height. So, if you're riding level, save the expense and maint. Put the funds toward an improved pin box if required.


Roll on.
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Old 10-11-2016, 05:47 AM   #7
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I installed bags on my 2014 F250 after much research before hitching up the new fiver for the first time. I wouldn't be without them! I've logged thousands of miles with this set-up, and the ride has been flawless. I just went with the manual inflate / deflate and run at 25 PSI. I keep a 10 GAL compressed air tank in the front storage of the fiver, and the process works great in fine-tuning the ride height, and provides a great feel to the suspension over all road conditions. Did the installation myself - not too difficult, and well worth it!
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Old 10-11-2016, 08:19 AM   #8
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On an F250 and without the camper package (overload leafs and sway bar) there is a much better then even chance that air bags or add-a-leafs will be needed to level out your 'package'. A 'Lite' fiver, perhaps not. Ours (sig truck) clattered on the overloads on less the very smooth highways with about a 2500 pin weight. Doesn't any more and hasn't in about 18,000 miles with the bags. There are two brands that have good reputations - Firestone Ride Rites (which I have) and Air Lift, either of which work well. As far as an on-board air compressor, that will be your personal choice but I just couldn't justify doubling the price of the equipment for what I felt would be minimal gain for the amount of towing. I carry a $25 12V compressor or if at home, just use one of my shop units. You can also use a gas station or even bicycle pump as the bags don't have much volume or pressure. Obviously, it is your choice
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Old 10-11-2016, 09:11 AM   #9
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I just have a 1/2 ton Silverado and installed them two years ago and love them this year I sprung for the onboard compressor and like them even more
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Old 10-11-2016, 11:20 AM   #10
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I just put some used bags that I got off Craigslist on my Ram 2500 CTD. I have a lighter 5th wheel and wanted something to help with the ride. So far I'm really impressed. I had Timbrens before but I was never really satisfied with the ride. I drop about 2" without bags or the Timbrens. I run about 25psi in them and the ride is definitely smoother and I have less side to side movement.
FWIW I have Pac Brake air bags. Believe it or not the ride empty with the bags at 10psi is better.
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Old 10-11-2016, 11:47 AM   #11
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IMHO if you need air bags, what you really need is more truck.
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Old 10-11-2016, 09:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishalaska1 View Post
I am interested too. I have a 2012 F350 6.7 SRW and my 5er has 3200 pin weight. My truck sits level and rides nice so don't know whether to get them or not.
Can you detail your set up a bit more? Cab - reg, extended crew? Long bed/short bed? Wheel size and axle ratio? I assume 4x4 or FX4? What is your empty truck weight, front/rear weight distribution? What is your door sticker GVWR and rear axle ratio? Tire load rating as singles?

What 5th wheel make/model? What is the gross weight (actual) of the 5th wheel? If the pin is 3200 I am assuming the gross actual is 12,800-16,000? That is the range a pin weight of 20-25% puts it.

How does the rig handle braking hard? How does the rig handle hard turns? Do you get much body roll? Noticeable sidewall flex in the tires?

I have a 2011 cclb SRW I am hoping is nearly identical. I am looking at getting a 5th wheel and am hoping to get your numbers to give me some insight. The pin weight you state and riding level with out bags tells me a lot right there. Good stuff!
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Old 10-11-2016, 09:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyFishn View Post
Can you detail your set up a bit more? Cab - reg, extended crew? Long bed/short bed? Wheel size and axle ratio? I assume 4x4 or FX4? What is your empty truck weight, front/rear weight distribution? What is your door sticker GVWR and rear axle ratio? Tire load rating as singles?

What 5th wheel make/model? What is the gross weight (actual) of the 5th wheel? If the pin is 3200 I am assuming the gross actual is 12,800-16,000? That is the range a pin weight of 20-25% puts it.

How does the rig handle braking hard? How does the rig handle hard turns? Do you get much body roll? Noticeable sidewall flex in the tires?

I have a 2011 cclb SRW I am hoping is nearly identical. I am looking at getting a 5th wheel and am hoping to get your numbers to give me some insight. The pin weight you state and riding level with out bags tells me a lot right there. Good stuff!
Mines a long bed crew 4x4. Dont have that info handy but my trailer loaded is 15900-16000lbs so I am near or at max. I have a 92 gallon water capacity and I do not tow with it full or I think I would be over loaded at 16500.

Trailer is 2014 Raptor 37.5 foot.

It pulls and corners fine but I drive very cautiously.
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Old 10-12-2016, 10:22 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by 450Donn View Post
IMHO if you need air bags, what you really need is more truck.
Not true, if you load any rear axle close to it's rating it will sag, air bags will level it out.
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