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Old 07-27-2016, 08:01 PM   #1
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Air Lift 1000 Air Bags and Equal-I-Zer Hitch

When I hitched the trailer to the 2014 Ram 1500 Eco Diesel truck, the rear of the truck dropped like a stone, making it very difficult to adjust the Equal-I-Zer hitch.

So, I installed the Air Lift 1000 air bags inside the rear coil springs. Now when I hitch the trailer to the truck, the rear of the truck drops 3", doesn't matter whether there's 10 lb or 30 lb in the air bags. That confuses me. I was hoping to be able to maintain ride height, but it appears that I will have to settle for 3" lower. Is this normal?

So I set the air bags at 20 lb. Then I adjusted the Equal-I-Zer hitch so the front of the truck is about 1/2" higher than it was without the trailer hooked up.

First trip out, the ride was absolutely terrible. Rough and jerky. After about 1/2 hr on the road, I stopped and checked the air pressure in the air bags. It had increased to almost 30 lb! So, I reduced it to about 15 lb. We drove for about another 1/2 hr. The ride was not improved. I stopped and checked the air pressure. It was 20 lb! So I reduced the pressure to about 10 lb. That fixed the ride, nice and smooth. I stopped and checked the air pressure a few times and it remained consistent at 10 lb.

When we returned home, I checked the air pressure. Still at 10 lb. I unhooked the trailer and checked the air pressure, intending to lower it for a good ride with an empty truck. The air pressure is possibly 5 lb. The lowest reading on my air gauge is 10 lb, and there isn't enough air pressure to move the gauge.

I'm confused. Is this normal?

Jim
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Old 07-27-2016, 09:07 PM   #2
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Air Lift 1000 Air Bags and Equal-I-Zer Hitch

I have a ram 1500 with the airlift 1000...i put 35 psi in and when i hook my tt it drops no more than a 1/4 inch ...my trailer is a jayflight slx 264 bhw...weighs 6000 lbs loaded... I find the ride awesome with bags at 35 psi and my tt loaded
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Old 07-28-2016, 06:01 AM   #3
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That's awesome! Are you also using a WD?

Sounds like I need to go back to the drawing board so to speak on how I have things set up.

Jim
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Old 07-28-2016, 07:40 AM   #4
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It sounds like you don't have enough tension on the bars.
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Old 07-28-2016, 07:41 AM   #5
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Disregard my post. I had a brain fart after reading your issue.
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Old 07-28-2016, 11:08 AM   #6
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Are you jacking up the rear of the truck when the TT coupler is connected before you snap up the spring bars? Sounds like you are trying to snap up the bars without lifting anything. You need to raise everything up before snapping the bars to create tension on them. That will force the front of the truck back down to normal as well as lift the rear of the truck. You shouldn't be snapping up the bars then adding air to raise everything up. That just takes weight off the bars and creates less friction for the sway control. With your heavy tongue weight you should be having to lift the rear of the truck up 4-5" because you should also have at least 6 washers in the WDH. That tilts the WD head down at a step angle. That in turn makes the ends of the bars drop further. So in order to hitch up you should have to raise the rear of the truck while the TT is coupled to it a lot to get the ends of the bars close enough to the L brackets to be able to snap then up.
I've used bags in the past on an F150. My reason was that I loaded a lot in the truck and when using 1000lb bars with a 450lb TW it caused a jerky bouncy ride. So I added air bags and switched to bars rated at 400-600lbs.
To properly hitch up I 1st loaded the truck with my camping gear, then aired up the bags to bring the trucks rear up to it's original ride hgt. Then I hitched up the TT and then used the bars to re-set the ride hgt. Rode like a Caddy. Nice and smooth.
JMO but you should be using 1200lb bars with the 23RBS. 850lb dry tongue weight will easily be over 1000lbs when loaded. JMO but I think that's too much TT for the Ram 1500. Don't know what you load up for gear and camp stuff but most add 1000lbs on average. That puts the loaded weight near 7500lbs. Too much for a 1/2 ton. The rear coils on the Ram are a hindrance for heavy towing. Last tow test I read they criticized the coils for not giving enough control while towing. The empty ride was rated the best though.
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Old 07-28-2016, 12:33 PM   #7
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I agree with Cumminsfan, also wondering if you got the trailer level. You were close to 12 inches nose down as I recall.
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Old 07-28-2016, 06:52 PM   #8
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I have Air Lift 5000 Ultimate w/Load Controller pump and a gauge on the dash. I can see and control the air pressure going down the road, and I sometimes add pressure when I get into a side wind to help stiffen it up.

When hitching I back the truck under, lower tongue onto ball and latch it. Then use the electric tongue jack to lift the whole thing up to a point I found works (just over knee cap high) and snap the chains up. The dealer said to have 3 loose links in the chains...but in wind on the open road I find 4 loose links handles better. Then drop the rig all the way down and finish hooking up. When I get in the truck I air up the bags according to conditions. Start with around 35# back roads or no wind...50-55# interstate and/or side winds maybe a little more if strong. That helps make it more stable. The bags are good to 100# although I've never hade them close to that. I do the reverse to unhitch.

Going back to a 5th wheel will be easier, but for now this works.
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Old 07-28-2016, 07:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Papa_Jim View Post
That's awesome! Are you also using a WD?

Sounds like I need to go back to the drawing board so to speak on how I have things set up.

Jim

Yes I'm using an E2 WD hitch with 800lb trunnion bars
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Old 07-28-2016, 07:33 PM   #10
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Thanks Cumminsfan.

So far, the only weight in the truck box is a 130 lb generator. So far, the only weight we've added to the new trailer is filled the two propane bottles, installed 2 golf cart batteries, water tank about 1/3 full, black and grey tanks empty. A few shirts and pants in the bedside wardrobe, and our CPAPs on each side of the bed. In the kitchen, a coffee maker, a toaster, maybe 100 lb of dry sundries, and a fridge 1/2 filled. The front storage bay has a couple of lawn chairs in it, a garden hose, the 30 Amp cable. Right now, it's really lightly loaded.

The rear truck wheel well measures 38 1/2" above the ground with an empty truck. When I connect the trailer, the rear of the truck drops right to the floor. It was nearly impossible to lift the rig up to be able to hook up the WD.

So I installed the Air Lift 1000 Air Bags. I inflate them and when I hook up the trailer, the rear of the truck drops to 36". Now, this measurement stays right there at 36", no matter if I have 10 lb in the air bags or 30 lb in the air bags. That confuses me. So I set them at 20 lb.

So. The trailer is hooked up. The rear of the truck is down 2 1/2", to a measurement of 36". The front of the truck is up 1/2", to a measurement of 36 1/2".

I put 7 washers in the Equal-I-Zer. I use the trailer jack to lift the truck and trailer high enough to be able to slip the bars into place. I lower the jack and measure. The rear measurement is still 36" The front measurement is 36". So I think, all is good.

Until I hit the road. It rides like a bag of hammers, really rough and jerking. I began to lower the pressure on the air bags. Finally, when I hit 10 lb, the ride became really smooth.

I'm really confused. Right now it seems that the air bags are only useful as a tool for holding the rear of the truck up so the trailer and the WD can be hooked up. Then lower the air pressure.

We're heading out again tomorrow afternoon. I'm going to play with it tomorrow morning. I'm thinking of reducing the washers to 5 washers and set the air bag pressure again to 20 lb. ??

Set up like this, the trailer is riding about 4" low at the hitch. I'd like to correct that, but so far I can't find a receiver that will address this.

There has to be a positive in all this. I guess this is it. It doesn't seem to matter how this unit is set up, there's absolutely no sway. It always handles great, there's never a time when it feels like the trailer is controlling the truck. The power is great, the handling is great. Compared to managing a Class A Diesel Pusher, this unit is a wonderful piece of cake! It's the ride that suffers.

So, if you have any thoughts or advice for me, I'm all ears. I'm working on this again tomorrow morning, and I'll apply any of your suggestions at that time. Tomorrow afternoon will be the next test.

Jim
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Old 07-28-2016, 07:57 PM   #11
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Air Lift 1000 Air Bags and Equal-I-Zer Hitch

When you couple up, prior to setting the spring bars, there shouldn't be any drop in the rear end. At this point you should have 0 weight on the ball. That might be where your problem is stemming from. Drop the coupler enough just to lock it and then crank the tongue back up to set the spring bars. You may have to adjust the brackets on the tongue higher as well.

No sway but porpoising sounds like not enough weight on the bars.

Edit: what is your coupler height with the trailer parallel to the ground and where did you set your ball height in relation to that measurement?
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Old 07-28-2016, 08:07 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by eipo View Post
When you couple up, prior to setting the spring bars, there shouldn't be any drop in the rear end. At this point you should have 0 weight on the ball. That might be where your problem is stemming from. Drop the coupler enough just to lock it and then crank the tongue back up to set the spring bars. You may have to adjust the brackets on the tongue higher as well.

No sway but porpoising sounds like not enough weight on the bars.

Edit: what is your coupler height with the trailer parallel to the ground and where did you set your ball height in relation to that measurement?
When I installed the Air Lift 1000 air bags, I thought that if I set the pressure right, the right height would be maintained when the load was applied. That's not the way this is working. Frustratingly, the ride height lowers 3", whether the air bag pressure is 10 lb or 30 lb. Air Lift warn that 30 lb is the absolute maximum allowable pressure.

Regarding the coupler height. Well, there in lies a bit of a problem. My trailer wants the ball height at 32" I have the Equal-I-Zer extended shank, and the highest ball height I can acheive is 28". So, right now the trailer is 4" low. Does that mean that I won't be able to get things working right until I can somehow get the ball height up at 32"?

My confusion lies in your statement: 'No sway but porpoising sounds like not enough weight on the bars.' Yet, when I reduce the air pressure in the air bags, the ride becomes sm-o-o-th when relying only on the bars.

For tomorrow's work, I'm wondering if I reduce the bar tension and increase the air bag tension, will I solve the problem?

I thought if I installed rear air bags, I could maintain the rear springs at ride height, then adjust the WD to maintain the front ride height, and all would be good. Not so. Not even close.


Jim
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Old 07-28-2016, 08:12 PM   #13
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Your ideal ball height should be 1-2" above coupler height so that is going to be a huge contributing factor.

Also, nose down puts more trailer weight on the leading trailer axle and less on the rear. This will effect the weight distribution effects of the hitch.

I don't think the air bags are your solution. You need a taller shank.

I just went through this with my Blue Ox and my ram 2500. Except I needed the drop. I believe the blue Ox and equalizer shanks are interchangeable and blue Ox has a very long shank. I'm on my phone otherwise I'd provide links but check out e trailer and their blue Ox shanks.
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Old 07-28-2016, 08:20 PM   #14
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Here is the link, I hope, to my Q&A with etrailer.

https://www.etrailer.com/question-171897.html
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