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Old 02-14-2011, 04:11 PM   #1
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front air bag question

on my 85 coachmen the front air bags dont hold air. how hard are they to change? do i have to drop the front spring ?
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Old 02-14-2011, 04:26 PM   #2
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It depends on what chassis you have. My 1988 Fleetwood Coronado had a hole in the lower control arm that allowed me to remove all air out of the bag, fold it up and slide it through the hole then inflate it. It sounds easier than it is. It is very hard to get it through the hole but can be done. Lots of lube and make sure you get the plastic rings in the right places so the new bag does not get a hole in it.
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Old 02-14-2011, 04:30 PM   #3
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Having just done that last summer, let me say that it isn't exactly what I would call easy, but it isn't an impossible task. I tried folding the air bags and putting them in a vise to push out all the air. While they were held tight, I wrapped them in tie wraps and pulled them as tight as possible. About four tie wraps will do the trick. Use a soapy mixture as you push the bag into the hole. You can snip each tie wrap until all of the air bag is in the spring. Then you have to manage to get that big rubber ring under the bag. That is the hardest part. Then you just air them up. I put about 70lbs in mine. That seems to work well. Good Luck!
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Old 02-14-2011, 04:43 PM   #4
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guess i should have said it has the P30 chassis and if i remember right there is a hole in the lower control arm.
i plan on doing this hopefully before our next trip but it needs to warm up before i crawl around on the ground.
i tried to put air in them last year and they didnt take any air. i should inspect them more before i go to far.
thanks for the info
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Old 02-14-2011, 05:02 PM   #5
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My Chassis was a P-30 too. Make sure that there is a leak in the bag itself and not just a bad valve stem or connection. Most likely the bags are bad as they don't last all that long in the harsh environment they are in. Then look around for the best price. I think I paid 80.00 for both bags and all of the stuff that goes with them. They do sell a kit with a small compressor that can be worked from inside the drivers area to adjust the bags, But I found that those hoses and connections are just more areas to develop leaks so I crawled around on the ground to check them and air them up. If you have one available a vacuum pump is a good idea to suck all of the air out of them so you can fold them. I used an old HVAC vacuum pump from my days as a car mechanic. Get the air out and put the valve stem back in. You will be the most frustrated you have ever been during this install. If your not up for it or really mechanically inclined pay someone to do it. I speak from experience when I say the word frustrated. Mine were set at 90psi when all was said and done. But the difference in the ride was night and day. Good luck to you!
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Old 02-14-2011, 05:06 PM   #6
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When I got my 88 on a p30 the front bags were shot. I had new ones installed (not a mechanic here). The instructions stated you twist them and work them up through the bottom. It took the guy at the service shop a good bit of time but did not have to remove anything. You will want it warm outside so the bags are a pliable.
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Old 02-14-2011, 05:52 PM   #7
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If you put the bags in hot water it will make them easier to collapse before putting on the tyewraps. A lubricant like slick KY jelly will make it easier to slide them in.
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:02 PM   #8
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I used a mighty-vac and took all the air out,rolled it up,put it in.just cut the old bags out.
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Old 02-16-2011, 12:41 PM   #9
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As has been stated, check first to be sure the leak isn't in hoses or fittings - I replaced the rear air bag on our '88 Winnie after checking all the fittings I could get to - and then found the leak was actually at the fitting on top of the bag where I couldn't check it while it was in place - already had bought a replacement, so installed it anyway, the old one is now my spare if needed...
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Old 02-26-2011, 08:42 PM   #10
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I bought the bag kit from StreetsideAuto on the web. An old serated steak knife is great for cutting up the old bags to get them out. Also if you can raise the frame to extend the spring some helps. The hand held vac pump worked great to suck the bags down to install them.
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Old 02-27-2011, 12:55 PM   #11
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I bet that a short piece of large diameter PVC pipe just slightly smaller than the opening in the A-arm, liberally sprayed inside with silicone or coated with liquid soap, would allow the collapsed new airbag to more easily placed inside IT, then simply pushed on thru and into the spring cavity...
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Old 02-28-2011, 03:59 PM   #12
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Gary, it is a very tight fit thru the openeingwithout a pipe so don't think it would work. with the vac pump sucking the bag down and dish soap on the outside of the bag it just barely fits.
We did alot of these when I worked for the City of Phoenix as some of the 1 ton Chevy pick-ups came from the factory with bags in the front springs.
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Old 02-28-2011, 04:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leadman View Post
Gary, it is a very tight fit thru the openeingwithout a pipe so don't think it would work. with the vac pump sucking the bag down and dish soap on the outside of the bag it just barely fits.
We did alot of these when I worked for the City of Phoenix as some of the 1 ton Chevy pick-ups came from the factory with bags in the front springs.
I wasn't thinking to use a PVC cylinder very much smaller than the opening, just enough to keep the exiting collapsed bag from snagging on the edges of the A-arm opening - in any event, I hope I never have to actually try it, my way or yours...
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Old 02-28-2011, 04:55 PM   #14
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I used a medical grade lubricant and put it all over the bags after rolling them like a cigar, they slid right into the hole in the base of the a arm/ spring. Same would work if you don't have the hole.
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