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Old 05-11-2021, 04:03 PM   #1
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Air Bags AND fancy hitch, am I doing it wrong?

My truck came with air bags.
My TT came with a weight distribution hitch.

On my first trip I left 5lbs in the airbags and hooked up the TT with the hitch.
Looked great, a tiny bit of sag and for my first time trailering it felt really solid. Traction and breaking were good, steering as good as without the TT etc.

Two trips later I put 20 lbs in the airbags before hooking up the TT. Similar result, the sag was gone and the ride seemed a bit smoother everything else seemed about the same.

I'm getting more confident behind the wheel so its possible its driving like crap and I just don't know any better and that any perceived improvement in ride is just in my head!

What should I be "looking" for when verifying that I have a good setup?
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Old 05-11-2021, 08:01 PM   #2
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if it feels good run it. i set my w/d/h so my truck and trailer are just about level then air my bags up until they just start to lift the truck, about 12-15#. it tows great, 27' with a 1500 crew cab.
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Old 05-12-2021, 10:38 AM   #3
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Actual weights on the axles and tires are what matter. Go to a CAT scale and get axle weights while fully loaded. Rear axle may be near fully loaded or overloaded. Front axle may have reduced load. 70% of braking is provided by the front wheels.

Air bags can level the tow vehicle and center the suspension travel. A weight distribution hitch can also level the tow vehicle and center suspension.

A WHD does that while shifting weight off the tow vehicle rear axle to the front axle and trailer axle. Returning load to the front axle removed by attaching a trailer can improve steering and braking.

A weight distribution hitch often has sway damping. This is very useful in reducing the possibility of a major roll over accident and jack knifing.

It is often difficult to notice the differences until adverse conditions are encountered. At that time it is too late to make changes.

Usually air bags are better at leveling, WHD have additional handling advantages especially at high speeds.
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Old 05-13-2021, 05:33 AM   #4
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Any air in the bags after you adjust and engage the WDH will dork up the WDH. I would use my airbags to relieve the pressure on the WDH when hitching/unhitching. You can put 75 psi in the bags while towing and it may feel great, but now you have no weight distribution. The truck is actually tail high at this point, so all seems good, but it isn't. You could be overloading your rear axle.

I used my airbags to level the truck before hooking up the trailer. Then I hooked up the trailer and used the WDH to re level the truck. But I liked how the truck handled with 35 psi in the airbags, so I made a trip to the scales and adjusted my WDH so it had proper distribution with 35 psi in the airbags. I had to tilt my Equal-i-zer head down more to get good weight distribution with 35 psi in the airbags. If I did not do that, I basically had no weight distribution. Once I did this, I had the setup I liked.
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Old 05-13-2021, 05:52 AM   #5
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The rear sag I was getting on my Ram 1500 was pretty bad. I installed airbags and had the WDH re adjusted and it worked great. The airbags made a big difference in ride, etc. I put 25 lbs in mine as a guess and I’m sure 20 is fine too. Keep in mind certain brands like mine take 35 lbs max. So be careful about over inflation. The old bucking bronco is gone, except when I get back in Michigan 😀
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Old 05-13-2021, 10:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corn18 View Post
Any air in the bags after you adjust and engage the WDH will dork up the WDH. I would use my airbags to relieve the pressure on the WDH when hitching/unhitching. You can put 75 psi in the bags while towing and it may feel great, but now you have no weight distribution. The truck is actually tail high at this point, so all seems good, but it isn't. You could be overloading your rear axle.

I used my airbags to level the truck before hooking up the trailer. Then I hooked up the trailer and used the WDH to re level the truck. But I liked how the truck handled with 35 psi in the airbags, so I made a trip to the scales and adjusted my WDH so it had proper distribution with 35 psi in the airbags. I had to tilt my Equal-i-zer head down more to get good weight distribution with 35 psi in the airbags. If I did not do that, I basically had no weight distribution. Once I did this, I had the setup I liked.

Thanks this is the info I need. Is there a way to get close without a CAT scale?
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Old 05-13-2021, 11:07 AM   #7
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MOST airbags have a MINIMUM pressure to prevent damage, and believe most 15# or greater MIN?
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Old 05-13-2021, 12:36 PM   #8
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Thanks this is the info I need. Is there a way to get close without a CAT scale?
Measurements at the wheel well work pretty well, but that doesn't work as well with airbags.

Measure your wheel well height from the top of the rim to the bottom of the wheel well at all four tires with nothing hooked up to the truck. Record those measurements.

Now hook up the trailer and do it again. Record those for reference only. The back will squat, the front will rise.

Now engage the WDH and measure again. The front should go back down to within 1/4" of where it was without the trailer. If it doesn't, your WDH may need adjusted. If it does, write that down.

Now put 35 psi in the airbags (or whatever you like best). The rear will rise. Measure the front and see how close it is to the WDH engaged but no air in the bags measurement. If it didn't move much, then enjoy the tow. If the front of the truck got higher, then you might want to adjust the WDH a bit to get it working hard again.

I know my airbags will raise the rear 3/4" with 35 psi. That was enough to make me tilt the WDH one washer. Not a big deal, but it was nice to keep it all set up properly.
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