Classic Winnebagos & Vintage RVs!

Tech Talk => Chassis => Dodge => Topic started by: bainer1290 on March 16, 2011, 07:44 AM

Title: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: bainer1290 on March 16, 2011, 07:44 AM
Just upgraded our Class C to a Class A, had a full inspection done on the unit, did a few things to bring it up to par, valve cover gaskets, plugs, filters, replaced the steering coupler and did an alignment. During the alignment they had to add some shims to the front axle as there was excessive caster. The alignment did make it handle better but I still think I can do more.

The coach is well maintained, the previous owner put new tires on it about 5 years ago so they are still very new 90% tread. I had the shop check the front end out and the steering box and everything is tight. Both the front and rear sway bars are in good shape and the bushings look okay for their age. The shocks are about the same, one has a partial sticker looks like they are Monroe's.

I find that in windy conditions the coach tends to have lots of body roll and wanders on the road. Now I know its a 29' vehicle and its not going to handle like my truck but I am wondering if my money would be better spent on Bilstein's, air bags or ???

The chassis is a Dodge M500 if that helps.

Thank you,
Rob
Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: Elandan2 on March 16, 2011, 09:02 AM
Congrats on the new coach.  We have a 27' Elandan II with the same chassis.  For the money, new gas shocks are worth it, but I'm not sold on Bilsteins.  Munroe makes gas shocks for the front and rear and unless you're entered in the local rally, I don't think that there will be an appreciable difference.  We also added air bags, front and rear, these also made a marked improvement in both the ride and handling.  If the coach is wandering and the steering is tight, you may want to revisit that caster adjustment, sounds like it may be set too far positive.  On our mh, I notice that if we inflate the front air bags too much, causing the caster to go to a more positive setting, the steering becomes very touchy.  Rick
Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: bainer1290 on March 16, 2011, 06:06 PM
Wow I can't believe I found 2 other 1977 Elandan's!!!

We love out RV, its a great unit. So Bilstein's are about $400 for the set, Monroe's look to be about half at $200. What brand of air bags did you go with Firestone or Air Lift?

Maybe I could do the Monroe shocks and try adding airbags to the rear. Your thoughts?

Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: Oz on March 16, 2011, 10:16 PM
The Bilsteins are overkill.  Monroe makes very good shocks for a lot less.  I know, I have the Bilsteins and I have air suspension front and rear.  Do a message search.  Lots of info on just how much of a difference they make.
Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: bainer1290 on March 16, 2011, 11:28 PM
Saw your post you managed to get air bags for both axle's for $275! that's a great deal, how the heck did you swing that?
Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: Froggy1936 on March 17, 2011, 10:40 AM
Thats a good deal  My air bags for P30 Chassis cost me $84.99  frt & $259.99 rear  From JC Whitney( MFG Air Lift)  4/09  Purchase direct from Air Lift no longer possible Frank
Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: bainer1290 on March 17, 2011, 11:33 AM
Best prices I can find are for the Air Lift Springs about $250 per axle, I think I am going to get the rear set, try them out then add the front later if necessary.

Your thoughts?
Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: Froggy1936 on March 17, 2011, 02:36 PM
That will help The rears do more for stabilization than the fronts do.  The main reason i bought and installed air bags was the load of the generator on the R/R and a weakend coil spring on the R/F the veh sat lopsided (lower on the R/S)  with the air bags i can inflate R/S below maximum to level it with L/S at above minimum inflation The air bags biggest noticeable effect was truck passing wind deflection elimination. & lean on corners. installing frt air bags inside coil springs is an experience you will never forget.  Frank
Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: bainer1290 on March 17, 2011, 04:28 PM
I can only imagine how fun it would be to put airbags inside a coil spring. Luckily I have leafs in the front too so if I ever add them up front I will be a fairly easy task.
Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: Oz on March 17, 2011, 09:06 PM
Not as easy as the rear.  You have to really clamp down those springs in order to get the u-bolts for the air bags to start threading.

With the class A (Frank has a class C) the front air bags are nearly as important to the handling and stability of the rig as the rear are.
Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: bainer1290 on March 17, 2011, 09:55 PM
Hmmmmm maybe I should look ad doing the front and back then.

In my searching today I heard from a few places that the Air Lift front kit for our units is now discontinued so that means finding the kit in the next few years may become difficult so maybe a good idea to just do it.
Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: bainer1290 on March 21, 2011, 10:57 AM
Bad news...

Air Lift front kit 57106 is no longer available and I tried calling about 10 different online dealers throughout Canada and the USA but could not find one, it was discontinued in 2008.

I also looked into Firestone Ride-rite front kit 1170 but it is also discontinued...

Looks like I will only be able to get the rear bags.
Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: OldEdBrady on March 21, 2011, 06:06 PM
http://shop.airliftcompany.com/
Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: bainer1290 on March 21, 2011, 06:17 PM
http://shop.airliftcompany.com/

You bet been on there site for days, called them today, only kit they still make for the M500 chassis is the 57214 rear kit, front was 57106 but is discontinued...

Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: DaveVA78Chieftain on March 21, 2011, 07:49 PM
Have you tried these places?
http://www.google.com/search?q=airlift+57106+&hl=en&tbs=shop%3A1&aq=f (http://www.google.com/search?q=airlift+57106+&hl=en&tbs=shop%3A1&aq=f)
Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: bainer1290 on March 21, 2011, 09:14 PM
Have you tried these places?
http://www.google.com/search?q=airlift+57106+&hl=en&tbs=shop%3A1&aq=f (http://www.google.com/search?q=airlift+57106+&hl=en&tbs=shop%3A1&aq=f)

I had a few of those on my list from today, but I will try the rest tomorrow, I'll keep you posted, thank you
Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: OldEdBrady on March 21, 2011, 09:42 PM
Well, at least I tried.  (The wife says I am VERY trying.)
Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: tiinytina on March 22, 2011, 05:47 AM
Lots of folks have suggested changing out the front springs to stiffer ones and foregoing the air bags... which is the way I may go when the current airbags need replacing...
Tina
Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: bainer1290 on March 22, 2011, 08:29 AM
Lots of folks have suggested changing out the front springs to stiffer ones and foregoing the air bags... which is the way I may go when the current airbags need replacing...
Tina

That's another option too, you should be good though since you could probably purchase replacement bags/bellows. Both Firestone and Air Lift still manufacture those, the piece of the puzzle I am having a hard time finding is the mounting brackets. I'm in the process of trying to get either place to provide me with some measurements for the brackets then I could just fabricate my own, not too hard if you have a welder and some other tools.
Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: DaveVA78Chieftain on March 22, 2011, 11:46 AM
If you have the air bags in hand, you should be able to fabricate the mounting brakets based on this 57106 installation document:
http://www.catalograck.com/ImgVD/AIL/MN-176.pdf (http://www.catalograck.com/ImgVD/AIL/MN-176.pdf)

And here is the replacement 57106 bellows (air bag):
http://www.automotiveconcepts.net/products/Air_Lift-Suspension_Components-16392.html?utm_medium=shoppingengine&utm_source=thefind (http://www.automotiveconcepts.net/products/Air_Lift-Suspension_Components-16392.html?utm_medium=shoppingengine&utm_source=thefind)
Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: bainer1290 on March 22, 2011, 12:27 PM
Yes it would definitely be possible to fabricate them from the manual and replacement bellow 50252 for the front.

Also I did a little more emailing to both Firestone and Air Lift, looks like the upper brackets are still available from Air Lift and they are trying to look into the bottoms for me.

I also have Firestone doing the same, but it will all come down to cost, if they want too much for the brackets then I might be better to just fabricate them since they aren't that complex.

I'll keep you posted, thanks everyone for your help!
Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: bainer1290 on March 24, 2011, 01:58 PM
Well Firestone is unable to provide me with any of the front brackets.

Air Lift does have the front upper brackets available (used on another kit) $24 each so not a bad price but they do not have the lower brackets available.

I am going to order the Firestone rear air bag kit and Monroe shocks and see how that changes the handling, then if I need to I can fabricate the front ones up down the road. I like the Firestone rear kit as the brackets look more heavy duty which would give it more support.
Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: bainer1290 on March 31, 2011, 08:44 PM
Well Firestone came back saying they can no longer manufacture the rear kit either, what a mess this has been to get an answer from them, really makes them look unorganized.

So I went with the Air Lift rear bags and Monroe shocks all around, should have them in the next few weeks I will let you know how it turns out.
Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: Oz on March 31, 2011, 11:38 PM
You'll have a vast improvement by going with the rear air bags and new shocks all around.  Air Lift has been the preference for air bag suspensions for years.  You'll be very, very happy with the product and the company and even more with the improvement you get.
Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: bainer1290 on April 01, 2011, 11:30 AM
Excellent, I'm a little disappointed they stopped making the front air bag kit, but if need be I could fabricate it just a little more work that I want to do.

Can't wait to get it all installed and go our for a weekend, even though it is supposed to snow 20cm this weekend  :(
Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: Oz on April 01, 2011, 11:55 PM
Good to hear.  Remember, we are talking about 30+ year old RVs and not custom classic autos so, I'm actually rather surprised they made them for as long as did.
Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: bainer1290 on April 05, 2011, 08:27 AM
Yes that's true, I just figured why stop making them once you have started? They manufacture them as needed anyways, there's none sitting on the shelf so what would they have to loose as the air bags themselves are used in a handful of other kits too. I can see them being a low selling item but when you have went through the work of designing the brackets and kit why would you say no to a sale?
Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: Oz on April 11, 2011, 10:44 PM
Simple.  The demand for air bags for thirty... five... year old RVs is nearly zilch.. so, why should the manuacturer go to the expense of changing the production set-up just to make what? Two or three sets a year?  ... maybe?   Imean, why doesn't Ford, Dodge, Chevy....keep manufacturing all the parts for all the cars of the 1970's?  There were a lot more of them made and they're valuable classics now.  Not enough demand for a major manufacturer to justify the cost of production.
Title: Re: 1977 Winnebago Elandan 29' Sway Bar/Shocks/Air bags
Post by: Grumpys Dad on September 10, 2019, 11:43 PM
Hi, My question is why do you need the upper bracket; Why not just drill a couple of holes in the frame and bolt the bag right to it?  I'm considering removing a couple of leaves from the springs to lower the motorhome 'cause, well, it would look cool! Thought I'd use the air bags to get it back to stock height when traveling and leveling it when I camp. Any thoughts?