Author Topic: changing air bags on front suspension  (Read 32437 times)

Offline tiredtraveler

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  • Posts: 14
  • Year: 1985
  • Make: Georgie Boy
  • Model: Cruise Air II
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 454
changing air bags on front suspension
« on: December 07, 2009, 01:46 PM »
Hi here is my first question ?

Has anyone replaced the front air bags in the suspension of a p 30 Chevy chassis.

The left front is sagging and the left front shock is completely compressed.

How hard is it to change these and what is the best source for the air bags?

tiredtraveler
Tiredtraver

Offline Froggy1936

  • 12 year member
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  • Year: 1977
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Minnie Winnie
  • Chassis: Chevy G30
  • Engine: 5.7 1995
Re: changing air bags on front suspension
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2009, 09:57 PM »
Hi,  J.C. Whitney is now the distributor for Air Ride  Air Bags  If you order from them make sure you specify P30 Motor Home. Not P30 truck.   Frank
The Journey is the REWARD !

Offline tiinytina

  • 11 year member
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  • Year: 1987
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  • Model: Allegro 28
  • Chassis: Chevy P30
  • Engine: 454
Re: changing air bags on front suspension
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2009, 06:39 AM »
don't even get me started on changing those airbags!!!!  $@!#@! $@!#@! $@!#@! ... If you can replace the springs that is what most are doing at this point. There is a p30 chassis yahoogroup with more info on it in their archives. You can search our database for the tale I wrote when I did it 3 years ago.

Tina
Hi from Gone to the Dawgs! 1987 Tiffin Allegro in Deale MD. CW Rocks!!!

Seon

Re: changing air bags on front suspension
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2009, 10:01 AM »
I changed the front air bags on my '84 Chieftain back in Sept. I bought the Firestone #4100 bags thru Amazon at $85 delivered to my house.

In order to install the bags, it must be twisted to release the air, then the air valve is capped which leaves the bag deflated making the diameter small enough to "squeeze" the bags thru the hole inside the springs.  Problem I had was that when I twisted the bags, the bag didn't deflate enough to get the diameter small enough.
So I placed the top end of the bag between two 1"x4" pieces of wood boards in my bench vise then tighten to "sandwich" the bag in place.  Then I twisted the bag and once deflated, I capped the valve stem.  This deflated the bag leaving minimal air.

Next I made a soap/water solution in a spray bottle using it to "lubricate" the bag when inserting it thru the hole.
 
These bags greatly improved my steering "wandering" and the ride is lot softer.  At that point, I decided to install rear air bags which made the ride even better.

Installing front air bags is a chore but IMO well worth it.

Offline Froggy1936

  • 12 year member
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  • Chassis: Chevy G30
  • Engine: 5.7 1995
Re: changing air bags on front suspension
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2009, 04:30 PM »
Hi When i installed the air bags on the frt of my P30 I also used the soapy water solution then after getting as much air out of them as possible ( that is the hardest part) I used radiator hose clamps (with an electric drill and a socket) to squeeze the M/F small enough to insert into hole in lower a frame  as they pass thru the hole just remove the clamp and insert to the next clamp and so on Make sure there are no sharp edges on the clamps  Good Luck  Frank
The Journey is the REWARD !

Offline tiredtraveler

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  • Year: 1985
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  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 454
Re: changing air bags on front suspension
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2010, 11:35 AM »
Finallt had warm enough weather to get those fracking air bags installed....three bloody knuckles and a whole lot of  $@!#@! $@!#@! $@!#@! $@!#@! later. talk about trying to shove 7 pounds of stuff into a a 5 pound sack. The old ones came out easy enough but putting the new ones in is insane :'( now to get ready for the journey south to Florida!! :-)
Tiredtraver

Offline tiinytina

  • 11 year member
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Re: changing air bags on front suspension
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2010, 03:04 PM »
I'm in awe only 3 bloody knuckles? I don't think I had a square inch on either hand that wasn't bloody, scraped, bruised, or mashed.... $@!#@! $@!#@! $@!#@! $@!#@!

Tina
Hi from Gone to the Dawgs! 1987 Tiffin Allegro in Deale MD. CW Rocks!!!

Offline tiredtraveler

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  • Engine: 454
Re: changing air bags on front suspension
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2010, 03:14 PM »
It only took me 2 hours to do, an hour and a half for the first one ...then my loving wife told me about soapy water (in the directions) and the second one only took about a half hour it just jumped in until the last two inches that I had to work in with a boxed end wrench like putting on a tire...I am sore in the shoulder from trying to push up while laying on my back that part kinda sucked.  Oh well hope the rear ones hold up til I get to Florida then i will replace them if necessary :)
Tiredtraver

Offline tiinytina

  • 11 year member
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  • Engine: 454
Re: changing air bags on front suspension
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2010, 03:39 PM »
took me 5 hours by myself, soap, WD40, hot water....  snap ties, bench vice, vice grips... then again I tend to learn things the hard way! Actually glad no one but my dad was in hearing distance through the whole procedure!  $@!#@! $@!#@!  And  I think I made him blush!  If these go I'm going to put in heavier springs!

Tina


Hi from Gone to the Dawgs! 1987 Tiffin Allegro in Deale MD. CW Rocks!!!

Offline tiredtraveler

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  • Engine: 454
Re: changing air bags on front suspension
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2010, 03:47 PM »
I did remind everyone in the area that I was a sailor in the past. I try hard not to yell at wife but sometimes she asks questions at the peak of frustration and word vomit comes outa my mouth (MUCH TO MY CHAGRIN).  I think that the cursing helps lower the stress...I think it beats throwing things losing tools and parts too.
Tiredtraver

Offline Froggy1936

  • 12 year member
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  • Engine: 5.7 1995
Re: changing air bags on front suspension
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2010, 02:46 PM »
I recently read that swearing DOES absolutly help complete difficult tasks  Frank
The Journey is the REWARD !

Offline GONMAD

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Re: changing air bags on front suspension
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2012, 02:29 PM »
I just installed a pair on a friends Bounder P 30 & had an epiphany the night before & used a vacuum pump for refrigeration. If you pull a complete vacuum on the bag & as it is deflating try to work it into a hot dog bun shape & wrap the bag with twine or fishing line after it's collapsed & it literally slips in with NO hassle! It sure took a couple hours of cussing & twisting. I did mine a couple years ago & swore NOT to EVER do another. This was NEVER a popular job & now I have confidence to another if needed. The bag will have to be worked into shape by first warming it slightly in hot water. As the bag is collapsing have a friend with strong hands push one side into the other. You might have to bleed air out & in to aid in reshaping the bag to the hot dog bun shape. After you have wrapped & tied it off & installed onto the control arm just cut the line & install  the plastic end pieces, hook up the air lines & fill.  (I use 55 lbs in the front bags & 60 lbs in the tires) I hope this method works as good for you as it did for me & as always    C YA! GONMAD

Offline ClydesdaleKevin

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  • Model: Imperial 35 Anniversary Edition
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  • Engine: 454
Re: changing air bags on front suspension
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2012, 04:46 AM »
We did ours last fall in North Carolina, and after reading all the adventures here on the procedure, it actually ended up being a breeze!

I warmed them up in front of a ceramic heater, coated them in dish soap, and twisted them as small as they would go, and they went right in!  It took me longer to get the old crusty ones out than it did to get the new ones in...lol!

I went with the blue Firestones.

I run 50 psi in the front air bags.  Sometime this year I'll be replacing all SIX shocks.  Yep, the trailing axle has shocks too!

Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 98 Cherokee lifted beastie tow vehicle, and The Nautilus, our 1989 Holiday Rambler Imperial 35 Anniversary Edition.

Offline HandyDan

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Re: changing air bags on front suspension
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2012, 09:31 AM »
I just replaced the four rear shocks on my Holiday Rambler.  The hard part was getting the wheels off as they weigh more than I should be playing with.  However, with my trusty shovel and floor jack, I'm getting pretty good at taking wheels off and putting them back on.  The shocks were no problem at all to replace.  It helps to have a ratcheting box end wrench set because the top nuts have no clearance.  Since I have the tag axle from Mor-Ryde I had to do a little research to find a compatible shock since the original is no longer available.  I went with the Monroe 34792.
When I replaced the front air bags, I did as others have done and heated them, sucked the air out, and used zip ties to hold them in the folded position.  Zip ties let me keep tightening them as I pressed them to together.  Then I just poked them up the hole, cut the ties and aired them up.  It wasn't as easy as it sounds but it wasn't the nightmare I thought it was going to be. 
1984 Holiday Rambler
1997 Newmar Kountry Star

Offline HandyDan

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Re: changing air bags on front suspension
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2012, 03:59 PM »
Kevin,  Like you, I run 50psi in the front air bags.  That seems to work well. 
1984 Holiday Rambler
1997 Newmar Kountry Star

Offline ClydesdaleKevin

  • 11 year member
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  • Engine: 454
Re: changing air bags on front suspension
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2012, 05:55 AM »
Hey Dan,

Thanks for that Monroe shock number by the way!

Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 98 Cherokee lifted beastie tow vehicle, and The Nautilus, our 1989 Holiday Rambler Imperial 35 Anniversary Edition.

Offline piorun

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  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 454
Re: changing air bags on front suspension
« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2013, 02:29 PM »
They are very hard to get in. It took me a whole day to put them in my rig. Try lubricating them with soap and water.

Offline Stripe

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Re: changing air bags on front suspension
« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2013, 04:42 PM »
50 in the front, 60 in the tires?  My tires say inflate to 100!  Am I missing something? Lol..

CMM500
Fredric,
Captain of the Ground Ship "Aluminum Goose"
28' Holiday Rambler Imperial 28

Offline GONMAD

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Re: changing air bags on front suspension
« Reply #18 on: July 03, 2013, 05:53 PM »
Hello again,  Concerning tire pressure all the way around, I put 100 lbs in & MY GOD the ride was horrific to say the least! Then tried 75 lbs a bit better but I couldn't stand the harshness. I backed off 5 lbs at a time till I found a happy medium of between 70 & 55 lbs front & 70 rear with 75 lbs in the rear air bags & the front varies  with tongue weight on the trailer, too much air in the front bags made it steer funny. Less air put the front back down so as not to change the alignment under load. The mileage suffers a little but it's worth it. If your rig runs ok at 100 lbs & you can stand the harsh ride keep it the same but I once read that a trip at max pressure is like a 3.2 earthquake! I DO like air suspension
Just a thought I wanted to Share
  C YA! GONMAD

Offline fleetmasterfred

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Re: changing air bags on front suspension
« Reply #19 on: July 03, 2013, 07:34 PM »
I tried changing the air bags in the front of my coach but she won't go... neither will her mother!   
 
Sorry, couldn't resist.  Now I'll just go back to my new favorite RX site.  Please continue.     

Offline pvoth

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Re: changing air bags on front suspension
« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2013, 04:06 PM »
I paid a RV shop to replace mine they used airlite bags? I think.   500 bucks installed...I could have done it myself I was at a RV park they had it done less than one day....plus I had them do the front brakes....and full lube job.

We call our coach "Charlie Brown"

Offline Tim Traveler

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Re: changing air bags on front suspension
« Reply #21 on: September 01, 2013, 11:04 AM »
I replaced the front air bags in my '89 Allegro 28' class A with the Chevy P30 chassis.  Surprisingly enough, it wasn't too bad.  I jacked up the front under the K frame to let the lower A arms extend fully.  We cut the old bags out w/a Sawzall and twisted/pulled them out with Channellock pliers. 

For the new bags, like others have done here, we squeezed all the air out that we could and folded the new bags in half length wise, like a hot dog bun, re-installed the air valve caps, and zip-tied the bags in this shape.  We put the bags up through the bottom hole in the lower A arm, and when it almost reached the top of the spring, we stuck the upper cushion through the spring to protect the top of the bags. 

The whole job took a little over 3 hours.  Oh yes, before we cut out the old bags, we bored through the bottom of the old bags, right through the shrader valve with a 1" or 1-1/8th hole saw.  This enables the bag to squeeze out of the bottom hole better, and it also helps you to grab onto the bag with Channellocks. 

I purchased my air bags (Air Lift 1000 kit #AIL81560) from TruckSpring.com in Saginaw, MI for just under $100.  Shipping was rather quick and I'm happy with my purchase.  The instructions included with the bags are pretty helpful and straight forward.  I keep 50 psi. in the bags and it seems to work well. 

Offline Stripe

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Re: changing air bags on front suspension
« Reply #22 on: September 01, 2013, 05:54 PM »
I changed them last week and used the ride rite from air ride.I removed the front spring and place the airbag.it takes 50 minutes each side and you can check the shocks,balljoints and brakes as well.Use a solid roll jack .
You have to remove the caliper,the lower shock mount,tie rod end,stabilizermount and lower ball joint.
 
Rob

I basically did the same as Rob did,   http://www.classicwinnebagos.com/forum/index.php/topic,7759.msg36431.html#msg36431

Aside from the rain, it was pretty fun to do..
Fredric,
Captain of the Ground Ship "Aluminum Goose"
28' Holiday Rambler Imperial 28

Offline legomybago

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Re: changing air bags on front suspension
« Reply #23 on: September 03, 2013, 04:34 PM »
Just did mine last Saturday.....I'm still a little sore from laying on the concrete!! and one bloody finger!!! Didn't really turn into a full on cuss fest like I was expecting....but not in a hurry to do again...I wrapped like hot dog and used zip ties....In the end on the 2nd one, I used a hose clamp to sqeeze the last little bit (like a piston ring compressor) the bag pushed on up...I also put on new front shocks. Looking forward to driving soon,.,
Never get crap happy with a slap happy pappy

Offline cncsparky

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Re: changing air bags on front suspension
« Reply #24 on: April 12, 2014, 10:17 PM »
As far as installing, big help was the large pair of channel locks I bought recently.  Don't remember the size of them, but they are good size.  They were able to grip and compact the bag as it is rotated up into the hole.  I was at first worried that the sharp teeth on the pliers would damage the bag, but it didn't phase them  :)clap   At one point I could squeeze the bag and push it up through the hole.  Worked really slick.  Still a lot of work, not unlike a male form of child birth  :)rotflmao
-Tom

 

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