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Old 09-25-2005, 10:01   #1 (permalink)
Harry Putnam
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towing and `air bag' suspension

I plan to begin towing a 4500 lb (dry weight) Travel Trailer with a
1998 Ford F-150
8ft bed
small V8 [4.6L]
3.55 [stock] differential

Hitch is:
Drawtite with torsion bars, stabilizer etc.

When I pulled this trailer home from the dealer, I noticed the truck
and trailer loping on bumps. I think the hitch was adjusted about as
good as it gets. It was nice and level .. good tension on torsion
bars so I'm thinking my truck suspension needs some beef.

I'd like to install air bag suspension that fits above the leaf
springs and only comes into play when loaded.

Near as I can tell, my model F-150 doesn't appear in many of the
airbag charts I've found thru google. They run something like:

79-96 (can be fitted with the heavy duty (5000lb grade air bags) and
2004 to 2005 ditto. But my year (1998) onlys seems to take the
lighter duty 3000lb models.

I've written to two suppliers so far but only received mail bounces
for my troubles...

Is anyone here using an 1998 F-150 with air bag suspension for towing?
Or can any body advise me if there are heavy duty bags for my model?
Or where to ask someone who would know for sure.
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Old 09-26-2005, 06:01   #2 (permalink)
Chris Hill
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Re: towing and `air bag' suspension

On Sun, 25 Sep 2005 16:42:46 GMT, Harry Putnam <reader@newsguy.com>
wrote:

>I plan to begin towing a 4500 lb (dry weight) Travel Trailer with a
> 1998 Ford F-150
> 8ft bed
> small V8 [4.6L]
> 3.55 [stock] differential
>
>Hitch is:
> Drawtite with torsion bars, stabilizer etc.
>
>When I pulled this trailer home from the dealer, I noticed the truck
>and trailer loping on bumps. I think the hitch was adjusted about as
>good as it gets. It was nice and level .. good tension on torsion
>bars so I'm thinking my truck suspension needs some beef.



That's not how you setup such a hitch. You need to take it to a level
parking lot, and measure instead of looking at it. Fact is, it is
going to feel different when pulling a trailer so there may be nothing
wrong at all.

When in an empty level parking lot, unhook the trailer and measure
from a spot on the front and back of the truck to the ground. Write
down the measurements. Connect the trailer and adjust the bars so the
front and back drop nearly the same amount, if one has to be more it
should be the rear but only slightly.
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Old 09-27-2005, 05:01   #3 (permalink)
Greg Surratt
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Re: towing and `air bag' suspension

On Sun, 25 Sep 2005 16:42:46 GMT, Harry Putnam <reader@newsguy.com>
wrote:

>I plan to begin towing a 4500 lb (dry weight) Travel Trailer with a
> 1998 Ford F-150
> 8ft bed
> small V8 [4.6L]
> 3.55 [stock] differential
>
>Hitch is:
> Drawtite with torsion bars, stabilizer etc.
>
>When I pulled this trailer home from the dealer, I noticed the truck
>and trailer loping on bumps. I think the hitch was adjusted about as
>good as it gets. It was nice and level .. good tension on torsion
>bars so I'm thinking my truck suspension needs some beef.
>
>I'd like to install air bag suspension that fits above the leaf
>springs and only comes into play when loaded.
>
>Near as I can tell, my model F-150 doesn't appear in many of the
>airbag charts I've found thru google. They run something like:
>
> 79-96 (can be fitted with the heavy duty (5000lb grade air bags) and
> 2004 to 2005 ditto. But my year (1998) onlys seems to take the
> lighter duty 3000lb models.


Why are you trying to put 2 1/2 ton air bags on a 1/2 ton truck? The
heavy duty airbags won't increase your tow or carrying capacity and
probably won't help the ride either when you put enough air in them to
do any good.

Two other things I'd try before I go to the expense of air bags would
be
(1) Try changing the adjustment of the weight distributing hitch. The
ones I've used had chains that I could move up or down a link or two
and make a significant difference in the ride.
(2) Try changing your speed when the rig starts galloping. The
combination of your speed and the distance between the bumps may be
setting up a loping rhythm that can be changed by varying the speed.

Greg
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Old 09-29-2005, 07:01   #4 (permalink)
Harry Putnam
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Posts: n/a
Re: towing and `air bag' suspension

Chris Hill <hillco@earthlink.net> writes:

[...]

>>
>>When I pulled this trailer home from the dealer, I noticed the truck
>>and trailer loping on bumps. I think the hitch was adjusted about as
>>good as it gets. It was nice and level .. good tension on torsion
>>bars so I'm thinking my truck suspension needs some beef.

>
>
> That's not how you setup such a hitch. You need to take it to a level
> parking lot, and measure instead of looking at it. Fact is, it is
> going to feel different when pulling a trailer so there may be nothing
> wrong at all.
>
> When in an empty level parking lot, unhook the trailer and measure
> from a spot on the front and back of the truck to the ground. Write
> down the measurements. Connect the trailer and adjust the bars so the
> front and back drop nearly the same amount, if one has to be more it
> should be the rear but only slightly.


So the result of your method is that the towing vehicle and the
trailer are level or as close as possible.... Well, that is what I
said I had ...Some people may need to measure, I rely on visual from
a lifetime of estamating level on construction sites. Further, I
doubt you'll find many trailer towing folks who will be measuring at
every connection.

Now to get back to the question, which you seem to have ignored.

> Is anyone here using an 1998 F-150 with air bag suspension for towing?
> Or can any body advise me if there are heavy duty bags for my model?
> Or where to ask someone who would know for sure.


Can you comment on the question?


Greg Surratt <glsurratt@verizon.net> writes:

[...]

>>Near as I can tell, my model F-150 doesn't appear in many of the
>>airbag charts I've found thru google. They run something like:
>>
>> 79-96 (can be fitted with the heavy duty (5000lb grade air bags) and
>> 2004 to 2005 ditto. But my year (1998) onlys seems to take the
>> lighter duty 3000lb models.


> Why are you trying to put 2 1/2 ton air bags on a 1/2 ton truck? The
> heavy duty airbags won't increase your tow or carrying capacity and
> probably won't help the ride either when you put enough air in them to
> do any good.


I'm going to guess that you are not really naive enough to believe
that when a 1/2 ton pickup with maybe 750 or more extra pounds on the
frame really exerts no more than 1/2 ton on the suspension, when it
hits even a midrange bump.

> Two other things I'd try before I go to the expense of air bags would
> be
> (1) Try changing the adjustment of the weight distributing hitch. The
> ones I've used had chains that I could move up or down a link or two
> and make a significant difference in the ride.
> (2) Try changing your speed when the rig starts galloping. The
> combination of your speed and the distance between the bumps may be
> setting up a loping rhythm that can be changed by varying the speed.


You seem to have ignored my question too. Its reposted below:

> Is anyone here using an 1998 F-150 with air bag suspension for towing?
> Or can any body advise me if there are heavy duty bags for my model?
> Or where to ask someone who would know for sure.


Just incase you have a comment on the question itself.
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Old 09-29-2005, 08:01   #5 (permalink)
TheSnoMan
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Posts: n/a
Re: towing and `air bag' suspension

Harry Putnam wrote:

> Now to get back to the question, which you seem to have ignored.
>
>
>>Is anyone here using an 1998 F-150 with air bag suspension for towing?
>>Or can any body advise me if there are heavy duty bags for my model?
>>Or where to ask someone who would know for sure.

>
>
> Can you comment on the question?


There will be some disagreement here but genrally if you are having
leveling problems even with a WD hitch towing with a F150, you have too
much trailer on it plan and simple. Air bag will not make up for tire
capacities, reserve braking, limit torque wrapup if rear springs or
increase towing power. You might want to reevaluate the situation.

-----------------
www.thesnoman.com
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Old 09-29-2005, 19:01   #6 (permalink)
Harry Putnam
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Re: towing and `air bag' suspension

TheSnoMan <admin@snoman.com> writes:

> There will be some disagreement here but genrally if you are having
> leveling problems even with a WD hitch towing with a F150, you have too
> much trailer on it plan and simple. Air bag will not make up for tire
> capacities, reserve braking, limit torque wrapup if rear springs or
> increase towing power. You might want to reevaluate the situation.


Did someone mention a leveling problem? Maybe I missed the comment.

The question I asked was if anyone here is using air bags on an F150
for towing.
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Old 09-29-2005, 19:01   #7 (permalink)
TheSnoMan
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Re: towing and `air bag' suspension

Harry Putnam wrote:
> TheSnoMan <admin@snoman.com> writes:
>
>
>>There will be some disagreement here but genrally if you are having
>>leveling problems even with a WD hitch towing with a F150, you have too
>>much trailer on it plan and simple. Air bag will not make up for tire
>>capacities, reserve braking, limit torque wrapup if rear springs or
>>increase towing power. You might want to reevaluate the situation.

>
>
> Did someone mention a leveling problem? Maybe I missed the comment.
>
> The question I asked was if anyone here is using air bags on an F150
> for towing.


Again if there are, they are overloaded if the WD hitch is not enough.
If I really needed more capacity for towing, I would add a leaf because
that will reduce torque wrap up of axle too.

-----------------
www.thesnoman.com
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Old 09-30-2005, 06:01   #8 (permalink)
Harry Putnam
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Posts: n/a
Re: towing and `air bag' suspension

TheSnoMan <admin@snoman.com> writes:

> if there are, they are overloaded if the WD hitch is not enough.
> If I really needed more capacity for towing, I would add a leaf because
> that will reduce torque wrap up of axle too.


It would also add unwanted stiffness when not loaded. That is one of
the reasons air bag advocates offer for using air bags. They don't
really come into play until there is a substantial load.

I don't know what `torque wrap up' is, but do air bag not increase it?
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Old 09-30-2005, 10:01   #9 (permalink)
Chris Hill
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Posts: n/a
Re: towing and `air bag' suspension

On Thu, 29 Sep 2005 13:04:20 GMT, Harry Putnam <reader@newsguy.com> >>
>> That's not how you setup such a hitch. You need to take it to a level
>> parking lot, and measure instead of looking at it. Fact is, it is
>> going to feel different when pulling a trailer so there may be nothing
>> wrong at all.
>>
>> When in an empty level parking lot, unhook the trailer and measure
>> from a spot on the front and back of the truck to the ground. Write
>> down the measurements. Connect the trailer and adjust the bars so the
>> front and back drop nearly the same amount, if one has to be more it
>> should be the rear but only slightly.

>
>So the result of your method is that the towing vehicle and the
>trailer are level or as close as possible.... Well, that is what I
>said I had ...Some people may need to measure, I rely on visual from
>a lifetime of estamating level on construction sites. Further, I
>doubt you'll find many trailer towing folks who will be measuring at
>every connection.




Measure it and find out; whether or not the trailer has to do with
proper hitch height on the truck, not the bars. You're going to feel
a difference in ride when towing, I do even with a 5000 pound trailer
behind an f350.
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Old 10-01-2005, 08:01   #10 (permalink)
bradtx
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Re: towing and `air bag' suspension

Harry, Been there, done that. Stiffening the rear only allows the
front to pivot/move more. Put on a set of F/R 3/4 ton springs from
the '97 or '98 (?) LD F250.

bradtx

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