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Air bag auto levelling

Discussion in 'Towing and Hauling' started by chillman88, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. chillman88

    chillman88 Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Hey guys,

    I've been toying with the idea of installing air bags with levelling valves like the semi's have.

    I know there's a minimum psi for the air bags of about 10psi. Is there any valve that's not computerized that has a minimum level or any way to install a bypass that disables the valve under a certain pressure?

    The only way I can see it working is to set "level" to be a smidge higher than empty, but that would harshen the ride unnecessarily.

    I realize I don't need to do this, and I realize it's extra work and probably a waste of money, but I still would like to consider it. I'm just wondering if anyone has any ideas I haven't thought about yet.

    Thanks!
     
  2. 79jasper

    79jasper Chickenhawk

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    Kelderman.....

    Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk
     
  3. Danielle

    Danielle I'm allowed to buy a Jeep! Hawhaw Supporting Member

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    Like these? They just pass air back and forth, no computer. Or am I misunderstanding your question?[​IMG]

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  4. chillman88

    chillman88 Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Well you're partly there.

    I'd like to put in levelling valves that add air when you load the truck or trailer and release air when you unload or unhook. They maintain a set ride hight.

    The problem with that is most pickup air bags will be damaged if you completely air them down, they're designed to have 5-10psi in them at all times. If you hook up levelling valves and unhook your trailer, they will deflate the bags until either the truck lowers back to the set height or the bags are completely empty.


    I'm trying to figure out a way to avoid the valves dumping that last 10psi.

    I dug around on the kelderman site and didn't find exactly what I'm looking for. They have the valves though. I'll look at their bags and see. Maybe they can be emptied completely, which would make my search pointless lol!
     
  5. Mulochico

    Mulochico Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    The big difference with what you are trying to do and the semi air bags is that the semis use the air as a primary suspension component, you are proposing it as a secondary component. You might have a problem with needing a minimum amount of air in the bags seeing as it is not necessary in most circumstances. The only other thing to try would be to remove some of the springs from the pack and make the airbags part of the primary system. I'm not sure if I would go that route, but it is possible.
     
  6. chillman88

    chillman88 Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Yes exactly. I am aware of this. I know some bags have basically an internal bump stop, but I haven't spent enough time researching spring size and load ratings to figure out if one of those would be a better alternative. If I do this and it rides like crap because I used oversized bags, it would all be in vain anyway.

    The thought crossed my mind. The only issue is if I was going to go that far I would just figure out how to do a 4 link and I'm not sure I want to mess with all that. I was really hoping someone would know of some kind of simple low pressure bypass valve.



    If it turns out to be a wild goose chase I'll abandon it but I'll chase it for a while just to be sure.
     
  7. chillman88

    chillman88 Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    I could I suppose always use a switch like this:
    http://store.flw.com/products/barks...MI49XEr7Pb2QIViCSGCh0M7wdCEAQYASABEgK3SfD_BwE

    The switch could simply close a solenoid at a set pressure to prevent leakdown below the set pressure. It would require another valve to release the solenoid when pressure is added to the system.

    I'd prefer a mechanical solution but it might end up being my best option. Not sure why I hadn't thought of it before...

    Ideas?
     
  8. Thewespaul

    Thewespaul Supporting Vendor Supporting Member

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    Okay so I’ve actually thought about this for my truck and heres how I would set it up.

    Bag Air pressure gauge would be in cab and a three position switch in cab as well. Up position opens a valve to allow air into the bags, down releases pressure, and neutral is just closed center position. No electronics to worry about and the supply is completely separate so you can run a air hose off a tank to air up tires if needed. As far as keeping pressure in the bags, if you have weight in the bed it’s not an issue. I have a tool box that’s overfilled with tools to do service work in the field, so that plus the weight of the bed should be enough to compress the suspension to not affect ride quality with the bags having some pressure. A good sized transfer tank in the bed would do this job nicely.
     
  9. chillman88

    chillman88 Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    I could always do that, but I wanted to set it up to be automatic. Switches are the 2nd best option.

    I'd love to get my York installed and run a tank under the bed specifically for this ability. Plus the ability to run air tools anywhere would be a definite plus. That'd be another thread entirely though....
     
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  10. IDIoit

    IDIoit MachinistFabricator Supporting Member

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    chillman88 likes this.
  11. FordIDIot

    FordIDIot Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    I have a working KELDERMAN self leveling air ride installed on my truck. Works great.
     
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  12. chillman88

    chillman88 Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    What year is your truck? I didn't see anything listed for either my 91 F350 or my 86 K20. I suppose a newer system wouldn't be too hard to retrofit in my 91 since the axles swap relatively easy.


    Two posts before you I started to consider that lol! I will probably end up looking at this route. A Kelderman setup would be great but if I can have something similar for far less investment I'd be much happier.

    The plan has always been to use a York compressor with an air tank and add a couple bags to the rear. I can probably run the auto levellers for similar investment to switches in the cab. It'll be a little more but levelling valves aren't all that expensive online.

    I'd still need solenoids of some kind to add cab controls, unless I feel like running air lines all the way to the cab with manual valves, which would probably end up being more expensive anyway.
     
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  13. FordIDIot

    FordIDIot Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    92. They don't make em anymore .I have the original install manual too. I'm assuming maybe a 99+ style could work as I've put OBS reunel bumpers on super duty trucks.

    My system replaces rear shackle with bracket with bags.

    [​IMG]


     
  14. Danielle

    Danielle I'm allowed to buy a Jeep! Hawhaw Supporting Member

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    What about the lowering airbag kits they use on "mini" trucks? Those are designed to change ride height from in the cab and from what I have seen they have a lot of range.

    Or use the air suspension from a Touareg

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  15. chillman88

    chillman88 Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Good point, I could be hella fly with those kits yo!:joker:

    You definitely bring up a good point, I haven't looked an awful lot into the different types of air bags available either.

    Although I believe your comment about the Touareg was in jest, it brings up a valid point I hadn't yet considered. Many manufacturers offer vehicles with factory air suspensions which might actually be a good place to look for materials.

    I'm not going FULL air suspension, but there may be alternative choices for me if I look at Lincolns and Cadillacs for parts or ideas.

    I seem to be pretty good at "frankensteining" vehicles together lol!
     

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