Air Bags 2001 Chevy Express Van
I need some advice on air bags. I've looked at the archives here and numerous other sites. My van is 5.7 and tows my 2005 Nordic Rage pretty well but once I load up the family it does sag a bit.
I'm thinking Firestone air bags may be the way to go to keep this economical. It's a 2001 Van so I'm not interested in spending crazy money but I want it to be a safe tow platform
So, any recommendations besides Firestone? I know that the airlines should be spearate so there's no air transfer while cornering. I'm ok with buying the compressor if it's not overkill. 90% of the time the van is used to transport the family, there are seven of us.
If the compressor is recommended I've noticed there's a difference in the compressors, Dual v Single? I could use some education here.
Thanks for your recommendations.
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Air Lift v Firestone?
Are there any concerns in using Air Lift bags?
Auxiliary Timbren load control is what I'd consider an "always on" method of load control. If the Van is driven unloaded and also at max capacity an air bag system makes more sense to me because it is adjustable.
Firestone / Ride-Rite make a very reliable product. Your best bet if you are doing the install yourself is to get a complete kit. I've run air bags with and without an onboard compressor. On one truck I ran the line fittings through my rear license plate. The fittings are a standard Schrader valve that allow you to increase or drop pressure using a 12v compressor, gas station air, even a manual bicycle pump.
The onboard compressor is nice because you can use it for more than just adjusting bag pressure. The smaller inexpensive pumps found in most air bag kits don't produce a ton of volume but an air bag kit for your Express can go from 3-4 psi to 80psi in very little time. And having even a small pump is much better than no pump.
One other thing to consider is the air bag will be acting as an air spring. If your existing rear shocks are marginal now you might want to consider an upgrade. I don't like too many Rancho shock absorbers but for towing the RS9000XL adjustable is a pretty decent product. Higher air bag pressures and heavier loads require a better shock than what GM includes from the factory. The Rancho RS9000XL can be adjusted to one of its higher settings to provide additional shock damping while towing or hauling the kids around. The additional shock damping helps to eliminate the porposing (up and down up and down) and when set to the lower settings rides no different than stock. Rancho also offers a less than 100% reliable in-cab system that can adjust the shocks on the fly. I say less than 100% reliable because all of their remote adjustment systems have been plagued by issues over the years. Their new MyRide is better than some of the older systems but it's not perfect. When (not if) the system leaks it defaults the shock to it's softest setting. Without the MyRide system you'd have to crawl under the van to adjust the shocks.
Last edited by AlohaJeff; 04-19-2010 at 10:02 PM.
Im new to the towing with airbags thing too so, sorry, no help here from me but when I read that you had a van the first thing that popped in my head was this beast. probly a little over kill for what your wanting but it would make one hell of a family/toy hauler.
I've had air bags on lowered dually's since the late 80's for load leveling. Air Lift or Firestones are good choices and can be fairly trouble free if you keep up on them. I've hauled a huge cab over camper on a slammed dually with pretty good success.
The kits they sell should be considered a box of parts more so than something that will bolt right on. Maybe since your van is stock, it will be more straight forward, but I've always had to reengineer the stuff to make it work properly.
A compressor is a big help, but not required if you got the system air tight. If the bags leaks, you'll be glad you have a compressor. Generally, I'll put a schrader valve under the gas door to fill them up with an air hose/tank if needed. Also, no need to split them up with individual lines.
Originally Posted by gn7
Originally Posted by fuelinmyveins82