Air Ride Systems evaluations - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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Old 02-14-2010, 08:27 PM
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Air Ride Systems evaluations

I would like input on air ride systems that are installed on SD trucks. The systems that I have been looking at are:

Welcome to Link Manufacturing, Ltd. Products: Cabmate - cab air suspensions; UltraRide - chassis air ride suspension; Liftable Suspensions - lift axle; Cat's Eye - tire pressure maintenance system; DeerShield - protects grille components from deer; C

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Truck Air Suspension Systems for American Pickups from Talon

If you have one of these units installed on your truck, your experience with it and opinion based on that experience would be most appreciated. If you prefer, please feel free to PM me.

We, my wife and I, have decided to evaluate our 99 F350 as a "touring" vehicle as an additional use for it. I have used it to pull a 38 ft L. X 102" W. X 13 ft.+ H. trailer rated at 15k lbs w/three 6k axles. The truck utilizes Velvet Ride hangers and Timbren overloads. This set-up has served me well over the years and could contine to with the exception of using it for long distance touring. The wife likes the truck to ride in as she likes sitting up and feels she can "see better" and feels secure in the one ton. When I first got the truck brand new, many referred to it as a "tank". Probably why she feels secure. All this said, an air ride system would provide the best of both worlds, towing and touring and the subsequent interest in installing one. It, the truck, only has 130k miles and is serviced every 3-5k miles and should last the anticipated 500k miles for us. Worth the investment of an air ride system, imho. She will have an idea of the ride over a long distance as we will use it to deliver an "Express" bed for a 28-31 Ford AA truck to a friend in MN as well as visit family and friends in adjacent states, returning through KS to see a friend there just outside KC, KS. A test on her desire of traveling in this truck and knowing that it will improve (expected improvement) and the truck's fuel bill factored in, will allow us to make the decision.

Subsequent input about these air ride systems may shed light on why one should not consider them, and that would be useful, if based on actual usage. Thank you for your time and consideration.
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Old 02-15-2010, 05:56 AM
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Air Ride System

I have the Link system installed on a 05 F450 DRW. The air bags are huge. This lift is designed for heavy truck bodies, ambulances, tow or utility.
The lift is non adjustable from the cab, it has a level control valve that maintains a set ride height. Put a large truck camper in the back and it is a great, smooth ride. Drive with an empty bed and it will rattle your teeth.

I spoke with the customer support at LINK and they agree that this system needs to have a load on it to make it smooth. I have swapped out the original bags rated at 8000 lbs to a double convoluted bag rated at 3000lbs.

The ride is better but I still put 500lbs in the back to dampen the bounce.
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Old 02-15-2010, 09:39 AM
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air ride systems

Thank you very much for the insight. It's this kind of evaluation that many are looking for prior to spending a chunk of money on a product.

It sounds as if you were satisfied when the heavy camper was in the bed, but running empty became an issue. Has Link suggested any other remedies to assist you in a softer ride besides the new bags? I sure hope so, as you have invested in their product and deserve what was inplied. If it is for commercial only, I would think that it would be stated up front so that those who purchase it for dual roles would be aware.

As the Talon product appears to be relatively new I'm not sure if anyone on the forum will have had an opportunity to have purchased one and used it long enough for an evaluation. Their advertisement with a video implies that it adjusts for weight and maintains a comfortable ride loaded or empty. Customer recommendations will go a long way on this one and I'm hoping to find at least one person who has the system.

I hope that I'm able to assist others with as good of an evaluation as you have provided. Again, thank you for your assistance.
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Old 02-15-2010, 02:02 PM
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link air ride system

This system was already on the truck when I purchased it. The only thing I could do was to modify it to my satstisfaction. I researched the link site and determined that this system should not be on a pickup. MY OPINION. I tried to adjust the air pressure to the bags using a regulator to lower the pressure. No luck, with 15 to 20# in the bag the ride was the same, the bags will not move, jump on the rear bumper and there is little deflection.
This system will only allow a 2" to 3" range of suspension travel with the ability to let the air out to lower the back of the truck about 4" for loading. This is not a fast reacting suspension it is designed to carry a load level like an ambulance body.
The other problem with the F450 are the tires, 225 70R 19.5. These are a 12ply side wall and are typically found on motorhomes and commerical vechicles such as tow truck, flat bed etc. So part of my problem is the bounce of the rear axle while traveling. Lowing the tire pressure does help but like I said earlier I have to carry weight to help damping the bounce.
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Old 02-15-2010, 03:06 PM
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I've been thinking about this Link system and have a thought. You most likely have looked at this, but....have you gone to Firestone to ascertain if they have air springs that could be substituted for the ones that you currently have? Almost all of these systems source their "bags" from Firestone. They very well may have air springs that have softer side walls for better flex that would be applicable to the F350 - 550's.

Just a thought.
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Old 02-15-2010, 06:46 PM
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air bags

The original bags were Firestone air sleeves rated about 8000#. These were replaced with a Firestone double convoluted air bag, 2600# capacity with a 7" diameter. We had to inflated to 40# to maintane the set ride height. I decided to go to larger diameter bag in order to reduce the air pressure required to lift the truck. A set of Conitech 9" diameter 3000# double convoluted bags and air aculmulators were installed. With the truck empty the air pressure is 22#, once the camper is install the pressure increases to 50#. This setup seems to work well without loosing capacity.
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Old 02-17-2010, 08:13 AM
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Thank you very much for the input. I believe this may have pointed me towards the Talon set up. I've made contact with them and they are sending a packet of information, and I hope some referrals for me to review. Watching a video that they have on line it appears that the cab does not shake or the driver being jostled, so perhaps they have actually worked it out for those of us that use our trucks for "dual" purposes. For me that means towing a variety of trailers, one being the above referred 38 ft fifth wheel. After making a decision to purchase or not I'll post about the installation and performance of it if we install the system. I know that many will not purchase a system like this due to the costs, but for us, we will amortize it over a long period of time as I doubt that the truck will ever get to 500k miles in our possesion, but will log on many miles traveling the country. Again, thank you for your time and assistance. Alan
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Old 02-17-2010, 04:31 PM
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Alan, I was happy to share this information. This is such a great site to lean new ideas and solve problems. Good luck with your purchase. I will be looking for your review of the new suspension system. Mark
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