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Discussion Starter #1
I was over in the 5th wheel towing section-we are planning on buying a 5th wheel for retirement, and noticed one fellow who said a friend of his had a blow out with his air bags. The 5ver hit the rear axle hard enough to bend it. Anyone else have this happen? I am debating on how to beef up my rear suspension and certainly do not want the air bags to do this to me. Isolated incident? Will the company be responsible for paying for a new axle etc? Questions...Questions...sigh:confused:
 

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Airbags are a good way to go, but you can also go with helper springs etc.

The general consensus is if you need the airbags to help things your probably too heavy... but this depends on the degree of weight or if you are just wanting to level things out a bit or are trying to correct major sag due to weight.

There are some airbags from Air Lift Air Bag Suspension, Air Springs, Air Suspension Kits | Air Lift Company - Tow and Haul with Safety and Comfort they have an integrated internal jouncer that acts sort of like a bumper which if I was going to do airbags I would go that route simply for added protection in the event of the airbag failing. The kit I am talking about is the LoadLifter 5000 Ultimate, which is currently in development for the f150 and according to the company it should be released in the next month or two.
 

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This is where Paul Harvey would come in handy, so that we could know the rest of the story.

In truth airbags do not increase payload, they will only enable you to help level your load. Keepin that in mind, there would have had to have been something big to cause an airbag to blow out thus slam the rubber pad down hard enough to cause the axle to bend. Something like one monster pot hole at a speed to create an upward movement then slamming down full force exploding the airbag and delivering a thousand pounds plus of force contact onto the axle. So yes, I could see where it could happen, but I feel it would be an exception to the norm for it to happen.

What is more common is the owner forgetting to latch the fifth wheel hitch closed and having the fifth wheel come out of the hitch once the front level legs have been retracted when the truck goes to pull away and head for the road. Yep, that happens often and the fifth wheel trailer will drop down and land on top of your bed rails and crumpling them like aluminum foil. But even then, I doubt that it would result in any axle damage. At least I have never seen it happen.

Keep in mind that the best item you can ever load into your truck will always be common sense. I guess what I'm saying is that you should be the smartest airbag in the truck. Keep a level head, use common sense then watch out for Murphy's Law at all times.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Good advice. You are right - I am not looking to increase the load capability of the truck - that would be a very bad idea. I just don't like "sag." My brother has a 40', 18,000 lb house he pulls behind his 3/4 ton ford and it sags. He said is does not bother him because he never drives at night. It does bother me, so I want to avoid it. I will never overload this truck, that is just not smart if you ask me, but I do want the truck close to level - maybe and 1" or so of sag, nothing more. My plan right now is one of three options. A Jayco Eagle, Keystone Cougar, or a Open Road Ultralite - all under 8,000 lbs with a 1500 (or so) pin weight.
 

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I would never advise "air Bags" for towing. Aux. Springs as found on 1 ton trucks "setup correctly by a good spring shop" accomplish whatever you need when towing and automatically do not affect the ride when not towing. When airbags fail it can be dangerous! Been there... done that! Airbags also limit the travel of the suspension and hurt the ride. They are an expensive way to hurt the ride of a truck.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm beginning to get the idea that air bags are not a good idea! I am beginning to like the spring idea. On to more research! Thanks guys - this site is a big help.
 

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So far I have been very pleased with the AirLift bags I installed under my 2013 FX4. Now maybe it has to do with I only went with 2,000 pound bags rather than the more popular 5,000 pound bags. But, let face it, your not going to ever need 5K worth of life on an F150. With the 2K AirLift bags the ride does not suffer when driving with a empty bed, maybe it is because being a little bag it is allowed to flex and give more than the heavier material on the 5K bags.

AirLift also offers a 60 day trail period, if you don't like them or the ride you can return them with in the 60 day period for a refund...no questions asked.
 

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Good advice. You are right - I am not looking to increase the load capability of the truck - that would be a very bad idea. I just don't like "sag." My brother has a 40', 18,000 lb house he pulls behind his 3/4 ton ford and it sags. He said is does not bother him because he never drives at night. It does bother me, so I want to avoid it. I will never overload this truck, that is just not smart if you ask me, but I do want the truck close to level - maybe and 1" or so of sag, nothing more. My plan right now is one of three options. A Jayco Eagle, Keystone Cougar, or a Open Road Ultralite - all under 8,000 lbs with a 1500 (or so) pin weight.
1500lb hitch weight is very high for bumper pulls, my father has a Jayco Eagle 322 FKS with 1100 dry hitch weight and that trailer is a monster with a King bed slide in the rear. His also has a front kitchen which I would be willing to wager his hitch weight is probably just as heavy as my fifth wheel hitch weight simply due to the front kitchen layout. 1500 pin weight, you can easily find fifth wheels under that... for example my Wildcat 282rkx has a dry hitch weight of 1280lbs, empty trailer weighs 7980lbs. Open Range Light fifth wheels, V-Cross Vibe fifth wheels, Jayco Eagle HT fifth wheels, and Wildcat extralite fifth wheels are among the brands I looked at.
 

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I'm beginning to get the idea that air bags are not a good idea! I am beginning to like the spring idea. On to more research! Thanks guys - this site is a big help.
Air bags have their uses, but in my opinion not on a pickup truck. Even if nothing fails, they limit the travel of the suspension and hurt the ride. Aux. Springs set up properly by a good spring shop to engage only when the trailer is hooked on are a far better way to go. More complicated isn't always better!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks prime81 - I am looking at the Vibes - very interesting. Thanks for the tip!
 

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Ironically the Vibes had some the highest carrying capacity, which is good if you plan to haul toys behind the trailer. We just opted for alittle higher quality and better layouts, but what we like in a layout may not be what you like.
 

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I would look at that 1500# pin weight a little closer. In all likelihood that truck will be overloaded once you factor in passengers, fuel and/or a loaded trailer. Some 2013 configurations have a payload as low as 1560#. Even if you are equipping it with Max trailer tow and max payload and getting over 2,000# payload capacity once you get the TT from delivery weight to running weight with fuel, water, etc. plus passengers, luggage and fuel in the truck that useable load is eaten up fast.
 
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