View Full Version : Air springs for the rear

Julie H
02-12-2003, 02:55 PM
Just in case any of you didn't know or want to know, we just found out that we need to have air springs in the rear of the dodge. <br><br>We purchased and brought home our 5th wheel. Our new driveway for the 5th wheel has a very slight slope (it is a gravel driveway). Anyway, we leveled up the 5th wheel before unhitching it from the truck. This caused the truck and the 5th wheel to be misalligned and we had a hard time unhitching the rig from the truck. If we had the air springs installed on the truck, we would have been able to adjust the air in the springs to match the 5th wheel and unhitch as if we were on level ground. So, we are ordering the air springs with a controller to control the amount of air in the springs. The air on both springs can be adjusted individually allowing the bed of the truck to match that of the 5th wheel. This will also help later when we load the 5th wheel. If it is loaded so that it is heavier on one side verses the other, we can accomodate so much with the air controller.

02-12-2003, 07:24 PM
I don't quite understand the problems you are experiencing, so you might want to hold up on the air bags until you can determine exactly what is causing your problem. First of all do you have the type of hitch that pivots side to side in addition to piviting front to back. My Reese hitch pivots side to side so this takes care of any misalignment between how the truck is setting in relation to the trailer. It's also possible that your unhitching difficulty was caused by the trailer pulling or pushing against the hitch because the wheels were not chalked securly. Sometimes this happens.<br><br>As to using the air bags to keep the truck level in case that the load in the trailer is heavy to one side, I don't think that this would be transmitted through the fifth wheel hitch and make the truck sit low to one side.<br><br> <br><br>

P Kennedy
02-12-2003, 08:36 PM
Julie H you are embarking on disaster here, JL is right the airbags are not the answer for your problem. First of all some knowledge of your equipment is required, the 5th wheel will have a locking bar or jaws that hold the trailer in that little groove in the &quot;kingpin&quot;. When by your description you tried to unhook on uneven ground leveling the trailer will at some point start to lift the tow vehicle up ( 1500-3000lbs of truck), in other words all the weight of the truck is on the jaws or that little bar in the groove. Proper method of uncoupling is back trailer into place and put chock blocks between 1 or both sets of tires, easy way is place the chocks between the 2 tires. If the trailer needs to be level Left to Right use blocks under low side and back trailer onto blocks until level and then chock blocks. Back gently against chockblock and set parking brake then put truck in park- keeps pressure off kingpin and parking pall. Lift trailer with jacks(dollies) until weight of trailer is just off truck or you start to see light between the two. Release 5th wheel and move truck ahead just clearing 5th wheel lock in case the trailer is not stable, this should be effortless and easy. It is a good idea to keep the trailer plugged into the truck so if in an emergency one can manually hold the trailer brakes, it will also aid in using the power jacks to level front to back without draining trailer battery. Always use dolly pads under the jacks to distribute the weight (unless on concrete not ashphalt) when sure everything is stable unplug trailer cable and move truck away. Double oscillating 5th wheels will make hooking and unhooking easier on uneven ground but will not work any better if there is pressure on the kingpin.<br> Airbags for suspension assistance are designed for just that leveling the truck under load, it is possible to help lift a load but you must be careful not to over extend the bags with excessive pressure and height. Using airbags to level an offset load left to right will make the vehicle unstable when cornering, your trailer was engineered to carry loads evenly distributed. Just like truckers it's up to you to make the unit safe when travelling which includes load securement and proper load weight placement, the benefit to all this is less stress when travelling. Hope this makes it easier for you. PK

02-13-2003, 10:26 AM
Julie,<br> If you are talking front to back leveling, you are unhooking too late. Level side to side, block the wheels, pick up some weight on the jacks until the plate lifts off the fifth, then unhook and level front to back.<br> If you are binding side to side with just the single pivot hitch, it's much easier to slide a block under the rear truck tire to bring that side closer to level with the trailer.<br> My Reese is the single pivot and I use that method in the State parks up here where none of the sites are level.<br><br>Bill