View Full Version : I need airbags!!!
11-20-2002, 08:31 PM
Well I hooked up the 5er and pulled it about 50 miles round trip. It pulled good but I was in a lot of traffic which slowed me down. I could really tell the 5er was back there, I would guess I was loaded at about 13,000. Sure could feel it on a hill. Now I'm going to get the Airbags cause the rear end was sagging about 2 1/2". Other than that...the trip went good.
See attached photo (our_home) of the 5er and the Big dawg's rig... ;D
Truck doesn't look like it's sagging bad to me?? ???<br><br>Wouldn't you expect it to "sit down" some when you hook on?<br><br>Just my thought.
11-20-2002, 11:35 PM
Yea, the picture really does not show how much it was sagging. And yes I knew it would, but I don't want to blind the other drivers at night with the headlights. <br>Big dawg
I hear ya,<br><br>I guess you could aim them down a tick, wouldn't want too much or you'll see nothing when you're empty ;)<br><br><br>what about a shock upgrade or an extra leaf??<br><br>probably considerably cheaper.<br><br>oh well, I guess I'm a cheapskate.<br><br>airbags could be fun I guess right?
11-21-2002, 08:14 AM
Well I really want to be level when I'm towing. I did the shock upgrade, have the trailer towing package, don't really want to adjust the headlights...the only other thing I could do is tell the wife to get rid of all her shoe's and clothing ::) (like that would ever happen) so it's going to be cheaper the get the airbags.<br>Big dawg
<br>..the only other thing I could do is tell the wife to get rid of all her shoe's and clothing ::) (like that would ever happen) Big dawg <br><br><br>Just move all of her junk to the back so the hitch weight is reduced. ;D
11-21-2002, 11:43 AM
Big dawg, doesn't look bad. 5er looks level in picture. It would be better if rear of truck dropped only 1 1/2". Where is your fresh water tank? If it is in front of axle run with minimum water in it. If behind the axle, filler up. 5ers have big water tanks, 50 gallons or more. That could be your ballast of 400# and you have control over that. Check also what heavy items you have in tool box. Anything in truck bed is considered tongue wt. by hitch manufacturers. Heavy items in truck bed should be in front of hitch never behind it. Check underbed storage for heavy items. It's surprising what gets stowed away, and never used. <br><br>My 5er has a tongue wt just over 2000# and my 2003 lowers truck bed just 1" for travel. Your tongue wt must be way above 2000# . Check where your hitch is mounted, mine is 3" forward of axle centerline. Forward of axle shifts some wt to front wheels. If hitch pin is directly over axle that is part of your problem as all wt is on rear wheels.<br><br>Before you go to any expense get rig weighed together and separately and each axle wt on the truck. this will give you information needed to make decisions.<br><br>Good luck. :) :)
11-21-2002, 02:20 PM
I did not think about the fresh water tank. It's in the front. I have never filled it up, only ran the water directly into the rig. Now I'm wondering if it filled up while using the direct water line ???. The first time I towed it, the rear end only saged about 1 1/2, now it's about 2 1/2. Guess I've got to look to see where the extra WT came from. I've taken several items out of the 5er (chairs, etc.) to lower the WT. The hitch is located about 2" forward for the rear axel installed by the RV store. Guess I'll have to get it weighed before the next trip. Thanks for all the input...<br>Big dawg
11-21-2002, 03:58 PM
We just finished addressing this issue one thread ahead of you and we are really curious of the axle weights, you say that your 13000lbs loaded that must be the trailer. I'll bet your gross is 20k +/- and the truck has settled more than 2 1/2" from empty. Not trying to be ignorant but a dually is probably needed to be legal within the tow vehicle limits with about 4" pin setting to haul this weight (13000lbs?). I don't know how you ended up with this truck trailer combination but RV dealers are notorious for miss information as to what they think one should haul with a p/u. Your weigh ticket would be helpful to us all to understand these concepts, thanks PK.
11-21-2002, 05:25 PM
You were correct about the fresh water in the tank. I opened the valve and to my suprise there was water in there, it's been draining (very slow) for about 35 minutes. Guess that is where the WT came from (at least part of it). Thanks for the tip. I would have never thought of that... ???
Not sure when I'm going to get to the scale's, currently looking for one. Yes your correct, I should have got a dually, but I was overseas and my wife bought it for me before I got back. We got the 5er after we had purchased the truck. So...I'm kinda stuck. Don't really want to traid it in for another after all the mods I've done. Plus I don't pull the 5er all that much. I am going cross country in Feb. but it's a one time deal. When and if I find a scale, I'll let you know what the WT was. The 5er has a dry WT of 11,200. I figure with all my wife's shoe's it's got to weigh around 13,000. I do plan on the airbags, just looking for the best deal in town. There is a wide price range for the same product.
11-21-2002, 06:08 PM
My concern was as discussed in the other thread about the way different vehicles handled while towing as per hitch centering and front axle weight. I know different states/provinces are starting to ticket over loaded RVers that are rigged with undersized/braked tow vehicles. Putting on air bags will level your unit out but it is not going to correct the deficencies by a mismatched tow vehicle. Another item that came up is the air bags if loaded up to much will, and have bent the frame rails on these trucks, there is a limit to what they can do without causing damage. We have had very good service with them on welding trucks for the same reason but not without some disasters. Good luck I hope you have a good trip. PK
11-23-2002, 11:33 PM
Nice looking 5th wheel. Another choice to consider without drilling holes in your frame would be to upgrade your "overload" springs. See photo. If you do take this route you will not sacrifice the factory ride when empty. Airbags will inhibit spring travel when empty and cause a stiffer ride if you maintain the 5 lb minimum air requirement the manufacturers reccommend. In the Photo there is a 4 spring pack in place of the factory 2 leaf set. This picture was taken on a 3500 ( not mine) with way over 4,000 lbs in the bed. You can tell there were airbags installed prior to the springs (Holes).
11-24-2002, 12:18 AM
Big Dawg, I would feel better about your tow combination if you had actual weights for your 5er as loaded for travel I know the Cardinal is not one of the lighter 5ers for its size.<br><br>Another item to consider is the GTWR for your truck. The ratings for the 2003 are higher than for 2002 and before. The rating for a 2003 Ram truck with the drive train equipped with 3.73 axle is 10,150#. With 3.53 axle it would be even less. However if equipped with a 4.10 axle the rating 12,150#. A change of axle ratios would give you an extra 2000# of tow capacity. <br><br>You need to address the weight issue to determine if you are overloaded.
11-24-2002, 10:03 AM
Big Dawg,<br> I'm like you in that I'm slightly heavier than I planned on. Had the truck with another fifth that fit right but a great deal on the Kountry Star had us upgrade. My weights are slightly under yours but at the moment, I'm considering trying the Roadmaster Active Suspension.<br> Asked about this on one of the RV sites and received a favorable response. I liked it because it does not affect the unloaded ride. This is going in until I can find a one ton I like in my range to buy. <br><br>Bill
11-24-2002, 01:53 PM
i would get the tow mirrors!!those slide ons suck!!that should level things out<br> ::)
11-24-2002, 02:28 PM
Okay, the airbags are going on the day after T-day ;D. I've talked to so many folks, many on this board, who have advised my truck with all the mods will tow the load. I should have got the dually, but I'm stuck with what I've got 8). I mentioned a dually to my wife this morning and it's a good thing we don't have a gun in the house :o. My other option is the 4:10's or wait till they come out with the 3:73's for my year. Thanks for all the replys...hopefully I'll get it weighed sooner rather than later and I'll let everyone know the true WT. Yea the slide on mirror's suck :-X, I would not get them again. Not sure about the Roadmaster Active suspension, never heard of it ???. Kinda wondering what it really does...<br> Again thanks for the reply's... :)<br>Big dawg
11-24-2002, 08:09 PM
I know I am on the tail end of this post. BUT You must have a pin weight of well over 2000 lbs. When we hook our 5er on to my 01 2500 I set down about an 1 1/2 I can put my finger between the overloads and the stop for them. I only have a super slide in our 5er. We are looking for a deal on a new camper. I am finding enjoyment when looking at the salesmans face when I tell them I want something with less than 2000 lbs pin weight. Then are out there. I like the ones with the double slide in back and no bedroom slide. I don't need a whole lot of room to sleep. <br><br>I went back and looked at the picture you posted with your 5er. Unless Dodge changed the springs alot over the past 2 years I would say you have to much camper for your truck.<br><br>I too would sugest you get a 3500 for safty and load carrying reasons.<br><br>Good Luck<br>See Ya<br>Chris
11-24-2002, 08:17 PM
Just curious<br>What brake controler are you useing?? We where stationed out in Camp Pendleton in the late 80s early 90s. You have some pretty good hills to pull or depending on how you look at it pretty good down grades as well.<br><br>Good Luck<br>See Ya<br>Chris
11-24-2002, 09:14 PM
Big Dawg, I feel for you, too many people telling you you should buy a new tow vehicle or you made a mistake of gettin too big a trailer. We should all concentrating on constructive ideas to improve what he has, not what he should a done. <br><br>If you are like most of us we can't just run out and buy a new truck or 5er. We are most likely on a limited income and tight budget, can't just buy whatever we want. <br><br>Look for heavy items in front of the axle that can be moved to a location the axle. <br><br>Moving heavy items from the front closet rearward as far as possible is another approach. <br><br>Another item to check is how high your fiver hitch is set. If too high it transfers weight to the rear axle of tow vehicle, increasing the hitch weigh. <br><br>We're with you, Big Dawg.
11-24-2002, 10:35 PM
Pappa Smurf,<br> Sierra Phil advised me to check the fresh water tank to see if that was the extra Wt. Opened the valve and to my suprise, it was full. So that added around 500 lbs of extra Wt that I was not aware of. I'm still going to get the airbags to assist. I'm currently out in San Diego and I'll be traveling highway 8 to the 10 heading East. Yes there are some good hills, but I've traveled a couple of them and as long as you go slow up as well as down everything should be good to go. I'm looking at the smart controler from DTT to assist in the breaking. <br> Sierra Phil, thanks...It get's frustrating sometimes to absorb all the info when some of it is conflicting. All I desire to do is haul this 5er with no problems. I'm going to take my wife's shoe collection and put it in the rear when we are on the road. Thanks again...Big dawg
11-30-2002, 08:38 AM
Big Dawg..............don't be too quick to spend all that money ! ! ! I had exactly the same problem as you, and didn't like it for the same reason - blinding other drivers. I wrote about my cure some time ago, and now have something like 15,000 miles or more, loaded with my camper. These things install/remove in about 15 - 20 minutes and if I unload the camper without removing the supports, it just makes the ride a little choppy. Here's the web site I built, again...................... www.biglar.homestead.com/springsupport.html
11-30-2002, 08:44 AM
;D ;D I should add that I lost one block on the way from SoCal to Alaska last summer, and used a piece of a loggers' tree falling wedge to replace it. Angle was just right, but they're expensive. It looks to me like the one piece block works a little better than the 2 piece. Good Luck. ;D ;D
11-30-2002, 10:01 AM
I put air bags in my old '89 Ram 350. They made a big difference when towing my havy racecar trailer. I used to run them with 65-70 psi when loaded, and 5-10 when empty. You have to have at least 5-10 pounds in them or they will chaff through. ;D ;D
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