Firestone coil-rite helper air bags - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-20-2018, 09:59 PM   #1
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Name: David
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Firestone coil-rite helper air bags

Recently purchased these because I was getting a bit of rear squat that I wanted to get rid of. Installed today, but won't get to test them out with the scamp until 2 weeks from now. Seem to be working, with 35 psi in them they raised the car up an inch or so.

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Old 10-20-2018, 10:55 PM   #2
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I've heard of folks doing this but don't quite understand the purpose, may I ask what your rationale is for adding them?
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Old 10-20-2018, 11:22 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
I've heard of folks doing this but don't quite understand the purpose, may I ask what your rationale is for adding them?
The bags essentially firm up your springs and they raise the rear of the car up a bit when heavily loaded.

Even though I am within the weight limits of the car, the rear squats a little bit too much. Especially with the cars very bright led headlights just a little bit of rear squat gets the headlights into peoples eyes and I am constantly being flashed.
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Old 10-20-2018, 11:36 PM   #4
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That's a very good reason indeed, effect on headlights by the squat on the tug is something I'd never thought of. Thanks!
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Old 10-20-2018, 11:47 PM   #5
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A weight distribution hitch makes more sense to me. It transfers weight from the rear axle to the front axle of the tow and to the trailer. Improves ride and security. Added bonus is the headlight point in the right direction.

All those airbags do is make the rear suspension harder to compress. You could just weld the coils together and the rear wouldn't sag at all.
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Old 10-20-2018, 11:52 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
A weight distribution hitch makes more sense to me. It transfers weight from the rear axle to the front axle of the tow and to the trailer. Improves ride and security. Added bonus is the headlight point in the right direction.

All those airbags do is make the rear suspension harder to compress. You could just weld the coils together and the rear wouldn't sag at all.
I believe the OP has a Scamp 13' trailer. It's NOT recommended to use a WDH. It's way to easy overload the 2200 lb axle.
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Old 10-21-2018, 12:12 AM   #7
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I believe the OP has a Scamp 13' trailer. It's NOT recommended to use a WDH. It's way to easy overload the 2200 lb axle.

The axle, or does the frame have some weak points?
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Old 10-21-2018, 12:22 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
The axle, or does the frame have some weak points?

I don't know about the frame, it could have some weak points. I do know that, at least my trailer has a 2200lb Dexter axle under it. When I bought mine (new) in 2005 the manual said not to use a WDH.

Observing larger and heavier they seem to do ok with WDH.

A local owner of a Burro 17' and towing with a minivan put those air bags on and it seemed to work quite well.
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Old 10-21-2018, 08:53 AM   #9
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Back in the 70s the government did tests on trailers and tow vehicles and found that air bags provided about 1/2 of the benefit of the weight distributing hitch.
As a matter of fact they suggest using air bags with the WDH to take about 1/2 of the sag out before adjusting the hitch for the rest.
The air bags serve to increase the spring rate of the rear which raises the natural frequency of the system.
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Old 10-21-2018, 10:31 AM   #10
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I agree with Byron and will add that not only does a WDH put stresses on small trailer frames that most aren't designed to take, many smaller tow vehicles aren't supposed to use them either. Ladder frame construction has gone the way of the dodo in most all autos and unibodies do NOT like the WDH. Since David refers to his tug as a car it's likely he has one of those, this looks like the appropriate solution to the headlight problem to me. One I should look into doing myself, i've noticed a similar phenom when towing at night and it's never occurred to me that the headlights may simply be aimed too high due to rear squat. Thanks again, David!
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Old 10-21-2018, 10:56 AM   #11
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Firestone coil-rite helper air bags

Have a 5000 pound dual axle Lance RV trailer with WDH. Will need to check if thatís okay to have WDH as am the second owner. thinking of air bags as it bounces too much (slightly), and sags two inches; and hope it reduces that.

Looks like the kit is around somewhere less than $350 for the parts. So many variations of it on amazon so assume will buy via mechanic who will install. Maybe get it all in and working for less than $500 I hope in my 2006 tundra
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Old 10-21-2018, 11:26 AM   #12
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I've used a number of these capacity increasing devices with some success. I look at them as a temporary solution. A little "tug squat" is to be expected however if it becomes significant you may have a capacity issue. Capacity decreases with vehicle age. Increasing spring capacity is a better solution. The best solution is a heavier tug.

A WDH, in essence, makes the frame of the trailer and the tug a single. Vehicle squat doesn't occur as the rear and front ends drop the same distance as does the trailer as the total weight is distributed over both frames. Some trailers are not designed to do this.
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Old 10-21-2018, 11:26 AM   #13
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I appreciate the value of a weight distribution hitch, if frames can handle the stress. Of course many tow vehicles are not built on frames. Pardon me, as Glenn points out, unibodies have proven themselves. If someone cares to mention exceptions, they also have a point.

I follow Keep Your Daydreams travel channel on YouTube. He is a big fan of the Firestones on a very beefy rig. Tow Vehicle is at least an F250. You can probably find episodes devoted to the Firestones.

PS, Sprinters have a switch to raise or lower headlight beams.
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Old 10-21-2018, 11:46 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Of course many tow vehicles are not built on frames.

Another way to say this is, "not many vehicles are built on frames" and that weight distribution hitches are successfully used on most unibody vehicles.
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