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Old 05-19-2016, 10:22 AM   #1
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Air Bags

is there a noticeable improvement to a 1/2 ton truck for towing if you add air bags to the rear suspension?

I know you can't add anything to improve your tow rating, but does it add any margin of safety?

What if you did that plus put a higher rated tire on the rear?

2015 1/2 ton Silverado double cab 4x4 with 180 pound camper shell needing to pull 7100 pound empty Windjammer to Florida. Wife just keeps putting stuff in the Windjammer.

9200 pound tow rating. 1800 pound payload rating.
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Old 05-19-2016, 11:47 AM   #2
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The short answer is 'no'.
I tow two different travel trailers. One has a tongue weight of about 950 pounds and the other has a tongue weight of about 450 pounds.
With the heavier of the two, I use a weight distribution hitch. A weight distribution hitch, properly adjusted will lower the front of the truck and raise the rear so that it is nearly level.
With the lighter TT, I use a straight draw bar which is rated for 600 pounds. Without a weight distribution hitch the rear of my truck still squats a bit, due to the nature of the progressive suspension. So I use airbags to bring it back up level. This keeps the camper from wanting to nose dive during braking and keeps my headlights pointing the right direction.
Back when I towed with an F150, I had 'E' rated tires all around, they really made the truck feel better while towing, but when empty would cause the truck to skip across the top of any ripples in the road surface. A series of patches in the road could easily cause a loss of control, especially while braking. If you are using P-metric tires, you might consider going to a 'D' rated tire, but certainly no more than that, or you risk losing day to day drive ability.
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Old 05-19-2016, 11:52 AM   #3
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For me the short answer is yes. Airlift 5000's and KO2 tires stiffened up the stern and gave me some flexibility with regard to ride when not towing. It's still my daily driver.

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Old 05-19-2016, 12:21 PM   #4
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I also have the Air Lift 5000 Ultimate air bags and BFG tires, along with the added weight of an F250.
When empty, I keep no more than 10 psi in the bags. I leave that same 10 psi when I tow the heavier of the two campers. When I tow the little guy, I bump it up to 21 psi, which makes everything nice and level. Adding air pressure with a properly set up WD hitch only messes things up.
Just like lifting the bumper with the tongue jack relieves pressure on the torsion bars, lifting the bumper with air bags is going to reduce pressure on the torsion bars too. This means you don't really have the trailer's tongue weight properly distributed. In fact, I'd say it is possible to overload a class IV hitch this way.
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Old 05-20-2016, 10:28 PM   #5
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That's why I don't use the airlift 5000s to lift. Just to stabilize.

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Old 05-25-2016, 06:31 PM   #6
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I am running air bags with about 20 lbs in. WD set a little strong. Felt real porpus like. Should I go down a link on WD, or release air??
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