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Old 09-05-2012, 02:42 PM   #1
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Airlift 1000 are junk

Got back from my Labor Day trip to NC.

This was my first trip with the Airlift 1000 air bags in my Suburban. The trailer is a Surveyor Sport 189 - 20ft long, ~ 4200lbs loaded with a tongue weight of ~450lbs. I don't use WD on this little trailer. Manual says up to 600lbs OK without WD. Up to 1100lbs with.

In another thread, I described installing these bags. The are the kind that fit inside the rear coil spring (no leaf spings on this truck). I drove the truck around town inflated and they rode fine. When I hooked up the trailer, the rear sank only about an inch. Great.

Well, this past weekend, I took the trailer up to North Carolina. First, the truck felt like I was riding on marsh mellows. A very unsettling feeling. By the time I arrived in NC - about an hour - the air had leaked out completely - so the rear of the truck sagged more and thus the trailer was more tongue heavy and unlevel. I think the leaks are at the top of the bags - there is a barbed nipple the hose fits over, but the instructions don't show that you clamp over this. It's nearly impossible to reach with needle nose pliers to secure the hose. All the other connections have clamps. Can't hear or feel any leaking.

Even if I could get them to hold air, I don't like them. I now think the design of putting the bag inside the coil spring is flawed. The ride quality is very strange with a load on the back.

So I've ordered some Timbrens and will see if I like that better. Basically with the 2012 Suburban, the Airlift 1000 and the Timbrens are really your only choices. The Airlift 5000, Firestone and Hellwig show no choice for this truck. Look at the video of how the Timbrens work on thier home page. Was thinking they were just a big bump stop, but that is not correct. More like a helper spring.

Not really asking a question, more like a venting. If I can't get some reasonable towing performace out of this Suburban, it's gonna go.
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:50 PM   #2
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wincrasher, even though the manual says up to 600 lbs. without a WDH, why not try a WDH with your trailer ?? I betcha a WDH with integrated sway control, and 600 lb. spring bars will make all of the difference with the way you Burb handles the Surveyor.
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:11 PM   #3
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I have a setup I could use if I wanted to. It's just ridiculous to have to use that on this wee trailer.

On my bigger trailer, with the WD setup, the Suburban still drops like 4 inches, which is a problem that the Timbrens may help solve. The friction bar is adequate sway control for the 28' trailer.

I have come to terms with having to cruise at 60 mph with this truck with a trailer attached. I can keep the rpms below 3500 on steep hills. I can accept the low engine power, but not weird handling dynamics. What's laughable is that this truck is rated to tow 8100lbs! Never buy a TV strickly by the numbers. They say figures don't lie, but liars figure. Either GM is filled with liars, or these guys have trouble with math.
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wincrasher View Post
Got back from my Labor Day trip to NC.

In another thread, I described installing these bags. The are the kind that fit inside the rear coil spring (no leaf spings on this truck)...I think the leaks are at the top of the bags - there is a barbed nipple the hose fits over, but the instructions don't show that you clamp over this. It's nearly impossible to reach with needle nose pliers to secure the hose...
According to the instructions on page 6:
6. Push the air line onto the stem, covering all the barbs (fig. 7). With the pliers, slide the air line clamp upward until it fully covers the barbed section. fig. 7 shows the end of the bag with the barbed fitting and the hose and clamp.

Could it be that you might have missed this part of the installation?
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:24 PM   #5
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Well, I'll have to go back and look. The only figure I remember was showing the bag in the coil with the space. I went thru it several times to find any indication of putting a clamp on the bag's nipple. I'll check the version you can download. Maybe it's different than what came in the box?
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:26 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by wincrasher View Post
Well, I'll have to go back and look. The only figure I remember was showing the bag in the coil with the space. I went thru it several times to find any indication of putting a clamp on the bag's nipple. I'll check the version you can download. Maybe it's different than what came in the box?
Here is the manual I looked at.
http://www.autoaccessoriesgarage.com...tall/60769.pdf
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:37 PM   #7
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I just looked at it online. When I was installing and looking at the instructions, I was thinking Fig 7 was related to the T connector, not the bags. Now I see what you are talking about. That should fix up the leak issue, but not the ride issue.

I filled the bags to 35 psi, then put on the trailer. Was that wrong too?
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:41 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by wincrasher View Post
Either GM is filled with liars, or these guys have trouble with math.
Probably a little bit of both of those, plus the fact that the tests each manufacturer used or uses to calculate towing capacity are secret, proprietary, best-case scenarios and non-standardized.

Hopefully, this will be better with SAE J2807. Toyota started to use the new standard on some lines in 2011 and GM just did it this year. I don't think they published new numbers for the Suburban, though

Tow Ratings Adjust for 2013 GM Pickups
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:42 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by wincrasher View Post
I just looked at it online. When I was installing and looking at the instructions, I was thinking Fig 7 was related to the T connector, not the bags. Now I see what you are talking about. That should fix up the leak issue, but not the ride issue.

I filled the bags to 35 psi, then put on the trailer. Was that wrong too?
It's different from what I do, I hook up and then fill the bags to the pressure I want based on about 15 yrs of using them with no problems. If you fill the bags first, when you put the load on them, they will automatically increase in pressure. In my case it is around 15#-20# which drastically changes the ride and handling.
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:46 PM   #10
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I find the instructions confusing on this point. It says to inflate to 35, then apply the load. Yet also says 35 psi max. So you could be way over that with a load applied.
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