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Old 09-20-2015, 08:31 PM   #1
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Ride Rite Airbags + Big Foot Levelers

We are newbies and now have a 2012 Forester 3011DS with Ride Rite air bags and Big Foot Levelers. I have heard that you are supposed to dump the air from your air bags before using the leveling system, but someone posted elsewhere that it only applies to Class A RVs, such as a diesel pusher. Can someone please explain? Thanks!
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Old 09-20-2015, 08:35 PM   #2
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Would like to know the answers also.
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Old 09-20-2015, 10:11 PM   #3
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No you don't do that do not bleed air off airbags diesel coaches has air suspension so you bleed the air so you don't have to extend levelers so high would almost be to high for some people to get to that lower step when you start diesel you let it build air and you can see your gauge if not your tires can scrape fenders on incline or bumps or turning complete different system. Most have there own compressor system with air hose and all. Mine pumped to 150psi i didn't move coach until it had built up to 100psi and would be increasing as I was moving
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Old 09-20-2015, 10:44 PM   #4
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No you don't do that do not bleed air off airbags diesel coaches has air suspension so you bleed the air so you don't have to extend levelers so high would almost be to high for some people to get to that lower step when you start diesel you let it build air and you can see your gauge if not your tires can scrape fenders on incline or bumps or turning complete different system. Most have there own compressor system with air hose and all. Mine pumped to 150psi i didn't move coach until it had built up to 100psi and would be increasing as I was moving
Boso, I also have a 2014 3050S with Rite Ride bags. It sounds lke you have a air pump in your system. Is it FOE on 2015's. If not what kind is it and where did you get the pump system from?
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Old 09-20-2015, 11:13 PM   #5
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I don't have a pump other than a 12v manual. My bags leak so I'm constantly trying to keep the right amount of air in them have a larger compressor at home both 150 psi wish I had the auto air that some of the guys are running
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Old 09-20-2015, 11:33 PM   #6
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Smile Ride Rite Air lose

I to have the same problem and use a pump at home. A onboard pump would be nicer though. Will keep in touch incase I come up with a less expensive system to install on board.
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Old 09-21-2015, 12:05 PM   #7
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checking pressure when stabilizers up

i learned yesterday not to check the pressure in the ride-rite until off stabilizers. Just in case other newbies like me are making the same mistake.
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Old 09-21-2015, 02:58 PM   #8
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We are newbies and now have a 2012 Forester 3011DS with Ride Rite air bags and Big Foot Levelers. I have heard that you are supposed to dump the air from your air bags before using the leveling system, but someone posted elsewhere that it only applies to Class A RVs, such as a diesel pusher. Can someone please explain? Thanks!
According to Air Rite owners manual:
If it is necessary to lift the vehicle by the frame, first release the air pressure from the air springs. This will allow the air springs to extend to their maximum length without being damaged. The uninflated air springs are capable of supporting the weight of the axle when the vehicle is lifted by the frame. After servicing of the vehicle is complete, lower the vehicle
to the ground and reinflate the air helper springs to the desired pressure.
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Old 09-21-2015, 08:41 PM   #9
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I have a 3170 Sunseeker and I never dump the air in my airbags. Just me!!


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Old 09-21-2015, 08:53 PM   #10
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Air bags

Just wondering how you would dump the air in your bags other than mashing your valve stem or have you modified your system in some way and yes to dump the air would only be ignorance anyway and I don't mean that in a mean way
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Old 09-23-2015, 07:46 AM   #11
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"The uninflated air springs are capable of supporting the weight of the axle when the vehicle is lifted by the frame."
That makes no sense. The air bags are between the axle and the frame. The suspension supports the axle when the frame is lifted. If the air bags are to short to allow the full extension of the suspension when the frame is lifted that is really poor design.
I never deflate my air bags. Of course I don't lift the rear wheels off the ground either, almost sometimes, but never all the way off.
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Old 09-23-2015, 08:03 AM   #12
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That makes no sense. The air bags are between the axle and the frame. The suspension supports the axle when the frame is lifted. If the air bags are to short to allow the full extension of the suspension when the frame is lifted that is really poor design.
I never deflate my air bags. Of course I don't lift the rear wheels off the ground either, almost sometimes, but never all the way off.
The air bags are designed to hold pressure with weight. You take the weight off of the bag and the pressure inside the bag can cause the bag to expand and stress. Without pressure in the bag the bag basically becomes a rubber bushing.
This would be a concern when the axle is lifted off the ground.
I dump my air but I use the Air Lift WirelessAir system which dumps and refills the bags with a push of a button. One of the best upgrades I've done.
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Old 09-23-2015, 08:16 AM   #13
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Exactly, If they can't take the stress it's a bad design. Make them bigger, thicker etc.
When you lift the frame from the suspension the pressure in the bag decreases (not being squashed anymore) so it should be able to handle it. I'd like to get an air lift system to adjust the ride on the fly, but can't justify the ridiculous cost for a $30 pump, some tubing and a controller.
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Old 09-23-2015, 08:43 AM   #14
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Exactly, If they can't take the stress it's a bad design. Make them bigger, thicker etc.

That's an argument you will have to bring to Firestone. The air bags are designed to assist with loads. Most vehicles with air bags rarely get the chassis lifted off the ground with the axle hanging. RV's with hydraulic levelers are the ones that could have this as a regular occurrence.

The OP asked if it was required to bleed the air and I submitted the information from the owners manual to support that you do.
To maintain my Firestone lifetime warranty I abide by the manual.
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Old 09-23-2015, 09:24 AM   #15
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When they make a statement that says they support the weight of the axle it makes me wonder if the writer is competent at all.
"The uninflated air springs are capable of supporting the weight of the axle when the vehicle is lifted by the frame."
And that's why I believe the manufacturer made them to withstand the lift and we don't hear complaints about failed bags from lifting the frame without dumping the air.
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Old 09-23-2015, 01:06 PM   #16
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If I was to lift the Rv off of the ground in rear I would also deflate. I could only see this happening for a repair of some type,but not a routine thing just to satisfy warranty
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Old 09-23-2015, 07:50 PM   #17
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No you don't do that do not bleed air off airbags diesel coaches has air suspension so you bleed the air so you don't have to extend levelers so high would almost be to high for some people to get to that lower step when you start diesel you let it build air and you can see your gauge if not your tires can scrape fenders on incline or bumps or turning complete different system. Most have there own compressor system with air hose and all. Mine pumped to 150psi i didn't move coach until it had built up to 100psi and would be increasing as I was moving
Boso, What PSI are you inflating your air bags too, If I am not mistaken it is 100 PSI max, or am I wrong.
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Old 09-23-2015, 08:05 PM   #18
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No you are right I was at 80 for my high 75 is what I try for now but I'm not sure how long that pressure last it is never too close to what I started at when I leave whether it's a few days or a week. But mine feels good starting at 75psi. Will be replacing the entire system in October or so I think at this time, did get a approval any way.i was talking earlier about diesel pusher on a freightliner raised rail chassis sorry for any confusion
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Old 09-23-2015, 08:36 PM   #19
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I have an aftermarket manifold and compressor system I added to my 3171. I dump the air before I level the coach. If I don't then as soon as the jacks hit the ground the compressor kicks on and starts filling the bags with more pressure (I don't get the physics of this btw). I am worried if I let them fill back up to normal operating pressure then they would get damaged or certainly damaged once the jacks came back up.

Before I got the auto air system I never dumped them before leveling.
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Old 10-03-2015, 06:43 AM   #20
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Thanks for all the input. It is now a moot point, as we discovered the Big Foot doesn't work at all. Lights flash, nothing happens. I had our local mobile RV repair look at it, and he couldn't find the problem without taking it to his shop and putting on the the lift, so we'll see if we want to spend the money. So, what are the best leveling blocks for a class C?
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