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Old 08-24-2016, 08:58 AM   #1
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Airbags on FR Lexington 283

I have the airbags set at 80 lbs of pressure on our Ford V10 Lexington 283. I have noticed that the front end seems "light" and not as steady on the road at highway speeds. Any suggestions on how this can be corrected.
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Old 08-24-2016, 09:11 AM   #2
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it may not be the airbag setting have you checked how you are loaded? the more you load aft of the drivers will unload the steer axle and give a lighter feel.
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Old 08-24-2016, 02:25 PM   #3
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First, have you had your Lexi weighed? Need to get that done to determine what your front and rear axle ar supporting. Ge it weighed with the equipment you would normally carry, full gas tank and maybe 1/2 tank of fresh water.
On our Lexi, like yours, the fresh water tank sits well aft of the axle, and if your hauling a fill tank, it dosen't help the weight on the rear overhang (that portion of the coach thats behind the axle)
Second, after getting it weighed, you can adjust your tire air pressure to the weight specs. If your running the max listed for your tires (usually 80 psi) they may be overinflated for your specific load.
On our Lexi 283ts, I run 70 psi in the front, and 72-75 psi in the rear tires. This is well within the tires weight rating (for my rig), and gives a smooth ride without the "light" feeling in the front. Airbags are set at 70 psi.
You just have to expermint with tire pressures, airbag pressure, and maybe adjusting some weight forward of the rear axle.
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Old 08-30-2016, 08:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by grumpy0374 View Post
First, have you had your Lexi weighed? Need to get that done to determine what your front and rear axle ar supporting. Ge it weighed with the equipment you would normally carry, full gas tank and maybe 1/2 tank of fresh water.
On our Lexi, like yours, the fresh water tank sits well aft of the axle, and if your hauling a fill tank, it dosen't help the weight on the rear overhang (that portion of the coach thats behind the axle)
Second, after getting it weighed, you can adjust your tire air pressure to the weight specs. If your running the max listed for your tires (usually 80 psi) they may be overinflated for your specific load.
On our Lexi 283ts, I run 70 psi in the front, and 72-75 psi in the rear tires. This is well within the tires weight rating (for my rig), and gives a smooth ride without the "light" feeling in the front. Airbags are set at 70 psi.
You just have to expermint with tire pressures, airbag pressure, and maybe adjusting some weight forward of the rear axle.
Grumpy
I have a 2006 283GTS with 45,000 miles and a front end wandering problem.
Weighed the axles fully loaded at front 3900 lbs and rear at 9260 lbs and adjusted the tire PSI to 60 psi in front and 75 psi in rear per Michelin tire chart but still having the wandering. Next step is alignment and two new front shocks. Thinking about adding rear air bags and was wondering if you added aftermarket air bags which did you install? Was there drilling required or are they direct fit?
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Old 08-31-2016, 04:06 AM   #5
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I have the Firestone airbag set up on the Lexi, but it was installed at the factory. An option I think.
Anyway, if you don't have them, get them. No need to get fancy...the standard manual fill works just fine.
No drilling, but unless you have accesss to a good (20 ton) bottle jack and impact wrench, get it installed at a shop.
Also, check that your rig dosen't already have them. If you bought your rig used, previous owner/dealer might not have mentioned/knew they were there.
Check the two rear left and right storage compartments. Look on the front wall of the compartments and if installed you should see an air valve (schrader valve) mounted on the wall. Just a thought, as the airbags themselves are small in size, and not really visible from under the rig.
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Old 08-31-2016, 10:08 AM   #6
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I have the Firestone airbag set up on the Lexi, but it was installed at the factory. An option I think.
Anyway, if you don't have them, get them. No need to get fancy...the standard manual fill works just fine.
No drilling, but unless you have accesss to a good (20 ton) bottle jack and impact wrench, get it installed at a shop.
Also, check that your rig dosen't already have them. If you bought your rig used, previous owner/dealer might not have mentioned/knew they were there.
Check the two rear left and right storage compartments. Look on the front wall of the compartments and if installed you should see an air valve (schrader valve) mounted on the wall. Just a thought, as the airbags themselves are small in size, and not really visible from under the rig.
Grumpy
You just convinced me. Having new shocks and alignment this week and will order the airbags asap.
And my manual slide nuts were exactly where you said they'd be. I never would have looked at the ceiling of the storage compartment.
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Old 09-03-2016, 07:56 PM   #7
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Thank everyone for the trips on wandering 283ts

We are taking a trip this week to Canada and niagra falls had all pressures checked removed bike rack off rear bumper will let u know how it rides ,thank everyone stosh1943
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Old 09-04-2016, 06:57 PM   #8
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Just took measurements from the ground to the bottom of the wheel well over the tires, in line with the axle and noticed the rear is 1 1/4" higher than the front measurement.

A lot of good it does me because I don't know if that's normal. Maybe the front fender well is designed to be higher but it doesn't look like it.

I am curious to know if the wheel well measurements should be the same. If so we could use it to make sure vehicle was level once loaded.


Gonna get the alignment, two front shocks and the Safe -T- Plus re-adjusted then add the Firestone Ride rite air bags hopefully next week.

Will update if it makes a difference.
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Old 09-05-2016, 05:46 AM   #9
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Your rear end being 1 1/4 inch higher that the front is pretty much normal. On our 2012 the rear sits higher with no air in the air bags. Adding air lifts it up another inch, but no big deal.
Rear ends on the E-450 are pretty heavy duty, and are set to carry a lot of weight. Even adding a coach body like the 283ts dosen't come anywhere near the weight limit of the springs.
Don't have the exact weights with me now, but when I weighed our Lexi, full gas tank, 1/2 full water, and normal stuff we carry, me and wife aboard, I still had over 1500 lbs of carrying capacity left inside the rig.
The Lexi line is one of the few that dosen't come anywhere near the weight limit/carrying capacity of the E-450 chassies.
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Old 09-05-2016, 08:41 AM   #10
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Your rear end being 1 1/4 inch higher that the front is pretty much normal. On our 2012 the rear sits higher with no air in the air bags. Adding air lifts it up another inch, but no big deal.
Rear ends on the E-450 are pretty heavy duty, and are set to carry a lot of weight. Even adding a coach body like the 283ts dosen't come anywhere near the weight limit of the springs.
Don't have the exact weights with me now, but when I weighed our Lexi, full gas tank, 1/2 full water, and normal stuff we carry, me and wife aboard, I still had over 1500 lbs of carrying capacity left inside the rig.
The Lexi line is one of the few that dosen't come anywhere near the weight limit/carrying capacity of the E-450 chassies.
Grumpy
That's the kind of information I've been looking for. If I can get this wandering issue taken care of I think we'll really like the lexi, if not I'll be sorry I bought it.
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Old 09-05-2016, 09:02 AM   #11
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ostbob,
If your getting shocks, get a full set. With the milage your rig has and its age, your better off just biting the bullet and get a full set.
I put a full set of Bilsteins on our Lexi when it only had 12,000 miles on it. The difference was night and day. I also have a Roadmaster steering stabilizer to replace the wimpy Ford OE unit. Front end was aligned using adjustable bushings (search this forum for front end alignment specs)
Our Lexi tracks streight and true, with no wandering. Still wibbles a bit when I'm passed by a flying big rig, but other than that no problems. Also, we're towing a Subaru Crosstrek, again with no problems.
Havent gone to heavier sway bars or a track bar just yet, really havent felt the need.
Another item you may want to consider due to your rigs age/milage might be the sway bar bushings. There's a lot of stress placed on those rubber bushings, and they'll ware out quick.
Also, have your front ball joints and steering linkage checked. They are greasable, and previous owners may not have maintained them like there supposed to.
Don't give up just yet. You may have to dump a few bucks into the suspension to get it right, but it's well worth it if you use your rig alot.
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Old 09-25-2016, 02:58 PM   #12
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ostbob,
If your getting shocks, get a full set. With the milage your rig has and its age, your better off just biting the bullet and get a full set.
I put a full set of Bilsteins on our Lexi when it only had 12,000 miles on it. The difference was night and day. I also have a Roadmaster steering stabilizer to replace the wimpy Ford OE unit. Front end was aligned using adjustable bushings (search this forum for front end alignment specs)
Our Lexi tracks streight and true, with no wandering. Still wibbles a bit when I'm passed by a flying big rig, but other than that no problems. Also, we're towing a Subaru Crosstrek, again with no problems.
Havent gone to heavier sway bars or a track bar just yet, really havent felt the need.
Another item you may want to consider due to your rigs age/milage might be the sway bar bushings. There's a lot of stress placed on those rubber bushings, and they'll ware out quick.
Also, have your front ball joints and steering linkage checked. They are greasable, and previous owners may not have maintained them like there supposed to.
Don't give up just yet. You may have to dump a few bucks into the suspension to get it right, but it's well worth it if you use your rig alot.
Grumpy
Thanks for all the advice. I Had new front shocks added, along with a Safe T Plus steering stabilizer. Lubed the tie rod ends and ball joints, had the alignment done using the new FR specs and the Toe was already off by 1/2", then added Firestone rear air bags at 65 psi. It drives ten times better now. I got on the freeway and was actually able to take my hands off the steering wheel for half a mile.

Where did the factory place your air bag schader valves? (pic would be great). My guy placed them under the rear bumper so every time I want to check them I have to get on my back. I need to have him move them to a better place.

They also lost 20-25 psi in just two weeks. I know they'll lose air different than car tires but that seems extreme.
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Old 09-25-2016, 08:03 PM   #13
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Haven't been on till today...no wifi in some of the campgrounds we've been staying at.
@0-25 lbs in two weeks is a bit on the excessive side. We've been on the road for 3 weeks now and have only lost 10-15 psi. Just rechecked and added a bit yesterday.
As for schrader placement..on ours there are 2, one in each of the rear compartments on left and right side...one for each airbag. Have to open each compartment to check pressure.
I wish mine WERE where yours are, and I wish I only had one to feed both bags like yours. Been planning to run the two seperate lines to one and mounting the valve outside...its on my to-do list. Don't need to get on your back...just get a good 100 psi gauge with a hose extention.
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Old 09-26-2016, 09:57 AM   #14
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Haven't been on till today...no wifi in some of the campgrounds we've been staying at.
@0-25 lbs in two weeks is a bit on the excessive side. We've been on the road for 3 weeks now and have only lost 10-15 psi. Just rechecked and added a bit yesterday.
As for schrader placement..on ours there are 2, one in each of the rear compartments on left and right side...one for each airbag. Have to open each compartment to check pressure.
I wish mine WERE where yours are, and I wish I only had one to feed both bags like yours. Been planning to run the two seperate lines to one and mounting the valve outside...its on my to-do list. Don't need to get on your back...just get a good 100 psi gauge with a hose extention.
Grumpy
Looks like no matter what I will need to carry an air compressor. I actually have two air valves, one on each side of the rear bumper.
Later today I'll crawl under and use some soapy water on the air bags themselves and see if I can find a leak. The location of your valves don't sound at all. I wish my guy would have installed them just behind the mud flaps on the outside of the body. They'd be protected, hardly noticeable and easy to get to while checking tire pressures too.
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Old 09-29-2016, 06:58 PM   #15
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Haven't been on till today...no wifi in some of the campgrounds we've been staying at.
@0-25 lbs in two weeks is a bit on the excessive side. We've been on the road for 3 weeks now and have only lost 10-15 psi. Just rechecked and added a bit yesterday.
As for schrader placement..on ours there are 2, one in each of the rear compartments on left and right side...one for each airbag. Have to open each compartment to check pressure.
I wish mine WERE where yours are, and I wish I only had one to feed both bags like yours. Been planning to run the two seperate lines to one and mounting the valve outside...its on my to-do list. Don't need to get on your back...just get a good 100 psi gauge with a hose extention.
Grumpy
Took our first 150 mile test run today with air bags at 55 psi which leveled the RV, and it ran and drove fine. Air bags, shocks, alignment etc did the trick.

Going to move the schrader valves and to the top of the rear bumper or inside the wheel wells in the next few weeks.
But first I'm going to attach a air gauge and leave it on for several days and check the air lost at the same time everyday. If I still feel its losing too much I'll have the mechanic double check everything.
Firestone says 4 lbs a week is NORMAL.

Had it weighed which I'll put on the other weight forum/post you placed if I can find it. Surprised but got 8.5 mpg going from the desert to the high mountains on all types of roads and hwy's.
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Old 10-06-2016, 07:57 PM   #16
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We found that the Firestone airbags that I installed made a tremendous improvement in handling on our Sunseeker.
I found a T fitting and joined the two air lines at the rear axle and ran the single refill air line to the front inside wall of my rear storage compartment. Been running about 50 psi. , no leaks and they hold the pressure. Also put the Firestone label on joust outside the storage door and one beside the Shrader valve itself.


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Old 10-06-2016, 08:18 PM   #17
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Airbag pressure

We installed a safety first steering system. I lowered the tire pressure down to 75 pounds. I kept the airbags up at 80. It stayed nice and straight in the lane doing 70 miles an hour. I want to thank everyone for all their help.
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Old 10-14-2016, 05:05 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by grumpy0374 View Post
Your rear end being 1 1/4 inch higher that the front is pretty much normal. On our 2012 the rear sits higher with no air in the air bags. Adding air lifts it up another inch, but no big deal.
Rear ends on the E-450 are pretty heavy duty, and are set to carry a lot of weight. Even adding a coach body like the 283ts dosen't come anywhere near the weight limit of the springs.
Don't have the exact weights with me now, but when I weighed our Lexi, full gas tank, 1/2 full water, and normal stuff we carry, me and wife aboard, I still had over 1500 lbs of carrying capacity left inside the rig.
The Lexi line is one of the few that dosen't come anywhere near the weight limit/carrying capacity of the E-450 chassies.
Grumpy
Grumpy

Your 2012 must be built heavier than my 2006, because with out hardly anything in it I'm already over the rear axle weight by almost 300lbs.

When weighed I had 5 gals of fresh water, 5 gals of water to simulate clothing and food, full propane, full gas tank, 5 gals grey and 5 gals black tank. Misc items in outside storage compartments. I will attach a copy of my Smart Weigh diagram.

You'll note the front end wheel well height is 32-1/4 on both sides which is 1/4" higher with the tow dolly and our Toyota Camry added. Adding the tow dolly lightened the front end by 200lbs.

The rear is different on both sides. The drivers side is 32" high with 80 psi in the rear air bags and the passengers side is 32-1/4" with 40 psi in the air bags. I didn't want to take anymore air out of the passengers side air bags to level it. I wanted the rear to be equal to or higher than the frontend to help with the wandering issue I used to have. But its not really an issue now and I couldn't level it anymore any ways.

Even with the camper fairly empty I'm still almost 275 lbs over the rear axle max weight of 9450 lbs.

According to the tire charts I should be running 55 psi in the fronts but i added another 5 lbs as a cushion. Rears are at 80 psi.

I'm almost 500 lbs away from the max GVWR of 14050 lbs.

My only solution is to put more stuff in the trunk of the tow vehicle and move as much stuff inside to the front but as you know there's not a lot of big storage there.

If I wanted to boon dock I'd be running with full fresh water and would be super over weight.

Despite all this it drives great, at 8.7 mpg with out towing and 6 mpg towing the Camry.
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