View Full Version : Air Ride Suspension
12-20-2008, 06:13 PM
Would you guys pony up some advice on air ride systems....Looking at the Host RV 270(base F550). One with air ride the other without. Adds about 12k to the overall price. I would be using this vehicle for mostly over the road and not intending to go off road with it since it is not capable. What benifits would I get out of air ride...I mean, do you think it is worth the price. I drove the air ride and it was nice but I can't test the non air ride system. It is not a factory option but was later added to the one I drove. Would you guys recommend ARS for a vehicle of this type at this cost? Thanks in advance for all replies. Paul http://www.hostcampers.com/subs/motorcoaches/motorcoach_270.html
12-21-2008, 10:32 AM
I dunno about 12 grand. eek.
I am looking at fitting air bag suspension under the back of my 105 and it ain't anywhere near that much.
12-21-2008, 01:04 PM
What specific air ride system do they use? There may be lower cost options you could add later. Post info if you have it.
12-21-2008, 02:45 PM
I think the stock F550 suspension would prove plenty strong to hold the weight of the camper. The advantage of the air bags would be to tune the ride to match the road.
Nobody is going to try to drive a Class C camper down a washboard road like it's a Trophy Truck. But being able to soften the suspension a bit for a rough road, and then firm it up for highway driving would be a welcome addition.
The air tank that puts pressurized air into the air bags could also be used to air up a soft tire, and maybe even run an air wrench to remove lug nuts. While the air compressor, air tank, air lines and air bags add extra complexity to the truck, they have proven to be reliable (there are lots of ARB air lockers on off-road trucks). You'll want to make sure that the compressor's air intake is up above the depth of water crossings you might make.
I agree with others' comments that $12K seems a bit much. Is the air system for the rear axle only?
12-21-2008, 04:53 PM
I used to run an a set of airbags in an old 94 E350 ambulance that I used for my research and I do believe it helps with ride quality especially with possible uneven loading of the vehicle and it also helps with stability as as well, especially in our Kansas winds. I also have a set of airbags on my 2000 Ford F150 which can get loaded down with gear and they are a perfect way to accomplish the things I mention above. I believe your $12K price is a bit on the steep side considering what they cost (admittedly I don't know exactly what they are giving you). You could do some checking on-line as a comparison to the equipment they are offering, labor cost may be some welding which is not that much; personally I would research your needs on-line to make sure you can get what you want for your vehicle application, Order the truck without the system and then have your system installed later, you shout save a quite a bit of money. Good luck.
12-21-2008, 05:11 PM
Thanks to all replies. The system is from Kelderman and it is on all four corners. There is an air tank and a nice guage with a switch mounted nicely under the dash. I guess my only problem would be to find someone to install it after looking on their website. (Although they say you can DIY, not this guy, I'm too old to know better) Guess I would need to pick a manual or auto system? Not sure what would be best there either. The truck that it is installed on is new with the dealer installation. The truck I am looking at is used with 5000 miles but optioned the way I like it so depending on price I would settle on, it might be a no brainer. Thanks again for all comments!!!
12-21-2008, 05:26 PM
I think there may be some confusion here. Typically a $12,000 air ride suspension is going to be a complete new rear suspension system, such as the one pictured here, not just a set of air bags added to a stock suspension. I think other forums such as rv.net or thedieselstop.com may have several members who have experience with these systems.
The one pictured is from www.keldermanairride.com, but there are several other makes available. I agree with the comments above that you may be better served by not getting the air ride sytem and then retrofitting it latter if you feel an upgrade is required.
on edit: here is another example from www.linkmfg.com
12-21-2008, 06:04 PM
I've got airbags in the back of my 1 Ton Ford camper van and it helps drastically with ride quality. I only run the bags at around 50 psi but it is enough to control sway and make the whole truck feel much more stable. I'm not sure I'd spend $12k on the upgrade, but would definitely consider it a feature worth at least $2k.
12-22-2008, 07:17 PM
I converted my hummer to airbags (relocating the shocks and losing the springs). Being ind suspension it's a little different than what is being discussed here (monitoring height is difficult) but the ride quality improved drastically and I have variable height for offroad clearance and parking garages. The onboard tank for the system is also handy to have to run airtools/etc...
$12k is pretty high, but I've seen those set-ups and they look nice.
12-25-2008, 04:25 PM
I've only found three companies that make lifts for the 2008 F450/F550. The two air-ride based systems mentioned by Mark and a series of non-air ride kits from Fabtech.
Fabtech offers three options for a 6" lift (basic, radius arm, and 4 link). http://www.fabtechmotorsports.com/applications/ford/4wd08ford450.html The prices for the Fabtech kits range from $1500 (basic lift and shocks) to $5600 (4 Link System & 4.0 Coilover Shock Conversion).
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