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Air Helper Spring PSI Value

PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:29 pm
by CaspersCruiser
I bought my 2014 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD used. It came equipped with Firestone Ride-Right air helper springs. I’m towing an R27. If you have those air springs on your truck, to what PSI do you inflate them?

Re: Air Helper Spring PSI Value

PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:27 pm
by TexasEye
They are used to LEVEL the load. Eyeball it from a distance, adjust to level the trailer. Duel axel trailers need to run level. (double check as this is what I've done for ever on multi axel trailers) Note the PSI and this should be the base point for leveling.


https://www.airliftcompany.com/workshop ... d-trailer/

Re: Air Helper Spring PSI Value

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:05 am
by NorthernFocus
What TexasEye said. But my eye isn't calibrated well enough to just eyeball it. I use a measuring tape and check it front and back. Being on reasonably level ground when you do so helps.

Re: Air Helper Spring PSI Value

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:14 pm
by CaspersCruiser
OK, my understanding of what air helper springs do is flawed.

I have a variable drop/rise ball mount:

https://www.etrailer.com/search/180+Hitch

Does this not accomplish the same leveling task?

Re: Air Helper Spring PSI Value

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:46 pm
by NorthernFocus
CaspersCruiser wrote:OK, my understanding of what air helper springs do is flawed.

I have a variable drop/rise ball mount:

https://www.etrailer.com/search/180+Hitch

Does this not accomplish the same leveling task?

Sure. Level is level.

Re: Air Helper Spring PSI Value

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:10 pm
by scross
CasspersCruiser:
The variable drop/rise ball mount will allow you to get the trailer level but it won't fix the rear sag of your truck.

The air springs will get the rear of your truck level with the tongue weight on it and eliminate rear end sag but won't necessarily get the trailer level.

For my truck, I needed both the air bags to eliminate rear end sag and then buy a ball mount with just the right amount of rise to get the trailer level after I had the truck level when hooked up to the trailer.

PS: To your initial question - there is no one psi value to set air springs/bags that is the “right” amount for all trucks and all tongue weights. The best answer is that you want your truck bed level with the tongue weight on the receiver. Whatever psi gets you there is the right amount. Once that’s done, get a properly rated ball mount with the right amount of rise or drop so that the trailer is level too.

Re: Air Helper Spring PSI Value

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:44 pm
by CaspersCruiser
Rear sag is not an issue on my truck. I have a variable drop/rise ball mount because, besides the Ranger Tug, I have two other trailers I tow that have different ball height requirements. The Weigh Safe 180 ball mount I have is rated 14,500 pounds with the 2 5/16” ball.

Re: Air Helper Spring PSI Value

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:00 pm
by TexasEye
CaspersCruiser wrote:OK, my understanding of what air helper springs do is flawed.

I have a variable drop/rise ball mount:

https://www.etrailer.com/search/180+Hitch

Does this not accomplish the same leveling task?



Well, The trailer may be level but the truck frame may be way off level! So, in fact both would be desired, ball height and level trailer and truck. Also, look at the amount of spring you have without adjustable suspension.


Trailer stability and load distrubition is important on multi axel trailers, that is a given. What also has to be considered is load on truck suspension and a light front end. Next is also a basic, the headlights with a low rearend will blind oncomming and will not properly light up the road as designed. SO...It's a system thing, trailer level with balanced axel weight and ball weight,,, Truck level with proper suspension travel available and headlights shooting where designed...

Re: Air Helper Spring PSI Value

PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:31 am
by snydzy
Maybe this video will help.....

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XBZu39pQ8Gg

Re: Air Helper Spring PSI Value

PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:35 pm
by TexasEye
snydzy wrote:Maybe this video will help.....

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XBZu39pQ8Gg


Great video, makes sense to me. Weight x Arm = moment...

Re: Air Helper Spring PSI Value

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:06 am
by scross
Interesting video.
I’m not surprised a company that makes and sells weight distribution hitches would present information that greatly favors weight distribution hitches over the use of air bags. That said, I agree that weight distribution hitches are a better solution - if you have a steel trailer where weight distribution hitches can be used without damaging the trailers frame.
I would have preferred that the video did not use an example where the tongue weight was a absurd 20.9% of the total trailer weight. No one should tow a tandem axle trailer loaded like that! I wonder what the results of the demonstration would have been if the tongue weight of the trailer would have been a more realistic 383 pounds - which is 8% of the total trailer’s 4,785 total weight? And why are they focusing solely on the weight of the front and rear truck axles and completely ignoring the distribution of weight on the front and rear trailer axles?
PS: My truck’s front axle is rated to 4,000 pounds and the rear axle is rated to 4,050 pounds. My truck handles better and I think brakes better with some weight in the back bed as compared to an empty load. Having the weight distribution move most of the weight off the rear axle and onto to the front axle as shown in the video doesn’t really help IMO. I want some of that tongue weight to rest on my rear axle to better balance the load between the trucks two axles.

Re: Air Helper Spring PSI Value

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 5:47 pm
by NorthernFocus
scross wrote:Interesting video.
I’m not surprised a company that makes and sells weight distribution hitches would present information that greatly favors weight distribution hitches over the use of air bags. That said, I agree that weight distribution hitches are a better solution - if you have a steel trailer where weight distribution hitches can be used without damaging the trailers frame...

The benefit of the WD hitch is also dependent on the geometry of the trailer. In the video they used a really short trailer with the load well forward which exagerates the effect of the WD hitch. The longer the span between hitch and the front trailer axle, the less benefit there is to the WD hitch. Such as with a boat trailer. Also the better balanced the trailer load is relative to the axles, the less benefit there is to the WD hitch.
I would have preferred that the video did not use an example where the tongue weight was a absurd 20.9% of the total trailer weight. No one should tow a tandem axle trailer loaded like that! I wonder what the results of the demonstration would have been if the tongue weight of the trailer would have been a more realistic 383 pounds - which is 8% of the total trailer’s 4,785 total weight?...

Clearly you don't sell WD hitches for a living :D
... And why are they focusing solely on the weight of the front and rear truck axles and completely ignoring the distribution of weight on the front and rear trailer axles?...

Here in the forum we tend to have a lot of discussion about leveling/balancing the trailer. Many people are focused solely on tongue load/droop and the effects on the truck. Which is what the WD hitch is designed to address.
...move most of the weight off the rear axle and onto to the front axle as shown in the video doesn’t really help IMO. I want some of that tongue weight to rest on my rear axle to better balance the load between the trucks two axles.

In none of the cases in the video does the load on the front axle increase over base load. In every case the load on the front axle is lower than when the truck is empty. In the video with the WD hitch there is a net decrease of 80 lbs on the front and net increase of 855 lbs on the rear. The classic/design method of loading a pickup is for the CG of the load to go directly over the rear axle in which case there is little or no net change on the front.

Re: Air Helper Spring PSI Value

PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:40 am
by BB marine
I installed Firestone air bags on my Tahoe to help lift the rear of the vehicle. The bags worked great! The issue was (already stated) all the weight is in the rear of the vehicle and the front Axel is light. A lot of the braking comes from the front Axel of the tow vehicle. On wet pavement this is decreased considerably especially if less weight or the Axel is running light. That was my experience with the Tahoe. Granted the vehicle was to small for what I was towing. I did install weight distribution bar system which help distribute the weight to the front Axel. It is a bit more involved in a proper set up. Ball hight for a level rig and bar angle for proper loading of the front Axel is needed for a proper set up. A measurement of the front wheel well hight is taken with no weight on the rear of vehicle. Then after installation is complete and trailer loaded on ball, bars installed, the front Axel should be 2" lower then the original measurement taken. This has shifted some of the weight off rear and on to front. I now tow with a HD2500 and the bars are not really needed but I still use them. I get a better ride while towing with them installed. The Truck and trailer seem to ride down the road as one. The weight distribution bars slide on brake pads so there isn't any binding when backing or turning. I get very little sway when trailering. Are the bars needed for towing the boat with the truck I have now ? No! Do they help distribute the weight on the front Axel? Yes


This is a different trailer then used by Ranger and Cutwater. It is an integrity trailer set built to fit our Cutwater. I had to do some modifications to the mounting hardware to make it fit properly. It is actually a stronger installation then the Reese standard installation.
ImageYes.

Re: Air Helper Spring PSI Value

PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:54 am
by snydzy
The benefit of the WD hitch is also dependent on the geometry of the trailer. In the video they used a really short trailer with the load well forward which exagerates the effect of the WD hitch. The longer the span between hitch and the front trailer axle, the less benefit there is to the WD hitch. Such as with a boat trailer. Also the better balanced the trailer load is relative to the axles, the less benefit there is to the WD hitch.


This is an interesting statement...please explain how. A load is a load...the geometry exists with the WD hitch, I can’t see the trailer span has anything to do with it. Doesn’t a class V hitch use the same weight distribution geometry in its design vs. class IV hitches...?

Re: Air Helper Spring PSI Value

PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:38 pm
by NorthernFocus
snydzy wrote:
The benefit of the WD hitch is also dependent on the geometry of the trailer. In the video they used a really short trailer with the load well forward which exagerates the effect of the WD hitch. The longer the span between hitch and the front trailer axle, the less benefit there is to the WD hitch. Such as with a boat trailer. Also the better balanced the trailer load is relative to the axles, the less benefit there is to the WD hitch.


This is an interesting statement...please explain how. A load is a load...the geometry exists with the WD hitch, I can’t see the trailer span has anything to do with it. Doesn’t a class V hitch use the same weight distribution geometry in its design vs. class IV hitches...?

Poor choice of words on my part. By "benefit" I was only referring to the amount of load that is shifted back to the trailer axles. For a given WD hitch the length of the spring arm is fixed. The amount of weight that is transferred back onto the trailer axles is spring length x spring tension / length between hitch and trailer axle(s). So the longer the span is from hitch point to axle(s) the less the amount of the load that is shifted.

The effect on the redistribution of weight on the tow vehicle axles also varies based on the geometry of the tow vehicle.