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Educate me on air bag suspensions

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  #1  
Old 01-21-2018, 12:53 PM
Pilgrim6
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Educate me on air bag suspensions

for my 1994 F250 Super Cab 4WD Diesel.
I would like to improve the ride when running empty, as well as be able to lower the ride height a few inches. Do Air Bags REPLACE the stock leaf springs, or add to them? Do I remove a couple of leafs for soften the ride and then use the air bags to regain the weight capacity when I need it?
I do not think I want to do anything to the rear--but again, I am open to being educated.
I tow a 7000# camper a few times a year, and run empty most of the rest of the time. My wife has knee and back issues, so lowering the cab a few inches might make it better for her to get in and get out--sort of like the "kneeling Buses" I see around town. I see on the hot rod shows that they can pretty much put a car on the ground--but what about a truck?
 
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Old 01-21-2018, 01:46 PM
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If you watch a complete show where they build something to ride on the ground like that you will see that they have to chop and channel the frame and sometimes also modify the body to allow the axles to travel further up into the vehicle.
Without doing that riding on the stock bump stops is as low as it will go, and yes to get the full range of movement the factory springs are completely replaced with airbags.
 
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Old 01-21-2018, 02:37 PM
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The kits you find from Firestone, or Air Lift go on top of the factory spring, and are meant to level a load, not increase payload capacity.

Kneeling buses have a complete airbag suspension. Doing that to the front axle on a 2WD truck, or coil sprung axle isn't hard, because the spring doesn't locate the axle. Just replace the coil spring with an appropriately rated airbag, and brackets.

Leaf sprung axles are a different story, because the springs locate the axle. Something would have to be fabricated to locate the axle fore, and aft before airbags could be added. This wouldn't be to hard for the rear axle; people do 4 link suspensions all the time. I've seen pictures of people converting the TTB axle to coil springs. After that you would need to convert to airbags.

And, then after all of that is done you may still need to modify the frame to get the height you want. Honestly, a set of steps is what you need, and maybe a grab handle on the A-pillar.
 
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Old 01-21-2018, 02:47 PM
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Steps and a set of quality air ride seats for the Misses.
 
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Old 01-21-2018, 07:35 PM
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Anyone have plans for a powered step that swigs out when the door opens? Could be electric or vacuum powered. It should swing up by the frame when not in use so it is not an obstruction to get torn off by some road hazard. I am open to suggestions.
 
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Old 01-21-2018, 08:17 PM
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Junk yard parts from escalade and a little fabrication.
 
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Old 01-22-2018, 04:16 AM
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Thanks.
I didn't know that Escalade's had that feature.
I will go looking.
 
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Old 01-22-2018, 05:03 AM
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A lot of newer vehicles have automatic steps. Companies make steps for older trucks too, but I couldn't find anything for an OBS truck. You may be able to make something work given enough time, and money.
 
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Old 01-22-2018, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Pilgrim6 View Post
Anyone have plans for a powered step that swigs out when the door opens? Could be electric or vacuum powered. It should swing up by the frame when not in use so it is not an obstruction to get torn off by some road hazard. I am open to suggestions.
There is a Jaguar XJ6 converted to 4X4 that shows up at Cruising The Coast each year.

It has about foot square diamond plate boxes that run the length of the rockers.

When the guy hits the button, 2 sets of (lengthwise) steps roll down & lock in what I can only guess is some sort of electro/mechanical or hydraulic fashion.

They stop about a foot off the ground.

Ugly as hell car, but when he drops the steps, it's pretty cool, cause they are fast & when they lock down or up you hear it.

Very "transformer" like, but damn functional. (fun to watch too)

Don't think I've ever gotten good pictures.
 
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Old 01-22-2018, 11:36 AM
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I have seen AMP steps modified to work on am OBS. But I will be damed if I would spend $1000+ on steps and still need of modify them to work
 
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Old 01-22-2018, 03:01 PM
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Didn't Lincoln Navigator have fold out steps? Open door and they drop down? Again, have to find junkyard to maybe make it a cheap enough project.
 
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Old 01-22-2018, 03:11 PM
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Yeah, do something like this:

 
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