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Air Bags, WDH...Which order?? Fix my squat

 
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Old 02-04-2019, 10:11 PM
bigt8600
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Question Air Bags, WDH...Which order?? Fix my squat

Picked up my F250 a few weeks ago. Finally had a chance to hook it up to our Travel Trailer. This pic is with my current hitch, but without the distribution bars installed. When I tried to install them, I realized I need a longer shank for my hitch. The nose of the trailer was much too high. Ordered a new shank to drop the hitch down a bit.

My question is regarding air bags. I'm installing air bags later this month to help with the ride when towing. We travel I-10 in South Louisiana and it is BRUTAL.

Do I air up to level the trailer out, then put on WDH bars? or put on the bars and add some air to give some cushion? I searched but couldn't find anyone with a confident answer in this procedure.


 
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Old 02-04-2019, 10:48 PM
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Air up the bags first. If you do the WDH first and then air up the bags then that takes tension OFF of the WDH which defeats the purpose and you won't distribute weight.
 
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Old 02-05-2019, 06:31 AM
bigt8600
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Originally Posted by HRTKD View Post
Air up the bags first. If you do the WDH first and then air up the bags then that takes tension OFF of the WDH which defeats the purpose and you won't distribute weight.

10-4. So the bars wonít technically change the height of the rear, but help distribute weight to the front for a better ride?
 
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Old 02-05-2019, 08:11 AM
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In a normal situation the height of the rear will come up with the WDH properly configured. Even with airbags there should be _some_ height change with the WDH.
 
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Old 02-05-2019, 08:50 AM
bigt8600
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Originally Posted by HRTKD View Post
In a normal situation the height of the rear will come up with the WDH properly configured. Even with airbags there should be _some_ height change with the WDH.

Thats why I'm questioning the process. Guess I'll just mess around with it and see what works best.
 
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Old 02-05-2019, 02:15 PM
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Ok, I'm making up numbers here, but it's purely for illustrative purposes.
Without bars installed your rear bumper drops three inches. With WDH bars installed, it comes back up two inches, leaving one inch of squat. With air bags, add air to lift the rear one inch prior to installing the bars. This will return your truck to it's unloaded height.
Some points to consider:
These trucks come from the factory with a certain amount of rake to compensate for the added weight of the trailer on the hitch. Setting the bar tension alone should be enough to return the truck and camper to a level stance.
Whether a truck and trailer are level or not really is not a function of a weight distribution hitch. It just happens that historically, the easiest way to determine if enough weight had been shifted back to the steer axle and camper axle(s) was to visually look to see if they formed a straight line across the bottom. With the stiffer suspensions and increased rake of today's trucks this method is less reliable than in the past. The only way to know for sure how much weight is being shifted is to run the rig over the scales with and without the WDH connected.
I can tell you from experience that air bags are not going to improve your ride at all.
 
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Old 02-05-2019, 03:25 PM
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We also haven't taken into account that even with the WDH set totally correct (per the scale), Bigt8600's truck has a Pro Comp Level installed. If the truck is completely level when empty, adding weight to the hitch will amplify the look of a sagging rear. So, even set up perfect, the results may not look like what is desired.

Can airbags fix this? Sure, but it will actually put more pressure and weight on the rear axle rather than distribute it.

Here's a video explaining the difference between WDH and airbags:

 
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Old 02-05-2019, 05:09 PM
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Your thought process makes sense. I am surprised at your comment about the air bags not helping the ride. I have no experience with them but always hear of how much they help. Can you elaborate on that? Itís not cheap and I have installed and I am on the fence about it already.
 
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Old 02-05-2019, 06:48 PM
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That's a good video and I gave them a thumbs up on YouTube. I would have like to see them take it one step further and enable the air bags and then add in the WDH to see how the weight shift was affected. I don't think it would have been much, hopefully proving my point. I'm not 100% convinced that the airbags won't affect the ride. There some roads where I would really like to give the airbags a try to see how the truck performs.
 
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Old 02-05-2019, 07:04 PM
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It is a good video but does leave a few questions unanswered.
 
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Old 02-05-2019, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by bigt8600 View Post
Your thought process makes sense. I am surprised at your comment about the air bags not helping the ride. I have no experience with them but always hear of how much they help. Can you elaborate on that? Itís not cheap and I have installed and I am on the fence about it already.
On a bone stock truck the chassis and axle are resting against the springs. When you hit a bump the spring compresses (and the shocks) to dissipate the energy of the bump. With airbags alter the arc of compression, so to speak. Higher pressure reacts to the bump before the shocks and springs do, dissipating the energy much more quickly. This sudden resistance is felt as jarring. Conversely, if the air bag compresses after the springs and shocks start, the increased resistance of the bags will decrease the amount of time allowed for energy dissipation. Still a harsher ride.
In my experience, the only thing that produces a smoother, softer ride is adding weight to the rear of the truck or decreasing the compression resistance of the shocks (such as the Rancho adjustable shocks).
 
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:49 AM
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If you are messing around with this, spend some time at the CAT scale to make sure you are getting your steering axle weights back to here you want them. The air bags and WDH will interact. As long as your steer axle has sufficient weight, your handling should be decent.
 
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Old 02-07-2019, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by seventyseven250 View Post
If you are messing around with this, spend some time at the CAT scale to make sure you are getting your steering axle weights back to here you want them. The air bags and WDH will interact. As long as your steer axle has sufficient weight, your handling should be decent.
Agreed. A properly adjusted WDH should negate the need for airbags, especially on a 3/4 ton truck...........save the monies on airbags until you see how a properly adjusted WDH works. The WDH will lower the front of the truck and raise the back of the truck. The normal upward rake on the rear of the truck should settle down nicely to towing level, and maybe even still be a bit high.

Even on my previous F150, a WDH leveled out the truck nicely with just a WDH and no airbags. A Super Duty should handle the weights superbly with a properly set up WDH.

And then I had to go and get a 5th wheel and a Super Duty to pull that puppy.




 
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Old 02-08-2019, 09:50 AM
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BigT, Where in south LA are you? Im running bags and WDH on my 17 f250 for my bumper pull toy hauler as well. Id be happy to show you how I set mine up if you are in/ near Lake Charles. As previously mentioned, if you have the truck set up level when empty/ not towing, then you will probably have some amount of squat with 1200-ish pounds of tongue weight on the ball.

 
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Old 02-08-2019, 12:19 PM
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Based on how it looks, you have too much hitch weight, so I agree with others about you getting it to a scale. On your initial question, right or wrong, I have found that after I hook up the bars(1500lb bars) I inflate to 35PSI and that works great for my rig. The right combo for you will take some trial and error. And yes, the air springs do make a difference even with the WDH, I was pleasantly surprised.
 

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