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Took our first trip of the year last week and noticed that the driver's side air bag would no longer hold pressure. Oklahoma roads were, uh, pretty iffy in the rural areas (sometimes, miles of nothing but gravel), and the banging/crashing did not make for a pleasant adventure. Tried the Slime® option a few times, with very limited success. Well, at least we got home okay, with no other difficulties...

So, I got up under the back-end with a spray bottle of soap/water and quickly found a pinhole leak near the top of the bag. I contacted AirLift and explained the problem with my LoadLifter5000 system (P/N 57113), offered to provide photos and all that. Without any question, they took down my address and shipped me a new bag. "Limited Lifetime Warranty" means something after all! :)

I now have the vehicle frame up on 3-ton jack stands and have PB Blaster-ed all the bolts/nuts in the vicinity of the bag, including the dreaded u-bolts. I am monkeying with a jack under the differential in order to raise the axle to the point where "tension is relieved from the leaf springs," as my repair manual puts it. Problem is, I can't tell when that happens. Can somebody provide a little insight here, please? I can move the axle up and down just fine, but at no point is it obvious that the leafs are no longer under tension. Don't really want to start pulling stuff apart until I get this straight. What am I missing?

Here's a reference photo, so you can see where I'm at... literally. Thanks for any help!

air-bag-replacement.thumb.jpg.50eeb9389848d8fb7a878e1b988b3922.jpg

 

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Eh, maybe I was being over cautious. Went ahead with tear down and got everything free, no broken bones etc. Here's the old leaky bag...

image.thumb.jpg.1adcbf51fc883f954fa00e5026d5305b.jpg

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I'm also going to try and replace any of the leaf spring bushings that are bad while I'm in here... this front hanger pin, however, seems to be blocked by a nearby cargo compartment (like 1" clearance). Anybody come up against this and have an idea on how to remove that pin?

front-hanger-pin.thumb.jpg.29e0ebf860e2fab879afb6d2569b9d54.jpg

 

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My block was a propane tank.:angry: Answer I used an angle grinder to cut the nut off. Then a BFH and a drift, pushed out the bolt untill it hit the tank.  Then angle grinder to cut off 1", PUSH, CUT X3 then dropped the spring. Put the bolt in backwards and all was good

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2 hours ago, WME said:

My block was a propane tank.:angry: Answer I used an angle grinder to cut the nut off. Then a BFH and a drift, pushed out the bolt untill it hit the tank.  Then angle grinder to cut off 1", PUSH, CUT X3 then dropped the spring. Put the bolt in backwards and all was good

And used a new bolt to finish up yeah? Ok, I could see that working; might do that myself, thank you.  

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On 3/24/2018 at 8:43 PM, WME said:

My block was a propane tank.:angry: Answer I used an angle grinder to cut the nut off. Then a BFH and a drift, pushed out the bolt untill it hit the tank.  Then angle grinder to cut off 1", PUSH, CUT X3 then dropped the spring. Put the bolt in backwards and all was good

WME, did you use the same kind of bolt as the original or some other grade-8 type, when you put "...the bolt in backwards and all was good" ?

Just for reference, here's a picture of this front pin/bolt thingy, all by itself:

rear-leaf-front-pin.jpg.5403a1fcf21a08b60213c99a2da09470.jpg

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The bolt bracket flange, clean, drill, braze bolt. Metric Grade 10.9 bolt.  Use metric bolt so bushings fit. There is some reason I didn't just bolt a new flange/bolt to the other side, don't remember why

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Got it done and back on the road with a new bag and some new poly bushings! I lucked out on that front hanger pin and didn't have to do anything extreme with it: broke the flange on the pin free by beating it hard with sledge and cold chisel. Then, since I already had the rear end of the leaf free, I realized I could wiggle and twist things enough to slide that pin down and out, even with the nearby obstruction.

The old girl is riding well again and I'm pleased.

image.thumb.jpg.6d9f1fb1fa60b52ea9c16abed5aeca39.jpg

image.thumb.jpg.7646e9004b0aa309b887dab36891cebf.jpg

 

 

 

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I like your way better.

But I've always been told to do one thing at a time with leaf springs. So I did the rear shackle first, then the front so I couldn't twist the leaf like you did.

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Yeah I had the whole leaf off and on the bench to make it easier to swap bushings. (Not much fun lugging that around yourself or trying to get it back in position, while laying in a gravel driveway, but got 'er done.)

I'm impressed with AirLift Co. They didn't give me any trouble with the warranty replacement on the bag; even included some new mounting hardware and a new air fitting (all-metal, better than the original fitting). 

image.thumb.jpg.c8daad505d16511fa64e5e92ea564e68.jpg

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Update on my Air Bag thread:

I noticed my original passenger-side air-bag was looking pretty rough, just before we headed out to New Mexico last month. But, it was still holding pressure consistently, so I rolled the dice and things turned out okay. Anyway, when I got back I emailed a photo of the bag's condition to Customer Service, explaining that it looked pretty nigh to death, etc. and that its sibling had gone the way of all men last year... Air-Lift asked no questions, just sent a quick confirmation and got a new bag + hardware shipped out the next day. Terrific service!

Round Two begins...

 

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Posted (edited)

Got the passenger side bag finished up this afternoon. I would estimate the job at about 1-2hrs, for most of us (always dependent on skills/tools/Murphy).

Just as an FYI, I realized this time around that you do not need to loosen/remove the axle u-bolts in order to remove the air-bag (see photo). Some bright mind left just enough room to loosen the bottom two mounting bolts—they're fiddly, especially the rear-ward bolt with a brake line right in front of it, but it can be done with a box wrench and makes the whole thing much simpler.

 

IMG_2745.jpg

Edited by Ctgriffi
clarify

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This is a great testimonial to the customer service of Airlift. I checked out the cost of this bag package, $285 shipped. 

I've wondered over the past couple yrs whether I should install airbags on our camper, 86 Micro Mini. No bags on it now, never have been from what I can tell. Currently there is no rear squat either. Am I pushing my luck or is the truck fine to go on with just leaf springs only? Would appreciate advice on this topic. 

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