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Author Topic: Air bags for rear axle on 3500hd??  (Read 3393 times)

csthompson12

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Air bags for rear axle on 3500hd??
« on: October 13, 2010, 10:17:45 AM »

I have 3500hd dump truck that I would love to get air bags for.  I doesn't look like any company makes a kit specifically for this truck.  So anyways I was looking at all the bags that Firestone makes , and looking for something that I could rig up custom.  It looks like the higher capacity bags also get quite big, which the 3500hd doesn't have a lot of room in the axle area.

Has anyone put airbags on the rear axle? If so, what did you use? I often put 5 tons over the rear axle.
I have also tried Timbrens, but hate them, rides to rough.

Thanks
« Last Edit: October 13, 2010, 10:19:22 AM by csthompson12 »
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3500HD addict

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Re: Air bags for rear axle on 3500hd??
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2010, 09:00:18 PM »

  I saw a airbag setup on a 1998 HD the truck was an origional ambulance but made a nice dump though. I studied the setup abought 30 mins. I never did see a name on anything but Firestone on the bags. I figure it was all done by a company or outfitter that builds emergency/rescue type trucks. I must say the whole thing looked like a factory setup right down to the airlines and compressor mounted on the engine. Mabey someone here knows more on this suspension setup.....
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Life is what happens while your busy makeing other plans.
1998 C3500HD getting a 5.9 Cummins in process

someotherguy

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Re: Air bags for rear axle on 3500hd??
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2010, 09:31:32 AM »

Looks like about the only real choice for placement is under each frame rail, which as you noted does not give you much room.  There are some pretty stout bags that have a low inflated height, but you have to be careful of the diameter of them or you'll pinch the bag up in the bump stop.

A radical way would be to go full airbag like semi's run, ditch the leafs. :D  That would take some serious engineering and a hell of a lot of attention to detail...but I know somebody who has it in their long-range plans.

RIchard
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06 Silverado ISS / 06 Silverado SS / 06 300C SRT8

3500HD addict

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Re: Air bags for rear axle on 3500hd??
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2010, 09:54:24 PM »

Sorry I should have explained more on the setup I was talking abought, It was a full bag system with no leafsprings but just one damn big Z shaped bar that mounted in the front spring hanger and sat on bottom of the axle. I bet one of the two bars weighed close to 200lbs. just like the factory frame reinforcement plates over the frame there was more over the area of were the bags mounted to the bottom of the frame. The bags and lines were like what u would see on a tractor trailor suspension. I will do more searching on this in a day or so, I think I know were there is one of these trucks at and will find out.
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Life is what happens while your busy makeing other plans.
1998 C3500HD getting a 5.9 Cummins in process

Rayjon237

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Re: Air bags for rear axle on 3500hd??
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2010, 10:30:13 AM »

look at the setup on the international box vans..  very simple and easy to get parts for,  frame spacing is the same as a hd,  and the bags mount behind the tires so interference isn't an issue..  should be able to get a frame cut from a wrecking yard reasonable...  looked at doing it but have too much that is more imprortant...
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JohnnyDiablo

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Re: Air bags for rear axle on 3500hd??
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2016, 12:05:39 AM »



I was searching on this for the past few days and wondering the same...  Would the above picture work?
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1996 6.5 Diesel 3500HD
and a few Diesel burbs

someotherguy

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Re: Air bags for rear axle on 3500hd??
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2016, 09:28:33 AM »

Did you check out the pics in this thread? http://3500hd.com/index.php?topic=1213.0

I'd sure like to know where the parts came from.

Richard
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06 Silverado ISS / 06 Silverado SS / 06 300C SRT8

JohnnyDiablo

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Re: Air bags for rear axle on 3500hd??
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2016, 09:06:03 PM »

Interesting thread.  That thing is ugly as sin.  You need tips on how to check out the engine on that?  If the engine is good and a 6.5 its worth something in my book.  I like how the front eyelet pivot is cast iron not wrapped bar.  Hard to say what thickness and diameter pivot would be needed to hinge a load without taking away from a 3500hds capabilities.

Do regular truck rear springs swap into these trucks?  The fronts on mine are already saging when you look at it from underneath but doesnt look it from 10 feet back.
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1996 6.5 Diesel 3500HD
and a few Diesel burbs

someotherguy

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Re: Air bags for rear axle on 3500hd??
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2016, 01:51:36 PM »

Regular truck springs are narrower than HD's.  HD's got 3" wide rear springs; all the lighter GMT400 series trucks have 2" wide.  I also wouldn't count on the eye-to-eye length being correct, either.

I'm not interested in any 6.5's and that truck is here in Houston.  You could come retrieve it for parts though I'm sure; it would be returning home as it has California plates on it. :D

Richard
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06 Silverado ISS / 06 Silverado SS / 06 300C SRT8

someotherguy

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Re: Air bags for rear axle on 3500hd??
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2016, 09:26:49 AM »

I got a closer look at that HD van last night and discovered it's a 1995 model, with a TBI 454.

Furthermore, it was impounded...get this...over 4 years ago!  You should see the storage bill.

It was towed in from a heavy truck service center; I'm guessing it was taken there for repair and abandoned.  It's a big place so it may have sat there for a good long time before they got sick of seeing it.  The doghouse is loose, air cleaner is off the throttle body and the accelerator cable is hanging loose from the throttle body as well; no telling what's actually wrong with it.

I'm strangely interested in this van but I don't know why for sure.  I definitely don't want the ugly bastard; I think I'm just more interested in its parts.

Richard
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06 Silverado ISS / 06 Silverado SS / 06 300C SRT8

ED-NY

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Re: Air bags for rear axle on 3500hd??
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2016, 10:24:00 AM »

I suspect that someone was going to pick that 454 throttle body for a SBC conversion.
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someotherguy

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Re: Air bags for rear axle on 3500hd??
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2016, 12:05:10 PM »

You may very well be right, though it seems when people get their mind set on stealing something out of the storage lot...they usually succeed!  Especially when the opportunity has been there for 4+ years.

Funny thing is they'd be better off with a bored-out small block unit; it would behave better, and they're really not expensive if you get them from the machine shop guys (RV Morse) instead of CFMTech who are just reselling RV's work.

Maybe one of these days I'll ask the lot owner what's up with the van.  Dunno why.  Because I'm unsane, or something...

Richard
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06 Silverado ISS / 06 Silverado SS / 06 300C SRT8

ED-NY

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Re: Air bags for rear axle on 3500hd??
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2016, 04:49:33 PM »

I used to see machine bored out OEM TBI manifolds on ebay to accpet the 454 TB...now I don't.  Even sold a couple of 454 TB's...not sure if that swap is popular any longer.

Pretty sure the LS generation is becoming the new norm.
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MrC.

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Re: Air bags for rear axle on 3500hd??
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2017, 02:52:19 PM »

Airbags, would be great, I have installed a few sets on custom trucks.

Looking at the picture, yes that would work great, but there's a lot of cost in OE parts.

I would suggest looking into building a bridge between the frame rails, mount the bags under the bridge, and put bag mounts on the axle, the closer to the frame the better ( not touching). there's more room there. Then take out all but a few springs, keep the main and say 2 of the longer ones and one flat helper on the bottom (helps with axle wrap), re-clamp them together.
This is a simple set up, it keeps the main leaf spring, that will keep the axle centered, mounting the bag on top of the axle also helps with axle twist (if you mount it behind the axle it tends to twist on acceleration), you can mount the bags in front of the axle but gas tanks and exhaust may be issues, also this does not require a pan-hard bar and mount which saves space also.

google airbag suspension and click images, the custom folks have it figured out. as for bag size a 8in or 10in bag should be plenty. remember to add the rating together since they are on one axle.

Lee Hall
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