airbags on the rear?

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by GWAYGWAY, Jul 11, 2016.

  1. GWAYGWAY

    GWAYGWAY Funster

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    I have gotten back from Ireland with my new van and had a bit of a moment coming off the rear of the ferry ramps when we arrived in Dublin, The overhang of the garage made contact with the metal fingers making horrible scraping noises, the loading officer was watching us and did warn me to go very slowly. At the top I stopped and checked the back and the glass-fibre body had some small scrapes on the lower struts but not worth worrying about. But the ramp was almost flat at the time and I thought about the Isle of Man ferry pontoon at Liverpool which is very abrupt angular changes leading to some cars scraping bumpers, mine included, that was low tide, at high tide there would be no problem but a really big overhang like mine would mean waiting for the high tide to leave the pontoon to the terminal.
    Question is, Should I fit a couple of airbags to the rear suspension? to raise it when I have a situation like that again as well as a better ride on the road. Mercedes Sprinters do not have a lot of room between the axle and the chassis members at max weight for the airbags so if there were to be some fitted would it lift the rear end right up and look even sillier that is does anyway or is there only a slight height difference until you put a load more air in to raise it right up. would it also stop the rolling that mercs suffer from when going passed lorries at speed?
     
  2. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    There have been quite a few problems with the ML with the waste tank grounding not only on ferries on rough roads as well one guy ripped the tank off. Quite a bit about it on the O&A forum and on the German forums. The only fix appears to be air assit on the rear.
     
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  3. RogerThat

    RogerThat Funster

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    How much of a lift would air bags give you, do you know?
     
  4. Speve

    Speve Funster

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    We have just had VB semi air to back of our Exsis Fiat and it will lift you quite a bit higher if needed, my reason for it is to keep a good ride height when towing a car trailer, we can now load up the van adjust air bags to keep us at same height as when empty and we then have a level tow.(y)(y)(y)
    Can't comment on rolling as the Fiat is very stable anyway.
     
  5. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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  6. Hagstrom

    Hagstrom Funster

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    I think I remember a difference in ground clearance at the rear towbar of our Sprinter based van of one and a half inches between there being 2 bar and 6 bar in the rear VB Assists. To avoid grounding on ramps we had to both pump the bags up, and, take off the tow bar.
     
  7. Speve

    Speve Funster

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    We saw a German van in Spain last winter with rollers on the back that had one of the longest overhangs I've seen.
    Can't remember what make it was but they seemed to be original manufactures fittings.
    I think we can lift the air bags to give an extra 50mm.
    I will do a trial tomorrow and post the height differences don't know if it would be the same on a merc chassis but it would give an idea of what is achievable.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
  8. GWAYGWAY

    GWAYGWAY Funster

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    The biggest problem is that the ML-I mercedes based van has no rear chassis members as it is entirely fibre glass from the rear hanger back. The entire garage floor is plastic and no steel work at all. It also means that a tow bar for it has to have two long steel extensions from the chassis to the tow bar, I might fit one and put a wheel under the end. First things will be the bags I think just to get the extra few inches
     

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  9. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    Unless the chassis has been specifically designed for rollers on the rear you risk serious damage when they ground. I know how the garage area is constructed as the ML is just an Exsis on a Merc chassis and no way can I see a way of using rollers that would be safe. Also it is not the back end that grounds it is the waste tank housing, which is further forward.

    Here are some links to the problem and if you search the German forums you will find more info, also only some air bags will fit as the ML is on a special low chassis.

    O&A Air suspension on ML.

    HME Resiemobil.
     
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  10. Speve

    Speve Funster

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    @GWAYGWAY I have checked heights from bottom of travel to top and its 60mm around 2 & half inches but that makes quite a difference when loaded. Good luck with it I'm sure you'll find it worthwhile even though it's gonna cot a bit.
     
  11. GWAYGWAY

    GWAYGWAY Funster

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    I have been delving under the van and checked the witness marks from the ferry and they are definitely the rear of the stiffeners beside the rear skirt, that touched, the tank is also vulnerable with rear straps going sideways across the tank at 90 degrees to the direction of travel, any catching will pull the rear strop off so I am going to make a pair of skids to go across the bottom of these as a temporary measure. The towbar is the next item and that will have enough beef to fit a couple of boat rollers to at the front and keep the rear up higher in a safer place. Ferry fingers are long as they are for the lorries but the change of angle can be entirely tide governed.
    So It is a pair of skids 1
    a pair of airbags to help lift the rear AND stiffen up the rolling around at speed. 2
    Towbar with rollers. 3
     
  12. dpsuk999

    dpsuk999 Funster

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    Hi @Speve do you mind me asking how much you paid and where you had VB fitted? I'm looking at it (although mine is a twin axle so know it will probably be more expensive)

    Cheers Dave.
     
  13. Speve

    Speve Funster

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    Have sent you a PM you will probably find a fitting agent much closer to you than Devon but they all quoted around the same prices the deciding factor for me was ease of getting to Court Conversions and also got a free remote for the EP jacking system
     
  14. Calypso a go go

    Calypso a go go Funster

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    I looked at different airbag setups before I settled for a pair on my T4, however, most airbags are bolted between the axle and chassis and usually assist the rear leaf springs, as well as providing extra lift. The maximum it will raise is restricted by the shocks travel anyway, so just jack up the body to see the travel difference. T4 has no beam axle, independently sprung, so I had to get a different set-up.
    I have put in 100psi to each of my bags, which is also the maximum the wireless air system provides. This brings the motorhome about an inch higher than springs, and has beefed up the ride amazingly.
    Just done a Essex - Scotland & Highlands and back, 1400 miles, airbags handled superbly with no issues, occasionally adding or reducing air pressure to provide a stable ride through the Glens. Coupled with a Re-map, the 2.5tdi purred up the steepest of hills, no problem. What was a sluggish mammoth that rolled like it was drunk, is now transformed into a firm handling responsive vehicle, keeping up with all traffic situations. If you are thinking about upgrading your handling, airbags were the way to go for me.
     

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