Choosing Which Airbags Are Best For What You Tow And Haul

Choosing Which Airbags Are Best For What You Tow And Haul

If you’re reading this, you probably realize your towing experience could be a little better than it has been. With a load on — or behind — your truck, you might be experiencing a number of unpleasant situations ranging from body roll when turning, difficulty steering and braking, and your vehicle sagging like one of those trucks that seemingly only used the front portion of a lift kit. If so, it might be time you need to think about a set of Air Lift Company airbags.

Fortunately, installing a set of airbags can help remedy these scary situations. Adding airbags will help support the weight of your towed or hauled load, adding stability and better control while driving. In other words, adding airbags to your truck will improve almost every aspect of your towing experience. By now you should know for a fact that this is not a want, but a need.

airbags

For those with light-duty hauling habits and coil springs, airbags that insert into your coil springs are the easiest to install.

If you haven’t yet experienced any of those previously mentioned scary situations, congratulations. But if you’re planning to get a trailer to haul things or a heavy camper, you surely will at some point. That is why we recommend getting an airbag suspension kit before you even purchase that travel trailer or fifth-wheel camper. An airbag suspension will help whenever you add weight to the rear of your vehicle, so don’t wait until your towing experience starts to feel uneasy before you invest in a kit. But, how do you choose the right suspension kit for your truck? Are there differences in airbags?

Can I haul More With Airbags?

Simply put, no. If your truck is only rated to support 1,000 pounds of tongue weight, getting an airbag with a 5,000-pound capacity will not allow you to haul a trailer with 2,000 pounds of tongue weight. An airbag suspension is designed to supplement and enhance your vehicle’s suspension while towing or hauling, but it will not let you haul a heavier trailer or load than your truck manufacturer recommends.

Many people feel that airbags are the best option for supporting loads while hauling heavy stuff or when doing any heavy-duty towing. These suspension aids have a heavy-duty rubber construction and there are variations to this suspension upgrade. For starters, Air Lift offers the Air Lift 1000 (internal red bags), Air Lift 1000 HD (internal black bags), Load Lifter 5000 (external), Load Lifter 5000 Ultimate (external), Load Lifter 5000 Ultimate Plus (external), and the Load Lifter 7500 XL (external).

Internal Or External Bags?

When deciding which airbag you need, there are two distinct designs: internal (for use with open-coil spring suspensions) or external, which can be used with leaf spring or coil spring suspensions.

The capacity for which air springs can help support a load ranges from 1,000 pounds to 7,500 pounds. The support they offer is exceptional, and some say offers the best results at improving your vehicle’s stability, ride quality, and extending the life of its suspension and moving parts. We’ll start by looking at the internal-mount-design airbags.

airbags

Externally mounted airbags are a little harder to install but do offer heavier load support.

According to Mike Alexander, brand manager at Air Lift Company, “The Air Lift “Red Bag” series is positioned inside an existing coil spring and can help support up to 1,000 pounds, whereas an external bag setup tends to be for leaf-spring-style suspension setups and adds much more substantial capacity (3,000 to 7,500 pounds) depending on the application and helper spring kit.”

If your truck has coil springs, you have a choice. If you do not frequently tow or haul heavy loads, and maybe you just like to take your boat trailer or small-ish camper trailer out a few times a year, internal bags might be right for you. These springs are usually a polyurethane construction and even though these airbags are made for light-duty usage, they still reduce the strain on your vehicle’s suspension and will improve your overall ride quality. The pressure in the bag can be adjusted to offer a smooth ride and then the pressure can be adjusted higher to support a load. To adjust the pressure each bag has an air line to increase or decrease the air pressure.

For those who do frequently tow heavy loads, you will undoubtedly want a set of externally mounted bags like the Load Lifter 5000 Ultimate or the LoadLifter 7500XL. These airbags mount as an auxiliary spring and are not positioned within a coil spring. These are typically found on trucks used for heavy-duty towing and hauling. These are compatible with either coil spring or leaf spring-equipped trucks.

While not necessary, having an onboard air compressor makes adjusting the airbags very easy.

Like an internal bag, the air pressure within externally mounted airbags can also be adjusted as needed. This can be done in one of two ways. One is via air lines that you manually use to adjust air pressure or you can opt for a vehicle-mounted air compressor.  If you’re hauling a big load one day, you can add air pressure to your bags to keep your truck level. If you’re hauling a lighter load the next day, simply deflate them for the best ride quality.

Inflating Your Airbags

Using an airbag requires, well, air. All airbag kits come with air hose and Schrader valves so you can inflate and deflate the bags as required. The included air hose allows installation of the inflation valves (one for each spring), in a convenient spot – typically on the bumper. This is a great feature for those of you towing your fifth wheel or camper only a few times a year and don’t mind manually inflating your air springs as needed.

The WirelessOne compressor system is a single-path system, meaning both air springs will be inflated or deflated to the same pressure. This is ideal for vehicles carrying loads that are equally distributed left-to-right. The controller and app are both programmable with user-defined presets. The redesigned WirelessOne system is easier to install than ever, with a standard-duty air compressor and a small manifold. There’s no running air line inside the cab or fiddling with fuses, just a simple battery hook-up. With common hand tools, the system installs in only a few hours.

However, if you tow quite frequently and with a trailer loaded with different weights, we highly recommend getting an onboard air compressor kit that installs under your vehicle. This will save you a lot of time and stress by allowing you to monitor your air pressure and inflate your springs at the flip of a switch the moment you notice them getting low. Air springs can also be adjusted separately to compensate for off-center loads with the use of a dual-path compressor. This is great for all you workaholics who are always hauling different types of cargo in your work truck.

While having airbags is not a necessity for your truck, the peace of mind they can offer are definitely worth the price. If you are still uncertain about which airbag best fits your needs, check out Air Lift Company and enter your truck’s year, make, and model and you’ll get recommendations that are right for you.

Article Sources

About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
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