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Old 08-26-2011, 12:02 PM   #11
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Re: air bags

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I was told air bag school buses dont ride well at all. FWIW
I don't know where they got that idea about not riding well. I've got one spring ride bus (dog nose) and one air ride bus (FE) and there is a major difference in the quality of the ride. If you want to break all your dishes in you cabinets, get a spring ride bus. If you only want to break 1/4 of your dishes, get an air ride bus. A bus that saves all the dishes is out of my price range so I can't comment on those. My point is, if you can find a bus with air ride, get it. Your back will thank you and especially your passengers, dishes,and your tires.
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Old 08-27-2011, 10:34 AM   #12
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Re: air bags

I was a bit baffeled about the air bag ride, I was always knew air bags are suppose to be smoother ride, If I ever want to build another bus I would go rear engine with air ride, but with that being said I really like the set up I have now, just want to break less dishes what I did notice , is that with my fresh water tank full the ride is a bit better more weight, tank is right at the back, the extra 300 pounds is a wee bit better.

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Old 08-27-2011, 11:36 AM   #13
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Re: air bags

Our bus has springs. It does not ride rough. We loaded all our "stuff" into it for the move out west and I didn't have a single broken dish in the lot. The 12 cf freezer and the big screen TV also rode just fine and they were at the very back of the bus. It does not ride as smooth as the Eagle but the Eagle had the best suspension on a bus (Torsilastic). That is why it was the shell of choice for all those entertainer buses. Learn to pack your dishes! We do have the airbags on the Class C (as helpers for the flattened out leaf springs). And I haven't broken anything in transit yet. Our popup didn't have air bags (of course not) and I didn't break glasses and plates in it either. The plates from the pop-up are now in the Class C. The plates in the Class C will be transferred to the bus. I used the same plates in camping since I bought them in 1987... used, mostly public campgrounds and we all know how smooth their roads are. I use Corelle from the 1960's with a few pieces of the "new" stuff added in. Sounds like your springs are flattened out (you are literally sitting on your axle) and need a lift or replaced. Any roughness in our bus' ride can be smoothed out by the airbags running at a just enough air to lift slightly and set on the air bags.
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Old 08-27-2011, 07:02 PM   #14
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Re: air bags

Lorna, I'm not disputing what you say. I can only go by my monthly 42 mile warm up route with each empty bus. My route would be considered average as far a secondary US highway construction. I've seen interstate roads in far greater need of repair. Its been some years ago but I-10 across Louisiana comes to mind as well as I-5 in California. I'd really hate to be on either of those roads with a spring ride bus. Those roads would not only break your dishes, they would sling them out of the cabinets.

Then again, your bus was almost fully loaded, and that has a lot to do with making the ride smoother. Try the above routes with an empty bus on springs and like me, you too will be looking for another route. I do like the idea of the added air bags, are you talking about the Firestone's for the p/u trucks or something heavier? I'll need to double check for the flat springs. I doubt they have ever been changed in 29 years of moving school children.
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Old 08-27-2011, 08:58 PM   #15
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Re: air bags

I'm talking about the air bags for something heavier than a P/U. I know what the bags did for the Class C. It's springs were completely flattened out. First trip in the old thing was down to Cordele thru Atlanta. Every time I hit a "seam" in the pavement, it jarred my teeth and I thought the RV was going to fall apart. 270 miles of that got real tiring, real fast. But I did get the poor old thing down to the Ga Vets SP (where we were staying at) all in one piece. Needless to say we started looking into some sort of repairs. But no broken dishes! David had put some of the "spring stretchers" in the rear coil springs but I broke those on the way to GA Vets. While in GA, we pulled the RV in someone's driveway (yes we knew them) and installed the air bags we bought from JC Whitney. Took a trip to FL and adjusted the air up and down. I finally found a level I liked (58 lbs) and haven't slowed down since. I when from doing 45 mph to being able to run at a decent speed. I've had the RV up to 80 on I-20. Don't let anyone kid you. I-20 is a rough road. I think they built hills into the road as well. We noticed while driving thru the Dallas-Ft Worth area, that the surrounding are was all flat... except on I-20. We realized this on the crest of one of the many hills! I've heard I-10 can break the king pins! I've only been on short sections of I1-. Good it's a boring road. Been on I-10 between I-75 and Jacksonville, another stretch in FL stretch of a few miles (Exit 130 to 136) and then from Ft Stockton TX to I-37. Not enough to really decide how the road is... except boring.

But I do think the load makes a big difference. I'm sure an empty bus will sling you all over the place. We estimate that the load we had moving out here will be similar to the conversion load (conversion will be heavier most likely). Also why we think the fuel MPG will be close. Like I said, we know how the bus rode coming out here. Also why we think we only need air bags to "level" it a tad. I don't want to be blocking up the bus while parked in a parking lot! I do have to look at the airbags to see what we need to buy. But it only took David a couple of hours per side to install on the Class C. And it sets lower to the ground meaning it was harder for David to climb under it.

FOR EVERYONE.... I think changing out springs etc on an empty bus may not be a smart choice. Crawl under and see if your springs are flattened out first. Air bags can easily be added later if you decide you need them. And you may decide to add just for leveling. We can use the Firestone bags to raise the back end of the Class C several inches front to back and side to side (Class C is only 22 ft long overall). Now stretch that out to a 40 ft bus with a much longer wheel base and I'm thinking that will be enough.
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Old 08-28-2011, 12:58 PM   #16
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Re: air bags

my springs are fine, these buses are built for loads, therefore you have to have heavy springs, the 3800 chassie is used in all sorts of truck, and they are meant for working, not comfort in ride. adding just air bags is more for height adjustment, replaceing springs for air bags is for ride comfort, ie. removeal of some springs(softens supension), then add air system ,(could be just airshocks) (and bags), therefore smoother ride, its a costly thing to do thats why i wont be doing it,(yet)

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Old 09-07-2011, 07:03 PM   #17
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Re: air bags

today I looked at a bus it was new maybe 2010 with a maxforce motor,(blue bird) anyway it was parked with all the others waiting for the kids. I notice that the door was air powered, hmmm? upon a closer look it had air bags with the leaf springs, and there was only 2 springs(main one was thick), the brakes where still hydrulic, I talked to the driver he said that it was the smoothest bus he every drove, as well as the most quiet. guess Ill have to save up some cash when they start selling them off well maybe not I like my bus, dont know if I would do it again. anyway nice looking buses comming up in the next 7years!!

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Old 10-04-2011, 11:38 PM   #18
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Re: air bags

At work we changed an older Peterbilt 359 tractor from leaf springs to airbag and it's a world of difference.
Later the trailer was changed to air-ride and that made a big difference in the ride too.
If I were going to convert a bus I'd do it the same way; get the whole air-ride rear suspension setup at a truck wrecking yard and bolt it all in.
If you will need to have this work done for you, it's probably going to cost more than your bus did.
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Old 10-05-2011, 09:33 PM   #19
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Re: air bags

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Originally Posted by Joe Monstermaker
At work we changed an older Peterbilt 359 tractor from leaf springs to airbag and it's a world of difference.
Later the trailer was changed to air-ride and that made a big difference in the ride too.
If I were going to convert a bus I'd do it the same way; get the whole air-ride rear suspension setup at a truck wrecking yard and bolt it all in.
If you will need to have this work done for you, it's probably going to cost more than your bus did.
that not a bad ideal, shouldnt be to hard to find that, did you remove the springs all together?

tks for info

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Old 10-09-2011, 10:31 AM   #20
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Re: air bags

The air suspension setup is entirely different, all of the original spring suspension was removed. The airbag setup does have partial leaves; just the forward half, to locate the axle. All the weight sits on the large air bags just behind the axle.
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