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Thread: Air Bags

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Huntsville
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    3,120

    Default Air Bags

    I was talking to a new member last week, and he was asking about replacing his air bags. There has been a lot of discussion over the years, and some have replaced them at a specific time and age of the bus, others have waited until they had a problem. I have owned three buses, and I needed to replace one air bag during that time. I had a 93 Marathon that one bag developed a leak, so I replaced it. That was one of the first jobs I tackled on a Prevost and I think I recall that it took between 1 and 2 hours. I now have a 1998 chassis with no visible leaks or cracks in my air bags.

    My question is, "What is the current thought about air bag replacement?" Should I replace them all because they are 20 years old or should I wait until I have a leak? All comments welcome.
    Dale & Paulette

    "God Loves you and has a plan for your life!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Polk City
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    3,664

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    Pump them up to full extension and take a look. They don’t look the same at ride height.

    3A4BC3A9-C7F3-424D-BC1F-57E927567164.jpeg
    Tom

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Kansas City, MO
    Posts
    497

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    Air bags 2000 Marathon H3 (99 shell) at appox 16 plus years of age. Exceptions to every rule of course but front bags get most wear.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by BoaterAl; 04-03-2018 at 10:50 PM.

  4. #4
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    Huntsville
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    I am wondering if my air bags have been replaced at some point. I raised the bus all the way and made pictures of each bag, and I see no cracks at all. The light is different on some of them so some look darker than others. There is also more dirt on the rear ones. If these are original, they look great to be 20 years old. Three of them look new the way the light is hitting them, but I know they haven't been replaced since I purchased the bus in 2013.

    I don't know why the system turned all these sideways. I made all of them with my phone in a normal vertical position.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by dale farley; 04-12-2018 at 08:41 PM.
    Dale & Paulette

    "God Loves you and has a plan for your life!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Kansas City, MO
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    497

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    Sure looks like bags were replaced at some point....I think your good to go.

    Great pictures showing other members the good ones compared to bad ones.
    AL

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    2,697

    Default

    Hey Dale couple things there you wrote down first IMHO a failure is not usually due to a road hazard. You almost never take one out with a road hazard. You have to drive over something pretty big and kick it up pretty far to take out the airbag. When they do fail they almost never go boom. They'll develop a slow leak. The difference in the age that you can get out of them is directly related to how you're storing the bus and where you park it and where you use it. If you stored inside and use it very little in colder climates they'll go a long way. That's normally what you run into at least what I do anyway. I use them until you develop a leak and then when you do start getting a lean then decide how much you want to do either do that corner or do them all.

    It's also kind of surprising to hear the manufacturer say that they can last a lifetime. I I guess that would depend on what your definition of a lifetime would be.

    I've seen coaches that get stored inside that r used in warmer climates with bags that are 20 years old look way better than bags on a bus that are stored outside and used in colder climates that are barely 10 years old.

    Yours all look fine. What will happen is some other component will go bad, IE norgren, and start leaking and make you lean and then you decide whether you want to replace them at that point or not, along with the other problem.

    When I'm replacing airbags I do it most frequently with people that just picked up a new bus to them but a used one and they want to put all new to start fresh because they either don't have service records or because the service records that they do have show them to be older than 10 years old. Needless to say I pull off a lot of really good looking airbags.

    Those bags are date coded on that one picture you can see a little circle with an arrow in it it tells you the year and the month, picture 4. if I had a venture to guess I'd say most of the ones that you pictures are probably older than 10 years old.

    The bags on the IFS require 95 PSI a great deal more pressure then drive axle and tag which are closer to 60 PSI at right height. If in doubt and budget permitting and wanting to be proactive that's probably a good place to start.

    Hey Al the picture of those steer axle bags you took off as bad as they look I would definitely have replaced those and got them out of there. But. Take a minute and cut one open cut one of those two bags open and look at how the rubber is and look at the difference of the inside of it. I think that's why the manufacturer says coulf last a lifetime. I pulled airbags off that are so dry and cracked the outside of them is crumbly you can rub your hand on it and crumbles fall off of it but they still held air completely. I'm not saying leave that kind of stuff on your bus I'm just saying they CAN go a long long long way and frequently do. Even at that point they most frequently won't go boom they'll just begin to leak a little.
    Last edited by Joe Camper; 04-13-2018 at 09:47 AM.
    1990 Peterbuilt 377
    3406 B Caterpillar
    13 Speed Roadranger
    No Norgrens
    708 243 7871

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Smithville
    Posts
    298

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    The ones with vertical lines and rubber tips on them look newer than the others.
    My Wife said " You have Gone Crazy " When I purchased the Coach. Now She says , " DONT SELL THE BUS"
    ​Email; libertycoach322@gmail.com


    Safe Travels,
    Rocky

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Huntsville
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    I wonder if it would do any good to clean the bags and spray with a non-petroleum based rubber conditioner?
    Dale & Paulette

    "God Loves you and has a plan for your life!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Kansas City, MO
    Posts
    497

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    Service records and inspection are what should move owners to replace air bags. When a pre purchase inspection on our 2000 Marathon H3 showed front air bags with cracks the size of the Grand Canyon their replacement was made easy. At same time, all nine (9) Norgren's.
    On Dale's bus in my opinion his bags look pretty good.
    I have also heard on 2 separate air bag change out of some bags filled with water. This example is a direct ownership lack of care, don't give a damm about draining tanks or basic lack of any and all maintenance.

    Dale, no Foo-Foo on air bags.
    AL
    Last edited by BoaterAl; 04-13-2018 at 05:23 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Chicago
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    2,697

    Default

    20180413_091049.jpg

    20180413_091056.jpg

    Here is what air bags look like when the bus hasn't been stored inside and they're the original bags still and they're older than 20 years old. I just took this one off my Pete a couple of weeks ago cuz I'm doing the rear axle on it I think they were original and the truck is a 1990 so these would be 28 year old airbags. They leak down overnight there was no audible hiss coming from anywhere you could not hear them leaking but the leak was big enough it would go down overnight so now there's some real comparison pictures for you Al.

    I've pulled bags like this off of buses more than a few times but it's not the normal 4 Prevost motorhomes.
    1990 Peterbuilt 377
    3406 B Caterpillar
    13 Speed Roadranger
    No Norgrens
    708 243 7871

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