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Airbags for dana44 w/coils

Discussion in 'Ram Trucks' started by KLC99, Oct 21, 2003.

  1. KLC99

    KLC99 Senior Member
    Messages: 160

    Has anyone used/know of an airbag setup for the solid axle/coil spring dodges.

    I would like to relocate the front shocks on my '97 1500 to the outside of the springs and mount airbags within. Has anyone tried this?

    The airbags would not be used for supporting the weight of the plow but as a means to lift the front end for show/off road and let it back down for plowing. I have a moderate lift (stronger springs) already and I want more clearance for summer tires without lowering the plow mount.

    Thank you
     
  2. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    You could go one of several ways.

    They make airbag kits that replace the entire coil spring,and allow some major height adjustments,big $$$$.

    You could get a smaller set of airbags,like the Firestone or Airlift add on kit's that you could mount in place of the bump stop (same place as a Timbren) to give you some extra lift.Then just run them almost empty to drop the truck.

    Get get some dual shock brackets,which allow you to run an extra shock outboard of the spring,and use it for your shock,and remove the shocks inside the coils.You could now put Airlift bags inside the coils.

    Maybe a set of cheap air shocks would work too.
     
  3. KLC99

    KLC99 Senior Member
    Messages: 160

    Thanks Wyldman.

    The third option is exactly what I've been considering.

    I had not considered mounting airbags in place of the bump stops but now that you mention it, that sounds like the easiest/cheapest way. Do you think I can get a decent range---maybe 3 inches---out of them?

    Thank you very much.
     
  4. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    I'm not sure you could get 3 inches,and keep them on all the time.If you going to take them off when you drop it all the way down,then yes.

    The only problem I see,is with the truck already having some lift,and adding another couple of inches,you going to start getting into geometry problems.The control arms and track bar are going to be to short.The axle will not be centered properly,and it will be too far rearward,your caster will be way out of whack,and you'll get into some real bad death wobble.

    Why not get a proper 4-5 inch lift kit to use in the summer,and then just take out the coil spacers,or longer springs (whatever the kit uses),and go back to the slightly taller springs you have now in the winter.You can get an adjustable DT trackbar to center the axle properly when you change the amount of lift,and most of the good control arms are adjustable as well.

    It may cost a few dollars more,but it will be safe,strong,and completely adjustable.

    If your plow is a Western,you can squeak another couple of inches out of the plow mount too.
     
  5. KLC99

    KLC99 Senior Member
    Messages: 160

    Once again, thanks for the sound advice.
    I would rather keep the truck down at its present height for plowing, normal driving, etc. and only use the extra inches for show and off roading. After winter the truck will be my daily driver as an older cummins is in the works for spring.

    I am currently running a stock track bar and axle supports with 2 1/2 inch suspension lift in the front. The only adjustment I made for handling was alignment to correct the tow in. My thoughts are to upgrade the parts to line up the axle correctly with the current lift and just put up with the shudder if I have to take it past 45mph with the bags inflated. I have to say I prefer the leaf springs and single tie rod on the pre '94 trucks. They always seemed to work fine.

    Also---do you think it would be feasable to have a welder extend my current control arms rather than get new ones?
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2003
  6. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    It would be easier to make new ones.The stock control arms are pretty flimsy.Just make some out of some tubing and use some poly bushings.Threaded rod end will also work.
     
  7. KLC99

    KLC99 Senior Member
    Messages: 160

    Thanks!
     
  8. johngus

    johngus Senior Member
    Messages: 117

    there are companys that make replacement arms for the dodge's.I think skyjacker makes one.they look like nice quality and are tubular which is stronger than the factory ones and will give a little more clearance when turning wheels.I think you may have problems with the air suspension you want because if you lifted the front with the bags 3" the coils would probably fall out.I would agree with Wyldman and buy a quality lift from a reputable company,they have done their homework and tested for you.