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Airbags or Timbrens?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by motorider000, Mar 8, 2005.

  1. motorider000

    motorider000 Senior Member
    Messages: 110

    I have brought up this topic in a previous post. I have a sonoma highrider zr2 that i need to tow the bobcat with to get started this year (I know its WAY overload). I am planning on selling this truck and upgrading to a 3/4 ASAP (hopefully mid summer). I am thinking about putting on either timbrens or airbags. I can the get timbrens for $145.75 or airbags (installed) for $300. I do not want to put much money in this truck as it will not be around for long. What do you think i would be better off with?
     
  2. flykelley

    flykelley 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,124

    Airbag's would be my first choice, I will have them on my truck for next season. Here in Lower Michigan they run about $400.00 installed.

    Regard's Mike
     
  3. REAPER

    REAPER 2000 Club Member
    from 60050
    Messages: 2,228

    Airbags will <b>always</b> leak. Cold weather affects them alot. Maybe not when brand new. But trust me they will leak some time and most times it is sooner rather than later. Go with what you want. I never need to check the air in my timbrens nor is the truck never sitting down on one wheel. Is a matter of how much future maintenance you want to deal with. You can also take the timbrens out of the front and replace w/stock bump-stop in spring for stock ride. Leave em in rear for towing.

    I am sure some will say they never had a problem with the air bags. In my 20 some odd years of being around all kinds of truck applications in my work I have yet to see any that did not leak after a couple of years.
     
  4. ratlover

    ratlover PlowSite.com Addict
    from IL
    Messages: 1,325

    Timbrens are cheap......they dont seem to ride well in the rear from the comments of the HD guys and most prefer airbags and have good sucess. For your app timbrens may be best.

    Well at least it seems you are aware how much of an accident you are waiting to happen. You must like to gamble. I hope at minimum you arnt going far, dont touch the highway, and have a good controler and GOOD TRAILER BRAKES!!!!!! WHy not upgrade now??? Loading the trailer properly is a big deal for you and better make sure your tires are at max inflation and arnt over thier capacity. Also what are you using for a hitch?
     
  5. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    I did a fair amount of heavy towing with my '86 S15 2wd until I bought my current truck. Let me tell you first hand, that while it was very capable of pulling the weight, stopping it could be another story! There was only one semi-near-miss (some old guy just pulled across the road in front of me, very leisurely, not a clue what was going on around him) where I had all four tires of the truck locked and smoking. I was barely able to keep from taking his back bumper off, he seemed to never even notice. If I had hit him, even though it would be his fault, MTO would have had a field day with me.

    My truck had the stock rear suspension on it (long box w/towing package) and it always amazed me. I used to carry scrap engine blocks away for our local shop, usually about 3/4 of a ton at a time. My current 4x4 shortbox, and my brother's old 2wd shortbox can barely hold a couple hundred pounds.

    Also, while I don't know about current automatics (which I assume you have) but the 700R4's in these trucks had less clutches in them than the V8 version, ie: more prone to slippage. I had a swapped in 5 speed with oversized clutch, so I got away with it.

    In summary, I have to tell you that while I got away with it, I really really really don't recommend it. It only takes one slip-up, and if your equivelent to the MTO gets ahold of you, forget reasonable insurance and your license, because they will nail your @ss to the wall. I figure I was fairly lucky that I kept the jobs to late at night and out in the country. Don't count on trailer brakes either, they are usually just a 'helper', and locked wheels on the truck can cause a jack knife situation.

    It just isn't worth it. If cash is the problem, maybe you could buy an older beater 3/4 ton for a year or two until you can raise the capital? Then just use it for the heavy jobs and keept the ZR2 for light work and personal use. There was just an '85 3/4 ton 4x4 GMC sold on ebay that looked very presentable, came with a Meyer 8' plow, but needed a tranny (TH400, very cheap). The whole truck sold for around $500. Another couple hundred would net you a tranny and it probably would have lasted for years with a little basic maintenance.

    The choice is yours, of course.
     
  6. snowinjoe

    snowinjoe Senior Member
    Messages: 180

    Excuse me I don't mean to hijack this thread. I have a 93 astro that I use for a weekly delivery route. I'm thinking about the timbrens and air bag question myself. I was wondering how do the timbrens affect the ride. This thing rides like a truck as it is so a little difference is not going to bother me. The reason I don;t like the air is the leak factor.
     
  7. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    For the Z truck- why not look into spring boosters instead? Add a leaf type things probabily would be in the ballpark of Timbrens (definatly less than air) and give better ride. JCWhitneys.com has a couple of different styles, including ones that bolt right on with no spring pack midifications.

    As to the astro- there are several opinions as to ride quality from them. I will be adding a set for next season unless I find a better solution (got an in with Firestone...might look into front bags for my Dodge.) Search for "timbren" and you'll find all the threads with opinions and experiances you could hope for. Timbren also has a satisfaction guarantee (not mentioned on their site but one of their sales/tech staff told me about it while telling me of their warranty)
     
  8. motorider000

    motorider000 Senior Member
    Messages: 110

    Ratlover,
    The truck has a Prodigy controller ($150) and my trailer is brand new with breaks on both axles. I am using a standard drawbar hitch flipped upsidedown and a 10000lb reciever.

    I wish I could my a 3/4 ton now but my dad says it ain't gonna happen until I have some more $$$$ saved up. I also need to get rid of the zr2 because it has 143000 miles.

    My only other option to tow it with is my dads 2004 durango hemi. That has a 8700 pound towing cap. but then I lose the breaks (cannot share the controller). Plus I don't like the idea of using a 40000 veihicle for working (it only has 3000 miles on it).
     
  9. Mark F

    Mark F Senior Member
    Messages: 101

    I've had both. And I prefer the air bags. The timberens I had were always in contact so it made for a real stiff ride when the truck was empty. The air bags I got now Ive had for a few years. I first had them on A 00,f-350srw, I took them off when I traded it in, and reinstalled them on my 04,f-350drw. And no leaks so far. I got the in cab gauge,switch. Put the compressor under the hood. It will also work as A scale. With the spreader in the back, I'll set the gauge at 30lbs. So with 1/2 a ton in it, it will read 40lbs. At 1 ton it reads 50lbs. 1 1/2 tons it reads 60lbs. 2 tons it reads 70lbs. It helps keep A account of what I use per customer.
     
  10. motorider000

    motorider000 Senior Member
    Messages: 110

    I am sorry but what does MTO stand for?
     
  11. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    MTO = Ministry (of) Transportation (of) Ontario.

    I don't know what your equivelent would be.
     
  12. brunosplace

    brunosplace Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    go with Timbrens

    I had the Air Lift air bags on the front of my TJ. Didn't get 3 months of service out of them before they started leaking. The "protector" that mounted to where the factory bump stop was wore a hole through the top of the bag. Have still not heard any replies to my warranty claim yet. (2 1/2 weeks). So I went out and bought the Timbrens. I like them much better. It only drops about a half inch with the blade raised. With the air bags at 45 psi it would still drop 1.25 inches.
     
  13. danno

    danno Senior Member
    Messages: 401

    Timbren owner here. First thing I would check now is how much clearance there would be once there`re installed. If you have about 1/2 inch, thats perfect . If no clearance and sits on the top of the axle, You`ll get a very stiff ride.
     
  14. motorider000

    motorider000 Senior Member
    Messages: 110

    Ours is DOT Dept of Transportation