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Airbags vs Timbrens on Rear

Discussion in 'Ford Trucks' started by Moss Man, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. Moss Man

    Moss Man Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 535

    I know this topic has been debated for decades, but having some current up to date opinions would be good. I want to install either Firestone airbags in the rear of my truck or Timbrens. It's the truck in my signature and I need to stabilize the rear when running the sander and towing fifth wheel and gooseneck trailers. I'm leaning towards the Timbrens for ease of installation and long term reliability, but if the airbags are a better solution I could be swayed. One concern with the airbags is that I need them to operate well in the cold(Maine) and I've heard that condensation freezing in the lines can be an issue. I don't want to spend on the on board compressor at the moment, so that is a factor. Another concern is that both mechanics I bring the truck to for work have frame lifts and I've heard airbags have to be considered when lifting this way. Lastly, I've heard of a period of time the bags deteriorate and can develop leaks and need replacing.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  2. quigleysiding

    quigleysiding PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,129

    I have them on my 2500. They work well when you are loaded. When you have just a little weight in the truck it can make for a bumpy ride. When you hit a bump they hit off of the timbriens. I got them because of the lift thing. My friend has the airbags and he says that you have strap the rear when on the lift.The airbags are nice because you can adjust them for the load. Had the timbriens for three years . They install in about an hour. Very easy. Over all I am happy with them.
  3. Moss Man

    Moss Man Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 535

    Good info guigley, thank you.

    I'm not a year round constant hauler, it's more of a sideline and the sander isn't loaded all that often.......so I'm thinking Timbrens will be a "set it and forget it" deal for me.
  4. abbottfarm

    abbottfarm Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 108

    I have ride rites, and have never had any issues. Just leave a couple pounds of air in them all the time so they don't collapse on themselves and chafe. As far as putting the truck on the lift I've never strapped the axle, nor had any issues from not strapping it. But I suppose different brands or different trucks could be different.
  5. Ultra Duty

    Ultra Duty Member
    from NE OHIO
    Messages: 65

    Air Bags all the way.. no issues w/ using a lift, just like suv's and cars with air shocks, you need to let the air out before you lift the truck. The ride and adjust-ability is well worth it!
  6. mnglocker

    mnglocker Senior Member
    Messages: 923

  7. jb1390

    jb1390 Senior Member
    Messages: 710

    timbrens due to simple installation, less roll when loaded with high center of gravity, no need to adjust air pressure depending on load, less expensive, I've had both setups.
  8. Moss Man

    Moss Man Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 535

    At the moment we have 2 for the Timbrens and two for the airbags, interesting for sure......
  9. sno commander

    sno commander PlowSite.com Addict
    from ct
    Messages: 1,063

    i installed a set of firestone bag in my dodge and love them. there really not any harder to install than timbrens. i did not get onboard air i just routed the fill lines inside my fuel door so they dont get all screwed up from the sander slinging slat into them. I cant speak for timbrens but i would imagine they ride quialty when loaded is better with the bags.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  10. Moss Man

    Moss Man Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 535

    I spoke with a suspension shop about the airbags and Timbrens and it was interesting to find out that neither one technically adds to the payload capacity, they are designed for leveling and stablizing the truck when under a load. Makes sense.
  11. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,783

    I have both, I put timbrens on my 96 3500 and firestone airbags(back) level rites(front) on my 07 3500

    I prefer the airbags/shocks for the ride and on the fly versatility. There's no adjustment in having timbrens and the ride is harder when loaded. It's the same we all tell our customers...you get what you pay for and they will probably both do the job... just not equally.
  12. Morrissey snow removal

    Morrissey snow removal PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,798

    i just bought the firestone air bags for the rear of my f350 but have not put them on yet
  13. BladeBlowBucket

    BladeBlowBucket Member
    Messages: 92

    Air-Bags forever ! …. I've been a user of the Ride-rites since before they were invented for the joe public (off of the shelf purchasing) …. the first set I bought ~'90 for an undersprung POS Ram-Chicken, still lives under it …. since then i've installed them under all of my current and past trucks. I've even had a custom set built to put under the front end of my Logging/Dump Truck (class-8) which has a #20,000 front end under it …. and they DO increase Gvw if u'r axles and tires and licensing will allow it. Air-bags are not new technology just down sized from the real truck world to work in smaller p/u's or tow trucks or motorhomes ??? what ever you want there's a set to fit …. the air bags do not deteriorate but in heavy salt there is a slight possibility the it'll eat up the end plates of the bags, but shouldn't be the case in a daily driver only if the last time u were to use a vehicle after heavy salting then park it till next season
    There is no issue with lifting the vehicle off of the ground …. another "wives tale"…. u'r shocks will stroke out before the bags stretch so far to tear and even then the springs should never allow the axles to drop out that far.

    Why I installed them under my Drw 3500 4x4 was the frigg'n headlites that come with all stock vehicles today don't have any tolerance to u'r trucks load, what i'm saying is you adjust u'r headlites empty and put a load on (not even a big one) the truck goes down 2" and now they're great for looking a tree tops …. so what I did was installed a Neway self leveling valve into the air circuit (same as on my rear air ride suspension on the Logger) so no matter what load I put on it'll always have the same ride height c/w a small air tank and compressor it was easy and cheap to do (but that's just me)…. that system has been under the Dodge since '03. The last "wives tale" I read was, "the truck will get tippy with high c-of-g loads" ….HUH ??? …. that CAN only happen when you are trying to over lift with the air bags and not assisting the springs as they were designed to, even then its a sign that u'r shocks are on their way out …. I had one of the first logging trucks used to haul high loads all of the time (13'-6" hi) using a full air ride suspension …. everyone said it would tip over the first corner i'd come to …. now ALL trucks use them, of corse it takes a bit of common sense as well like when I used the the same truck as a dump truck (you gotta dump the air out of the bags before u dump, a switch in the dash).

    Air bags won't beat u'r truck to death, it'll actually save u'r truck and tires from the ridged rubberblock ride if you think about it where does the shock loading go to if its a stiff ride, the sidewalls of u'r tires, like in the big trucks "hendrikson walking beam under rubber blocks" almost a thing of the past now …. Sorry i'm not a fan of the timbrins either a cheap answer looking for a solution to happen. JMHO's

    Been sitting on the side lines reading for quite awhile now, and thought it was about time to participate …. it'll be a great place to hang out !Thumbs Up :drinkup:
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013
  14. plowzilla

    plowzilla Senior Member
    Messages: 290

    I have firestones on all four I love them and will not be without them on any plow vehicle.
  15. Moss Man

    Moss Man Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 535

    Looks like airbags are taking the lead rounding the final turn.
  16. RepoMan207

    RepoMan207 PlowSite Fanatic
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,039

    Soooo, what are you saying...rather then buying the whole setup, you bought a manual system, then added your own compressor and tank with the neway valve? Why not just buy the intended kit and be done with it? Is it cheaper? I wouldn't think so with the added compressor and tank...and valve. With the Neway valve you need the tank...with the intended kit, you don't. The only thing you avoided was having a gauge/controller in your cab right? How much did you spend for the entire setup, all said and done?
  17. quigleysiding

    quigleysiding PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,129

    If I had it to do over again. I would get the bags. When I got the timbriens I was in a hurry and grabbed them local.They do work. I know the bags would hold the weight better. So I guess that's one less vote for the timbriens
  18. OC&D

    OC&D PlowSite Veteran
    from Earth
    Messages: 3,064

    I was digging around because I was thinking of adding both front and rear air bags on my truck and I found this thread. So, MM, what did you end up doing?

    I had Timbrens on the front of my last truck and they worked OK. The thing is that I not only plow, but I may or may not have the spreader on, and may or may not have additional salt in the bed. In addition, I have a PU camper, and I sometimes also tow a 14' enclosed trailer behind that with a Superhitch with a 2' extension. My thought with the airbags with on-board compressor is that I can adjust it on the fly depending on what I'm doing.

    I'm curious if I could even use it to level the truck with the camper on it as long as it's reasonably close to begin with. I don't know how much travel the bags will actually give you.....maybe 2" at best I would think, but then I've never had them so I don't know.
  19. dfd9

    dfd9 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,475

    After having Timbrens ON THE FRONTS of several trucks, I would never put them on the rears.

    Then again, I'll never put them on the fronts again, either.

    Airbags, all the way.
  20. Moss Man

    Moss Man Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 535

    I recently installed the Firestone Ride Rite airbags with the help of a friend, nicely built system. I've used them several times towing a trailer and they work well.