Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Justin,Texas, Republic of TEXAS (USA)
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
No, airbags stiffens it. If it raises truck off the leaf springs it is because it has the force of the leaf springs. The spring rate (force increase per unit of compression for airbags is higher than for the leaf springs. The leaf springs on late model trucks are why they ride so much better than older trucks. It is also the reason the new trucks drop so much more for the same load compared to the older ones. Airbags make loaded ride better because they can do two things: keep truck from hitting the bump stops and the airbags plus leaf springs have a bit less spring rate than the leaf springs do near the bump stop level of compression. The leaf springs may have 6500lb/in at bump stop and leaf spring plus airbag may have 5600 lb/in 3 inches away from bump stop so the small stuff is not so harsh since the axle can move a 1/2 inch without pushing back against truck with as high force.
At 5 inches off bump stops the leaf spring rate may be 2800 lb/in and when you add airbags with 10 pounds you are adding maybe 500lb/in and now making the axle push the truck weight with more force than leaf spring alone. Airbags do not have a fixed spring rate since you can vary air pressure which together with the yield of the airbag determines airbag spring rate. The air bags you buy for hot rods has more yield with more flexible bag fabric. The HD airbags for our trucks have little flex so their spring rates gets higher at a more steep rate when air is added. The biggest difference you feel usually is the airbags keeping your truck body from hitting the harsh stop of the bump stops when hauling the heavy loads.
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Last edited by jimmy; 02-05-2017 at 09:16 PM.