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Old 03-29-2020, 05:50 PM   #1
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Default Simple, Cheap Airbag Compressor System

In 2011 I put a set of Firestone 2337 airbags on my 2006 Roadtrek 210. I also put stiffer front springs on. This gave about 2-inches of lift, and I have been very happy with the handling and ride. The Firestone airbags give a very nice ride and passengers in the back seat have not indicated any significant harshness or bouncing, even with the bags pumped up to 70 psi.

I had installed manual fill fittings, and only had to add air a few times a year. On a trip last fall I developed a slow leak going over many very bumpy roads out west. I decided to install an air compressor system to keep up with any slow leaks that might develop in the future. I wanted to keep the compressor system simple and cheap.

I decided on an Airlift 16060 as it was very inexpensive and it had a max pressure of 100 psi. So if the compressor failed in the on position it would not overpressure the airbags.

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/a...gaAkyuEALw_wcB

I was planning to install a TST TPMS and realized I could use an extra sensor to measure the airbag pressure. I bought a 6-sensor system: TST-507-RV-6-C. The system also will warn of an airbag pressure drop.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/TST-507-R...stem/695127410

A wireless remote turns the compressor on. I wanted one with a momentary feature, where the compressor is only activated when the remote button is pushed, and then turns off when the button is released. The remote also needed to handle the high amperage of the compressor. Here is the one I got.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The compressor, remote receiver, and TST TPMS pressure sensor were mounted in the storage compartment under the floor below the rear sofa. This location is protected from the elements and from damage from items storage under the sofa.

The airbag pressure is displayed on the TST TPMS display along with the tire pressures (and temperatures). A minor drawback is there is a delay when you first turn the TPMS system on, as it can take several minutes for the airbag (and tire) pressure to get an initial reading from the sensors.

One drawback of the present system is I have no way to remotely remove air from the system. So far this has not been a problem, since the vehicle rides well at pressures between 30 and 70-psi.

Total cost of system: ~$125
Compressor: $52
Remote: $14
Sensors: $36 for 6 sensor TPMS vs 4 sensor TPMS system
Tubing, Connectors, etc: $25
Attached Images
File Type: png Compressor, Receiver, Sensor.png (539.3 KB, 15 views)
File Type: png Transmitter, Display.png (564.4 KB, 10 views)
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Old 03-29-2020, 06:56 PM   #2
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Interesting approach if you want an inexpensive solution. I would not call it simple.

I chose a more straightforward solution using an Airlift 7200 wireless system that give me a complete system with control from drivers seat. I wanted to be able to adjust the rear ride height to avoid dragging the rear end on my 24 foot extended Sprinter. This system works great, although more expensive.

https://www.amazon.com/72000-Wireles.../dp/B001OMVCN2
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Old 03-29-2020, 07:36 PM   #3
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Interesting approach if you want an inexpensive solution. I would not call it simple.

I chose a more straightforward solution using an Airlift 7200 wireless system that give me a complete system with control from drivers seat. I wanted to be able to adjust the rear ride height to avoid dragging the rear end on my 24 foot extended Sprinter. This system works great, although more expensive.

https://www.amazon.com/72000-Wireles.../dp/B001OMVCN2
That's a nice system and maybe I should have sprung for that. Looks like the reviews are generally positive with a few folks having reliability issues, but that's the case with most things these days.
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Old 03-29-2020, 07:50 PM   #4
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So, turn on the TST TPMS & let it connect to the sensors. If the air bags need air then press the remote button and release it when the desired pressure is reached.

So easy.
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Old 03-29-2020, 07:58 PM   #5
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So, turn on the TST TPMS & let it connect to the sensors. If the air bags need air then press the remote button and release it when the desired pressure is reached.

So easy.
As I mentioned, the TPMS has a delay. So to air up to a desired pressure I have to guess how long to run the compressor and then wait to see what the actual pressure is. Then run a bit more if necessary. Not a big deal for me with the Firestone airbags as they appear to be less "stiff" at higher pressures than have been reported for the Airlift bags. But maybe it's all in my head. But the two designs are different, and the Firestone has a lower capacity 3500 lb versus 5000 lb, so maybe that explains it.

Just curious, how quickly does the airbag pressure update on the Airlift wireless system?
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Old 03-29-2020, 09:22 PM   #6
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............Just curious, how quickly does the airbag pressure update on the Airlift wireless system?

Boxster will have to answer that one.


I like his setup also, particularly dual port control.
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Old 03-29-2020, 09:49 PM   #7
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I like his setup also, particularly dual port control.
I debated going single or dual bag control. I like on the single control that if a bag or line fails both bags immediately go down and you aren't lopsided. With a dual control system like the Airlift you can reduce pressure on the non-failed side to equalize, but ideally you need to be aware of the failure quickly.
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Old 03-30-2020, 02:04 AM   #8
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. . .

Just curious, how quickly does the airbag pressure update on the Airlift wireless system?
The pressure reading on the remote is immediate and follows the pressure change as I adjust it. I run the bags from low of about 25 psi to high of 95 psi depending on the situation. I run the pressure high to raise the rear end to back over curbs when parking in some situations. I run 25-35 psi for normal driving. I have special Dunlop airbags for my Sprinter from Europe that are not sold in USA. The kit I bough from a dealer in UK came with special frame reinforcement channels that are important to avoid damage to the Sprinter Uni-body structure. Photo of Dunlop kit on my work bench attached FYI. I was able to find an adapter T-fitting to connect the metric air bag lines to the 1/4" air lines on the Airlift compressor. I also have manual fill fittings in the macerator compartment.

The dual airbag control has allowed me to adjust side to side level in some camping situations. All in all this system has been ideal for my needs. The only thing I've had to do in over three years of use is replace the batteries in the remote.

Cheers,
- - Mike
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File Type: jpg Dunlop Airbag Kit.jpg (195.1 KB, 12 views)
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Old 03-30-2020, 02:29 AM   #9
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The pressure reading on the remote is immediate and follows the pressure change as I adjust it. I run the bags from low of about 25 psi to high of 95 psi depending on the situation. I run the pressure high to raise the rear end to back over curbs when parking in some situations. I run 25-35 psi for normal driving. I have special Dunlop airbags for my Sprinter from Europe that are not sold in USA. The kit I bough from a dealer in UK came with special frame reinforcement channels that are important to avoid damage to the Sprinter Uni-body structure. Photo of Dunlop kit on my work bench attached FYI. I was able to find an adapter T-fitting to connect the metric air bag lines to the 1/4" air lines on the Airlift compressor. I also have manual fill fittings in the macerator compartment.

The dual airbag control has allowed me to adjust side to side level in some camping situations. All in all this system has been ideal for my needs. The only thing I've had to do in over three years of use is replace the batteries in the remote.

Cheers,
- - Mike
I assume your pressure sensors are powered by the 12v vehicle/RV electrical system so it can continuously transmit. That's nice.

My TPMS sensors are battery powered so they only transmit every few minutes in order for the batteries to last for a year or two.
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Old 03-30-2020, 03:12 AM   #10
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I assume your pressure sensors are powered by the 12v vehicle/RV electrical system so it can continuously transmit. That's nice.

My TPMS sensors are battery powered so they only transmit every few minutes in order for the batteries to last for a year or two.
Yes the pressure is measured at the compressor manifold, all powered by 12VDC. Only the wireless remote control is battery powered by a couple of AA batteries.
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Old 03-30-2020, 11:56 AM   #11
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peteco - looks like this - https://www.amazon.com/4inch-Normall.../dp/B074Z5SDG3 - or something similar would let you air down.


It could be on a separate remote or as a second item on a dual channel remote.
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Old 03-30-2020, 01:00 PM   #12
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peteco - looks like this - https://www.amazon.com/4inch-Normall.../dp/B074Z5SDG3 - or something similar would let you air down.


It could be on a separate remote or as a second item on a dual channel remote.
Great. Looks like these are pretty common. Don't know why I didn't look for something like this. I will put it in if I feel like I need it.
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Old 03-30-2020, 01:00 PM   #13
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When we did our airbags probably nearly 10 years ago, they were the Firestone bags and I put an Airlift compressor with a small tank on the framerail under the van. I am surprised it has held up well, but they did say it would. We since went to Airlift bags to get clearance for a swaybar and then to Airlift with internal bump stop to allow removing the overload leafs from the spring packs.


I decided against the remote wireless system to try to make sure of reliability as the reviews were spotty and back then I think reviews were more accurate than now. I decided on a split system controlled through an Airlift dual manual control with a dual needle gauge on it. Two fill/bleed valves and a dual needle gauge, basically, to control the bags independently. It is mounted in the driver side outside storage bin right in front of the rear wheel and water connection area. Our plumbing also includes a line to the air powered spare tire lift so quite a bit of plumbing.


Our biggest issue was slow leaks, as the push in fittings seem to be notorious leakers if they can bounce at all. Tees were the worst ones. I finally made some small brass manifolds by siliver brazing brass fittings together (easy way to do it by the way and fast) and switched all the fittings to brass compression sleeve style. We have not had a leak since and we can literally go a year without the bag pressure changing unless the temp changes, so the bags themselves appear to be very good against slow leakdown.


I really haven't missed having a cab control, as our set pressures are normally very consistent. Before the overload removal, we just made sure we were high enough to be off the overload, so just looked at height to set pressures, and now with the overload leaf gone we normally just have them at 45psi and never change them except to level, and then I am out of the cab anyway. We have never changed pressure during a day of driving.
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Old 03-30-2020, 01:19 PM   #14
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When we did our airbags probably nearly 10 years ago, they were the Firestone bags and I put an Airlift compressor with a small tank on the framerail under the van. I am surprised it has held up well, but they did say it would. We since went to Airlift bags to get clearance for a swaybar and then to Airlift with internal bump stop to allow removing the overload leafs from the spring packs.


I decided against the remote wireless system to try to make sure of reliability as the reviews were spotty and back then I think reviews were more accurate than now. I decided on a split system controlled through an Airlift dual manual control with a dual needle gauge on it. Two fill/bleed valves and a dual needle gauge, basically, to control the bags independently. It is mounted in the driver side outside storage bin right in front of the rear wheel and water connection area. Our plumbing also includes a line to the air powered spare tire lift so quite a bit of plumbing.


Our biggest issue was slow leaks, as the push in fittings seem to be notorious leakers if they can bounce at all. Tees were the worst ones. I finally made some small brass manifolds by siliver brazing brass fittings together (easy way to do it by the way and fast) and switched all the fittings to brass compression sleeve style. We have not had a leak since and we can literally go a year without the bag pressure changing unless the temp changes, so the bags themselves appear to be very good against slow leakdown.


I really haven't missed having a cab control, as our set pressures are normally very consistent. Before the overload removal, we just made sure we were high enough to be off the overload, so just looked at height to set pressures, and now with the overload leaf gone we normally just have them at 45psi and never change them except to level, and then I am out of the cab anyway. We have never changed pressure during a day of driving.
The reported leak issues led me to get these tee's. It is hard to get the tubing on the tee but I think they are leak free.

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/fip-3081

Another airdown option is to simply install a manual push valve in a convenient location, as my use has been similar to booster's.
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Old 03-30-2020, 01:25 PM   #15
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The reported leak issues led me to get these tee's. It is hard to get the tubing on the tee but I think they are leak free.

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/fip-3081

Another airdown option is to simply install a manual push valve in a convenient location, as my use has been similar to booster's.

Those tees are really interesting. Are they designed for the hard plastic DOT air brake tubing that most compressor systems use? I had always considered, based on all the fittings I had seen that seal on the outside of the tubing, that an internal sealing barb fitting wouldn't work because the tubing is so inflexible. Did you have to heat the tubing to get it on?
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Old 03-30-2020, 01:32 PM   #16
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Those tees are really interesting. Are they designed for the hard plastic DOT air brake tubing that most compressor systems use? I had always considered, based on all the fittings I had seen that seal on the outside of the tubing, that an internal sealing barb fitting wouldn't work because the tubing is so inflexible. Did you have to heat the tubing to get it on?
Yes, they are designed for the hard plastic airline. The fitting is the same style as came with the Firestone airbag kit 9 years ago. Looks like Firestone and Airlift have gone to the push-on fitting that many have leak problems with.

Silicone grease and a little heat to get the tubing on. Still took a tight grip to get the tube on.
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Old 03-30-2020, 01:40 PM   #17
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Yes, they are designed for the hard plastic airline. The fitting is the same style as came with the Firestone airbag kit 9 years ago. Looks like Firestone and Airlift have gone to the push-on fitting that many have leak problems with.

Silicone grease and a little heat to get the tubing on. Still took a tight grip to get the tube on.

Thanks, Pete, good information. Would be good for places you don't ever have to disassemble. The push fittings and the compression sleeve/nut/internal support, for some plastic tubing, fittings are nice because you can remove and reinstall. Of course the push fittings invariably leak if you do that because the get small ridge in them over time.
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Old 03-30-2020, 01:48 PM   #18
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Thanks, Pete, good information. Would be good for places you don't ever have to disassemble. The push fittings and the compression sleeve/nut/internal support, for some plastic tubing, fittings are nice because you can remove and reinstall. Of course the push fittings invariably leak if you do that because the get small ridge in them over time.
Just an fyi on the Firestone tees. Summit was the only place that sold them individually. All other dealers I found sell in lots of 100. Summit did have Firestone ship them, so not sure who paid the shipping. Probably Summit so they didn't make any money on those parts. I had included the tees in a larger order. I should have ordered more than the two I needed at the time.
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Old 04-05-2020, 07:15 PM   #19
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In 2011 I put a set of Firestone 2337 airbags on my 2006 Roadtrek 210. I also put stiffer front springs on. This gave about 2-inches of lift, and I have been very happy with the handling and ride. The Firestone airbags give a very nice ride and passengers in the back seat have not indicated any significant harshness or bouncing, even with the bags pumped up to 70 psi.

I had installed manual fill fittings, and only had to add air a few times a year. On a trip last fall I developed a slow leak going over many very bumpy roads out west. I decided to install an air compressor system to keep up with any slow leaks that might develop in the future. I wanted to keep the compressor system simple and cheap.

I decided on an Airlift 16060 as it was very inexpensive and it had a max pressure of 100 psi. So if the compressor failed in the on position it would not overpressure the airbags.

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/a...gaAkyuEALw_wcB

I was planning to install a TST TPMS and realized I could use an extra sensor to measure the airbag pressure. I bought a 6-sensor system: TST-507-RV-6-C. The system also will warn of an airbag pressure drop.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/TST-507-R...stem/695127410

A wireless remote turns the compressor on. I wanted one with a momentary feature, where the compressor is only activated when the remote button is pushed, and then turns off when the button is released. The remote also needed to handle the high amperage of the compressor. Here is the one I got.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The compressor, remote receiver, and TST TPMS pressure sensor were mounted in the storage compartment under the floor below the rear sofa. This location is protected from the elements and from damage from items storage under the sofa.

The airbag pressure is displayed on the TST TPMS display along with the tire pressures (and temperatures). A minor drawback is there is a delay when you first turn the TPMS system on, as it can take several minutes for the airbag (and tire) pressure to get an initial reading from the sensors.

One drawback of the present system is I have no way to remotely remove air from the system. So far this has not been a problem, since the vehicle rides well at pressures between 30 and 70-psi.

Total cost of system: ~$125
Compressor: $52
Remote: $14
Sensors: $36 for 6 sensor TPMS vs 4 sensor TPMS system
Tubing, Connectors, etc: $25
We have a 2013 "B" with the Firestone "Ride Rite: Airbag system, including compressor, and remote control. The system worked fine until last fall when the "electronic box" that communicates with the compressor ceased working except for a loud clicking when the remote was pressed. Troubleshooting established that everything was functioning in the system except when the remote control sent the electronic signal to the "box" it did not send any signal to the compressor. When I contacted Firestone I was advised they had replaced this system in 2015 and no parts were available for the "old" system. They advised the solution was to purchase a whole new system at a cost of $1200.-1300. plus installation. Has anyone on this forum had a similar problem or has any suggestions as ecerything else in the system works fine. Thanks.
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Old 04-05-2020, 07:20 PM   #20
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Sounds like the Airlift 7200 will be a nice replacement of the failed portion of your system.
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