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Old 04-12-2008, 09:30 PM   #1
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Rear axle air bag issues

Just curious how many other owners have air bags above the rear axle and how they have worked for you?

I got them because I often carry a motorcycle on a hitch carrier, and was a bit concerned about the weight on the back end. I use the extreme air to raise the pressure in the air bags when I've got a heavy load on the back.

When I first got the van, I was concerned about tire clearance. When parked, there is only about 10mm between the backskide of the rear tires and the air bags (with the BFG 285s that came with the van). That struck me as too close, but I'm no expert and figured that SMB knew what they were doing..........

For two years, I've had no problems. That ended today. While driving home I noticed that the pressure gauge for the right rear air bag was showing 0psi. Normally, I have them at about 30psi. When I got out to inspect, sure enought, a small pinhole had worn into the bag from tire contact and/or road grit, and it would not hold air. I inspected the back side of both rear tires very closely and the contact with the air bags has been noticeable, but also minimal. Only enough to rub down the lettering on the tires about 1-2mm, but no penetration into the sidewall itself. That was a relief since we were in the middle of BFE. I kept it at 60mph for the rest of the trip and got home with no further trouble.

A quick check at home did not reveal any further rubbing. But after today's incident, I'm concerned about the very minimal clearance between the rear tires and the air bags. For obvious reasons, tire safety is a big deal and I'm wondering if the SMB rear axle air bag design is simply crap and not worth the hassle.

I'll be heading up to SMB soon to have several items fixed, and will add this to the list.

Any input from others with air bag experiences would be appreciated.

Thanks
Rob
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Old 04-12-2008, 10:47 PM   #2
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Rob you must not have the same rims or maybe you don't have spacers. I have 285's on 16" wheels but have a full floating axle which pushes the tires out to reach the same width as the front. I don't recall it being so close. I would check for you but my van has been at SMBW for a month. If your there before I pick it up, ask Peter to let you look at mine. Now you got me worried
Dave
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Old 04-13-2008, 07:37 AM   #3
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I have air bags on the rear of my 01 which has the full floating axle. currently there is a few inches of clearance w/ my 285/75/16 MT's.

I do have correcttraks installed though but even before I added the spacers there was an inch or so of clearance. Out of curiousity, who did the airbag install?

-d
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Old 04-13-2008, 08:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alta825
I have air bags on the rear of my 01 which has the full floating axle. currently there is a few inches of clearance w/ my 285/75/16 MT's.

I do have correcttraks installed though but even before I added the spacers there was an inch or so of clearance. Out of curiousity, who did the airbag install?

-d
I'm not sure whether or not I have spacers on the rear. But for sure I don't have as much clearance as you do. Everything was installed by SMB west before I picked up the van. I have not touched a thing. I'll call SMBw tomorrow. If I don't have the correct spacers, perhaps they can ship them to me? The inoperative air bags are not nearly as big a deal as tire clearance.
Thanks
Rob
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Old 04-13-2008, 01:41 PM   #5
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Rob it could be the type of off set of your rims have. Did SMB give you the standard aluminum rims or did you pick a special type? You might discuss that with them.
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Old 04-13-2008, 01:47 PM   #6
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Rob it could be the type of off set of your rims have. Did SMB give you the standard aluminum rims or did you pick a special type? You might discuss that with them.
I think I've got the standard aluminum rims, but will be sure and ask about this. There is no question that the distance between my rear tires is a bit narrower than the front. I can tell that just by eyeballing. For now, I'm stumpted. If this is indeed the way my van is supposed to be configured, I'll be surprised to say the least.

I'd post pics, but don't have a server to do so. Happy to email though if that helps anyone else.

When I speak with SMBw tomorrow I'll post more info.
Thanks
Rob
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