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Myths and facts explained? -Air Ride vs Spring Suspension


dds92780
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Okay i have done a ton of research on a lot of things that are involved but i really want to know what the pluses and minuses of both of these are. I will name off a few of what i think i know and i would love for someone to explain it better or offer further advice

I have always been told that being in the dump business (18 wheeler) you should get a truck with camelback because it's less likely to spin the tires and get stuck less likely than some situations where an air ride would get stuck. I have also witnessed other air ride trucks getting stuck just after dumping a load and spinning their tires and not moving lol. They then have to raise it again and scissor out. (if they are lucky)

Air ride obviously rides better , camelback rides okay when loaded, air ride bags can go out, camelback has trunion bushings and isolator bushings that go bad,

I have had to do allignments a few times on trucks with camelback which is usually just replacing the bushings , Does air ride have an advantage because of this? I have never talked to anyone complaining of a truck pulling to the right or to the left that has air ride

If a truck is the same exact as the other truck other than one having air ride and one having camelback, is there a weight difference at all? I was told there isnt because even though spring suspension is heavy , there is a lot of parts and hardware required for air ride?

All in all, i think these are all my questions so far. Is there a winner? ( I did make my camelback setup pretty good though with the addittion of the eldorado vip seat) I see plenty of people that don't have macks and drive freightliners and internationals and peterbilt and kenworth that do just the same things as me and probably have a better ride the whole time too. I am thinking camelback is overrated? Anyone agree or disagree.

Thanks, Dustin

Slow and Steady Wins the Race!

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Camelback is a damm good off/on road setup in My opinion....i drove plenty of tandem lumber trucks with camelbacks And got stuck one time because of the slick ass tires, nothing a lil brute force couldnt fix. To me air ride is for otr trucks, chip haulers And stuff of the nature. Just My .02

This message was brought to you by Hargraves Potted Meat Product. Chopped full of "Peckers & Lips" since 1933 - John Boy & Billy

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Camelback has more articulating than air ride. This is why macks can crawl out of extream conditions. Air ride does not have the same weight transfer either. With air ride the ride hight control and corner weight can't compensate as good as with a spring. Only the older new way air ride could slightly compete becase of its larger air bags,spring like articulation and multi leveling valves. The new way is a great heavy haul set up as you can control hight, and reduce road shock. I think that lowboy and otr trucks do better with airide. Dump trucks better with spring. Biggest gain with air is better ride and less road shock thru the trucks frame.

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For off road spring is king. I do think a properly set up air ride will do just as good as a spring ride. Tricks. dump air when dumping and raise it back up should help with the spin as the bags aren't jacked up. your only gonna be able to dump on level ground as the bags will lean alot more then springs. ( Should dump level only anyway) An airride trailer will take out alot of shock also but you got the sway factor when dumping when the material shoots out.A good seat and an airride cab will help alot. Drove a Ch with 4 spring Reyco that rode better then an all airride Volvo. But the Volvo was a super short Wb.

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Can't comment on 18 wheeler but there are a bunch of triaxle dumps running around here with air ride,they look like yo-yo's going down the road bouncing up and down,I'd get sea sick driving one,as far as trunnion bushing's I know guys that have 30 years on the original bushings,camel back all the way,it's so simple and works so well...

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I agree with all the above comments but what about the weight difference. If we take two exact trucks that only differ because of suspension is there much of a weight difference? Is there anyone on here that has driving camelback mack their whole life that still has a good back?

Slow and Steady Wins the Race!

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camelback are good off road, but they have drawbacks just like the rest of suspension. We ran a international that was a long wheelbase 220 ince for a long time in the gas and oil field, we put it in places that most people would probely crap there blue jeans. And the truck went good with a little weight on the drives it would plow in any were, but you had to keep it moving. we now have the ch with camelbacks but the truck is alot shorter wheelbase, it holds the load up good but it is hard to keep the weight off the stears and when you get in a slopy place i have found this can cause problems, to sum it up the truck does not go as well in mud and soft ground as the international did but i don't thank it has anything to do with the springs or airride, i belive it is the wheelbase, when you have alot of presure on the stear tires the front end will sink and the drives have to push it out and thats hard to do. To answer you question about weight, i would say for sure that airride would be lighter but probly only a few hundred pounds, unless it is a heavy t ride set up like new way has, they handle great. So i thank they are alot of factors that determend how a truck goes. I have drove triaxle dumptrucks with airride and springs, but i perfure a heavy hendrickson myself over anything, it felt better to me than anything eles i have drove, but maybe everthing eles has be woreout. and the air ride is fine quit nice until you go dumping, and tring to spread, there is a bit of puckering efect goes on then, but with the right set up or a t ride it feels ok.

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camelback are good off road, but they have drawbacks just like the rest of suspension. We ran a international that was a long wheelbase 220 ince for a long time in the gas and oil field, we put it in places that most people would probely crap there blue jeans. And the truck went good with a little weight on the drives it would plow in any were, but you had to keep it moving. we now have the ch with camelbacks but the truck is alot shorter wheelbase, it holds the load up good but it is hard to keep the weight off the stears and when you get in a slopy place i have found this can cause problems, to sum it up the truck does not go as well in mud and soft ground as the international did but i don't thank it has anything to do with the springs or airride, i belive it is the wheelbase, when you have alot of presure on the stear tires the front end will sink and the drives have to push it out and thats hard to do. To answer you question about weight, i would say for sure that airride would be lighter but probly only a few hundred pounds, unless it is a heavy t ride set up like new way has, they handle great. So i thank they are alot of factors that determend how a truck goes. I have drove triaxle dumptrucks with airride and springs, but i perfure a heavy hendrickson myself over anything, it felt better to me than anything eles i have drove, but maybe everthing eles has be woreout. and the air ride is fine quit nice until you go dumping, and tring to spread, there is a bit of puckering efect goes on then, but with the right set up or a t ride it feels ok.

Oh and let us not forget the bogie rear ends are bad to hop and slide when you have no load on them going down hill if the ground is lose, like new spreaded rock, but there are ways to keep this for happening two, put the tranny in frist gear and hold the breaks down and give her fuel at the same time till you are off the hill, it may be hard on the breaks but they are cheaper than a rearend or body parts, and i have found this works good for any truck even airide unless you don't have a low gear in the tranny.

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My '90 RD with Camleback & power divder lock out went off roading at many jobsites.Didn't have to wait for the automatic PD to start working,just locked it in and went! That combination along with urethane centers & insulators,proved to be a GREAT, low maintainance,all around suspension for a construction truck.The air ride cab & Eldorado seat (& my Chiropractor) made life easy on my back! Air ride is OK,just didn't want it to be ahead of me at the jobsite. I would usually have to wait for a machine to drag Mr. Air ride out of my way,so the REAL trucks could dump & get back for another one! I would like to try a Chalmers equipped Mack,though.I really like the articulation of that suspension.Easy to rebush,simple,no maintainance,no B.S. design. :bulldog3:

IF YOU BOUGHT IT, A TRUCK BROUGHT IT..AND WHEN YOU'RE DONE WITH IT, A TRUCK WILL HAUL IT AWAY!!! Big John Trimble,WRVA

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I agree with all the above comments but what about the weight difference. If we take two exact trucks that only differ because of suspension is there much of a weight difference? Is there anyone on here that has driving camelback mack their whole life that still has a good back?

I've been driving mostly Mack dumps(B's,R's,DM's)with camelback's since the "90's.Some were tough on the back(13/6 body with 58/65 rears),while a 17ft body with 44's isn't bad at all.Depends on the truck.Air ride cab's do help out as well.

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First off let me say I love Camelback. But my current dump truck is air ride, and I would never buy anything but again. The ride quality is unbeatable. As far as traction, you need to learn few things first. If you've been moving and bouncing, sometimes you need to hit the susp. dump valve for a couple seconds, because if the bags are pressured right up and topped out, you will spin out. For the most part in sand, I can go where rubber block and spring trucks won't move. But you have to get used to playing with that dump valve.

Also you want to dump the air when dumping your load, to avoid the bags topping out. It is hard on them. Only time I don't dump the air is if I'm dumping into a spreader, as the load comes out slow enough it has time to adjust.

Stability....doesn't bother me. I have spread with air in the bags. Truck is still upright.

Very low maintenance. I've rarely ever replaced an air bag, and nothing to grease.

They are just so much easier on the truck and the driver.

So your oppinions may vary....but it is air for this guy.

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My '90 RD with Camleback & power divder lock out went off roading at many jobsites.Didn't have to wait for the automatic PD to start working,just locked it in and went! That combination along with urethane centers & insulators,proved to be a GREAT, low maintainance,all around suspension for a construction truck.The air ride cab & Eldorado seat (& my Chiropractor) made life easy on my back! Air ride is OK,just din't want it to be ahead of me at the jobsite. I would usually have to wait for a machine to drag Mr. Air ride out of my way,so the REAL trucks could dump & get back for another one! I would like to try a Chalmers equipped Mack,though.I really like the articulation of that suspension.Easy to rebush,simple,no maintainance,no B.S. design. :bulldog3:
My '90 RD with Camleback & power divder lock out went off roading at many jobsites.Didn't have to wait for the automatic PD to start working,just locked it in and went! That combination along with urethane centers & insulators,proved to be a GREAT, low maintainance,all around suspension for a construction truck.The air ride cab & Eldorado seat (& my Chiropractor) made life easy on my back! Air ride is OK,just din't want it to be ahead of me at the jobsite. I would usually have to wait for a machine to drag Mr. Air ride out of my way,so the REAL trucks could dump & get back for another one! I would like to try a Chalmers equipped Mack,though.I really like the articulation of that suspension.Easy to rebush,simple,no maintainance,no B.S. design. :bulldog3:

You have the eldorado seat too? Good seat isnt it? :)

Slow and Steady Wins the Race!

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You have the eldorado seat too? Good seat isnt it? :)

The Eldorado was one of the most comfortable (to me) & also the most misunderstood seat when it was introduced.If you tried to adjust like a Bostrom,you were going to get a crappy ride from it.Seems anybody who had to move my truck failed to see the little yellow lever that "lift to adjust" (in conjunction with the air valve). They have eliminated that,and hopefully corrected many a drivers view of that seat.I ran that seat in my truck for 7 years & replaced it with their "El Camino" seat,which I thought was a good one also!

IF YOU BOUGHT IT, A TRUCK BROUGHT IT..AND WHEN YOU'RE DONE WITH IT, A TRUCK WILL HAUL IT AWAY!!! Big John Trimble,WRVA

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we had both seats, look at my post on the eldorado vip seat and youll see all the headaches i went through to get one. They havent changed much it, just the air switches are on the left (3 of them) the height adjust yellow knob on front and the anti slider knob, just adjust the height all the way to the top then let all the air out of it, then the raise it just enough (prob 1-2 inches so you are still slanted then adjust lumber support and you got a solid R model with air ride cab and best seat in my opinion. Only way i could drive my truck is with this seat :)

Slow and Steady Wins the Race!

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I just put a eldorado seat in my RS700. Haven't left the yard yet but would like to see how it does. I need to order arm rests or it and it should be great.

Good for you,Trent.Hopefully,that seat will be a good one for you.Armrests are a nice option.

IF YOU BOUGHT IT, A TRUCK BROUGHT IT..AND WHEN YOU'RE DONE WITH IT, A TRUCK WILL HAUL IT AWAY!!! Big John Trimble,WRVA

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