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Old    Brian L (brianl)      Join Date: Jun 2003       08-17-2011, 3:33 PM Reply   
So I am new to this whole WW thing and was hoping to get some constructive feedback on some tow vehicle isues I have had through the years. I have owned a Yukon Denali, Chevy Suburban and Chevy Tahoe in the past 8 years. All brand new with air level suspension.

I am trying to figure out if I am towing my boat incorrectly because in all three vehicles, I have had the air level suspension go out on me. The Tahoe twice and its not cheap to fix. Is it better to load your gear in your boat or Truck. I always figured if I distributed the weight evenly between boat and truck that I wont have any problems. When i attach the boat to the truck, the boat is level, unless of course the air suspension goes out.

Usually when we got out we are out for 4 or 5 days at a time so we bring all the camping gear. My boat is a 2003 Malibu Wakesetter. Any suggestions or others having the same issues?

I am thinking about buying one of those Ford F150 Dual Cab ECOBOOST trucks.

Thanks for the suggestions,
Old    Haugy            08-17-2011, 3:39 PM Reply   
Nothing you are doing man. Unless you load 1,000lbs of gear in the back of the truck. Air ride supsensions are NOT for those who plan to tow regularly. They say they are, but seeing tons of Fords and GM's doing the po'man's ass drag prove otherwise. Fords have the same problem.

Those suspensions were great for when the Tahoe was the mommy mobile. Now, more and more families are really trying to use them like they were designed for. Back in the early 2000's, dad would have a truck, mom would have the SUV because gas was not a concern. Now that gas is a concern, dad doesn't need his truck because he really doesn't use it as much. And since the SUV can tow, voila! So they are being put to the test, and they truth is, they just aren't measuring up.

The Ecoboost truck would be awesome. But if you don't go that route, and get another Tahoe'ish vehicle. Do not get an air ride suspension and I think you will be pleased.
Old    Cory D (cadunkle)      Join Date: Jul 2009       08-17-2011, 4:30 PM Reply   
Just replace the air stuff with regular springs and shocks, fixed for good and much cheaper.
Old    SamIngram            08-17-2011, 5:37 PM Reply   
Check the tongue weight and if the trailer is level or not when the truck is level with the air ride on. You made need to switch your drop hitch out for a different size.
Old    John Bauer (jonyb)      Join Date: Nov 2008       08-17-2011, 11:29 PM Reply   
Cory D, then you have to go through and trick the ECM into thinking that all that stuff is still there. I've been down that bridge.

The safest way is to add helper bags, that way you don't depend on the OEM shocks carrying all the load. On most of those, all they are is air shocks and along with the compressor they're just junk. Not sure what year you have, but on the last Denali we had, I added the firestone helper springs and used the license plate bolts as the schrader valves for the bags. Even though the truck had OEM air, I didn't like the idea of depending on the OEM compressor. Years ago I had a Navigator. We set out on a 300 mile trip delivering a car on a trailer. 30 miles into it, the compressor failed, that was a nightmare.

I've used helpers on all my trucks, and the 2500HD CCLB I have now has the Firestone Ride-Rite bags. I recommend them on anything.
Old    John Bauer (jonyb)      Join Date: Nov 2008       08-17-2011, 11:30 PM Reply   
Sam, tongue height won't make a difference on tongue weight. The trailer needs to be level, no matter what, but that won't help the compressor or shocks on the truck.
Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       08-18-2011, 10:46 AM Reply   
Originally Posted by jonyb View Post
Sam, tongue height won't make a difference on tongue weight.
Actually it can to some extent assuming that it's not level and the new drop hitch makes it level. The center of gravity on a boat trailer is higher than the axle(s) and slightly forward. That's why they sit happily on the driveway without the jack having to be secured to the ground. As the tongue is lowered it gets heavier because you're shifting the center of gravity forward towards the tongue. As the tongue is raised the opposite is true. If you have it level it the center of gravity will be where the trailer/boat manufacturer intended it to be under normal conditions.
Old    Brian Pulscher (sodaksooner)      Join Date: Nov 2009       08-18-2011, 11:19 AM Reply   
Mine went out too. From what I hear it is not uncommon at all and you are right not cheap to fix. I am not fixing mine. I get a little sag but deal with it. Boat is still level. I tow a 2003 VLX, so similar if not exactly the same boat. My tahoe is a 2005.

You can defeat the error code, just haven't done that yet.
Old    Brian L (brianl)      Join Date: Jun 2003       08-23-2011, 9:48 AM Reply   
thanks everyone for the feedback. I am going to get new shocks without the air in them.
Old    John Bauer (jonyb)      Join Date: Nov 2008       08-23-2011, 11:15 AM Reply   
Brian, what vehicle do you have now? make sure to read up or find someone that knows what they're doing before you get into removing the air suspension. There's a few guys on GMFS (GM Full Size) that have done this, but it sounded a little complicated. Brian is correct above, it can be defeated, but again, make sure you know what youre doing.
Old    Whoa Nellie (whoanellie)      Join Date: Jan 2009       08-24-2011, 8:12 AM Reply   
I had the rear shocks on my '02 Escalade start leaking. I replaced them with new Bilstein/Arnott air shocks. They seem to work well and were much cheaper than the OEM shocks.

I think I might still need helper springs since I have some sag, but it might also be the stock compressor. It raises the rear slightly when I attach the boat, but not all the way back to level.


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