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Discussion Starter #1
I am on my second set of Firestone airbags, and they are now leaking. I have only disconnected the airlines from each bag twice, but when I do, I can not get a leak-proof seal again. I understand how the brass fitting works on the bag, but I can't seem to get the system to seal again after disconnection.

Has anyone else experienced this problem? I am about to call the jobber supplier again, but I am not sure if I can get warranty twice.
 
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fordsdad said:
I am on my second set of Firestone airbags, and they are now leaking. I have only disconnected the airlines from each bag twice, but when I do, I can not get a leak-proof seal again. I understand how the brass fitting works on the bag, but I can't seem to get the system to seal again after disconnection.

Has anyone else experienced this problem? I am about to call the jobber supplier again, but I am not sure if I can get warranty twice.
I have the airlift bags, but I believe the fitting is a brass valve that has a series of ridges cut into it, correct? If so, these are notorious for not sealing well after removing the airhose, unless you cut the section of the hose that was on the valves and has the indentations basically permenantly embedded into the hose itself. I know you can't do this often because you probably don't have enough spare hose coiled right there.

Amazingly, the airlift bags I have don't lose any pressure. I checked them once a week religiously for the first month, and the pressure only decreased (by about a half PSI) from me checking them. I now check them about once per month and it loses **NO** pressure, and I run them at 30 PSI.

Wayne
 

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Wayne is correct. The type of plastic hose used takes a "set" and when reinserted, it may not seat exactly the way it was, thus a poor seal. If the Air-Lifts still use the system they used in the past, it is a barbed nipple which is moulded into the bag and seals on the inside. The Firestone bags use a fitting which takes the hose internally, i.e. the hose is the male component as opposed to female with the Air-Lift, and there is a clamping action inside the fitting which clamps tighter as higher air pressure is introduced. That said, if you have enough hose, I would cut the end off, so as to get rid of the line caused by the prior clamping. I would then be sure the hose is well seated and inflate the bags to around 40 psi (yes, I know 35 psi is the limit, but, I'm sure there is some safety margin built in and, as long as you do not drive it with the pressure in the bags, it should not cause you any trouble) and let them sit overnight and establish a good seal. Then you can deflate them to whatever pressure you desire. My experience is the same as Wayne's in that I keep mine inflated to 25 psi and find no air loss after more than a month. At one time, I had one which bled down and after doing as I described above, it has never lost air since. If all else had failed, I was prepared to put some silicone sealant on the hose before inserting it. Since the system is really not meant to be disassembled, there would seem to be nothing to lose. Good luck.

Jerry O.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, I will try it. I should have enough hose to make it work. Prior to removing the airline, my system never lost pressure as well.
 

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One of my Firestone coil-rite airbags now has a clear leak in it. I have had the airbags installed for around 3.5 years and I have randomly found that the airbag on one side would sometimes lose air. I was guessing that the airline did not have enough play and the hose was being pulling every once and while.

I removed airbags and was reinstalled into my newer odyssey. I immediately found that the one airbag leaks but it depended on what angular position the bag was in the spring.

After pulling the bag from the spring, it was found that the airbag leaks between where the brass fitting connects to the rubber bag.



In an attempt to get more life out of the airbag, I put tire slime it. THIS DOES NOT WORK and makes quite a mess. Also the slime gets in all the airlines and makes it impossible to release air from the fill valve because slime must be released instead of air.

BrianB

search keywords: firestone coil-rite coilrite #4138, airbag #6017
 

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Brian, how much pressure do you typically keep in your bags? I keep no less than 25 psi in mine and have not seen the problem, yet. I would wonder if the bags might "work" a bit more at lower pressures, e.g. at the 5 psi minimum, causing some extra wear and tear on the hose nipple. If I do experience such trouble, I will buy the AirLift bags next time, since I have used many sets of them and never had a problem. When I got the Firestones, I thought I was getting the AirLift brand and when the 'Stones came, I was in too big a hurry to refuse them and wait for a reorder and took them.

Jerry O.
 

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Jerry O said:
Brian, how much pressure do you typically keep in your bags? I keep no less than 25 psi in mine and have not seen the problem, yet. I would wonder if the bags might "work" a bit more at lower pressures, e.g. at the 5 psi minimum, causing some extra wear and tear on the hose nipple. If I do experience such trouble, I will buy the AirLift bags next time, since I have used many sets of them and never had a problem. When I got the Firestones, I thought I was getting the AirLift brand and when the 'Stones came, I was in too big a hurry to refuse them and wait for a reorder and took them.

Jerry O.
I like around 15 psi, except when I have a trailer on the van which I then run them up to 30-35 psi. I have airlift bags on order to replace the firestones. I will be keeping the firestone top plates and the individual filling for each side if I can.

BrianB
 

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BrianB said:
I like around 15 psi, except when I have a trailer on the van which I then run them up to 30-35 psi. I have airlift bags on order to replace the firestones. I will be keeping the firestone top plates and the individual filling for each side if I can.

BrianB
That's what I would have done. Good luck.

Jerry O.
 

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Fordsdad, I was just wondering why you had to disconnect the air line from the air bag? Once connected, shouldn't it be more or less a permanant installation? Just curious...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I was disconnecting them when it was going up on a hoist to install the winter wheels.
 
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fordsdad said:
I was disconnecting them when it was going up on a hoist to install the winter wheels.
I never disconnect anything related to the airbags when our car is in the air. Did you disconnect the hoses solely for the airbags? Is there some problem in hoisting the car up with your airbags inflated?

Just a "by the way", but I run 30 PSI all the time in our airlift airbags and they leak about 1 PSI per month. There's probably more fluctuation in pressure from the environmental temperature changes than actual leakage, but I check them every month anyway.

Wayne
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I found the bags did not always line up with the hole in the lower control arm once it came down off the hoist. With the line disconnected, I could re-align the bag without putting too much pressure on the fitting.

I was only running 8psi around town, and have never had more than 25psi when loaded.
 
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fordsdad said:
I found the bags did not always line up with the hole in the lower control arm once it came down off the hoist. With the line disconnected, I could re-align the bag without putting too much pressure on the fitting.

I was only running 8psi around town, and have never had more than 25psi when loaded.
That's interesting. Our bags, maybe because of the high pressures I always run, have grooves from where they have pressed against the springs. When I put in H&R springs in place of the OEM ones, I had some clunking noises because the bag wasn't sitting against the bottom spring perch and the only way I could get the bag to move at all, even though it only had 3 or 4 PSI in it, was to rotate it so it screwed itself down the spring. I've never noticed that our bag moves at all no matter where the suspension is in its travel.

Come to think of it, if the bag is moving, maybe that's why you had the failure mode you did?

Wayne
 

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The instructions for the airbags suggest (at least the Firestones do) that one deflate the bags when letting the suspension hang down to its limit, as in jacking the rear end. I have done it both ways and, so far, have not had a problem. I'm betting that lower pressures might be more apt to cause a problem upon jacking. Other vehicles we have owned with airbags installed did not have IRS and were usually raised by jacking under the axle, thereby keeping the suspension compressed. The Odyssey is the first IRS vehicle on which I have installed bags, but it has been raised quite a few times for tire maintenance and installation.

Jerry O.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I am considering installing the Airlift bags. Can anyone show me a close up of the fitting on the bag?
 

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fordsdad said:
I am considering installing the Airlift bags. Can anyone show me a close up of the fitting on the bag?
I should be receiving the airlift bags on Fri. I will try to post a pic soon after getting them.

BrianB
 
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fordsdad said:
I am considering installing the Airlift bags. Can anyone show me a close up of the fitting on the bag?
I looked at the Airlift website and there's no good picture, but it's pretty easy to describe. The fitting protrudes from the flat bottom of the bag. It is reinforced by thicker material right around the stem, much like a bicycle inner tube is thicker right near the stem. The stem itself is circumferentially barbed so it will grab a hold of the airline that is slid onto the stem. There's a split pressure fitting that slides on top of the airline where it fits on the stem, to further secure the airline and prevent leaks.

Wayne
 

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Wayne Lim said:
I looked at the Airlift website and there's no good picture, but it's pretty easy to describe. The fitting protrudes from the flat bottom of the bag. It is reinforced by thicker material right around the stem, much like a bicycle inner tube is thicker right near the stem. The stem itself is circumferentially barbed so it will grab a hold of the airline that is slid onto the stem. There's a split pressure fitting that slides on top of the airline where it fits on the stem, to further secure the airline and prevent leaks.

Wayne
I will likely have both setups in front me tomorrow, BUT I think the question is, will firestone (or standard 1/4" DOT) brake airlines attach to the airlift bags? Or will the firestone airlines and other fittings have to be replaced with the airlift airline and fittings?

BrianB
 

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The last AirLift bags I had came with quite a thin walled plastic tubing, rather than the thicker walled stuff the Firestones use. If the inside diameter is the same, I'm sure the Firestone lines will work, although you may need to clamp them with something other than the rings Wayne mentioned, since they are sized for the thinner walled stuff. Of course, they may have enough flexibility to go over the thicker walled tubing. If they will not work, I would use some copper wire to make a "clamp", wrapping it around the tubing and twisting it together. If you continue to twist, the wire will break close to the tubing and remain tight. The advantage to this, over some other sort of clamp is that it has no protrusions once it is twisted and broken off. I did this to all the joints in my system. Good luck.

Jerry O.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I'm sure they both use the same standard airline, but replacing the line is not a big issue. It's the easiest part of the installation.
 
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