Airbags are a common addition when it comes to hauling truck campers.
The main benefit of having them installed is to improve your carrying capacity in the bed of your truck.
While airbags do not add any formal rating to your trucks payload they can add a substantial amount of weight that your truck can carry.
One of the biggest benefits of airbags is the ability to customize the firmness of your rear suspension and customize it to whatever the weight you are carrying.
With no load you can deflate them to the minimum PSI to maintain a softer, more stock factory ride.
Then when you’ve loaded a camper you can increase the pressure in the airbags to level the rear end of the truck to help maintain control of braking, steering, and tire wear.
Airbags are all but essential if you are selecting a truck camper near your truck’s payload capacity or if you plan to tow and have to account for a tongue weight as well.
Airbags are a minimally intrusive install and bolt onto your frame inside the rear wheel well by your rear springs/coils.
For inflation the standard option is that you will have two air valves by your license plate that you would, or for a more convenient setup you can opt for a built in compressor so that you can simply inflate your airbags and monitor their pressure from inside the truck.
Air bags (sometimes called “air bladders”) fit into the coil springs that come with your vehicle, which was designed for a smooth ride in the absence of a heavy load. As soon as you add weight to your ride, the factory-made springs don’t do a whole lot to stabilize and control your journey.
Air bags work both with and against the coil springs to help you achieve maximum ride comfort and handling capacity. As you add load weight, the coil spring naturally crushes down so that the coils are closer together. As the coil spring reacts to the weight of your load, the air bags react to the coil springs and give them a little extra support by expanding outward to fill the space between the individual coils.
The air bags come with two inflation valves that allow you to inflate your air bags individually the same way you would a car tire. Though Air compressor kits are not required to run air bags, they are a very nice convenience and in many cases extend the life of your air bag kit.
The number one cause of failure for air bag kits is running them without the minimum air pressure. Not towing for awhile or hauling a heavy load? It’s common for people to forget about the air bags and in doing so, forget about the minimum air pressure they require. An air compressor kit gives you constant monitoring from inside of your cab which takes the ‘work’ out of maintaining the optimal air pressure in your air bags.