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SCOTTD

Airbag deflation

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I have an issue I’m hoping to get some advice for. I purchased my first motor home, a 2003 Monaco Diplomat, a year ago. We have taken several trips and have added about 8000 miles to the scant 39500 that were on the odometer when we bought it. The eight air bags provided a smooth comfortable ride. However, a couple of days ago on our way home to Nashville from Gulf Shores, that changed rather suddenly. About 20 miles south of town, I noticed a change. The ride and the sound of the tires on the road seemed to be changing gradually. I  convinced myself that the new pavement that they have recently laid down was the cause. However, a few minutes later we hit some wavy pavement which almost sent us airborne. Thankfully everyone was buckled in, or we would have had some injuries. As we carefully made our way the rest of the way home, we realized we were feeling every little bump. We concluded that the weird “feel” 20 miles out was probably a valve malfunctioning and the bags deflating and that was why the wavy pavement had such an effect on the coach. Sure enough, when we got stopped, a quick inspection revealed all 4 bags in the front were deflated. The rear bags were fine. I was riding so low my steps couldn’t make it all the way out.

Unless the bags were damaged when we violently hit the wavy pavement, I think they’ll be ok if I can get air back into them. Is there a valve on this rig that controls all four front bags? Difficult to replace? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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If this is a standard air suspension system, and I assume that it is. The ride height is controlled by a ride height valve. There could be one or more issues, the first thing be sure to crank the engine and air up the system, all the while listening for air leaks and observe whether the system raises the front on a recranked scenario. Most coaches use a single ride height valve on the front bags, if yours is equipped this way. If the unit does not raise on the front this time, you will need to check the above mentioned valve. Now for the warning, you should be able to raise the front with your hydraulic levelers is your coach has them, if not other hydraulic jacks can be used if onboard levelers are not available but, DO NOT CRAWL UNDER THAT COACH WITHOUT ADEQUATE JACK STANDS OR ADEQUATE BLOCKING!!!!!!!!. Never ever crawl under a coach using air suspension or any other style jack without using jack stands or adequate blocking, I'm sure you already have seen how low the coach can go without safety devices, which can cause serious injury or DEATH. Now back to inspecting the ride height valve, look carefully and expect to see a shaft protruding from the valve with a small steel rod that connects to the chassis, this rod should be equipped with a means to be adjusted. Many times I have seen these either broken or has actually came loose at either end. If there no air leaks or no blockages in the air lines attaching to the main air supply or to the bags and the adjusting linkages are intact then you may have a bad valve. Be sure to check all of the mentioned places before replacing the valve. Most of these valves are easily replaced and pretty easy to find either a dealer for your coach, or almost any truck supply will have an assortment that will match. Good luckB), and welcome to the forum.

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Thanks for the help. The bags did not re-inflate when I re-cranked so I guess I need to move on to the next possibility. I am using the leveler to raise it enough to get access but plan to do some additional blocking to ensure safety. 

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SCOTTD, Welcome to the FMCA forums!

The leveling valve on our Monaco product is the center of the steer axle, behind it, there is a long rod that connects to the valve which is mounted above the axle. You can see the rod if you bend down at the generator and look toward the rear of the coach. We have a different chassis but that should give you a starting point.

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Scott,

Sound to like you have a Rubber Connection on your Height Valve in the front has broken. It is call the "Ride Height Adjuster". The adjuster has a rubber grommet on both ends connected by a 1/4" metal rod. It is to connect the coach chassis to the adjuster. As I said what you described sound to me like either one of the rubber grommets broke or you have a bad valve. Hopefully it is just a broken grommets (a visual look can see if it is broke) which can be bought at mast large truck repair shops. If it is the valve they also can be bought but you would need some numbers.

As always when working under a coach be sure to block and support the coach. Its hard to dial 911 with 40 to 50 thousand pound resting on your chest.

Herman  

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Your ride height valve should appear similar to this picture. You see the rubber ends Herman spoke of:

image.png.9d94183fb5781172953ab683194bc8d9.png

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Wow!  A picture is worth a thousand words. That should be extremely helpful. Thank you so much. I love this forum already! I’ll be sliding up under the rig tomorrow so I’ll let you know what I find.

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If the rubber grommets need replacing, I had better luck finding a replacement at Lowes than at an auto supply.

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Thanks Herman, I shopped three different truck parts in B'ham. area and N.A.P.A with no luck, when I went to Lowes, I opened every drawer in their specialty drawer, not exactly the same but a very good work around.:rolleyes: Of course my unit is now thirty one years old now, trying to catch up with me LOL.

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13 hours ago, SCOTTD said:

Wow!  A picture is worth a thousand words. That should be extremely helpful. Thank you so much. I love this forum already! I’ll be sliding up under the rig tomorrow so I’ll let you know what I find.

BE AWARE!!! Any movement of the rods/arms will cause a reaction to drop the suspension. Two years ago an RV technician in N. Indiana was suffocated when the air springs deflated, trapping him. Co-workers found him dead some time later. Use wood blocking or adequate jacks to support the frame.

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While we can all appreciate the warnings we have to remember, the unit is deflated already, we can only go up from here, lets keep it on topic. 

 

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My brother-in-law just replaced his on his MH, He had to buy the complete rod, couldn't just find the ends.

Jim

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1 hour ago, SCOTTD said:

Good call Herman. The one that's still attached is just about to break in two also. Off to find some replacements😊

20190731_152945.jpg

Glad you found the culprit! 

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The rubber grommets on the rod were permanently attached so I bought a new rod.   It wasn't exactly the same so I had to make a couple of minor alterations but I made it work. 6 bucks and a couple hours of my time.  Thanks to everyone who offered advice and made me feel so welcome with my 1st post.

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