The GMC Motorhome, actually I would say most any deserving vintage RV are all at a tipping point right now……… Like the title says the next owner base is coming together rediscovering that these old war horses can still do the job ….. maybe even better and for less money in most cases….. and you guys are jumping in the pool. I didn’t think it would take this long but Bunky we’re here now so guys come on in the waters fine!
I feel what’s important now is the due diligence these now owners need to invest to understand the good..bad and ugly of these things. Now this disseminating of information like this you would think social media would be a great place to have that info available….. sounds like it would be a perfect thing but being all new it turns out many use these platforms for more personal, bragging right, look at me and do it this way. What this creates is a platform for folks to look like they know much and maye they do but these platforms have morphed into hundreds of small self indulging satisfaction that your idea can get enough traction for people to believe you. Wether your idea was the best you can drown out impartial information with a constant droan of misinformation ….”it’s on the internet…it must be true”. This next generation of GMC owners are being led sometimes by the blind……… please guys, listen to more than one person and form your own opinion on things and base it on more that what you read on the internet. Let me give you a really good example……..and you naysayers out there… I’m not saying this to push my own agenda…. I do not feel our new owners are being exposed to all sides of issues….. so lets talk about rear air ride suspensions……
Wow, I can feel the chambers in guns being loaded! Before when Firestone still had air bags available there weren’t all of these backyard option to hold the back of the mororhome up…….. New air bags were like $250 and most everyone had that. Why, probably because it was there and the price was low… and they worked This is an original Firestone bag leaking air through the bag itself…. The only other option at that time was the original “4 bagger” offered by Leigh Harrison who at that time was making all sorts of exotic (at that time) GMC upgrades. If you had the coin you got a 4 bagger why….. because it was cool and gave more accurate suspension characteristics……. it was a little on the stiff ride side requiring 135+ psi in pressure where the original Firestone bags took @ 110psi nominal. I installed a blue million of these systems……. I liked the way the coach would drive plus you could take a wheel off and drive You might ask, “Why is that important?”. The major thing to think about in the rear suspension is safety. If you loose a wheel say a rear bearing….. the coach must be towed with a “landoll” flat bed trailer It cannot be towed backwards so the entire rear suspension fails. At the time, not being stuck on the side of the road with a rear wheel problem made the 4 bagger the safest rear suspension on the road. And this is what you need out on the open highway… you need backups, a way to move your coach WITH a problem in the rear suspension which you do not have with the original single bag system and this is still true.
After installing so many of 1 thing you learn it’s shortcomings and the original 4 bagger had a few. With a nominal air pressure of 135psi and a bag rating of 100psi max…. the bags were overloaded….. the 1 piece fixture was of 1/4″ steel structure construction I found to actually bend when removing the 1 tire. Yes, you could still drive with the tire off but damage could occur.
Also the hi pressure needed caused the “stiff” ride. I tried to work with Leigh to address these and other issue but unwilling I turned to another partner in trying to make a better, safer 4 bag system.
THEN Firestone discontinued our beloved original air bags and replacement single bag systems started spewing from backyards of all shapes and sizes
Seems like everyone tried to come up with a low cost way to hold the back of the coach up…… some overload the bags like the above left one did…. the ones with “big ole bags” only took 40-50 pound of pressure but bounced like a bouncy-ball. up-down movement is less and in the case of the top left system, lateral movement which any tandem suspension will have was not even considered. This twist movement put extreme twisting motion of this system caused the hinge joint at the bottom to fail One thing all these systems have in common is none of them were failure tested….. these were backyard solutions some more dangerous than others.
Having a responsibility to my customers to offer the safest more reliable rear suspension Jim K. at Applied and I threw in together and had designed what I have to tell you is the safest, most reliable AND failure tested rear suspension you can have. Jim K. had the system beautifully manufactured with water jet precision gold zinc plated for a quality finish. The only drawback on this system is it costs 2 times that of these backyard rig-ups. Listen folks who come up with these I commend them on making something special for the GMC… I support anyone doing that but in this case the cost is warranted if you want a safe, reliable ride that offers you option when things go wrong. You MUST prepare for the unexpected relying on a 4o year old mechanism made by man……. these things are too big to push and that Landoll tow bill will literally mely your wallet a $4-5 per mile! NO DON’T PUT YOURSELF IN HARMS WAY……. do not rely on any single air bag system or don’t go far from home…..AAA that’s 100 miles, farther than that there will be a nashing of teeth when something happens back there.
I’m sorry but this is the reality of it. Actually I’m not soory that I support this system……. I’m sorry if you break down and do not have this system. Carrying a spare tire does you no good if a rear bearing fails…. the air bag system fails … and they do!
Why am I spewing all of this all over you guys? I do not feel this next generation of GMC owners are getting the wide view of their option on social network…. driven by owners mainly, they know what they have but maybe not what is best for everyone else. Usually social networking helpd because you get to see what others have done but the critical objecting information is not getting to the front out there.
A recent thread talked up about every option folks have come up with but the information on this more better “quad bag” system is mostly out of the loop in that thread. Things like that only serve to confuse the new owners.
I hope you new guys read this and you old timers please give all options available visibility. And for God sakes do NOT always buy the cheapaest thing you can…. there are reasons other option may cost more……. it’s not the dealer making more money on you…….. something worth building better WILL cost more because more is put into it.
I do not bring this up because the quad bag system is “mine”. Actually Jim K. ponied up the cash to see the quad bag system to market……. a very expensive thing to do and I give him all the credit for that. So many times there are great ideas but no one produces it for consumption…. here is a success story… one for the GMC to make it safer and more reliable…. not cheaper but proven so much better and stronger….why would you NOT want that for your baby?
OK so there’s my rant for the day… I can do and say that because you came to my site….. I didn’t intrude into the games played on social network… why would I want to step into that mess. Why argue these merits when the only thing batted around is how cheap is it and can I make it myself……..are you willing to bet your safety on something that has not been tested safe? Do you buy based on Consumer Reports…… that testing helps keep us safe from products that are not thought through.
OK there…… with this information now go back to the social network and plug this input into the equation…….NOW… we do live in America and you CAN choose to do anything you want… I just want you to have enough information to make the best decision for yourself. You may go with one of the single bag systems… hey great and I will not tell you you are wrong….except here!
Think through your decisions do not just follow the crowd because many of them have no idea themselves! Call Jim K. at Applied or me here if you want to know more. Cost is $1650 plus shipping… installation will take you @6 hours….. yes, it can be installed by the owner…. The design is very installer friendly.
Hope I didn’t waste your time this morning, if you have a quad bag system you know what I mean. The security that comes with knowing you have a reliable rear wheel suspension that can fail and not leave you stranded should be enough right there…. Oh, did I tell you the ride is NOT stiff but much more stable. 70psi nominal means you can air the system up at a convienance store if your compressor fails— so you get added safety!
Thanks for the visit and we’ll see ya tomorrow……..
Ed Nelson says
I have also heard the one bag system can do a lot of damage to the fiber glass area around the wheel well area if it blows. Jim do you have any pictures of the happening?