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Extra weight capacity for towing or hauling

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LiftedAWDAstro
I have my van tatooed on my cheeks
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Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2006 3:35 pm
Location: New Haven, NY

Extra weight capacity for towing or hauling

Post by LiftedAWDAstro »

This thread will be for documented ways to get the extra lift or support for hauling or towing heavy loads. It will only be allowed to post actual things you have done on your Astro or Safari. I don't want this to be a discussion thread unless it is a direct question to what someone installed. Please give the load capacity increase, your feelings on how the van handles after wards as well as the approximate cost. Also include pics...since we all LOVE pics!

Over the 2007 Memorial pre-NECO weekend, I decided to have an Air Lift airbag and compressor kit installed. So Bill (Lockdoc), Keith (astrozam), PJ (e7ats) and myself worked on installing an AirLift air bag kit #59521 and Compressor kit #25592. The kit cost about $360 and was purchased through Summit Racing.

I wrote a How-to for the installation.

Basically the end result is the ability to raise the rear of the van 4" unloaded!!! \:D/ And it is fully adjustable on the fly! The ride quality has not changed at all and my van sits now about 1" higher dues to running 15-20 psi in the bags and turning the torsion bars 4 turns.

No air in bags:

Image

To 100 PSI fully inflated:

Image
Current rides:
2013 Toyota Tundra DC 4x4
2008 Dodge Nitro 4x4
2005 Nissan Sentra 1.8S Special Edition

Mileage spreadsheet

Vans owned:
1986 Safari 2.5L 4 speed manual - scrapped
1995 Astro 2WD conversion 4.11 posi, shift kit, DHC rock rails - sold to Skippy
1998 Astro 4x4 D44, D60, NP231, full hydraulic system with 9k# Milemarker winch and snow plow - sold to Lockdoc
2003 Astro AWD all stock - traded for a 3/4 ton truck
2005 AWD, 4.10's - sold to skippy

Spike99
I finally get the smurf thing
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Re: Extra weight capacity for towing or hauling

Post by Spike99 »

Above is a good write up on how to install Air bags in the rear and how to create minor lift on an AWD system. Some use a hand or local gas station compressor. Others have onboard compressors in their van. Excellent install and "opening post write up".

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On my 2001 AWD Safari van, I also lifted in front via torsion bars adjustment. Over time, my van's torsion bars started to loose their support strength, and its front starts to natually go down. Visualize "front end" sag. Adjusting its torsion bars to make the van's "stance" look better is a good thing to do. And if natural sag over time (like with my van), adjusting its front torsion bars to make its front axle alignments more horizontal is a good idea. Having horizontal front axles creates less front CV, bearing and boot wear. After Torsion bar adjustments, a wheel alignment is always recommend. Great idea....

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With or without ground height adjusted height front end, another rear suspension improvement product is Timbrens. From a white board visual, Timbens are like air bags without the pressurized air inside them. Without air, there's no fussing with different lbs pressure and best part of all, they are an "install it and leave it" suspension improvement product. For me, I installed Timbrens SES 2,000 lbs in the rear of my 2001 AWD Safari myself - under 15 minutes. Their van's empty ride is NOT changed. When the rear of the van goes down 1/2", the Timbrems start to do their magic. The more the van's rear goes down, the more progressive the Timbrens become. For anyone wanting to perform extra hauling, towing or elimiante "factory mush" rear suspension, do look at the Timbren product. Glad I have them on my Safari street van. For details, surf: http://www.timbren.com/ses-van-suv.htm

Note: Just like air bags, do remember to install/use a WDH (Weight Distribution Hitch) system when towing heavy weight trailers. Especially when a trailer's weights are above the non-distribution weight numbers of your van's hitch. The air bags or Timbrens are used to "enhance / improve" the existing factory system. Especially for internal cargo and for non-WD Hitch trailer towing.

Hope this helps as well...

.
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dunedog
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Re: Extra weight capacity for towing or hauling

Post by dunedog »

Found a great deal on Craigslist for finished faced 4" block about 30 miles from home :bounce:
So I called the guy made a date to see him this morning. Got there made the deal and thought it was going to take at least two trips,but we kept loading and looking,loading and looking and before we knew it everthing was loaded. The guy was impressed not only by the trailer but by the weight the van had in it.... :supz:
Those extra leafs from OV certainly earned their money today.
The guy works at the place that makes the block and he figured somewhere between 4500-4700 pounds :yikes: Sorry I didn't get a shot on the level all hooked up ,but only remembered the camera as I started to unload.
Of course the next thing on my 'todo' are the rear brakes......stopping this train was not an option [-(
Needless to say I was very careful keeping distances etc coming home.Days like today make me love this van all over again..! (quiet Peter!

Image

Image
1999 LS AWD 3" Lift,4.10's,Snowplow,9500lb Ramsey winch

skippy
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Re: Extra weight capacity for towing or hauling

Post by skippy »

HOLY CRAP!!!!! thats one hell of a load Jim :yikes: . not sure i would have trusted the old girl to handle that much weight .
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dunedog
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Re: Extra weight capacity for towing or hauling

Post by dunedog »

Hell she's in the prime of her life :bounce: I'm just an old fart trying to keep up.... :drinkers:
1999 LS AWD 3" Lift,4.10's,Snowplow,9500lb Ramsey winch

afsigma21
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Re: Extra weight capacity for towing or hauling

Post by afsigma21 »

I have used these on several vehicles, including all 3 Astro_Safari's.

http://www.amazon.com/Heavy-Duty-Helper ... B003UF5E08

They are a COIL spring that comes with a U bolt to bolt around the axle. Supposed to add 1500lbs and the cost from Amazon is $50. I got mine from JC Whitney YEARS ago.

On the older vans with the composite springs, they slip right on, and the ubolts hold them fine. I did not get a lot of lift on the stock vans, but I did get significantly less sag when towing my boat.

On my "newer" 97 conversion van, I got about 2-3 inches extra lift. I attribute this to the van being so much heavier because of the conversion hi top etc. On the steel springs vans, I had to remove the axle bumber to make room for these springs. They work great and the price is right.


I also used a set on my Ford Ranger, again I did not get a lot of lift on the stock vans, but I did get significantly less sag when towing.


The biggest advantage is that you can take them on and off in less than an hour. It makes a stock van stiff in the rear, so these are easily added and removed for when your gonna tow or haul.
____________________
1991 Astro CL 170k, then stolen and drove into a building, junked.
1995 Astro 110k sold for a truck, wish I hadnt.
Current, 1997 Safari, Explorer High Top Conversion, love my moneypit. "Humpty Dumpty"

Kidhauler
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Re: Extra weight capacity for towing or hauling

Post by Kidhauler »

I have the same air lift bags that Lifted put in his van. However I mounted the compressor inside the van. I mounted the gauge and electric switch under the dash close to the dog house above the gas pedal by my knee. I ran the wires and the hose under the trim and behind panels right down to the back on the drivers side. I removed the panel on the drivers side rear of the van and mounted the compressor behind the panel screwed to the outside wall of the van above the rear tire well. I then just drilled a hole thru the floor and ran the air line through the floor to the bags. I also added another "T" connector into the airline and added a secondary fill spot using a valve stem style connector inside the gas door. That way if the compressor fails I can just go to the gas station and fill the bags both at the same time right at the gas door without having to be crawling under the van.
1999 Safari Touring edition.
trailer tow pack with a 3:73 posi
Bucket bench seats, Rear heat, Rear Airconditioning.
teal green
300 000 kms
AirRide air bags in the rear to fix soft stock suspension.
Onboard aircompressor to make it all work nice.
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potskie
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Re: Extra weight capacity for towing or hauling

Post by potskie »

Kidhauler wrote:I have the same air lift bags that Lifted put in his van. However I mounted the compressor inside the van. I mounted the gauge and electric switch under the dash close to the dog house above the gas pedal by my knee. I ran the wires and the hose under the trim and behind panels right down to the back on the drivers side. I removed the panel on the drivers side rear of the van and mounted the compressor behind the panel screwed to the outside wall of the van above the rear tire well. I then just drilled a hole thru the floor and ran the air line through the floor to the bags. I also added another "T" connector into the airline and added a secondary fill spot using a valve stem style connector inside the gas door. That way if the compressor fails I can just go to the gas station and fill the bags both at the same time right at the gas door without having to be crawling under the van.
Pretty much the same setup as I have goin on. 3 yrs and 150000+ kms and it's all still working perfect. Altho I did have to replace one of the spring side mounts when a tire blew out and the rubber caught that square edge that hangs over the spring. It pretty much ripped it off the van.... Bag and lines survived tho.
Image 98 Safari RWD. Stock.
Do you smell what Barack is cookin ?!?!

78si
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Re: Extra weight capacity for towing or hauling

Post by 78si »

My gtrv rear end is sagging really bad. This weekend I pulled a mint set of leaf springs out of a cargo van. They have 4 leafs vs. my 3. Hopefully it works, I grabbed all the brackets and hardware [-o<
I'll post before and after pictures.
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