Save yourself time and money with these preventive maintenance tips for air spring suspensions. Remember, never attempt to service the air suspension on a truck or trailer with the air springs inflated.
Air Spring Inspection Checklist
Inspect the O.D. of the air spring. Check for signs of irregular wear or heat cracking.
Inspect air lines to make sure contact doesn’t exist between the air line and the O.D. of the air spring. Air lines can rub a hole in an air spring very quickly.
Check to see that there is sufficient clearance around the complete circumference of the air spring while at its maximum diameter.
Inspect the O.D. of the piston for buildup of foreign materials. (On a reversible sleeve style air spring, the piston is the bottom component of the air spring).
Correct ride height should be maintained. All vehicles with air springs have a specified ride height established by the O.E.M. manufacturer. This height, which is found in your service manual, should be maintained within 1/4″. This dimension can be checked with the vehicle loaded or empty.
Leveling valves (or height control valves) play a large part in ensuring that the total air spring system works as required. Clean, inspect and replace, if necessary.
Make sure you have the proper shock absorbers and check for leaking hydraulic oil and worn or broken end connectors. If a broken shock is found, replace it immediately. The shock absorber will normally limit the rebound of an air spring and keep it from overextending.
Check the tightness of all mounting hardware (nuts and bolts). If loose, re-torque to the manufacturer’s specifications. Do not over-tighten.
Approved cleaning media are soap and water, methyl alcohol, ethyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol. Non-approved cleaning media include all organic solvents, open flames, abrasives and direct pressurized steam cleaning.
The total inspection process can be done in just a matter of minutes. If you find one of the above conditions exists, please take corrective action to ensure that it is fixed properly.
Information provided by Firestone Airide Springs