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Old 09-03-2009, 04:27 PM   #1
Texas TC
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Default Air suspension for the SuperNova/International chassis

Like everyone else with an International chassis coach, I have been looking for a better suspension for the rear of the coach. I love this unit and plan to keep it for a long time. No problems in the drivers seat but the wife has never cared for the ride past mid-coach.

So, I drove the Nova down to SW International for them to take a look at the frame and suspension layout to see about getting shocks installed. The Specialty Equipment Manager said I should consider an aftermarket air suspension system complete with air compressor. Cost is a little under $4900.00 so I told them to order it. It is made by American Carrier Systems out of Fresno, CA. I looked at the system and feel good about the engineering. It comes with its own shock package so it kinda kills two birds with one stone. He is going to order it tomorrow and I will get it installed as soon as it arrives.

The technician that is going to install the system looked the Nova over from the underside completely. He did not see any complications that would keep the system from being installed, plenty of clearance room down there. I told him I wanted to add air horns later and he said that would not be a problem. I will most probably add them along the frame rail next to the air compressor so they are at the level of the cars. Should be real loud down there!

I will keep you all informed of the progress.



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Old 09-04-2009, 07:29 AM   #2
galena
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That is good price for the amount of work and is there a specific item number for this package? Keep us posted on change out and your evaluation.
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Old 09-04-2009, 08:14 AM   #3
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I will know more next week when the system arrives from California. Right now, it looks like I will get installation during the week of September 14-18. The brochure I downloaded from their website said it will be delivered completely assembled and should be installed within a day. Keeping my fingers crossed this will be a relatively inexpensive solution to all of our ride issues. SW International is really excited to be able to try this application on my coach. They have asked to put a "Air Ride by Southwest International" logo on my coach. I agreed if it were small and matched the decor of the Nova.

One of the benefits to this system is that it has a backup in case of an air leak or air failure. The leaf springs are attached to the air ride component so if air is lost, it simply reverts back to the leaf spring suspension but with the added benefit of the included shock package.

I asked about dislodging the air bags while using the leveling jacks and was told that their are limits built into the system that would keep this from occurring. I have heard of a few Dynamax coaches that have had issues where the airbags have become dislodged when using the jacks. This should not happen with this system.

I am really excited about trying this relatively inexpensive air ride suspension application on the International chassis. I will certainly report the results, good or bad, when the installation is complete. I am going to the Drag Races in Ennis Texas right after the work is complete and then to Arizona to visit the kids the first week in October. The second trip will give me a great opportunity to evaluate the results. The International Manager guaranteed me that if it works on the coach application like it has on some of the other trucks they have installed it on, my wife will be able to sleep comfortably on the rear bed while traveling down the road. (Don't want a discussion on safety issues here but she would love to be able to nap back there from time to time).

Much more information to follow!



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Old 09-08-2009, 11:51 AM   #4
Kimbo
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TexasTC,

We highly recommend this suspension mod. We had the Superride 800 series air suspension system from American Carrier Equipment installed on our SuperNova in July from Middleton & Meads Co. in Baltimore, MD. We paid slightly under $6,000 when all was done which included the air compressor.

We are very happy with the ACE suspension and feel it improved the ride & dampened the road vibrations, bumps, and noise. It doesn't ride like a Class A with lots of air bags but we also didn't have that expectation. :0) Also, the air suspension leveled the rig for us. Our SuperNova had a slight lean since the driver's side is much heavier then the other side. (Due to slide, water, generator).

One item of note according to ACE - The Superide air suspension is an add-on unit that takes advantage of existing leaf spring suspensions. The Superide suspension performs like a full air ride and it has two added design advantages: it requires no changes in the vehicle's original suspension specifications and it has a built-in safety stop. If the air spring deflates, the vehicle will revert to its original leaf spring suspension.

We liked this feature and didn't want to mess with the leaf spring suspension. (We didn't like Jeff's mods where he had the leaf springs removed.)

We only had one slight problem after we picked up the rig. The wiring harness for the jack melted when the shop did the welding for the air bag install. Got it fixed at our dealer within a day and haven't had any problems with the leveling jacks & air bags.

I can try to post/mail pictures if interested.

Good Luck!
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Old 09-08-2009, 05:26 PM   #5
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Thanks so much for your analysis. I looked at several systems before deciding on the ACE application. I, like you, really like the redundancy of having the original springs there in case of an air problem. I like the unit having its own shock package and I like the price vs. changing the entire rear carrier in order to put in International oem air suspension. I am glad to hear you like your system and now, more than ever, am looking forward to the installation next week.

I will alert the International technician about the wiring issues. When he did a survey of my frame, he mentioned that many of the wires that operate many systems on the coach are in that general area. I will try to get him to insulate them well while doing the welding.



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Old 09-18-2009, 07:24 PM   #6
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Although I have only driven the Nova about 50 miles, I truly love the air ride suspension system (American Carrier Equipment Superride 800). This will be a short report and I will give my thoughts after our trip to Arizona in early October. For now, it is great. Like Kimbo, I have an error issue with the electric jacks. I will get it to the RV dealer on Monday. International said they would cover any costs. Total cost to install with tax was just under $5200.00.

I called my buddy JimBob and gave him a glowing report on the phone. Now he is considering bringing his coach to Dallas for the same system. (Good to talk with you JimBob and continue having a great trip).

My wife went on the test drive at the dealer and sat on the bed and on the sofa. She said the ride on the bed is now like the mid-coach sofa and the sofa is like riding in the front seats. (Yea, I really wanted her to be pleased with this upgrade).

More information to come after our longer trip next month.



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Old 09-21-2009, 12:04 PM   #7
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I took the Nova in to Mc Clain's RV, my dealer, on Saturday. They had to adjust the magnet limit switches and re-set the level on the Power Gear system and it is good to go. There was no damage to the leveling system, only a reset and re-adjust. I am sure Southwest International will be glad to know this since they are paying for the fix.

I will pick the coach up on Tuesday and get ready for my boon docking trip to the drag races. I cannot wait to drive this thing some more. It took the rough part of I35E great when I was driving it home. There is some construction on the route I will be taking later this week and I am looking forward to see how well the air ride handles uneven and rough sections of the road. I am also looking forward to seeing if there is any change in the way it handles in windy conditions and around other high profile vehicles. As we owners all know, these things handle so well in those conditions. I am quite sure that there will be no adverse effects with the air ride but want to drive in those conditions to be assured.



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Old 09-21-2009, 07:54 PM   #8
JimBob
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Default Air Ride Suspension

Jim Bob sends congratulations to his pal, Texas TC, on the birth of his new baby. The newborn weighs in at an impressive 26,900 pounds, and was born at Southwest International at Dallas Texas last week.

Way to go buddy- enjoy your new coach and have a safe trip to the Drags, and then out to Arizona....... Where's the decal pics?????

JimBob
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Old 09-27-2009, 08:37 PM   #9
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Here is the decal Southwest International provided for our Nova!





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Old 09-30-2009, 02:04 PM   #10
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I was at Southwest International today and spoke with the Manager of Special Equipment and the GM of the dealership. They are both really excited, as am I, about the installation of the air ride system on the International chassis. Special Equipment Manager, Aaron Redmon, said if anyone is interested in having the same system installed, or just has some questions about the system, he would be glad to help them out. He agreed for me to post his phone number for anyone interested, 214-689-1400 or 214-638-4685.



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Old 10-08-2009, 04:48 PM   #11
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Default To Air on the Side of Comfort.

Now you guys really have me up in the air, literally. Which do I want? New shocks or air ride. I had finally gotten my IH dealer on the right path and now I am throwing him a curve. It remains to be seen if they will do it or if ACS has someone in or near Richmond. I do not mind going to Balmer like our friend KIMBO did, but would rather go south this time of year.

I already have an air compressor and five gallon tank installed since I put in one of Hornblaster's Train Horns. (that's a lot of fun) Just trying to find out from Viair and ACS if this installation will do the job now.
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Old 10-09-2009, 12:37 PM   #12
Texas TC
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I would really like to drive the International chassis with shocks to see the difference. From where I stand now, the air ride system is the only way to go. We did almost 700 miles from Texas to New Mexico on our first day out and another 400+ miles on the second day to the kids house in Arizona. What I noticed most about the new air ride system is the way it smooths out the dips and bumps in the road. No more jarring of the rear of the coach during these adverse road conditions. For the first time, there were no clothes off the hangers or throw pillows on the floor from off the bed. Although I would still like to find some better shocks for the front of the coach, I really don't think I need them now as much as before because the air system actually improves the ride in the drivers seat by not giving the bounce or cantilevering off the rear axle that I had experienced before adding the ACE system.

I was particularly curious about how it would handle in winds and around other high profile vehicles while now sitting on two really large air bags. The conclusion is PERFECT! As you may know, New Mexico and Arizona are known for high winds. I did not know the wind was blowing until we stopped for fuel.

My preliminary assessment of the system is that it is great and well worth the money if you plan, as I do, on keeping the coach for a long time. At 30,000 miles, mine just keeps running better and the new air system accentuates the driving experience.



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Old 02-02-2010, 10:33 AM   #13
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Default Air Suspension Update

Hi everyone, I am a new user to this site I have a 2008 Supernova. Like many of you I have spent a lot of money trying to improve the ride on my coach. My unit had no leaf springs on the rear so I had them built, I had King Shocks build shocks all around, and I went to the new Michelin single rear tire and Alcoa's wheels. All improved ride somewhat and the tires and wheel combo increased mileage and shortened braking distance. But the ride is still quite harsh. Since I have not seen a post since early October, I am wondering if some of you would update me on how you like your air ride after riding on it for awhile. Thank you.
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:29 AM   #14
nailerman
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Default Ready to make move to Air Ride.

We have learned a lot from other owners and are moving forward to getting the Air Ride installed. I have found that Crenshaw Bodies here in Richmond used to be dealers for ACE and will be happy to do it for me. Wanted to get it done before a southern journey Feb. 14, but may not. We are looking forward to joining those of you who have done this vast improvement.
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Old 02-02-2010, 02:58 PM   #15
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Still thrilled with the result from my air installation. There are two more ACE air suspension systems being installed on SuperNova's at Southwest International right now.

As you can see in another thread on this forum, Gulf Stream is now building their SuperNova coach on the 4400 chassis with air suspension, air drivers seat, and air brakes. They, too, have seen the need to calm down the bounce in the rear section of the coach.

I am glad I installed air and wish I had done it much earlier.



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Old 02-02-2010, 03:31 PM   #16
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Default Air Ride

Well you know my way is always a day late and a dollar short. When I mentioned this coming up and the Martinsburg's Ads to Cindy Hathaway, she did not even know about it. Also I email Martinsburg and did not even get a rise from them. Glad I did not buy from them.

But as soon as the budget agrees, the installation will be done. I am looking forward to it so I can go on and get some other things done too.

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Old 02-02-2010, 04:11 PM   #17
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Default Thanks for everyone's input.

Thanks for all the info. Speaking of brakes, anyone have trouble with their brakes. I do....especially when I am towing my 8000 lb trailer. Even with the trailers brakes set up to almost lock, the pads on my coach burn and then don't work well.
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:32 PM   #18
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My parking brake broke when the coach was new but I have not had any problems stopping my coach with the Jeep Wrangler in tow. Mine is the smallest and lightest of all of the SuperNovas'. I weighed it full of fuel, water and gear and it only weighed 21,600. Even with the Jeep, I do not even get to my GVWR of 25,999 and not even close to the GCWR of 33,000.

I bought a suplimental brake system for the Jeep a couple of years ago and used it once. I carry it in the basement of the Nova just in case some officer wants to give me a hard time but I have not found that I need it for stoppping. I also carry the weight ticket for the coach with me for argument sake.

Your 36' coach with an 8,000 pound trailer is getting on up there so I could see you taxing the brake system a bit.



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Old 02-27-2010, 03:24 PM   #19
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Default Re: Thanks for everyone's input.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OffRoadRat
Thanks for all the info. Speaking of brakes, anyone have trouble with their brakes. I do....especially when I am towing my 8000 lb trailer. Even with the trailers brakes set up to almost lock, the pads on my coach burn and then don't work well.
I have a 28 foot race car trailer and have found similar problem on mine. I have the other 38 supernova which is sometimes parked next to yours at the rv repair center in sd. I have to say your wheel and tire combo looks really good. Does it help the performance? I am going to put the air ride on asap.

Have you done anything with the performance yet, such as program or chip for the motor?
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Old 03-01-2010, 11:00 PM   #20
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The wheel and tire combo make look great, but only marginal benefit for the cost. I am extremely interested in the air bag set-up. If you do get it upgraded please let me know. The ride is the only real complaint other than with Gulfstream itself. I did put in software which helped quite a bit. I don't remember which one, but if you are interested, I can find my paperwork or look it up. Frank at SDRV installed it. Don
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