Replace worn out air bags

RedEnvoyDenali

Original poster
Member
Dec 4, 2011
515
Just wanted to let everyone know that IF you need to replace your air bags it is not that difficult. The Denali was turning into a low rider every now and then. :eek: Once every couple of months was not a problem but when it started to happened 3 or 4 times a week, something needed to be done. :hissyfit:I really like the air suspension because I tow a boat every now and then. Although the compressor would pump up the system once the vehicle was started I have heard this is hard on the compressor and they are very expensive.:no:

So this week we replaced the OEM airbags on the 06 Denali. Jack the vehicle up and support it on jack stands under the frame. Not hard to do but important as you will be underneath the vehicle, make sure it is stable before going underneath. Let the rear end drop and removed rear wheels. Removed the compressor so you can release the pressure by disconnecting the air lines to each bag (clear to passenger side and black to drivers). We held the compressor up by using a coat hanger to suspend it from the frame. The old bags just twist out so after releasing the locking tab and drop the bag a few inches to the end of the airline. The old bags are easy to remove by pushing the locking collar on the air line down while pulling up on the airline. This was done without extending the airline but it is somewhat tight. Once the old bags were out we taped the ends of the air lines and blew the area clear of dust. Install was the reverse, insert the airline into the new bag (we used Arnott Gen II with the lifetime guarantee and great instructions) and place one tab into the receptacle hole in the upper frame mount. By working the bag around you can get the other 2 tabs to insert in the mounting holes.

The bag was loose in the upper mount and was about 2" shorter than the OEM bag. Once both bags were installed, the airlines attached to the compressor, and the compressor reattached to the frame, we jacked the rear end up and guided the bags lower mounts over the ball portion of the lower frame mount. We then removed the jack stands and let the whole thing down to the ground We then admired how the Denali took on a low rider stance. A start of the engine and the compressor sprung into action, within a couple of minuets the Denali was again riding at her normal height.

All in all this took about 1 1/2 hrs with fiddling around. The second pair of hands came in handy when removing the airline from the old bag, one pair held the bag and the second set removed the airline. The drivers side old bag was deteriorated around the bottom of the bag and I suspect it would bleed down depending upon how the last bounce of the suspension occurred prior to parking the Denali. :wootwoot::thumbsup: You really don't need any special tools but make sure you have a good set of jack stands since you life depends upon them. Not sure what a stealership would charge but it would definitely be in the triple digits probably near the 500.00 mark.
 

am-radio

Member
Apr 24, 2012
178
Glad to hear Gerry. When the day comes to do mine, I'm glad to know it will be a fairly easy job. Lowrider, something that wouldn't work in Saskatchewan or Alberta. Lol
 

Denali n DOO

Member
May 22, 2012
5,596
Hey thanks! Great to know how easy it will be to do. My pump currently runs at every startup and often while driving, but it never really drops much, maybe 1/2 inch over night. Maybe I should do this sooner than later. Mow that your fixed, does your pump always come on at startup and how often after startup?
 

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
Nov 18, 2011
49,665
I replaced some on an Envoy this weekend, but went another route and chucked the bags and put on some springs.
 

Wooluf1952

Member
Nov 20, 2011
2,663
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Denali n DOO said:
Hey thanks! Great to know how easy it will be to do. My pump currently runs at every startup and often while driving, but it never really drops much, maybe 1/2 inch over night. Maybe I should do this sooner than later. Mow that your fixed, does your pump always come on at startup and how often after startup?

The pump should run at start-up. It's a diagnostic self-test.
 

RedEnvoyDenali

Original poster
Member
Dec 4, 2011
515
Denali n DOO said:
Hey thanks! Great to know how easy it will be to do. My pump currently runs at every startup and often while driving, but it never really drops much, maybe 1/2 inch over night. Maybe I should do this sooner than later. Mow that your fixed, does your pump always come on at startup and how often after startup?

No haven't heard the compressor since the change. If it drops at all overnight I can't tell but then I haven't taken a tape measure to it either, but I think not. Very pleased :thumbsup:
 

RedEnvoyDenali

Original poster
Member
Dec 4, 2011
515
Wooluf1952 said:
The pump should run at start-up. It's a diagnostic self-test.

Sorry I missed this post. I don't recall hearing it at start up other then when it needed to pump up the bags. I will listen more intently tomorrow am and report back. Just a thought perhaps we should turn the radio down and the hearing aid up. LOL :rotfl:
 

RedEnvoyDenali

Original poster
Member
Dec 4, 2011
515
am-radio said:
Glad to hear Gerry. When the day comes to do mine, I'm glad to know it will be a fairly easy job. Lowrider, something that wouldn't work in Saskatchewan or Alberta. Lol

On the other hand we could up our gopher count :wink:
 

floridarv

Member
Mar 30, 2013
59
Hi Guys, new to the forum and GM.

I purchased a 06 Rainer with 148,000 miles still looks new inside and out. I will post some pitures on the other thread.

My question is: if the complete rear end drops to frame everynight should I wbe looking for an issue with the pump or the bags? It seems like if one bag was bad it will tilt only one direction at night.

I have been reading numeorus threads and believe I will be going with Arnott Bags if that is the problem.

One more thing, does anyone has a drawing showing the complete rear air suspension and layout?

Thanks,
Terry
 

jrSS

Member
Dec 4, 2011
3,950
Sounds like uve got leaks in the bags. I would suggest springs. When u use the inflater in the back does it work?? Use soapy water and spray the bags and see if there are bubbles. If u wanna keep bags I hear arnotts are the way to go.
 

floridarv

Member
Mar 30, 2013
59
That is what I thought, I order a pair of arnott bags off ebay tonight.
 

RedEnvoyDenali

Original poster
Member
Dec 4, 2011
515
floridarv said:
That is what I thought, I order a pair of arnott bags off ebay tonight.

Its usually its the bags that wear out where the bag folds, and then they leak. Since replacing mine (easy job just takes a little time) its like they are on Viagra. Still like the bags for the ride and adjust-ability features.

I had a second pair of hands which came in handy but just be careful you will be working under the truck. Jack-stands are a must. Good luck.

Arnott provides great instructions and you can get them on line before you get your bags in the mail. I went with the Gen II bags with the lifetime guarantee, we will see how long they last. My original bag lasted 6 years.
 

floridarv

Member
Mar 30, 2013
59
Thanks JimmyJam the link worked and I was able to downlaod the manuals.

I too want to stay with the air bag system. Even though it was an as-is purchase the dealer is going to give $250.00 towards the repairs. So I will be ahead of the game by doing the installation myself. I can understand the jack stands, after seeing how low the rear gets when the bags leak, I don't think I will ever go uder the truck unless there are jack stands in place.

Thanks again.
 

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