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  1. #1
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    Default RT rear shock and airbag

    I replaced my 2011 RT with a 2019. Both have an airbag that you fill with air from under the seat. Both models loose air quickly and I find the bag low on air every week. Iím 175 pounds and ride 1 up only. I put 35 pounds of air in the shock. Why is an air bag needed and why does it loose air so soon? I can go a month on the 3 tires without adding air.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dg110270 View Post
    I replaced my 2011 RT with a 2019. Both have an airbag that you fill with air from under the seat. Both models loose air quickly and I find the bag low on air every week. I’m 175 pounds and ride 1 up only. I put 35 pounds of air in the shock. Why is an air bag needed and why does it loose air so soon? I can go a month on the 3 tires without adding air.
    Man, you've a leak. LOL If you're out of warranty get in there with a squirt bottle full of soapy water and find where the bubbles are coming from. Likely it could be an easy fix. Keep your finger's crossed. it could be just a loose fitting. If it's the bag itself and the leak is in the bottom, likely you've gotten a little chunk of rock under it. A little green slime can fix that.

  3. #3
    Active Member Baron14y's Avatar
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    I have somewhat the same problem with my 2015 RTL. I put in about 75 psi and within a few days, it is down to about 35 psi where it stays. ???

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    Very Active Member h0gr1der's Avatar
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    While I didn't have a leak I chose to make some modifications. The RTL model has an automatic air leveling system that maintains the rear ride height at a predetermined level based on the calibration of the sensor attached to the right side of the swing arm. The RT may not have this. On my 2018 RTL the normal air bag pressure was around 43 PSI to support my 240 weight (which includes 15-20 Lbs of permanent trunk weight). Due to my compressor cycling so much, and how much I read about compressor failures, I embarked on a project to make my Spyder non-dependent on the compressor. The way Spyder does it is for a 1 size fits all, and for the most part it works pretty well. But on my bike, with the rear spring rate of around 340 Lb/In (Estimated) and 43 PSI in the bag, I figured it would wear the compressor out quickly.

    First off, the 2019 is in the factory warranty period. Run it by the dealership and have them fix it. They will spray the connections with a soapy water solution and look for leaks. The fittings on mine are push lock plastic tubing type, real easy to check yourself if your have the skills to remove some plastic panels. Doing it yourself may be faster than the dealer. Shame to have to say that, but 2-3 weeks isn't uncommon for a dealer fix.

    If you decide on upgrading your rear system, I've posted some creative ideas about the rear suspension.
    h0gr1der
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    Thank you for the comments. What will happen if I run with no air in the bag? Also I assume my 2019 RT limited does not have an air compressor system.

  6. #6
    Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie Peter Aawen's Avatar
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    Dg, is your air bag losing ALL the air in it, or just dropping back to the same (lower) pressure than whatever you pumped it up to like Baron's?

    I believe you have an RT Ltd now, don't you? Fairly recently replaced your 2011 RT with a 2019 RT-L?? If that's the case, ALL RT Ltd's have a compressor for the Automatic Levelling system, but from about 2018 on there's no way to manually adjust the pressure/height via a switch on the dash, you only get the option of adding/subtracting air via the Schrader valve.... BUT the static ride height & applicable air bag pressure is all set at the factory/via BUDS..... so unless your air bag is losing ALL of it's air, then if I understand the way it should work correctly, it sounds like you & Baron most likely DO NOT have any leaks; it's just the auto levelling system reverting to the preset 'ride height for load' & the air pressure required to maintain that which is preset & stored in the computer control system somewhere!! So, if you add more air pressure than is preset in the system for the set ride height, as soon as you start the engine & ride off, the system will bleed out all the excess air to bring you back to the preset height/pressure! To change that, you'll probably need to go back to your dealer & get the preset changed in BUDS, or find someone with the correct BUDS version to do that for you...

    However, whatever way you look at it, running with no air in the air bag is not a great idea. No air in the bag means it'll fold & crease in ways that will cause it to destroy itself fairly quickly, and then I suspect you'll find that means your suspension will bottom out heavily every now & then, because the air bag was designed as an integral part of the suspension & essential for maintaining the appropriate static ride height. Then there's the fact that it was only the lower spec RT's that didn't get the air compressor, so if yours does have a compressor (& if it's an Ltd, it does!) then unless you disable the compressor by pulling the fuse or something similar, once the air bag has ruptured the compressor will run all the time trying to inflate it & burn out pretty quickly, and in a worst case scenario, potentially burning out a few other things too!

    But I really think your ACS sounds like it's working the way it's been designed to work, and you (& Baron) are trying to make it do something it can't do without changing the preset height/pressure settings.
    Last edited by Peter Aawen; 02-11-2020 at 07:58 PM.
    2013 RT Ltd

  7. #7
    Very Active Member h0gr1der's Avatar
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    An RT Limited will have the auto leveling system. You can verify this by looking at the left side of the swing arm, about half way down there will be a bolt with a lever arm going to a sensor. This sets the level via the computer using predetermined settings. As I said previously, the rear setup is one size fits all. The spring probably isn't strong enough to hold up anyone but the lightest rider without air in the bag. I replaced the OEM spring with a stronger spring and my air system pretty much quit cycling. My air bag now runs about 5-10 PSI with me and my cargo aboard. The air system has a compressor to add air, a bleed valve to relieve air, and a sensor on the swing arm to tell the computer when you're at the proper level. If you leak down too much or the bike somehow goes too high in the rear you will get a suspension fault code that goes away when the system detects all is normal. With your 175 lbs. I suspect you may bottom out occasionally, plus an annoying code will be on your display.
    h0gr1der
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    Very Active Member ThreeWheels's Avatar
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    If you run one up without the air bag, the rear suspension will settle down a little bit and it will be harsh and bottom out.
    If you run two up without the air bag, the rear suspension will settle way down and bottom out. The rear tire will contact the rear fender making a god awful whining noise that will scare the crap out of you and eventual wear out the rear fender which will cost about $900 total to fix.
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    The pre 2018 air ride systems leave a lot to be desired...I too have redone my air ride system to be a "on my demand system"...I can adjust the air pressure to any amount I need for any riding conditions buy simply pushing the rocker switch to harder or softer...I have an dash air gauge that shows the pressure in the air bag at all times...When I replaced my second failed BRP compressor with the Viair compressor I completely redid the entire air system to suit me...

    If your constantly loosing air I'd take a close look at ALL the push lock fittings...I replaced all of mine with compression type...You'll need to take the air bag out to do the bottom one there...Some have seen check valve problems where the air leaks back thru the compressor...And a few have had air bags with stone damage on the bottom...There is a "Fernco" pipe cap fitting that will help with the stone problem...

    My Spyder has been setting in the garage since early Nov. and my dash gauge still showed 85 lbs, I looked today...

    When you have a dash air gauge you'd be amazed at the fluctuation in the air ride pressure...The difference between static load and loaded weight...The difference between the temperatures under the tupperware...And when the bike rolls left and right it also varies...Depending on conditions the pressure varies between 20 & 30 lbs...Its no wonder we hear the exhausting of air and cycling of the compressor at slow speeds when we can hear it...Who know what the system is doing while cruising down the hi-way???

    I have just made a modification to my "on demand system" today...I no longer need to carry a 12 volt portable compressor for the "just in case I have a flat tire"...I made up a 12' coiled 1/4" air hose with the correct fitting to air up a low tire by connecting onto the schrader valve under the seat...I just push the rocker switch to the harder position and the compressor comes on and the air travels out the 1/4" hose to the snap on air chuck and you can now air up a low tire...Just keep an eye on the dash air gauge so you don't exceed 120 lbs in the air bag...Total cost for this mod was $12.00 for line and fittings...

  10. #10
    Active Member Baron14y's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Aawen View Post
    Dg, is your air bag losing ALL the air in it, or just dropping back to the same (lower) pressure than whatever you pumped it up to like Baron's?

    I believe you have an RT Ltd now, don't you? Fairly recently replaced your 2011 RT with a 2019 RT-L?? If that's the case, ALL RT Ltd's have a compressor for the Automatic Levelling system, but from about 2018 on there's no way to manually adjust the pressure/height via a switch on the dash, you only get the option of adding/subtracting air via the Schrader valve.... BUT the static ride height & applicable air bag pressure is all set at the factory/via BUDS..... so unless your air bag is losing ALL of it's air, then if I understand the way it should work correctly, it sounds like you & Baron most likely DO NOT have any leaks; it's just the auto levelling system reverting to the preset 'ride height for load' & the air pressure required to maintain that which is preset & stored in the computer control system somewhere!! So, if you add more air pressure than is preset in the system for the set ride height, as soon as you start the engine & ride off, the system will bleed out all the excess air to bring you back to the preset height/pressure! To change that, you'll probably need to go back to your dealer & get the preset changed in BUDS, or find someone with the correct BUDS version to do that for you...

    However, whatever way you look at it, running with no air in the air bag is not a great idea. No air in the bag means it'll fold & crease in ways that will cause it to destroy itself fairly quickly, and then I suspect you'll find that means your suspension will bottom out heavily every now & then, because the air bag was designed as an integral part of the suspension & essential for maintaining the appropriate static ride height. Then there's the fact that it was only the lower spec RT's that didn't get the air compressor, so if yours does have a compressor (& if it's an Ltd, it does!) then unless you disable the compressor by pulling the fuse or something similar, once the air bag has ruptured the compressor will run all the time trying to inflate it & burn out pretty quickly, and in a worst case scenario, potentially burning out a few other things too!

    But I really think your ACS sounds like it's working the way it's been designed to work, and you (& Baron) are trying to make it do something it can't do without changing the preset height/pressure settings.
    Thank you for the explanation. Now, it makes some sense.

  11. #11
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    Hmmm, I just read through this thread. I've noticed on my 2015 RT my air bag tends to do the same thing, I'll air it up to around 85 psi for two up riding and check a few days later and it's back down to 35psi. You can hear the compressor? cycling or just the automatic leveling system cycling? when we come to a stop or going slow. I have the ride adjustment set one tab below firm. I'm guessing it is just going back to its preset? I'm 210 and the wife is 148 ( don't tell her I said that lol). My RT isn't a Ltd. Think it says RTS.
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  12. #12
    Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie Peter Aawen's Avatar
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    Mr Bill, if you can hear anything but the quietest of hisses, then it's gonna be the compressor!

    And YES, your guess is correct, the 'loss of pressure' going back to 35psi is most likely just the system going back to its preset....
    2013 RT Ltd

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    Very Active Member h0gr1der's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Aawen View Post
    Mr Bill, if you can hear anything but the quietest of hisses, then it's gonna be the compressor!

    And YES, your guess is correct, the 'loss of pressure' going back to 35psi is most likely just the system going back to its preset....
    Mr Bill lists his as a 2015 RT. Does that model have the automatic system or the high/low switch?
    h0gr1der
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    I thought my air bag compressor was cycling but it turns out that it's the DPS(power steering) cycling at low speeds. I talked to dealership and will take it in later in early Spring.
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    Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie Peter Aawen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by h0gr1der View Post
    Mr Bill lists his as a 2015 RT. Does that model have the automatic system or the high/low switch?
    I think that all the up-market RT's up until 2018 had the ACS Suspension System with the Remote adjustment via the High/Low switch, and they also had the Schrader Valve under the seat. The ACS IS effectively the compressor & valving with the remote adjustment High/Low switch, while the air bag itself is simply part of the standard suspension system - the base model RT's on those earlier years didn't get the compressor & the ACS System with the H/L switch, but they still had the air bag with the Schrader Valve to adjust the pressure.

    I believe it was the release of the 2018 RT's (or was it 2019's? ) that saw the High/Low switch removed from all Spyders equipped with ACS, so from there on in all the up market Spyders only have the Auto System without the switch & I believe they still kept the Schrader Valve; while the base models from then on still only get just the Schrader Valve.... but I haven't looked any of that up; I'm only going by what I believe I can remember atm!

    That said, if he can hear something electric motor style operating above the noise of the engine that cycles on & off which isn't a radiator fan, then either he has a compressor for the ACS (it's not unheard of to fit them onto base model RT's ) or something else is drastically wrong....
    2013 RT Ltd

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Aawen View Post
    I think that all the up-market RT's up until 2018 had the ACS Suspension System with the Remote adjustment via the High/Low switch, and they also had the Schrader Valve under the seat. The ACS IS effectively the compressor & valving with the remote adjustment High/Low switch, while the air bag itself is simply part of the standard suspension system - the base model RT's on those earlier years didn't get the compressor & the ACS System with the H/L switch, but they still had the air bag with the Schrader Valve to adjust the pressure.

    I believe it was the release of the 2018 RT's (or was it 2019's? ) that saw the High/Low switch removed from all Spyders equipped with ACS, so from there on in all the up market Spyders only have the Auto System without the switch & I believe they still kept the Schrader Valve; while the base models from then on still only get just the Schrader Valve.... but I haven't looked any of that up; I'm only going by what I believe I can remember atm!

    That said, if he can hear something electric motor style operating above the noise of the engine that cycles on & off which isn't a radiator fan, then either he has a compressor for the ACS (it's not unheard of to fit them onto base model RT's ) or something else is drastically wrong....
    I just hear the hissing like air being let out.
    MrBill
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