Sunday, May 18, 2008

A convert, my thoughts on the performance of my truck after the installation of Air Lift Airbags

Thanks to a gift from CumminsDriver who had an old set of Airlift Airbags left over from his 3/4 ton Dodge that he removed before he sold it, I was able to finally upgrade the rear end suspension of my truck.

It took five hours of working in the dark on gravel late into the night, but I managed to install my AirLift Super Duty Air bags. I thank my benefactor again, I could kiss him right now, that's just how much better the truck rides EMPTY than it did before.

Now, onto my thoughts on air bags:

My truck does ride higher than before, albiet I am running 20psi in the driver's side and 5psi in the passenger empty right now. The KIT has done a good number on the spring pack, having sat on the truck for half a year at a time, the leaves had started to flatten out, in particular my overload leaf. So, to make the rear ride at the same height on both sides, I set the passenger side to the minimum PSI, then gradually added air with my little foot pump to the driver's side till the fender was measuring the same height off the ground as the passenger side.

The ride is a little firmer, but I haven't aired my tires down past 70psi right now, so I can compensate a little more by taking them down to 60-65psi. Its not as harsh as some folks commented on it being, either because my springs are worn, or because my canopy weighs in at 600lbs.

Inflating the air bags is easy. I bought an inexpensive Central Pneumatic 3 gallon air compressor for $80 from Harbor Freight that works great at airing up and down the air bags as well as being handy for a variety of other uses, like firing my combination 18 gauge brad and staple gun.

I've not experienced any drop in PSI as of yet in the bags, after a 12 hr period. All connections and lines were cut and put completely together, aired up to 30psi, and then coated in leak finder solution (The kind used for finding leaks in gas lines that comes in a bottle with a little dabbing brush), then sat and waited and watched very fitting very closely for the slighest sign of bubble formation, however small. No signs then, and nothing now either.

On other thought on air bags. The brackets on these things are pretty beefy. After reading a fair number of tales on failed brackets, I can only guess that alot of folks are running their bags at the upper end of their load bearing capacity. The set I now own are rated for a max bed load of 5000lbs and the metal the brackets is made out of is nearly as thick as the trucks own frame rails. It'd take a pretty damned heavy load and then a good impact to make one of them fail easily.