AirLift and Firestone make systems. I have AirLift on mine with dual guages and on-board compressor. Did the install myself, quite happy w/results. Either should work for you, depends if you want bells and whistles (on board compressor, etc., AirLift makes and auto leveling system also).
I am thinking about the airlift kit with compressor, like you installed. Please tell me about the installation. What did it involve, and how long did it take? Is this something easy to do in the driveway?
I run the AirLift Super Duty air bags to take the sag out while towing my 16.5k fifth wheel. I installed them in the driveway at about 30 min. per side. I would reccomend jacking up the frame of the truck at the hitch as far as you can when installing, this will help a great deal. I ran the fill hoses to my reciever hitch and fill them up with a 12v miniture compresser. It only takes about 1 minute to fill each side to 55lbs with the dinky compresser. It's so easy to do manually I could not see spending the extra money for a onboard compresser when I would only use it every once in a while. Also, I run less tire pressure when I'm not hooked up so I have to run my big compresser anyway to fill the tires, it only takes one quick shot of air with it to fill the bags up. I'm very pleased with the performance of the Airlift bags. I got mine from www.summitracing.com .
Can't help you with the price because I had my Air Lift Air Bags with onboard compressor installed about 2 years ago as part of a adding several aftermarket items to my truck. Can say that they have worked flawlessly for over 45,000 miles. I like the onboard compressor, having it allows me to change the pressure in the air bags on the fly. Sometimes, depending on road conditions, being able to do so has proven to be a significiant asset.
I have a 2000 gmc3/4t lt and I had air lift<heavy duty installed> I pull a 29e34rl titatium [5th} with pin weight of 1640lbs..i carry 35-38 lbs in air bags and truck settles down on helper spring <trailer runs level> I think air is great..if and when det my d/a will use them on it as I only need to change hardware<according to AIR LIFT> Karl
Futher to my last ...I do not use onboard compressor<sometimes regret>run lines to two tire valves <just below 5th Tail gate> I use small compressor which plugs into cig lighter<made cord longer> works great..car 18-20 normal<empty> they cost 400 plus tax at can tire here in Truro..more than likely cheaper in states
I believe all said and done it cost me about $450. I wish I could say it took me 30min like neverenuf but I installed the onboard compressor. That required installing a wiring harness, and running lines into the cab for the dual guages. I'd say I had a few hours into it, I did it around the same time I installed my Aux Fuel tank, so I did both over a week working evenings in the driveway, but that's me and I'm overly picky on my work and installs.
The air bags when empty (need to keep at leat 5psi in them at all times to keep their shape) raises the rear end about 3/8". If you want to fill them up to say 60psi they raise the rear about 3"+. It's just like adding heavier springs to the rear, you REALLY don't want to be driving around with them inflated as it is pretty rough. The truck rides better with them inflated while towing, there is less bouncing (hi/low effect like on a bridge) and no bottoming out. You can barely tell you have them on when they are empty (5psi) and driving.
When it comes to working on vehicles, I'm a newbie. I'm not afraid to tackle most anything on my truck, but each time is usually a brand new experience.
Mostly it was getting the top bracket mounted. It was tough getting the nuts on the bolts. Not a lot of room and I was working blind. I had the back lifted but didn't want to crawl underneath with it on jacks so I had to work from the side. Month prior my neighbor's truck fell on him while changing a tire. Great incentive to stay safe.
Besides that, everything was a breeze. Mounted the compressor, ran the lines. Replaced the bolts holding the license plate on with the valves. Most difficult part of that process was deciding where to put the gauges.
My local GMC Medium Duty Truck Center & spring shop recommends adding a leaf instead of adding airbags. They warn of airbag failure, and says the leaf will add 1,000 lbs of capacity. They also say adding a leaf will improve the ride when empty. (I have heard this somewhere else) I am planning to get a slide in truck camper. All the camper dealers recommend air bags and air shocks. I would think the adjustability of the air bags would be good for leveling the load, and transfering some of the load to the front suspension. The truck center guys may be feeding me some BS hoping I buy from them, what do you guys think?
I think your right. Think about it, how could adding a leaf make it ride better empty? Ever drive in an F350 SRW? Wear a kidney belt if you do. My air bags when at 5psi are not noticable at all, rides like stock. Pump em up to 80psi when empty and I could probably bounce the rear end off the ground when going over railroad tracks
I don't remember offhand, but I don't think it requires drilling. You remove the bump stop on both sides of the frame and mount here. Like Barnhart_Ram said, it's a little tough to get the nuts started on the top, but not bad if you get underneath. The truck was only about a month old when I put the bags on so it was pretty clean still, that kept the steaks from being gritty.
Add a leaf if definitly inferior to the air bags. Look at 98% of 18 wheelers and see if they have springs or bags, then make your decision.
I run the firestone Ride Rite on my truck with the onboard compressor, Got the air bags from jcwhitney for @225 and after I order it I decided to get the compressor from summitracing for $211. Easy install the only drilling you have to do is run a self-drilling screw in the side of the frame and make sure you raise the frame up as high ad you can just to give you a little room between th e frame/axle. Great little set up
I run the Firestones. Did install myself. Self tapping screw is the only thing to drill if you can call it that. Cost was just around $210. Didn't do compressor as I have one in the 5th and it only takes a few seconds to air them up to 65psi. Run about 5psi when unloaded and ride is great.
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