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Firestone Ride-Rite Air Helper Springs Install on a 2006 Ford F-250 - Gimme A Lift

Installing Firestone Air Helper Springs To Handle More Load

Dr Whaba
Mar 1, 2009
Photographers: Dr Whaba
If you're reading 8-Lug, chances are your eight-lug truck is frequently used to haul or tow some heavy loads-and the stock springs on your truck struggle to handle these loads. One of the best solutions to this problem is the installation of air springs. This story follows along as an installation shop, John R Spring, in Troy, Michigan, installs a set of Firestone's Ride-Rite air springs on the truck of a customer desiring a smooth ride when empty, but a safe, level-riding truck when fully loaded.
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Front And Rear
While the most common addition of air springs is to the rear of a work truck, if you run a snowplow or other heavy attachment on the front of your truck, air springs in the front make a huge difference in the ride and handling characteristics. This '06 Ford F-250 truck is used for snowplowing/salting in the winter and hauling/towing of equipment in the summer, so the owner wanted separately controlled air springs to be able to adjust the capability of the suspension to the season.
Firestone sells a kit for this vehicle that consists of front and rear springs (PN 4160 and 2071) and a separate onboard air compressor system (PN 2178) to be able to "air up" either end of the vehicle on the fly.
The rear air springs Firestone offers are the common double-donutstyle convoluted air springs that are perfect for heavy-duty applications. The Ride-Rite kit for the rear of this vehicle installed without any drilling required-it was amazingly easy to install.
The front air springs mount inside the coil springs (Ford trucks after 2005 come with coils-before that they had leaf springs in the front). The front air springs are made of polyurethane and can support between 500 and 1,000 pounds per set-perfect for handling the weight of a large snowplow hanging off the front of the truck. Installation requires the deflated bags to be stuffed into the coil spring.
The vehicle-mounted air pump was installed in the engine bay to minimize the noise during usage and make it easier to wire up the power wire to the pump. Hookup of the pump went quickly and the mounting of the pump was the only drilling we did-which went quickly because it was mounted to the plastic inner fenderwell.
This system has already seen thousands of miles handling over 2,000-pound loads in its TruckCraft dumpbed insert without a whimper. The owner can't believe how well the system works and looks forward to the winter when he can take advantage of the front air springs. He has a fleet of vehicles and plans on upfitting all of them in the future (he figures the money and time he'll save replacing broken rear springs will more than pay for these kits). Maybe you should check into getting some air springs for your eight-lug truck at
Usage Rules Of The Road
Once the Firestone air helper springs are installed, there are a few rules of usage. The springs should always be pressurized with air-vary the pressure from 5 to 100 psi in the rear Ride-Rite springs and 5 to 90 psi (depending on vehicle application-see instructions for details) in the front air springs.
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The air pressure that works the best for you and your vehicle will vary with the vehicle, load, road conditions, temperature, and what feels best to you-the nice thing is that you can adjust it to your preference. Operating your air-spring-equipped vehicle without the minimum air pressure voids all warranties on the products-so keep the pressure in them!
A final note regarding the air springs: When lifting the vehicle at the frame (where the suspension would hang at full droop), make sure to first release the air pressure from the air-spring system to allow the air springs to fully extend (see photo).
Firestone-The Air Spring Pioneer
Since the company offered its first air spring in 1934 and the first air-spring helper kit more than 30 years ago, Firestone has had a commitment to the air-spring market. Today, its production capability includes more than 1 million square feet of manufacturing space situated in three facilities creating air springs for production vehicles and helper kits. Firestone's production-vehicle business includes product for the HUMMER H2, Land Rover, Range Rover, and Lincoln Town Car and its kit business covers everything from 1/2- to 1-ton trucks, SUVs, motorhomes, cars, vans, and custom applications. Firestone's commitment to quality is so great that it offers a 2-year/24,000-mile limited warranty on its air-spring kits. We've all heard of the Firestone name, but maybe you didn't know the company was a great source for air springs too. Now you do.
Product Profile:
Firestone Industrial Products
John R Spring (installer)


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