Air-Ride Equipped - Firestone Ride-Rite Install

An Air Helper Spring Kit For Your Tow Rig

Ryan Lee Price
Jun 1, 2013
Photographers: Ryan Lee Price
Although the suspension systems of some trucks are better equipped to handle the extra load of a travel trailer, smaller trucks like the F-150 need a little help. That being said, hitching a 6,000-pound trailer onto the back of your truck will increase the tongue weight outside that comfy 10 to 15 percent range. Even with an equalizing sway control hitch that will transfer weight to the ends of your rig, the result can still be an uneven ride with some tricky steering.
Photo 2/12   |   Your kit(s) may vary depending on your needs. However, this represents the best of the best, from the air springs and the electronic control unit (ECU) to the wireless control panel and right down to the last washer and nut.
The Ride-Rite Air Helper Springs Kit from Firestone Industrial is an easy-to-install kit that mounts between the frame and the suspension to provide needed lift to level out the truck (not only from front to rear but also side to side). It is designed to maximize the carrying capacity of your truck, all while providing increased stabilization, a consistent ride height, increased control, and a softer ride. We took our 2004 F-150 to SoCal SuperTrucks in San Bernardino, California, to watch as Bill Brunner and Nate Rock showed us the right way to install the kit.
After the system is completely hooked up, make sure to double-check your connections before testing the system. Turn on the key and use the controller to inflate the air springs to around 70 psi. Recheck all of the fittings for leaks. Use soapy water and watch for bubbles and listen for air leakage. It is normal for the system to lose three or four pounds of pressure per week when the air springs are inflated past 50 psi. It is not uncommon to have a small pressure difference between the air springs, depending on the suspension system of your particular truck. Also, the distance between the upper and lower mounting brackets must be within a certain specification, particularly for our application (air springs PN 6397), between 5 1/2 and 6 1/2 inches. Anything more than that and spacers must then be used.
Photo 12/12   |   The controller is wireless but comes with an auto charger. It is easy to use and even includes a six-LED flashlight (hold down on the right arrow button for three seconds to turn it on/off). The left arrow button will cycle through the choices. Three clicks will put arrows next to LR and RR. Use the up arrow to select the air pressure (keep a minimum of five pounds in the springs at all times) and press the select button. The controller fits nicely on the sun visor with the supplied clip.
There is very little maintenance needed once the system is installed and fully operational. The brackets and mounting hardware should be inspected periodically, and any dust or dirt should be cleaned off of the air springs each time the truck is washed. If the truck is to be lifted by its frame, first deflate the air springs, which will allow the springs to extend to their maximum length. They are capable of supporting the weight of the axle and wheels/tires, but you could tie up the suspension before the truck is lifted for extra precaution.


Socal Supertrucks
San Bernardino, CA 92408
Firestone Industrial Products
Carmel, IN 46032



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