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  • Ultimate Ford F-150 - Safer Towing & Better Handling: Part 1

Ultimate Ford F-150 - Safer Towing & Better Handling: Part 1

It’s Not Make Believe—It’s Reality with the Right Bolt-On Parts

Dan Ward
Jan 1, 2013
Photographers: Dan Ward, Maxwell Matthewson
Photo 2/19   |   1301tr 01 Ultimate Ford F 150 Rendering
We've all passed the truck with the front end pointing towards the clouds as the rear leaf springs sag from all of the weight strapped to the tow hitch. Hopefully that scenario doesn't describe you when behind the wheel of your tow rig, but if it does, we have the perfect solution—and it's easy to install. Firestone has been making airbags for 75 years, and during that tenure it has perfected the system of pneumatic springs on all types of vehicles. For custom truck enthusiasts and for heavy-duty truck owners, Firestone also makes the Ride Rite system, which consists of vehicle-specific helper ‘bags for safer towing. The really nice thing about a vehicle-specific kit is that it simply bolts up and usually takes less than four hours to install everything.
When it came time to examine the tow capabilities of our ultimate F-150 work truck, the added weight in the bed, combined with the weight of a trailer was an area of concern. One look at Firestone's application guide and we tracked down the perfect kit for our 2012 F-150 (PN: 2525, $314.10 at autoanything.com). Adding to the bolt-on helper airbag kit, we also ordered Firestone's top-of-the-line remote air management system. Basically, this upgrade allows the user to remotely adjust the rear ride height for optimal towing and hauling conditions. It also features an air hose that attaches to the compressor and can be used to inflate tires or sporting equipment. It proved incredibly easy to use and looked nice inside our F-150's interior. Now we can quickly and painlessly adjust the truck's ride height on the fly.
Photo 3/19   |   1. We began the install by measuring the factory ride height of the trailer hitch ball. Keep in mind this truck is also equipped with a Ready Lift 1.5-inch rear lift block to achieve a true leveling kit. The before number came in at 20 inches.

Editor's note:
The installation of a helper airbag setup suck as the Firestone Ride Rite Kit doesn't mean your F-150 was instally transformed into a F-350 Super Duty. It is still a requirement to follow the manufactures maximum GVWR and towing rating.
Photo 19/19   |   17. Once the compressor filled the airbags to the max, we measured the top of hitch ball and the final tally was 25 ½ inches, or an increase of 5 ½ inches. This will help provide a huge boost for towing and hauling. Say goodbye to a sagging truck struggling to tow a trailer.