Airbags, Ride Rite or Air Lift 5000

Pilotamis

Observer
I’m about to grab some airbags for my F-250. It’s a dedicated rig with a Grandby in it FT. Any recommendations on which bag is better? Comparison seems to be that both are good companies with FS being an easier product to instal and possibly slightly better build quality while AL has outstanding customer service and a better price point. I’m leaning FS as a warranty won’t help get the rig back to a town and I don’t know if AL would ship internationally. My concerns with FS are price and whether I would need the internal jounce bumper. Unfortunately, everything I’m finding is from a towing/hauling aspect and not used off-road. What’s your opinion and experience?
 

SheepnJeep

Adventurer
I haven't installed yet but maybe as a "mental tiebreaker" for you I gave up and ordered the Firestone kit for my F-100. I just had to get it over with as we are moving next month. I called around and asked a few truck shops, most of them told me I would never know the difference if I had one or the other installed. I felt like I was more interested in the control systems that Air Lift offers (I like the pressure gauge and switch setup) but I was able to get the Firestone set $30 cheaper. That's $30 I can put twords an onboard compressor when I have the time to install one. I can put any gauge and switch on that I like so might as well mix and match that to get the function I want at the best price.

Just my .02. Might make more of a difference on a heavier truck but I really think they are about the same.
And I would hazard a guess that if you were in a pinch on a trip, any bag itself could be made to fit the brackets if they were already on the truck. Even if you had to drill new mounting holes in the brackets to fit a different brand airbag that would probably work out just fine.


-Jesse
 

SheepnJeep

Adventurer
Update on my ride rite purchase from SD truck spring:

I wouldn't order from SD truck spring if you are in a hurry, I ordered my kit on the 5th of August and they just arrived yesterday.

The kit looks good and all of the parts look heavy duty. The instructions seem fine but a little universal. Hopefully the 'figure it out for yourself' works out for me.

I will say the Firestone packaging is not excellent. The brackets chipped a lot of paint off of each other in places. Not sure if I am going to take the time yet to scotch brite everything and give it a repaint or just let it go. I sort of care and also don't have the time. Not sure if this kind of thing bothers you or not.
I will update again as I am installing the kit.
 

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Flhtruss

Observer
We went with Hellwig bags. The lower operating pressure sold me, we also have the f250. Defiantly helps with the ride, truck GVWR is 10,000. We're at 9,300 loaded, although truck handles the weight w/o the bags did notice improvements in ride and handling. Off road I'll air tires down, for improvement in ride. Airbags use between 25-30 psi when loaded. 10 psi with camper off truck. Hope this helps.

Russ
 

AbleGuy

Too Much Fun Club, founder
I had Firestones on my K2500. At times I carried on it a fully self contained 10’ pop up camper, or an 8’ heavy hard sided cabover camper, or a boat load of firewood....and never, ever had any problems with the ride. In fact, the lack of side to side sway on winding mountain roads was one of the best benefits of the FS’s. Being able to air them down when I had no load in the back was helpful too.
 

AbleGuy

Too Much Fun Club, founder
We went with Hellwig bags. The lower operating pressure sold me, we also have the f250. Defiantly helps with the ride, truck GVWR is 10,000. We're at 9,300 loaded, although truck handles the weight w/o the bags did notice improvements in ride and handling. Off road I'll air tires down, for improvement in ride. Airbags use between 25-30 psi when loaded. 10 psi with camper off truck. Hope this helps.
👍🏼

“Defiantly helps with the ride”
Actually, that’s a much better way to describe these! Seriously, I really like the image of the airbags defiantly 😡 protecting my rig against all and any threats of heavy weight, bad roads and bumpy rides...fight on, little air bags,
fight on!

A494FBD1-D180-46E1-ACCA-EDE2CD982DDB.jpeg
 
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IdaSHO

IDACAMPER
I've had both, ultimately opted for the AirLift 5000 bags on my current truck due to the joust bumpers.

Todays trucks with the longer leaf packs, it is quite easy to stuff a tire when flexed. Having those joust bumpers helps save the bags.
 

TernOverland

Supporting Sponsor Ternoverland.com
With Daystar cradles do the joust bumpers still help?
Cradles do not eliminate the need for bump stops. If a bump stop is not incorporated, the suspension will bottom on the bag. That will make for harsh landings, and eventually destroy the bag. I prefer the design of the Firestone bags, but their requirement to remove the bump stop on many applications is a nonstarter for offroad use. Airlift, to their credit, has incorporated bumps into many of their models. I don't know whether Airlift can be used with a cradle though???
 

Buddha.

Lurker

I have theses on my HD. I like that I don't have to worry about air leaks or adjusting pressure. They don't affect the ride when unloaded, they don't get damaged going off road. I generally forget they are there.
 

SheepnJeep

Adventurer
Just wanted to report back about my install of the ride rites. In the end it took me about 8 hours to do, and it was not easy. I don't know why, I just seemed to have lost my brain and made several mistakes. I had a hard time lining up the brackets square on the frame, making them the same side to side, and rearranging other stuff in the way to make them fit. This was on a '73 F100. They suggest putting them in assembled at ride height. That was very challenging for me to squish the bag in there and hold it there to center punch the holes. Next time I would put them in assembled to get a sense of where they need to go, then clamp the bracket to the frame and drill through it. I didn't have clamps that fit around the frame properly for this. A second person would help. I also let the axle droop against the directions as I just couldn't manage to reach in there otherwise. Air lines were very easy to do with this kit. I also purchased a t fitting for now, don't see much immediate need to adjust the bags seperatly.

Anyway, sorry to ramble. I had one night to use a shop space so I pulled an all nighter working on the truck ahead of moving soon. o_O:sleep:
 

Attachments

Buddha.

Lurker
Just wanted to report back about my install of the ride rites. In the end it took me about 8 hours to do, and it was not easy. I don't know why, I just seemed to have lost my brain and made several mistakes. I had a hard time lining up the brackets square on the frame, making them the same side to side, and rearranging other stuff in the way to make them fit. This was on a '73 F100. They suggest putting them in assembled at ride height. That was very challenging for me to squish the bag in there and hold it there to center punch the holes. Next time I would put them in assembled to get a sense of where they need to go, then clamp the bracket to the frame and drill through it. I didn't have clamps that fit around the frame properly for this. A second person would help. I also let the axle droop against the directions as I just couldn't manage to reach in there otherwise. Air lines were very easy to do with this kit. I also purchased a t fitting for now, don't see much immediate need to adjust the bags seperatly.

Anyway, sorry to ramble. I had one night to use a shop space so I pulled an all nighter working on the truck ahead of moving soon. o_O:sleep:
I've heard that if you plumb the bags together you're more likely to have the weight shift side to side because air gets squeezed from one bag into the other.
 

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Alloy

Well-known member
I was in a hurry and bought Pacbrake bags that I could get off the shelf on a Saturday. These are to keep the headlights on the ground when towing our 5th.

https://pacbrake.com/product-lines/air-spring-kits/

The install reqired the OEM jounce blocks to be removed and there is no jounce block in the bags.

Everting was good for a couple of years until we did 600 miles on FS roads in B.C. ( Bridge Lake- Mahood Lake - Quesnel Lake - Cariboo Lake -Ghost Lake - Bowron Lake - Green Lake) a couple of weeks ago. Towards the end of the trip something started to rattle.

Everthing on the truck and trailer (trailer has Timbren STI air suspension) was good but both 1/4" steel plates Pacbrake made to support the airbags are bent.
 
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