*Installed* Air Lift RideControl system

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*Installed* Air Lift RideControl system

Postby LoneWolf04 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:58 pm

I'm looking into doing Air Lift's RideControl (air springs or air bags, whatever you like to call them) system for our trucks for towing. I did some searching on here and on a few other forums and google and couldn't come up with much. The only thing I can find is people that have completely replaced their trucks suspension with air bags, which is not what I'm trying to do.

Has anyone gone the Air Lift route instead of the add a leaf or the BSW kit? I've read some good reviews on other vehicles that people have put them on and about ready to pull the trigger. Between my discounted Amazon cards and the $100 rebate they are offering til the end of the month I can get set up with an on board compressor (#25850) and bag kit (#59531) for $236. Seems money better spent with a lot more control of how much support I need for towing and then comfort when unloaded than other options. Any thoughts or opinions?
Last edited by LoneWolf04 on Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Air Lift RideControl system

Postby _STUCKY » Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:48 am

What are you pulling? I have pulled several heavy pieces of farm equipment with the BSW kit without any issues, and no complaints about the ride, with or without it loaded or pulling. If you aren't afraid of the work, and possibly the trial and error, we could walk you through making your own leaf pack. Leaves are easy, and have been hauling heavy loads for many years.

You got a link to the compressor? Is it electric? Is it big enough to do anything other than pump up the bags? If I was doing air on anything, it'd at least be big enough to air up tires, and bonus points for being able to run an impact.

This site is mainly focused towards low rider guys, but check out this website:
http://www.airbagit.com/

Edit: Where are you located, roughly? Like Reed has said several times, there might be one of us around to lend a hand.
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Re: Air Lift RideControl system

Postby LoneWolf04 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:24 am

I live in Grand Blanc, MI. I have made my own leaf packs when I did my SAS on my 95 s10 to support the front end. I was thinking of doing a long add a leaf kit or grabbing a used set of s10 or blazer springs off craigslist and using a long leaf to add to the pack too. Kind of shying away from doing a custom leaf pack or even an add a leaf mostly do to the fact I can adjust the air as needed instead. And I don't really feel like wasting my time doing trial and error. To add to it, the last price check in a few years ago of the BSW kit came out at the same price or more than the air bags depending on what day you call and what they feel like charging for shipping it sounds. I can't really justify it I guess. I would rather do the work and be done with it. It will have the same ride when unloaded and I can air up as necessary.

Here is a link to the compressor:
http://shop.airliftcompany.com/product/0/25850/_/Load_Controller_Single_On-Board_Air_Compressor_System_with_Standard_Duty_Compressor

Here is a link to the bag kit if anyone was interested in it as well:
http://shop.airliftcompany.com/product/492206/59531/_/RideControl%3B_Leaf_Spring_Leveling_Kit

It is electric and is only going to be used for the air shocks. I really have no reason to air my tires up or use air tools on the road. Which from what I've read trolling many posts, air tools really need an on board tank, which I have no desire to add. If for some reason I've got a flat, I've got a spare to change out, I check my spare regularly for air, so I'm not worried about it.

As far as towing. I've been towing a 2 place, tandem axle, in-line snowmobile trailer this winter. It's all aluminum, enclosed, and with sleds weighs about 2600-2700lbs. It makes the ass end squat to the point my fog lights are my headlights though. When we had the snow Tuesday night, I was driving home in it and it made for not so great visibility issues because my headlights were just bouncing back off of the snow coming down. I ended up clicking the e-brake one click to turn them off and just ran fog lights and running lights so I could see. I don't like doing that and hence looking for a solution, and looking very hard at the air bags.

I do have access to a flatbed trailer I tow as well, tandem axle and rated at 10k #. I obviously won't be reaching nearly that much weight, but I will be buying a house this year so I'm sure I will be hauling who knows what on it to do upgrades/ renovations as needed.
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Re: Air Lift RideControl system

Postby HenryJ » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:54 am

I would be worried about a couple things.

#1 will it survive in proximity to the exhaust pipe?
#2 there is a ton of articulation on the back of these trucks. Will it survive that?

I have bags on my current truck, they are simple and fit inside the coil springs. I like them. I had the BSW kit on my s-series. Hands down I would do that again.

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Re: Air Lift RideControl system

Postby LoneWolf04 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:08 am

The bags have a lifetime warranty on them. I would assume they have factored in the proximity of the exhaust and the articulation. I guess time would tell.

After thinking it over and doing more reading I pulled the trigger on the Air Lift system. I will report back and post some pictures and measurements of the truck unloaded, w/ trailer, and then w/ bags and trailer. These should be to my house at the end of next week. It may take a little while to get it installed though. Going to plan where I want to mount the compressor, run the air lines, and mount the gauge and keep it looking clean.
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Re: Air Lift RideControl system

Postby HenryJ » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:33 am

Looking forward to your report and pictures :thumb:

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Re: Air Lift RideControl system

Postby AVTekk » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:41 am

Well it sounds like I'm a little late here since you bought the kit already, but I can at least tell you that you made the right decision! I am an Airlift dealer and have sold a number of those kits, I just sold one to a guy with a ZR2 blazer that pulls his bike to the track. There's no way I could help with the price tho since you had the gift cards, but thats a great price for all of that. Its a much better alternative to an add-a-leaf because you can adjust ride height to suit and it doesn't change the ride when unloaded. You will enjoy years of service out of the bags and they won't be effected by the exhaust because they mount under the frame. Articulation will be fine as well, the shocks will stop the axle travel before the bags are damaged. Yes you will need an air tank and larger compressor to run air tools but that compressor will be able to fill a tire. If you have any air related questions let me know, I've been installing and selling air management for 12 years.

Stucky PLEASE for the love of everything, NEVER recommend airbagit.com, Chassis Tech, AIM, or any of the related companies for air parts. Everything they sell is absolute junk, it is well known to stay away from them in my industry. Their metal parts are usually ok tho.
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Re: Air Lift RideControl system

Postby HenryJ » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:52 am

The ZR2 uses a different shock configuration and exhaust routing. Clearance above the axle to the frame is better on the right side. They use longer shocks , so that is an advantage for us if the kit is the same. That means even a slightly lifted truck should not over extend the bags and have room for a longer shock as some have done.
I added a 3" exhaust system out the stock location and suspect that it could have had issues with clearances after reviewing the installation instructions.

I will be interested to see your install and impressions.

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Re: Air Lift RideControl system

Postby LoneWolf04 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:39 pm

Well I ran out and took some measurements of the truck without the trailer and with it hooked up. Measurements are from ground to the center of the rear wheel well arch.

Unloaded: 32.5"
With Trailer: 30.5"

Here's a pick of it hooked up to the trailer. Sled are loaded from the front, so the rear sled is all the way in til the skis hit the back door with engine behind the axles. The front sled's engine sits between the front fuel door and the front axle.
Truck-Trailer.jpg
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Re: Air Lift RideControl system

Postby HenryJ » Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:11 pm

That is an application where air bags are going to be a real asset. That is quite a load you pull.

I would suggest not investing heavily in making the s-series crew cab into a trailer puller. Too many, myself included went full size eventually.

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Re: Air Lift RideControl system

Postby _STUCKY » Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:27 pm

AVTekk wrote:Stucky PLEASE for the love of everything, NEVER recommend airbagit.com, Chassis Tech, AIM, or any of the related companies for air parts. Everything they sell is absolute junk, it is well known to stay away from them in my industry. Their metal parts are usually ok tho.


I am not schooled in the ways of air on vehicles. My experience with them has been ok. I've ordered a few things, as well as my buddy. Bumpstops, DIY shackle hangers, ect. Nothing major. Everything seemed to be of decent quality. All I know is that the prices seem cheap. I also know that a lot of the time, you get what you pay for.
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Re: Air Lift RideControl system

Postby AVTekk » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:24 pm

You are correct Stucky and as I said, their metal parts are decent (certainly not the best) but their air parts are all garbage. Also their restocking fees are ridiculous and handle warranty issues very poorly. I'm not a fan of the company in any way but I do order the occasional bracket or whatever from them.

But ya, thats a hell of a trailer youre pulling there, but Im sure the CC is handling it ok. We routinely pull a 16' closed deck car trailer with CCs and dont see any problems but the truck has upgraded brakes and a trans cooler.
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Re: Air Lift RideControl system

Postby LoneWolf04 » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:06 pm

Received everything in the mail today and looked everything over. For the size of the compressor I will probably try and mount it in the cab behind the rear seat next to the bazooka tube. Plenty of room still left back there. For how often the pump will run it will not be annoying back there and they suggest keeping the pump out of the engine compartment. Then I will probably route the air line through the headliner on the drivers side, down the a-pillar, and drill a hole in the firewall to allow the wiring and air hose to come out the vehicle.

I still am unsure where I want to mount the gauge though, possibly up by the overhead console? AVTekk, where have you guys been mounting the gauges at since I know you've sold these kits before.

Saturday is the day I will hopefully get started with this as I have the day off. I will post pics as I get everything in.
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Re: Air Lift RideControl system

Postby AVTekk » Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:17 pm

A-pillar mount is the most common, next maybe in the dash somewhere or glovebox. There is also a steering column pod you can get. Overheard console is tight but Ive done them up there, usually with a bit of fiberglass work.

Just as an install note, keep the line away from the exhaust under the hood, and run it through a grommet or split loom in the firewall. Ya the comp wouldnt last long under the hood due to the heat but you can mount it on the frame or somewhere underneath if you wanted since they are water-resistant. You would then have to run the intake filter up high somewhere tho. Inside will be fine, it doesnt run long at all and as long as your install is airtight, you won't have to refill it often.
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Re: Air Lift RideControl system

Postby _STUCKY » Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:44 pm

Is there enough room between the spare tire and the rear bumper to mount the compressor? Or maybe in front of it?

Pictures. .... We are gonna need pictures...
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Re: Air Lift RideControl system

Postby F9K9 » Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:21 pm

_STUCKY wrote:Is there enough room between the spare tire and the rear bumper to mount the compressor? Or maybe in front of it?...
Not really any room between the spare and bumber. Especially with a hitch installed. In front of the rear axle on the passenger is the exhaust and the gas tank is on the driver's side.
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Air Lift RideControl system - Installed

Postby LoneWolf04 » Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:33 pm

I just got around to installing the kit today. Time was right about a day with normal breaks and taking it easy. That and it was my first one, and I am #### and like to make things look as nice as possible. I must say though, I really do like this kit. I would say 95% of what is needed is given to you. There are a few things I would suggest having on hand though:

• More zip ties – to secure the lines
• An ATM Add-A-Circuit
• Electrical Tape – I tapped the air hose to the compressor power wire to keep them together.
• Some misc. wire connectors/ends
• Heavy duty Velcro – I used this instead of screws to mount the gauge and compressor

First thing I did was mount the air bags. I ended up doing the driver’s side first, and then the passenger side. The driver’s side either needed to be compressed slightly in order to fit it between the spring and frame, or what I did, just support the truck and lower the axle slightly. The passenger side installed with no issues.

drivers bag.jpg

passenger bag.jpg


Once those were installed I started running the two lines to the t-fitting which I placed close to where the e-brake cable divides. The passenger line I ran over the frame rail and attached it to the EVAP vent solenoid bracket and then out on the driver’s side. You can see how I have the lines secured here.

drivers hose.jpg


I ran the two rear lines forward because I wanted to make sure I was going to have enough hose in the compressor kit to get me from the back seat of the cab, where I was mounting the compressor. Then, it was going up the rear pillar, follow the roof line, and then down the a-pillar before going outside the truck and to the rear. I ended up with a couple feet extra, after everything was said and done. Also, I wanted it far enough away from the wheel well to hopefully not get too much garbage flown at it from the tires.

I chose to install the compressor in-cab so it was out of the elements. It is a bit noisy, but it is only going to run when you have to set up your trailer, so not worried at all. I used the stud the rear seat connects to the body as a ground. I used an extra connector I had that was large enough to fit over the stud.

compressor.jpg


Running the line up from the compressor was easy. I just had to remove the rear grab handle, the clothes hook, the driver’s front seat belt, and the a-pillar plastic.

cab hose.jpg


I was lucky enough to get the air hose through the firewall where the factory wire harness goes through, so no drilling was required there.

As far as power goes for the unit, I ended up using an add-a-circuit with the wiper motor circuit. The kit comes with a cheap metal pin to stick in the fuse box, but I think the add-a-circuit looks better and doesn’t seem as cheap. I chose the wiper motor circuit out of the fuse box for three reasons. One, it is only active with ignition on, which is what is needed. Two, the stock circuit is rated for 25 amps (the compressor circuit is fused at 15 amps). And three, I will not be using the wipers and the compressor at the same time, so no need to worry about overloading the factory circuit.

I ran all the wiring over in the right corner of the driver’s dash. For those familiar with where the tow/haul connector, or really, the center console wiring connector is at, this is where I placed it. Also over there is where I wired in the low pressure switch. After thinking about, it I could have skipped it and just kept an eye on the gauge and made sure it was at least at the minimum 10psi, especially since I had a problem with air leaking from the connection there.

dash.jpg

low switch.jpg

gauge.jpg


After it was all connected up I aired the bags up to 10 psi and centered them on the brackets and tightened them down. Correction, tried to… I had to move a couple hose connections so they went into the connectors better and wouldn’t leak. Having the hose as straight as possible before the connection is the best thing I found out. After that was fixed everything went back together and I double checked the make sure everything was tight.

I did hook up and tow the trailer for a bit and I must say I was very impressed. I ended up setting the bags at 60psi and it gave it a level ride and being able to see my headlights on the road at night was great improvement.
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Re: *Installed* Air Lift RideControl system

Postby Serge PETIT » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:12 am

Very good work and nice write-up :rock: Congratulations !
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Re: *Installed* Air Lift RideControl system

Postby AVTekk » Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:07 am

Looks great!
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Re: *Installed* Air Lift RideControl system

Postby LoneWolf04 » Wed Aug 07, 2013 10:31 am

Just an update on the Air Lift system. I still love it and have been using it more frequently than I originally intended. I ended up buying a stand-up jetski and just use a rear cargo carrier for transport to the lake and use the bags 2-3 times a week now since about June. really levels things out and handles great. It really has become worth its weight in gold on longer hauls since I picked the ski up in TN and travel from Flint, MI area up to Traverse City Area and other parts. I've got roughly 375lbs of ski and rack attached to the hitch, with some additional fuel, a cooler, stand, and some tools, roughly about 75lbs in the bed. You can obviously do it without the bags, but the butt end squats, headlights go up, and steering get light... everyone knows the drill. If you intend on doing hauling of sorts with these trucks I would not hesitate to recommend this system.

I would post a picture up of the ski behind the truck, but I keep getting an error message stating, "Sorry, the board attachment quota has been reached."
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Re: *Installed* Air Lift RideControl system

Postby HenryJ » Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:13 pm

Try uploading it to an online album and linking the image.

I have bags on the Avalanche and really like them too.

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